Archive | March, 2018

Social media in 2018: Time to grow up or get out

26 Mar

It’s always tempting to see the present moment as the peak of chaos and disruption, whether we’re talking about politics or just how those teenagers behave today. The same is true in marketing, because in many ways that profession is always in a state of chaos and disruption.

But I don’t think it’s hyperbole to apply “peak chaos and disruption” to social media marketing in the first quarter of 2018. Let’s review just a few of the upheavals we’re experiencing right now in the social media world.

Facebook news feed changes

Sure, Facebook has always tinkered with its news feed algorithm, and organic reach for business pages has been shrinking for years. But no past change can equal the bombshell dropped by Mark Zuckerberg in January, when he  announced that Facebook would radically throttle most brand content in the news feed like never before in favor of more content from “friends and family.”

Moreover, there is increasing evidence that young people are abandoning Facebook in favor of more private social networks such as Snapchat and Instagram.

Twitter cracks down on bulk posting

Facing growing criticism for how easily spammers and bots used its platform to push political and hate group agendas, Twitter has announced that as of July 2018 users and third-party apps will no longer be allowed to post the same post to multiple accounts. Also banned will be creating auto-engagements at scale, such as mass-liking or retweeting posts.

Social sharing declines

According to a recent study by social media metrics company Buzzsumo, average social shares per post had declined by 50 percent in 2017 compared to 2015. Their data also demonstrates how quickly most hot topics become saturated with content, resulting in only a relatively few winners getting most of the social shares and links.

The rise of dark social

Dark social isn’t dark in any nefarious way (for the most part). Rather, the “dark” here refers simply to “hidden.” Dark social is all the online social sharing and activity that occurs outside of public social media posts. Examples would be email, private messaging, chat forums, and even good old-fashioned word of mouth.

Dark social can’t be tracked or measured, and therefore it lacks one of the main selling points of digital marketing: the ability to tie results directly to campaigns. Sure, dark social has existed as long as social media, but it is growing rapidly, according to a report by RhythmOne (then RadiumOne), and more and more online sharing and conversations are happening in private.

Influencer abuse and scandals

As the organic reach of traditional brand social posts has declined, influencer marketing was supposed to be our salvation. People still want to see the posts of celebrities and “thought leaders,” so if you could get them to talk about your product, you found a way around the social media throttles.

However, a sopping wet blanket was thrown on the concept due to some well-publicized scandals over the past year. It turned out that many influencers did not really have the reach or influence they claimed, with much of their following being bots or purchased followers. It can be even more damaging when celebrity brand representatives engage in foolish or scandalous behavior that gets reflected onto the brand they hawk.

Ad blindness and blocking

Another potential savior from organic social depression is paid social ads. You can always pay to get to your audience and have the added benefit of knowing you’re reaching a targeted audience, which makes the reach all the more valuable. But two threats loom over even this happy paradise:

  • Ad blindness. There is growing evidence that users are becoming more immune to ads and in many cases are not seeing them at all.
  • Ad blocking. A few years ago, I predicted that ad blockers would never become a major threat because users were too lazy to download and install the software. I was wrong. Very wrong. It turns out that as consumers became more aware they could block ads, they flocked to do it. In addition, more passive ad-blocking options are now available, such as automatic blocking of excessive ads in the Chrome browser.

So is social media marketing dead?

As I’ve watched this unfolding situation, I’ve been struck by the similarities to what search engine optimization (SEO) has gone through over the past several years. Gaining organic search traffic used to be relatively easy, especially if you were willing to indulge in gaming the system. Eventually, Google cracked down, and the infamous Penguin and Panda updates (along with others) pretty much killed off the easy pickings.

But despite many predictions to the contrary, SEO not only didn’t die, in some ways it’s healthier than ever. It did change, though.


Next-generation social media marketing

So, faced with these many disruptions to business as usual (and I only listed a few above), what are we social media marketers to do? How can we grow up and do real company marketing using social media?

Most of us would likely agree that the social audience is still worth our marketing efforts. Social media remains one of the most amazing mass communication devices ever devised by humans. It’s still where a good deal of the online conversation and sharing happens.

