Meet Edgar is a fundamentally different platform in how it approaches content scheduling. In fact, when I first saw it I got pretty excited because it goes hand in hand with the concepts of post types that I cover in my book What to Post.
Basically the idea is that you create evergreen content and set a schedule based on the type of post rather than specific content pieces. Then Edgar randomly chooses one of those types to post to that social media account.
For example, you might have blog posts go out at 9am on Monday, promotional posts at 2pm on Wednesday, and funny posts at 4pm on Friday. You decide which account each post in the library is assigned too.
Reuse Evergreen Content
What I love most about Edgar is that it allows you to get more out of your evergreen content. Many of the blog posts that I write, or that I write for my clients, are beneficial for their audience any time, not just in the few days after creation. It was always a struggle to remember to reload older blog posts and videos back into the schedule on a regular basis. It is also a fantastic tool for adding in my promotional posts and making sure they are balanced throughout the feed.
Recurring content is a feature that no other scheduler has, and it is pretty fantastic. This will be best for businesses and organizations that have been creating content for a long time, and so have a large pool to draw from to get started. You should go into it with the mindset that the first month or two there will be a big upfront investment of time to build a solid library of material. Otherwise you risk your content feeling old and outdated quickly.
Use the Power of Post Types
The other thing of course is that it is such a good fit for the model of content creation that I am already using - post types. This is an idea I haven't seen many other places, and am excited that Edgar is getting people to think about their business in a more systemic way.
Measure Your Results
Another unique feature of Edgar is its Analytics. You can sort by account, date, or even by the piece of content itself. This allows you to figure out what you need to improve to get better results, and how the same piece of content performs across platforms.
The Learning Curve
As with any new system, there is a learning curve to using Edgar. Overall it was fairly intuitive to me, but I use programs like this every day. The biggest challenge was navigating back and forth between different accounts. While you can turn on and off different views in the schedule for example, whenever you save one new time slot it reloads to the whole calendar again, and you have to start all over to add the next time. I am guessing this will improve over time as more people use Edgar and provide feedback.
Edgar is not a cheap platform to use. They do not have a free version like BufferApp and Hootsuite do, and the most basic account starts at about $50 a month. If you are just getting your business off the ground and are not clear on how to use social media to generate income, this can be a fairly significant expense. But if you are spending hours a month rescheduling your evergreen content (or paying an assistant to do it for you), the cost savings is a no brainer. Be sure this is the right tool for you before you jump in, and don't feel like it is something you have to have at the beginning.
As a newer scheduling tool, it doesn't have support for quite as many platforms as the other major scheduling tools out there. At the time of writing this review it only supports Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Over time I suspect that list will expand as well, and what they currently offer will be enough for a lot of businesses, but be aware of the limitations and have a plan for any other platforms you are using.
Is It Right for You?
If you are at the very beginning phases of using social media, then Edgar may be a more powerful tool than you need. In order to be able to create evergreen content at all you need a general idea of what types of content to try in the first place.
As I already mentioned, you want to make sure that you can take the time to build up a good library in the beginning or you are missing out on the most important feature.
Another important note - make sure you schedule time to review your library from time to time and make sure it is all still relevant and what you want to be posting. Things change.
For me personally this does not replace my business level BufferApp account - I use both. Edgar is perfect for the evergreen content, and I use BufferApp for the up to the minute news and reactions. Balancing both tools in scheduling means I am able to deliver consistently engaging and unique content for my clients every day.
Anything I didn't cover in the review that you want to know? Post a comment below!
The problem is, because I am not that skilled of a bowler it was actually hurting me. I was working so hard at throwing the ball as hard and fast as I could, and so fixated on that single strike point that it would either (sometimes) work, or totally crash. Literally.
Second game I was feeling a bit sheepish, so I tried to go with a different tactic. What was really hurting me was the lack of consistency. And what do I tell my clients all day every day? Consistency over time is the key to success. Maybe it would work with bowling.
