HootSuite Owl, Hootsuite can save you time

Smarter Social Media with HootSuite

Managing the numerous social media profiles that companies are expected to have in today’s digital age can be a daunting task. Posting to Facebook, Tweeting useful information to your followers, responding to messages and posts, managing reputations on Yelp and G+; it can be, and many times is, a full time job. There are numerous tools, however, that can help you leverage your time to interact with these networks in a more intelligent and efficient way.

Our favorite at Black Tag Design is HootSuite. When we started the 10 minute marketing blog series, our hope was to provide quick ideas to help your online and offline marketing efforts. This post isn’t about a 10 minute project as much as it is about using tools available for better time management. This tool happens to only take about 10 minutes to set up.

Let’s take a look at HootSuite and see how it can help you maximize the amount of time you can dedicate to social media.

Aggregating your social media feeds

HootSuite takes all of your social media feeds and aggregates them into a single page snapshot of everything happening on your social media channels. If you have an active social media presence, tracking your daily interactions with connections can be very labor intensive. Manually checking at a minimum 4 networks (Facebook, Twitter, G+, and LinkedIn) on a frequent enough basis to respond to interactions in a timely manner requires full time effort. HootSuite and other social media tools like HootSuite, allow you to observe all interactions from a single interface. One page for everything, not 4 or more.

Duplicating shared content 

A major component of all social media efforts, especially business to business services companies, is going to be sharing useful content. Nothing will replace unique original content from your company, but sharing industry leading articles, how to’s, and useful resources helps to establish you as a leader in your industry who recognizes useful industry content. Sharing content manually across platforms can be difficult if done without a tool to assist in the process.

Take for instance an article that you want to share to your Twitter followers, your Facebook followers, your LinkedIn Connections, and your Google+ Circles. To do that manually would require four separate posts, formatted differently for each network, a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes.

With a tool like HootSuite and their provided extensions, namely the Hootlet app for the Chrome browser, sharing an article is as easy as surfing to that article, clicking the extension button, modifying the title to be posted, and maybe slightly altering the post content. The link will be minified to help with character limits automatically.

This is all done on page, easily and quickly. By pressing the post button, the article or page is shared across all of your selected social networks instantly. An even cooler feature, however, is the use of scheduling. By clicking “schedule” or “auto schedule” you can either select a time for your post to be posted, or you can let HootSuite pick the perfect time to send it out for maximum audience engagement.

Using a tool like HootSuite is an absolute must for any company with multiple social media profiles, especially companies without a dedicated social media representative.

HootSuite is by no means the only service in this space and we have no affiliation with them (apart from using their service), we just genuinely like their service and think that others will find it useful too. Companies that are new to social media and are just testing to waters, this can help cut down on the clutter and streamline your workflow. Other services in this space include TweetDeck, Buffer, SproutSocial, and more. Check out this article on Social Media Today for a quick rundown of services  The goal of all of these services is to leverage the time you can dedicate to social media. Check them out, use them, and let us know your favorites in the comments.

facebook cover photo screenshot

Facebook Graphics Sizes

Social media is a booming business. Most businesses, big and small, are creating social media pages to help communicate with their customers. It is both an excellent sales tool and customer service tool. To do social media right requires commitment and a clear vision for your goals. Generally, the best place to start on social media is your company image. Today I’m going to give you some tips on creating the best possible graphics for Facebook. We’re going to go over profile photos and cover photos.

Profile Photos

The profile picture of your company is the image that appears whenever you post a comment, it appears next to your posts on peoples news feeds, and it also appears towards the top left portion of your company page. Generally for smaller companies, and for companies just starting out on Facebook I suggest keeping it fairly simple for a profile picture. Your company logo, and possibly a tagline. Profile pictures will be seen by Facebook users at multiple sizes. On your company page, it will be displayed at 168px x 168px, whereas in a post the logo will show up as a small 48px x 48px, and in a comment to a post the logo will show up as a tiny 32px x 32px. It is definitely worth keeping in mind that whatever profile picture you decide to create, it should be simple enough to be at least recognizable at that very small size. Here is an example of the Black Tag Design Facebook profile picture.

