Social Media And the 2016 Presidential Election

voteSo far, the run up to the 2016 elections has been, at various times, amusing or weird, but mostly interesting, thanks to social media. If not for this ever flexible, we wouldn’t have seen this hilarious Snap of Hillary chillin’, the world wouldn’t be same without those odd Trump-isms on Twitter, or worse, we wouldn’t have known what Scott Walker is eating!

If we are to believe the figures estimated by Borrell Associates, politicians will be allocating over 9 percent of media budget towards digital and social media — this comes to an estimated $1 billion. And don’t we all know for whom is this budget allocated for?

Long story short, the efforts of electoral candidates and their social media agencies seem to be concentrated towards winning affection of millennials (25 to 34 year olds), and although no one can say today which candidate is going to win the elections later this year, one thing is clear: social media is winning the elections today.

The Elections and Social Media

One interesting thing to note here is it’s not only candidates who are showing an affinity towards social media; websites like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Snapchat are doing their bit to warm up to politicos too.

Twitter, for instance, shut down two apps that showed tweets that politicians had deleted – if ever a social network pandered to political advantage, this was it. Twitter later formed an agreement with Politwoops. They even hosted a breakfast event in Washington rolling out the proverbial red carpet for election candidates. And they went on to partner with Square so people could tweet their donations to their preferred parties and candidates.

Eric Laurence, Facebook’s head of U.S. Industry for Politics and Government, once cited the benefits of their video advertising saying it was a “great way to reach and mobilize supporters and voters that candidates need to win elections.” He further added that “those voters are on Facebook,” which is not far off the mark, counting the 200 million U.S. citizens actively using Facebook. The company has a dedicated team which meets candidates and offers assistance with Facebook’s advertising services.

Even the fairly new entrants like Snapchat are proffering filters and 10-second video ads catered to political campaigns. The first few candidates to run ads on this platform were John Kasich, Rand Paul and Scott Walker. Snapchat even hired ex-Google leader Rob Saliterman, who led political ad sales during the George W. Bush administration.

Coming to the giant now, Google is a leader when it comes to 2016 elections. From sponsored links in Google searches, YouTube video ads and the new-fangled programmatic display ads on online publishing websites such as New York Times, presidential candidates have a lot of scope to reach out to right audience through Google.

Lee Dunn, who is heading the election campaign management team at Google told Glamour that YouTube will help candidates to target people based on their geographical locations, language, etc.:

2016 will become known for being the campaign of video content. People want authenticity and directness from candidates, and the best platform to provide that without a filter from the media is YouTube.

Clearly, the 2016 election candidates have woken up to social media and the social networks have woken up to the amount of cash at stake.

Now the question isn’t who is using social media, the question is who is using social media most effectively. People are watching candidates with hawk eyes, waiting for one wrong tweet…

What’s worse, candidates are continuously up to odd antics, trying to be “cool” so as to impress millennials. In fact, this might be taking them away from the precious presidential hot seat.


So the question that President Obama changed from “Can presidential candidates gain from social media?” to “How do presidential candidates gain from social media?” is now more like “How do candidates and parties ride this huge, big wave that has come out of nowhere and has changed the shape of elections and politics?”

Winning Strategies from Social Media Experts

A lot of consultants and agencies seem to be finding the answer and I have rounded up some of these strategies and solutions here.

Erin Lindsay from Precision Strategies, a consulting firm founded by people behind Obama’s campaign, told The Hill:

Authenticity is a big thing in social media. I think the candidates that are the most successful are the ones that are clearly the most comfortable.

I think what Lindsay is trying to say is that you should adjust your tone depending on various platforms: on Reddit, be ready to answer any questions; on Twitter, be ready to handle impromptu debates; on Facebook, show concern and warmth. The dos and don’ts for various social media platforms are endless. But the basic mantra is same – be authentic at all times.

Another gem of advice comes from Jim Walsh, co-founder of DSPolitical:

When Walsh tried to persuade politicians about the effectiveness of targeted reach and precision using digital media in 2012, he had a hard time fighting traditional media like print and TV. Today, his company has expanded to almost double their size with half the need for persuasion, and is serving some of the best political parties.

So do they have a magic wand?

The magic wand that agencies like DSPolitical have is – data and tools. Companies like DSPolitical, CampaignGrid and Targeted Victory use analytics tools to narrow down every one of the 190 million registered voters and target personalized messages at them using their browsing history, real estate and tax records.

Further, data firms like Data Trust, i360 and TargetSmart track, compile and analyze social data which help candidates in their social media campaigns.

When it comes to the agencies helping them out, it is not only big data exchanges such as the above, but also various other social listening and collaboration tools that come in handy. For instance,Quintly can be used for benchmarking competition, monitoring and analyzing campaigns, and finding influencers. The same goes for Wrike, which allows marketing teams to seamlessly collaborate on campaigns while saving major chunks of their time. Since campaigners need to respond quickly and in real time, SaaS tools like these can prove to be very useful.

How to Use Facebook Local Awareness Ads to Target Customers

Do you want to promote your local business to customers using Facebook?

Have you heard of Local Awareness Ads?

Local Awareness Ad campaigns are easy to set up and let you reach Facebook users based on the business location they’re closest to.

In this article you’ll discover how to target customers near your business with Local Awareness Ads on Facebook.

facebook local awareness ads

Discover how to use Facebook Local Awareness Ads to target customers.

Why Local Awareness Ads?

Instead of using boosted posts or Facebook ads to drive online engagement, your business can get a greater return on its advertising investment with local awareness ads that are designed to bring customers through your door.

You can set these ads up to serve people near your location with directions to your store. Or you can choose to provide a phone number so they can easily call you. Or let users message you if they have a question. All with the click of a button from your ad.

The best part is how easy it is to scale your campaigns to promote multiple locations to local customers. Here’s how.

#1: Create Your Local Awareness Campaign

While you can create a local awareness ad from the Ads Manager, you’ll want to create these campaigns in Facebook Power Editor because it gives you more flexibility with audience targeting.

