When you run your own business or online hustle you know how crazy busy you are ALL THE TIME. You’re trying to wear a million hats. Everything from accounting and bookkeeping to graphic design and website maintenance.
Then you get these free webinars and downloadable goodies that you never seem to be able to make the time for. Courses, that will make you millions or ebooks that will make you the queen of social media and you have to have it right this second. Shiny New Object Syndrome has gotten me quite a few times.
Then when you FINALLY sit down to map out your strategy you realize that you’re going to have to have help and that’s all there is to it. No matter what we may think there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Some things need a personal touch and others can be automated.
That’s what I want to talk about today AUTOMATION, particularly social media automation. I’m here to help. I am here to tell you.
What options are out there
What they offer
What they don’t
How much it’s going to cost you
That way you can decide on the right tool with the right options at the right price. Here it goes in no particular order:
Where you see the (*) sign denotes affiliate links. If you purchase through these links you may save some money and I’ll receive a commission or receive discounted or free services. It will not affect your price except for instances of discounts given.
Sendible is a one-stop social media scheduling tool for agencies. If you’re doing social media management this is the perfect tool for you. I’ve been using the program since the end of November and I love how easy it is to set it and forget it. All you have to do is set up your feed (http://yourwebsite.com/feed). Not only does it display WordPress, but also: Blogger, WordPress.com, TypePad, Medium and even more!
Pegged as a social media productivity tool, Sendible has over 20 integrations with key social media networks, blogs, social sharing sites and even the communication tool, Slack. Sadly, they recently announced that they can no longer schedule to Pinterest and that’s a big issue for me.
The thing that I love most about this is being able to schedule for both of my websites at the same time. I’m using the ADVANCED plan and you can connect up to 100 social media platforms and have 4 users.
The Content section of the dashboard is a gold mine as it houses your content suggestions, RSS feeds, and the content library where you can store evergreen content you can use again and again, or the content you simply want to keep for later. The tool will search the web for articles on relevant topics for your business and can be sorted by influencers as well. You can also subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs and news sites, then share posts automatically as soon as they’re published or approve them before they go out.
All posts are edited in the intuitive Compose Box where you can select the social network you’re posting to (you can select multiple if you wish), and schedule them as far ahead as you like. Sendible’s sophisticated algorithms can also predict the most optimal times to post on your social media networks to maximize engagement. What’s more, you can group social media posts by theme and queue them to go out at random times – this is ideal for shares from other websites and content that’s not time-sensitive.
Plans & Pricing
Lite – $49 per month, 1 user, and 20 services
Advanced – $199 per month, 4 users and 100 services
Pro – $499 per month, 10 users and 300 services
White Label – fully customized dashboard with API access, contact for pricing.
Sendible offers a 30-day free trial for all plans.
No longer schedules for Pinterest.
It’s a little pricey for an entrepreneur or small business owner, but for Social Media Consultants and Managers, this could save you a TON of time!
Integration with all key social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+) and blogs (Medium, WordPress, Blogger.com).
Makes it easy to keep your social media calendar busy with an RSS Feed poster, content suggestions, in-built content library and easy access to the design tool, Canva.
Bulk-scheduling content with images via uploading a CSV file.
Has handy automation tools that drive engagement and increase your following on Twitter and Instagram.
Visually stunning and accurate reports that can be created in 15 minutes or less, plus the ability to create custom reports with your logo and the modules you need.
User permissions and team workflows are easy to set up.
Planable is another great tool for the social media manager or consultant. These companies make it simple to take care of multiple sites all at the same time saving you time and money. We get in the habit of saying “oh it’s just my time” I’m spending and I’m saving all of that money but that’s the wrong way to look at it. Your valuable time is money lots and lots of money. If you charge $50 an hour and you charge two hours to schedule posts for a whole month, but it actually takes you 5 hours to do the scheduling you’re wasting $150 every single month which comes to $1800.00 in lost revenue every single year.
With Planable you can add your social media platforms and the platforms of all of your clients and manage it all from one central dashboard.
