Hootsuite: Automation and Monitoring Social Marketing

In which I interview Sue about the tool Hootsuite which Ausoma uses to automate some aspects of an author’s marketing, and to monitor interactions online. You should listen to the audio, but if you prefer, a transcript is below.

Joel: Hi this is Joel.

Sue: And Sue.

Joel: And we are Ausoma.

Sue: Authors’ social marketing.

Joel: Today Sue is going to tell us about Hootsuite. It’s a tool I don’t use and she and her team use it all the time. Take it away, Sue.

Sue: Hootsuite is a vital part of what I do for my clients. Anyone can go to Hootsuite and get a free plan, however they’re very limited. They are only able to monitor three social media accounts with it and they’re limited to creating and scheduling thirty messages at a time.

For my clients, as many clients as I have, to be able to manage them all from one dashboard I have purchased Hootsuite Pro. My team and I use that. It allows me to have basically an unlimited number of social media networks that I can monitor for each of my clients and I can have my other team members go in and monitor their accounts as well, all from my Pro dashboard.

So we’re able to monitor Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, even Pinterest and Instagram as long as it’s a business account which I do encourage all of my clients to have a business Instagram account. They can have a personal one if they want but that is separate from the business.

And then in Hootsuite we can create streams for social media network. That’s very helpful because in addition then to seeing what tweets we have already out we can see what tweets we have scheduled. We can monitor mentions so we can see if a client has been mentioned by anyone and then make a reply or thank that person for mentioning or letting a client know “Hey somebody mentioned you and had this question.”

We can also monitor hashtags. If a client has a particular hashtag they’s like monitored to see if other people are using it we can monitor that. I use that a lot also for events. When the client has an event and they’ve created a particular hashtag for that event, especially if it’s a live event that we’re monitoring in a particular day and want to see who all is using it, make sure that we’re replying to their tweets about that. We can monitor that as well.

Joel: I remember it has multiple columns. You can have columns open for various hashtags, different accounts, so you can see everything that’s happening in a client’s social media life at a glance.

Sue: Yes. Even though you’re limited to ten streams within an individual tab I can have as many tabs as I want so if I needed additional streams for a client I can just create a new tab for them and monitor additional things.

Another great thing that we like to monitor for Twitter in particular is lists. We encourage clients, and actually create for them, lists. Usually each client has a list of what we call influencers. Those are people within their particular industry that also share information that they would like to share with their audience. So that influencer’s list we monitor and retweet something from that list on a regular basis. We also thank the people who have retweeted and we can monitor that in Hootsuite as well.

With LinkedIn we can watch for updates, mentions, company updates. On Facebook in Hootsuite we can monitor if people have messaged their business page and let them know about that. Then we can see what’s been posted or been scheduled on Instagram, for example. That way we can just at a glance see if perhaps we need to schedule something or move something around. You can easily edit from a stream as well.

I do still encourage everybody to log into their own accounts at least weekly and see if there are comments or messages there. Just automating isn’t enough, particularly with Twitter and Facebook, if you rely only on Hootsuite you might be missing some messages, particularly on Twitter; direct messages are no longer showing up in Hootsuite so you have to log into your Twitter account to find your direct messages.

Joel: Any other particular limitations Hootsuite has?

Sue: It doesn’t create content for you.

Joel: Okay.

Joel: All righty then.

Sue: So we can talk about that. That pretty much wraps it up and explains why and how we use Hootsuite to help monitor our clients’ accounts.

Joel: This can happen in real time. You have a team of people who are helping, so the clients’ accounts are being monitored so that important connections don’t slip through the cracks. We all hate it when we discover ten days later that someone was in our neighborhood and we could have met for coffee or they were having an event we wanted to go to, or they asked “Where can I buy your book?” and now it’s been ten days or two weeks and we didn’t say anything. So that that monitoring is really important for the social part of this.

Sue: Yes.

Joel: Useful tool. Great! Thanks for sharing all of that. I didn’t know all those things about Hootsuite.

