5 Curation Tools To Create Your Own Online Magazine

Publish your own online magazine or newspaperYou have probably heard the phrase  content curation a lot; and the concept of sharing interesting, relevant articles and posts is one of the core activities in good social media marketing.  By sharing good content from a range of sources, you can show expertise in your field and present your customers, prospects, business partners and colleagues with a single stream of relevant, accurate and informed material.

“CURATION means to discover, gather and present digital content about a specific topic or subject; amassing content from a variety of sources and delivering it in an organised fashion. It’s now becoming a marketing staple for companies who want a successful online presence”

Source: EContentMagazine

Of course, many people make extensive use of Twitter and Facebook to share blogs, news and websites and Pinterest is great for building a visual pin-board of ideas.  But how about collating and presenting all these articles visually as your own magazine or newspaper?

There are a variety of tools that serve this very purpose.  They can be fun to use and give your community a one-stop-shop for finding useful resources and news.

Not only do they allow you to share content you have found, they actually help you find new content to publish to your own pages.  Most include a “bookmarklet” to make it easy to share articles.  A bookmarklet is the tiny icon that sits in your browser’s toolbar.  It allows you to grab content or feeds from any web page and add them to your paper in 1 click.

Here are five well-known online curation tools we like:

  • Storify

    Storify gathers social media postings such as tweets, photos and videos to tell a story on a particular subject.  The interface lets you search multiple networks and resources to build your story.  You can also add your own headlines and comments, pulling all the elements together and giving your own opinions.

  • Paper.li

    Paper.li has many automated features that help you promote your pages and find new, relevant content from across the web.  It allows users to subscribe to your paper and also gives you access to scheduled posts and usage stats.  It comes as a free basic version and also a paid-for ‘Pro’ edition with more features and customisation options.

  • Scoop.it

    Scoop.it is another tool with a great magazine-style layout at the front-end.  Its smart searches and community help you discover new content and, of course, it also gives you a bookmarklet to add your own content.  You can add your own thoughts and perspective and easily share your magazine across social networks and blogs.

  • RebelMouse.com

    RebelMouse.com, with its ‘Rebel Roar’ product, is a relatively new arrival offering a sophisticated, professional publishing platform which is already being used by some very big companies.  It includes many of the same features as other tools;  it allows you to bring together and share content from social networks and websites.  It has a strong focus on automated tools such as generating newsletters, Twitter Cards, polls and petitions.

  • Pearltrees

    Pearltrees is a much more visual platform, ideal for photos, graphics and video.  This makes it similar in many ways to Pinterest although the interface has the feel of an online slideshow.

If you use any of these tools why not link your magazine below and we will share. Or if we’ve missed your favourite content curation tool let us know!

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What Can You Learn from the New York Times about Twitter

Whilst thinking about ways to save time on Twitter, I came across this article written by Michael Roston (@MichealRoston) of The New York Times’ social media desk. And I figured that if you’re going to get tips on using social media, you might as well get them from the best!

NYT-blog-imageThe NY Times (@nytimes) has obviously done some extensive analysis (in part using SocialFlow) on what works well and what is less successful on Twitter. The article contains some very useful and interesting information, that anyone using Twitter for promotion, can take onboard.

Re-tweet Trusted Sources

One of the main findings of the article is that by re-tweeting updates from trusted sources they can maintain a strong following that is literally hanging on their every word. They are taking on the role of curator and moderator for their own followers, presenting them with a single stream of accurate and informed material.

Of course, we are not all in the position of needing to report on current events every minute of the day; however, by selectively retweeting posts from other experts and commentators we can give our own followers the benefits of knowledge from multiple sources, relevant to them because the filtering and assessment has already been done.

Automation Caution

Another important finding was how problems had occurred with automated tweets that would not have happened at times when the stream was being monitored. The errors were mainly to do with badly worded or inaccurate content.

