Archive for category Social Media

Changes in the UK Higher Education Market- Utilizing social media

Sendible will be hosting a Webinar on 27 September 2012 specifically designed for higher Education establishments to allow them to see how powerful the Sendible social media platform could be in targeting potential applicants.
Register for our webinar here.

Many traditional universities, both redbrick and post-war new universities, make very similar claims, based on teaching and research, and offer very similar courses. Post-1992 universities tend to be oriented more towards the world of work, and have a more vocational leaning. The supply side of higher education is, therefore, crowded with groups of broadly similar offerings.

This may not have been an issue in the past but the increase in tuition fees, and ever growing international competition, is directing the spotlight onto higher education marketing as never before. A fundamental change in the attitudes and behaviours of students, parents, and schools, introducing new criteria by which universities will be judged, will result in a much more financial and commercial edge than has historically been the case.

Higher Education institutes are finally embracing the use of social media and social media management tools as way of directly contacting University applicants. This may be a way to enable the message of ‘we are different’ to directly reach potential applicants. The audience for Higher Education, and so Education Marketing, is students between the ages of 16 – 21 and it has been shown that 75% (Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World, 2009) of that target market regularly use Social Media as a way to communicate.

Many Higher Education institutes are using Social Media within its digital marketing plan in a number of ways; hosting videos on YouTube, running their own Twitter page, a profile on Facebook, campaigns through Bebo and profiles on LinkedIn.

Research has showed that these digital marketing plans are coming from the early adopting few and has little of the systematic and coordinated approach of the more traditional communications media.

The nature of the using these media are that they encourage social networking and should be presented within any digital marketing strategy as elements of a single plan. Too many higher education institutes allow different people to use different tools to reach the same audience, not presenting the cohesive marketing plan.  Sendible provides answers features such as our workflow approval ensuring a consistent message through all communications this feature can span throughout an organisation.

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Changes to the Sendible bulk message importer

A lot of our users have been requesting the ability to attach links and images to messages they import using Sendible’s bulk CSV message importer.
We have now made this possible with the addition of two new fields: URL and Image.

The full list of fields we now support through our Message Importer are:  
– Message (required): The body of the message to be imported.
– SendDate (required): The date the message should be sent. Formatted as yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm. 
– Subject (optional): The subject/title of the message.
– URL (optional): The URL to be attached to the message. Always include http://.
– Image (optional): The URL to an image to be attached. Always include http://.

An example file:
“First message here”,”No Subject”,””,””,”2015-10-29 15:45″ 
“Nextmessage here”,”No Subject”,””,””,”2015-10-29 15:45″ 

You can download a sample file here.

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London 2012: The most sociable games yet

With one of the most memorable games of our time coming to a close last weekend, social media has stood to become a key indicator in gaging the public’s reactions to the games and any controversies that have ensued. The most notable eruption on the social media sphere was with regards to NBC (the US television network) – Its lack of coverage to US audiences of the full opening ceremony and the decision to delay transmission of the Games so that it could maximise its advertising revenue in primetime had sparked ridicule from TV critics and outrage from the US public.

Social media has become a powerful tool for users to vent anger and frustration as well as celebrate and commemorate the games.  The medium has come a long way since Bejing in 2008 then Facebook was still in its infancy stages with just 100 million users. Now, the network has surpassed 900 million. A similar story can be said for Twitter – six million users were on the service in 2008. Now, over 600 million have signed up.

The social emphasis on these games hasn’t gone unnoticed during the Olympics and Paralympic games Twitter is being harnessed to display the huge pride in the achievements of Team GB’s Olympians by lighting up the EDF Energy London Eye. Tweets that are centred around the Games will be analysed throughout the course of the Olympics, and will use those tweets to power a spectacular light show at 9 pm and 10 pm every evening.

Using the Sendible social media dashboard, the monitoring feature can analyse the whole of the social web, generating data from many sources (not just Twitter). These sources can be from; blogs, microblogs, social networks and even comments on sites such as YouTube. Sendible’s unique algorithm scores the sentiment of each individual post by looking out for key words and phrases. Overwhelmingly the games look to be a success with the positive buzz around the games generating a rating of 89%!

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Using Email and SMS to Complement Social Media

Social media websites can be used to build up even the smallest business’s brand through establishing an online presence that can reach a broader audience than otherwise possible using traditional means. You can use your social media presence to reach and inform not only your customers but also the people close to your customers. Furthermore, your social media presence gives your customers a chance to participate in a community revolving around your business and gives you the chance to directly influence their opinions. However, your social media presence should not be the only marketing method that you use to spread word of your business because its effects are that much greater when combined with other methods such as emails and SMS messaging.

