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How to schedule changes to your Facebook cover photo using Sendible

A recently added feature on Sendible’s social media management dashboard is the ability to update the cover photo of your Facebook page from within the management console.

In this post, we’ll take you step by step through the process of setting up and then updating the page’s cover photo. To begin with our Facebook page doesn’t have a cover photo, although if it did we would just be updating it.

Step 1: Add your Facebook Cover Photo service
a) Open the Add/Edit Services tab, and from within the Add Service pane, open the Photos tab.

b) Next, choose Facebook Cover Photo by clicking Add. If you’re not already logged into Facebook, you’ll be given the opportunity to.

c) Now, choose the Facebook Page you want to use from the list of those you administer and click Save Settings.

d) Click OK when the pop up shows.

e) You should now see the new service in My Services.


Step 2: Update your Cover Photo

a) With the service now configured, simply go to Message Box to compose a new message. Choose the Facebook Cover Photo from the list of message types.

b) Click Photo or File.

c) Choose the image for your cover photo.

d) Click Subject or Title and enter a name for your photo.

e) Finally, Hit Send.

3. Check your Facebook page (optional)
a) Your Facebook Cover Photo should now be updated!

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Interview with Johnny Costello at Social Media World Forum

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Why Your Business Should Be On Pinterest

It should go without saying that your business is on social media, but which platforms are the most effective? That really depends on your business and your target market, but there are a few things that will apply to any of you crazy entrepreneurs and your online shenanigans. One thing that should apply to everyone right now for the foreseeable future is getting engaged on Pinterest. Why?

It’s Hot
Riding trends is not the most desirable way to run a business for everyone, but taking advantage of existing markets of potential customers is always smart. In other words, when you’ve got a handful of doodads to sell, what’s more effective, taking out an ad somewhere for “doodads for sale” or walking down to the flea market and unloading them in an hour or two?

Pinterest is seeing meteoric growth in the last 6 months, and they haven’t come close to plateauing yet, so you should definitely be browsing the site and mingling as a business. There are too many people there right now. If you are ignoring where people are gathering, you are missing out.

It’s Measurable
Just like any other social media endeavors, a good set of social media software tools can track and assess your engagement and effectiveness on the site. Lots of people + knowing how you are viewed and received there = good analytics for developing a strategy. Any time you can be involved with a large group of consumers and measure that involvement, you can find profit potential somehow.

It’s the Right Crowd
The majority of Pinners on Pinterest are late twenties to mid forties women. Guess who the largest group of consumers is? You got it. Not only is it a huge group of people, it’s a huge group of people who buy things. You are not only engaging people here, you are engaging the people who statistically are the most likely to become a customer. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

It’s Different
The thing that sets Pinterest apart other than its demographic is the style of the platform. While every other social site is primarily text with visual and audio mixed in, Pinterest turns the tables by making the visual aspect the primary focus and the text secondary. This makes it different enough to withstand competition from other social sites. Pinners are likely to also be Facebookers, Tweeters, or Plussers, because the sites are different enough to avoid too much overlap in substance. Any new upstart could always turn out to be a flash in the pan, but Pinterest likely has good staying power.

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Sendible vs Hootsuite

One of the most common questions we get here at Sendible is “How does Sendible compare to HootSuite?” HootSuite is a great tool, but it does have limited capabilities for someone who really wants to dive deep into social media as well as online marketing or manage several clients. HootSuite is used primarily as a Twitter tool (although it does more than just Twitter), whereas Sendible is an all-around online marketing tool.

Sendible offers services that HootSuite does not including the ability to offer white label social media management and resell Sendible to your clients under your own brand. We also offer rebranding of your Facebook and Twitter posts so that they won’t say “via Sendible”. I have put together a list of the features and services that Sendible supports as well as those that HootSuite supports below.