So the next game I did just that. I didn't try to get a strike. My goal was to get at least some pins down every single frame. Even if it was only a pin or two. The second thing that I started doing was to stop thinking about those darn pins, or a specific hit point, but to focus on what my body was doing. All the very kind tips I was getting about bringing my arm all the way up when I threw, etc. I started to work to apply. Focus on technique rather than results.
And guess what, it worked! On the second game I got 95! While it might not seem amazing to anyone who bowls, for me it was one of my best scores of all time. And I accomplished my goal of getting some pins down in every frame. I did not make even one strike, but my overall score was so much better.
So what does this have to do with marketing?
All this has a whole lot to do with marketing actually. Or any other worthwhile pursuit for that matter.
Consistency Over Time is THE Secret
It is better to work out 20 minutes a day (or even 5) every single day than to spend 3 hours in the gym once a month. It is better to write 100 words a day every single day than to write 5,000 words once a year. It is better to be active on social media every day for a few minutes than a couple hours once a week. Figure out whatever it is that you can do consistently and do that. That consistency is what will ultimately give you competency as well.
A really excellent book on this topic is "Mini Habits" by Stephen Guise, definitely a recommended read.
Doing the Right Things Long Enough Always Works
Results matter. Tracking what works matters. But here is the thing - there are certain things that always work. Every. Single. Time. Counterintuitively, if I focus on drinking 8 glasses of water a day and eating at least a couple cups of veggies every day, I lose more weight than if I am thinking about numbers on the scale. If I pay attention to giving my kids more hugs it gets me farther in building relationship with them than fixating on if I am being a good enough parent. When I apply consistently principles that I know work and focus on the action itself, the results come naturally.
In almost everything you are trying to do there are established best practices. If you are already killing it, great, experiment, try new things, see what boundaries you can push. But if you want to achieve success in an area start with what is known. What action produces the desired result? (In this case, following through with my hand when I threw the bowling ball.) Drive your energy into completing and perfecting that action over and over, and believe the results will be there. We often are spending time thinking when we should be doing.
Listen to Advice
I was dropping the ball too soon. It was resulting in tons of gutter balls. It was hard to learn something new and get my arm to keep going. I was afraid of throwing it too far in the air or looking stupid. But I already looked stupid throwing gutter balls, so...
Finding people who are better than you are, have already achieved a level of success (even if it is just a little more than you), and are supportive and encouraging is the life blood of accomplishment. Love those people. Listen to those people. Appreciate those people.
Listen to Yourself
While I got some good advice, ultimately, the answer to my bowling problem did not come from outside. No one said "stop trying to get strikes." No one said "stop thinking about the pins." I took the good advice I was getting, and then observed the action I was taking, and found a way through.
Determine to not get stuck. Decide that there is a way through every single problem that you face whether in marketing or life, and that your only job is to figure out what it is.
When you think you have a way through, try it!
1,473 flights (and counting) have been cancelled since this morning, and I don't even know how many delays. Flight employees are calming telling passengers over and over the bad news that they are not going anywhere. Some people are not as lucky, I have been giving out restaurant recommendations and info about Art Prize all morning. Well, at least I get to fulfill my role as the unofficial spokesperson for Grand Rapids, Michigan. :-)
So why is all this going on? Just. One. Person. Apparently an employee was upset at work, and decided the best way to deal with that was to cut some wires and himself, and douse everything in gasoline and light it. This employee happened to work in a radar tower in Chicago O'Hare Airport, so the ramifications were quick and widespread.
Not Flying Today? You Should Still Pay Attention!
It is easy to write off the actions of a person (clearly who has bigger issues), and think nothing more about it. But this is a grand example of the power of one. YOU can make a huge difference in the world around you. We live in an incredibly interconnected world. The choices that we make have a ripple effect outward in an incredibly powerful way. Arguably more so than ever before in human history.
Each and every single one of us has a choice what to do with that power. We can ignore it. We can act in fear, anger, or frustration, like this person seems to have been doing.
Or, we can make it matter. As millions of social media posts are posted and in the age of the selfie, it can seem like a constant attention grab. We can quickly feel like we will never be heard, we don't matter, and the world is too big.
Every little choice ripples. Every big choice ripples. Don't be afraid of your power - embrace it, and use it to make the world a better place.
