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Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part One

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part One

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part One

The QuickSprout Blog posted an infographic back in May 2015, titled "How to Be More Productive on Social Media".

The infographic was created to help the reader cut back on the number of hours they spend on social sites, and teach them how to be more productive on the social web.

Cutting back the number of hours I spend on social sites is something I want to do, and becoming more productive on the social web is something I want to learn.

I thought it would be a great personal exercise to follow the suggestions in the infographic, and see what result, if any, it had on our iASP Central social media profiles.

It is also knowledge I felt would benefit our regular blog readers, so I thought it would share with you - my journey to becoming more productive on social media.

Before I start, I'll briefly share our current social media strategy so far: iASP Central has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and a Google+ page.

We regularly post our blog articles, and a regular #FridayFunny post, along with shout-outs of new websites that we publish for our clients, and occasionally we share links to articles that we consider to be important or valuable to our client base.

We also have a Klout score of 45 (at the time of writing), because I read about Klout when first starting as our social media manager and thought it would be cool to test it out.

Now before heading off on my journey, I will first work out what I am going to be doing.

The infographic splits the daily tasks of a social media manager into 3 groups: Content, Community Management and Growth.

Content consists of the tasks of curating, crafting, posting and scheduling content for social media.
Community Management consists of the tasks of responding, listening, engaging and helping.
Growth consists of the tasks of measuring, analyzing(sic), planning and experimenting.

For the first leg of this journey, I will be going through the Content group suggestions.

The infographic lists some tools and 5 steps I can take to help me with the daily content tasks.

The Tools:

  • Content Sources: Nuzzel / Digg Deeper / Swayy
  • Gathering Tools: Feedly
  • Streamline Tools: Pocket / IFTTT
  • Scheduling Tools: Buffer / Hootsuite

The Steps:

  1. Feedly to gather content.
  2. Setup Pocket's automatic intergration with Feedly to add articles to your list with 1 click.
  3. Setup IFTTT (If This Then That), so when you "Favorite"(sic) an article in Pocket, it will automatically be sent to Buffer queue.
  4. Collect stories, you can grab anything and everything that catches your eye or seems like it might be helpful for your audience to read.
  5. Comb through the curated content and remove anything that doesn't apply.

Reading through these steps, I notice some familiar names of tools that I have heard of from other sources. Many I haven't heard of before though.

And now, to head of on the first leg of the journey.
Let's see how I go.

Step One - Set up Feedly.

Before I get to Feedly, I notice that the infographic has listed a few websites as content sources, so let's have a look to see what they are.

Nuzzel - Nuzzel is a website that allows you to collect all of the articles shared by your social media friends/followers in one easy source. This sounds pretty handy, so lets sign up.

I link Nuzzel to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and almost instantly I am given a list of articles, ordered by share popularity (shared by friends / people we follow).

If anything, it looks like Nuzzel will be a good way to see what topics our peers are sharing and discussing. I can also configure Nuzzel to send me an e-Mail once a day with a list of the most shared articles for the previous day.

Digg Deeper - Digg Deeper "now shows you the most-shared stories from your Twitter friends". Just like Nuzzel, I connect Digg Deeper to our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts and it gives me a list of articles being shared on our Twitter feed.

At first glance, to be honest, I'm left feeling confused. The interface is difficult to navigate. The posts listed as being the most shared aren't going to be useful for our audience.

Either I haven't set it up properly, or we aren't the right type of user. In either case, I'm going to keep an eye on it to see if it turns into more after time.

Swayy - Swayy "helps you discover the most engaging content to share with your audience on social media based on their interests and engagement".

After signing up, like the two before, I get a dashboard of articles that are suggestions for me to share. Rather than being a list of the articles being shared by friends however, Swayy appears to provide a list of articles from unselected sources that relate to us.