If you don’t use the Power Editor Chrome extension, you can access the Power Editor dashboard from the Facebook Ads Manager by clicking on the Power Editor link in the horizontal menu at the top of the page.

power editor link

You can now open Power Editor from within the standard Facebook Ads Manager navigation menu.

Once you’ve opened Power Editor, you’ll need to start a new campaign by clicking the Create New button. Then you’ll open the Objective drop-down menu and select Local Awareness from the list.

select local awareness

Select Local Awareness as your objective if you want to promote a local business.

From here, enter the first location of the business you want to promote. It’s important that you use only one location per local awareness ad campaign so you can optimize the performance of individual campaigns in the most granular way possible.

use one business location per campaign

Remember to use only one business location per campaign.

#2: Define the Ad Target

To determine who sees your ads on Facebook, you’ll edit the audience section of your ad set. You need to determine two parametersthe geographic location you want to target and the custom audience you want to target.

For instance, the ad group we created above is targeting everyone who logs into Facebook in Aventura, Florida. If you want to promote your local clothing boutique, you could refine this audience with behavior targeting to reach only shoppers in Aventura, Florida.

use behavior targeting

Use behavior targeting to drill down to the right audience for your ad.

There are hundreds of targeting combinations you can use on Facebook. If you want to use more than one targeting method per business location or in a split test, be sure to create a new ad set for each one. This will let you accurately track the performance of each targeting method.

For instance, if you want to target online shoppers as well as in-store customers, create two different ad sets so you can customize the budget and track the performance of each one separately.

use behavior targeting

These ad sets promote the same business location but target audiences with different behaviors.

#3: Design Your Ads

To get the most out of local awareness ads, you need to give the people who see your ad a reason to stop by your store or contact you. Let people know why they should pay attention to your message early in the ad copy.

First, in the text portion of your ad, consider highlighting a promotion and include a call to action.

Next, choose an image that is relevant to what you’re offering. If you’re a restaurant and you want more reservations for dinner, you might use a picture that shows a plated meal or a welcoming host. If you’re trying to attract in-store shoppers, an image like the one in the ad below would work well.

Finally, use the description line to give customers one more reason to click on your ad. You’ll also want to include one of Facebook’s call-to-action buttons to encourage viewers to call your establishment, get directions to your location, send you a message or learn more about your offer on a specific page of your website.

Following these steps, here’s what a local awareness ad might look like.

use one business location per campaign

Successful local awareness ads motivate people to interact with your business.

Remember you’ll need to create ads in each ad set of your campaigns.

#4: Scale Your Campaign for Multiple Locations

If you have more than one brick-and-mortar location, you can quickly scale your local awareness campaigns for all of your stores.

First, select the original campaign and duplicate it.

use one business location per campaign

Complete campaigns can be scaled easily.

Next, rename the copied campaign to match the additional location name. In the example below, the copied campaign is renamed for Boston.

rename each campaign to match its location

Rename each campaign to match its location.

Select both ad sets for the newest location and change the location targeting to match the audience in the additional location.

adjust your targeting to each location

Adjust your targeting to each location.

Now you can either modify the existing ads from the original campaign or create new ads. Considering how you can set up your target location at the ad set level, it makes sense to create location-specific ads to tailor the customer experience. This is a good idea if you feature images of your stores and they’re different for each location.


By using these tips, you can create a local awareness ad campaign for one or several of your locations in minutes. Each of your campaigns can drive more foot traffic by giving customers directions, making it easy for them to call you and offering the option to use messages.


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Twiter and the 2012 Election – Lessons Learned


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The following is an excerpt from the new ebook, “How to Use the Internet to Win in winningin2016-cover2014: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Politics for Campaigns & Advocates”, available in the Amazon store for the Kindle e-reader and as a PDFn

The explosion of Twitter marks one of the biggest changes in the digital political landscape in the last few years — in 2008, Barack Obama had all of 100,000 followers by Election Day, a number that was well above 20 million on Election Day 2012. Though the Twitter and Faceook are often lumped together in the popular mind, Twitter isn’t quite a mass medium in the same way Facebook has become — it’s more of a channel to reach those“influentials” like bloggers, journalists and activists. Also different: you can pretty much post as often as you want on Twitter, while you’ll probably want to limit yourself on Facebook to keep from burning out your audience.

An example of Twitter’s ability to influence the political discussion? In 2012, Obama and Romney campaign staff regularly engaged in “Twitter duels” online, with reporters and activists the intended audience. Though these back-and-forth exchanges probably didn’t change any votes, they got plenty of media attention — mission accomplished.

Functionally, Twitter is the very short equivalent of blogging, with a dash of social networking thrown in: individual Twitter messages (“tweets”) are limited to 140 characters in length, and people generally have to choose to “follow” someone’s Twitter feed in order to see their updates. As with Facebook, essentially anyone or any organization can create a Twitter feed, but in some sense Twitter lacks the reciprocal nature of a true social network — plenty of feeds have thousands of followers but follow far fewer people in return themselves (do you think that Lady Gaga really pays attention to what you say?).

One important consideration — Twitter’s a useful tool for campaigns, but its real political power may lie in what campaigns CAN’T do on it, which is to dominate the conversation. Twitter is truly a democratic medium (with a small “d”), and content and opinions spread on Twitter often find their way onto blogs and cable news and into newspapers. Twitter helps create the sea of information in which modern campaigns swim, and whether or not they’re active on Twitter themselves, it’s likely to shape the political communications environment in which they operate.

What to Tweet?

A common perception of Twitter is that it’s an inherently trivial medium — it’s often spoken of as a way to tell the world what you had for breakfast. But in practice, normal people who fill Twitter’s “airwaves” with self-indulgent drivel generally don’t pick up much of a following (for celebrities, that’s unfortunately NOT so true). In fact, perhaps the most common single use of Twitter is to spread links to blog posts, videos, news articles and other pieces of in-depth content, making the 140-character limit less of an issue.

