Tracking Content

The problem I’m trying to solve is that I find myself in an enormous push of content creation–I’m creating blog posts in draft every morning, and I’m sitting on 50 draft posts on each of three different websites.  Not all of the draft posts are valuable, but I would like to get as many published as still have value, and I don’t want to dump everything onto my social platforms at the same time.

The Publicize plugin allows me to auto-share to social platforms.  All sites post to the same Linkedin and Twitter accounts.  Two sites share the same Facebook page.  Three sites post to the same Pinterest account, but different boards.  I don’t want the political comment to go to Linkedin, most of the time.

I’ve been using free paper calendars to manage client content for as long as I’ve been doing social media professionally. For small accounts, it works pretty well. It does not work for four different websites which feed two Facebook pages, and one each Linkedin and Instagram accounts. I can’t keep track of what’s going where, let alone paid promotions.

One client, one calendar fails when the client has several websites.

One client, one calendar fails when the client has several websites.

I realized I could type into the spreadsheet. Normally, I split my attention between the screen and a paper calendar. (I use one monitor, and most of the time, it’s the laptop display.) However, working in the digital spreadsheet, in addition to using it as the layout for a paper calendar, might be helpful.

Collating publication calendars into one spreadsheet.

The first printing gave me a format that was too crowded to use.  I can barely read my own writing. I did realize that it would be useful to have a Pinterest board on both of my accounts for “new website content.” I don’t know that it will be a major source of traffic, but it won’t hurt.

blog post tracker, first draft.

Using 8.5 x 14″ paper to see two weeks at once. Not enough room to write.

I need a way to identify those posts that are book reviews.  I need to know what has been scheduled to Instagram, not simply whether something has been scheduled to be published on a website.

Laying out publication schedules.

Laying out publication schedules.

The second iteration was a little better–more room to write, but it still wasn’t helping me see what I needed to see. The social platform cells need room for check boxes, not titles. Make more notes:

  1. The color as used is not helping me know what I’m posting where.
  2. I need color on the Blog name rows, not on the social platform rows.
  3. Twitter doesn’t care how often I post.
  4. Linkedin needs a row of its own. All of my websites feed to the same Linkedin Profile.

Continue to play, and develop a version that works well enough, and no sooner had I glued up a month of schedule, I had an entirely new understanding of my content management problem, heading toward a next solution.

Inventory of blog ideas that have made it as far as drafts, or images.

Inventory of blog ideas that have made it as far as drafts, or images.

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Use More Pictures in Linkedin

In the process of building a course called “Have Fun with Linkedin,” I realized that LI lets you add pictures everywhere:  summary, each position, projects.  Few of us use this feature as much as we could.

In one class I taught, students even questioned the value of a professional photographer uploading pictures of his work.  Surely he could simply TELL people to visit his website, they asked?

Do they not teach “a picture is worth 1000 words” in school anymore?  We are FAR more likely to visit a photographer’s website when we see what his work looks like, then when he tells us we should visit the website to see what the work looks like.

The older your audience, the more pictures you need.  (Our eyes don’t like that tiny text anymore.)

Each entry in your profile (Summary, position) will display at least five images, in the order 2-up, 3-below.  These are landscape orientations.  Select your images accordingly.  If you are going to upload one image, upload two and fill the row.  If you are going to use 3, use 5, and display two complete rows.

Order of upload for Linkedin images or rich media.

Order of upload for Linkedin images or rich media.

You can upload more than five images; subsequent rows are hidden behind a <more> link. You can drag and drop images to rearrange them after uploading.

Select images that display some element of the intersection between who you are and what you do.  Slide presentations can be excellent.  Linkedin will display the title slide, and that can be less-than-interesting.  If there’s a more interesting single slide deep in the deck, save it as a single slide file, and upload that.  Add a short explanation.

Some people may want to show detailed work samples with their rich media attachments.  Other people are using the rich media space to illustrate what they do and how they approach their work.

Face it, most jobs are pretty dull, when described in the words HR makes you use.  It can be hard to read that tiny text and understand how your work is any different from the guy in the next cubicle, let alone from the guy who works in the same position for a different company on the next floor of your building.

Use pictures.

Need ideas?

  • The logo at the front of your building, street entrance.
  • An interesting graph you created from data that matters in your work.  Blur the captions if the data is confidential.
  • A picture of you presenting at a meeting, or a conference.