Compared to the first two, Swayy looks swish. It will provide me with analytics of the articles that I share through the website. It provides a list of topics matched for our audience, based on our profile (after connecting our Swayy account to our Facebook and Twitter accounts). Swayy also has a browser plug-in to make it easier to share articles that I find while surfing the web.

So after all of that, I'm left feeling like I have at least two good sources for content to share that I know is going to be relevant and valuable for our social media audience.

Now let's have a look at Feedly.

The first thing I read upon loading the Feedly website is "All your blogs, organized, and easy to read.".

It looks like I'm going to gather all of the blogs and websites that I regularly check for articles into one list. There is no need to sign up, I simply log in using our Twitter account.

Then I search for all of the blogs and websites that I read and use as content sources. Feedly recommends a minimum of 3. I pass that target without any effort.

Feedly has a free account, which you can use to share to Facebook and Twitter. But to share to other websites such as Buffer, Hootsuite or IFTTT (which were mentioned above), you need to upgrade to the Pro account. This will be interesting then.

Step Two - Set up pocket.

Pocket is a website/browser plug-in combination that allows me to mark a webpage / article I am reading for future reference.

After signing up to the Pocket website, and installing the plugin, I test it out by visiting the QuickSprout article, and clicking the plugin button. Success! I saved my first item to Pocket.

Viewing the article in my Pocket List, I can share it on Facebook/Twitter/Buffer, and I can assign tags.

Pocket seems pretty easy to use. I can see it replacing the folder of bookmarks I maintain for Good Articles to Share. Now I just add them to Pocket.

Step Three - Set up IFTTT to automatically schedule Pocket favourites into Buffer.

I've heard about IFTTT before, though I heard it referred to as If This Then That.

It allows you to write scripts (or recipes, as they call them) to automate things you do every day. For example, you can set up IFTTT to automatically tweet a photo on your Twitter when you upload a photo to your Instagram. It sounds pretty amazing.

After signing up, I'm given a list of recommended recipes, and I have to say, it looks promising. I can do things like automatically update our twitter profile picture if our Facebook profile picture changes, or send myself an e-Mail when the President signs a new law (wait, what?).

Getting back on task however, I want to create a recipe to automatically add an article that I favourite in Pocket into our Buffer queue. So the first thing I will need to do is create a Buffer account.

Setting up a Buffer account is relatively straight forward, and after connecting our 3 social media accounts to it, I'm now ready to set up a recipe to link Pocket to Buffer.

There is probably already a recipe to do this, but I want to learn for myself, so I create a new recipe. It's surprisingly easy.

First I select Pocket for the IF part of the recipe, and select which of the available recipe ingredients I want to use.

Next I search for Buffer for the THEN part of the recipe, and again select from the options.

Then I put it in the oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes... no, I click Create, and it's done. Now to test it out, which takes me to...

Step Four - Collect stories.

Going back to Feedly, I search through the many, many lists of articles from the blogs I added before, and pick three.

Using the Pocket browser plug-in, I save the articles to my list. Then I view the list on the Pocket website, and click the star alongside each to Favourite them.

Now, I'll check our Buffer account, and lo and behold, the three articles are sitting there, scheduled to be posted to Facebook.
It's all working.
So now there is one final step for the first part of this journey.

Step Five - Comb through the curated content.

And looking at the Buffer schedule, I definitely want to do this.

Because of the limitations of the IFTTT recipe, the scheduled posts only have the title of the article, along with the tags I set in Pocket when adding the article to my list.

This is a bit too simplistic for me, so I manually edit each, and add a little more to the posts.
Save, and they're ready to go.

Phew! I made it!

So at the end of the first leg on my journey to becoming more productive on social media, I have:

  • Found two new sources for content (which also highlights content that our peers are posting).
  • Gathered all of our content sources into a single source.
  • Set up a post schedule and streamlined the collection and review of our shared posts.

Of course, I have lots of tinkering to do with all of the new accounts and services that I've just signed up for.