The Best Online Resources for Learning Social Media Marketing

19 Mar

Social media forced digital marketing to evolve. Consumers now learn about the latest products and services from their social feeds. However, not all social networks are created equal. For example, an ad that performs well on Twitter may perform horribly on Facebook. That’s why it’s important to understand how each platform works in order to curate advertising content on each site.

Fortunately, learning the ropes of social media marketing doesn’t require a business degree. Instead, this is a trade you can learn entirely online. Here are a few online resources to kick-start your learning efforts.

From the masterminds behind LinkedIn, Lynda compiles video courses from expert teachers that can be viewed on any device. Membership begins at $19.99 a month, which gains you unlimited access to all of the site’s content. This site offers a range of courses from the basics, such as Facebook for Business, to more niche and advanced topics, like Social Media for Government and Corporate Video Weekly. Fortunately, you may already be eligible for a free membership, especially if you’re a solopreneur starting out. Check with your local library to see if they offer a free membership with your library card.

edX – which also runs – is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider. Many of the courses are self-paced but follow a more traditional classroom feel compared to a DIY approach. However, even classes with a start and end date allow folks to access and interact with content after the course has ended. Notable courses include Reputation Management in a Digital World by Curtin University (self-paced) and Social Media Marketing by Boston University (which begins on April 18, 2018). Membership is free.

Coursera has also compiled many MOOCs from top universities, such as Yale University and Stanford. Membership is free, but some courses require payment. There is also the option to pay for a certification, indicating you’ve successfully completed a course.

Similar to Lynda, Udemy instructors are industry leaders rather than established academics. Although with Udemy you pay for each course individually rather than with a monthly membership, there are more timely, specialized selections to choose from, such as Facebook Ads and Facebook Marketing Mystery Guide 2018 and Instagram Marketing 2018: A Step-By-Step for 10,000 Followers. Plus, many courses are under $20.

Unlike the other sites mentioned above, Skillshare is creator-focused. In other words, anyone can submit a course to Skillshare. As a result, the content is much more personalized. For instance, Brian Peters, the digital marketing strategist at Buffer, offers his own Introduction to Social Media Strategy course. Membership to Skillshare is free, but access to certain content requires a Premium membership, which costs $15 a month.

The Top Ten Social Media Tools Business Owners MUST be Using!

5 Mar

With today’s society becoming more connected and more reliant on the internet, business ties are increasing being forged online rather than in a boardroom. Nowadays, most brands have at least one online presence, and most have several.

Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are the new homes of conducting business, creating consumer bases and advertising products. However, the overwhelming presence of businesses on these platforms creates a good deal of pressure for companies trying to beat out their nearest competitors.

Fortunately, marketing teams don’t have to go it alone in their efforts to raise their brand to the top. A number of third-party apps exist that can enhance certain features of these social platforms and make social media marketing a more lucrative and intuitive experience. Here are 25 social media resources designed to help marketers advertise their brands more effectively.

1. SocialDrift

Used by McDonalds, Sprint and major industry influencers with millions of followers, SocialDrift is an Instagram marketer’s best friend. The platform automates Instagram interactions, which help to organically increase follower count. Users just need to provide SocialDrift with information about ideal Instagram followers, and the platform will use machine learning to engage users through likes, comments and follows. Because of this engagement, users will frequently follow accounts in return.

In time, SocialDrift can dramatically increase the number of high-quality Instagram followers through the platform’s Instagram bot, named Securebot.

2. Buffer

Buffer offers a swift solution for businesses swamped by the multiple social media accounts they must manage. The application innovates marketing by allowing individuals and businesses to queue posts for their various accounts. Buffer works for several third-party extensions, in addition to the regular line-up of social platforms.

Furthermore, the app boasts many powerful tools like photo editing, group collaboration and detailed data analytics about social media performance. Essentially, Buffer can take a jumble of social media accounts, organize them and in the process make marketing more manageable.

3. Sendible

Are you a team managing social media for a lot of different clients? Sendible is the tool for you. Sendible has unique inboxes for each brand, accessible by any member of your team, so communication is streamlined. They also offer a content engine that suggests new material based on the topics of your profiles and followers. In addition, calendars are fully interactive. Who said teamwork has to be hard?

