Social Media Overwhelm

lifesaver1Are you drowning in social media? Having trouble finding time to “do it all”? Stop! Do not stress yourself over something so crazy. I’m giving you permission to step back and take a break.

Finding time to balance it all is difficult. You need to keep learning about your industry, you need to keep in touch and reach out to clients. If you aren’t careful these two simple acts can consume your entire day leaving you no time to run your business. Isn’t that the reason you have these accounts anyway?! If you’re stressed and worn down, how can you run your business?

Set up your profiles and optimize them. You don’t need to have an account on every social media site. Find the ones most relevant to your industry and get your profile set up. For most people, that will be Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Turn off almost all notifications, get rid of those distracting emails you get each time someone comments on your status on Facebook or G+. The only notification you need is when someone contacts you with a private or direct message. Those are the ones you want to get and respond to right away. Everything else can wait.

Now, make a schedule and stick to it. Allow yourself a 10-20 minutes per day to hop on and be active on these networks. Or, cycle through them concentrating on one each day. So, you might miss a posting or two. It’s ok. You don’t have time to read and respond to everything. No one expects you to read it all. That’s why you must be posting links to blog posts more than once (different times and different days).

You’re thinking “Hey, I want to look active throughout the day on Facebook/Twitter.” No problem, use a service like Tweetdeck, Buffer or Hootsuite and schedule your posts and retweets. But, really, there is nothing wrong with only doing your Twittering in the evening while watching tv with your husband (guilty!). Who really cares?! Stop watching the time stamps.

My personal routine- I am on Facebook throughout the day, everyday. I keep in touch with family members, follow a few people that I enjoy learning from and keep up with my clients. I pop into Twitter only every few days, usually in the evening. I don’t do a lot of Twitter. I follow a few people I like to learn from and I retweet things occasionally. Ah, Google+, you and I are still defining our relationship. Google recommends that you be active every 72 hours. That’s every three days. That’s it. They aren’t expecting you to be there daily. My plan with G+ is to pop in every few days. And that is OK.

Your blog posts should be automatically posting to social networks. If they aren’t, let’s talk. Previously auto-posting to G+ has been next to impossible, but there are a few plugins recently that should take care of this. I’ll be testing those in the next few weeks. (Wanna be a test subject? No charge to install and configure, I just want your feedback!)

So there you go, starting right now, you have permission to slack off! Create a plan and stop knocking yourself out trying to keep up with everything, you have a business to run!

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5 Places to Share Your Blog Post

You’ve spent the morning typing up your best blog post yet. You put so much time into this one, you just know people want to read it, and should. Hmm. How will they find it? How do you get the people to the post? Where do you share the link to get the traffic you’re looking for?

5 places to share your blog post

Well, you could wait on Google to rank it and see if it turns up in the search results. But, that takes too long. You could pay for ads on Google or Facebook. But, that’s too costly. So, you do what all bloggers do, you share it.

There are many, many ways to share and promote your post, but I’m going to highlight what I feel to be the Top Five.

1. Facebook

Facebook is a place to interact with your fans. Most people are going to hit that LIKE button  because they want to hear what you have to say. Blog posts definitely need to be landing here. Always include an image, always. Images get noticed. Images get shared. A link with an image is great. You could also post an image and put the link to your blog post in the description area. It’s been said that images get shared more often than links, but I doubt links get clicked when just attached to an image. Either way, make sure some interesting image is included when you share your link.

2. Twitter

Twitter is another, smaller, place to interact with your fans. Do not assume that your Twitter followers are also on your Facebook list. I definitely have some people/sites/things that I follow on Twitter and not on Facebook and vice versa. It’s partly my way of organizing my stuff. You should definitely tweet every blog post! When you post to Twitter include your blog title or something catchy and a shortened link. Be sure not to use all 140 characters, leave some characters free. Your goal is for people to retweet, possibly with a comment of their own.

3. Bookmarking Sites

Users of Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Technorati are looking for things to read. Submit your blog post and give them something! You don’t need to use all of these, just pick one if you want. I don’t have time to focus on them all so I plan to only use one. This would be a great place to get blog ideas as well. Bonus!

