Monthly Archives: October 2015

How to Allow Users to Notify You of Errors in WordPress Posts

Self publishing your ideas on the web has become extremely easy. However, the biggest downside of self-publishing is that you are entirely responsible for your mistakes. There is no one checking, proof reading and editing what you publish except yourself. You might have built yourself a good editing workflow where you cross-check your facts, spell-check your articles, and polish your thoughts with revisions, but there is always a chance that you might make a mistake. A small typo, a broken link, or another minor error can happen because you are human. Though if not reported on time, your error can stay there for years. In this article, we will show you how to allow your users to notify you of error in WordPress post content using error notifications.

Let users help you find mistakes in WordPress blog posts

Why Catching Small Errors is Important?

First of all a careless typo or spelling mistake can leave a bad impression on your readers. They might think that you do not carefully craft your posts before publishing them.

You can use tools to auto-check grammar and spelling mistakes in WordPress, but there is still a chance that some mistakes may end up on your site. They can stay there for years without you noticing or correcting them.

If you are writing in a language that is not your first language, then your words can be mistaken by native speakers. Some of your users may want to help you out by pointing out those mistakes so that you can fix them.

Allowing Users to Notify You of Errors in WordPress

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Mistape plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Mistape page to configure the plugin.

Mistape settings page

You can choose users with the administrator or editor user roles to receive notification email about errors. Alternately, you can manually enter email addresses where you want to send notifications.

You can choose the post types where this feature would appear. You must check posts if you want all your blog posts to have this feature.

The plugin can automatically add a caption below posts to inform users that they can notify you about errors. But if you don’t want to automatically display the caption, then you can enable the shortcode.

You can also customize caption shown to users about this feature. By default, the plugin will show a text message. This text will be automatically translated if you are using WordPress in languages other than English.

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

You can now see the plugin in action on your website. Depending on your settings plugin will display the caption below your posts. Users can select mistakes and press CTRL+Enter (Control+Enter on Mac).

A popup will appear to inform users that their suggestion is forwarded to site admins.

Notification sent popup

We hope this article helped you allow users to notify you of errors in WordPress posts. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a blog post checklist in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Allow Users to Notify You of Errors in WordPress Posts appeared first on WPBeginner.

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Behind The Scenes With Lynn Terry: How I Run My Online Business, Quirks And All!

Lynn TerryThis photo pretty much sums me up:

Coffee in hand, camera bag over my shoulder, over-packed (lol) and ready to GO anywhere… at any time!

I have an amazingly busy, fast-paced, FUN lifestyle – with tons of adventure and plenty of downtime.

I’ve been in business for more than 18 years, working from home and online, and I’m very successful with it.

Lately there have been a number of interesting questions, perceptions and observations about me :) (lol) so I thought we should have a “Truth Time Talk” and set a few things straight…

Some of these points may surprise you, some may be exactly what you expected – and you just may walk away with something you can implement to make your own business even more successful!

All of these points came from recent conversations with people across the web, by the way. I think you’ll really ENJOY all the helpful tips.

In this “behind the scenes” post, you’ll discover how I run my online business, how I deal with things like risk and uncertainty, how I stay organized and on track -lol, the “secrets” to my hyper-productivity, and much (much!) more…

“You are so organized and detailed…”

I’m glad I give off that appearance. 😛 haha!

I’m actually unorganized, unfocused, struggle with details, and more often than not I’m flying by the seat of my burning pants -lol.

I wonder sometimes if “balance” is a myth. I like to think I have a good handle on it with my walks in the sunshine, afternoon naps, long lunches and fun traveling, etc. But mostly I just wing it – and I enjoy having the freedom to do that.

I’m also not sure whether it’s possible to be totally organized, streamlined, automated etc. Things change too fast online. It’s the state of doing business on the internet.

My advice: move fast, change fast, go with the flow…

It IS something I’m working on though. I have a post & video on that topic here: Strategic Planning vs NOT Planning (or Flying By The Seat Of Your Burning Pants!)

Goals vs Priorities

I’m doing more planning and strategic thinking now than I ever really have. One of my biggest “A Ha!” moments recently was in regards to Goals versus Priorities.

I realized that goals are just dreams and hopes. They are totally meaningless. It’s our TRUE priorities that get our time & attention, not our goals.

If you want to know what your priorities really are, just keep a running Time Log for the next week. See how you REALLY spend your time, because that will tell you exactly what you consider important.

