Social Media 101: What’s New with Twitter?

Since its debut in 2007, the application a brainchild of Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey, you might be wondering–what’s new with Twitter? The answer to that question is that there aren’t many new or complex updates from its conception as a combination social media and SMS hotspot. However, there are some key features that authors might be overlooking on the path to making the most of a Twitter audience and book promotion.

Twitter analytics is a feature that every Twitter user, business or personal, has access to. You can find the statists of how users interact with your content by selecting the bar-graph symbol below each of your posts.

How to use it – Upon clicking the bar-graph, a window titled “Tweet Activity” will open allowing you to see exactly how many “Impressions” (people who have viewed your post); “Engagements” (how many likes, shares, or comments on your post); and “Link Clicks” (how many people have clicked the links in your post) your Tweet received. Monitoring your Tweet activity is an important piece of tracking the payoff of your efforts in comparison to the time you’ve spent creating content. If you are spending a lot of time planning Tweets and not receiving any buzz from your posts, it might be time to switch your strategy or outlet of choice. Logging activity can also help you better strategize the subject matter you Tweet about based on which of your posts gets the most traction.

Including a backlink to your website or buy link where people can purchase your book in social media posts is a great way to keep people clicking around your content for long periods of time. On Twitter, you can pin a Tweet to the top of your page containing those valuable links. This author strategy makes the Tweet containing your links the first thing users see when visiting your page.

How to use it – Each time you click on one of your own tweets, you see a dropdown arrow on the upper-right-hand side of its window. If you click on that dropdown, you are prompted by a variety of options: “Share via Direct Message,” “Copy link to Tweet,” “Embed Tweet,” “Mute This Conversation,” “Pin to your profile page,” “Delete Tweet,” and “Add to new Moment.” After selecting the Pin to your profile page option, that Tweet is now pinned to the top of your page. This ensures optimal exposure due to the fact that it’s the first thing users notice after clicking on your page. You’ll be seeing increased book sales and clicks on your website in no time!

Twitter is currently beta testing several brand-new features such as status updates and a new color-coded organization for Tweet comments. For now, you are equipped with the Twitter tools to win over new followers. If you’re still stuck on basic functions like hashtags, check out our blog post that breaks those concepts down.

Publicity 101: 5 Steps to Curating the Perfect Media List

Although it may seem like a daunting task, generating the perfect media list is an essential part of the publicity process. These lists are the foundation of your media relationships, so knowing how to go about finding the right people to pitch is crucial. Here are Claire McKinneyPR’s top five tips for curating the perfect media list:

1. Pick a subject to focus on. There internet is ripe with every resource from blogs to podcasts. Before you choose what types of outlets you want to pursue, it’s important that you have a definitive topic from which to generate your list. For example, we recently worked with a book of recipes called Sandwich’d: My Life Between the Breads; for this campaign, we created a lists of food bloggers and social media influencers.

2. Pinpoint the type of coverage you’re looking for. Now, it’s time to brainstorm what type of outlet works best for your purposes. Are you seeking reviews or features? Do you want to be online, on television, radio or podcasts? Are you looking for event coverage? Narrowing down your contact list goals will put you on the right track to getting a return on the eventual pitching portion of this process.

3. Determine which method(s) you’re going to use to acquire contact information. There are plenty of great services available to assist in generating even the most niche contact list. While we utilize some lead generation services, they do often cost a fee for the more advanced features. While this works if you have the budget, a simple Google search can often go a long way. To make the best of your Google search, be as specific as possible, exclude transitional phrases like “the,” and don’t be afraid to reach for those third-page results! Small outlets can be pivotal in generating buzz among niche communities.

4. Do your research. At this point, you’ve identified the coverage you’re looking for and collected some outlet contact information. You might have noticed that for many outlets, there are several contacts to choose from–particularly when it comes to large organizations. When pitching smaller blogs or news sites for reviews, search for an email address (and possibly a contact form) on the designated page of their website. When pitching media, look for people with these job titles:

• Newspaper & Magazines: Book Review Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor or Editor in Chief
• Radio: Program Director, News Director, or Operations Manager
• TV: News Director or Producer

5. Create an excel spreadsheet. For the lead generation services I mentioned above, you can export the lists you generate as CSV, or Comma Separated Value sheets. This enables you to neatly categorize your outlets, contact names, email addresses, phone numbers, you name it. Not only can you keep this information for projects to come conveniently on your desktop, but you can also keep track of addresses or other contact information changes that other websites might not. This is also a good place keep track of your results as you start pitching. Organization is the name of the game.