When looking for ways to save time on social media, it’s easy to think that automation is the answer to everything. However, the lesson here is to make sure that what you have scheduled is accurate and will still be accurate by the time the tweet is actually sent. Of course, double-checking spelling and links goes without saying. The crime of sending out dead links, in particular, could cost you followers especially if you’re not around to make the correction.

Clarity Beats All

Being writers and journalists, the NY Times staff pride themselves on being able to pull a clever headline or two out of the bag. Interestingly, however, their research has shown that on Twitter the clever headlines aren’t always the ones that get the best response. The article indicates that, in fact, it is clear, straight forward writing that gets the most retweets and click-throughs.

Re-sends Work

Another nice point made by the article is that a tweet that received a good response from followers in terms of retweets and clicks is more than capable of re-producing that success when sent again at another time. Their example shows that a tweet sent mid-week can pick up a different but equally significant audience when sent at the weekend.

This must be heartening for anyone trying to save themselves a little time, and confirms that going to the effort of generating good, solid content pays off and can work harder than we at first imagined.

I strongly recommend reading the full article and taking note of their many examples.
Unless you’re working for a large corporation, it’s easy to shy away from comparing your own business to something like the New York Times. However, since they’ve done all the leg-work of analysing a huge amount of their own data, we can take advantage of their findings; cherry-picking the ideas and concepts that apply to our own social media goals and on a scale that we can manage.

Why Social Media?

In a traditional setting, advertising used to be leaflets, cold calling, billboards etc. This is now becoming obselete: So why do people use social media as opposed to traditional marketing?

In today’s modern society, everybody leads busy lives, nobody wants the intrusion of having a leaflet thrust into their hand as they are walking down the street, or to receive a telephone call in the evening after a long day.

Social media is about identifying your audience, targeting them and engaging in conversation. Once you have gained trust the ‘customer’ will begin to form a relationship with you and when they are looking for a supplier to purchase there product or service from, you are likely to be top of the list.

‘Engaging’ is the key word. The customer needs to give their permission for you to talk to them. Start a conversation, talk to them about their interests and lives. Let them see that you care about them as a person, and you are not all about the hard sell.

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Think 80/20

80% of your time on social media should be engaging and collaborating with your target audience. Only 20% should be you talking about your products.

Remember: Don’t let social media become anti-social!

 

At Bee Social Smart we aim to give practical, no nonsence advice to you, the supplier. We provide bespoke consultancy for your business to show you how to you can increase your performance with the use of social media.

The Secret Of Simple Social Media Strategy

In our last blog we shared some of the most common platforms that you can use for social media; hopefully you have narrowed it down to 2 or 3 that you know will work for your business and that you will have time to maintain.

At this point – make an important decision. Who within your organisation is going to look after your social media. Don’t assume that a younger employee will be better – the average age of a Facebook user is 39 (Twitter 38). It should be owned by someone who really understands the business and has the right personality and approach to be consistent – and has enough time to dedicate to making it effective.

So, now you are ready, here are a few tips for other things to consider:

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Turn Ideas in Social Media Action

Set Some Objectives What do you want to achieve by using social media? The objectives you have for social media will vary depending on the type of business, organistion or charity you are. But it’s always good to have an objective to know why your doing it, maybe it’s:

  • to raise awareness about your business or your industry
  • to drive more website traffic
  • to get more customers into you shop (online or high street)
  • to act as communication hub for a particular issue
  • to become a community discussion group

Know Your AudienceWho are you talking to? You have to know what type of customers, fans, followers you are hoping to attract: knowing enough about them helps you work out where to find them, what to say and how to say it so they will respond to and most importantly it helps you share the type of content they will find interesting and want to share with others.

Think About Content If you haven’t already read our Content is King blog it might be a good place to start. Before you fire off that first post or Tweet you need to know what you are going to share. Having a content calendar always helps; maybe you want to follow a formula every week so Monday is news from your company, Tuesday is share a photo day, Wednesday is write a blog day etc. Do you have some video you can use? Perhaps you want to find relevant information that other people have already created and share. Whatever you decide to do, make a commitment to do it regularly.