In general, as in so many other parts of the online advocacy space, readers aren’t likely to pay much attention to you unless you have something of value to offer them. People who tweet too much trivia too often can find their followers dropping off in droves, so be sure to pay attention to the KIND of information you distribute. Not every tweet needs to be a haiku-like gem of wisdom, but it rarely hurts to think for at least a minute or two about your ultimate communications goals before messaging the world. How often people Tweet varies immensely — I have friends who’ve sent out 10 or 20 times more messages over time than I have, for instance. It really depends on what you have to say.

Building a Following

Once you’ve established an initial base of content on Twitter, next start building your following. Unfortunately, short of being mentioned in the Twitter feed of someone famous, finding an audience typically takes time. Start by following the people you want to follow you — your staff, political activists in your state, district or area, local bloggers, journalists, etc., since at least some of them will follow you back right away. Once they do so, you have the opportunity to reach them — and potentially, their own audiences through them.

Supporters = Amabassadors

Of course, you’ll want as many of your supporters to follow you as well, particularly if their own following is large and/or active. So ask them! A “follow us on social media” email is a nice break from a string of fundraising asks, and your supporters may appreciate a chance to help the campaign without having to open their wallets.

@Replies and Hashtages: Engaging the Community and Connecting with Prominent Voices

The most effective way to build your following over time is to actively engage the Twitter community, a process that can take several forms. The most straightforward is to use an “@reply,” in which you reference another Twitterer in your own post (i.e., “@epolitics why don’t you just shut up about this crap”). You can use @replies to hold a back-and-forth conversation with someone, plus they’re a good way to get the attention of someone with whom you’d like to connect ( and other Twitter-management tools — like Hootsuite — typically make it very easy to see who’s @replied you).

@replies also play a role in “retweeting,” which is the forwarding of someone else’s posts to your own followers. Retweets are one of the signature characteristics of the ongoing Twitter conversation, since they let people provide value to their readers without having to write new content themselves. Plus, retweeting someone more prominent than you can be a good way to come to his or her attention, particularly if you use the old-school “RT @reply” method rather than Twitter’s newer built-in retweet function (RT’ing a tweet as an @reply also lets you add a comment, another valuable feature).

Besides RT’s, the other common bit of Twitter shorthand you’ll commonly encounter is a “hashtag,” a word or abbreviation preceded by the “#” sign. Twitterers use hashtags to refer to a topic that’s being discussed by several people at once, for instance an issue, event or public figure, and people often use Twitter’s search function to follow the extended discussion around a particular tag. This tendency makes hashtags a valuable way to gain exposure to new followers and to find yourself retweeted, assuming of course that you have something interesting to say. Some websites attempt to keep track of common hashtags, but the easiest way to find the hashtags in general use is to use a Twitter search around a topic and look for the tags terms people are using when they talk about it.

Engaging the Twitter community is obviously time-consuming, since you have to pay attention to what many different people are saying — you can’t participate in the conversation unless you’re actually listening. Besides hashtags, dedicated Twitter-management tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck let you break the feeds you’re following down into various groups, for instance based on topics they cover or the kind of author they are (hint: track relevant journalists), and they also tend to speed up the process of posting content vs. going through itself. A good tool will typically allow you to pre-schedule Tweets for publishing, something that’s particularly handy if you have content that needs to go out over the weekend or while you’re traveling.

Besides public conversations, you can also “Direct Message” someone behind the scenes if you are following each other reciprocally, and I’ve known people who’ve been able to connect with a blogger or reporter via DM whom they’d never been able to reach via email.

Advanced Tactics

Twitter has given rise to an impressive array of different tactics and practices in its short time on Earth. “Live-Tweeting” an event involves covering it comprehensively as it happens, and social media-friendly conferences and seminars typically promote the use of certain hashtags to facilitate the process. Activists or groups can also pre-arrange TweetChats, which are public discussions at a particular time and around a particular hashtag. Many people pay attention to the hashtags that are “trending” on Twitter, i.e., becoming widely discussed, and the goal of a TweetChat or live-tweeting is often to either encourage a topic to trend or to ride the wave of a subject that’s moving up the popularity ladder. Finally, a Twitter interview can be an interesting way to run a one-on-one public conversation, though it practice it can feel like competitive poetry or a freestyle rap showdown — i.e., a public balancing act on a very narrow wire.

Twitter and Cell Phones

A common question about Twitter: why the 140-character limit? The answer is cell phones — Twitter is designed to be used like SMS text messages, making it one of the few online tools commonly and easily works on handheld devices. Some organizers have taken advantage of this fact to use Twitter to help rally communities in which cell phones are more common than access to the traditional internet. Others have used the Twitter/phone connection for on-the-spot coverage of rallies and other events, particularly as a means to distribute photos and videos shot with their phones. Finally, some campaigns in 2012 employed “protected” Twitter feeds — ones that can only be followed by people “approved” by the feed owner — to organize field staff and volunteers on the fly.

Advertising on Twitter

Update: this section has changed in the version 2.0 of this ebook, published in April of 2014! Please go toTwitter Advertising for Politics & Advocacy for the latest information.

Warning: Ways to Stumble

The most important Twitter rule to remember? Don’t be an idiot, since something you post on Twitter will live forever, even if you try to delete it (just ask Anthony Weiner). Even if you’re smart enough not to send topless photos over the internet, a big mouth can still get you into trouble. As a friend of mine once said of a Democrat challenging Sen. Chuck Grassley, “as long as he has a Twitter feed, she has a chance.”

Another note of caution: electoral campaigns in particular need to be careful to distinguish between a candidate or officeholder’s Twitter feed and one updated by staff, since Twitter as a community tends to value authenticity. If Twitterers find out that a “candidate’s voice” is not actually his own, the campaign’s credibility can take a hit. Campaigns can use both approaches in a single feed if it’s clear whose voice is speaking at any given time, and can even turn a relatively rare candidate appearance on his or her own feed into an event to promote. Finally, don’t forget that once a campaign has a Twitter feed, people will expect to be able to follow it and interact with the author(s). Don’t start a feed and let it die of neglect.

For more from this chapter, please download your copy of “How to Use the Internet to Win in 2014″ today.

