How to Auto DM on Twitter

Learn How to Auto DM on Twitter (Automatically Direct-Message)

One of the most important pieces in any strong Twitter strategy is engaging with your followers – and one of the easiest way to get that engagement starting is with an Auto DM on Twitter.

For those who don’t know what an Auto DM is, it’s short for “automatic direct message” and it is just what it sounds like – setting up a system to send an automatic direct message to someone on Twitter. And if you want to set up a Twitter Auto DM, I’ll show you how.
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Pepsi United and Sean Spicer PR Disaster

3 Valuable Marketing Lessons from Pepsi, United Airlines and Sean Spicer’s PR Disasters

Over the course of a week, PR and marketing professionals have had the chance to get some great real-life lessons in how quickly public stupidity can backfire and become a brand nightmare, thanks to three spectacularly public PR disasters by Pepsi, United Airlines and Sean Spicer.
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What Is Digital Marketing?

What Is Digital Marketing?

Although it’s been around for going on three decades now, digital marketing is still an area of marketing many people are still struggling to understand. Part of the question of “what is digital marketing?” comes from the fact that it wasn’t until recently that digital marketing became an actual field of study at universities and tech schools. Another reason though is that digital marketing, unlike traditional marketing, is much more intangible since it exists only in digital form.

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A Quick Hack for Awesome Image + Text Content

Image + Text Typography Content Is Easy (and Awesome) with This Tool

I gotta be honest. I was a little hesitant to share this hack I use for creating image + text content since it gives away a bit of my “magic” – but it’s just too good not to share.

If you use any kind of social network, you’ve seen the images of nicely formatted quotes or affirmations etc. overlaid on nice photography and backgrounds. They’re a great visual (and engaging!) way to get a short message across – so much so that Facebook even recently added in the ability to put background colors behind your text posts as a way to emulate their effectiveness.

But making beautiful graphics is hard, right? There’s certainly a lot more to well-formatted typography than just sticking some text over and image and hitting save (trust me, I’ve tried it). So how do you get the same kind of professional-quality images of your own to share?

Easy. There’s an app for that.
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Livestream On a Budget

5 Tips to Livestream Your Event on a Budget (And Still Look Professional)

On the evening of January 21, 2017 I made history. From roughly 8pm-12:30am I livestreamed a reading of my entire novel, ‘A Confession,’ across Facebook Live and Periscope/Twitter. As far as I know, I’m the first author ever to do this.

I did it all in my house, on my own, in my basement for under $100.

And now the question everyone keeps asking me is How did you do it?

When I first decided to go all-in with this event, I admit I had a few hesitations. How do I keep the camera rolling? How will it all look? Will the services even let me stream for that long?

Can my throat handle talking for 4.5 hours straight?

Well, the key in making sure the event went off as well as it did was in preparation. Here’s what I did, and what you can also do on your own if you’re ever looking to do a live event of your own.
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Free Webinar: Social Media MUSTS for Building Your Author Platform

Your “author platform.” It’s something every author hears about, and how important is to build one. Whether you’re a self-publishing or going the traditional publishing route, it’s an absolutely key component for any modern author’s success.

Now, there’s a lot of parts to building a successful author platform, including your website, blogging and guest blogging, author and book tours, live events, etc. – but in my experience the area where people seem to struggle the most to make sense of it all is in social media.

It’s been almost 10 years since I published by first novel, and I’ve been a professional digital marketer (I’m the ex-CMO of one of the top-500 e-commerce companies and one of DMN’s Top 40 Under 40 Marketers for 2016) for almost 20 years. So yes, I’ve been around the block. But one of the most important aspects of my success has been in understanding the ins and outs and pluses and minuses of most digital communications platforms.

I want to share what I’ve learned building a world-leading brand as well as my own personal platform with you.

Be aware though that building your author platform alone can’t guarantee sales. For that to happen you’re going to need to write a great book that people want to read. The quality of the product and level of appeal to consumers are going to be extremely important in turning your platform into sales. I’m not a best-selling author … and mostly it’s because what I prefer to write isn’t quite in the mainstream. But what I have done is connected with thousands of other readers and writers and built a strong brand around myself as both an independent author and digital marketing expert.