Sendible HootSuite
Social Streams
Facebook Fan Page Stream x x
Facebook Group Stream x
Facebook Stream x x
LinkedIn Stream x x
Twitter List x
Twitter Search x x
Twitter Stream x x
Status Updates and Microblogging
Bebo x
Brightkite Status x
Facebook Fan Page x x
Facebook Group x
Facebook Note x
Facebook Page Note x
Facebook Post x
Facebook Status x x
FriendFeed x
Google Buzz x
LinkedIn Status x x
Myspace Status x x
Ping.fm x
Plurk x
Twitter x x
Autoresponders
Email Auto Responder x
Facebook Auto Responder x
LinkedIn Auto Responder x
Twitter Auto Follower x
Twitter Auto Replies x
Twitter Welcome Messages x
Blogs
Blogspot x
MetaWeblog x
MovableType x
Ning x
Posterous x
Sendiblog x
SquareSpace x
Tumblr x
TypePad x
WordPress (self-hosted) x
WordPress.com x x
Photo and File Sharing
Facebook Page Album x
Facebook Photo Album x
Flickr x
MobyPicture x
Scribd x
SlideShare x
Link Sharing and Bookmarking
Delicious x
Diigo x
Identi.ca x
Instapaper x
Read It Later x
Location-based Services
Foursquare x x
Brand Monitoring
Brand and Keyword Monitoring x
Reviews x
Social Media Messaging
Facebook Wall Post x x
LinkedIn x x
CSV Importers
Contact Importer x
Message Importer x
SMS Messaging
Sms Auto Responder x
RSS
OPML Importer x
RSS Auto Poster x
Email
AOL x
Gmail x
Hotmail x
Mail.com x
Yahoo Mail x
Social Media Monitoring
Backtype x
Bizcommunity x
Blip.tv x
Brightkite x
Citysearch x
Complaints Board x
Delicious x
Digg x
Facebook x x
Flickr x
FriendFeed x
Google Blogs x
Google News x
Hello Peter x
Identi.ca x
lol x
LinkedIn x x
News24 x
Photobucket x
Picasa x
Plurk x
Pressbox x
Quora x
Reddit x
Tripadvisor x
Truveo x
Tweet Photo x
Twitter x x
WordPress x
Wordpronline x
Yahoo Answers x
Yahoo News x
Yelp x
YouTube x
Pricing Starts at $9.99 Starts at $5.99

In summation, HootSuite is a very useful social media tool, but if you are looking to do more than just basic social media and want to delve into online marketing, Sendible will be your best bet. For an unbiased second opinion, check out Max Goldberg’s blog post entitled “Hootsuite vs. Sendible, or Why Paying To Use Facebook Is Amazing” as well as this comparison post from Inkstained Knuckle.

If you’d like to submit your own review comparing Sendible with other products, please send an email to info@sendible.com and we’ll be sure to link to your site from this post.

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6 Features Franchise Businesses Should Look For When Evaluating Social Media Management Tools

So you took the plunge and opened your own business through a franchise. That’s a smart way to go these days with so many businesses failing, considering that the franchise model usually has a pretty good foundation behind it. Some franchises will even offer advertising support to help you get going. They don’t, however, usually take care of the most important aspect of getting your name out and bringing in customers: your social media presence.

Social media and blogs drive far more traffic than print or traditional media advertising today, so it’s vital that you make a solid effort to use these platforms to your advantage, and do it well. In order to do this effectively as a business you need good social media management software with plenty of features. What kind of features are important in your franchise business, you ask? There are 6 that you definitely need to make sure that you have.

Autoresponder
Running a business requires lots of time, and you don’t have the budget in a franchise to hire a dedicated social media director, so you need your social media dashboard to be able to automatically respond to inquiries and mentions. If you wait until you have the time to sit down and respond to every little thing, your potential customers will have moved on to more responsive pastures.

Wide range of platforms
Facebook pages are great. So is Twitter. If this is all you are getting though, then you are missing out on a huge chunk of the social space out there. Blogs, Foursquare, email, sms, friendfeed, the list goes on and on. A good piece of brand monitoring software will cover all of your bases, not just two or three.