I need to test Buffer to make sure it is posting messages correctly, and in a format that suits our needs.
I need to check that everything is linked together properly and communicating properly.
And I want to play with IFTTT a little more to see what else I can automate.

But once all the kinks and creases have been ironed out, the whole set up should hum along nicely.
Now I just need to train our other staff to use it too!

Next week, I head of on the second leg of my journey to becoming more productive on social media - community management tasks.
Stay tuned!

If you have any questions or comments about my journey so far, hit me up on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.

How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

6 Steps to Better Social Media Campaign ROI

In our last blog article - How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI? - we considered what a reasonable expectation of return on investment (ROI) from social media is, from the point of view of a small business trying to build and grow their on-line social media community.

To quickly re-cap, we essentially concluded the expectation of a ROI on social media can be like the expectation of winning the lottery. Don't play the game expecting to win, play to be in the game.

Of course you shouldn't leave it all to chance.

Review and analyse the effectiveness of your activities to determine those that generate the most engagement and adapt your strategy to suit.

Counting the number of Likes and Re-tweets each post you publish receives will most likely only result in heartburn and ulcers, but that doesn't mean expecting a ROI for certain social media activities is insane, in fact it's very rational, especially when expectations are framed within the context of the following.

So, let's look at our 6 Steps to Better Social Media Campaign ROI:

Step #1: Set a Goal - What is the primary aim of the campaign? Are you aiming to increase your eStore sales during a promotion? Are you trying to collect new business leads?

Step #2: Define a conversion - What action or result will count as a 'hit'? Following the two examples above, a conversion may be a completed sale, or submission of a Contact Us form.

Step #3: Differentiate & Measure Conversions - If the goals you have set are similar to goals you have for your website, which they likely will be, you need to determine how you will differentiate conversions generated through your social media channels against conversions that were not generated through social media.

In the case of sales, it may be by counting the number of sales that used a particular promotional code that you only publish on your social media channels, or in the case of submitting a form, you may track submissions through a dedicated form or via a shared link that contains a variable. Depending on your analytics tools, you may be able to track visits to your website (or a particular page) that originated from social media websites that end with a completed sale or form submission.

Note: The iASP™ platform features a highly functional affiliate and referral tracking system that automatically tracks the source of visits, enquiries and sales.

Step #4: Calculate your return - How much was each conversion worth?

There are two methods you can use to determine this:

  1. Using data: Calculate the average total of the orders you received during the campaign (as per your tracking analytics). Or you can calculate the average lifetime value of the leads that you received over the campaign.
  2. Use a guesstimate: If you don't have enough historical data to help you, make an educated guess. For example, how much would you estimate to earn from your new customers? How much would you estimate customers spent?

Step #5: Calculate your investment - How much you spent on the campaign?

Your investment costs will be the total of things like:

  • How much it cost to plan, execute and manage the campaign.
  • How much it cost for graphic design.
  • How much it costs for the analytics tools you are using.
  • How much you paid to boost/promote/advertise your posts.

Step #6: Crunch the numbers - Now it's time to calculate your return on investment using the simple formula:

ROI = (Return - Investment) / Investment.


Don't be disheartened by the results of any individual campaign, the key is to test and measure and evolve an approach that over time connects and engages with your audience.

Remember that social media can be very hit and miss. In our experience content generates engagement both above and below expectations.

The element that many people seem to overlook in social media analysis is mood and emotion. It changes from time to time in humans, and mood is very difficult to measure because it can be affected very quickly and very easily by factors so far removed that not even those affected couldn't tell they were being affected. For example, my football team just lost, so now I'm not in the mood to read a post I normally would.

The key to success is adaptation and experimentation.

Review your campaigns, try to identify why they did or didn't perform. Keep trying something different and comparing the results.


How you ever calculated the ROI of a social media campaign you ran? How did you go? Let's discuss on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.