The key of course being to turn your goals… into priorities. It means sacrifice, change, the painful process of forcing yourself to create new habits and break old ones – you know, the stuff “self discipline” is made of. 😉

When you really get serious about wanting something, you’ll make it happen. Until then… it’s just a goal. Which is useless. It has to become a PRIORITY to happen.

“Do you EVER sleep?!”

LOL – yes! :) I’m not a workaholic, not by a long shot. I have a very fluid schedule and a flexible lifestyle that affords me plenty of freedom & fun time.

I usually sleep 5-6 hours at night and 1-2 in the afternoon, but that varies. I tend to just sleep when I’m tired, work when I’m inspired, and have FUN every chance I get!

I love my split schedule though. I’m at my best first thing in the morning. It’s my most creative “brain time”, so getting two mornings out of every day is a total WIN.

I’m a health blogger so it’s in my best interest to rest, eat healthy and live an active lifestyle. I think a split schedule is very healthy, by the way. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s especially beneficial for people with any type of inflammation issues (for muscle recovery) or for those who struggle with focus (ME!) as it provides a “reset”.

I have a lot of “me time”, too. You might be surprised if you knew all the FUN things I do between the updates and blog posts you SEE!

“What are the main things you implement on a daily, weekly or monthly basis that produce your best results?”

This was a fun question. It made me think!

8 points came to mind…

  • Start every day with a money task.

This is something that has become a HABIT for me. It’s such a habit that I even do it on my days off, when I’m traveling, on vacation, and even on holidays. It only takes a few minutes to at least do a “quickie” even if you’re short on time.

If you start your day with a Money Task, you’ll consistently grow your business. Then even if the day gets away from you, you’ve at least accomplished a priority first.

Some of my “money tasks” are for long term growth & revenue, others are for immediate income. I classify them as “direct” and “indirect” money tasks.

Being consistent is much more important than how much you get done in any given day, or how many hours you spend at it. It’s the little things that add up over time to grow a solid business. And when those little things are growth-focused, even better!

  • Create as much content as you consume.

This is a personal policy, and one that keeps me focused on growing MY business. Yes, it requires serious discipline! It creates a personal responsibility to your time though, and forces you to choose the content you consume much more wisely. That way you focus on learning what you need to know, and doing what you need to do.

We’re discussing this on Facebook here… :)

Think about it: Did you really need to read everything you have lately? Did you do anything with that information? Was it time spent (wasted)… or time invested??

  • Implement as you go!

This piggybacks on the last point, and it’s probably one of my TOP productivity tips. I always say, “Never buy or read anything you don’t need, to accomplish what you’re working on right now.” In other words: If you’re not ready to implement it, skip it!

You can’t possibly learn everything you need to know to run a successful online business… upfront. Things change fast, and you need to stay on top of what’s working right now. So just dig in and learn as you go. It’s the best way to learn anyway.

To give you an example, I just started studying the $5 Post Quick Start Training. If I were to try to watch every single video module first, or read through the entire printed guide (my preference), I would forget some of the important points by the time I got to the end. 😛 So I printed out the guide and put it in a binder, then dug in and implemented every tip on every page as I went through it.

The big benefit? By the time I get halfway through the course, I’m already making a return on my investment in that guide!

  • Take fast action. You can always edit & update.

There’s no such thing as perfect. Actually, there is, but it doesn’t mean what you think it does. Having a perfectionist mindset can really hold you back. More often than not… it’s just a good excuse to procrastinate. 😉

I am FAR from perfect. I make mistakes all the time. I forget things, stuff falls through the cracks, etc. I go back and edit A LOT. But that’s okay! There’s an edit button on almost everything, lol.

Taking fast action, having a GO! (just do it) mindset, has really helped me grow my business fast – and keep it moving forward consistently.

I simply DO, and work out the details as I go. Sure that means I make mistakes, but it also means I’m always making progress, because mistakes can be fixed. Lack of action means NO results, and NOTHING to fix. lol…

  • I have a VERY productive but “free flow” workday.

I love NOT being stuck in a traditional work-week routine. And yes, sometimes I work weekends. Here’s a sneak peek into my last weekend. While I’m working on doing more “strategic planning” (*shudder*, lol), I find I work best having more of a freeflow routine. This allows me to work on something creative while I’m really inspired – and just go with it – instead of trying to force things when my mind isn’t in it.

Of course I can’t totally wing it. As I mentioned, I start off the day with a Money Task. I also outline my Top 3 Priorities for the day, every day, and knock those out first. That allows me to stay focused on my priorities, but also have plenty of free time to go with the creative flow otherwise.

