Author Archives: Teylor Schiefelbein

10 Tools Every Social Media Manager Needs

social media manager

As a Social Media Manager, I spend a lot of time online. While I do consider myself an early adopter of technology, I also believe in simplicity. If I were to investigate every possible Chrome extension or iPhone app that promised streamlined content creation or increased productivity… I’d never get any actual work done. I’m sharing some of the tools that I use to create content for my clients and make my life easier. If you’ve discovered something better, feel free to comment what it is and why it should be on my radar.

4 Websites Every Social Media Manager Needs

Canva allows me to feel like a graphic designer, without having to pay for a program or get too involved. Canva is my go-to for creating graphics for Facebook posts or new banner images for whatever platform(s) the client is on. The custom dimensions also come in handy specifically for Facebook ads. I’m able to use custom colors codes so that everything matches branding-wise. It’s straightforward, but not too basic.

Once you choose a social media management dashboard, you go all in. Every option has its perks and its pitfalls, but linking all of your accounts is a sign of commitment. Hootesuite has been around long enough to make adjustments in response to user feedback and tries to stay current with our needs as social media managers. While I could imagine some sort of calendar for content planning, our old-fashioned Google sheet does the trick and happens to be free.

As a digital marketing agency, we use Basecamp 3 to communicate the current status of projects or needs of our clients across departments. As for the social media management department, we create a Trello board for each of our clients and then create “lists” with “cards” to refer back to for blog or post ideas. Once the blog is written or the link posted, the card is archived. Simple, neat, and free.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who click on your social media links without liking the post, or worse, like the post without clicking the link. Bitly allows you to track how many people actually clicked your link, and when. This a more accurate report of how many people are engaging with your content and what time of day is best to post.

3 Chrome Extensions Every Social Media Manager Needs

Check your grammar in a way “Spell Check” never could. This is especially helpful when drafting blog posts because it catches any potential errors within WordPress. The downside is that it doesn’t function within Hootesuite, so be sure to give those drafts a thrice over before publishing.

If you’re still saving from a website within Pinterest, you’re doing it wrong. The extension speeds up the process of creating pins for new products or blog posts. Bonus tip, make sure you have the Pinterest pixel installed on your client’s website to track what content is most often being pinned.

This is a request rather than a tip. Evernote is a program I’ve downloaded and extension I’ve installed, but I have yet to utilize. Is it worth incorporating? What does it bring to the table? I need solutions, not more issues!

3 iPhone Apps Every Social Media Manager Needs

A photo editing app that makes you feel like a photographer rather than a social media manager— at least on Instagram. I have my designated packs for each client and I apply whichever filter that keeps the overall photo feed aesthetically pleasing and consistent. I can also copy the filter changes from one photo to another, rather than having to repeat the process of increasing brightness, etc. 

If you’ve ever wondered how Instagram accounts splice one image into several, this is the tool. Besides that, Planoly allows you to visualize what your Instagram feed will look like before posting the photo. Once you upload possible contenders, you can then move them around and schedule within the app once your order is decided upon. When the scheduled time arrives, it prompts you to open the app and copy over your caption, much like Hootesuite does for scheduled Instagram posts.

No, I don’t create client’s Facebook ads through the app. I’m the type of person that needs to sit down and see the ad on a computer screen before submitting. However, I have found that the app comes in handy when I’m on the go and need a reminder as to when the ad campaign ends or how much of the budget we’ve spent so far. I also like that it pushes a notification to my phone every morning with a summary of what was spent from our ad account the day before.

In this industry, it is a never-ending task to stay on the forefront of change. Some tools simplify the content creation and management process, but some are too costly for what they offer or have yet to work out the kinks. What tools could you not imagine your business without?