Using Email and SMS

It is vital to remember that sending emails and SMS messages to people is a bad idea unless you have their explicit permission to do so. Not only is spamming people aimlessly highly irritating to them and almost certainly damaging to your business’s brand, but it is also illegal in many places and likely to cost you once you are caught. Instead, the best way for you to use email and SMS messaging is to get permission through your social media presence. Telling people to sign up for news about your products and special discounts is an excellent way to get permission so long as you do not abuse that privilege.

Once you have permission to send your customers and potential customers emails and SMS messages, you can start using those methods to market to them. Good emails and SMS messages are short but big on meaning because most people are unwilling to read anything that is too long or too boring. Instead, emails and SMS messages are best used to bring them to your business for further information and marketing. This is particularly effective if you adds calls to action such as time-sensitive discounts to your emails and SMS messages.

Using Email and SMS to Complement Social Media

Under ideal circumstances, you’ll want to use your social media presence to tell people about your business and have their first impression be positive enough that they agree to let you send them emails and SMS messages. This way, even though not all customers and potential customers who come upon your social media presence will stay and become part of your dedicated customer base, you’ll always have more chances to bring them in. Each time that you have a sale, a promotion, or a new product that you think your potential customers will be interested in, you can send an email or SMS message to tell them about what is happening at your business. If your message is sufficiently interesting to them, that will bring them back to your social media presence where you have a second chance to sell your product to them and possibly win their loyalty as a dedicated customer.

Ultimately, your goal for your social media presence should be to integrate it seamlessly with the rest of your marketing efforts. If you can accomplish this with email and SMS messages, you’ll be able to use the brand value built up using your social media presence to repeatedly impress your customers and potential customers in a loop of positive reinforcement.

Alan Li is freelancer based in Toronto who has spent time working with local companies venturing out for the first time onto the Internet. He enjoys contributing to several resources including Degree Jungle a student information portal.

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Five ways to judge social media management software

It’s only been a few calendar years since software for social media management became available. What was largely a crisis-management tool that monitored brand mentions is now a full-blown method for listening to your customers. If you’re about to acquire an SMMS, here are five items to look for before you buy:

1. Easy navigation
Think about what you want to accomplish. It’s easy to be led astray by a pretty (inter)face. But like beauty, bells and whistles don’t necessarily lead to a relationship that will last. Be sure the SMMS you select lets you:

  • Schedule content – Not everything has to be written on the fly. In fact, most things shouldn’t be. Be sure your package lets you set up a schedule for your content. Then stick to it. Your content will improve. So will your working hours. 
  • Post easily – Be sure you can easily get your message out to all the obvious names in social media. Most tools available do the job nicely. But it always pays to be sure. 
  • Upload multimedia – More and more brands are adding video to their posts. If your software can’t handle video, you’re defeating the purpose of buying a management tool. Be sure the tool you select enables this important task. 
  • Geo-target – Some tools allow it, some don’t. Remember, a happening in one city is going to leave the rest of the country out in the cold. Used properly, geo-targeting gives your marketing efforts pinpoint accuracy. 
  • Tag posts – When you tag each post, you not only simplify report generation, you spare yourself the job of revisiting each post at month’s end 

2. Easy analytics 
If the dashboard of a prospective management tool doesn’t offer strong analytics, move on. At minimum your software should allow you to:

  • Match Facebook and YouTube Insights – You should be able to get that information on the same platform you use to post. It’s an available function, but not a universal one. 
  • Analyze Twitter – Yes, it’s a complex function. But basic Twitter data, such as impressions and clicks, should be accessible. 
  • Analyze the competition –Some tools make competitor’s Facebook data available. It may not be critical information, but it’s certainly valuable. 

3. Reliable performance
An unstable tool is an unreliable tool. Your readers won’t put up with double posts and broken links. There’s no reason why you should either

4. Mobile performance
Does your mobile device play nice with your SMMS? If it doesn’t, it soon will. Or it should. Unless you never leave your computer, consider this capability very seriously.

5. CRM compatibility
Merging customer and social content data can be useful. It’s another function you may want to consider.

Your choice of an SMMS tool can make your job a lot easier, or considerably more difficult. Base your selection on these parameters and you’re likely to pick the tool that suits your requirements.

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Receive email alerts on your social media profiles for new updates

We are really excited to announce the launch of Sendible’s new email alerts feature, which allows you to receive emails/alerts for your Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts via email as and when there is new activity.
Now, everytime someone comments, retweets or posts to your profile, you’ll know about it!

To enable alerts, simply edit the Social Media account in Add/Edit Services > My Services.