What Can Your Super Powers Do Today?
Stuff is really gummed up today in the transportation industry. Let's all work together to fix it a little. Be kind during rush hour, or going through a construction zone. Take the time to give a #FF (follow Friday) shout out to someone on Twitter with a nice note. Thank someone that deserves it. Give an extra hug to your kids. Start that project. Donate to that cause. Sign up for that 5k. Or whatever doing good in the world looks like to you. You may never know just how much difference you make.
And if you want to, tell me about it - I love to hear good news (and have some time to kill in this airport). ;-)
It was my birthday on Friday and I turned 31. Usually at this point in life is when birthday's become progressively less fun and only serve as a reminder that you are getting older. But Facebook makes birthday's awesome!
I received a multitude of positive messages, a couple pictures of flowers, and even a song on Facebook itself. And off Facebook I got more attention too.
Now the cynic will of course argue that these people would not remember my birthday if Facebook didn't remind them, but is that a bad thing? I seriously can't keep track of hundreds of birthdays in my head, but do truly appreciate and care for the people who are my friends and acquaintances and love having the opportunity to let them know it. And is this any less legitimate than the calendar or address book that our Grandma's had? They didn't memorize all that information either, they just used a different form of technology to keep track.
So yes, Facebook makes birthdays decidedly better.
I am the oldest of 11 siblings. Right now I have 3 nieces and 1 nephew with three more on the way (yes, 3). When we get together for Thanksgiving with just immediate family it is close to 30 people. This number may very well double in the next decade or so.
While I realize that maybe it doesn't take 30 phone calls to organize YOUR Thanksgiving dinner every year, I am guessing their are birthday parties, baby showers, and evenings out that are much simpler to coordinate now. Being able to add the location, details, and even choose who sees what (surprise party anyone?) saves time and frustration.
When technology becomes problematic is when it replaces real interaction. But it also has the potential to expand and improve that real interaction.
Coming Together for the Greater Good
While there are all kinds of things that I could say about the Ice Bucket Challenge, for now let's just use it as an illustration of the huge potential of social media to rally us around the common good. Can this go awry? Yes. Can we get caught up in liking things rather than doing anything? It is a real problem. But my gut tells me that people thinking about what needs to be done to make the world better is an amazing first step. And then galvanizing action is the next one.
I am sure that I would not have run as many 5k races for important causes with my kids, or felt comfortable enough to share them as much as I have, without social media. Again, who really wants to call up 100 people and say, hey, there is this race benefiting a really important cause, want to come?
Efficiency matters. It helps us make bigger strides forward as humanity when we can remove the communication barriers that stand in the way. This is one way to do it.
Communicating In Emergencies
Thursday, my middle son was in the hospital all day (yes I know, big week). He is on antibiotics now and doing much better, though it was a scary few minutes for me as Mom. My cell phone did not work in the hospital room. But you know what did? The wi-fi on my laptop. I was able to message my sister to pick up my other sons from school, share updates with my family at large about what was going on, and even have my son do a Google Hangout with his dad in Toronto.
When you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, a major crisis, illness, etc. it can be exhausting to try to communicate with each person who needs and or wants an update. It can even feel like too much effort to ask for the help that you need because you feel so overwhelmed. At the beginning of 2008 when my eldest son had his stroke I remember spending way too much time on the phone telling people what was going on and feeling like I just couldn't repeat it all one more time.
And the support and love that you get from your more loosely connected contacts that might not even know otherwise can be invaluable, which brings us to the last point.
Strengthening Weak Ties
If you know me, you know I am a bit of a geek and LOVE to learn new things. One way I do that is by taking free online courses from Harvard and other Ivy League universities through EdX.org (highly recommend!). Right now I am taking a course called the Science of Happiness all about what makes us happy.
While we probably all know that social connections make us happier, one thing I was surprised to learn is that it is not all about those few close relationships. What are called "weak ties" are essential to our wellbeing. Most of the positive changes in our life (meeting our soul mate, getting a great new job, etc.) happen because of these friends of friends.