5 Reasons You Should Trust Your Social Media To An Agency

Social Media

As a small business owner in 2016, chances are you recognize the value of being present on relevant social media channels. For those who are just getting started, we bet the thought of handling social media on your own has crossed your mind. And we understand! After all, who knows your business better than you!? But it’s important to be honest with yourself and understand 5 reasons you should trust an agency with your social media…

Quality Content Takes Time

Time is an incredibly valuable resource, especially to entrepreneurs, and people tend to underestimate the hours of research that social media management involves. A well-rounded social media strategy includes original content as well as relevant curated content. Original content includes images, infographics, and blogs. Curated content should be from a mixture of community and industry sources. Beyond creating and curating quality content, there are the tasks of scheduling the posts, responding to comments in a timely manner, and researching the ever-changing industry. Most business owners don’t have time for all of this, but we do.

Social Media Must Be A Priority

For those who do manage their own social media, there are most likely times where it gets put on the back burner to devote more attention to other aspects of the business. It’s easy for one day of skipped posting to turn into a week – which goes against one of the major rules for social media management: consistency is key. When you outsource your social media, you are paying for an expert to make it a priority. When business picks up and attention is needed elsewhere, the quantity and quality of content will not suffer.

Social Media Requires a Big Picture Approach

At Alter Endeavors, my job as a Content Strategist is to ensure that your audience understands your overall brand and mission, before addressing the niche crowd. It’s important not to alienate visitors or readers by using technical language or assuming a general introduction isn’t necessary. Outsourcing social media helps maintain a consistent image for the brand and prevents the channels from turning personal or unprofessional.

Trust the Experts

You are an expert in your field and we are experts in ours. Changes in social media aren’t always front page news, but they do have the capability of affecting your business. From new posting options to play with, altered algorithms to consider and a wealth of new apps and websites that assist in content creation, our research is never done. At Alter Endeavors, we make a point to spend time reading the fine print and adopting best practices that ensure longevity.

Do What You Enjoy

We have clients in a variety of industries and they all love what they do. We have immense respect for those who pursue their passions and we are happy to say that everyone at Alter Endeavors has done the same. We love working alongside our clients to bring their vision to life. Some days call for perfecting an image on Canva and researching the brand’s competitors, while others are spent drafting blog posts with a coffee mug that says “It’s Blogging Day!” in hand. The work required to assist a brand in their online marketing efforts varies from day to day and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Local Social Media for Brick and Mortar Businesses

local social media for businesses

When devising a local social media strategy, the benefits of customizing the approach specifically for a business and its customers is invaluable. Sure, there are general guidelines that apply to almost every industry, but the blog I wrote about Social Media for Service Based Companies is not the same advice I would give for brick & mortar establishments. If you’re a small business owner with a set locationhere is the best way to market your business on social media.

One of the main differences between local social media for service based companies and brick and mortar establishments is the end goal. For service based companies, we are constantly driving traffic to the company website, specifically the contact page. There is stress put on educating the public about the need for the service in question and demonstrating that the company is an expert in its field. For brick & mortar establishments, the goal is to drive traffic to the location! Convincing people to stop by a restaurant or clothing store means appealing to a want that can be fulfilled immediately. Hungry? Stop here for lunch. Need a new outfit? We’ll outfit you! The recommended platforms don’t change, but the way they are used most certainly does.

Facebook is an opportunity to interact and showcase a businesses’ involvement in the community. It is also a way to highlight the brands a store carries or if applicable, the local farms a restaurant sources ingredients from. Facebook also allows event pages to be created in order to generate buzz for any upcoming special events or merchandise sales. Facebook should be updated consistently and with a variety of information that is relevant to the customer base.

Twitter has proven to be an excellent way to manage customer service. A brand’s Twitter feed can include much of the same information that is on its Facebook newsfeed, but posted multiple times a day. Interact with audiences that you are hoping to attract by retweeting or mentioning them in your own tweets. Make sure to reply to any comments, complaints or suggestions in a professional and friendly manner. Keep in mind that there are brands that have built a following by the way that they respond to customer comments on social media, whether it is diligently (JetBlue) or with humor (Skyscanner Jen).

