Get More Buzz For Your Social Media Contests With Rafflecopter

 

Get More Buzz For Your Social Media Contests With Rafflecopter

Many businesses are lazy when they think about setting up social media contests. They resort to the obvious and set up a rule breaking Like & Share contest on Facebook.

To run a successful contest you need to think beyond Facebook and if you really want results you need to plan. As with any plan the first step should be to decide what you want to achieve.

Do you want:

  1. More social media followers?
  2. More interaction?
  3. To broaden brand awareness?
  4. To gain email subscribers?
  5. To get leads?
  6. To gather user generated content?

If your goal is 1-5 above it’s worth taking a look at this weeks cool tool Rafflecopter for setting up your social media contest.

Here’s how it works:

What I like about Rafflecopter:

People can enter multiple times. You can add lots of entry conditions giving people extra points each time they enter. This promotes more sharing from users.

It’s not just for Facebook. Rafflecopter contests can be embedded in your blog or added to a Facebook page. If these options don’t work for you Rafflecopter will create a page on it’s site for your contest that you can direct people to.

It helps you pick a winner. Rafflecopter has an inbuilt random winner selector. If you prefer you can view all entries and pick a winner manually.

It takes minutes to set up. Many of the full featured contest apps I use take a big chunk of time to set up. As you can see in the video above you can have your contest ready to go within three minutes.

What I don’t like about Rafflecopter:

The sharing options are what really makes this app but I have some reservations. Are we gaining valuable social media followers or are we just attracting people who like doing contests? When we ask people to share a tweet or pin an image are we encouraging people to share quality content or are we encouraging people to spam their friends?

The verdict

Rafflecopter is a neat little app for setting up social media contests. I prefer the email subscriber and social follow options than the sharing options. This way I’m gaining leads but avoiding encouraging spam.

Your Turn

What do you think? Are social sharing contests spam? Would you use this app?

Leave me a comment below.

 

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A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

Last October Twitter made one of the biggest changes to it’s service. After years of being a text only service they allowed images to appear in the stream.

At first I was concerned that it would slow the load time of the app. Luckily this doesn’t seemed to have happened. I was also worried that we’d see a flood of Facebook style memes but it seems the people I follow don’t share many of those either. In general it has made the Twitter experience better. I used to have to click to see a photo. You might not think this is a big deal you might think but psychologically I was making a commitment by clicking.

Now the images slow me down, as I scroll through my feed the photos catch my eye and attract me to specific tweets. They have become a hugely powerful part of what Twitter is.

In this post I’ll look at images on Twitter, when we should share them, what size they should be and we’ll look at some examples of what I think works well.

When to share an image

Photos have power but only when they are good. If you are thinking of putting a text quote on a blank background and sharing it stop now. You are just creating a tweet in a really long winded way. A good image on Twitter should be enough to slow down someone scrolling through the stream and at best make them click either to see more of the photo or the link that accompanies it.

1. Images with links

If you have written a blog post or article try sharing a strong image with it. This should be an attention grabbing picture. Take a look at this one from Lifehacker. It’s colourful, it catches the eye and the text really makes me want to click the link to find out the solution.

Creating The Perfect Image For Twitter

2. Share a moment from your day

When we follow brands on Twitter we often forget there are humans behind the logos. If you have to use your branding for your avatar you can still show your personality and images can be a great way to do this. I love this picture from Designist, it shows me a bit of the personality behind the logo.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

3. Conferences

Conferences are great places to meet new people and connect with people on Twitter.  I’ve met lots of business contacts after tweeting with them at conferences. I’m never at a loss for someone to have coffee with.

It’s a good idea to share relevant snippets of information that you pick up at conferences with your followers but now we can share pictures from the day too. If you are doing this think about how you can make your photo unique. Don’t let your image get lost in a sea of similar images from other attendees. Can you get an angle that no one else can? Perhaps it’s the food, an interesting installation or a selfie with one of the speakers. As we have learnt from Ellen at the Oscars, a selfie taken at the right time and place can be hugely popular.

Eye catching images will stand out in the search results from the conference hash tags and people will begin to recognise your name before you even tweet them.

This image from Documentally seemed to be shared from a post conference dinner.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

4. Because you just took a great photograph

If you are somewhere beautiful or if you just nailed it and happened to get a great shot share it. It’s not always going to be appropriate for your business but like the ice cream shot above it’s a good way to let people know there is a person behind the brand.

