How to automate social media postings for Facebook, Google+ Pages, and more

Yesterday I finished the blog series about creating a Google+ page for business by suggesting that with this post, today, I would share a method to automate posts to Google+. And before I do that, let me dispel the notion that “automating” posts is any sort of “click it and forget it” type of thing.  The task (yes, it’s a task) of “automating” your social media presence still requires a fair amount of work. For instance, for the purposes of maintaining our growing social network communities for Outskirts Press, we use the following “automation” and tracking tools: TweetDeck, HooteSuite, Klout, Ping, Rooster, and FTTT.  And to give you a visual representation of what all that involves, here’s a screen shot of JUST our HootSuite dashboard:

Scary, yes? Helpful? You bet!  In this particular screen shot, if you squint closely, you may notice that we are able to monitor 5 social media “streams” simultaneously, plus we’re able to post directly to our Facebook page, keep track of retweets from Twitter, and even schedule posts in advance on a few of our networks all at once. Unfortunately, no single application that I’ve been able to find has access to ALL the social media networks that we use, which is why we have several (and of course, that sometimes causes scheduling conflicts where several of us at Outskirts Press may inadvertently schedule various posts too close to one another).   And up until very recently, NONE of them automated posts to Google+ Pages (simply because Google+ Pages are so new).  But within the last couple of weeks, the API was opened up to six applications, including Hootsuite.

Sounds too good to be true?  The ability to automate posts and content to our new Google+ Page using an application we were already familiar with and using heavily? Well, right now, it IS too good to be true.   Development of new functionality like this takes time and even though Hootsuite has the Google API available, they don’ t yet have anything operational on their dashboard. Instead, they direct you toward a “landing page” requiring you to “apply” for the benefit of having Google+ added to your dashboard.  Here’s a link to the application.

So until it is officially added to Hootsuite — or to the others, which are: Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, Involver, and Vitrue– this is the procedure for putting the steps into place to be able to automate your Google+ pages as easily as your other social channels.  Of course, you might get hit up by some marketing emails from Hootsuite or even sales calls, so… just sayin’.

I’ve applied and will keep you posted…

Speaking of landing pages, today also marks the beginning of our  new Facebook landing page to encourage more “Likes” to build our Facebook community, which surpassed 3,000 this week.  And I’ll discuss all the fun details involved in creating and implementing Facebook landing pages next…

Adding Social Media buttons to your website

Last time I posted specifically about adding Facebook plug-ins to your author webpage, to help encourage your readers and visitors to easily spread the word about your book to their social community of friends. Naturally, this is a good tactic to pursue for businesses and companies as well. In fact, there are a variety of ways to easily add social media plug-ins to your site.  Facebook makes it easy to add plug-ins for Facebook, but other sites make it just as easy to add other social networks, as well, including Twitter, Digg, and more. 

Perhaps the most popular and user-friendly avenue to take is with, which not only provides easy code to cut and paste into your site, but it starts to track the analytics that result, which can help you identify your “social reach.” We very recently added this functionality to some of our static webpages on Outskirts Press (these buttons, or at least the analytics that result, don’t work very well on dynamic pages of our site, apparently).

Of course, as I mentioned last time, the downside is that when you initially add this code, your “social reach” is zero, as are the number of times anybody has clicked on your new social media buttons.  So you want to immediately start soliciting clicks to your buttons after adding them, since the appeal of participating in social media is the “social” part; and big fat O’s don’t look very social.

Happy New Year

Today marks the one year anniversary of this blog. On January 1, 2010, I wrote this:

“What better day to launch a new endeavor than on New Year’s Day, when New Year’s Resolutions are top of mind?  One of my personal New Year’s Resolutions in 2010 is to get more involved in “social media” and find the time to participate more actively on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.”

So how did I do on my New Year’s Resolution to get more involved in “social media?”   I wish at the time I had thought to mention the number of Twitter followers and Facebook Fans we had back in Jan 2010, so I would be able to quantify the increase. Alas, I didn’t think to do that. But I can report growth and active participation in three of the major social networking channels (Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook), not to mention this blog.

For example, we implemented and improved our Outskirts Press channel on YouTube, and I wrote about that process through various blog posts when that process was underway. Also, thanks to various “social media marketing” endeavors, our Twitter followers have increased substantially in the past year, as have the number of people who “like” our Facebook page.  In fact, in the 4th quarter of 2010 we initiated a number of campaigns specifically meant to increase Facebook “fans,” including a holiday giveaway in December which increased our fan base by about 40%.  In that campaign we gave away two free Amazon Kindles. All that was necessary to participate in the free drawing was becoming a fan of ours at

Now, in January, we will try to build upon that success with a social networking/publishing experiment with our Facebook fans, and I’ll discuss that more next time. In the meantime, Happy New Year.