Political Social Media Campaigns – How and Why they can win or lose elections.


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vote-for-me-buttonStarting out, knowing the ins and outs of online networking can be a bit daunting for candidates. Here are a few tips for political campaigns are unfamiliar or starting out with the whole social media thing.

First a note to the candidates:

Much of how campaigns have been using social media amounts, at best, to a waste of people’s time and attention, and, at worst, to relentlessly spamming your friends. Not only is this ineffective, you’ll likely be irritating some of your friends and supporters – and I know you don’t want to do that.

For the candidates (and those who love them), I offer a few tips for using social media to get you started:

  1. Define your objectives: It’s amazing how often this step is bypassed. Do you want to use social media to communicate with your existing supporter base or grow your base? Do you want to raise funds, awareness or both? Knowing the answer to these question will have a lot to do with your strategy. I’ve seen campaigns hoping to grow (don’t they all?), but using the tools as if they only wanted to be in touch with an existing audience. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the online community didn’t grown much.
  2. Engage (a.k.a. It’s not all about you): Don’t just publish. If you primarily use these new channels to push out your “Come learn about me” events and links to your “Donate here” page, people will tune out pretty quickly. Don’t miss the important opportunities to talk with, not at, your audience. Doing this well will build your reputation and visibility.
  3. Public vs. Private: Know what content (information, photos, etc.) about you can be seen online by the many (everyone) or by the few (close friends and family). Then, assume that it all can be seen by the many and plan with that in mind.
  4. Connect the online and offline worlds: Most of your activities and content should have both online and offline components woven seamlessly together. This can range from posting photos on Facebook from an offline event to holding live events online allowing a large group the opportunity to interact in real-time, and everything in between.
  5. Fish where the fish are: People want to hear from you where they hang out, not where you want them to be found. The fish are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube; not on your website. If you wait for the fish to come to you, you may be sitting alone with your pole in the water for a very long time.
  6. Get a running start: It takes time to build real momentum, so start early. Sure, you can easily get a certain number of Facebook fans or Twitter followers in a short period of time, but will they be the right ones? Would you prefer to be connected to more people who don’t care about you or your message or fewer who are engaged and interested?
  7. Damage control: Most people aren’t thinking about this as a top priority when they begin engaging through social media. We don’t really expect damage, so why would we be thinking about damage control? The fact is that, should something go awry or someone have something negative to say, it’ll be online in a heartbeat. If you’ve done a good job establishing your community online and have shown yourself to be authentic and responsive, you’re in a much stronger position to be able to respond to the situation in a faster and more credible way than had you not built your online presence so thoughtfully.
  8. It takes work: Social media is not a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. For some reason, many have the misconception that all that is required is the up-front work to set up a “presence.” In order for your online presence to work for you, it takes work – attentive, responsive, ongoing work. I’ve seen many people set up Facebook pages, encourage people to join and then allow it to go dormant, even when community members post messages or questions. This is akin to publishing your phone number, yet not answering when someone calls.
  9. On a list of 8 tips, this important one comes at no extra charge: This may not be the best job for the intern or your neighbor’s son: I’m sure the intern and the neighbor’s son are delightful people. They might even be heavy Facebook users. Just because someone does something often doesn’t mean they do it well. At speaking engagements, I often use driving as an example. I know people who have been driving for years, but when I’m in the car with them, my foot instinctively searches for the brake pedal on the passenger side. They drive a lot; they don’t drive well. Understanding best practices, the nuances of various tools, social media analytics and the pace and etiquette of the different social platforms are not simple tasks. There is too much at stake. Find (or hire) the right person to help you leverage the potential of social media and taking your campaign online – where the fish are.

Running a campaign isn’t easy. It takes a dedicated team to develop and execute the campaign’s strategy. You don’t need a separate social media strategy. What you need is a good understanding of how to use social channels in a way which supports your campaign strategy. Understanding why this is important and how to execute this will go a long way toward having the candidate be every bit as compelling online as they are in person.

Looking for ways to boost your Twitter following?

1  – Understand Different Engagement Types

It is helpful to know which Tweets bumped up your engagement, and where your engagement peaks and valleys fell over the course of a campaign.

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But it’s more helpful to know which types of engagement your peak and valley posts received.

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These are the different engagement types on Twitter and what they mean.

Replies: Twitter followers/users felt passionately enough about your brand and/or its Twitter content to reply and try to engage directly. Next steps: Conduct sentiment analysis and drill even deeper into the specific replies to understand what’s going on.

Retweets: Twitter followers/users either very much like what you’re saying, want others to see what you’ve said — or both. Next steps: Pay special attention to your Tweets which get a lot of Retweets, make sure you understand why, and try to replicate.

Mentions: Twitter followers/users want to talk about your brand. Next steps: Jump into the conversation, even if it isn’t directed at you. Whether a Twitter user is complimenting your brand or complaining about it, do whatever you can to make yourself an ally and give your brand a personality.

Favorites: Twitter followers/users are big fans of your Tweet, but don’t necessarily want to take their love a step further. Next steps: It’s worth looking at the overlap here between Twitter users who Favorite your content and also Retweet it. This is a simple yet effective way to benchmark the resonance of your Twitter content over time.

2 – Experiment with Twitter Moments

We explored what Twitter Moments can do for your brand in a previous post, but here are some concrete ways you can generate awareness for your own brand using the new feature:

  • Tweet GIF’s, video clips, and eye-catching and/or surprising images during and leading up to major events. These will capture the most attention as Twitter users scroll through a “Moment.”
  • Put together short video breakdowns of an employee giving the “need-to-know” facts about a major news story, industry event, or any other “Moment” you want a piece of. Help Twitter users cut through the noise.
  • Do you have a major influencer or partner with his or her own significant Twitter following? Host a Q&A focused around that person. Twitter Moments offers greater visibility for events like this than ever before.

The opportunities for experimentation with Twitter Moments are endless. Get out there! Turn a Twitter Moment into your brand’s moment.