For more useful PR tips, check out Publicity 101: 5 PR Skills You Won’t Learn in Class. With your new and improved list generation skills, you’ll be generating leads and closing deals in no time!

How Private Is Going “Private” on Your Facebook Account?

Outlets everywhere buzzed when Mark Zuckerberg revealed his plan to make Facebook a more direct-message focused platform, emphasizing encryption and privacy earlier last month. The Facebook CEO has been under intense scrutiny in the public eye for the gross mismanagement of user’s confidential information in the past year (CNN Business).

When an application you use daily to reach your audience and promote your products is surrounded with such controversy, the question of your account information’s security becomes paramount. Even further, how do you keep your account safe? What information of yours can this platform access? The steps to securing your personal information can be complex, but don’t panic. You’ll find the answers to these questions for Facebook and more in easy-to-understand terms below.

As we discussed earlier, Facebook has been the subject of much dissension recently. After it was revealed that Facebook was accumulating user’s data and using it to attract advertisers at cost, the general public has become more cautious about what information they let the platform access. Here’s what you need to know about Facebook and its privacy settings.

You can choose which audience sees your posts on an individual basis. If you have a public Facebook page, but only want certain friends to see your post, you can modify your settings and do just that. Each time you create a post, whether on mobile device or PC, there is an option that lets you choose who views your content. You can choose to share with your friends list, exclude certain friends from seeing your post, make a list of friends you would like to share your post with, share to certain groups you are a part of, or keep your post for just you to see. If you’re unsure of how to create a post, you can learn all about how to use Facebook and it’s new updates here.

You can choose which audience sees your information, if any audience at all. Under “Settings,” upon selecting “Privacy Shortcuts,” Facebook walks you through your current privacy settings which allows you to modify them as you go. Once you get to “Profile” you will see all of the contact and personal information you listed when creating your account. Beside each piece of information, there is a drop-down menu which allows you to choose from the same options you get for creating a post just like we talked about above.

You can choose which applications have access to your Facebook account. Through cross-platform compatibility, you are able to create an account on a plethora of applications by simply logging in via Facebook. If you decide that you no longer want Facebook to access the information of your other accounts, at this step in the “Privacy Shortcuts” process, you can opt to remove their information from your profile. You can also choose, as the steps listed above, who in your audience can see that you’ve accessed those applications through Facebook.

You can no longer opt to make your entire profile private, but instead you have to go through your settings to set each function accordingly. Making a private account might not be ideal for an author. In this case, it is a good idea to have a personal Facebook profile and an author profile. If you want to find out how to do that, check out our blog post on the process and general social media privacy decorum here. Stay safe, and better protect your privacy equipped with these new tools!

Social Media 101: Editorial Calendars

If you’re anything like me, you know how important staying organized is- not only for your records, but for your business as well. That’s why curating the perfect editorial calendar is an absolute must when planning your social media content.

What is an editorial calendar?

Essentially, it’s a tool used by businesses and influencers alike to outline specific content over a fixed time period across different platforms (i.e. social media accounts, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, just to list a few). These calendars add the structural element your social media needs to consistently yield results. In addition to that benefit, having an organizational system in place for your posting helps to streamline the process and ultimately save time for other important tasks.

Why is it useful?

Apart from its organizational benefits, an editorial calendar lends itself to consistent posting –which ultimately boosts traffic to your website. And because of social media’s fast-paced nature, it’s crucial to get your content out there as frequently as possible in order to stay relevant and memorable. Editorial calendars are the perfect organizational vehicles to do just that.

Where can you find an editorial calendar template?

While there are a ton of free downloadable templates online or in Microsoft Word, I find it most convenient to use Google Calendar (you can find some useful tips and tricks for using the application here). I’m on my computer all day every day, and it’s easiest to go through my bookmarked websites in Google Chrome and make calendar adjustments or additions when needed. It also includes color-coding, which is another useful tool.

