Automate your social media marketing

One of the biggest time wasters for small business is social media marketing. Not that social media marketing is a time waster. But constantly feeding the beast can consume an awful lot of your time without ever showing much benefit.

Many small businesses attend seminars or read articles on the power of social media. You have to be on Linkedin. You have to be on Twitter. You have to be on Facebook. You have to make videos. You have to have a blog.

Yes, you do have to have most of these things to market yourself effectively online.

But what happens is that folks walk out of individual seminars or click away from a marketing article and create accounts for each social media site. They then start a blog and post a few articles.


Two weeks later, they discover that they are spending all their time writing content and posting it separately to all these accounts.

And nothing is happening.

The missing element is that you need to get all these different worlds working together. And the best way to do that is to automate a lot of the process, so the only real effort is creating your compelling content.

So how do you automate the process? Well creative use of RSS feeds is one way.

A few weeks back I wrote about the “Not-so-secret Google tool you should use” in regards to Feedburner.

Well each of the social media big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) can use your feeds to automatically update your status.

How much time would that save you?

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

For the purpose of this article, I’ll assume you already have an Facebook Business page – similar to this one from one Linkedin sales trainer, Kurt Shaver.

What we used to connect Kurt’s blog, Twitter and YouTube accounts to auto-update his Facebook page was an app called RSS Graffiti.

So now Kurt only has to concern himself with creating videos, writing new blog posts and keeping up with his tweeting – things he would be doing anyway.

And what happens is anyone who has “Liked” his page, will then see these updates on their Facebook newsfeed the next time they log in.

We also set Feedburner to auto update Twitter, which also auto updates his  Linkedin status.

RSS Updates and LinkedIn

To update your personal LinkedIn profile with your latest blog posting you can install one of these two apps Wordress or Blog Link. Both do the same job. They take the RSS feed from your posts and connect them to your LinkedIn profile.

From your Linkedin company page you can also add your Feedburner feed to display and distribute your blog posts to folks who are following you.

So, if there is a lesson to be learned for everyone when it comes to setting up your social media, it’s that using the free tools all around you will save you time and move your business into the social media arena, without causing you to burn through hours of your day updating everything manually.

The (not-so) secret Google tool you should use

Of course there are no real secret Google tools. And if there are, I’m not running with the crowd who knows about them.

But over the last few weeks I’ve talked to  a number of site owners – speakers, recruiters, SEO folks – and I’ve been really surprised by how few of them know anything about Feedburner.

Now Google’s wall-splattered with spaghetti approach to product launches makes it too easy for some of the great tools they have to fly under the radar.

Feedburner is one of them. If you are a site owner with a blog or podcast, stop reading this post right now and sign up for Feedburner.

What it does is take your raw feed – generally looking like this – and turn it into this.

Pretty slick.

But it does more than this. It will also create forms so folks can subscribe to receive your new blog posts via email, provide a metric showing how many folks are subscribed – along with their emails. Go ahead and subscribe to my feed using the form on this page.

It will also generate simple code for you to display your blog posts on virtually any page on any site you run.

It will also notify different services when your blog is updated – helping your SEO. And of course it will also automatically update your Twitter account.

With a couple of Facebook tweaks you can even connect your Feedburner feed to automatically send your new posts to your Facebook Fan Page.

So what are you waiting for. It’s a free service.

Is your site mobile-ready?

Where do you do most of your surfing?

Three years ago I would have said my computer.

But the iPhone changed my internet life along with the world of mobile computing.

Now I can check emails and keep on top of news and events anywhere I can get a connection.

Information is now more mobile than it’s ever been.

So why are most websites only optimized to run on PCs?

Phones and tablets made to run on RIM, Apple and Android devices have changed things.

This afternoon when I log off to pick up my kids, I’ll shut down the laptop for the evening.

But I won’t turn off my phone, and the iPad will be sitting next to me ready to dole out useful IMDB tidbits on whatever b-list actor I can’t place from Law and Order.

This is just a long winded way to say that if you have a site that doesn’t run properly on the iPhone or iPad, you’ve lost me (and millions of other potential visitors) for the night. And if it doesn’t run on the Blackberry, you can count my wife and her friends out as well.

Now don’t start sweating. I’m in the same boat as you. My site isn’t built for mobile devices.

But today I did discover a little tool to make it a bit more mobile friendly.

This free service will turn your blog into a native Blackberry App. It took less than 40 minutes for me to set up and it works great. If you happen to be on your Blackberry, download my app here.

I had a back and forth with a guy from the company today on Linkedin and he told me that there are plans afoot to expand this little offering to iOS and Android devices in the near future.

Obviously, when everyone has this installed on their site, you’re going to have a hell of a time competing against every blogger on the planet.

So I’m going to recommend you set this up now and get the word out to your database.

Because this is one instance, where being first could really make a difference.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Everything is connected.

The tools are out there to have all your social media update like a fine tuned machine.

With very little effort you can set yourself up so that each time you update your blog or post a new video to YouTube, it automatically goes to Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook or any of the other half dozen social media hubs we’re all encouraged to join each week.

But just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.

That’s right. You don’t have to connect everything.

A few years back when all this was very new, I had a guy I barely remember from high school “friend” me on Facebook.

Within minutes I was getting information about his catering business. Needless to say, he didn’t last very long on my feed.

At the time it got me thinking about why I’m on Facebook and what the expectation of my friends are.

While I’m sure at the time they were bored silly of pictures of my newborn baby, even that was probably less irritating than the business-related tweets and Linkedin updates that were also going to my Facebook account.

So a decision was made. I severed my Facebook account from Twitter and Linkedin. I then tweaked the security settings so that only real friends were welcome in my digitally walled garden.

This allows me to separate the personal from professional.

Now when I get a Facebook friend request from a potential business contact, I politely refer them to my Linkedin and Twitter accounts.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use Facebook for business. You just have to be smart about it and create a Facebook business page, so that folks who are interested in you as a professional, continue to get what they need, while your friends and family aren’t turned off by your latest blog posting on “Leadership.”


Free site review

Why spend a lot of money, if you’re doing everything right? You may only be getting 100 visitors a day to your site. But if those 100 visitors are highly qualified leads, then that’s all you need.

Let me take a look at your site and I’ll send you a detailed breakdown of things you can do to improve your web marketing.

Obviously my bet is you’re too busy and you’ll hire me to implement this stuff.

But at the very least, I hope you’ll sign up for my blog or pass my name and site info along to others.