Just like Grandma's book of birthday's, these extended connections used to be a lot harder to nurture. While getting on the phone and out to meet in physical spaces is still important, we can now maintain and grow ties with a much larger network. This is the basis of civilization and human progress.
As always, the important point is that these weak ties to not replace the close ones. Arguably, this is an area that we need to work on as a society, and probably worth exploring in a future post. But this is not an either or question. We don't have to choose between close friends and loose ties. We can have both. And will be happier the more we are able to cultivate both. Technology opens that door where we don't have to make those kinds of choices. If we learn to use it as the wonderful tool it is, it can open all new possibilities.
What do you think?
I would love to hear in the comments below your thoughts. Do you think social media has an overall net positive or net negative effect? Any ways that Facebook has made your life better not mentioned above? And if you are tired of hearing all the doomsday social media articles - share this one! :-)
So what is so great about MySpace now?
First, a little bit of background. The MySpace that most people think of was defunct by 2011. No one was using it and a bunch of money was being spent on staff without revenue coming in the way it was expected when Rupert Murdoch bought the site for $580 million in 2005.
In 2011 is when Justin Timberlake (and a few other investors) purchased the brand for $35 million. Now, this might seem crazy until you think about what MySpace was all about in the beginning and what Justin Timberlake primarily does for a living - music.
MySpace was officially relaunched by Timberlake in June 2013, in the process getting rid of the old site completely. And it is a beautiful thing.
As a competitor to Facebook, MySpace clearly lost. But it is not a competitor to Facebook any more. In fact, you can use your Facebook (or Twitter) credentials to log in if you want.
In the new re-imagined world of MySpace Justin Timberlake created a competitor to Pandora or Spotify, and in my opinion a real competitor. I had used the paid version of Pandora for a couple years at this point. But MySpace is just better in my opinion. Here is why:
So yeah, basically if you like listening to music suck it up, get over the eye rolls you will get, and check out MySpace. Seriously. And yes, you will have interesting conversations with your friends like this one I had on Google+ (read the comments, you will laugh):
And yes, I did just reference Google+ as well, but that is a subject for another post.
What this has to do with social media overall
Okay, so you are not a musician. Other than listening to great music, what does MySpace have to do with you, right?
Well, it has a lot to do with you if you want to use social media effectively. Let's go over a few of the finer points:
So what do you think? Are you going to give MySpace another chance? How will this make you look at your business and social media strategy differently? I would love to hear about it!
To understand the power of what is going on right now it is important to realize that most trending hashtags only last for 17 minutes. #YesAllWomen started trending on Saturday night, and here it is Monday morning and it is still going strong.
The why is obvious. It struck a chord with so many, many people. On a personal note I felt a release to share some of my own experiences that seem completely off limits to talk about most of the time.
Not convinced that this conversation needs to happen? Take a look at many of the responses that are hate-filled and even threatening violence. It also was sad to see that hashtags dealing with rape and slut shaming were trending alongside the #YesAllWomen hashtag continuously. I don't even want to list the hashtags here because that would just fuel the flames.
Don't Spam - But Do Use IT
In many ways this is pure social media. And now I am going to talk about how to take advantage of things like this to grow your social media influence. People hate this. When it's done wrong.
Here is the thing. If we want to build real relationships with real people and get real results, we have to start acting like real people. Real people cared very much about this. It is an opportunity to join in and show that we care too.
And there is nothing wrong with doing it in a smart way.
So when does a brand start spamming instead of engaging in a real conversation? When you miss the point. This is not a good time to start suggesting people buy your product.
Social Success Vs. Missed Opportunities
I could go on for a few thousand words about all the many brands that are missing this entirely. The ones who could be adding to the conversation, providing support, and yes, getting people to be aware of their brand. Of course one of the reasons is that it is a weekend, and a holiday weekend in the U.S. at that. Which underlines the importance of being present on social media and not just relying on scheduling and broadcast content. But there are a couple that stuck out to me this morning.