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How Do You Know It’s Working?If you set objectives at the beginning it’s much easier to know if your social media efforts are working. There are some great tools you can use (usually free for trial period) like Hootsuite, SproutSocial – which help you schedule your activity and have great reporting features. Facebook has it’s own Insights – which is really valuable data for understanding what has worked in your page. And of course, you can use Google Analytics to analyse web traffic.

We’d love to know if this has helped you simplify your social media strategy – drop us a comment in the speech bubble at the top.

 

 

 

5 Social Media Platforms To Help You Promote Your Business.

With so many social media platforms to choose from – which ones will increase performance for your business? At Bee Social Smart we know that social media is a necessary tool for you to be able to add value to your business.

Below is a brief outline of just 5 (of the many) options available and that can help you increase your sales today.

Twitter

Twitter is an online social media platform that enables you too connect to people or businesses. With approximately 555 million accounts there are plenty of people/businesses to communicate with!

Since there are around 9,000 tweets go out every second your tweet has a very short life cycle span – Twitter Users need to post little and often intermittently throughout the day.

Facebook

Many people use Facebook for pleasure but did you know that you can also create a business page?
Facebook potentially gives you the chance to attract a different type of audience to Twitter, plus you can post a picture which is instantly visible to your audience.
Once your page has received 30 likes, you are then able to access ‘insights’ which are statistics to help you identify which helps you measure your efforts.
Facebook Users need to determine how often they are going to post on their business page and stick to it – By posting regular, reliable content people will learn to visit your page as a trusted source of information.

Linked-In


Linked-in gives you the chance to show off your business skills. It is a powerful tool which enables you to display your CV to the entire world! You are given the opportunity to ‘Connect’ with fellow business, people and build relationships with experts that work in the same field as you as well as potential clients.
Linked-in also gives you the opportunity to build yourself an excellent reputation as passed or present colleagues are able to recommend you to their connections.

 

Pinterest
Pinterest is a virtual online pin board. You are able to create boards about subjects you love. For example, if you own a hair salon you could create the following boards:

  • Styles that you have created in your salon (the before and after picture)
  • Styles which are trending in big cities such as London
  • Fashion

Link to these pins on other social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. Other users will also see your pins and start to follow you. Pinterest is perfect for any business that has a product to sell or a visual representation of their service.

YouTube
You Tube enables you to put videos of yourself  and market your brand, this can help people develop an instant connection with you.
People in life are very busy – so it is recommended that your video be 3 minutes or less in time – as always content is key.

All of the above are powerful tools which can be used to drive traffic to your website.

Would you like to know more about how to use social media platforms to increase performance in your business? We  are running two workshops on 14th November.

Can’t make on the 14th November, or think a workshop is not for you? We also offer a range of social media consultancy, training and social media management services.

We love to help, contact us through any of our social media channels and we would love to chat and see if we can help.

Re-purpose Content With Digital Animation

Videos make great online content and, compared to using real video footage, digital animation is a relatively quick and flexible way to put together an entertaining piece.

Here’s how BeeSocialSmart created an animated video from existing content…..

Re-purpose Existing Content: In terms of promoting your services, re-packaging your existing content in the form of a video can provide new marketing opportunities and stimulate interest in your company.  YouTube videos are great for your Google ranking and, social media gurus like Jeff Bullas are always telling us, they are more likely to get shared and prompt feedback via social media channels.  They also provide a fun and interesting way to encourage people to find out more about you by visiting your website.

We had the idea of creating an animated video to promote our social media services and started thinking about how to create a short ‘sting’ to tell people what we do.  The style needed to be clear and bright, show off our friendly personality and give a short, comprehensive message of what we are about.

Pare Down Content: Before thinking of any visuals, we sat down and made some notes on what we wanted to say.  The message had to be made up of short sentences and bullet points but not become too slogan-y.  It also had to get straight to the point, be quick to read and easy to understand.

There’s so much to say about your own business that it can be quite difficult to pare it down to the bare essentials.  However, we think we did quite a good job of picking a few choice phrases and still giving a strong ‘call to action’.