Because my own work involves so many presentations, I use single slides the most. If you want to know more about the presentation, I’ll be happy to meet with you and discuss developing custom training.

In the old days, slides looked like this, and we read them to the audience, who, apparently, got jobs in Fortune500 companies without being able to read.

Old slide imagery: NOT!

Old slide imagery: NOT!

Now, I get to make slides that look like this (my own images, by the way, NOT stock), and presentations are a whole lot more fun.

Today's slide imagery.

Today’s slide imagery.

The point of images to to help the human evaluate the profile that the machine served up as an answer to a text search.  Use them!

Shearon Harris on Instagram

When I started teaching social media, we talked about Instagram and couldn’t really see how to use it for business. I created an account, simply to have my hand in the game. I decided to post pictures of the cooling tower, which I pass every time I go to Raleigh. It’s visible from all over the Triangle, all the way to Smithfield, if you know what and where to look.

Some other images show up in the feed from time to time. Industrial plants, like the Moncure Plywood plant. A factory on the James River in Richmond, VA.

The picture of the F15s on the runway is available from Karen’s Custom Framing in Goldsboro, NC. The picture was taken during a war games exercise. I count 80 planes on the runway. I have spent a lot of years in and around America’s military, but much of the time, photography was or is not allowed.

Posting regularly got me in the habit of using Instagram. It’s been a useful exercise.

On a more colorful note, I also maintain an Instagram account for art of a different kind, at Karen Tiede Studio.

What did I come here for?

Once more, with feeling.
You go into Facebook for some business reason. It’s your job. You see something in the feed… you click… and five minutes later, you need a string or a trail of breadcrumbs to figure out what it was you were actually supposed to be doing.

What did I come in here to do?

What did I come in here to do?

I need to write stickies to myself to remember exactly what event needed to be created, or post boosted, or something.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

(Admitted, I spend too much time on Quora, and now I’m trying to at least get some business value from that time.)

Wake Up Wednesday PM at the Pittsboro Roadhouse

Wake Up Wednesday PM at the Pittsboro Roadhouse

Last week, I saw this question: Am I right to remove competitors from a company event?

No, dear heart, you are not right. My answer:

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

It is marginally ok to expel them. People will understand. You will look like a dweeb. It is not professional.

Maybe they’re looking for job, and want to work for your company. Maybe you’ll be looking for a job, and wind up working for their company. Maybe you can gain intelligence, too. If your employees are leaking secrets, you have different problems than feeding your competition at your event.

A man I knew years ago built a pool in the backyard, not really because he wanted a pool, but because he wanted his house to be the place where his kids hung out with their friends, and a pool was a good way to make that happen. You want to be the place where people gather.

Facebook Image Layouts

A client asked me about how Facebook decided how to display images in posts. Sometimes it worked right, and sometimes it didn’t. I had noticed the same thing, but I’m selling products, not running for office, and getting a politician’s pictures displayed correctly is more important.

A little bit of research led to Daniel Coleman’s post, Facebook Photos Size Guide / 2015.

In shorthand, here’s the same information:

Layout defaults for images attached to Facebook posts: It's all in the aspect ratio of the first image selected.

Layout defaults for images attached to Facebook posts: It’s all in the aspect ratio of the first image selected.

The #1 image is the one at the left. You can drag and drop images around in a post draft to make sure the one on the left has the aspect ratio that will create the layout that best suits your images.

Another solution is to use an app like Layout from Instagram. Layout lets you arrange your images in a selection of formats, then saves the completed unit as one image. Upload that to Instagram or Facebook (or Twitter, or Linkedin, from the gallery) and you don’t have to worry about the arrangement of your images shifting.

Picassa can do a similar thing, in its Collage feature.

Social Selling for Red Hat

NCSU’s Technical Training Solutions unit was asked to develop a Social Selling class for Red Hat’s sales employees. Martin Brossman, Greg Hyer, and Karen Tiede worked together to develop a six-hour course, with an additional set of homework to be completed outside of class.

Holly Sullenger, director of TTS, travelled with me to Palo Alto to beta-test the course with the sales staff in that office. They had been asking for additional social selling training, and wanted to see the material as soon as it was ready.

The class went well. As is always the case, there’s nothing like teaching to show you what can be more robust the next time around. Both Holly and I realized we need to be doing more on Twitter. Future iterations will also have more on the three main ways to use Linkedin: input, profile, and output.