Tracking and Analyzing
You’ve got to know what the data means, not just how many people visited your page last month. The tracking part is important, but it should track things like click-throughs, not just eyeballs. If it’s not helping the bottom line, it’s not doing you any good.

Location Based services
 If you are a brick and mortar franchise, location based services are a must. Allowing people to check in with Foursquare and being able to track that traffic is a huge plus when you have a physical location that people can visit.

Tracking specific content
Which of your tweets, posts, and blogs are making an impact? After all, you don’t want to keep sending out things that aren’t being received well. Make sure that your software can track individual posts so you know what to repeat and build on, and what to leave alone. 

Sentiment
You want to know what people think, not just that they are visiting your site or talking about you.  Sentiment analysis software will tell if your mentions are positive or negative and lets you know what to respond to and what to leave alone.

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How to automatically distribute your blog to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more via RSS

One of the most popular features on Sendible is the ability to automatically distribute your blog posts to all your social media accounts at once.  Our social media management software does this through the use of an RSS auto-poster. This blog post will explain how this can be achieved.


Step 1: Add your social media accounts

The first thing you’ll want to do is add your social media accounts. You can do this by going to Add/Edit Services where you’ll be able to add your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts as well as many others.


Step 2: Create a group

  1. After linking up your accounts to Sendible, go to My Groups and click New Group. Give your group a name and click Create.
  2. Once your group has been created, click “Add Contacts/Services…”.
  3. Select the services you wish to add to the group and click “Select Contacts/Services”. These are the services that will receive the RSS posts. You can select as many services as you like.


Step 3: Add the RSS autoposter

Now that you’ve added your social media accounts and created a group of services that will receive RSS posts, you can configure the RSS autoposter.

  1. Go to Add/Edit Services and select the RSS tab.
  2. Click “Add” next to the RSS Auto Poster service.
  3. You will then be taken to the page that allows you to configure your RSS autoposter.
  4. Complete all the settings, by adding your RSS feed and making sure you select the group you created in Step 2 where it says “Post to the following group”.
  5. Click Save Settings for your changes to take effect and Sendible will start distributing your RSS feed.

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Website Magazine lists Sendible as one of the top 50 software solutions to explore in 2012

We’re extremely honored to be on Website Magazine’s list of the 50 top software solutions to explore in 2012 alongside so many great software companies!

According to Website Magazine, the rankings are based on the following methodology:

Website Magazine’s Top 50 rankings are a measure of a website’s popularity. Ranks are calculated using a proprietary method that focuses on average daily unique visitors and page views over a specified period of time, as reported by multiple data sources. The website with the highest combination of factors is ranked in the first position.
 

Below is the complete list of companies:

1. Adobe.com
2. infusionsoft.com
3. zoho.com
4. rackspace.com
5. vertex42.com
6. carbonite.com
7. silverpop.com
8. 37signals.com
9. freshbooks.com
10. successfactors.com
11. woopra.com
12. marketo.com
13. wordstream.com
14. brightedge.com
15. Mozy.com
16. rightnow.com
17. egnyte.com
18. ibusinesspromoter.com
19. taleo.com
20. whoson.com
21. onestat.com
22. sugarcrm.com
23. outright.com
24. Crashplan.com
25. salesforce.com
26. hubspot.com
27. netsuite.com
28. atinternet.com
29. webtrends.com
30. coremetrics.com
31. dynamics.com
32. getclicky.com
33. webceo.com
34. ektron.com
35. eloqua.com
36. crazyegg.com
37. clicktale.com
38. piwik.org
39. clickdensity.com
40. 10gen.com
41. xero.com
42. engineyard.com
43. commence.com
44. blinksale.com
45. zuora.com
46. adaptiveplanning.com
47. aprimo.com
48. sendible.com
49. salesboom.com
50. liveperson.com

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2012: The Year of Social Media Dominance

2011 saw a huge rise in social media, taking it from a sideline, extra activity to the center of the web universe. In the coming year social media will grow exponentially and become one of the central activities in human affairs on many different levels.