4. MavSocial

MavSocial is a management tool that focuses on graphics and videos for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr. You can schedule or preview content to any or all of those platforms. And if you’ve run out of content, simply reschedule. MavSocial also has features for engagement analytics, collaboration, galleries, image database and campaign creation. Choose from their 5 plans to get what works best for you.


Snapchat’s introduction of Stories in 2013 has rapidly spread the feature across social media, with many other platforms joining the trend to reap some of its benefits. Storyheap is tailored for the Story feature, allowing brands to manage their Story straight from the web.

In addition, Storyheap offers in-depth analytics about the current and projected popularity of a brand’s Story. For now, the app is limited to Snapchat and Instagram, but support for other platforms is in the works.

6. Unsplash

Having high-quality content and images is crucial; after all, nothing drives away a follower like poor quality. Unsplash is a database of gorgeous, high-resolution, watermark-free images that are free for use. You can use the search engine, or browse collections like “Still Life” or “Photos for Parent Bloggers.”

Once you find an image you want to use, you can either download it or save it in your own collection for future use. Unsplash allows anyone to have high-quality, high-resolution images.

7. Canva

Photo and video are highly influential on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Consequently, marketing teams are often pressured to produce beautiful visuals and graphics to get attention and increase brand visibility.

Canva contains plenty of design tools, tutorials, templates and more, so users have the materials to create almost anything they can conceive. With Canva, marketing teams with limited experience can still generate stunning content and gather a larger following.


Marketers may often feel at a loss when it comes to conjuring up fresh content, but third-party algorithms can always be of assistance. combines detailed data analytics with refined publishing and scheduling tools to ensure brands can consistently provide interesting content.

With compatibility across more than 20 platforms, the app monitors discussion of the brand, analyzes social media decisions and offers suggestions to increase audience engagement. acts as a social media multi-tool for businesses trying to revamp their marketing strategy.

9. Grytics

While many of the resources in this list work on multiple platforms, others excel with one. Grytics, with its focus on Facebook Groups, is one such application.

The app gathers a wealth of information from the posts and members of specific groups. It then displays these statistics for businesses to manage these groups or tailor their strategies to better suit audience interests. Businesses using Grytics can successfully get the most out of any associated Facebook Groups.

10. Yotpo

On Instagram, consumers freely post pictures of brands and products they’ve engaged with. Wouldn’t it be useful for marketers to be able to easily share these images of consumers using their products and following their brands?

Yotpo makes this a reality. Its Social Curation feature collects posts relevant to a brand and helps these businesses contact users for permission to use their posts in advertising. In addition, Yotpo implements a Shop Now feature in Instagram, letting users buy products seen in their feed. Yotpo helps businesses make their Instagram accounts more marketable to consumers.

11. Agorapulse

On the surface, AgoraPulse is a feature-heavy social media management app. Offering content scheduling and message tracking, the app greatly increases the efficiency for any business active on social media. However, its in-depth analytics and report-creation features make AgoraPulse even more effective.

Whether businesses need to measure their performance or just want to discuss their social media traffic with one another, AgoraPulse offers more than enough tools.

12. BuzzSumo

With social media attracting so much traffic from marketing teams and consumers alike, it would be helpful for marketers to be able to see how much attention certain topics and types of content are getting without wading through piles of data. BuzzSumo’s data analytics allows its users to do that, with minimal hassle.

BuzzSumo’s search bar takes in search words and returns a list of relevant links on the internet and social media. With so much easily accessible information, marketers can quickly determine the popularity of different types of content and adapt their marketing strategies.

13. Oktopost

Most businesses using third-party applications to enhance their marketing are seeking a comprehensive boost to all their platforms. Oktopost’s features make this possible.

With powerful data analytics, post scheduling, content curation and discussion tracking, the application allows businesses to increase their productivity, while at the same time pinpointing any glaring weaknesses. Oktopost is an invaluable resource for businesses trying to increase their social media performance.

14. Quuu

Completely automated social media marketing is swiftly becoming a reality. However, there’s still a place for hand-picked curations, which can resonate more with living, breathing consumers. Quu offers that experience.

Businesses using Quuu first select their interests from over 300 categories. Then Quuu sends users a list of recommendations for types of content to post in order to represent those interests. At that point, businesses can either manually post content or let Quuu take the wheel. Importantly, all the content suggested by Quuu is hand-reviewed, meaning it has a better chance of connecting with humans.