So, with all that said, there are a few absolute MUSTS that you should be doing with your social media when building your author platform, including a special section on what platforms you need to be on (and why), how to engage with readers and authors in ways that best work on each platform, and how to build your social media platform with strong cross-channel integration in mind.

I originally wanted to share this via a blog post, but honestly there’s just too much information to share and it makes much more sense when I can walk you through it all. So instead I’ll be hosting a live webinar where I’ll go through this all, and even have it open for questions from the attendees so you go away with actionable tips specific for your needs on how to best grow your author platform using social media.

Social Media Musts for Your Author Platform


Twitter Now Has Live Video

My thoughts: Personally I have yet to really engage in the live video phenomenon. We did one at Musicnotes for our VH1 Save the Music event back in October, but other than that I haven’t done live broadcasting – and I think most people probably haven’t.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t huge and isn’t becoming a standard now for all social media services. With Twitter adding it to their platform using their Periscope technology (and Instagram literally adding it two days ago) we’re at a point now where pretty much every major social network has it a standard implementation. Facebook even added video to the top of their mobile app “quick links” buttons recently.

While Qik and uStream did live video forever ago, it never really caught on huge … but now that it’s on all the big established platforms I think we’re going to see more and more of it.

Expect to start getting a lot of notices that your friends are “live now.” And work on your excuses as to why you didn’t tune in. 🙂

P.S. I wonder how much people will trust Twitter with their video needs after their recent decision to kill Vine?

Starting today, you can create and Tweet live video from the Twitter app, powered by Periscope. To go live, compose a Tweet, then tap “LIVE” which brings you to pre-broadcast screen where you can frame your shot. When you’re ready, press “Go Live” to start broadcasting.

Source: Go Live on Twitter! (Twitter Blog)

Twitter Tip

Twitter Tip: Don’t Auto DM New Followers

It’s tempting, right? The idea of sending an auto DM to your new followers on Twitter?

Don’t give in. Resist the urge.

Don’t be annoying.

I follow a lot of people on Twitter and every day I’m probably following another 50-100 new people. Some days even more. I do it because they’re talking about topics that are interesting to me, or they’re on curated lists identifying them as people who are active in the discussion topics I like.

I LOVE following new people. Especially people who partake in conversation (as opposed to just spewing out promotional links).

What I don’t love – what no one loves – is being sent a generic message the second a connection is made.
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Snapchat’s Biggest Risk Is Ingrained in Its DNA

Earlier today I was talking to a colleague about valuations (and overvaluations) of a lot of tech companies, and in particular how the “get users at any cost” model appears to finally be showing some cracks (which make sense, since the whole concept of monetization has never been realized by most of them). Naturally, discussion veered to some of the hotter platforms out there now, including Snapchat.

I’ve been using Snapchat myself for a month or two now, after seeing my wife become addicted to it a few months earlier and finally giving in to see what all the fuss is about. My colleague has used it in passing, but it hasn’t caught on for him. Given that we’re not the demographic who’s using Snapchat the most, we turned our discussion away from “why is this popular?” to the more pressing question: “why is this worth so much, and how do they ever plan to make this profitable?”

Of course, Snapchat has been rolling out quite a few features lately that can bring in money – the most promising of which I think is their sponsored filters/effects. So they’ve got their eye on profitability, or at least some sort of revenue stream – and they’re doing it in ways that actually make sense as part of the platform rather than just sticking ads into people’s streams – but this brought up a much more important question. Is the lack of advertising and the lower usage of Snapchat by the “older” demographics part of the reason for its popularity? Is Snapchat so popular with the younger demographic due in part to the fact that they feel its a kind of club of their own?