How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

Trying to calculate success on social media* is similar to trying to determine if your joke will be funny amongst the group. To then determine if the time and money you put into the joke was worth the laughs, that is equivalent to calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) of your efforts on social media.

I mean sure, a couple of people chuckled and you got a few thumbs up from your friends, but are you really going to pick up stumps after a lacklustre response and go find a better group to socialise with? One that will laugh really hard at ALL your jokes?

Yes, reviewing the analytics of your social media efforts is a valuable exercise, as it allows you to identify the level of interaction you have with your audience and adjust it accordingly with the aim to hopefully increase your level of interaction (and as all honest social media managers will agree with, we mean hopefully). But to expect a set level of financial return from your social interaction is lunacy. It's basically saying that the only reason you are there is to make money, which, if you said directly to your social media audience, would cause them to instantly unlike and unfollow you, guaranteeing that your social media ROI is now zero.

For a small business, being on social media is like giving good customer service. You don't have to do it, but doing so creates a special connection with some of your customers who then go on to speak good things about you. A positive result that isn't achieving great returns, but it is a better result than the alternative.

Another metaphor I could use is that social media presence is like putting $5 in a savings account every week, or like planting the seed of a fruit tree in the back yard. You aren't going to get any immediate returns, instead, you're looking for future growth. And maybe 5 - 10 years down the track, after giving the tree enough nourishment to grow and the right conditions to grow in, you'll be rewarded for your efforts with plentiful fruit, just ripe for the picking. Or just as likely, you'll find that you should have checked the soil first because apple trees don't grow in clay you num-num.

Our advice has always been to get on social media, in the very least, on the major platforms. Then, just maintain a presence that suits your business, and suits you. Don't feel that you need to compete with the big leagues. You don't need 10+ posts every day, posted at the optimal time to get the most views. I mean, if you compare that to real-world social dynamics, someone who feels the need to say something every few minutes is regarded as an attention seeker, and in most social circles that is a turn-off.

Think about how much you socialise in the real world, and how much your customers socialise in the real world. Are you out every spare moment? Catching up with friends, meeting new people, making new acquaintances? Or do you only socialise now and then?

Co-ordinate your social media presence with your real-world social presence. Post as often as you would go out (I don't mean post at the same time that you go out, just as often).

So throw away the short-term social media ROI targets. Invest as much time as you can or want to into your social media socialising. Make it natural, don't force it. The social media community will treat you the same way you treat them.

And who knows, 5 - 10 years down the track, the compound interest on your regular $5 deposits might hit the roof, and you find a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the social media rainbow.

*Author's Note: Allow me to clarify further. This article has been written for small business readers in mind, who have social media goals along the lines of establishing and growing an on-line community. Their social media Return on Investment is measured in terms of audience engagement and audience size.

If you are marketing and advertising on a larger scale than your website/store-front window, then yes, you will likely have a need to measure the effectiveness of single campaigns in your social media channels against the campaigns in your other media channels.

You will need to determine how views and likes and favourites and retweets compare to broadcasts and impressions and reach. You will then need to create models that estimate how many likes and retweets converted into direct sales, and compare it against how many television advert views converted into direct sales. All this so you can then decide how much the $$ you put into social media compared to the $$$$$$$$ you put into advertising on traditional media channels.

Or you could just justify it like a company justifies spending $$ on t-shirts, hats, mugs and keyrings to hand out at a conference. You'll create a bit of brand awareness from the few people walking around with your logo on their head or in their hands; and you might get two people actually call you for work. Unless you were the life of the party, in which case you may get 10 people call you and slightly more brand recognition.

If you really must know how valuable your social media efforts are in terms of creating leads or sales, then journey onto our next article: How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

Investing in social media is like investing in a lottery ticket. It may pay off, and it may not. You can buy several tickets in all of the games every week and still have average returns, and every now again you might get a big win. It's true, you've gotta be in it to win it, just don't go blowing your budget expecting to win big.

Further Reading:

What Return on Investment do you set for social media? Are you reaching it? Let's discuss on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.