Facebook Profile Photo Sizes

Facebook Profile Photo Sizes

You can see that the 32px photo is fairly hard to distinguish, but the page name is displayed beside the picture in any comment, which helps with brand recognition. The only requirement for a high quality profile picture is that the content is square, we recommend at least 500px x 500px, and that it is capable of scaling down to a very small size legibly. This can be done with MS Paint, Photoshop, or even Powerpoint.

Cover Photo

The cover photo is a more complicated graphic to create. This graphic ideally is 851px x 315px. The cover photo is a great place to display products, or company slogans. There are a few considerations however. The profile picture that you just uploaded actually overlaps some of the cover photo, and when someone visits your page from a desktop or laptop it loads the page slightly scrolled down from the top, only exposing 851px x 185px.

So what do we do with all these dimensions? Well let’s look at a graphic to help us understand how to assemble an effective cover photo.


Facebook Cover Photo Guide

Facebook Cover Photo Example Sizes

In this example, all of the area in black will be visible to a user who initially visits your Facebook page from a laptop or desktop computer. You can download this image (right click and say save image) and use it as a stencil in PowerPoint, Photoshop, or Paint.

A Few more pointers on Facebook cover photos.

  1. Keep text to a minimum. On mobile devices the cover photo is almost completely covered by the page name and the profile picture. Don’t rely on the cover photo to be a part of your brand image on Facebook, let it augment your profile photo.
  2. Generally cover photos with graphics biased towards the right of the photo look better.
  3. Be sure to give the profile picture some space with the cover photo, otherwise it could look a little crowded.

Hope that helps make Facebook graphics a little bit easier!

Adding Social Media Icons to your Email Signature

Adding Social Media Icons to Your Email Signature

Let’s face it, everyone, and every business, should be on social media at this point. It’s free, it’s not that hard to use, and it’s a great utility to help grow your customer base. Coupled with a solid email newsletter campaign, having a great Facebook page and promoting it religiously can be a huge benefit for every business, from Fortune 500s  to the smallest sole proprietorships.

One of the keys to success in social media, and business in general, is to promote, promote, promote, without being intrusive or obnoxious. As a professional interested in marketing, you have to take advantage of every opportunity to provide access to your various contact points, including social media outlets, without annoying your potential contact. One of my favorites is a non-intrusive link to my company’s various social media channels in the signature line of every official company email address.

This post is going to show you how easy it is to put those links in your signature line. We’ve even hosted some social media icons for you to use. I’m going to describe this from the perspective of Google Gmail but the process is similar in every email client.

1.  Go into settings and find your signature line

In Gmail this is done by clicking on the gear menu  >>  select “Settings”  >>  In the “General” tab, scroll down to the “Signature” box

2.  Turn on signatures and put in your preferred signature

adding social media icons to your email signature

This is roughly how it should look when we’re done.

My signature contains my name, title, basic contact info, website, etc. But how do you get those cool little social media icons in the signature?

 3.  Click on the “Insert Image” button in the signature text editor toolbar. 

When you click that button (in Gmail) a window pops up asking for an image URL. But where is the url for these social icons? Good news, we’ve hosted some icon sets for you! We’ll update this list as we add new icon sets.

By clicking on any of these links they will take you to a public Google Drive folder which contains various social media icons. To use them in your email signature, just click on the icon that you need (click on Facebook for instance) and copy that URL. Paste the URL you copied into the insert image box in Gmail. If the link worked, an image of the icon will show up in the “Insert Image” box. Click “OK”

At this point you should have an image of a social media icon inserted into your signature. Now you need to link to your social media page.

4. Highlight the image and click the “Link” button (it looks like two chain links)

Once you put in the URL that clicking the image should link too, you’re done!

Sit back, relax, and know that with about 10 minutes of work, every single person who sees your emails, now has a way to see your social media profiles.