Article Archive by Bea Halstead


January 30 2012

How to Develop a Social Media Content Calendar

by Bea Halstead

As a community manager working with multiple social channels, it is a challenge to try and create engaging dynamic content, share it, and track it.  After establishing the branding voice (tone), I consider the content format and theme to determine what social media channel will be most receptive to the post.

Create a content calendar in Excel and organize the tabs for posts, tracking, and reporting.  In the post tab, include columns for:

  • post date
  • social channels
  • post content
  • post format/type
  • category/theme
  • tracking link

Creating a category column and adding a keyword to the theme will help identify the post content and aid in keeping messages fresh when you need ideas for future posts.  At a quick glance you can see over time how many videos, images, events, and other post types were shared. Frequency to the social channels and what was posted will become more visible as well.  By organizing the tracking and reporting tabs similarly, you will notice trends in the popularity of  post categories, and the results of how it was re-shared, so you can adjust accordingly when generating new content.

Many social media channels accept dynamic content formats. Focusing on what format the content is posted in will help narrow down the audience, frequency, and what channel to share it with.

  • Links – always good to incorporate links from a variety of sources. A thumbnail preview in Facebook can highlight and hyperlink to a web page or article. Also, content that is too extensive for a post can be linked to another source. Social Media tracking should always be included and can be hidden by using a shortened link. 
  • Videos – sharing from YouTube with another channel promotes within both communities. It is important to incorporate tags and descriptions to YouTube video’s because they can add SEO value to the content.  Don’t forget the length or size of the video maybe be limited by the channel you are posting too.
  • Photos – mobile apps for certain channels tend to focus on photos, so use them as often as possible. Try to embrace tagging people/organizations/pages and include comments to enhance the reach and engagement.
  • Slide Shows/Catalogs/Brochures – more professional content is better shared in a channel like SlideShare or Linked In, and then sharing the links with other channels to direct the right traffic to the content.
  • Blogs/Articles/Press Releases – starting an account with Tumbler or Dig to share content is great exposure for more informational content.  You can also share the links to these with other social media channels to attract even more traffic across all channels.
  • Check-Ins – although it’s a feature within a social channel, including reminders to check in can provide reporting data and better awareness of a physical location. Recently, Google+ integrated businesses on Google Places with the ability to offer Check-In Deals.

While maintaining involvement in multiple channels, a content calendar can provide a general guideline for post creation and help to maintain the branding voice.  The size of your audience should also be considered when selecting a channel.  If your presence on Facebook is larger than Twitter, then the main content stream should be shared with the largest audience first.  Keep in mind, posting is a trial and error process and you will learn from experience.  It is best to be diligent about tracking, monitoring and reporting on what posts are working the best for your audience to keep them engaged.  This will only help you to improve how and what you are sharing over time and in turn grow your social presence.

Do you already have a unique way of organizing your content?  Let us know!

January 23 2012

YouTube Channel’s New Design Feature Overview

by Bea Halstead

YouTube activated a new channel design that drastically changes how the videos and information is being displayed. Utilizing a more marketable format for promoted videos and advertising, the design primarily changes the layout of the channel page by displaying information about the channel more prominently.  YouTube channels will all eventually be updated to the new design by March, 2012. Listed are the advantages for using the new YouTube channel design.

 

  • Header – a sleek header design has a larger avatar/logo image and channel name, a subscribe button that turns green with a plus sign when rolled over, and the channel stats (subscribers and video views). The emphasis on the stats is great for a quick glance to gauge the channel’s popularity.
  • Tabs – re-organized the navigation into Featured, Feed, and Videos.  Edit channel includes template options to organize how the videos, playlists, and channels will display on the Featured tab.  There is an option for selecting a featured video to play in the viewing area and the ability to remove advertising.  Your Feed tab will be updated by your activity on YouTube and you can choose to filter what is shared in the settings.  The Videos tab will display a thumbnail grid view with various sorting options for the videos on the channel.
  • Search –a search bar has been added for finding videos specific to that channel. For channels that have a lot videos and users wanting to drill down into old content, this has been a long awaited, much appreciated add-on to the page design.
  • Profile Panel – was located below the main video description but now has prime real-estate being positioned higher on the page and in left column replacing the previous video navigation.  This area first displays the channel description, URLs, social media icons (hyperlinked), and other details can also be seen, however you can select what you’d like to show via the edit button.   Featured channels can also be added to highlight partner channels or related channels to your field of expertise.
January 13 2012

Facebook Apps 101: Engage and Grow your Fans

by Bea Halstead

If you have a smartphone or tablet then you are already using apps everyday to perform any number of tasks from online banking to reading the news. If you have a Facebook account, you are probably using apps there, too. Apps in Facebook are the marketing tool for engaging and growing the audience of your company page. There are numerous Facebook apps available.  Below are just a few types of Facebook apps that you can develop or use to make your company page more robust

Integrate non-Facebook social media channels – other social media channels can be added as “tabs” to your Facebook page.  If you are posting to channels like YouTube and Twitter, you can combine that content on your company page via an app. Check out the apps that are available for YouTube and Twitter.  

Contests – apps for any kind of contest or giveaway can be custom developed, purchased, or found for free.  Consider using a fun app like the “fan of the week” app and reward the winner with a prize to keep fans coming back to your page.

Products – developers can create a shopping cart app that fans can access for exclusive deals or purchase directly from your online store without ever leaving your company page.

Contacts– gathering contact information can be as easy as adding a contact us form to your page.  Consider a “Request a Quote”, or “Sign Up Today” as a call to action for the title of tab for your app.

Customized – creating a customized app that fans can add to their pages for anything from trivia to coupons will build brand awareness and target niche audiences. Potentially this can generate new visitors when existing fans share updates from the app.

There are so many variations of apps that you can use within Facebook.  Many apps are free; making Facebook a one-stop environment with everything you can imagine doing online.  These powerful social marketing tools will continue to become more important when enhancing your EdgeRank.  With that in mind, what apps will you use to keep your audience engaged?

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