We love Instagram for brick & mortar establishments. This is an opportunity for restaurants to flaunt appetizing photos to the foodie community and for clothing stores to capture the attention of fashion influencers. With this platform, it pays to research popular hashtags and to have an ongoing rapport with repeat customers and ignite discussion with active Instagram users. We suggest that the filter used for images stays consistent and that the wording of the captions matches the messaging on all other platforms. This is a good time to define whether your brand is for or against the use of emojis!

One of the most impactful and easiest steps for local social media you can take is to double check that all of the pertinent information about your store (address and phone number) is easily found across all social platforms. For restaurants, this means linking to your menu and providing numerous photos. For product-based stores, it’s important that sales are publicized and that store hours are made apparent. At Alter Endeavors, we make a point to occasionally view our social media profiles as visitors, where we check links and think like a potential customer.

We live in a day and age where the question, “How did you hear about us?” is as commonly answered via “Facebook” as “ word of mouth.” Just today, I visited a coffee shop after seeing pictures of their decor and Nutella waffle on my explore page on Instagram! You don’t need photographer quality photos or fresh daily content, just start by making sure your ‘About’ section is complete!

Social Media for Service-Based Companies

service-based-companies deserve a different social media strategy

Do service-based companies need a different social media strategy from others? At Alter Endeavors, we do not apply a one-size fits all approach to social media marketing. A brand’s social media strategy should be as unique as its selling points. A brand’s online presence should convey to its audience who they are, what they do and why they should be the customer’s first choice. While the aforementioned applies to every brand, there are some special rules for service-based companies.

Each social media platform serves a purpose. It may not be listed outright in the app’s description or homepage, but users have collectively defined what platform to turn to for which reason. Service-based companies may choose to have a presence on Pinterest, but it should not be used in the same fashion that a clothing brand would choose to use it. Users look to Pinterest as a source for inspiration, whether it’s to put together the perfect fall outfit or how to remodel their home on a budget. A service based company has to play along and showcase its best project photos in order for a Pinterest user to say “I want to hire that company to make my vision a reality.” It’s a tougher challenge than simply providing a link to purchase a clothing item, but it’s worth it. If one avid Pinterest user with clout re-pins a project photo… there is a chance for a domino effect. A percentage of Pinterest users who see the project photo will convert to sales.

Service-based companies are tasked to think outside of the box because photo opportunities are harder to come by compared to brand’s who have shelves of product to showcase.  At Alter Endeavors, our Instagram feed is a collection of screenshots of the website design projects we have completed. A potential client scrolling through our pictures will notice the sleek design of our sites, as well as the wide array of industries we have worked in.

It is not necessary to have a presence on every emerging social media platform, but it is key to think through where your potential customers are and how you can serve them. Brands must incentivize social media users to connect and interact with them by offering either information and/or entertainment. For customers a brand has served in the past, this may mean sharing information on upkeep or why they should stay in contact for the future. In order to convert social media users to customers, a brand must highlight why to choose them over their competitors. 

Instead of writing off social media as a marketing approach reserved for product-based companies, find a way to communicate to your customers why they should keep an eye on your feed. Use social media as a way to establish your brand as an expert in the field, connect with the community you belong to and establish a level of customer service that is second to none.

Business to Consumer Marketing Through Social Media

business to consumer marketing

In order to move forward with a client in regards to social media management, we first have to define who the client is as a brand. The second step is to define who the client is trying to reach. Is business to consumer marketing effective via social media? Alter Endeavors works with several B2C (business to consumer) companies; B2C meaning that that business wants to appeal to consumers, rather than other businesses.

Once we establish the brand’s target audience, we ask questions like, “Are their potential customers on-line?” and “What age group are we trying to reach?” The answers to these questions lead to a profile, which tells us not only who our audience consists of, but research confirms their purchasing habits and preferences.

The social media platforms that align closest with the above are our first priority. While it is important that every B2C company has a presence on Facebook and Twitter in this day and age, we are very selective about what other platforms we are active on. In our opinion, it is better to be missing from a platform than to do it half way. It is better for a customer to see “not found” on Instagram rather than see a single photo posted over 52 weeks ago.