5. To demonstrate a point

I saw the photograph below in my Twitter stream today. Initially I was expecting a link to accompany it but it really isn’t neccessary. This is an example of when a picture really does tell a thousand words.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

What size should your image be?

If you want your picture to show in full in the Twitter stream you need to create an image that has a 2:1 ratio. That means it should be twice as long as it is deep. The optimum size for an image you upload to Twitter is 1024×512 pixels. It displays as 440×220 pixels in the feed. You can use PicMonkey (affiliate link) to scale your images to the right size or create images that are the right size.

If you upload an image that doesn’t fit the ratio it will be cropped in the feed. Twitter will still show the full picture when someone expands the tweet or clicks on it.

Take a look at this image shared by Monster Energy. The image that displays in the feed gives no hint of what is really happening in the photo.

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

A Quick Guide To Sharing Images On Twitter

How does Twitter choose what part of the image to show

If you have an image that doesn’t fit the correct ratio Twitter crops it in the feed. We don’t really know exactly how Twitter chooses what part of your image to show, there is no obvious trait. Sometimes Twitter will show the bottom, sometimes the middle sometimes the top of an image. It is thought that Twitter chooses the most interesting part of the image. As we can see from the example above it doesn’t always get this right.

Sharing from Instagram

There are a few reasons why sharing from Instagram doesn’t work well on Twitter

1. You have to leave the Twitter website to view the Instagram photo. This is prohibitive particularly for mobile users who may not have a strong wifi or 3G signal.

2. We tend to add loads of hashtags to our Instagram photos. This doesn’t work well on Twitter. Autoshares from Instagram tend to look like an unreadable list of tags and don’t inspire a click through.

If you want to share your Instagram photos on Twitter there is a work around that will share your image in the feed.

Using IFTTT  create a recipe that will share your picture as a Twitpic on Twitter every time you share an image on Instagram with a specific hashtag. Viewable in the stream. If you use this recipe make sure that you are including Twitter friendly text in the description.

Are you using images as part of your Twitter strategy? What sort of photos are working best for you? Do you find they result in more clicks to your blog posts or RT’s. I’d love to hear your experiences. Leave me a comment below.

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Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

You no longer have to shorten links in order to insert them into posts on Twitter. Twitter will automatically shorten any link you add to twenty one characters. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon link shortening. In this post I’m going to show the advantages of using a tool like Bitly to shorten the links you add to your tweets.

What is Bitly?

Bitly is a tool that allows you to shorten links that you insert in to your tweets. The advantage of this is that you can see how many times that link has been clicked. You will discover some demographic information about the people who clicked and you will identify influential people.

The real killer feature is that it doesn’t just measure the click throughs from your short link. When the same link is shortened by multiple users Bitly will collate the statistics from all of them. For example you may see that your shortened link has been clicked 5 times but the total number of clicks to the original webpage is 50.

How does it work?

Visit the Bitly website and sign up for a free account.

Go to the webpage that you want to shorten and copy the entire link from the address bar.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Paste the link in to the box at the top of the Bitly site

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

A new window will appear. Your link is now shortened.

Click ‘copy bitlink’ to copy the link and paste it in to a tweet or post.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

From this window you can customise the link. This allows you to append your link with something that is easy to remember or tell other people about. For example I have customised the link above to bit.ly/googleplussearchvid.

To share your link directly to Twitter or Facebook click ‘Share’. Bitly will create a post for you. Add your Facebook or Twitter account here to share it.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Note it is only possible to share to a personal Facebook profile, not a business page from here.

Statistics

Once you have shortened the link you can see statistics related to it.

From the Bitly home page click ‘view stats’ underneath a link you have shortened

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

From this dashboard you will see overall statistics including how many times it was clicked via your link and via all Bitly shortened links.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Click ‘See all stats for bitlink’ to get more detailed information.

Scroll down and you can see a graph displaying the links performance over time. If you hover your cursor over a specific date you can see an hourly breakdown.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Scroll down again and you can discover where the link was shared. Click on the little arrow next to each site and you will see more data.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Scroll down again and you can see where the people who clicked your link are located.

Measure your Twitter Success & Find Influencers With Bitly - Cool Tool

Finally at the bottom of the page you can see who has shared your link. Seeing this data depends on the privacy settings of the person who shared.

