Social Media

I Met Edgar and Fell in Love
I Met Edgar and Fell In Love: A Review of Meet Edgar Social Media Scheduling Tool

No, this isn’t a blog post about my experience on Match.com. But I am in love with Edgar — Meet Edgar app, that is.

In June 2015, on the advice of a blogging friend, I signed up for Meet Edgar, a social media scheduling tool. Before my first month was over, I had already maxed out the library limit for my plan (1000 for $49/month) and upgraded to another level. Right now I’m paying $99 monthly for a library of up to 5000 pieces of content. I’m using it to manage eight different accounts: my personal and business Twitter accounts, two client Facebook pages, and four client Twitter accounts.

In the beginning, I thought it might be the influence of the honeymoon phase that made me love Edgar so much. But now that I’ve been using it for several months, I am ready to openly gush about how amazing this tool is.

The Library of Content

There are plenty of scheduling tools out there. But where Edgar is different from most others is the library you create. This library allows you to save content to different categories and to different social media accounts (like my personal Twitter account or a client Facebook page) so that it is reposted over and over again according to the very specific schedule you create.

Do you hear the angels singing?

We all know that we should be resharing old content, but actually doing it is a chore. With Edgar, I add it to my library once, assign it to a category that’s on my schedule, and it is automatically posted as Edgar cycles through all the content in that category.

So that epic blog post is getting ongoing attention.

Your new product or upcoming event is getting promoted multiple times a day (if you like) and you’ve only created one tweet or post. I can’t begin to express how much more efficient and time effective this tool makes my social media management.

It’s like the slow cooker of social media scheduling —set it and forget it.

Practical Applications of the Library

Here are a few ways that I use the library. Hopefully they will help you see how you can apply Edgar to your own social media needs.

One client has a weekly freebie. Each Monday I create a tweet and a Facebook status with the freebie and let them post throughout the week. Then the following Monday, I delete those two pieces of content and create two new ones for the new freebie.

Another client has monthly sales or coupons. At the start of the month, I create one tweet to promote that special. It posts repeatedly through the month until I delete it and add the new one.

My own business holds Twitter parties and giveaways. I schedule promo of those time sensitive events and then delete the posts once they end. I do this with a single tweet instead of my old way of creating a dozen or more slightly modified tweets (because the other tool wouldn’t repost identical content).

Using Google Analytics and Pinterest analytics, I added my most popular content so it’s constantly getting reshared. As I create new content, I add it to Edgar.

For one client who has had a business blog for several years, I have divided their blog content into a general category and four seasons — spring, summer, fall, and winter. I switch out the season on my master schedule and I’ve got seasonal content posting during the right months with very little effort!

Some of my clients are faith-based; others are secular. No problem. I have a category for each type of post when it comes to sharing quality content from others in the niche. As long as I correctly categorize my content, I can rest assured that each account is sharing from the preferred worldview.

We all know that asking questions on Facebook is a great way to boost engagement. I created a category with 150 different discussion starters pertinent to a client’s niche. Now they post automatically and all I have to do is engage with the customers who respond.

Three of my clients have branded humor or quote memes that I have uploaded and now post automatically, cycling through anywhere from 20 to 100 different graphics.

Fast and Attentive Customer Support

There’s a helpful Facebook group where you can discuss the tool. And Meet Edgar itself has a strong customer service system in place. I’ve had to rely on their help multiple times, and I’ve found them attentive and speedy. You can tell they have actually read your email and aren’t merely copying and pasting a canned answer that was triggered by a keyword in your email.

Although I Love Edgar, I’m Not Monogamous

Edgar is great, but it’s not enough for all my needs. I still use Buffer for scheduling to Google Plus business pages since Edgar won’t do that. 

Then there’s the dilemma of something you want to share only once and not repeat over and over. Meet Edgar does have an automatic category called Use Once. But the problem is that content added there counts towards your library limit instead of getting automatically deleted. This is silly, in my opinion. So I still use Buffer to post one-time things. I’ve coordinated my Meet Edgar schedule and my Buffer schedule so that I’ve got repeating content on Edgar and unique, one-time content on Buffer. It’s not ideal. I wish that I could use just one tool. But it’s a good solution until Edgar automatically deletes Use Once content.

