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August 1, 2011

Execute Hundreds of Hours of Social Media Marketing in One Afternoon

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This is a submission to the Small Biz Local Discovery Contest and part of our commitment to serve the small business community with quality Internet marketing resources. This article answers the question: “How would you advise a small business owner on how best to use SEO, PPC or Social Media to drive conversions to a local business?”

Vote for your favorite contest entry from August 1-10.

Small Biz Local Discovery Contest Finalist Badge

You can create and execute a full social media marketing campaign in one days worth of work. The idea is to use a combination of software, services and browser extensions to keep your social accounts fresh while avoiding a change in your established online habits.

All of your colleagues are talking about their groundbreaking social media initiatives. Some pay consultants a lot of cash to do what seems easy for a 5th grader. Some are hiring interns from the local college to take charge of their online presence. These are legitimate practices, but they require a lot of resources. A social media presence is essential, but most small businesses don’t require this much dedication of resources.

There are many tools that can be combined to fit social media into your workflow.

I am not advocating automation!

I’d like to discuss how you can make social media marketing a bi-product of your established internet usage habits. After logging into your account on day one, these techniques will keep your profiles updated regularly without adding any additional concentrated effort.

While reading the examples below, try to think of tools that curtail to your own style of interacting with the web, and may be most beneficial to your business.

Here are three examples to get your mind going:

1) RSS Ticker delivers articles while you browse. Push relevant business articles to LinkedIn.

You probably already frequent many blogs that discuss topics relevant to your industry. ‘RSS Ticker’ will deliver stories from your favorite blogs, scrolling across your browser so you can periodically glance at headlines. Whenever one of these articles piques your interest, open it in a new tab and have a quick glance.

Download RSS Ticker Add-on for Firefox. Subscribe to your favorite blogs by clicking ‘Bookmarks => Subscribe to this Page’:

RSS Ticker Add-on for Firefox

Next, download the LinkedIn Add-on for Firefox. Install this add on and you can easily broadcast the good articles to your Linkedin connections with the push of a button. The article can be shared as your personal status, or as a status update to your companies group.

If you want to get a bit more advanced, you can set RSS Ticker to display some more creative RSS feeds, like monitoring for specific keywords, updating you on new blog comments, etc. Get creative!

2) Queue tweets for staggered posting with Buffer. Use these tweets to update your social media accounts with BlogsFeedNet, and Ping.fm.

Install the Buffer add on to your browser. During your daily session of web surfing, click the Buffer icon to queue batch of tweets at once. You can right click on any selection of text and with one click, have a tweet scheduled.

use Buffer browser add-on to schedule tweets

The next step is to use BlogsFeedNet to grab your tweets and deliver them to Ping.fm. You can link together all of your social media accounts with Ping.fm so that when you tweet, it automatically updates every single one of them with the same message.

First, sign up for both BlogsFeedNet and Ping.fm. Next, enter your Ping.fm account’s information(your unique API) into BlogsFeedNet along with your Twitter RSS link. You can construct your Twitter RSS feed like so:

http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=[YourUsernameHere]

use BlogsFeedNet and Ping.fm to schedule tweets

3) Create an RSS feed that aggregates your website and blog updates with Yahoo Pipes. Enter the RSS into TwitterFeed to update Facebook and Twitter automatically when you update your site.

Your business’ blog or website needs to be updated regularly, which is a hassle by itself. Every time you finish your update, you have to copy a link, create a Facebook status update, post it, do the same thing again for Twitter and post that. It doesn’t sound like much work, but these tasks can really drain your time when required after every site update.

This technique will automatically post website and blog updates to your social media accounts without ever logging in.

First log in to Yahoo Pipes, and use this premade feed aggregator to combine all of your RSS feeds into one.

Yahoo Pipes feed aggregator

Blog update RSS aggregator

Now, sign up for Twitterfeed and enter the RSS feed you created with Yahoo Pipes. Register your Facebook and Twitter accounts and Twitterfeed will monitor your Yahoo Pipes RSS feed for updates.

update Twitter with RSS automation

Everytime you update your blog or website, Twitterfeed will post it to your Twitter and/or Facebook account announcing the update. You can alert your visitors of the changes without ever signing in or even writing a status message!

This keeps fresh content flowing to your accounts, and gives your followers something relevant to look at each day. You also avoid having to manually visit Twitter and Facebook every single day, but still regularly appear in your user’s new feeds.

*Bonus* http://ifttt.com

If This Than That is a new service which calls upon a host of APIs and automatically ties them together using ‘Triggers’ (if this) and ‘Events’ (then that). You can set it up to link together the majority of your social accounts and do some tasks that previously would have been very difficult. If the previous three techniques seem too difficult for you, ifttt is the solution for you. Please leave a comment below and I will try my best to get you an invite.

ifTTT.com is so powerful, you could probably fuel your entire campaign with their api calls. Here are three unique uses of the service that I’ve seen.

There is a huge list of user created tasks to give you an idea.

Some creative usages I’ve come across:

social media tasks

There are many articles online that discuss how to use the service, so explore a bit and you’ll figure out a use specifically for you. I could write an entire article on the benefits this service provides, but we will hold off on that until another time.

I hope I was able to open your mind to think of ways you can link together your social accounts with some free services, and start marketing as a result of the actions you are already taking online.

Your actions will now automatically keep your social media accounts up to date and streaming with information.

Share any examples you can think of in the comments! Have fun!

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7 responses to “Execute Hundreds of Hours of Social Media Marketing in One Afternoon”

  1. Muzaffar writes:

    Thanks for the informative article.
    Can you please send an ifttt invite?

  2. Louis Girifalco writes:

    Sure I can do that for you. Follow me on Twitter and direct message me with the request. @flyblackbox

  3. Brent Rangen writes:

    Nice one Louis! IFTTT rocks, thanks for the suggestions on ways to utilize it. It amazes me how many ways you can make IFTTT work for you.

  4. Kathy Long writes:

    Hi Louis, I’m a fellow finalist here and I just wanted to pop in and tell you how much I appreciated your article. Good stuff! I’d love to get an IFTTT invite as well. Thanks! – Kathy

  5. Louis Girifalco writes:

    Kathy your article was great. I think it will help a lot of business owners improve their search traffic, even with relatively simple tech skill, by following your advice.

    Follow me on Twitter and send an @reply, I’ll follow/DM you and we can start talking! :D

  6. Jeff writes:

    I’d like an ifttt invite too please!

  7. John Minter writes:

    Pushing pertinent business articles to Linkedin is a good suggestion. Thanks for the informative posting!



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