Key Points for video content:

  • Keep messages short and easy to absorb
  • Don’t overload the screen
  • Pace things so that people have time to read the text
  • Unless it’s a tutorial, if your video starts to get more than a couple of minutes long consider splitting it into two separate clips.
  • Try to be consistent with your other marketing materials and activity
  • Make it clear what people should do when they reach the end

After sorting out the text content, we began thinking about how to present the information visually.

Use Your Brand:  The star of the show was always going to be our busy bee, but of course we also needed to make good use of our logo and brand colours. By taking

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Social Media Can Help Your Business Bloom

inspiration from other elements such as the BeeSocialSmart website and our presentation material, we were able to keep a consistent feel.  Consistency is important because it helps people understand who the message is from and gives a much more professional impression.

From this point on, it’s really a case of using your imagination!  The great thing about animation is that pretty much anything is possible.  However, it’s still important to remember to present text clearly and pace things so that people have time to read and absorb the information.

Animation: Sitting down with the animator, we first of all worked on getting the text to flow and then used the animated bee to link the ‘scenes’ together.  We added a vibrating effect to the word ‘buzz’ and, naturally, the word ‘bloom’ was just crying out for a few flowers.  We chose a vibrant pink to bring in an extra splash of colour and add a little impact.

We didn’t have a voiceover, so we chose some soundtrack music which we used to set the pace and timing for the animation.  Adding a few sound effects completed the job!

The finished video was uploaded to our new YouTube channel and embedded into the BeeSocialSmart website.  From there is was easy to promote the video using Facebook and Twitter.

If you want more help with understanding how to use video as part of your online marketing strategy then contact us info@beesocialsmart.co.uk or visit our web site www.beesocialsmart.co.uk.

Improve Your Web Content For Social Success

Using social media is a great way to reach out and market your services to a potentially vast number of new contacts and part of your final goal is going to be directing visitors to your website to find out more about what you have to offer.  Visitors, whose only contact with you so far, has been through your social media activity.

So, if you’re going to be inviting people over to view your online presence, you’d  better make sure your business website is fit for the job and ready for the increase in traffic.

social media for seminarsA successful website doesn’t have to be big or complicated and crammed full of the latest technical widgets.  Just make it clear what you want people to do on it! If you are not getting much contact through your website or if even one person has mentioned that it’s difficult to find their way around then it could be time to make some improvements.

Taking an objective look at your own website can be difficult, especially if your business is particularly technical or specialised, but try reading it with a fresh pair of eyes, imagining you know nothing about the company or where important information is stored and see what kind of impression it leaves.

If you feel your site is falling a little short then here are some pointers to help tidy up your content:

  • When someone lands on your Home page, can they immediately understand what kind of business you are, what you are selling and what they are supposed to do next? Potential customers will disappear pretty quickly if they can’t fathom that initial page.
  • Make sure information is easy to find and clearly written.  Don’t use too much jargon; it should be possible to write clearly without patronising your audience. Most people, even experts, appreciate transparent language.
  • Prioritise your content. Summarise topics and link to more detailed information. It’s a myth that people don’t read on websites. What they do is quickly scan text, looking for the particular area they’re interested in. If they can’t find it, they’ll soon move on.
  • Can people really read the information contained within your site? Is the font too small? Is there too much text in large, wide blocks? Using headings, bullet points and short paragraphs helps people to read on-screen.
  • Make sure all the content is up to date. Add any new products and services, highlight them and make them easy to find. If you’re running an offer, is it clear how to get it? Does your offer code work and is it obvious where to enter it?
  • Are your pages slow to load? It could be that your images are too big and are being scaled down when loaded by the browser. Are there too many images on one page? Are your pages badly coded with a lot of extraneous code? Pages that load too slowly are a great distraction and put many people off.

This is not an exhaustive list, but improving these things on your site will greatly enhance the user’s experience and really will contribute to converting casual viewers into real customers.