For Pinterest scheduling, I use (referral link) TailWind app for three clients.

Also, Edgar doesn’t have a way to set an expiration date on content. So I do have to manually go in and delete time sensitive posts so they stop recycling. This means I have to make reminders for myself. I wish that Edgar would allow me to set a self-destruct time on a post, but for now I make it part of my social media routine to check my special timely categories for expiring content.

Isn’t Edgar Too Pricey?

No way! Edgar is worth every penny because of the time it saves me and the efficiency it offers. I have more time for interacting with customers instead of creating multiple posts. I also know that I don’t have to rely on my memory to add more shares about that new product release. Edgar’s got it covered for me.

I have a lot of blogger friends who decided that Edgar was too pricey for them since they are only sharing for their own site and personal accounts. I can see that it’s not cost effective for a smaller blogger who isn’t pulling in a lot of income. Even at the $49 per month rate, that may seem to be a lot. For someone who manages accounts for clients, though, it is absolutely worth it. Like I said earlier, I use it for my personal accounts, my business accounts, and four different clients.

Get Ready for a Time Intensive Set Up

I do want to warn you that although Edgar is a big time saver and efficiency booster for me, the first 45 days of using Edgar were a killer. I was working non-stop to upload content into my library. It was encouraging to see all the content that my clients had available for sharing! But it was a monumental task to add over 1000 posts to Edgar in a month’s time. Then setting up the detailed posting schedule for eight different accounts was another layer of work.

So realize that you do have to invest quite a bit of labor before Edgar makes life easier. Now I do weekly checks of timely content —adding new and deleting old — and regularly add every new blog post to the appropriate category.

Although I’m still a Buffer fan and user, Edgar has absolutely weaseled his way into my heart. Go check out Meet Edgar to learn more about what it does. I focused on the library aspect because it’s the most valuable feature to me. But you may love Edgar for something else.

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Rock Pinterest in 5 Steps Without a Pinterest Account jimmielanley.com
Rock Pinterest in 5 Steps Without a Pinterest Account

Social media is overwhelming. Every business owner knows he should be using social media, but it typically gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Is creating or keeping up with a company Pinterest account one of the bottom dwellers on your list?

If so, take heart. You can leverage Pinterest even without an account. Yes, that’s right. You don’t have to have a Pinterest account to get pinned on Pinterest or to get traffic from Pinterest.

Don’t you feel relief? Well, wait a minute because you have some work to do. You aren’t totally off the hook.

Have a Pinterest-Friendly Site

1. Do you have beautiful, pinnable images?

What makes a pinnable image? It needs to be large, bright, and attractive.

A lot of the images on Pinterest have words on them. This isn’t an absolute, but for most blog posts or articles, putting the title onto your image is a good practice.

Make sure your product images demonstrate what the product actually is.

Consider putting a branded watermark or your URL on each image.

Take advantage of the Title and Alt attributes for each image on your site. Depending on your site’s configuration, one of those becomes the default description in a pin. Most pinners don’t take the time to make edits to the default, so you have a lot of control over your pins by customizing the Title and Alt tags.

Double check your homepage and every other page on your site. Is there something pinnable on every page of your site? If not, don’t expect to get pinned!

2. Do you have a pin it button installed?

Let people know you love being pinned, and then make it easy for them: install the pin it button on your site. People can still pin from their browser even without your installing the button, but it’s a subtle reminder to pin. And sites with the pin it button get more pins!

3. Do you have rich pins?

[This one actually does require an account but it doesn’t necessarily have to be yours. In order to validate with Pinterest, you are required to log in. But you could simply create an empty account that you do not optimize or update. Or you could ask someone with a Pinterest account to submit your site for validation. Either way, once you set up rich pins, you don’t have to actually do anything on Pinterest to get the benefit.]

Getting rich pins set up is very easy. For most sites, it is a matter of a few clicks and then waiting for Pinterest to validate your rich pin status. Check with your web developer if the process is not smooth. It might be the matter of a theme upgrade or a plug-in.

If you are on an archaic platform that doesn’t allow for rich pins, get switched to a WordPress ecommerce site pronto.

Cooperate with Pinterest-Smart Influencers

4. Do you work with bloggers who know how to create pinnable images?

Bloggers who join your affiliate program, write sponsored content, or hold giveaways for you can be a huge advantage to you in terms of Pinterest if they create images about your brand or images for their content that references your brand.