  • Always have an objective! Focus on the Priorities…

I never do something without a reason. Every single thing that crosses my screen is a quick “yes” or “no”. It’s an immediate internal response to a subconscious question:

Does this take me closer to my goals, or distract me from them?

As one example, I don’t read social media content streams. You shouldn’t either! We’re discussing that here, btw. Instead, I subscribe to specific content by creating topical lists, or by using notification features. This is a GREAT practice.

See: Why You Should Be A Social Media SNOB.

What I do when I get “stuck” or feel overwhelmed (and yes, this happens OFTEN!), here’s what I do: Sit down and analyze what has become an unorganized list of random tasks. Organize that list based on 1) priorities, and 2) deadlines. Break it down into the smallest possible task (micro-task vs project). Order the list based on what NEEDS to be done first, in what order, then start at the top and… dig in!

I make quick work of this. The point is to get out of overwhelm and get into ACTION. Not to procrastinate on “doing” by spending hours “planning”. 😉

  • How I deal with fears, or uncertainty & anxiety.

Yes, I have all of those. I’m human. I’ve dealt with fear of success, money mindset issues, self esteem issues (“what if they don’t like my webinar?!”), etc.

Anytime I get nervous, anxious or feel uncertain about something… I do my Worst Case Scenario Exercise. It works like a charm!

I find it best to journal it out. When something is in your head, you process it emotionally (fear, doubt, etc). When something is in front of you, you process it logically (solutions, rational observation). You have to ask yourself WHY you feel the way you do, whether it’s rational, and what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen if you move forward – and if you don’t. That’s how I deal with it…

  • Do more of what’s working, and less of what’s not.

Consider everything you do a “split test”, just like you were split testing conversions on sales page elements. Analyze which social media updates get the most engagement and conversions, and do more of those types of updates. Analyze your books to see what results in the majority of your revenue, and do more of that.

Analyze your time to see where you’re spending the most time for the least return, and the least time for the most return, and switch those around!

Once a month I sit down and look at my site stats. Tip: Analyze the top 10-20 pages on your site that are getting the most views. Look for ways you can tweak the call-to-action, improve the conversion, or best use that to your advantage. It makes sense to give your time & attention to pages that are already in front of people consistently.

I also analyze my top sources of traffic. It’s not always what I expect!

There may be a guest blog post I wrote 8 months ago that is still driving a nice steady stream of targeted traffic. Which makes me ask myself: Why am I not doing that at least once a month?! Bingo.

“How do you decide what you send your list vs what you put in your blog posts vs what you post on social media, etc?

Do you have to know what products you’re going to create in advance and work backwards to decide what to send to each media – blog posts, email list, social?

If you do need to work backwards it seems that it would take a long time to get things set up. Is that correct and just unavoidable?

On the other hand, starting with the freebie without knowing what comes next is overwhelming to me.

I’m not sure about what to send my email subscribers consistently other than the blog posts and occasional announcements and promotions, or if I really need to send additional content at this point.

I don’t do well with flying by the seat of my pants, have frequent bouts of brain fog, and It helps me to see the big picture first. Therefore, coming up with emails on the fly is difficult. I’m thinking it would be good to have some emails already written (if I need to send more than blog posts) and ready to go for the times that my thinking is muddied.”

First, see: Fast, Easy Content Marketing. This is cool video where I share my screen with you and show you exactly how I do all that.

I think the answer to the questions above ^ really depends on your niche and your business model.

I’m my own target market so sometimes things come up on a whim like something I’m doing, trying, buying, thinking, feeling, etc. I like to have real conversations with my audience, and I find the more natural and spontaneous the better.

See: Monetizing Your Own Life – For Fun & Profit! for how that works.

It is NOT necessary to have everything planned out in advance. I say that from personal experience, of course :) I tend to “wing it” more than I plan out – very far ahead, at least. Things will come up too that aren’t “scheduled in”, such as changes or opportunities, so you need to leave room in your schedule to go with the flow.

Don’t plan things so tight that you miss out on trends, hot topics & opportunities!

If your personality is more geared toward planning and preparation, then definitely make that work for you! You might even enjoy “mind mapping” if you really like a more Big Picture view. But no, you don’t need to know everything upfront. In fact, there’s no real way you can. Draft out a general overview of the direction you’re going, and your objectives, then work strategically in that direction.

There’s no right or wrong way to do things, so long as you’re always moving forward. That’s the key: always be making progress.