Business and Marketing
Companies have all but fully embraced social media in their business plans already, but the integration in 2012 will become all-encompassing, with social media dwarfing other marketing activities. The increase will become so pervasive that it will become a given and a business necessity to have brand monitoring software to track engagement and measure ROI.

Companies will also move away from having a marketing department that also handles social media. The new necessity to survive the competition will be a director of social media, and possibly a staff that does nothing but. This is because social sites will become the new customer service centers of corporations, tailoring their practices to fit into the customers’ paradigm. 

Marketing will finally find the ultimate sweet spot in social media, where well-planned campaigns become almost effortless and extremely more effective due to fitting in the target market’s activities rather than becoming an extra activity. Businesses that can see the future and prepare properly will thrive. Those who do not will sink, and we are likely to see a shake-up and shake-out of businesses in the coming year as this heats up.

Mobile Social Activities
With the smartphone and tablet markets already in full gear, this will be the year that they rise toward the saturation point. These markets have been sitting in the 20-35% adoption range for a couple of years, but the latter half of 2011 saw then inching higher each month. In 2012 this market will break 50% and beyond, and in doing so social media activities will follow and become much more mobile than they are tethered to a laptop or desktop. Social gaming will continue to grow at astronomical rates, incorporating more and more advertising as well as real-world activities that tie in.

News Will Be Primarily from Social Sites
Twitter really began the cycle of distributing news through social media a few years ago, but it has really grown into a powerful force today, with many people getting the majority of their daily news through social sites. This trend will only continue, and as major media outlets embrace it more and more it will become better structured and the primary source for most people to get their news, in one way or another. We have already seen in newscasts and in this election cycle the engagement and inclusion of Twitter and Facebook as legitimate sources of engagement and feedback from viewers, and this year’s Presidential election will likely see a huge impact from the social side of things.

Facebook will break 1 billion users, but Google+ will release their API and Rule the World
Facebook will get the push over the 1 billion mark by adding users from countries with lower rates of adoption, and they will remain a dominant player in every aspect of the social scene, which will mean the web itself. However, Google has already taken bold moves in recent days and months to set themselves up for the biggest putsch in internet history. They have steadily been integrating and tweaking their vast products and resources to eventually form one hub to rule them all, just as the Google search site was for years. With Google+ taking off in the last 4 months and being integrated with everything from search to pictures to documents to email to everything else, Google will complete this consolidation and finally release their API for third-party development, and in a matter o months they will out pace Facebook and once again become the dominant force on the internet. Once this happens it will be a coups that will be hard to undo.

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5 Steps for Successful Social Media Monitoring

Social Media is critical to your organization’s success, especially going forward as more and more customer connections and engagement are moving there. With millions and millions of people spending more and more time on social sites, it only makes good business sense to be there with them. Just like any business decision, this should be thought out and not jumped into haphazardly. Here are 5 great tips for success in using this valuable avenue.
  

Know Your Plan
It is always important to know why and what you are going to do before you do it, otherwise you are being blown by the wind. Identifying which social networks best serve your interests and where your best chances are to make an impact on the public is a first step. Twitter and Facebook are givens, but you may find that SoundCloud is a great fit for you, or Pinterest. The more sites you can use effectively the better, but if you get no engagement from the site, move on. You also need to know what you want to accomplish there. Remember that throwing out links and ads left and right is not good social etiquette, you have to be real and engage.

Listen More, Talk Less
You must seek out your audience by monitoring sites for key words and phrases that relate to your mission. If they are mentioning your name, even better. If you are a company that sells patio grills and accessories, you might search sites for mentions of cooking, grilling, recipes, barbecues, or similar things. Once you find people talking about subjects that relate to what you do, you can follow or friend them and start engaging. Once you do engage, promote yourself, but don’t cram it down their throat. Just be friendly with them, and throw in what you can when it comes up.

Recruit Promoters
Once you are engaged, get your new friends to work for you by issuing campaign challenges, asking questions that people can answer and want to answer (these don’t have to be about your business), etc. You can then turn the conversation to something related to your business and attempt to get feedback. This builds the bond. The more you can create a give and take instead of just a give, the better the chance you can get your people to “like” you, retweet you, and generally become brand evangelists for you.
  