Planable is the command center of social media campaigns, bringing all of your people and content in the same place. It’s a platform that allows agencies, social media managers, freelancers, marketing and communication teams worldwide to create social media campaigns and exchange feedback in the most visual way.
We started Planable out of our own need for better social media collaboration. Every single social media project we were ever involved was complete chaos in terms of collaboration. We were using spreadsheets for social media content review, PowerPoints for showcasing content to clients, Dropbox or G Drive for transferring files, fake Facebook pages for previewing content, Buffer or Hootsuite for scheduling it once it was approved. This mishmash of tools was confusing. Feedback was scattered across back and forth emails. And the exercise of imagining how a carousel or link post is going to look like after publishing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn was simply frustrating.
As of now with Planable you can have:
Your social content in the same place, perfectly organized and visually rich
Preview the content exactly like it would look after publishing so no misunderstandings can happen
Feedback exchange and real-time iteration
Approvals, with one single click, dead simple
Schedule, to all your social pages, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin
Here’s a short video about the platform:
With everyone in the same place content can be completed, scheduled, and approved at a much faster pace.
See the content the content as it’s going to look on social media so no surprises later.
They offer a great free plan as well as several options for larger businesses.
Does not connect to WordPress
Cannot schedule on Pinterest
Planable is offering my readers an awesome discount on new services for up to 10 people.
Use the coupon code: “planable-loves-rena” to save 33% FOR LIFE!!!
Do you need to post to Facebook groups regularly? Up until now, you could only post to groups that you own or are an administrator for. No more! Now you can post to groups that you belong to where posting is allowed saving you loads of time.
The pros that I’ve noticed right off the bat are:
A ONE-TIME PAYMENT! NO MONTHLY FEES! If you’ve been using scheduling tools you know that the monthly fees are a big hit to your income and they continue to go up and up every single year. I remember in 2014 I was paying roughly $8 a month, now in 2019, I’m paying $50! I love the idea of paying once and done! They have three plan sizes to choose from.
Post to groups you’ve joined without having to be an admin!
CoSchedule is another of my favorites and one I used until recently. The fact that it is a WordPress plugin sold me on its features in the beginning, but I quickly found out that there is so much more to it. They have added some great bonuses like saved templates, headline analyzer tools, and so much more.
You can schedule everything from your WordPress post page and never have to leave your own website. You can schedule social media for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, and now Instagram. CoSchedule is a plugin that gives you an editorial calendar right inside your website’s backend. You can schedule all of your social media as soon as you finish your post.
You can save loads of time by scheduling all of your social media posts right inside your WordPress dashboard.
Create social media templates that you can use over and over again saving you even more time.
Lot’s of extra features like keyword search and headline analyzer.
Pricing – after a recent price hike (and canceling the affiliate program) it has become out of reach for most entrepreneurs or small business.
Grum is an Instagram scheduler only, but its one of the best I’ve ever seen. I use it to schedule all of my Instagram posts. It’s very easy to use and you can have several Instagram accounts on the same Grum plan. Its intuitive dashboard makes it easy to schedule and add hashtags or the verbiage of your choice from any computer (not just mobile).
Allows you to schedule Instagram straight from your computer vs. mobile only.
Next is Hootsuite.com. I use them for some of my clients and while at first, it was extremely overwhelming it did become easier the more familiar I became with it. I like that I can schedule posts for more than one account at a time. That saves me lots of time. They do offer lots of free resources to help learn more about social media marketing and how to use Hootesuite. The next step up is a paid subscription where you can hook up 10 social media accounts for $9.99 a month.
HootSuite offers a free plan and with that allows you to hook up three social profiles, basic analytics, content scheduling, limited content suggestions, lead-capture campaigns, you can hook up two RSS feeds, access to 150 free and paid APPS, online help center, and FREE social media courses!
I think that Buffer is a great product for the price. It’s the only one I’ve seen lately that still allows you to pin to Pinterest. As you can probably tell, Pinterest is a biggy for me. It offers a free account where you can hook up to 3 social media accounts (not including Pinterest) and their bigger plan runs $10 a month and does let you schedule to Pinterest.