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Facebook Timeline Gets Down to Business

You knew it was coming. Facebook Timeline for Business is here, bringing with it some new and powerful social media marketing tools. Let’s take a look at how to put this relatively new arrival to work.

Cover Yourself
Facebook Timeline lets you use a photo much like the one on a magazine, on the banner-like image at the top of the page. You’ll make a good first impression with an image of your key product or brand and what you’re looking for in a customer relationship. Stay away from specifics such as pricing, like or share requests, and contact information. Your cover is there strictly to attract attention.

All About “About”
The About section tells your story and holds your profile image, along with statistics on your total fans and how many mentions you’ve earned. Describe your business here, but be brief because you’ve only got 150 characters to do the job. A link to a map and other basic facts is also part of the About section.  

Changes in Apps Your apps have moved. They’re now under your cover image and to the right of the About section. But more than looks are new. You can now upload an image to represent the page visually. There are a total of four apps on the home page, a standard one for Photos, and three more to make your own. You can also add apps with the More button. Be sure these pages contain appealing names and photos.  

Changes in the Admin Panel There’s a new Admin Panel, too. It’s on top of your Timeline and gives you a fast review of page activity.  The Admin Panel also includes an Insights section for additional customer detail.

Notes on Posts Posting hasn’t changed on the new Timeline. Interesting and relevant posts are still the best way to appeal to readers. But Timeline does offer some new ways to add life to your posts.  

  • Timeline posts are in two columns that swap between left-and-right. But for added emphasis you can also highlight a post by spreading it over both columns.  
  • You can now pin a post to the top of your Timeline for up to seven days. It’s a great technique for short-term promotions.   
  • You can also use Timeline to share key moments in your company such as new product introductions. A little history lesson never hurts when you’re building a brand or an image.  

That’s the basics of Timeline for business. Put it to work for you.

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10 Ways to Find Facebook Fans

Today, Facebook pages are almost as common as business cards. This social media marketing tool turned phenomenon is everywhere. But the difference between one-time visitors and fans can be a big one. Although there are many ways to build your Facebook fan base, here’s 10 to get you started.

1. Email and Ezine Make it Easy
If your email list lets readers opt-in, use it to invite them to your fan page. Spread the invitation out over time and you can even ask more than once. It’s also a good idea to describe your page and give them a reason to join.

2. Sign on to Your Signature Block
It’s also a good idea to include a link to your fan page in email. Make it part of the signature block and it will be seen without detracting from your other messages.

3. Go Video
A video on the “who, what and why” of your fan page is a great way to convince one-time visitors to become long-term fans. Be sure to change any references to a “fan button” to a “like button.”

4. When They Tag, You’re It
Post photos taken at promotional or sales gatherings and you’ll help give your fan page a human face. Then ask your visitors to tag them.

5. Advertise on Facebook
Facebook takes care of its own. You can buy highly-precise, and relatively inexpensive, advertising right on Facebook itself. Click the “Advertising” link at the bottom of any page and go from there. Visitors can become fans by clicking on the ad, even before they visit your page.

6. Connect to Twitter
Link your fan page to Twitter and you automatically share content on both sites. Stay inside Twitter’s 140 character limit if you can. Or use the 420 characters Facebook gives you, let them shorten your post, and link it back to your fan page.

7. Pursue Print
Chances are you still use print in many aspects of your business. Add links to your social media sites on everything printed, from letterhead to magazine ads.

8. Go Retail
If bricks and mortar are part of your company, be sure you have signage that lets all your retail customers in on your fan page. Encourage them to join in-store by offering an immediate incentive from a store employee. 

9. Write on Walls
Used in moderation, including an @ tag as a sign-off when you write on a friend’s wall can attract fans. It’s a lot less heavy-handed than including a complete signature block.

10. Sign Other Pages
You can use the same technique, again with restraint, when you post on someone else’s fan page. Stay away from competitor’s pages though.

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10 Social Media Mistakes You Don’t Have to Make

Most companies and their brands are now waist deep in social media engagement. But mistakes, both well-intentioned and not so much, are being made. Since avoiding mistakes is a lot easier than correcting them, here’s 10 sure-fire social media slip-ups to sidestep.  

1. All Specials All the Time
Everybody likes a deal. But discount everything all of the time and you look more like a huckster than a marketer. Your brand and your customer’s relationships with it will both suffer.

2. All Contests All the Time.
Likewise, everybody likes a little fun. But unless you’re an online game site, endless contests are going to dilute customers’ engagement and take conversion metrics along on the downward spiral.

3. No Promotional Motion.
So you’ve set up a social media site? Congratulations. But don’t expect customers to look for you. Actively publicize and market your site. Remember, the first step to a sale is letting people know what you’re selling.