Look for an excerpt of the training on Slideshare soon.

Next time, too, we’ll just take the red eye flight home. It’s just as easy to stay till midnight and sleep on the plane as it is to get up early to make a 6 am flight.

Be Findable

If you’re going to use social media to promote a product, it would be helpful if you were findable.

I tried to contact the original pinner of a product that was interesting to me and short of 411.com, I could not find a way to make contact.  Suppose I could have commented on the item, or sent the Pinner an @ message.  However, after I followed the link to the website to find an empty “Contact me” page (one existed and was listed in the menu, but had no information), and went to the FB page, ditto, I gave up.

I understand that you may be private and reclusive.  Fine.  But don’t put prices on your Pinterest pins if you’re not willing to be contacted with questions.

That’s why they call it “social.”

You keep your privacy and I’ll keep my money.

80/20: The Next Round

In July, I wrote about cutting a bolt of fabric into three equal lengths, draping it over an existing curtain rod, and calling the “make curtains for the guest room project” DONE.  However, there was that fringe-y bit.

Even more eventually, I’d love to buy and apply the beaded fringe from the Cloth Barn discount store.  The 4.5 yards of trim this window needs would cost about $45; it would take several hours to apply.  You can see a test swatch of the beading in the picture of the full window, in the far window at the sill.

In December, I gave in and bought the fringe.  I got used to “good enough,” and wanted a little bit more.  I had some time over the holidays; thought it wouldn’t take too long to sew two lines of stitching to attach the fringe to the edge of the fabric.  Planned to use Fray Check to seal the edge against unraveling; that would save a whole series of steps involved in hemming.

It turned out what we thought was Fray Check was actually Liquid Stitch, a textile glue.  Instead of 100 pins and two rows of stitching, all I had to do was lay a bead of glue on the end of the fabric, press the ribbon band of the fringe into the glue, and wait 24 hours for the glue to dry.

It’s not 100% as pretty as it would have been had I stitched the trim to the curtains.  But it’s at least 80% as pretty, on way less than 20% of the time.

Beaded fringe attached to sheer curtains with fabric glue.

Beaded fringe attached to sheer curtains with fabric glue.

(The other end of the curtains remains to be finished; we’re deciding how the entire window treatment assembly will be hung and may change the rods. That will change the length. Plan to trim even with the baseboard and use real Fray Check on that end of the sheers.)

 

 

Pinterest Board Ideas for a Craft Brewery

(Recommend minimum 10 boards, 10 pins on each board)

Four Saints Brewing Company, Asheboro, NC

Four Saints Brewing Company, Asheboro, NC: Pinterest Account

  • Our Beer (Brews):  pictures of each of the different beers in a mug. Put the name of the beer in the image, as well as in the pin description.
  • Our Brewery:  pictures of the brewery and staff
  • Asheboro Eats:  pins of local restaurants; use a Map Board for these
  • NC Craft Brewers (or Central NC Craft Brewers) (Could spin to at least three or four boards, Western NC / Asheville / Central / Eastern NC Craft Brewers)
  • Asheboro Events
  • Beer Recipes
  • Shop Local (use #shoplocal hash tag)
  • Zoo
  • Randolph County Historical sites
  • Brewing Equipment
  • Beer Steins
  • BrewFests around the State
  • Beer in the Press
  • Beer Quotations
  • Hops
  • Celebrities and Craft Brewing
  • Beer Fashion

Guidelines:  no more than 200 pins per board (business visitors won’t scroll farther).

40-60 boards max. for a business account, to increase the percentage of people who “Follow all” rather than following only a few boards.

Keep the pins in circulation by regularly pinning a few pins from the bottom of the key business-content boards, back to the top of the same board, and then deleting the “old” pin from the bottom, on whatever cycle works for you.  This will keep the brewery’s own pins “in circulation,” exposed to new people watching the pin flow, without much additional work for the marketing manager.

Craft Brew Pinterest Accounts to follow

DeschutesBeer

Bukowsky

Motor City Brew

Draft Mag

Pub Cake

Craft Beer Time

The Bottle Wrench

Four Peaks Brew

Beer Brewing Book

Look at who those accounts are following to find more craft brewing accounts.  (Some accounts get more political, or skew to a younger age, than you might find helpful.

Join this Group Board and pin your brews:

Beer for Everyone