5. Do you work with bloggers who have huge audiences on Pinterest?

When you are evaluating bloggers to work with, find out their Pinterest follower counts. This information is publicly shared on their profiles and on each individual board. Invite them to pin what they like straight from your site onto their favorite boards. Make special graphics for them for discount codes, giveaways, and other promotions so they will have something easy to pin.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t create and maintain a Pinterest account, but I am saying that it’s not the end of the social media world if you don’t. Your limited time is better spent on the five actions above. And by all means, don’t invest in your own Pinterest account if those first three are not in place. Those are foundational.

 

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Why & How My Business Abandoned its Facebook Page
Why & How My Business Abandoned its Facebook Page

For months the reach of my company’s Facebook page had been plummeting until many of our posts were being seen by as few as one percent of our 10,000 fans.

The page was managed by a team of volunteers from our network, all bloggers who are avid Facebook users themselves and who understand how Facebook works. They posted 2-3 times per day to the page and monitored activity there.

We tried little tweaks to our posting strategy, but still saw no improvement in reach. After that announcement from Facebook in December 2013 about a “a decline in organic reach” for pages, our reach flat-lined.

We had already stopped offering our clients Facebook parties because the stats from our last two Facebook events were so dismal. We could not in good conscience sell something that was not worthwhile.

Our goal on Facebook has always been to build community with homeschool moms. We don’t find clients there for our blog review campaigns or social media events. So we started to question our investment on Facebook altogether.

If we cannot reach our goal to build community because Facebook is limiting how many of our fans see our posts, what is the point of being on Facebook at all?

For our business model, it didn’t make any sense to pay to promote our posts as Facebook recommends. Many of our individual bloggers were having great success with their individual pages. They were effectively building community and sharing their sponsored content on Facebook.

So we started to consider the radical step of the business page’s abandoning Facebook altogether. Over time and as a team, we came to the conclusion that with the results we were seeing, our Facebook page was a drain on our resources that provided virtually no ROI. It was foolish to pour more resources into something that was not working, especially when we were seeing success elsewhere (namely weekly G+ hangouts and Pinterest) and could funnel our efforts there.

So we started planning our departure.

How We Left Facebook

I wrote an explanation of our decision to abandon Facebook, being sure to include these key ideas.

We are not anti-Facebook but pro-other things.

Many Facebook users are very loyal fans, and they take personally any criticism of the platform. We wanted our audience to know that this was not a decision based on personal preference but smart business.

Our decision is also not advice for others to do the same. Each situation is different, and there is no blanket answer to the Facebook question.

Our bloggers would still be using Facebook.

The choice for iHomeschool Network to leave Facebook was a business decision, not a directive for the network. The individual bloggers were free to make their own choices about Facebook. In fact, we encouraged following an interest list we created of our bloggers’ individual Facebook pages.

Facebook is for friends and family, not marketing.

We appealed to the original intent of Facebook and the primary purpose people still use the network — keeping up with friends and family. We admitted that our business page didn’t fit into the friends and family category, so we were politely backing out of their Facebook streams. (In truth, we weren’t being seen there anyway.)

There are still many ways to stay connected to us.

In all of our communication, we outlined alternatives to keeping tabs on us, always stressing that email newsletter sign up was the most sure way to stay in the know. But we offered several alternatives as well such as Pinterest, YouTube, G+, and Twitter.

Spreading the Word

Then we broadcast our decision to the entire network of 100 bloggers so they would understand our intent and get behind our choice. We had a healthy discussion in our private forum, and the consensus was in agreement with the decision from a business standpoint.

Then we notified our clients via email. And lastly we made a public announcement on our site.

With that announcement, there were two big components: pinnable images and giveaways.

Pinnable Images

Because Pinterest is so powerful for our niche, we knew that pinnable images would be a main way to get the word out about our choice. I created a series of graphics, uploaded them to Pinterest, and linked them to our newsletter sign up page. I asked the entire network to spread the word by repinning those images.

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email-FB SUBSCRIBE

Giveaways

As incentive to sign up for our newsletter or follow us outside of Facebook, we offered giveaways (contributed by our clients and bloggers). The giveaways made it easier to promote the announcement page because there was a potential reward for the reader.