3 – Make the Most of Your Ad Real Estate

I turned to our Senior Marketing Manager, Danie Pote, to understand how she makes her paid efforts on Twitter work.

Danie says, “This goal is to make people want to click just by looking at your image, without even having to read your Tweet copy.” You can do this by:

  • Taking advantage of additional space for text in the image to place a strong CTA
  • Using vibrant imagery to capture attention
  • Testing two different graphics against one another in Twitter ads to understand which performs best during the campaign

4 – Turn Notable Users into Twitter Lists

A Twitter list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list.

Twitter lists help you keep an eye on people who are important to your brand, whether you’re looking at them on the Twitter platform or using a multi-column app like Tweetdeck.

First, find out who your brand’s most engaged users, most followed users, and top users by Klout score were for a particular Twitter campaign.

twitter lists

Then, create a Twitter list which incorporates all these users.

When you put together a similarly focused or themed Twitter campaign in the future, begin by reaching out to these users to build initial buzz.

5 – View in Context

Most likely, your brand isn’t just on Twitter, so remember not to look at your efforts and results on this network in some kind of vacuum.

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You might find you can reutilize resources, from text to videos to captions, on Facebook or Instagram, and cut down on your time spent creating brand new content for these networks. Or you might find the opposite — that you’ve been trying to post the exact same content across all your active social networks, and this isn’t creating the kind of engagement you’re looking for.

Examining your campaign results on Twitter alongside results on your other social networks will tell you whether you need to pivot for the next time or keep doing what you’re doing.

Launching a Facebook Business Page? We have a few tips

Small business owners often find that Facebook helps their bottom line, but how can you be sure that your time on the social network is well spent?

Update Frequently
If you don’t have time to update your Facebook page, there’s no reason to have it. Tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule posts, so you can spend a few minutes once or twice a week to populate your Timeline, and none of your followers will be the wiser.

Be Interactive
Reply to people who comment on your wall, even if their comment is a complaint. A negative experience that becomes positive in the public realm helps your brand while you can also direct customers with complaints to the person who actually can help them.

Avoid Shameless Self Promotion
Yes, Facebook is a place where you can post a link to your latest blog post or talk about products added to your eCommerce website. However, you don’t want to only do those things. Post customer photos or links to industry-related news. The latter helps build you as an authority.

Complete Your Profile
This includes the “About” section. Put your URL directly in that blurb as well as in the expanded information so users can click over to your website no matter where they’re looking on your profile. You’ll also want to use relevant keywords here. 5. Represent Your Company Even if you’re not an eCommerce business or it isn’t your intent to use Facebook as a type of customer service, consumers will expect you to. Respond kindly to every criticism and with humility to every compliment. Be personal but stay away from anything that might be misconstrued as “TMI.”

Make Goals Do you want more followers?
Do you want to see Facebook Insights graph raising as more people talk about your brand? Maybe you want people to sign up for your newsletter or feed. Or is it important to get more traffic to your website or see greater sales? Being active on social media can do all of these things, but your strategy may change if you want to focus on one over the other.

Measure Results
Facebook has built in Insights for page owners to see how well their posts do, and you’ll find similar metrics if you purchase advertising on the social network. However, you can also use Google Analytics and other tools to measure the success your activities on Facebook, which you’ll want to do to be more successful in the future.

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Adding a live link to a Google Calendar Event (description)

I can not even say how frustrating this had become or how happy finding this helpful video made me. Huge shout out to Have Technology – Will Travel, Jason Mammano for posting this online

While Google does not give us the ability to insert a hyperlink in a Google Calendar description by default, with a little HTML action we solve this deficiency.

Here is the magical code:

<a href=”URL”> display text</a>
Education application: Perfect for teachers that want to share assignments or resources on a public calendar to their students. Public school calendar for an administrator or counselor to share date specific resources.

See how to use it in the video below.
View more of his amazing tips

Running an Instagram Influencer Campaign

Shared courtesy of the fine folks at SME!

#1: Reach Out to the Right Influencers

The first thing to do is to identify potential Instagram influencers and reach out to them.

Identify Influencers

Take your time exploring Instagram pages that are related to your business and whose followers align with your target audience. You can simply go to the Explore tab and search by keyword to find potential candidates.

Once you’ve found an interesting account, look at the suggested accounts that appear next to the account’s Follow button.

suggested instagram accounts

Find influencer prospects by looking at the Suggest accounts for any user.

Make a list of at least 10 accounts you want to target, focusing on ones with more than 100,000 followers. The more substantial the account’s follower base, the more successful your campaign is likely to be.

However, don’t look only at the number of followers that an account has, because that doesn’t tell the whole story. Look at the posts’ engagement (the number of likes and comments) and make sure there’s a good balance.

Contact Influencers

After you’ve compiled a list of influencers, it’s time to reach out to them. You want toask if they would consider adding a link to your landing page to their bio.

Instagram pages that are open to advertising opportunities typically make it easy for you to contact them. In their bios they will provide an email address and often a Kikcontact name as well. (Kik is a messaging app commonly used by the Instagram community.)

instagram profile with contact info

Influencers who are open to advertising opportunities include contact info in their profile. Reach out to these influencers to see if they’re open to advertising your product or service.

Once you have their contact information, it’s time to craft the message you’re going to send to influencers. Explain that you’re looking to promote your Instagram account and business, and want to know if they’re open to advertising opportunities. If they are, you’d like them to send you a quote.

You’ll get different types of quotes, based on the number of followers for the account, its engagement and the industry. Prices may also vary depending on whether the account is personal or branded.

Try to negotiate on pricing. You’re not dealing with Instagram directly, so pricing can be tailored based on your profile and situation. Some Instagram accounts earn over $10,000 a month, so don’t be shy about negotiating on prices.

Keep in mind that if you’re a small business, you may want to reach out to smaller accounts first. Then if you see a nice return, you can move on to larger accounts for future influencer campaigns.

If you contact a personal Instagram account with over 500,000 followers, the account owner might not be the one who replies to you. Instead, you may hear from an agency or a manager who is acting on their behalf.