And the really cool side effect of following these simple principles is that it’s great for search engine optimisation (SEO) and will improve your ‘natural’ search engine positioning!

If you want more help with understanding how to make your website work as part of your online marketing strategy then contact info@beesocialsmart.co.uk or visit our web site www.beesocialsmart.co.uk

Be S M A R T – Be Social !

Is it really important to have a plan for you social media in your marketing strategy? At BeeSocialSmart we believe it is. As our name suggests, we use the SMART philosophy and want to share it with you – it’s great to hear what you think so please comment and let us know if this helps ……….

S is for Specific:

Specific steps are required to help you accomplish your long term goals; ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve and when do I want to achieve this by?
  • How much will this cost me in both time and effort?
  • How am I going to allocate the resources to this ?

M is for Measurable:

By creating regular reports you will be able to measure your success in stages, which will encourage you to stick to your long-term goals and identify any room for improvement.

There are many tools available on the internet to help you analyse your activity, however if you need support area help is available.

A is for Attainable:

Success is attainable – You can grow your business!

Have a long term plan and break it down into smaller, manageable realistic goals. You will get a sense of achievement at each step which will make the next goal easier to achieve.

By planning each small step, you and your business will grow from strength to strength.

R is for Realistic:

How often do you hear or say? :

“I would love to do that; but I don’t have the time

Choose the best social media platform for your business

Choose the best social media platform for your business

Only set goals you know you can realistically achieve.  It is better to work with one social media platform (i.e. Twitter or Facebook) than register for every social media tool and risk spreading your time and effort too thin. How much time can you realistically spend every day on social media?

Think big: Start small

T is for Timed:

It is imperative to set yourself deadlines: Identify what you would like to achieve in 1 month, 3 months and 6 months from now.

Nobody sets off on a journey without first knowing the route they will take and social media is no different.

6 Reasons Your Social Media Efforts Are Failing

So you’re on every social media site you can imagine. You’re posting, Tweeting, telling everyone about your business but “IT’S JUST NOT WORKING”. Ever wondered why?

Maybe it’s time to review exactly what you’re doing; make good use of the time you devote to social media activities.

1. You don’t have an objective for you social media activity – Without a clear objective it’s no wonder things aren’t going to plan. You wouldn’t go into a sales meeting without a bottom line offer in your pocket! Be clear what you want social media to achieve for your business; to acquire and engage new customers, to gain leads and referrals, or to boost awareness, to give you an insight into a new business area, even to become the ‘go to’ expert on a particular topic.

2. You are on the wrong sites? – With myriad options how do you know which one’s are right? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Foursquare – these are some you may know.  Making them work for you does require a bit of homework. Find out where you potential customers are most likely to be active – not all sites work for all brands. Think “Who do we want to talk to” and “What do we want to say” to help focus your social media efforts on sites where your ideas are most likely to appeal to the audience.

3. You are not giving readers/followers anything to react to? – Remember social media is about conversation and communication. Don’t just broadcast – LISTEN. Nobody wants to read time again about your new widget or service, your latest special offer,or why they have to buy what you sell. It’s like chatting to a friend – ask questions, respond to their views, agree or disagree with them, repeat the good stuff, challenge them – don’t just talk about yourself.

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4. You delegate social media to an office junior/PA/Admin assistant. – A classic error. Don’t assume that because your PA/admin assistant is on Facebook that she knows how to use it for business. Social media success requires you to be real, be yourself and show a personality that is appropriate for your business. Find an expert or do it yourself.

5. You pushed out too many ideas. – Keep it simple. It takes time for potential customers to get to know your business, don’t switch and change your posts, tweets or videos too frequently. Create a content strategy and calendar with themes and topics that are relevant. Allow time for people to absorb what you’re saying.

6. You gave up too soon – Few relationships are ‘love at first sight’ and social media is no different. If you are guilty of any point in 1-5 above you probably haven’t had a great first date. But don’t give up too soon. It does take time, some planning and a bit of effort. But the results will be worth it.