Boardbooster is a Pinterest only social media scheduling tool. I like it because it’s easy to use offers not only pinning capabilities but also will clean up your boards for you with their “Pin Doctor” feature. It’s very affordable and starts out only $5 a month and their other features are only .01 a pin. There is also a looping feature that will repin over and over.
directly from native Pinterest® app or website. read more
Streamline group board contribution
Effortlessly contribute to group boards with campaigns
Improve pin quality
Test your pins for broken links, duplicates, and more
Social Oomph says that it can boost your social media productivity — it doesn’t have to be a manual time-consuming process! Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, RSS feeds, blogs, and Plurk! Easily schedule updates, find quality people to follow, and monitor social media activity!
After searching their website for over 20 minutes I couldn’t find anything about the price. They do have a free version that will schedule for Twitter only, but their Premium plan (price unknown) includes everything (even Pinterest).
MavSocial is not one that I’m very familiar with, but it seems to have pretty good reviews and is not crazy expensive like some of the others out there. It doesn’t schedule to Pinterest, but it does publish to Instagram and even YouTube.
Last but not least is IFTTT. It stands for “If This Then That” meaning if this happens then I need you to do that. I’ve recently become a convert to IFTTT. I’m still learning about it, but it works by creating “Applets” much like Zapier’s Zaps. You can hook up your Instagram, Facebook, Google Docs, Evernote and much, much more and while this won’t deal with all of your social media I like it for the organization that it provides. It makes my OCD mind very happy. I can have emails automatically put into a spreadsheet, a doc, or even on Evernote. It is a free service.
Google analytics can be a hairy beast, but it’s the best place to get the true story of how well your website or online business is performing. There is so much information that can be learned, but first, you have to understand the language. If you missed my last post “Coming To Terms With Google Analytics” you should read it first.
If you run an e-commerce site and you use a lot of tags I suggest going with Google Tag Manager. It will make your struggles a little easier. If not the regular analytics account will be your best bet. I made a short video showing how to upload the code to your website if you’re using the Genesis Framework (which you should be).
If you don’t have the Genesis Framework and you don’t want to add another plugin then you need to follow these steps. I want to warn you though, this can break your site. You have to get the code in just the right spot, but don’t worry I’ll show you how right here!
Now that you’re all hooked up the next thing you need to do is to filter out your IP address. Go to Google and type in “What’s my IP address?” You will then get a long string of numbers and symbols. That is your online address. Copy that and then follow these instructions:
We’ve installed the GA code using Genesis, the Header’s or Footers plugin, or copying it directly into your Header function file and we’ve learned how to filter out our IP address. That’s it for today but in the comments below what things would you like to learn about? As always you can always email me with your questions! Just send your emails to Rena@theblogging911.com
The first part of learning any new program is figuring out what is the meaning of the different terms used and nothing can look more foreign than the inside of your Google Analytics dashboard! Can I get an amen?
I’ve put together a list of terms that you should make yourself familiar with if you’re going to understand what’s happening on your website or mobile APP. If you don’t understand it, how can you use it effectively to grow your blog or business? I’ve also created a downloadable .pdf that you can get by signing up for my newsletter along with a lot of other tutorials and .pdfs inside my Resource Library! So don’t forget to sign up!
ACQUISITION: Where do your visitors come from? Your acquisition is the search engine, social media, referring websites & campaigns that generated the traffic to your site.
ANALYTICS: The systematic computational analysis of statistics & data or information resulting from the systematic analysis of statistics or data.
ATTRIBUTION MODELS: Because Analytics attempts to answer a variety of questions about user behavior, it uses different calculation types or attribution models to arrive at the data that you see in the reports. Think about each Analytics report as a response to a particular kind of user analysis question. Often, these questions fall into distinct categories:
CONTENT: How many times was a particular page viewed?
GOALS: Which pages URLs contributed to the highest goal conversion rate?
ECOMMERCE: How much value did a given page contribute to a transaction?
INTERNAL SEARCH: Which internal search terms contributed to a transaction?
<strongAUDIENCE: The people who visit your website.
BEHAVIOR: What are your visitors doing when they get to your site. Behavior analytics show you what pages were visited, how much time was spent on them, and how visitors navigate your website.