Perfect Content Images in 5 Easy Steps

Perfect Content Images in 5 Easy Steps

Perfect Content Images in 5 Easy Steps

From showcasing products, to providing visual support to the text on the page, images can maketh or breaketh a website*. As Andy Warhol famously said - "I never read, I just look at pictures", and we all know "a picture says a thousand words".

When it comes to selling products on-line, there are countless studies proving the benefit of images in relation to conversion rates and as a provider of platforms that have processed millions of on-line transactions dating back to the 1990's, we've learned that quality images are often the difference between making sales and not.

We actively encourage all clients using our iASP™ platform, which provides full control over all content published (text, images, movies, files etc.), to invest in production of quality, original images, which can then be adjusted to suit the layout of the area they are publishing.

Providing your photographer or designer with the final image specifications you require is always the perfect option, but if you have images that still need further manipulation we've put together our simple 5-step process to creating perfect content images.

Before you start you'll need image editing software. You can pay for professional level applications such as Adobe Photoshop (like we do), but there's cheaper and even free options available. Today we're going to use a free image editor that is available on-line called Pixlr Editor. It's similar to Adobe Photoshop, and it is very easy to use.

Step #1: Find the recommended image dimensions.
Your images will need to be made a specific width and height, depending on how/where you want to use them. For example, an image used in the banner of your website will need to be a lot wider than an image that is used on an inner page.

For iASP™ Clients:

  • Navigate to the page you plan to use the image on, and edit the record.
  • The image field should have a recommended width and height either under the image label, or in a tool-tip alongside the image picker tool. If not, please just copy the address of the page you want to add the image into and e-mail it to us asking for optimum image dimensions
  • If you are creating a new image for the banner of your website, then you can find the recommended dimensions in the Banner module of the CMS Control Panel.

Step #2: Open the original image.
Next you want to load the image into your image editing application.

  • Open Pixlr Editor in your web browser (or you can use your usual image editing software).
  • Click File in the menu at the top of the application, and then select Open Image
  • Find the image on your computer and select it, press Open.

Step #3: Crop the Image
Now you want to crop out the part of the image that you want to use:

  • Select the Crop tool
  • In the tool options that appear under the menu, select Aspect Ratio from the Constraint options.
  • Enter the recommended image width from Step 1 in the Width box
  • Enter the recommended image height from Step 1 in the Height box.
  • In the image window, drag the mouse to create a crop box over the image. Then use the mouse to drag the edges of the crop box to cover the part of the image you want to keep.
    • This is usually as large as you can make it, or enough to cover the subject of the image.
  • When you are happy with your crop selection, crop the image by hitting enter, or double clicking inside of the crop box. The parts of the original image that were outside of the crop box should disappear.

Step #4: Resize the Image
If you are starting with a high resolution image, in most cases, your newly cropped image will still be larger than the recommended image size in step 1, so you need to resize the image down to the correct width and height.

  • Select Image from the top menu, and then select Image Size
  • Tick the Constrain Proportions box.
  • Enter the recommended image width from Step 1 in the Width box
  • Enter the recommended image height from Step 1 in the Height box.
  • Press Ok.

Step #5: Save the Image

  • Select File from the top menu, and then select Save
  • Select My Computer from the options in the left column
  • Enter a name for the image file
  • Select the Format
    • For photographs, always select JPEG
    • For images that are graphics, or that require transparent areas, select PNG
  • For JPEG, adjust the quality slider until the size is around 100Kb, increase the quality if the image looks pixelated or boxy.
    • The smaller the file size, the faster the image will load.
  • Select the location on your computer to save the image into and press Save.

And Viola (that's her name, don't wear it out), you now have an image perfect for your website.

Pro Tip: Before saving the image, have a look in the Adjustment menu at the top. Experiment with Colour Vibrance or Curves to change the colour balance of your images. You can also apply some automatic filters like Sepia or Old Photo to create different effects.