As for what to mail your list, if you blog then a Blog Broadcast is a great way to serve your readers with great content. You can also email them directly when something cool comes up that you want to invite them to, recommend, share, etc.

My advice: Go to your own opt-in box and study it. Why did they subscribe? What did you promise them? What expectations did you set up when you invited them to join your list? THAT is what should determine what you send them via email…

What was your favorite point? Or what do you plan to test out or implement from this post in your own business? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Leave a comment and let’s chat…

Best,

p.s. If you enjoyed these thoughts & tips, you’ll love this free download where I share the inner workings of my day to day business as a niche blogger. :) *cheers*

Buffer’s Marketing Manifesto in 500 Words

Treat every piece of content—every tweet, every Facebook post, every CTA, every press outreach email—with the utmost care. There needs to be a bit of an internal struggle when we hit send or publish, if we don’t feel it, I don’t think it’ll be good enough.

This shouldn’t be confused with perfectionism, we want to push things out with consistency and without lingering.

This is about self-discipline to go through that struggle—even if it’s felt ever so slightly—every single time.

We don’t want to become churners – that churn out posts, or tweets, or what have you.

Every single piece of content is the only one that matters.

We give it all of our attention. We want to make it excellent, and we have a slight feeling of vulnerability and discomfort when we get it out because we think it might be too edgy or that it might fail. That is, however, what also creates the volatility of the piece, the opportunity for it to rise above everything else we’ve written so far and stand out and attract everyone’s attention.

Sometimes we think that just putting out a consistent number of things will just create some outliers that’ll help us win. Heck, I even believed this for a long time and advised people to just focus on quantity. I don’t think that’s true anymore. Yes, we need to output things at high quantity, but we need to treat every single piece of output as the one that’ll be a breakout hit.

Every single piece, we have to feel like “this is going to be the one.” Not all in the same way, but all in their own unique way of redefining excellence for their own area. And then, only some of them will be the true breakout hits and most of them won’t. But that’ll be the only way for us to truly create a space of excellence.

I think this is the approach we want to take and possibly we’ve fallen off it slightly reading some comments of how people feel about what we produce. It will require a lot of inward reflection and learning, and it won’t always feel great as we go through that struggle. I do think it’ll help us create something we’re truly proud of, where we can say: “Yes, writing this wasn’t easy, and I doubted myself a few times along the way. I then published it with slight discomfort, but I felt it was the right thing to do. Now seeing the results makes me happy.” Or maybe it’ll be a disappointment, but the self-discipline for being uncomfortable has to be there.

(This was originally shared as an Evernote note to the Buffer marketing team following the great discussion in a recent post on the blog.)  

The post Buffer’s Marketing Manifesto in 500 Words appeared first on Social.

How to Easily Display Code on Your WordPress Site

Do you run a development related blog and want to share code snippets on your blog posts? By default, showing codes in your WordPress site is not easy. For security reasons WordPress filters out any raw code added into posts, widgets, or comments. We’re often asked about what syntax highlighter plugin do we use to display code on our website. In this article, we will show you how to easily display code on your WordPress site.

First you need to install and activate the Synatx Highlighter Evolved plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Syntax Highlighter to configure the plugin settings.

Syntax Highlighter settings page

The basic plugin settings should work for most websites. However, you should review all settings and make changes if necessary. Each option has detailed description to explain what it does. Once you are done, simply click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Syntax Highlighter evolved uses simple shortcodes to display code. For each language you need wrap your code in the shortcode for that language.

For PHP you would wrap your code like this:

[php]

<?php

echo “Hello World”;

?>

[/php]

It will appear in your post like this:

 <?php echo "Hello World"; ?> 

For CSS you will wrap your code like this:

[css]

.entry-title {

font-family:”Open Sans”, arial, sans-serif;

font-size:16px;

color:#272727;

}

[/css]

It will appear on your site like this:

 .entry-title { font-family:"Open Sans", arial, sans-serif; font-size:16px; color:#272727; } 

Syntax Highlighter will automatically highlight the code for that particular language. It will also add line numbers and handle tab indent properly. Your users will be able to easily copy and paste code snippets from your WordPress site.

How to Display Code in WordPress Without Using Plugin

Many bloggers do not run a development blog, so they don’t need to add sample code snippets in their posts very often. For rare occasions, you can add code by encoding the code into HTML entities. Like this:

&gt;?php echo "Hello World"; ?&lt;

The problem with converting code into HTML entities is that it is difficult to do manually. You can use online tools like this one, to convert code into HTML entities.