#2: Set Up a Landing Page

After you have a list of influencers who’ve agreed to work with you, you need to create a landing page for your campaign. The landing page should be a simple web page andinclude an opt-in form. You want to drive traffic from Instagram to your landing page and invite visitors to provide their contact information. To do that, you’ll need to provide a free offer to incentivize them.

instagram campaign landing page

On your landing page, offer users an incentive to give you their contact information.

The offer can be a free guide, report, lesson, ebook or webinar in exchange for something from users. Because you want to generate leads, ask your visitors to provide their email address. Remember that the more valuable the information you offer, the more likely people will appreciate and remember your business.

The goal of your landing page is not to sell but to attract new leads. To catch the attention of Instagram users, the page needs to be clear, concise and engaging. It’s also important that the page is responsive since most of your traffic will come from mobile devices.

#3: Launch Your Campaign

After you choose an influencer, you’ll need to deliver your promotional materials for the campaign.

Because your goal is to drive traffic to your landing page, here are the materials you’ll need to send to the account promoting your business:

  • Provide a caption with a strong call to action. Invite the influencer’s followers to check out your link in the influencer’s bio.
  • Submit a picture of the product or a quote. (You can use a call to action here.)
  • Share the link to your landing page. Edit the link with a link tracker so you canmonitor the clicks and the return on investment (ROI) of each influencer campaign you run.
instagram campaign image

Give your partners everything they need to promote your link.

After you provide these three elements, the influencer will publish your post and add your link to their bio. The account’s followers can then start engaging with your ad.

Paid Mentions

Another way to leverage your relationship with influencers on Instagram is the paid shout out (or mention).

In exchange for a fee, influencers will mention you to drive their followers to your account.

When your Instagram account is on target with the accounts that mention you, you’ll attract more followers, and ultimately get more traffic to the landing page you link to in your bio.


Instagram now has over 300 million users, many of them Millennials. If you want to generate new leads from the platform, you don’t need to have tons of followers or even have an Instagram account. With an Instagram influencer campaign, all you need is a simple landing page and a minimal budget to invest.

What do you think? Have you reached out to Instagram influencers to promote your business? Which influencers have you worked with? What were the results of your campaigns? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Facebook Ads Changes: What Marketers Need to Know

Facebook has gone all in to provide businesses with tools and targeting options to connect with customers and prospects in the moments that matter.

In this article I’ll share the five biggest things to happen with Facebook ads.

five facebook ad changes

Discover what marketers need to know about five Facebook ads changes.

#1: Call Now Button Connects You to Mobile Users

Facebook launched a local awareness initiative in 2014 that gave advertisers the option to add a Get Directions call-to-action button to their ads. This year Facebook took it up a notch with the Call Now button.

This is an important lead generation tool for businesses of all kinds, but especially local businesses. It basically takes an entire stage right out of the funnel. Rather than send people to your website or Facebook page hoping they’ll contact you, the Call Now button allows you to let people call you directly from your ad.

facebook call now button gif

The Call Now button makes it easy for people to call you.

Smart targeting on Facebook can get you in front of motivated consumers on mobile. Adding the Call Now button gives people a direct link to convert from the ad, no extra steps required.

#2: Dynamic Product Ads Sync With Sales Catalogs

As powerful as Google Shopping ads are, it only made sense that Facebook would enter this arena, too.

Though they serve a similar purpose, Facebook’s product ads do not work in the same way as Google’s product listing ads. Facebook’s product ads are actually more like Google’s dynamic remarketing display ads. They use Facebook’s targeting parameters, or the consumer’s history on your site or in your app to serve ads.

The ads are template-based, meaning you don’t have to spend time on new creative for each ad. The templates pull images, product names, pricing and other attributes from your catalog, based on the keywords you’ve provided. This catalog integration also means your ads will stop running once your product is out of stock.

dynamic product ad template

Templates pull images, product names, pricing and other information from your catalog.

Best of all, these templates work for news feed and sidebar ads across all displays, so you don’t need separate ads for desktop, tablet and mobile.

#3: Carousel Ads Come to Mobile

Facebook launched carousel ads last year, but this summer they extended the option to mobile. This format has a lot of interesting possibilities, thanks to its ability to display multiple images with different links within one ad unit.

This mobile carousel ad from Tinker Crate spotlights different features and views of their product.

facebook carousel ad on mobile

The carousel format is a natural fit for mobile devices.

This spring, Neiman Marcus used carousel ads to showcase shoe and handbag collections and reported three times more conversions and 85% higher click-through rates, compared to standard ad units. The average lift in conversion across early testers was 12%.

Given the natural inclination to swipe sideways on mobile, carousel ads are an intuitive, seamless ad format for mobile users that gives you a creative, engaging way to tell stories.

#4: Updated Ad Tools Boost Productivity

A June overhaul gave Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor facelifts, as well as added functionality.

On the Power Editor side, this release offers a more logical interface, but also enhances bulk editing and advanced search capabilities.

power editor placeit imagea

The redesigned Power Editor has a more intuitive interface. Image: Placeit.

Ads Manager has a more streamlined feel, with performance metrics featured more prominently. Facebook said the update means “advertisers can quickly reference how their ads are performing in the same environment where they create and edit them.” Essentially, you now create your ads and manage them in one place.

What’s particularly awesome about this update is that you can bulk-edit the targeting and budgets for several ads at once and use the Create Similar option to duplicate ads and campaigns.

If you aren’t seeing these new features yet, don’t worry. They’re rolling out globally in the coming months.

#5: Ads Manager App Brings Campaign Management to Mobile

Small- and medium-sized advertisers rejoiced earlier this year when Facebook released the stand-alone Ads Manager app. You can now track ad performance, edit ads,revise budgets, adjust scheduling and create ads, right from the app. (You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play).

ads manager app in use placeit

The Ads Manager app enables you to create and manage ads from a mobile device. Image: Placeit.

The stand-alone app also lets you receive push notifications, save new ad drafts,create ads using photos from your phone and more.

Now, you can be as mobile as the people you’re trying to reach and not feel chained to a desktop computer to monitor your ad campaigns.