This is really handy information. If you find that a specific person has sent a lot of traffic to one of your web pages it gives you the opportunity to thank them. It’s a good measure of who is really influential. If their links are getting clicked a lot people are paying attention to what they say.

Browser extension

Using Bitly gets easier if you use their bookmarklet or browser extension. These tools allow you to shorten the link to the page that you are currently viewing. It’s easy to install and you will find it here.

Bitly also integrates with Buffer, WordPress and others.

Bitly is a very useful tool for measuring your social media success. You can see if your tweets are effective at driving traffic to your site and other sites and it can help you find influencers.

It’s not just for Twitter either. You can add shortened links to any post or website the same way that you add a regular link.

Do you still shorten links? Do you use Bitly or another service? Let me know in the comment section below.

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How To Use Twitter Search To Find Customers [Tutorial]

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I believe Twitter search is it’s killer feature. It’s what makes Twitter one of the best social networks for finding customers.

Get your search terms right and you will find people looking for what you do. In this weeks video-cast I show you how you how to use Twitter search and how to use Topsy to search for influencers on Twitter.

You will notice in the video that as well as using twitter advanced search I was inputing ‘operators’ or search parameters directly in to the search box. This is a good way to bypass Twitter advance search. Instead of having to go back to the form every time you want to add a parameter you can type them straight into the search box.

This is particularly handy if you want to find tweets near a specific location. Twitter have recently taken the ability to name a town and see tweets from that town out of Twitter search.

Here’s what you need to input to theTwitter  search box if you want to find tweets sent within 15 miles of my hometown of Athy for example:

near:athy within:15mi

Here’s a full list of operators taken from the Twitter site.

  How To Use Twitter Search To Find Customers [Tutorial]

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Measure Your Success & Find Influencers On Twitter With Twitonomy - Cool Tool
photo credit: pasukaru76 via photopin cc

How do you measure your success on Twitter? Is it follower count? Mentions? Click throughs on links? Something else?

This weeks cool tool Twitonomy is a really useful Twitter analytics tool. It can show you some info about your own account including how many mentions you have had over a period of time. This saves a huge amount of time when you are building your account. If people aren’t mentioning you your message isn’t getting out.

It also allows you to analyse other accounts. This is useful if you are building an influencer list. It gives you headline stats on how many conversations users get into and how many links they share.

There are lots more functions within Twitonomy but I’m going to stick to these two features in this post.

Here’s how it works

You will need to sign in with your Twitter account to get started

Your Mentions & RT’s

Click ‘Mentions & RT’s’ on the top menu bar

Twitonomy will show you the number of mentions that you have had over a specific time period. On the free plan this date range is set by Twitonomy but if you upgrade you can specify a period of time that you want to measure.

Underneath this is a chart showing the number of mentions you have received. As you can see I had a peak in mentions towards the end of February.

Scroll down and you can see who has been mentioning you. Firstly ‘influential’ users, then those who mention you the most. No surprise that my business partner in We Teach Social Lorna is my biggest fan.

Scroll down again and you can see information about the number of RT’s you have received and the potential reach that these have given you.

Measure Your Success & Find Influencers On Twitter With Twitonomy - Cool Tool

Scroll down further and you can discover more about the number of favourites you have received.

This is great info to keep an eye on. I’d recommend putting it into a spreadsheet so you can measure growth over time.

View Your Own Profile

Click on ‘Profile’ in the top menu bar and Twitonomy will show you some info about your own account. It analyses your Twitter behaviour displaying:

  • How often you tweet
  • How often you use the RT button
  • How often you mention other users
  • How many of your tweets include links
  • How many of your tweets include hashtags
  • How often you use the favourite button

What is really cool is that it not only counts the number of times you do these things but it shows the percentage of your tweets that include them.

Measure Your Success & Find Influencers On Twitter With Twitonomy - Cool Tool

From here you can also see; your most RT’d tweets, your most favourited tweets, who you interact with the most and some stats about when you are online.

This is good information but it’s even more useful when you use it to analyse other accounts.

If you click a username within Twitonomy it will analyse the account of that user. You can also just type their name into the box to the top right of the page.

This is a good way to analyse followers. For example if you want to get into conversations with someone take a look at the percentage of replies. If this is low you could be wasting your time trying to chat to them.