By converting PHP, HTML, JavaScript code into HTML entities, you can paste them into your WordPress posts. For additional styling you can wrap code between <code> and </code> tags.

We hope this article helped you find the best syntax highlighter plugin for WordPress. You may also enjoy our article about 13 plugins and tips to improve WordPress admin area.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Easily Display Code on Your WordPress Site appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Disable Auto Linking of URLs in WordPress Comments

Did you know that when a user adds a plain text URL in their comments, WordPress automatically makes it clickable. Recently, one of our readers asked us if it was possible to disable auto-linking of text urls in WordPress comments? The answer is YES. In this article, we will show you how to disable auto-linking of URLs in WordPress comments.

Why WordPress Autolinks Text URLs in Comments?

WordPress automatically converts text URLs into links which makes it easier to visit the link while moderating comments.

This auto-linking is not stored in your database. WordPress makes URLs clickable when displaying them on screen in admin area as well as comments section below your articles.

Auto-linked clickable text URL in WordPress comments

Some of these comments are genuine where commenters didn’t know how to add a link in comments. But many spam comments also contain plain URLs pasted directly in the comment text.

Disabling Auto-Link in WordPress Comments

Simply add this single line of code in your theme’s functions.php file or in a site-specific plugin.

 remove_filter( 'comment_text', 'make_clickable’, 9 ); 

WordPress does not store plain text URLs as links in the database. Instead it changes them into clickable links on the fly. This code simply disables the filter that makes URLs clickable.

This makes plain text URLs non-clickable in admin area and comments section below your posts. Removing this code will re-enable the auto linking.

If you are adding it to your theme’s functions.php file, then updating your theme will overwrite your functions file.

Also keep in mind that this code only works on plain text URLs. If a user decided to create a link by adding the proper HTML tag, then those links will appear as they should.

If you want to complete turn off any HTML in comments, then take a look at our tutorial on how to disable HTML in WordPress comments.

We hope this article helped you disable auto linking of URLs in WordPress comments. You may also want to see our list of 16 best plugins to improve WordPress comments.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Disable Auto Linking of URLs in WordPress Comments appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Scale Things That Don’t Scale

What sets winning businesses apart from the competition?

Automation is one edge. The Lenskold Group found that 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation.

What is an underrated way to drive more conversions?

Again, automation. companies that use marketing automation also see 53% higher conversion rates than non-users, according to the Aberdeen Group.

All of which raises the question: What kind of marketing automation are these winning businesses doing? And how might we be able to implement this for our business, too?

I’ve had a really fun time digging into this topic and researching how automation can help you with personalization, lead generation, relationship building, consistency and delighting your customers. I’d love to share what I found!

Marketing Automation

How to scale the things that don’t scale

At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon — that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required. – Hubspot

The above quote from Hubspot sums up marketing automation perfectly.

The goal of automation is not to remove work entirely but to help you work more efficiently. With automation you can save time but still drive results for your business.

As amazing as automation is, it’s important to remember that people buy from and engage with other people. When used correctly, marketing automation frees up time from manual tasks (like moving data from one tool to another) and empowers us to be more connected to our audience and customers.

Many businesses (Buffer included) are built off the back of doing things that don’t scale. And automation can feel counter-intuitive to that notion.

However, with the rising popularity, and in many cases necessity, of automation, we like to look at it as a way to ‘scale the things that don’t scale.’ 

How winning businesses use automation (and how you can, too)

1. Automation as personalization

You can’t beat a nice, warm, personalized welcome from a company founder when you sign up to a new product and it’s something that Joel initially done at Buffer when we first launched:

In the early days, I was in touch on my personal email address with almost everyone who signed up for Buffer. With low volume, I could always respond immediately and people loved it.

If your company continues to grow though, you’ll reach a point where it becomes hard near-impossible to manually reach out to every single customer 1:1 upon sign up.

Thankfully, automated messages enable us to keep a nice, personal feel at scale. Here’s a copy of our current (automated) welcome email:

buffer-welcome

Personal conversations are extremely important in business and as Intercom explain over at their blog customer communications will increasingly need to have a personal feel to them:

We believe in the value of personal conversations between businesses and customers. We believe the future of customer communications will be much more like the chats you have with friends, and much less like tickets, applications and transactions that you formally submit to siloed departments.

Event triggered messages in action

Integrating super personalized messages into your acquisition and lifecycle marketing strategies is a great way for your business to automate this process and you can still keep the messages personal.