Merely being active on platforms where your customers are isn’t enough. For companies that offer consumers products and services, they need to establish why a user should interact with the brand outside of the point of purchase or period of service. There needs to be a consistent posting schedule of relevant information, whether it has to do directly with the product or service, general industry news or events happening in the community. We recognize that establishing the motivation for a post is just as important as what you actually post. B2C companies are problem solvers and their social media channels should do the same, by addressing frequently asked questions and bringing new information to the audience’s attention.

What are the best social media platforms for business to consumer marketing? Here are some of the better ones with examples of the best ways to utilize them:

Facebook – An up-to-date Facebook page is a must, as it not only acts as another business listing, but gives customers a place to read information about your brand and leave feedback. Facebook allows a brand to showcase its personality and interact with the community it aims to serve. We recommend including links and pictures in your posts to avoid being lost in a user’s newsfeed.

Twitter – This platform requires consistent interaction in order to stay relevant. You can more or less use the same content as you would post on Facebook, as well as share industry information with your followers by simply re-tweeting. Twitter is a high-speed platform, so content can be posted multiple times a day to reach different users. It is a platform to show your support to brands you work or share a community with.

Pinterest/Houzz – Pinterest is most often used for inspiration, whether it’s fitness related or a place to store recipes. Houzz is also used for inspiration, but specifically for residential home design and decor. These are excellent channels to display photos of projects completed, giving the user an idea of what your company is capable of. Unlike Twitter, content has a longer shelf life on these platforms and doesn’t need to be updated daily to be worthwhile.

Instagram – Instagram is a photo-based platform and requires extensive access to pictures. It is a popular platform for clothing brands, health products and restaurants. There are numerous Austin Instagram accounts dedicated to food, so we make sure that our brick & mortar clients with great food are present and accounted for on Instagram! Brands that offer products are able to source photos from buyers and announce new releases or sales, while service providers should work to keep Instagram updated with project photos.

Video (Snapchat/Facebook Live/Youtube) – Behind the scenes video can be a useful marketing tool, but only if the action caught on camera is worth watching. For both service & product based companies, perhaps a demonstrative how-to would be helpful to your audience. How often you are able to capture interesting content would dictate which platform to pursue, as Snapchat needs to be updated daily, and Facebook Live and Youtube can be updated more sporadically and referred back to in the future.

Before creating brand profiles on every possible social media channel, decide which platforms will be most effective for business to consumer marketing with your company. Being selective will not only help you spend your time & money effectively, but it will also help attract your ideal customer or client. Simply put: be where your target audience is.

Best Social Media Management: Person > Automation

best social media management

Alter Endeavors offers customized social media management, so we make it our business to know everything there is to know about the ever-changing industry to provide the best social media management. We often push what our social media team can do for a brand versus another company handling it, but that’s not our only competition. Brands that don’t have the time or resources to produce consistent content, but are nervous to hand their accounts over to a social media manager, may choose to use a service that automates their posts. Essentially this means that there isn’t a designated person deciding what and when to post. You decide what topics are relevant to your brand and the service chooses and schedules content accordingly.

While we do rely on statistics and performance data to devise our social media strategy, we only take this method so far. At Alter Endeavors, we boast that social media isn’t just about SEO! If you approach social media as simply a numbers game, you lose something incredibly valuable: the brand’s unique voice. Our strategy isn’t merely to get information out to the public, it is to create meaningful dialogues with your customers and community.

We have a habit of falling in love with the brands we work with. We don’t mean this in the inappropriate sense, but that we become attached to the people we work with and genuinely want to see them succeed in all aspects of life. We are a brand’s biggest cheerleader. We stress and celebrate with you. We are agile in our ability to change directions when necessary and we research your community as if we are a part of it. Think of the brands that you love and continue to be loyal to. There is a chance you are solely a fan because they offer a genuinely good product or service, but when a brand is active in area non-profits or uses local resources… it has the potential to deeply impact consumer decision making.