CONVERSIONS: Are your visitors taking action? These statistics indicate the site’s performance against its goals.
DASHBOARD: Dashboard is the screen that shows all of the data in your analytics account. You can easily customize your dashboards to show the data you want at the click of a button. You can even set up email notifications.
DIMENSIONS: Attributes of your data. For example, the dimension City indicates the city, for example, “Paris” or “New York”, from which a session originates. The dimension Page indicates the URL of a page that is viewed.
EVENT TRACKING: You can track actions, clicks, even when visitors don’t go to a new page. With some quick adjusting, you can track whether or not a video, tab on a page, and the amount of time spent in certain areas.
EXCLUDE BOTS & SPIDERS: Go to “view setting” in your admin section and check the “bot filtering” box. This will make your data more accurate by excluding traffic from robots like Googlebot.
FUNNELS: A series of pages as goals to see how far visitors make it through the process and figuring out the holes where they might be dropping off. Funnels are useful for optimizing multi-step processes like e-commerce checkout.
GOALS: You define goals in GA to create important conversion metrics. The best way to do this is to track conversion rates on your thank you pages.
HITS: An interaction that sends data to analytics. Page tracking is the most common. Even tracking is also a hit.
IN-PAGE ANALYTICS: Shows the percentage of visitors who clicked on links or buttons on specific pages.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS(KPI’s): They measure each action that leads to success.
LANDING PAGES: Your landing page report shows you were visitors begin, whatever the traffic source might be.
METRICS: A standard for measuring or evaluating something, especially one that uses figures or statistics.
NOTES: You can make notes in GA by adding annotations to your timeline to indicate when marketing events happened (email sends, site updates, etc.).
OVERVIEW: Each section of GA offers an overview report, which presents high-level data to enable basic but quick health checks.
PAGES: The “ALL PAGES” report inside Behavior revels metrics per individual URL’s. Examining pageviews, time on page, and more, will help you determine the performance of your content.
QUERIES: A key report for SEO, queries (in Acquisition and Search Engine Optimization)shows keyword rankings, impressions, clicks, and click through rate (CTR).
REFERRALS: Also found under Acquisition, reveal your traffic sources. The analytics here enable you to assess the quantity & quality of visitors from other websites.
SECONDARY DIMENSION: This feature enables you to add data from one report into another as a second column giving you the ability to cross-reference relevant metrics.
TIME-ON-PAGE: The best measurement of engagement. You can assess which content is or isn’t sticky to apply to your customer experience analysis.
USERFLOW: You can track actions, even when visitors don’t go to a new page. With some programming you can track clicks in videos, tabs on pages, & time spent in specific areas.
VIEWS: The 5 ways to see the data of any report. Toggle the buttons on the top right to see the data (the default), percentage, performance, comparison, and pivot views.
WEB PROPERTY ID: Your web property ID is a tracking code that identifies your website with a seven digit account number followed by the two digit property number. It looks like this UA-0000000-01.
YOURSELF: You want to exclude yourself on your own site. Simply create a filter in the ADMIN section add the IP address of your self or your network.
Google analytics…when I mention those two little words I usually get one of two reactions.
Fear, you start sweating immediately, chewing your nails like a ten-year-old who didn’t do their homework.
Yawning, your eyes glaze over and all you hear is womp, womp, womp.
I am a geek, I admit it, I love looking at my Google analytics account. There are so many stories to be told in the middle of the bars, graphs and pie charts. You just have to learn to speak the language first. Dimensions, metrics, properties they all mean something in GA and over the next month I’m going to show you how to track your own success in Google analytics.
The three things that make GA so popular
Google Analytics helps you find answers, but it isn’t THE answer. It’s only a tool. You’re using analytics data to tell a story.
How can we use analytics?
To generate ideas.
To understand what is working.
To fix things that are not working.
To improve results.
Tells our customer story.
Calculate our value.
To justify & encourage investment.
To see into the future.
Send data to Google’s servers.
Make sure our data is clean.
Define our success points.