Even Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears can’t believe everything that is on the Internet

As I mentioned in the last post, Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears have almost 6 million Twitter followers each.  That is mostly due to their celebrity status. While they have both been passionate “tweeters” in the past, it’s not ONLY due to their consistency that they have so many followers. In fact, according to, Ashton Kutcher averages .6 tweets per day and Britney Spears averages 0 (yes, zero) tweets per day.  How accurate is this information?  Well, let’s see: also reports that Ashton has only 4.6 million followers (not the 5.8 million reported by Twitter) and Britney only has 75,000 followers (instead of the 5.9 million fans reported by Twitter).  Which source is more accurate?   

And that just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet.  Hmm… where have I mentioned that before?

How do Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears do it?

Ashton Kutcher has 5.8 million Twitter followers and appears to “tweet” a 140 character (or less) message 4-5 times a day at least.  Britney Spears has 5.9 Twitter followers even though she “tweets” what appears to be just about 4-5 times a week on average; and she even has help doing that.

Certainly being a big name celebrity doesn’t hurt, but what these two Twitter aficionados have demonstrated is that consistency with Twitter updates is one of the cornerstones to attracting followers.  That’s all well and good if you don’t already have a full-time job; but as most mere mortals soon discover– Twittering consistently and frequently can be a lot of work.

How do they do it?

Well, I can’t speak for them (having an entourage probably helps), but for the rest of us, it helps to rely on a little bit of automation and a little bit of strategy.  At least, that’s what we do at Outskirts Press to find the time to manage a somewhat realized “social networking footprint” while still devoting the majority of our time and resources toward efforts that benefit our clients the most (ie., producing award-winning books).

First let’s discuss the automation. We use three aggregators frequently:, Feed Burner, and Tweet Deck.   The first two are among the “tips” I discuss in detail in my upcoming book “0-60: Accelerating Your Online Marketing Efforts” and they also play a role in my upcoming presentation on the same topic at the Self Publishing Book Expo in New York on the first Saturday in October. allows you to broadcast a single message simultaneously to about 50 different social networking sites. It requires an up-front time investment to set-up those sites initially with a profile, password, username, etc.  But once those sites are set-up, allows you to “participate” on all of them relatively efficiently.   Of course, part of the advantage of Web 2.0 is that it is a “two way conversation” and that is where has its drawbacks. Sure, it is very efficient at initiating one way correspondence, perhaps too efficient, because those messages then require some manual participation to moderate and respond to the “two way conversation” that results.  Managing 50 social networking sites is beyond our company’s resources; perhaps your company is in a different place. So we pick and choose the channels we invest time and energy in.  Not coincidentally, they are the most “popular” channels like Twitter and Facebook, etc.

Feed Burner and TweetDeck offer similar time-saving social networking tools, albeit in a different capacity than  And that’s why we use all of them, rather than being able to rely on just one.

Automation and aggregation are only half the battle.  Strategizing and scheduling the composition and distribution of social networking messages is equally important and we will discuss that next time.

How to add a graphic to your Twitter background

1. Go to and sign-in to your account if you’re not already signed in. You do this along the upper-right hand corner.

2. Once you are signed-in, you will see your menu choices along the top and these include: Home, Profile, Find People, Settings, Help, and Sign out. Click on “Settings.”

3. You now get a sub-menu of choices under the “Settings” section, including: Account, Password, Mobile, Notices, Picture, Design, and Connections. Click on “Design.”

4. At this point, your computer may ask you whether you want to only view the “secure” elements of this page.  Click “No.”

5. You will see a collection of  “themes” you can select from.  Below the thumbnail choices representing your theme choices are two links: Change background image and Change design colors.  Click “Change background image.”

6. You will see a “Browse” button to the right of an empty box. This is how you select the graphic from your computer. If you already have your graphic, click the “Browse” button to upload it now and then skip to Step 10.

7. If you don’t have a graphic you will need to create one.  Depending upon your monitor’s resolution, it may appear that you have a “lot” of space for your background graphic. Or, it may appear that you have almost no space at all.  The “lower” your resolution, the less space you will have.  The graphic you use should be optimal for the maximum number of monitor resolutions, so it is best to keep your graphic no wider than 100 pixels wide.  For example, our logo is 76 pixels wide on our Twitter page, but there’s still some “room to spare” even on lower monitor resolutions.  So, if you’re thinking of uploading the cover to  your latest book (which would be a good idea if you’re an author), you may want to consider a graphic size of 100 pixels wide by 150 pixels high.

8. Depending upon the graphic, you may need to “color match” the background color setting from Twitter. Twitter claims to accept .gif images, too, so you may also be able to use a .gif image with a transparent background if necessary. Fortunately, if you’re putting up a square or rectangular image, like a book cover, you won’t have to worry about this.

9. Save your image to your computer and then use the “Browse” button on your Twitter settings page referred to above to upload your image.

10. Once you have uploaded your image, be sure to select it from the thumbnail choices that appear below the “Browse” button.  Note: If your image doesn’t appear, it means you indicated that you did NOT want to see non-secure images when you were asked. In that case, you’ll need to leave the “Design” page and then come back, answering the pop-up question properly.