The Results

Surprisingly, we had little push back on our decision to abandon Facebook. We had a couple of frustrated comments on the Facebook page and some outsiders seemed to react negatively to our choice, but overall it was as smooth campaign.

My post on Google Plus about the decision was roundly applauded. And it seemed that everywhere I turned, I found confirmation of the decision to leave Facebook.

We expected resistance in getting moms to follow us beyond the comfort of Facebook, and the results paralleled our expectations. We did see an increase in followers on other social networks and to our email list, but it wasn’t dramatic.

That’s okay. The fans we “lost” in the Facebook transition were not genuine fans. They were merely people who clicked the like button at some point.

The people who want to keep up with us will do so in ways that demonstrate more commitment (getting emails, attending hangouts, listening to podcasts). And we will find new followers on the platforms that are working for us.

Leaving Facebook has been a huge relief for my business. We no longer have the continual frustration of trying to game Edgerank and seeing dismal results day after day. And we have more time to devote to the things that are working for us.

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How to Use Pinterest Boards with Your Media Kit jimmielanley.com
How To Use Pinterest to Complement Your Media Kit

Pinterest can be a wonderful way to supplement your media kit and tell brands that you are worth working with. Create boards as an online resume in pictorial format. Here are ideas for boards you can share with brands who want to work with you.

My Reviews and Sponsored Posts

Sure, you can send companies a list of links, but wouldn’t it be prettier to see a board full of visual content? Not only can the company click through to read the posts, but they can also see at a glance that you have the goods when it comes to making pin-worthy graphics.

My Hangouts on Air and Videos

If you participate in regular Hangouts on Air, showcase them by pinning the videos to a board. If you serve as a panelist on someone else’s hangout, that can go on the same board. If you haven’t jumped on the hangout bandwagon yet but you have YouTube videos, make a board of your best video content so brands can see your skills, hear your voice, and see you in action.

My Posts on Other Sites

Pin all of your guest posts to demonstrate the scope of your influence across the Internet. If you are a regular contributor to certain sites, include representative posts from that gig as well.

My Most Viral Pins

Look at your Pinterest analytics to find your most popular pins in terms of repins and clicks. Showcase them in a single board. In the description field, feel free to brag a little. But be sure to date your notes as stats will change over time.

My Products

If you sell anything, whether physical or digital, make a small sampler of your goods on a board. If you market yourself as a writer, having published ebooks speaks to your expertise. You could even indicate how many copies of each product you have sold if you have some impressive numbers. Don’t forget to include digital products you contributed to but aren’t the sole owner of.

My Milestones

Instead of a boring list of awards and milestones, make a visual collage on Pinterest. Screenshot testimonials shared via social media and upload them to this board. Capture milestones such as 1000 followers on Twitter, 500 subscribers on YouTube, etc. Add images of any awards you have received.

Going the Extra Mile

Be sure to write descriptions for each Pinterest board you create. Include your full name, your blog’s name, and an overview of what the board is about. Pinterest boards do well in search. If a company is researching you, one of your media kit boards just might show up in their search. Very impressive!

After you’ve chosen your media kit boards, create a set of matching cover images for them. Upload the image directly to Pinterest, link back to your about page or unlink the image, and set the images as your cover for the board.

Arrange all of these boards together in neat rows by clicking and dragging the board where you want it. I suggest naming them something similar at the beginning of the title so it is easy to find these boards when pinning. For example, I would call them

  • Jimmie’s Products
  • Jimmie’s Milestones
  • Jimmie’s Reviews and Sponsored Posts

When you arrange them in rows with matching cover images, it will look very professional and be sure to impress that brand you want to work with even if you consider yourself a smaller blogger.

Be sure that your boards have a minimum of four pins each (not counting your specially created cover image) before you share them on your media kit. Empty slots on the board cover look sad, and you want these to impress. You can even keep them private as you work on them and get them up to speed. If you don’t have enough content for four pins, then wait until you do or get creative with how you organize your material.

Since these boards are made for brands and not for your general Pinterest follower, you might want to move them down to the bottom of your profile. Link to the boards in your media kit as concrete evidence of your voice, your reach, and your skill.

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