Look to See These Ad Formats in the Future

Prefill Form Fields with Lead Ads

This summer, Facebook announced they’re testing a new mobile ad format calledlead ads. These ads auto-populate some form fields on mobile devices using information that’s already known about the person. This makes the submission process much easier, as the user can just verify the accuracy of the information and click through.

facebook lead ad example

Lead ads make it easier for people to fill out forms on mobile devices.

Lead ads might be a good option if you want people to sign up for your company’s newsletter, request a follow-up phone call or receive a price estimate. Once you get in front of motivated consumers on their mobile devices, you don’t want to risk losing them by asking them to type in a bunch of information.

Facebook has promised to share the results of their early testing.

Design Immersive Mobile Ads

This summer at Cannes Lions (an annual ad industry festival), Facebook gave a sneak peek at an immersive mobile ad format they’re working on.

Basically, the ad takes over the screen when a user clicks it in his or her news feed. When it expands to full screen, the ad becomes a browsable microsite, but it keeps the user within the Facebook ecosystem.

This ad format will demand a great deal of creative and will probably suit larger brands, at least in its early days.


Shared via smexaminer

Published August 24, 2015 

Tips To Use Google Search Efficiently

dr seuss google logo

Millions of people use Google search every day for a variety of reasons. Students use it for school, business people use it for research, and millions more use it for entertainment. Did you know that you may not be using Google search to its full potential? Here are 20 tips and tricks to maximize your search efficiency.

Use the tabs
The first tip is to use the tabs in Google search. On the top of every search are a number of tabs. Usually you’ll see Web, Image, News, and More. Using these tabs, you can help define what kind of search you need to do. If you need images, use the Image tab. If you are looking for a recent news article, use the News tab. It’s rudimentary and most people use the tabs already. If you are not, then it’s highly recommended to get associated with them. They can cut search times dramatically if utilized properly.

Use quotes
When searching for something specific, try using quotes to minimize the guesswork for Google search. When you put your search parameters in quotes, it tells the search engine to search for the whole phrase. For instance, if you search for Puppy Dog Sweaters, the engine will search for content that contains those three words in any order. However, if you search “Puppy Dog Sweaters”, it will search for that phrase exactly as you typed it. This can help locate specific information that may be buried under other content if not sorted out correctly.

Use a hyphen to exclude words
Sometimes you may find yourself searching for a word with an ambiguous meaning. An example is Mustang. When you Google search for Mustang, you may get results for both the car made by Ford or the horse. If you want to cut one out, use the hyphen to tell the engine to ignore content with one of the other. See the example below.

Mustang -cars
This tells the search engine to search for mustangs but to remove any results that have the word “car” in it. It can be wildly helpful when finding information about something without getting information about something else.

Use a colon to search specific sites
There may be an instance where you need to Google search for articles or content on a certain website. The syntax is very simple and we’ll show you below.

Sidney Crosby
This will search for all content about famous hockey player Sidney Crosby, but only on All other search results will be removed. If you need to find specific content on a particular site, this is the shortcut you can use.

Find a page that links to another page
This Google search tip is a little obscure. Instead of searching for a specific page, you’re searching for a page that links to a specific page. Think about it this way. If you want to see who cited a New York Times article on their site, you would use this trick to find all the sites that link to it. The syntax is below.
That will return all pages that link to the New York Times official website. The URL on the right side can be practically anything. Be aware, though, that the more specific it is, the fewer results you’ll get. We know not a lot of people will likely use this Google search trick, but it could be very useful for some.

Use the asterisk wildcard
The asterisk wildcard is one of the most useful ones on the list. Here’s how it works. When you use an asterisk in a search term on Google search, it will leave a placeholder that may be automatically filled by the search engine later. This is a brilliant way to find song lyrics if you don’t know all the words. Let’s look at the syntax.

“Come * right now * me”
To you or me, that may look like nonsense. However, Google search will search for that phrase knowing that the asterisks can be any word. More often than not, you’ll find they are lyrics to The Beatles song “Come Together” and that’s what the search will tell you.

Find sites that are similar to other sites
This is a unique one that could be used by practically everyone if they knew it existed. Let’s say you have a favorite website. It can be anything. However, that website is getting a little bit boring and you want to find other websites like it. You would use this trick. Below is the syntax.
If you search that above, you won’t find a link to Amazon. Instead, you’ll find links to online stores like Amazon. Sites like Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and others that sell physical items online. It’s a powerful Google search tool that can help you find new sites to browse.

Use Google search to do math
As a college student, I can attest that I use this one rather frequently. Google search can actually do math for you. This is a rather complex one to describe because it can be used in so many ways. You can ask it basic questions or some more difficult ones. It is important to note that it won’t solve all math problems, but it will solve a good number of them. Here are a couple of examples of the syntax.

8 * 5 + 5
Planck’s Consant
If you search the first one, it’ll return 45. It will also show a calculator that you can use to find answers to more questions. This is handy if you need to do some quick math but don’t want to do it in your head. If you search the second term, it will return the number value of Planck’s Constant. So it can do math, but it can also help you solve math problems by showing values for known mathematical terms.

Search for multiple words at once
Google search is flexible. It knows you may not find what you want by searching only a single word or phrase. Thus, it lets you search for multiples. By using this trick, you can search for one word or phrase along with a second word or phrase. This can help narrow down your search to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Here is the syntax.

“Best ways to prepare for a job interview” OR “How to prepare for a job interview”
By searching that, you will search both phrases. Remember the quotes tip above? It’s being used here as well. In this instance, these two exact phrases will be searched. It can be done by word too, like the example below.

chocolate OR white chocolate
This will search for pages that have either chocolate or white chocolate!

Search a range of numbers
Searching for a range of numbers is another tip we don’t anticipate a lot of people using. The people that do use it, though, will probably use it quite a bit. People interested in money or statistics will find this tip particularly useful. Essentially, you use two dots and a number to let Google search know you’re looking for a specific range of numbers. Like the syntax below.