We’ll be back again with something else fun

This is Joel.

Sue: And Sue.

Joel: And we are Ausoma.

Sue: Authors’ social marketing.

Joel: See you next time.

Social Media Paint-by-Numbers

A recent research article by HubSpot helped me see why I like certain social media platforms and dislike others. It also contains lessons on how to make better use of both those we like and those we don’t.

As we’ve written before, there’s no magic bullet, no perfect time to post or special place to find all your business in one fell swoop. There is, however, meaningful data on how to use each platform to get the most out of it.

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about how people (mostly unconsciously) perceive the major social media platforms, and what that translates to for your own use (and, of course, how it affects the services we provide for our clientele.)

Watch for it each Wednesday for the rest of the winter.

The Series

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
LinkedIn
Conclusions

Three Reasons to Experiment with BookBub Ads (Guest Post by Anne Janzer)

We reached out to author Anne Janzer after she shared her experiences below in her own newsletter. Anne’s books are marvelous examples of nonfiction done right, and we appreciated her willingness to share her experiments and conclusions with our readers.

BookBub is renowned for its Featured Deals. Every author I’ve spoken with who ever got a Featured Deal sings BookBub’s praises.

But here’s the thing – I’m a nonfiction author, and those deals are harder to come by. (So far, I’ve landed two “international-only” featured deals in the self-help category, but none in the US. Harumph.)

Lucky for me, there are BookBub Ads.

BookBub ads haven’t been around as long as the Featured Deals, and the company has been making changes to the platform. But from my perspective, they’re terrific.

If you’re considering using paid advertising to support a book launch or promotion, BookBub ads definitely worth a look. Experiment and see if they find a place in your book marketing plans.

How they Work

BookBub sends its subscribers emails with the Featured Deals for the day. At the end of that email, there’s an ad. Here’s one from a recent email to me:

The advertiser provided the image. At the bottom of the email, you can see that BookBub showed me this ad because I follow Daniel Pink. If I click on it, it takes me to my preferred ebook source (in this case, Amazon in the US).

While these ads may be less compelling than the Featured Deals, they can perform well. My own experience has been that they can and do send people to the book page and generate sales, with a few caveats (see below).

Three Reasons to Consider BookBub Ads

Successful Facebook advertising still stumps me. Amazon advertising is tricky; getting Amazon to scale up your spending can be a challenge.

In contrast, BookBub ads are consistent, reliable, and have definite advantages for indie authors. These are the things I most love about them:

  1. Control—You control when the ads show. If you bid high enough for a number of impressions, BookBub will show your ad.
  2. Scalable Spending—You can spend as much or as little as you want. For example, test the waters on an ad image by running it as a “pay-per-click” campaign, in which you pay only when someone clicks on the ad. If you’re happy with it, you can drop $30-50 on “pay-per-impression” ads and get a burst of traffic for a few days.
  3. Author Targeting—BookBub lets you target fans of specific authors. This means that if you choose well, you’ll send the right kind of traffic to your Amazon page.

A Few Caveats

As with any advertising strategy, it takes careful copywriting, financial tracking, and a sound strategy to make sense. In particular, pay attention to the following:

Your landing page: If you spend a bunch of money sending people to your Amazon page and it doesn’t do sell your book, then you’re wasting your advertising budget. Start by tightening up that page.

The ad image: You don’t have a lot of territory in the ad image to earn a click. It helps if your book cover is compelling. See this post on the BookBub blog: Top 20 BookBub Ad Designs Readers Want to Click.

The price: BookBub readers sign up to get the heavily discounted books, so these ads work best when you’re running a discounted promotion, or your ebook is priced low. You probably won’t sell a bunch of $9.99 Kindle books using BookBub ads.

The authors: Target fans of authors who would appeal to your readers. People who have big sales on Amazon don’t always have followings on BookBub. Go to BookBub and search for the author’s name to see how many followers they have. You may have to think creatively to find your ideal set of authors.