How do you create your images? Got any little tips or tricks that you'd like to share? Let us know on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.

*A statement supported by this website: Be Seen In 2015.

10 Ways To Satisfy Your Customer's Privacy Concerns

10 Ways To Satisfy Your Customer's Privacy Concerns

10 Ways To Satisfy Your Customer's Privacy Concerns

In case you missed it, last week was Privacy Awareness Week.

With over 700,000 Australians becoming victim to on-line identity theft in just the past year, protecting customers on-line privacy is one of the most critical issues website publishers must consider.

Under Australian Law, the privacy rights of Australians are protected by the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act), which relates to the protection of personal information about an individual that does or could identify them.

According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the Privacy Act outlines the "standards, rights and obligations for the handling, holding, accessing and correction of personal information" which privacy law aims to protect.

It may surprise you to know that most Australian small-businesses are not covered by the Privacy Act, meaning they have no responsibility to ensure the privacy of their customer information.

There are however moral and commercial pressures: online privacy is already so important to some customers that it is a determining factor when choosing one eStore over another.

So what can eStores do to allay the fears of increasingly privacy-conscious customers?

We've put together 10 simple but powerful tactics that website owners can use to reduce the fears of customers that are concerned about their on-line privacy:

  1. Ensure that areas of the website that collect personal information (such as the registration form, or the checkout payment page) are secured using HTTPS - Consumers are now learning to "look for the lock" and discriminate if they don't see it. (Pro Tip: Make the whole website HTTPS secure).

  2. Only collect personal details that are absolutely necessary to conduct business - If you don't need it to conduct your business, don't collect it. The more personal information a customer needs to fill into a form, the more wary they become. (Pro Tip: Never collect a customers Date of Birth unless it is a legal requirement for your industry)

  3. Have a clear and easy to understand Privacy Policy, that is easily accessible and visible - Don't just put your Privacy Policy in a small link at the bottom of your website, link to it where ever you are collecting personal information and make it very clear that privacy is important to you.

  4. Clearly state the personal information that you will AND will not collect and what you will do with this information - This allows customers to know exactly what personal information and why they need to provide it. 

  5. Give visitors access to view the information that has been collected about them, and allow them to update it easily. 

  6. Don't use sensitive personal information which could identify a customer in e-Mail or newsletters - e-Mail is an insecure medium. Not only is a bad idea to include sensitive personal information in e-Mail, it also decreases customer confidence when they see their personal details being sent over an insecure medium. (Pro Tip: Never send a clear password in an e-mail: instead send a partially masked password hint or preferably, allow the customer to re-set their password securely)     

  7. Encourage your customers to protect their personal information by using strong passwords, and to change them regularly - Protecting privacy is as much a responsibility of the customer as it is of the business

  8. Where appropriate, allow visitors to interact with your website anonymously - It isn't always necessary to collect personal information to conduct business. This may just be a case of allowing the customer to browse without needing to register first, or allowing them to post comments anonymously.

  9. Opt-In to the Australian Privacy Act, and advertise this fact - Show your commitment to good privacy practice by opting into the Australian Privacy Act. Doing so will have your business name added to the public Opt-In Register, which can increase consumer confidence and trust.

  10. Have a data breach response plan - as some organisations such as eBay have learned, honesty and open communications are the best policies to keep customers informed. A response plan will not only serve to decrease the impact on the affected individuals, having such a plan can also improve customer confidence.

Personal privacy is a very important part of everyday life, and this extends to using the Internet including sending and receiving e-mail, browsing the Web, using social media and especially shopping on-line.

Anything website and eStore operators do to improve customer confidence, including addressing increasingly important privacy concerns, should improve customer experience and satisfaction, and a happy customer is much more likely to be a returning customer.

If you are unsure whether your business needs to comply with the Australian Privacy Act, you can use the OAIC Privacy Checklist for Small Business .