What teams have won the Stanley Cup ..2004
In the first instance, the search will toss back the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2004. The two dots with only one number will tell the search that you don’t need anything before or after 2004. This can help narrow down searches to a specific number to improve search results. In the second, Google will search for the numbers 41, 42, and 43. It is obscure, but wildly useful if you happen to need to search for numbers like this.

Keep it simple
Now we’re getting into the general tips. Google search knows how to search for a lot of things. What this means is you don’t need to be too specific. If you need a pizza place nearby, use this to search.

Pizza places nearby
Google search will grab your location and deliver a variety of results about pizza places that are near you.

Gradually add search terms
There will come a time when Google search doesn’t shovel out the results you expect. In this instance, keeping it simple may not be the best option. As Google itself suggests, the best method is to start with something simple then gradually get more complicated. See the example below.

First try: job interviews
Second try: prepare for job interviews
Third try: how to prepare for a job interview
This will gradually refine the search to bring you fewer, more targeted terms. The reason you don’t go straight from the first try to the third try is because you may miss what you’re looking for by skipping the second step. Millions of websites phrase the same information in a number of different ways; using this technique lets you search as many of them as possible to find the best info.

Use words that websites would use
This is a very important one. When people use Google search to hunt the web, they generally search for things using the same language that they would use for speaking. Unfortunately, websites don’t say things the way people do; instead, they try to use language that sounds professional. Let’s look at some examples.

“I have a flat tire” could be replaced by “repair a flat tire.”
“My head hurts” could be replaced by “headache relief.”
The list goes on and on. When searching, try to use terminology you would find on a professional website. This will help you get more reliable results.

Use important words only
The way Google search works is to take what you search for and match it with keywords in online content. When you search for too many words, it may limit your results. That means it may actually take you longer to find what you’re looking for. Thus, it is apropos to use only the important words when searching for something. Let’s see an example.

Don’t use: Where can I find a Chinese restaurant that delivers.
Instead try: Chinese restaurants nearby.
Or: Chinese restaurants near me.
Doing this can help Google find what you need without all the clutter. So remember, keep it simple and use important words only.

Google search has shortcuts
A number of commands can be entered to give you instantaneous results. Like the math example above, Google can immediately give you the information you need that is displayed right at the top of the search results. This can save time and effort so you don’t have to click a bunch of bothersome links. Here are a few examples of some commands you can enter into Google.

Weather *zip code* – This will show you the weather in the given zip code. You can also use town and city names instead of area codes, but it may not be as accurate if there are multiple area codes in the city.
What is *celebrity name* Bacon Number – This is a fun little one that will tell you how many connections any given celebrity has to famed actor Kevin Bacon. The popular joke, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, is that no actor is more than 6 connections away from Kevin Bacon. Mark Zuckerberg has a Bacon Number of 3.
The math example posted above is another one.
What is the definition of *word* or Define: *word* – This will display the definition of a word.
Time *place* – This will display the time in whatever place you type in.
You can check any stock by typing its ticker name into Google. If you search for GOOG, it will check the stock prices for Google.
These quick commands can take a web search that is usually multiple clicks and condense it into a single search. This is very helpful for information you need repeatedly.

16. Spelling doesn’t necessarily matter
Google search has gotten a lot smarter over the years. These days, you don’t even need to spell words correctly. As long as it’s pretty close, Google can usually figure out what it means. Here are some examples.

If you search “Nver Gna Gve Yo Up” Google will automatically assume you mean to search for “Never Gonna Give You Up.” If by chance your misspelling was intentional, Google gives you the option to search for the misspelled term instead.
This trick is great if you happen to forget how to spell something or are not altogether sure how something is spelled. It can also be helpful when searching for obscure words. This applies to capitalization and grammar as well.

Use descriptive words
Pretty much everything can be described in multiple ways. Take our namesake, the “life hack.” The terminology “hack” refers to a computer programmer breaking security on a network or system. However, when used in conjunction with the word “life”, it alters the meaning to tips and tricks people can use to improve their lives. If you have trouble finding what you’re searching for, keep in mind that people may search or define what you need in a different way than you do.

You may search “How to install drivers in Ubunut?”
When you really mean “Troubleshoot driver problems Ubuntu.”
There really isn’t a good specific example for this one. If you search for something and you can’t find an answer, try asking the same question using different words and see if that helps the results.

Find a specific file
An often forgotten feature of Google search is the ability to search for a specific file or file type. This can be infinitely useful if you need a specific PDF or PowerPoint file that you previously viewed or need to use for another project. The syntax is quite simple.

*Search term here* filetype:pdf
In the above example, you simply replace the search term with whatever you’re searching for. Then use the filetype command and enter the extension of any file type you can think of. This can mostly be useful for scholarly purposes, but business presentations and other assorted presentations can benefit from this kind of search as well.

Money and unit conversions
Google search can quickly and accurately convert both measurement units and currency value. There are a variety of uses for this, like checking to see the conversion rate between two currencies. If you happen to be a math student, you can use it to convert from feet to meters or from ounces to liters. Here’s how to do it.

miles to km – This will convert miles to kilometers. You can put numbers in front to convert a certain number. Like “10 miles to km” will show you how many kilometers are in 10 miles.
USD to British Pound Sterling – This will convert a US dollar to British pounds. Like the measurements above, you can add numbers to find exact conversions for a certain amount of money.
It’s true that this tip is geared toward math students and international business people. However, you’d be surprised how often these tips are used by regular people.

Track your packages
Our last trick is to use Google search to find out where your packages are. You can enter any UPS, USPS, or Fedex tracking number directly into the Google search bar, and it’ll show you the tracking information about your package. This is much easier than going to the specific sites, waiting for them to load, then searching for your packages there. No examples are really needed for this one. Just type your tracking number in and see where your package is.

Google Search wrap-up
Google search is a very powerful search tool. Using the tips outlined above, you can find anything and everything you could ever need on the World Wide Web. Whether it’s avoiding Wikipedia for a school essay project, finding the latest stock prices, or even finding song lyrics, there is a way to make Google search work for you.