In the example below you can see that Lorna is quite conversational so it should be easy to chat to her on Twitter. She doesn’t send that many RT’s using the RT button but almost half of her tweets include links. This means there is a chance that she’d share your content if she finds it useful.

Measure Your Success & Find Influencers On Twitter With Twitonomy - Cool Tool

Just these few features make Twitonomy a really useful tool and they are all available for free.

A lot of the coolest functions are only available on the premium version. What is nice about the premium pricing is that you can sign up for just one month, no need to subscribe.

If you are planning on doing a social media audit on your own account or if you want to spend a bit of time on influencer research it’s well worth the upgrade.

Even without paying for the premium features this is a really handy tool for measuring your own success and deciding on who you should be following and talking to.

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How To Embed Tweets In A Wordpress Blog [Tutorial]

How To Embed Tweets In A WordPress Blog [Tutorial]

Twitter conversations can make a good foundation for a blog post. If you embed tweets in a post you can showcase some great tweeters, share responses to a question you have written or collect together a bunch of tweets from happy customers for a testimonials page.

The good news for self hosted WordPress users is that it’s really simple to embed tweets to a post or page. Here’s how.

I discovered this trick when I was collating tweets as a roundup of the We Teach Social #TalkingSoc tweet chat. Although Storify does it more effectively I like that when we embed tweets we can include them on our own website as part of a longer blog post. If you don’t use WordPress you can get the embed code for a tweet by clicking on ‘More’ underneath the tweet and ‘embed’ from the drop down menu.

Have you used embedded tweets as part of a blog post? Did you know you could skip the longer embed tweet version? Let me know below.

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Twitter Custom Timelines - How To Set Them Up & What To Use Them For

Twitter Custom Timelines could be a useful way to curate tweets on a specific topic or to document a conversation. They work in a similar way to Storify.

The big difference is that you can only collate tweets (obviously) and that they are displayed in chronological order. For this reason they aren’t quite as good at collating Twitter chats but they are a good way of pulling together the best moments from a a chat.

Here’s how to set them up:

Other uses for Custom Timelines

  • Save tweets that are complimentary to share as customer testimonials.
  • To collate the best tweets from a conference or a social media event.
  • To keep a record of special offers you may wish to access later.
  • To bookmark good links.

I have to admit that I’d been putting off using custom timelines as they required me to use TweetDeck. As a Hootsuite girl I had been resisting. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quick and easy it was to get started with TweetDeck now. I think I will use it from time to time to collate Custom Timelines.

Have you used Custom Timelines? Would you be put off by having to use TweetDeck? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do leave me a link to any Custom Timelines you want to show off too.

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Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

This weeks cool tool Dlvr.it auto shares blog and news content to social networks. It’s an easy way to ensure your blog posts are getting shared. I don’t however recommend using it exclusively. As I mentioned in my post on Scheduling you can tweet the same link to your own content more than once a day on Twitter. Dlvr.it just covers one of those shares.

Although automating is a great time saver, and this tool works well for Twitter I always recommend customising and timing posts specifically for Google+ and Facebook.

Here’s how it works:

Visit the Dlvr.ie website and sign up for a free account

Click the ‘+’ next to ‘routes’

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Click on ‘Click here to name your route’ and give it a name that describes it. This is handy if you set up multiple routes so you can keep an eye on statistics. In the example I’ve chosen ‘Blog to Spiderworking Twitter’

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Next click on ‘add’ next to sources. This is where you tell Dlvr.it what content you want to share.

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Click on the orange ‘RSS’ symbol

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Click on ‘add feed’

Now add your blog feed address to the site. If you don’t know what it is, in most cases it will be http://yourwebsiteaddress.com/feed

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Click ‘feed update’ in the top menu and you have the option to set how often Dlvr.it checks your website for new content, if you are an avid blogger or manage a site that posts many times a day you can choose how the app handles this content here.

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Click ‘save source’ at the bottom of the page.

Now it’s time to add your destination. In my case a Twitter account

Click ‘add’ next to destinations

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Choose the network you want to send your feed to

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Click ‘Connect to…’ and allow permissions

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

From the ‘Post Content’ menu you can choose how much content you want to post to Twitter with your automated Tweet. I’d recommend only posting the title and the post link as this makes it easier for other people to share.