If you are struggling with creating content to populate your social media calendar, don’t panic. You can learn about the newer functions of applications like Instagram from our recent blog post. Happy planning!

Social Media 101: Instagram Updates

What’s New?

With over 800 million monthly active users (users returning to the application each month), Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world (Dustn.tv). This application is beat narrowly in web traffic by Facebook and Youtube, which you can read about in our recent post. Instagram didn’t earn its massive audience overnight -this social media staple has been around over nine years- so what’s new with Instagram updates since its launch?

Instagram Stories

Following the example of Snapchat, Instagram rolled out its story feature in August of 2016. Almost half the app’s following use this Instagram update daily (Hootsuite).

  • How to use it – You can either tap the camera icon at the upper left-hand corner of your app, or, if you haven’t already added content to your story, the plus (+) sign at the bottom edge of your photo in the story bar. This bar borders the top of your feed. Via either option, a camera view will fill your screen. You can select from several options in a scrollbar at the bottom of this screen, which we break down below:
  • Type is the brass-tacks option among the story features. This is a text-only post that allows you to choose from “Modern,” “Neon,” “Typewriter,” and “Strong” as themes at the top of your Story window. Type excludes the extras available in other Story features including filters, stickers, etc.
  • Music allows users to search from Instagram’s library via query, or by “Popular,” “Moods,” and “Genres.” Once you’ve chosen your song, you cut a clip of your choosing (up to 15 seconds in length for copywrite purposes) and post away. You can also use this feature second-hand in other Story features to give your content the perfect ambience.
  • Live allows you to interact with your audience in real-time. Once you hit “Go Live,” a feed of your viewers’ comments will begin. You can also invite any viewer to join your live -eager fans or fellow authors can really liven up your stream and build great relations between you and your following.
  • Normal is the option your Story camera defaults to. You can tap the circle, center-screen, for a photo and hold for a video. Like the other features, you can add a filter to your photo or video by tapping the sparkling smiley icon at the bottom right hand corner of your screen. After a photo or video is taken, you can add a filter; sticker (this includes location, @mentions tagging other users, hashtags, and even music just to name a few); drawing, and/or caption.
  • Boomerang uses an app that you download externally to access via Instagram. Boomerang is the trendy app that allows you to take a short video and turn it into stop-motion, repeating piece of content. Whether it’s opening your newest book or sipping a cup of coffee, Boomerang can add a modern edge to your Instagram story.
  • Superzoom is a feature that gradually focusses on a face throughout a video, as it is video only. While Superzoom focusses on the targeted face, background objects and people are blurred. You can select from five different filters to add the right mood to your post. Superzoom also excludes the extras available in other Story features.
  • Focus is similar to superzoom in the way that you target a face with your camera as the centerpiece of your content. The major difference between these two features is that you can make Focus a photo or video. Focus also excludes the filters available in superzoom, as well as the extras that other features include.
  • Rewind is another video-only feature that simply plays the content you record in reverse.
  • Hands-Free allows you to record a video without holding down the center button. Otherwise, for the features including video mentioned previously, you must hold down the center button to record. Releasing the button ends the video you’ve started -excluding the Live feature.

The Instagram Story is a great way to generate quick and consumable content for your audience without much planning; one in five Instagram stories get a direct-message response. This feature can tap into the potential audience you’ve been missing all along!

Instagram TV

IGTV was launched June of 2018, a function inspired by Snapchat and adopted by Facebook as well. Essentially, this Instagram update provides a host of channels that cable networks can’t with this innovation. Each show stars a celebrity or person of interest and lasts only minutes. IGTV not only introduces a new set of outlets for you to plug yourself and your book, but you can also create your own channel.

  • How to use it – By tapping the television icon in the upper-right-hand corner of your app, next to the direct message icon, the IGTV feed will open. There you will find a cog; upon tapping the cog a prompt to create your own channel will appear. You can either upload videos from your mobile library or record one from the application. There is no landscape layout to this feature -vertical videos only, making it optimal for mobile use. IGTV is great for users who want to publish videos longer than a minute to their Instagram audience.

If you find yourself struggling with these new Instagram updates, don’t panic. We have an infographic that breaks down the basic functions of Instagram for beginners.

Stay posted for more great information on social media for authors!