4. Email Signature

I don’t recommend doing this for every blog post, but definitely the good ones. Just add a link to your email signature. I use Wisestamp for this purpose, easy to set up, easy to use. It works! I’m running a fundraiser for my son and I put the link in my email sig and I have actually had people follow the link and donate. (You can too if you want!) Awesome!

5. Newsletter

Yeah, yeah, I’m telling you to do something I don’t do, yet. Oh, well. If you run a newsletter, add a blog post link or two to the next one you send out. People subscribed because they want to hear from you. I’m sure you’re looking for newsletter content, use what you’ve already written. This is just another avenue to reach out to the people that have expressed interest in you.

Where do you share your blog post? How about sharing a post below by commenting to this article. I have this great CommentLuv plugin that automagically adds your latest blog post link to your comment 😉

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What’s the size?

There’s no point in having a social media profile if you don’t personalize it! I know I’m not the only one that has to go searching for each social media image size each time I set up a new profile or decide to spruce up my own. In fact, today’s goal (and I am soooo running out of time) is to upgrade at least one of my Twitter profiles and fix my Google+ profiles. So, while I’m working today I decided to make a resource for myself and for you! Ready? (Forgive my sloppy outlines, carpal tunnel is flaring today)

Facebook
Facebook has two options- a cover photo and a profile photo. Your cover photo shows on your page and when someone hovers over your name. Your profile photo appears next to each of your posts. While your profile photo displays at 160×160, it should be uploaded at 180×180.

Twitter
Twitter images include a profile photo and now a header image. Twitter does recommend 1200×600 to avoid pixelation and graininess, but I made mine 520×260. Twitter does overlay a dark gradient to your image. There is no way around that so keep that in mind. I believe it is done to help make the white text more readable. Your profile image should be square. It will be displayed at various sizes, so the image you upload should be at least 128×128.

Google+
Google+ allows you to have a profile photo and a header image.

*I’m going to go ahead and publish this now and I’ll get the Google+ dimensions in as soon as I can. It’s back to work for me.*

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Are you scaring your visitors?

Are your site visitors leaving before you even get a chance to capture their attention? If your site is playing audio, the answer is YES.

Many people are surfing the net a work, with or without their speakers muted. Some, like me, are playing music on Spotify or watching things on Netflix while surfing. When your page loads and music or videos automatically start, it’s annoying and in some cases leads to me leaving your site. If you playing music on your website, you may be chasing visitors away.

Is it ever OK to auto-play?

Yes. On rare occasions it is okay to have your music start when the page loads. If I’m clicking into your photo gallery, let your music play. If I’m clicking a link to visit your video, go ahead and auto-play. In both of these scenarios, I have clicked a link and knowingly expect that audio may start automatically. This gives me the opportunity to pause the other media that I may have playing (Hey, I’m watching last night’s Parenthood as I type this!)

But, I want to play my favorite song to set the mood!

If you absolutely must have your song playing, you need to include audio controls. Give me a way to turn the music off. Don’t hide the controls, make them visible. I’m not a fan of this option, I’d much rather be given the option to play the music rather than have that decision made for me. But, if we must compromise, visible audio controls are the way to go.

Go now. Check your site, do you have auto playing music? Have you disabled my ability to pause the music? Share your site below and I’ll let you know if I can easily find your audio controls.

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What’s YOUR color?

Flowers are colorful right? You notice them against the green landscape. That’s because they pop and draw attention. Something known as the Von Restorff effect- if it stands out, it gets noticed and remembered.

Your links are nothing if they aren’t being clicked. Color draws attention, especially when a color stands out. You need to draw attention to your links to make them actionable. Make those links pop! Don’t stop with only your text links, buttons should be taken into consideration as well. You want your user to hit the submit button, so make it pop.

Derek Halpern covers this nicely over at SocialTriggers.com in his video

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCK97wO7MH8

On this blog, I’m using pink. You can clearly see what is clickable and what isn’t.  So, what’s your color? Comment below and let me know. If you don’t have an action color, contact me and let’s revise your website so your links will pop!

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