SEND DATA TO GOOGLE’S SERVERS
Create a free Google analytics account. If it’s your first time consider using Google’s Tag Manager. It’s very easy.
Add your unique tracking code to the <HEAD> section on your website.
Decide whether you are tracking a website or an APP.
Learn about your audience.
DO NOT TRACK YOURSELF. It is very important that you do not track yourself as this will skew the view you get. The first step is figuring out your own IP address. It’s very simple, Google, “what’s my IP address?” and it will give it to you. Write it down somewhere. Go into your analytics account under administration. (Gear symbol at the bottom of the dashboard). Under the VIEW section go down to FILTERS. You want to ADD A NEW FILTER and then you’re going to go to the first box and hit the EXCLUDE button, to the second section that says TRAFFIC FROM IP ADDRESSES which will open a box underneath. This is where you put the IP address that you wrote down from your Google search. In the third box you must decide if it should be EQUAL TO, STARTS WITH, ENDS WITH, OR THAT CONTAIN. Choose equal to in this situation. Your analytics will no longer count the times that you go to your website. If you have employees then each IP address should be added separately.
What is the purpose of your website?
Once you decide on the purpose of the website break it down into the things that directly generate income (MACRO GOALS) and the positive activities that don’t directly produce revenue (MICRO GOALS). You can have up to 20 goals.
What can be tracked?
Content performance – Answers the question – What content is performing best?
Advanced Segments – Track performance by visitor segments.
Social Value Reports – Measure the value of social traffic.
Track mobile, websites, and APPS.
Pretty much any marketing activity can be tracked within Google Analytics.
Last month, I became a Certified Google Analysist after many months of studying culminating with a huge test to get my certification. I now offer those kinds of services here at The Blogging 911! If you’re interested in checking out my services visit the Analytics page.
We hear lots about email sequences, but what are they are why do you care? An email sequence is just what it sounds like it’s a series of emails in a group that is scheduled one after the other. They can be huge or there can be only two. It all depends on what you are using it for. Some ideas for a sequence:
a continuing story
a sales funnel
a course or series of courses
I’m going to admit the first thing, that I am awful at this! I’ve only recently created a welcome sequence. In a welcome sequence you want to welcome new subscribers, tell them about you and what you’re all about, share your best work and maybe offer a small no-brainer offer. It can be a continuation of your freebie offer or it can be totally different.
If you’re writing about one subject or telling a story you may want to set each one to drip out over time. The same with a sales funnel or a course. MailChimp has made some serious changes of late and it’s become even easier to set them up.
A sales funnel usually begins with your freebie offer, a welcome email, another email offering some of your best stuff, a small, what’s called a no-brainer offer. It means an offer so good that it would be a “no-brainer” to grab it while you have the chance. This is usually something $29 or less.
Then you’re going to send another email discussing your client’s pain point and then another where you offer your signature offer (big ticket items). This is where it splits off. If they take you up on the offer you can go in one direction with tips to make that offer even better or if they say no it can go through another series with more information on the signature offer that will make it more appealing or maybe a different offer altogether.
So, you’re going to go back to “create a campaign” in the search bar type in automation campaigns and you will see a lot of options. For the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to scroll down and use the education series automation.
You’re going to name it and choose your list. Now, there are lots of options here. The first thing we’re going to do is to click on the top right-hand corner where it says edit workflow settings. You’re going to set it up just like we did in our RSS campaign. Same questions and then click update workflow.
Next, we’re going to work on the trigger. This is when your emails come out. Every day, every other day, or even once a week it’s totally up to you. Click the “edit trigger” button in the middle of the page for Trigger one. You have 4 choices “immediately, hours, days, or weeks” choose the amount and one of the four options and this is when you trigger will fire.
For example, I want it to trigger as soon as someone signs up and then drip them out every day for the life of the sequence. Click the update trigger button. The next step is to design your first email. Then you need to go through the steps above to set up the trigger for the next email. You’re going to create it exactly the same way you created your newsletter.
As little as two emails make a sequence and you can have an unlimited amount. I’ve created as many as 55 at a time. It can get confusing but if you just follow the steps it’s pretty self-explanatory.