The first one is very interesting. Arguably magazines like Cosmo feed into, and even help create, the misogynistic culture that #YesAllWomen is trying to deal with. That being said, their target demographic is definitely the people who are using the hashtag - women. Despite it being a weekend they put together a few of the top tweets and a couple paragraphs about it and published an article. You only have to look at the retweets and favorites to see the results. If they really wanted this to take off though a picture would have helped. And with tools likeCanva.com there really is not any excuse not to.
On the flip side here is Smirnoff. For context (in case you haven't looked at the #YesAllWomen hashtag), a lot of the posts were about issues of consent, and being drunk not being the same as yes, etc. In the midst of all this a promoted post from Smirnoff popped up in my feed. Oh, the irony.
Basically, they paid to get not even a fraction of the social media attention that Cosmo is getting for free - just because they are not paying attention. What a powerful statement if Smirnoff would have taken the time to create a statement about keeping those house parties safe, or respecting women. I can guarantee you that not only would it have gone viral, but increased their Memorial Day sales significantly.
Viral Trends 101
I am not trying to pick on Smirnoff - they just happened to show up this morning when this was on my mind. But it could be applied to any brand.
There are a couple things that make brands and individuals miss these important opportunities. One we talked about already. They are not really there. Scheduled promotions go out, and maybe someone is scanning for brand mentions, but there is no one keeping the pulse on the social media community as a whole.
The other big reason is that many brands, and the people running the social media behind them, see social media as a promotion tool rather than a connection tool. When you are focused on you and your brand and products it is impossible to truly connect. We are moving into a new type of business world. One in which it should start with people first. If you are tuned in to the people you want to serve that will educate every single other decision from what products you create in the first place, to how to connect to them through social media.
What Do You Think?
Please comment and share and let's get this conversation going!
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jaime virtually over the last couple years and she is the genuine article. Not only does she care deeply about others, but is a no-fluff person when it comes to figuring out what really works. She also makes things happen! Even being a beta reader for this book, I bought a hard copy as soon as it was available. This is one worth having in your hands.
So what do you think? If you have read the book or are familiar with Jaime's interviews, what was your biggest take-away? If you want to me a millionaire and aren't right now, what do you think is holding you back?
Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are over in the United States. Christmas and Kwanzaa are on their way. This is the time of year when we get so busy with so many things that we can lose site of priorities, meaning, and gratefulness.
But it does not have to be. It can also be the time when we hug those we love a little closer, make the world a little better, and move forward into a new year with the determination to make it better.
Almost two months ago now the Philippines was devastated by the worst typhoon in recorded history. This was just a couple weeks after being hit by an earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks. This came close to home for our business and family as one of our team, Grace, lives and works in the Philippines.
In getting to know and working with Grace this year I have been so impressed with her work ethic, her attitude, and her ability to triumph over adversity. She has been the most amazing addition to our team, and I am not sure how we functioned without her. In short, people always ask me how it works to hire from the Philippines and ask me if I would recommend it and I can't recommend it highly enough! (As a side note we used Chris Ducker's Virtual Staff Finder to find Grace which was also a great experience.)
What You Can Do
Sad to say, we in the west seem to have a short attention span. While people in the Philippines are still trying to meet basic needs in some areas, we are most concerned about the lines at the mall to get our shopping done. So in the midst of all that, see if there is room to help those in still in need.
When I asked Grace about aid organizations, sadly a lot of help that goes to the government and even some charities never makes its way to those who need it most. If you know someone in the Philippines, the best thing to do is help them directly if you can.
Otherwise, the Red Cross is one organization with a track record that is helping people on the ground.
Building a Better World
But, as there always is, there is a bigger issue here. We live in one of the most amazing times ever in human history. The ability to virtually eliminate poverty, homelessness, hunger, and environmental damage are within our reach. So many technologies exist to build sustainable housing, energy, and food supplies, and more are created every day. Education on almost any subject (even from top Ivy League universities once only open to a select few) is just a click away on the Internet.
So will you join with me? Help, now. Do something in the Philippines to bring relief there in the short term. But don't forget about the long term.
Every dollar you spend and every choice you make has an opportunity to make the world a fundamentally better place, or a fundamentally worse one. What you do matters. You matter. You can make a difference. The more of us that do, the better off we all will be.