Table XI Blog

Social Media

Tech Tip: Hootlet from Hootsuite

Hootlet web bannerWe often use Hootsuite to manage our Facebook and Twitter posts, and with its Hootlet button and AutoSchedule feature, social media gets even easier.

The Hootlet button, available for Chrome and Firefox, sits in your browser bar. When you come across a page you want to post about, click the button, and a new window pops up with a shrunken URL and space to compose your message. You can then choose to post to Twitter, Facebook, and any other account you have linked to Hootsuite.

Schedule your post to go out when you want it to, or click AutoSchedule, and Hootlet will determine the optimal time to publish your message so it reaches the most eyes. When you visit your Hootsuite dashboard, your Hootlet messages will appear in your scheduled posts queue.

The best part? You can do all this without having to navigate away from the webpage you’re on, or worry about copying, pasting, and shrinking URLs, since Hootlet does it for you. Posting to your social media feeds becomes quick and seamless.

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Get Pinteresting, Part 1

Pinterest logoIn the midst of Facebook’s underwhelming stock performance—which has dipped below $30 a share—some analysts are predicting the beginning of the end of social media. Their claims aren’t completely unfounded in regard to revenue: Facebook isn’t doing too well on the open market, and the other two major social media networks, LinkedIn and Twitter, are still trying to figure out how to turn a profit.

While all this paints a pretty bleak picture, what these analysts are missing is Pinterest, the underdog social networking site that added 10 million users in just two months. And the best part? They’re already successfully monetizing their service and helping businesses of all sizes do the same.

While this is only the first part of my adventures with Pinterest, I’m already a little addicted. It’s like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram all rolled into one.

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Tech Tip: G+, Social Search, and Why it Matters

Google logo.

G+, the social network that Google launched last June, has grown to more than 62 million users in only six months. G+ allows users to connect over Google features like Stream (a newsfeed), Sparks (a recommendation engine), Hangouts (a video chat service), Circles (a friend management service), Games, and Photos. In November, Google rolled out “pages” for brands.

But given the ever-changing social media landscape, we’ve heard our clients say, “I have enough trouble staying up-to-date on Facebook, let alone Twitter. Does G+ even matter?” In short, yes, and here’s why:

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Social Media and the Tangled Web

Social media logos in a spiderweb.This week we were joined by clients from Strange Cargo, The Spice House,  Chicago Dryer, Facing Disability and new friends including IC Stars to discuss launching, maintaining and measuring social media programs. And the only thing more fun than getting a room full of smart people together is brainstorming over Ellen's delicious lasagna.

Are you interested in social media but not sure where to get started? Download this Table XI social media checklist to kickstart your thinking, and tell us how it goes. Already have a social media program in place? We want to hear from you. What was one thing you wished you knew before you got started?

Stay tuned for a schedule of upcoming Lunch n’ Learns. Next time, we hope you’ll join us at the Table.

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I’m on Facebook…Now What?

Facebook displayed on a monitor next to a giant calendar with the number 5 on itFacebook is now home to more than 750 million active users, and each month those users share more than 30 billion pieces of content, including web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, and photo albums. But while most brands understand the value in establishing a presence on Facebook, the question we hear more and more is, “I know I need to be there, but now that I am, what do I say?”

In honor of Social Media Week, which starts today, here are five guiding principles for developing a Facebook editorial calendar aimed at building your fan base and increasing engagement:

  1. Invite your fans to participate in something bigger than themselves. Provide your fans with insider access and help them feel like they’re a part of something special. Ask their opinions, poll them, and use their responses to inform a business decision. For example, if you’re a retail company, ask for help naming a new product. If you’re a nonprofit, use Facebook to mobilize fundraising.
  2. Provide exclusive content that fans can't find on your site. Strengthen your personal connection to your fans by giving them “behind the scenes” photos, videos, or updates that aren’t available elsewhere.
  3. Feature your community and fans. Give members bragging rights. Do your fans or followers write about you? Syndicate one of their articles and thank them publicly. If you’re a retailer, choose a "customer of the week," or invite fans to take pictures with your products and add them to a community photo gallery.
  4. Shill sparingly, but give Facebook fans the inside scoop on new shipments, contests, or coupons. Your fans should be the first to know about new arrivals and deals. Provide photos when possible, and always include the related direct link to your site.
  5. Offer relevant and seasonal news updates. Set up a Google Reader so you can keep track of related industry or local news, then use Facebook to talk about it. If your company hosts a function, participates in a speaking event, or is covered in the news, be sure to post links and photos.

Just remember—once your brand is on Facebook, commit to it. Post frequently so fans know what they can expect, and establish a consistent tone and point of view that closely align with your brand identity.

Want to learn more? We’d like to invite you to get social with us. Table XI will be hosting a free “Social Media Best Practices” lunch-and-learn next month, where we’ll discuss best practices, moderation, and measurement of social media. If you’re interested in joining us at the Table, please Contact us, so we can send you details.