11. Once you have selected your image thumbnail by clicking on it, click on the “Save Changes” button and your graphic will be added to your Twitter page’s background.

12. Congratulations! You’re done, and your branding on Twitter has officially started.

Branding your Twitter page

Let’s first take a look at the NFL’s Twitter page so you can see an example of what I discussed previously.  Depending upon your monitor’s resolution, you will either see the NFL logo clearly visible and non-obstructed along the left-hand side of the “conversation” box.  Or, if your monitor has a lower resolution, you may see part of the NFL logo “covered up” by portions of the Twitter page itself.  Or, I guess a 3rd alternative is, now that the Super Bowl is over, the NFL people may remove or alter the logo entirely, and naturally, I don’t have any control over that.

Now that you’re looking at an example, the goal is to put something of YOURS on your Twitter page that will help you brand yourself on Twitter.  With the example of the NFL fresh in our mind, we added our company’s name to our Twitter page on its side.  Obviously, we would prefer for it to be “right-side-up” but then one runs into the issue the NFL experienced, with the graphic being obstructed or partly-obstructed by the Twitter box and/or Twitter logo.  We have two versions of our “company graphic treatment” — a horizontal version and a “stacked vertical” version — but after experimenting with different lay-outs and sizes, this was what we settled on because it was the only one that looked consistently the same, regardless of monitor resolution.

And now this opens up a number of different topics for me to blog about in upcoming posts… 1) the creation and considerations involved in creating a graphic treatment for your company name by using ours as an example and 2) the details of adding a non-scrolling graphic to the background of your Twitter page.

I could cover some of that now, but I read in a recent Entrepreneur article — about “ghost blogging,” interestingly enough — that business/corporate blog postings are ideally supposed to be under 300 words in length. So, with that sage advice in mind, until next time….

Twitter, the Super Bowl, and branding

Before the Super Bowl this past weekend I went to the  NFL’s Twitter page to see what a media phenomenon like “the big game” was having on the social media site. Yes, lots of tweets and yes, lots of followers (over 1 million – wow!).  I also liked the way they had “branded” their page with an NFL logo.  On my monitor — which is set at a resolution of 1600 x 1200 — it looked fantastic. Almost too good actually.   So I looked at the same NFL Twitter page on a monitor set at a more common resolution, and the NFL logo was obstructed in a not-very-visually-pleasing manner by the “conversation box.”  You could see that the NFL logo was “behind” the content box on Twitter, and the left-most portion of the logo was clearly visible in the “border” of the frame, but on a whole, it looked more like a mistake than it should have, especially since over 1 million people were probably looking at it.

So I guess one could take away two morals from that story.  1) It’s hard to take “things” like that too seriously on the Internet — if the Super Bowl people can miss a concept like accounting for all common resolution types in front of 1 million people, you’re certainly forgiven if you do, too.  And, 2) branding your Twitter page is one of the quickest ways to give it a little panache in a land full of redundancy and duplicity. And we’ll discuss how in a future post…

The trouble with blogging – part four

Another trouble I have with blogging is that most of them just aren’t very interesting.

In one of my previous “trouble with blogging” postings, I referred to the dilemma I have about what sort of confidential information I should share because that would be directly proportional to the “interest” factor. It all seems like much ado about nothing. While publicly I say that blogging and “tweeting” is the next best thing to sliced bread, for the everyday Joe I’m just not so sure anyone cares. I would think that most people are too busy writing their own blogs to read anyone else’s. But then, ironically, when I’m reading some of the blogs out there and seeing the number of comments some of them generate, I’m proving myself wrong in multiple ways simultaneously, and that’s always good for the ol’ ego.

By the way, that same belief I have that “no one has time to care” extends to twitter, Facebook, myspace, and linked-in, too, all of which I publicly recommend and almost none of which I personally have time for.  Since “New Year’s Resolutions” are a big marketing push in my industry, I should touch upon one of my resolutions before January ends, and that is this: Making more time for the social media sites that I recommend. Time to practice what I preach, so to speak.

That reminds me: one of the reviews I received on Amazon for my book Sell Your Book on Amazon mentioned that very aspect —  that I didn’t appear to do many of the very Amazon tactics I was recommending.  That reviewer was right; a lot of the marketing tactics I suggest in my book are time-consuming, and I didn’t — or don’t — have time to do a lot of them.  So my only response to that is, don’t let my personal short-comings prevent YOU from being successful. Or, as a parent might say to a child, “Do what I say, not what I do.”  But, ultimately, every leader — and every parent for that matter — knows that you should lead by example.

And I’ve discovered that just because I don’t have time for that stuff doesn’t mean nobody does. In fact, internet stats seem to indicate quite the opposite. Most people seem to have nothing but time for social networking sites, so as an author, entrepreneur, etc, etc, you owe it to yourself to be out there on all those platforms in as consistent and professional a manner as you can muster. And… in spite of all my troubles with blogging, here I am.