Automated messages can now be triggered based on a myriad of user actions and reach people at the precise moment they’re needed, making the messages feel a lot less robotic and much more intimate.

Think of this as a way for your business to say, “We’re listening and here’s what we can do to help right now.”

Here’s an example of an event trigged message in action:

intercom-message

In this case, someone has signed up to a new tool, but not yet shared it with a teammate. This message helps guide the users into sharing. It’s concise, timely and helps to new user to get the most out of the product.

The more you show a customer that you’re listening and care, the more likely they will be to become loyal and eventually a promoter of your business.

More so than ever, it’s important to think about how you can give your event triggered messages a personal feeling. When you automate your messaging like this, try to humanize your content and make your customer feel like it’s a 1:1 message.

Don’t automate everything

A key thing to remember is that you shouldn’t automate every single message you send. It can also be a great strategy to check in with your customers via a non-automated message from time to time.

At Buffer we still send out 1:1 messages to individual customers every day to see how they’re getting on and how we can improve the Buffer experience for them.

Top tips for automated messages

  • Use their name and/or business name in the message: “Hey Ash, how are things at Buffer?” sounds much more personal than: “Hi there, how are things with your company?”
  • Use friendly language: When you’re creating automated messages it can be easy to fall into using rigid ‘business-y’ speak, which can oftentimes sound robotic. When I create any automated messages, I like to use the kind of language I would use with colleagues. This approach feels more open and friendly.
  • Introduce yourself: “Hey there Steve, I’m Ash, content crafter at Buffer…” Introducing yourself in your first message with a customer or potential customer makes the message feel like the start of a conversation, rather than a one way broadcast.

Tools & Resources

Intercom:

Intercom helps your business to communicate with customers, personally, at scale — on your website, inside web and mobile apps, and by email.

With Intercom you can set up personalized, triggered messages based on actions without your product or website.

intercom-screen

Baremetrics blog:

On their fantastic blog, Baremetrics shared a breakdown of all the ways they stay in touch with users, including the exact emails they send in the days, weeks and months after sign up: The 17 emails we send to engage customers, reduce churn & increase revenue.

baremetrics-email

2. Automation as consistency

Consistency is a key to social media success. If you want to break through the noise you’ll need to maintain a consistant posting schedule across all of your social media channels.

Managing  social media channels can be time consuming though. Especially if you’re active across a number of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Rather than popping in and out of each network every few hours when you’d like to post, automation makes means we can do this process all at once.

Simply gather all your content for the day (or week!) and load it into a social media automation tool — like Buffer — and your posts will be shared on your chosen date and time.

Social media automation in action

Social media automation tools like Buffer let you connect your different social network accounts so that you can create queues of content that get sent at the times you choose.

Tools like this are incredibly helpful for automating social sharing as you can schedule all your content and posts at once and let the tool handle the rest. This saves a ton of time.

Here’s a quick look at how Buffer works:

Top tips for automated social media updates

  • Make updates timely: When you’re scheduling social media content, try to think about the best time to post. For example, content like “7 things to do in London over the weekend” will make more sense on a Thursday or Friday afternoon than a Sunday.
  • Customize the message for each network: It’s a good idea to customize your updates for each network you’re posting on.
  • Add a personal touch: Adding in a personal touch to your social updates by sharing a personal note or anecdote can be key in humanizing your messages. Here’s an example below from our Twitter feed: Goodbye, bunk beds!

Buffer-Tweet

Tools & Resources

Buffer

buffer-homepage

Join more than 2 million people who save time on social media with Buffer. Schedule your first post now.

Optimal Posting Tool

If you want to really dive into automation, it can be great to figure out what times are best for you to post content.

The Buffer Optimal Posting Tool will help you to find out which times are best for you to share updates on Twitter. Here’s how it works:

3. Automation as welcoming

Lead generation is almost always on the top of our minds as marketers. The more leads we generate, the more potential customers we have and the more revenue we’ll have to show for our marketing efforts.

Managing your funnels can take a lot of work through and be time consuming, especially as there are often so many components to consider: CRM tools, email marketing lists, social media and much, much more.

Automation can be a huge help here to speed up the process of responding to any leads and also passing information between the various tools your team uses.