You also have the option to add a prefix or suffix to your automated tweet. In the example I’ve added the prefix ‘New Post’. If you are sharing content from a blog that isn’t yours you could include the Twitter handle of the blogger after the tweet.

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

From the advanced menu you can choose to automatically add hashtags to your tweets. If you choose this option Dlvr.it will turn any categories from your blog posts into hashtags. You can also choose the maximum amount of automated hashtags you want added to your tweets.

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Once you have finished click ‘save’. Now you are good to go. Dlvr.it will automatically start checking for new content and posting it to Twitter when it finds it.

Dlvr.it Stats

Once your route has been running for a while you will be able to see some statistics related to it.

Click ‘Stats’ on the top menu.  This displays how many click throughs your posts from Dlvr.it got and where the people who clicked it live in the world.

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

Easily Share Your Content To Twitter With Dlvr.it

I really like this tool, I use it to update the We Teach Social twitter account with content from all of our collected blogs. It means our usually pure information account is always updated.

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The First Ever Spiderworking.com Christmas Gift Guide - Gifts From You
photo credit: purpleslog via photopin cc
photo credit: purpleslog via photopin cc

I love Twitter lists, I use them everyday. Although I like to dip in and out of the main stream on my Twitter account there are a few Tweeters that I enjoy interacting with. My Twitter lists mean that I can dive in and see what those people have been tweeting and filter out everyone else. For example my ‘Social Media Peeps’ list is always full of great links and information. It helps me stay in touch with what is happening in social media.

Creating lists can be a painstaking experience, particularly if you follow a lot of people. I know I’m always finding new people that should have been in my favourites list that I missed but as I follow over 2,000 people it’s hard to keep on top.

This weeks cool tool ‘TweetBe’ was introduced to me last week by Siobhan at Burren Ecotourism group. It simplifys the list making process and most importantly saves you time.

Here’s how it works

  • Connect your Twitter account

  • TweetBe will pull in 20 followees, you will need to click ‘Load all’ to include all the the people you follow.

Twitter Lists Made Easy With TweetBe - Cool Tool

  • Scroll through the list and click the box to the left of the people you want to add to your list.
  • Choose the list that you want to add them to

Twitter Lists Made Easy With TweetBe - Cool Tool

There are some other cool ways to make lists with ListBe too, you can look at results from one of your saved searches, or search for something new.

For example if I wanted to make a list of all the people tweeting about the Congregation at the weekend:

  • I  search for ‘#cong13′, select all tweeters
  • Twitter Lists Made Easy With TweetBe - Cool Tool Create a new list and add them to it

Twitter Lists Made Easy With TweetBe - Cool Tool

Twitter Lists Made Easy With TweetBe - Cool Tool

Twitter Lists Made Easy With TweetBe - Cool Tool

I know I’ll be using this and another tool I’ll be reviewing soon to sift through my lists in the new year.

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Schedule Your Tweets To Self Destruct With Spirit For Twitter - Cool Tool

Schedule Your Tweets To Self Destruct With Spirit for Twitter - Cool Tool

Do you ever post time sensitive tweets? Maybe it’s announcing that an event is happening tonight, or a time specific promotion. Leave these tweets live on Twitter and it could get messy. Someone could ReTweet what is now inaccurate information. You could get bombarded by customers who want to avail of an expired discount or turning up on the wrong day for an event.

This weeks cool tool Spirit has the solution. It allows you to add an expiry date to your Tweets, deleting it from Twitter after a timescale that you set.

Here’s how it works:

Visit the Twitter Spirit Website

Click ‘Enable Spirit’

Schedule Your Tweets To Self Destruct With Spirit for Twitter - Cool Tool

Allow the permissions to access your Twitter account

Now you are set up you can add a hashtag to your tweets to let Spirit know when you want them deleted.

Schedule Your Tweets To Self Destruct With Spirit for Twitter - Cool Tool

These can be formatted in minutes:

#15m

Hours:

#2h

or Days:

#5d

Here’s one I scheduled for deletion within two minutes:

spirit3

Schedule Your Tweets To Self Destruct With Spirit for Twitter - Cool Tool

As with all cool tools something can always go wrong. My 2 minute tweet was not deleted within two minutes but more like 6 minutes, I’m not sure if this is because of the short expiry I gave it. Still I was delighted to see it disappear.

Hat tip to The Verge where I originally found this tool.

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