Social means Social
Again, don’t send out links about your latest promotion every hour. A social media site is exactly that, a place for conversations and casual engagement. If you try to convert your Facebook page to your sales floor, you will lose people quickly. There must be a great deal of tact employed with your engagement, finding the right balance between promotion and conversation. Try to think of it as hanging out with your friend and trying to get them to do something for you. You have to spend a lot more time buttering them up than throwing your sales pitch at them. If the relationship is built right, th rest comes easily.
  

Measure Success 
There are simply too many people you will be exposed to to be able to track them by memory or with ticks on a page with a pencil. You will need a solid piece of social media management software to do the job right. The right dashboard gives you the numbers and analytics you need to effectively track how your engagement is increasing traffic and promoters. After all, it’s all about your ROI, and if you aren’t tracking that, then why are you doing it in the first place?

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10 Social Media ROI Metrics Your Company Should Monitor

So your company is on Facebook and Twitter and you are sending out posts and Tweets like there is no tomorrow. What are you getting for the effort? Do you know? If you don’t know, then you are burning productivity like my first car burned oil. Measuring social media ROI is just as important as any other area of your business. Some business owners are still unsure as to what they are measuring, however. That’s why we here at Sendible are giving you the gift of information with this post. Here are 1o things you should be monitoring in social media.

Leads
You should be tracking click-throughs to your site from social media sites, as well as your “likes”, follows, etc. Also try to be aware of and track any referrals that are sent your way from your existing social media contacts.

Engagement Duration
How much time are your “friends” spending on your Facebook page or using your Facebook app? (you do have one don’t you?) This “stickiness” factor should be improving over time, not staying stagnant or declining.

Bounce Rate
When folks click through from a social media site to your website, are they leaving again right away or do they hang out and see what you have going on there? If they aren’t spending time on your site once they get there, you need to evaluate whether or not your site has relevant, fresh content. The social sites can help get people to your site, but it needs to be a fun or interesting place to be, or they will get out of there like they just walked into the wrong restroom.

Network and Membership Size
For this you want to count the people that actively engage. There are lots of people who will like, follow, friend, or whatever your social presence and then they never mess with it again. You want to know how many are actually reading your posts, commenting, sharing, etc. This number should be growing, as well as the number of new people joining the fun.

Activity Ratio
This is very similar to the previous metric, but it is about the ratio of active to inactive network members instead of just the growth numbers. This ratio should also ideally tilt more and more into the active side as you go along to consider your activity a success.

Conversions
This is big. Business wise this is the most important metric here. You ultimately want to convert your network members into sales, subscriptions, or anything else that can be monetized in one way or another. You are a business, right? Track this very closely and then work on increasing the other metrics with the goal of pushing them into this one.

Mentions
Tracking your mentions on different social sites is one of the best ways to see how pervasive your brand is on the scene. This includes the good and the bad mentions. The good will tell you what you are doing right and how well you are doing it. The bad mentions tell you where you need to improve.

Loyalty
Hand in hand with other metrics, it is important to track how many times your content and links are being shared, if you are getting evangelized by your promoters, and how often they do these things.

The Viral Factor
Extended networks also need to be monitored. In other words, when one of your network members shares a link or post from you to one of their friends that is not on your network, are they resharing it with their friends, and so on. The further you can reach, the better.

Blog Comments 
You need a blog. It keeps the web-crawling robots tracking your site and keeps you in thee search results. You also need to have a comments section after each post. You need to reply to comments.  Then you need to track these comments, shares of the blog posts, etc. You also need to make sure that you have buttons by the posts that people can click on to share them on the social sites.

Tracking your social media engagement is just as important as actually being on the social sites. Don’t waste time on the sites if you aren’t going to measure the results. Of course, choosing to abstain from Facebook, Twitter, and the others is as good as hanging out the “closed ” sign for good.

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