Automated lead generation in action

The below infographic from Integrate highlights the efficiencies of automated lead generation.

automated lead gen

Top tips for automated lead generation

  • Find your tone: For your lead generation to be successful you’ll need to build a connection with your prospect. One of the best ways to do this is through the copy you use in your ads and landing pages. Start with ensuring your tone of voice strikes the right note. Be more conversational and friendly in your communications and less robotic. Think about how to connect with each prospect on a emotional level.
  • Use auto-responders: For years marketers have been sending auto responder email messages to people who sign up to our mailing lists. This is a similar tactic. Using a tool like Zapier you can send a thank you Tweet to anyone who signs up to your list via a Twitter card.

zapier-responder

Tools & Resources

Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook Lead ads make the process seamless for marketers to ask for info like emails, names, job titles, and more. With lead ads, potential customers can sign up for what you’re offering, and you’ll get accurate contact info to follow up with them.

facebook-lead-ads

Find out more about how you can leverage Facebook Lead ads for your business here.

Zapier blog:

zapier-blog-zaps

On their blog Zapier have shared stories from a few of their customers have successfully used automations to take all of the tedious work out of lead generation. Check out the full post here.

Twitter lead generation card

Twitter’s lead generation card is a great way to build your email list and collect new leads.

This card allows you to sign up to an email list or register for a special offer directly from Twitter. When you use a Twitter card, all the user has to do is say ‘yes’ to opt in and Twitter automatically fills in their email address.

4. Automation as conversation

Relationships form over time and it can be hard to find enough hours in the day to build 1:1 relationships with each and every one of your customers. Though it’s certainly a noble goal to have in mind.

Automation, through email drip campaigns, is a great way to create multiple touch points and continue to build relationships with both customers and prospects.

Email drip campaigns are essentially a series of emails scheduled to be sent out automatically once someone subscribes.

As Zapier explain:

Put simply, drip marketing is all about giving people the right information at the right time. If someone just subscribed to your blog newsletter, for example, a drip campaign could send a welcome email right away, and two days later, an email that shows off some of your most-read content.

Email drip campaigns have proven to be extremely successful for many companies and email-marketing company, Emma, found that relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails.

Emma also discovered that automated emails generate 119% higher click rates than broadcast messages!

Drip campaign automation in action

Here’s a quick overview of a drip campaign from marketing automation company Pardot:

email-drip-campaign

Pardot also shared a number of different drip campaign types:

drip-campaign-types

At Buffer we’re building a collection of learning courses (Educational Drips from the above graphic), based on the activities and improvements we’re passionate about. You can check out the courses here.

Here’s how to keep your drip campaigns feeling human.

Top tips for drip campaigns

  • Use a conversational tone: If you want your campaign to have a human feel about it, the tone your create email drip campaigns in is so important. In 1967, Albert Mehrabian came up with the ‘7%-38%-55%’ rule highlighting that conversation is made up of three parts: The actual words you use (7%); the tone of delivery (38%), and the body language accompanying your words (55%). Therefore, if you’re trying to connect with you need to pay close attention to the tone of your delivery (and body language if you’re including video).
  • Send messages from a real person: We love to connect with other people and even-though your drip campaigns may be automated, sending them from a real person is a great way to give a more human feeling to anyone reading the messages. Here’s an example of how Unbounce Oli Gardner leads one of their drip courses:

unbounce-course

Tools & Resources

Convertkit

convertkit

ConvertKit helps you manage emails lists and drip campaigns.

Zapier blog

Our friends over at Zapier have created an awesome list ofthe 25 best email marketing apps to send drip Campaigns.

5. Automation as delight

You should take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy. – Paul Graham

At Buffer, we’re really big on customer delight as Nicole explains:

Our customers are the true heart of all we do here at Buffer — and we want to make sure the community knows it. We work on this in lots of ways—from striving for excellent customer support to hosting meetups to sending hand-written notes, swag and special gifts.

Delight will always need some form of manual work: a nice handwritten note or a special gift can’t always be automated and that’s the way it should be.

However, one way we automate delight at Buffer is through our email receipts.

Email receipts are an amazing opportunity to connect with your customers in a human way. Everyone who pays for your product or service will receive a receipt and often receipts are missed opportunities to build your brand and nurture customer relationships.

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, called receipts an ‘untapped canvas’ and publishing recently. As Buzzfeed reports:

“What if we see the receipt more as a publishing medium — a product unto itself that people actually want to take home, that they want to engage with, be fully interactive with?”