If that’s the case, it’s entirely possible that as advertising and monetization move in, and as Snapchat becomes used by all the “grown ups” out there, the current large userbase might bail. It’s also possible that they will stick with the platform due to the inertia they’ve made in it, much like how Facebook users have stuck with Facebook as they’ve gotten older. In other words, Snapchat may not always be popular with the “younger” demo, but instead that younger demo may become accustomed to having Snapchat as part of their lives and its usage demographics will shift as the users shift. Same user group, different demographics over time.

The problem with this though is that Snapchat has a very serious risk that is built directly into the DNA of the product. By its very nature of “auto-deleting” posts after view, or even only having rolling windows of 24 hours for stories, Snapchat’s value only lies in the current space in time in which it exists. Over the course of a year, someone may engage with the platform thousands of times, but none of that has any historical record or value. Basically because you can’t go back and see what you did six months ago, your investment into Snapchat holds no value to you.

This is where platforms like Facebook have built up such resilience to customers simply abandoning the platform. With Facebook you have a historical record, like a virtual scrapbook, that you can go back in time and view. Throughout the time you’ve spent interacting and sharing you’ve built up a history that includes major amounts of data and information, all of which you would in essence “give up” if you were to abandon Facebook. Instagram is similar with its photo timelines, and Twitter with your tweet history. Snapchat has nothing of the sort. Yes you might build up a bunch of connections, but those are easily transported to a new service.

A good comparison from an e-commerce / tech perspective would be to think of switching analytics providers. If you’ve spent the last 10 years gathering your data into Adobe/SiteCatalyst, you have a lot of information (a vested interest) in the platform. Even if Google Analytics is better and cheaper, the cost of switching is huge because you lose all the information you have stored there (ignoring data exports, of course). The point is, all that data and historical interaction is of great value. An analytics platform that only told you what happened in the last 24 hours would be susceptible to major churn when something else hot comes along – and Snapchat is in the same boat here.

I don’t think Snapchat is anywhere near the end of its days – in fact I think it still has a lot of room for growth. But there’s a big risk built in to the way they work that makes them much more at risk than any other major platform in memory in that they have really no investments from their users that can be leveraged for continued brand loyalty.

The good thing is that with this risk, they will be required to continually innovate to keep users engaged. But once the new hotness comes into town, the exodus could be like nothing we’ve seen before (even counting the death of MySpace).

My Pick for Social Media Management: Sprout Social

If you’re running a business and you have a social presence (which you better have if you plan on being relevant), it can quickly become overwhelming to manage all your accounts. This can become even a bigger issue if you have more than one person managing your social accounts. You also need to be able to keep an ear out for voice of customer and to help with any incoming support requests or other customer questions.  Basically social’s a two-way street of communication, and there are a ton of lanes.

You can find a lot of options out there for social media management, especially at an agency level, but after all the ones I’ve gone through I recommend Sprout Social the most. You can manage Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ channels, schedule posts, create tickets to route messages to the right people on your team, etc. It also gives a good chunk of analytics, tying in to your Google Analytics even if that’s something you do.

Most importantly, with my team we encourage multiple people to be able to post to social. We follow brand voice guidelines of course so that the message is always consistent, but by getting people from different departments or backgrounds out there on the account we’re able to provide a much larger breadth of communication than we could with just one “social media manager.” The problem with this though is that you can get too many people talking at once, and your message becomes garbled. Again, Sprout helps with this as you’re able to see who posted what, when, schedule posts, see what’s in the queue to be published, etc.

So, long story short, if you’re looking for a good solution on how to manage your social media, check out Sprout Social. You can do a free trial too. It’s how I started with them and as soon as I saw they could solve my issues, I signed up for the larger package (professionally/business-wise, that is – for personal social media I do it all native to the platform).

Bonus? Their support team has been awesome.

… and no, they didn’t pay for this. It’s just an endorsement / recommendation of a tool that I use that I’ve had success with, to help you more easily find success too.


Update on April 14th – Sprout just reached out to me to say thank you for the article. I didn’t even tell them I posted it. So they’re monitoring obviously works, and they were classy enough to say thank you. That’s like a bonused bonus.