Alter Endeavors identifies what is unique about a brand and trust us, there is always something, and builds a brand identity that the community is proud to partner with. What we offer, that an automated service cannot, are messages with a personal touch that speak to who you are and what your company mission is. While posting consistent content is important, engagement with your audience is more so. It’s easy to send messages into the void. The key for best social media management is to send messages that are catered to your customer to such a degree that they must respond, or at least react with a quick like.

The Alter Endeavors social media team is proven to be quite good listeners. If you communicate to us that you would like to work some humor into your messaging, we’ll work it in. Who knows, maybe a Twitter account with 149k followers will take notice and reach out!

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 3.33.23 PM

Our job is to get your brand noticed by the right people for the right reasons. We achieve this by contributing curated content to the conversation, plus the occasional alliteration. We’re not the only brand with personality and we want the community you work in to get to know yours!

How Often Should You Blog?

How Often Should You Blog?

Content creators know the importance of consistently blogging, but how often should you blog? We strive to establish a routine in order to establish a relationship with our readers. Blogging in particular can be a tricky outlet to navigate. We know online users prefer high-quality photos and informative links; which can and should be a part of a well-rounded blog post. We also know that with an infinite number of platforms vying for a readers attention, 500+ word pieces are rarely read in full.

When brainstorming posts for Alter Endeavors, our aim is to offer relevant industry information. We are appealing to professionals who are looking to increase their knowledge on the subject of digital marketing and making them aware of our expertise in the industry. However, we’ve always been fans of incorporating some personality here and there. You can easily find the information you’re looking for in case studies full of bullet points and infographics, which while effective, lack the human touch.

There’s a particular balance required when using blogging as a marketing tool. From a SEO (search engine optimization) standpoint, blogging brings increased traffic to your website and new leads to your attention. In an article about “How Often Should You Blog” by HubSpot, the results were unsurprising. The more you post a month, the bigger the impact on traffic and leads.

Unfortunately, there aren’t statistics to show how much the industry professional retained about the subject matter or what the potential customer learned about your brand. Interestingly enough, HubSpot also had an article that addressed the quality versus quantity debate. They essentially used their own site as an experiment by increasing frequency and categorizing the types of posts they would typically post. The takeaway was this: high volume/low comprehensive posts (not as technical) increased new leads and overall hits, but also came with email readers hitting unsubscribe. At the end of the day, there is only so much content our readers can consume. Whereas the low volume/high comprehensive approach showed significantly lower traffic and insinuated the readers wanted more. HubSpot determined that for them, their benchmark period (the posting schedule they adhered to before the experiment) was best for them. While a high volume/low comprehensive approach did increase leads slightly, it didn’t justify the level of work being put in by the staff.

The brilliant thing about blogging is that we have the ability to make old posts new again, especially if we write about subjects without an expiration date. The line of thinking we use for our clients is simple—consistent and engaging. We determine the frequency that would be most effective and subject matter that is most relevant. According to our SEO strategist, Steve Joiner of Searchography, 300 words is the suggested minimum, but 500 or so words is better. Our blog writers then do the necessary research to include relevant keywords, but work to ensure that the brand’s voice is not lost in the process. Once the piece is presented to the client, he or she either approves or returns for any necessary edits. Once finalized, the SEO process begins. If the post has a clear subject and a convincing call to action, then it is easily optimized.

A blog post by Business 2 Community provided key suggestions to help you stay consistent on the blogging front:

  • Make note of all of your ideas <—When inspiration hits, make sure to make a record of it.
  • Every post doesn’t have to come in the K-size <— Get out of the 2,000 words or bust mindset. A 500 word post can be just as valuable to the reader.
  • Write, write write <— Practice makes perfect applies to practically everything in life. The only way to get out of a rut…is to just write!

The perfect balance is found when your reader knows when to expect content and also learns something about the industry, brand or product. Periodically analyzing your blogging schedule and content will ensure you, and your audience are getting the most out of your posts.