Automation as delight in action

At Buffer, we like to show our customers just how grateful we are to have their support in our automated email receipts. Here’s an example:

buffer-receipt

Top tips for delivering automated delight

  • Use photos: Humanize your receipts by showing photos of team members, office and / or sharing interesting, biographical data to make your customer feel closer to the company.
  • Invite questions / responses: A receipt is a great way to connect with a customer and ensure you’re doing all you can to keep them happy. It could be a good idea to invite replies and ask questions within your receipts to show you’ve got the customers back.

Tools & Resources

Receiptful

Receiptful home

Receiptful helps you send beautiful and engaging e-mail receipts that includes upsells and marketing messages which make you more money.

Receiptful Academy

Receiptful also have an awesome resource center full of tips & tricks about how you can maximize the value of your receipts. Check it out here.

Over to you

Marketing automation can be hugely powerful for any business and it’s key to remember that no matter how many tasks you automate, you’re still dealing with people and the human-to-human connection cannot be faked.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and picked up a few useful takeaways to help your business. Have you experimented with automation at all? I’m super excited to hear about your experience and any tips below in the comments.

The post How to Scale Things That Don’t Scale appeared first on Social.

How To Find GREAT Blog Post Ideas – Fast!

blog post ideas

If you want an EASY way to come up with great blog post ideas, you’ll love this tip! Not only will it give you endless content ideas, it will make blogging a total breeze. :)

“Stop Blogging, Start Talking.”

Blogging can be difficult. Talking is EASY. Especially if you love your topic! But how do you come up with those great blog post topics that you can whip out in quick time – consistently? I’ll show you!

Responding Is Easier Than Writing

When you sit down to blog, it feels like you’re talking to yourself. A one-sided conversation can be difficult. It’s much easier to respond than it is to write.

Let me show you what I mean, and how easy it is…

Step 1: Search For Niche Forums & Groups

Some of my absolute best blog posts have originated as responses to emails or discussions in forums & groups – or even phone calls. If you ENJOY your topic, you probably have no trouble talking about it if someone asks you a question.

Whether it’s in person, on the phone, via email or just a question you see somewhere on the web – the response likely comes natural for you without even thinking.

Don’t you wish blogging were that easy?! It can be. :)

Quick Exercise: Go to Google and type your niche + forum. I have a low carb blog, so I search: low carb forum.

Yes, forums are “old school”. Follow along anyway – you’ll love this exercise!

Don’t be picky. Just click on any forum you see in the results. I’ll click on the first one and just have a quick look…

That’s the whole point of this exercise, by the way: QUICK. 😉

I clicked the first result, scanned over the main page of the forum, and chose a category. I chose “New Members” then clicked on the “Newbies Questions” subforum to browse the topics:

Look for something that sparks an immediate “I know the answer to that!” response in your mind. Bingo – there’s a fast blog topic. You might look through a few threads and read the discussions to get a feel for the depth of the question, or even the state of mind of your ideal reader.

Step 2: Respond To Questions / Topics

You may find it easiest to post a reply right there in the forum. That mindset (responding) is easiest, so just click “Reply” and start typing your response in the composition window. You know your topic, so this is easy! Just type away.

This literally took me only a few short minutes because I knew I could provide a very detailed response and offer some very specific advice for the situation:

Tip: DON’T submit your reply in the forum. You may find forums you want to join, and discussions you want to respond to there, but the purpose of this exercise is to come up with quick & easy blog post ideas…

Step 3: Paste Your Response Into WordPress

After getting into “conversational mode” and typing up a quick topical reply, copy that – and go paste it into a new post on your blog.

Now you can simply edit it for a broader audience, add a good Title and some intro text – and of course include your closing and call-to-action. :) Easy!

Try it! Whip out a quick blog post… today!

Do a search on Google for a niche forum, or go to Facebook and find a group on your topic. Just use the search bar at the top and type in your topic, then on the search results page click “More” to filter it to show only Groups on that topic.

You’ll find TONS of topics, questions and discussions that may make for GREAT blog posts! Tip: Draft every single idea you like directly in WordPress. That way when you sit down to blog, you’ll have a list of drafts (and topics) to choose from.

I challenge you to give this method a try, and use it to write a blog post TODAY.

Then leave a comment with a link to your new post! :)

Maybe you already have a million blog post ideas, and your real issue is finding the TIME to blog… Struggling to find TIME to blog? Read this!

Ooh- while I was capturing that screenshot above for you, I peeked into a Low Carb Facebook Group and found the first four discussions were about groceries and organizing your refrigerator “as a low carber”. That sparked a great blog post idea!

I’m off to blog, lol… *cheers*

Best,

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