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Seven Years Bad Luck

Magnifying glass on keyboardNow not just for mirror breakers.

I think at this point most of us are probably pretty careful about what we post to our Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and Flickr accounts (recently humiliated political figures notwithstanding). We've known for several years now that a quick Google search can show employers any old photos or opinions floating around out there in the Interwebs, and likely most of us have tried to remove those that we're not proud of. So I found this Forbes post from Kashmir Hill interesting: "Now Your Embarrassing/Job-Threatening Facebook Photos Could Haunt You for Seven Years."

Here's the gist: Background check company Social Intelligence Corp. has gotten the government go-ahead to use people's Internet activity, postings, and photos as part of their screening process for employers. While this may not raise many eyebrows, what might is that Social Intelligence Corp. then saves any potentially hinky info in your file for seven years. Just another reason to think twice before you tweet.

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Talking Social Media to French People

If you happened to run into any French tourists this week, they may have been part of a group of delegates from several French Chambers of Commerce. These delegates are currently visiting our city to investigate business practices in Chicago. Naturally, they sought out the expertise of our very own Greg Baugues.

This past Wednesday, at an event hosted by the French American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, Greg gave a presentation titled "How American Companies Are Using Social Media." His talk focused on ways American businesses employ social media to attract and retain customers. Among other things, he touched on:

  • The importance of social media in establishing a company’s online identity
  • Ways companies use LinkedIn to get introductions to prospects
  • The state of brands on Facebook, featured in this infographic
  • How companies use Facebook to attract and vet new hires
  • The recent additions of Facebook Places, Facebook Deals, and how the trend of merging the online and physical worlds is affecting small businesses
  • Successful Twitter strategies that provide information to potential customers and, in the case of Old Spice, begin one-on-one conversations with customers (read more about this here)

The conference also featured Fred Hoch, president of the Illinois Technology Association, who gave a presentation on the state of tech companies in Chicago. Additionally, Michael Cournoyer from Technomedia, a French technology firm operating in Chicago, discussed the differences between doing business here and in France, and the changes French companies need to make to sell to the finicky American consumer. Americans want to cut through all the touchy-feely stuff, he said, and know what a product or service does and how much it costs.

Greg's not a big fan of using text in slide shows, but for what it's worth, here are his slides:

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Tech Tip: Hootsuite Houses It All

Hootsuite logoWe all know that social media, when used properly, can help your business and your brand. But by the time you've established strategies and content for Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Foursquare, and whatever other outlets you're using, the week's over, your head's about to explode, and you haven't gotten around to doing the, y'know, business that your business does.

That's where Hootsuite comes in. This web-based social media client lets you manage all of your accounts in one place, eliminating the tedious and time-consuming need to sign in and out of different accounts and juggle various windows and tabs. You can also grant multiple users access to a single account, making it a great tool for marketing teams.

The scheduling feature allows you to set up your tweets ahead of time and program when you want them to post so you can write all your tweets on Monday and Hootsuite will automatically post them throughout the week. Hootsuite tracks statistics, so you can easily see the traffic and mentions you're getting. The iPhone app integrates nicely, too, so you have access to all your accounts on the road.

For better or worse, social media is not going away. If you can adopt it and make it work for you, it can actually be quite fun, entertaining, and educational; programs like Hootsuite are the spoonfuls of sugar that help the medicine go down.

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Social Dev Camp Notes: Killer Social Apps

Logo cloud of social appsKiller Social Apps: Five Trends Shaping the Future of Brand Engagement


Goal of this Presentation
- Identify Trends
- trend is a fad comes into popularity and then it goes away
- help us identify unment needs of the marketplace
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Two Strategies for Social Media Success

Screenshot from an Old Spice commercial featuring "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like"

This is a repost of an article we were asked to write for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce weekly newsletter.

We’ve all heard the buzz. We all know the two words that strike fear and uncertainty in the hearts of companies everywhere: “social media.” But these new online community outlets needn’t scare you if you know how to utilize them properly. Here are two strategies for making social media work for you.

1. Converse with your customers.

Have you seen the Old Spice commercial featuring "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like"? If not, go watch it.

All set? Now, imagine that The Man Your Man Could Smell Like sent you a personalized message. Think you'd tell your friends about it?

Three weeks ago, Old Spice launched one of the most effective social marketing campaigns ever run by a national brand. They told people to submit questions on Twitter and other online communities, and promised that their charismatic spokesman would answer them.

What followed was a conversation with Old Spice's potential customers: People asked all manner of questions, and the Man Your Man Could Smell Like answered them via personalized videos on YouTube.

Over three days, Old Spice produced more than 180 videos starring spokesman Isaiah Mustafa. Every video was addressed to an individual, and each was less than 60 seconds in length.

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