Most of the platforms in this list offer similar tools, like post scheduling and data analytics; however, apps like IFTTT operate entirely differently. Running through platform-specific applets instead of catch-all features, IFTTT offers a much more specialized approach to marketing.

The app divides its applications into features specific to platforms like Google, iOS, photography and more. Simply selecting a few of these applets automates their processes, freeing up precious time for businesses. These features include automatically saving attachments to Google Drive, backing up texts and sending notifications for person-specific emails. With IFTTT’s applets, marketing teams can increase their productivity and give themselves more time to create advertisements.

16. Qwaya

For many businesses, revenue flows through more routes than just product sales and business deals. Several companies rely heavily on ad revenue, and Qwaya makes the process of managing advertisements much more intuitive.

The app allows businesses to schedule and queue certain ads, while at the same time restricting certain content. It also supports user collaboration, so ad performance can easily be discussed and adapted. For businesses advertising on Facebook and Instagram, Qwaya is an immensely powerful resource.

17. MeetEdgar

Content scheduling is one of the most popular tools in this list. While marketing teams may be relieved to schedule their posts weeks in advance, MeetEdgar adds an extra step.

Instead of using one-time updates, the app automatically reshares certain posts over time, eliminating the need for long lists of posts. In addition, MeetEdgar boasts direct video uploads and an unlimited library of updates, and allows users to choose which posts are and aren’t reposted over time.

18. TweetDeck

Platform-specific tools have the power to revolutionize vanilla applications and make them into far more productive tools of trade. TweetDeck is one powerful enhancement to Twitter.

The app allows businesses to schedule, monitor and queue up Tweets remotely. The app ensures that marketers can discuss certain content and analyze audience tastes to release Tweets best suited to their followers’ interests. TweetDeck can make Twitter an even more lucrative platform for businesses.

19. Rival IQ

Rival IQ is first and foremost a data analytics tool. Its data-analyzing software collects relevant bits of information on a business’s social media activity and automatically generates in-depth displays. For example, the app shows audience growth, interactions, changes between time periods, similar statistics for close competitors and the topics most popular with the existing audience.

Rival IQ’s tracking features go far beyond these, but even a fraction of its functions would prove useful to businesses trying to gauge their overall social media performance.

20. Animoto

The big social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat – all share an affinity for video. In social media marketing, photo and video are the primary modes of communication, and businesses that can’t create stimulating visual content are at a serious disadvantage.

Animoto makes this a non-issue. With loads of photo- and video-editing tools, Animoto allows even inexperienced marketers to create eye-catching and stimulating content for their audience.

21 Socedo

Socedo revolves around the concept of “social intent data.” The term denotes actions that signify what people are interested in. Socedo gathers all this data to better understand lucrative trends and prescribe helpful marketing suggestions to businesses.

Boasting features like audience discovery and engagement, the app gives businesses a way to connect to people who might be interested in their brand. Socedo guarantees audience growth and increased brand visibility for businesses using the application.

22. Narrow

Narrow connects businesses to users who may be interested in their content, based on their previous actions on the social platform.

Offering detailed data analytics and an audience research tool, the app allows businesses to tailor their marketing strategy to attract a larger following. With Narrow, marketing teams can easily increase their audience on Twitter.

23. Grum

Grum is an application specifically created for Instagram. The application contains specialized features for making Instagram more effective as a marketing tool.

With tools like content scheduling, remote management and multiple account support, the app packs a ton of features onto basic vanilla Instagram. With Grum, businesses and marketing teams can increase their Instagram performance and free up more time to create fresh content.

24. Post Planner

The hardest part of managing social media accounts is consistently coming up with interesting content to share. Post Planner provides a solution.

The app essentially analyzes audience interests with a variety of algorithms to recommend topics to post about. In addition, the app includes an intuitive post-scheduling tool to guarantee that the most effective content is posted at the right times. Post Planner allows marketing teams to post as efficiently as possible.

25. WordSwag

Sometimes the simpler an application, the more impactful it is. WordSwag is a prime example. The app boasts just one feature – adding customized text to photos. It allows customization of color and font, and has resulted in thousands of fascinating images. Businesses that require a minimalist but powerful graphic-design app need look no further than WordSwag.