4. Nothing but Good News.
Nobody bats .1000. Not even your brand.  If someone makes a negative comment on your site don’t just make it go away. When you do, you diminish the value of positive comments. Be sure you also address the problem and talk about your fixes.

5. Going on Too Long.
Highly-detailed press releases and long-form videos have a place. But your social media site isn’t it. Too much content runs counter to the short-attention-span the Web encourages. Long messages usually make for short visits.

6. Take Your Time.
Don’t undervalue feedback on your site. Consumers ask questions when they’re interested. If you’re lucky, they’ll call a CSR. If you’re not so lucky, they’ll just go somewhere else  

7. Mixing Your Signals.
A discount from one division or department means the same discount from another division or department. Make sure there’s a way to unify promotions and discounts on a company-wide basis. If you don’t, expect to do a lot of explaining.

8. First Spy, Then Ambush.
Everybody follows consumer behavior on their site (or should). But when you pursue visitors by email or phone after they visit you online you’re not marketing, you’re intruding. Lots of hang-ups and deletes are sure to follow.  

9. Get Too Comfortable.
Once online, some brands assume their work is done. You know what they say about sharks that stop moving.

10. Fall in Love with Likes.
Everybody wants to be liked. But a “like” button isn’t the same as a “purchase” button.  Concentrate on being liked and you’ll almost certainly lower your return-on-investment.

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. Avoid these mistakes and you’re on your way to harnessing that power.

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Social Media Management for Franchise Businesses with Sendible

We are excited to announce the launch of several new features ideal for franchise businesses wanting to leverage the power of social media across all of their locations.  When developing these new features, we wanted to make it as easy as possible to for large chains to manage social media for each of their stores.  The article below explains how franchises can leverage Sendible’s social media dashboard to manage social media for multiple locations:

1. How to write the same post once and insert custom content for each location

Sendible now makes it possible for users to define custom tags that can be assigned at a store/location level or at a social media account level. These custom tags act as placeholders at the time messages/posts are composed and are replaced with actual values at the time the message is actually sent. To define custom merge tags for social media accounts, follow the steps below…

a) Sign into your Sendible account and click on My Users.
b) Click “Tags”
c) Create a new custom field/merge tag, by clicking New Field. 
d) A new dialog will open up and you’ll be able to enter custom capture information.
e) Select the Category – this is the type of merge tag you will be creating. Options are “Contact”, “User” or “Account” and dictate where these merge tags can be used. For this example, use “Account”.
f) Click Save to add your first merge tag. To add more, repeat the process from c above.

e) Now that you’ve added a few custom tags, you can populate the fields. Since we’ve added Account tags, we can add tags at the account level. 
f) To do this, go to Add/Edit Services > My Services. For each of your social network accounts, click the “Tag” button and fill in the relevant information.

g) Now that you’ve added information for each account, you can compose a message and insert merge tags to be replaced with the relevant content at the time your message is sent.
h) Go to the Message Box tab and click “Merge Tags”. You’ll see a dialog window with multiple tags, grouped by category.

i) You can insert tags into your message by clicking on the relevant item from the list. 
j) When you’re ready, you can select as many social media services as you like and the merge tags will be replaced with the appropriate content at the time of sending.

2. How to sign off content at the head office before a location publishes content

Head office is often required to approve content before it gets published to a franchise’s social network accounts. Sendible’s workflow features make it possible for you to define approval workflows, assign tasks and make sure content is approved and signed off before it gets published to the social web. To create a workflow, follow the steps below:

a) Go to My Users.
b) Click on the user/location in your list who needs approval before content can be published.

c) Under “Approval Workflow”, click “Edit” to be able to define which user needs to approve posts before they get published.

3. How can head office publish content on behalf of a location

Sendible’s powerful social media dashboard makes it possible for usrs to share their social network accounts with other users. In the franchise scenario, the head office has the ability to create each of their locations, setup each of their social network profiles and then share these accounts with team members who need to be able to publish to these accounts. The way to set this up using Sendbile is as follows:

a) After creating your location instances within My Users, switch to each location’s account and setup their social media profiles for them. 
b) Once you’ve done this, go to Add/Edit Services > My Services and use the Sharing button to share these services with the head office user. 
c) This will allow head office to post updates on behalf of the location from within their Message Box. 

4. How can head office access reports across all of their stores/locations

Sendible”s social media analytics features provide you with aggregated reports across each of the franchise’s locations. To access printable reports for individual locations or across the entire franchise, you can do this as follows:

a) Go to My Users.
b) Click the Reports button.
c) You’ll see a new dialog window that you can use to print reports. 

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