Your financial comfort level. Your advertising campaign should pay for itself. You can blow through the money using “Pay per impression” ads, so pay attention to how they are performing. Consider allocating a small budget for ads, then tracking your results. Think of it as an investment in learning that should pay for itself.

Success requires experimentation. Run the same ad to different authors, or different ad images to the same authors. Try an ad campaign as part of a launch, or schedule a promotion and advertise it on BookBub. As with everything in book marketing, there’s no single right answer.

Be willing to experiment.

For More Information

Learn before you start advertising. Here are a couple resources:

Anne Janzer is an award-winning author on a mission to help people communicate more effectively through writing. Her books include The Writer’s Process and Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why. Find her ramblings at AnneJanzer.com.

Using Evernote to Stay Organized

Virtual office professionals need to be well organized. One tool I use to help me stay organized wherever I’m at is Evernote. The free version is all I need and I can use it on my laptop, my tablet, and my phone. It syncs seamlessly between all my devices.

Evernote is a digital repository for information of all kinds. Some of the things you can do with Evernote are:

  • create to-do lists
  • take notes for a client
  • save web links you want to return to later
  • take photos of documents
  • make note of content ideas for your blog

I’ve found it very useful to create my shopping or errand lists and then have it with me on my phone or tablet. You can even create check box lists and check off each item as you purchase it or do the task. The notes you create can also be shared to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can send them via email as well.

The basic version, all I’ve needed is free. However, they do have a Premium version that’s only $5 month or $45 for the year. The premium version allows you to:

  • use it offline
  • share with others and allow them to edit
  • get 1 GB monthly upload storage in the cloud
  • password lock protect your files on your mobile device

evernote screenshotA very nice feature is that you can take photos inside of Evernote and save or share them. Now you can take a photo of a document instead of needing to find a scanner. You can also snap a photo of a business card and save all the information to Evernote instead of having a pile of business cards in your desk drawer.

On your desktop or laptop computer you can install a web extension for Evernote’s Webclipper. With the Webclipper you can even take a screenshot. The image you see here was taken with Evernote’s Webclipper screenshot tool.

Do you use Evernote? How has it help you stay organized?

Here’s a link to another article with more information about Evernote and other note-taking apps.

Are You an Employee or a Business Owner?

The Commonsense Virtual Assistant
The Commonsense Virtual Assistant

Sometimes new virtual assistants think of themselves as employees. But you are not! You work for yourself. You are a business owner!

Since you are a business owner, you need to understand what it takes to run a successful business. It takes more than just having the skills your clients expect you to have to help them in their businesses.

You need to now how your clients think and what they want. You also need to know what you want – what you expect from your business.

To help you succeed as a business owner and get out of the employee mindset, the book, The Commonsense Virtual Assistant – Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee, was written.  Here are what some readers have said:

“This book is a must read for anyone looking to get into the virtual assistant industry and it is a blueprint for success for those who are already in the industry. It guides you through a mindset shift that shows you how to operate as a highly successful online business.”Lucinda Cross, Life Coach, Vision Board facilitator, Business Mentor

“While this book is directed towards Virtual Assistants, business owners of all industries will find it very useful in their pursuit of the American Dream of owning their own business. It will help you understand and overcome the limitations you place on yourself, consciously and subconsciously, that stand in your way of becoming a confident, successful business owner. It helps you develop an understanding of how your customer thinks, why you think the way you do, how to best utilize resources, and put processes into place to help you become the successful entrepreneur that is in every one of us!” – Michelle Randolph, Gold Force Administrative Support

“This book is a great reference for anyone considering a career as a Virtual Assistant (VA). It is well-written and gives a roadmap of the entire VA process from how to think like a VA, the skills needed and even to to how to operate your VA business. I especially love the resource chapter.” – Sandy Plarske, Elite Administrative Services

To get your year started right, begin by reading this book. The Kindle version is available at Amazon for only $3.99.