Free book giveaways - when do they work? When don’t they?

Free book giveaways – when do they work? When don’t they?

Once upon a time, authors could get a great start if they made their book available free. Back in 2008 and 2009, I got huge traction for the original Nail Your Novel when I offered it free as a pdf. There wasn’t much free material out there, so it got attention. Indeed, as far back as the early 2000s, science fiction writer Cory Doctorow had been giving away digital copies of his novels on a…

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We were out at SingItFwd 2015 in #Vancouver #BC.

It was a wonderful evening that saw all funds raised going to the Saint James Music Academy

Full Gallery is available right here —> #SingItFwd 2015 @ Vogue Theatre – January 8th 2015

Photos © Jamie Taylor

julytalksuperfanshannahgeorgas voguetheatre

Iconosquare et Instagram

Comme certain le savent déjà, je suis une «Fan finie» d’Instagram. Je pense que c’est le réseau social que je préfère. J’essaie aussi de publier au moins une image par jour (si c’est possible) et c’est aussi là que je découvre et que je « Follow » passionnément certains photographes que j’aime bien.

J’ai toujours aimé les statistiques, surtout si c’est facile à comprendre et à suivre. Avec Iconosquare (anciennement Statigram), j’ai beaucoup d’information sur ce qui se passe sur mon compte 

Instagram et aussi sur ceux que j’aime suivre.

Évidemment je consulte aussi Picdeck et InstaFollow, mais ce que j’aime surtout de Iconosquare, c’est que je peux classer mes images dans des catégories et je peux voir les commentaires très facilement.

Le plus gros problème sur Iconosquare, c’est que je ne peux insérer de nouvelles images à partir de Iconosquare, je dois absolument passer par Instagram ou Hootsuite. Et aussi je ne peux pas l’utiliser sur mon téléphone, ce n’est que pour mon ordinateur (ça tombe bien Instagram ne me permet pas beaucoup d’option sur mon ordinateur).

À quoi ça sert en réalité, ça sert à regarder le nombre de j’aime, à voir rapidement les commentaires et surtout à travailler sur un ordinateur évidemment une fois après avoir envoyer notre image par un autre moyen.

Picdeck est aussi très intéressant, car je peux comme Tweetdeck ajouter des utilisateurs que j’aime suivre et être informé dès qu’une image est publiée sur Instagram par ces utilisateurs.

InstaFollow, je ne suis pas trop Fan, mais c’est toujours intéressant de voir nos nouveaux «Followers » et ceux qui nous ont quittés. Comme Instagram, InstaFollow est seulement pour tablette et téléphone. Vous avez aussi Friend or Follow pour l’ordinateur, mais je ne le trouve pas intéressant.

Essayez-les !

Et vous, est-ce que vous aimez Iconosquare, Picdeck et InstaFollow ?


The Belfast Barman Intro to Social Media Guide. or TBBITSMG for short.

The Belfast Barman Intro to Social Media Guide. or TBBITSMG for short.

I had been meaning to write a handy guide to social media for hospitality businesses (and I guess SME’s in general) for some time, but my Remedy Belfast post following their Christmas Eve PR Fail led me to think that perhaps I had left it a little too late…although judging from the arrogance shown, perhaps guidance wouldn’t have been sought anyway…

Social Media can appear a daunting task for…

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Here’s the set of apps I’ve put together to Curate content via HootSuite. Its a good mix of sources I actively manage and sites that make discovery easier.

Why Use a Dashboard Like HootSuite?

Whether you manage social for yourself or your company, it can become daunting to keep track of profiles, passwords & posts. Being able to see everything in one place and cross-share content lets you keep an eye on everything, keep it fresh and keep informed.

Some Key Features

I’ve used HootSuite for a while and it’s been good to me. But there are other apps out there with strong followings. For me, the key features of HootSuite and similar applications are:

  • Share content to multiple networks at once.
  • Schedule posts for optimal sharing.
  • Pull content from across sources.
  • Add tagging to URLs for better tracking.
  • Automatically shorten URLs
  • Click tracking to see which shares got attention (only Twitter)

Using the dashboard lets me streamline sharing by cutting out some steps and automating others.

The Apps In My Curation Tab

HootSuite has a good selection of apps (over 100). Many are free, but there are also premium options. In general, I stick to a small set of free apps, so my tab doesn’t get too cluttered. I also look at my streams every few month and remove or swap ones that I’m not using much.

Below are the apps that I’m using right now.

Scoop.it Apps

I don’t remember how I learned about Scoop.it, but it’s become one of my favorite tools for content discovery and sharing. The site and apps help you discover new content based on google searches, social media accounts (including twitter lists), RSS feeds, SlideShare searches and more. It’s more manual than other services, but you also have much more control over output.

I use the Scoop.it Dashboard app in Hootsuite to see content from the papers I follow and the Scoop.it search app to find things when I feel like my sources are thin.

YouTube (Free) Search App

YouTube is always a good place to check for content to share. But it can also be a giant time suck. I have lost many an afternoon to Honest Trailers, Google Analytics and Mike Tyson Mysteries. The app lets me search and find relevant material without going down the rabbit hole.

The search app lets you search by keyword, location, time posted, category, username, and stream title. I usually search by either keyword or username.

Reddit App

Reddit is the web in a lot of ways: filled with brilliance but often overflowing with bullshit. The Reddit app lets you view the subreddits that you are subscribed to and the front page. You can’t search, so it comes down to you to makes sure that you’re subscribed to good content sources.

The app is a lot like browsing the site. You scroll down and click on things to follow the link. I’ll usually click the link and check the page before sharing, but you can share to your other social networks directly from the app.

StumbleUpon App

I’m still not sure how I feel about StumbleUpon not sending you to sites. That said, it’s still a great place to find content and kill some time. I’ve used it for years and it’s one of the ways I break away from marketing/tech content, and get reacquainted with the larger web.

In HootSuite, this app is sort of unique because it doesn’t require you to login in order to browse. This is nice because you can just browse around, but it also means you can’t pull links from your lists. Just like the site, you are seeing a stream and don’t have much control over what’s coming up. You can search by interest, category, site or channels. I mostly use interest and category.

Tumblr App

Don’t ask me why Tumblr isn’t built into HootSuite. I’m sure there is a good reason, but hell if I can figure it out. I’ve been expecting an announcement since the the Yahoo acquisition, but nothing so far.

Now that I’ve vented let me talk about the app. It gives you the feed from your tumblr blog, lets you share to other networks, post to your blog and reblog/like. I still prefer to work in Tumblr when I’m writing, but being able to author from HootSuite is soooo convenient for quick posts.

How I Curate with These HootSuite Apps

  • I have a Curator tab that I put all these in. I used to have one long super-tab for everything, but that was hard to work with and I ended up neglecting some streams.
  • I check the streams when I want something or am looking to build a queue. That isn’t everyday, but it’s at least 2x per week for each stream.
  • I don’t try to share from every source every time. I just take what looks good to me.
  • Sometimes I get focused on a particular topic and will go across all streams. This can lead to fun content packages.

Some Things to Note About Using HootSuite

  • There is built-in support for Google+ pages, but not for profiles.
  • HootSuite doesn’t display media the same way it’s done in the social networks. Videos, photos and slideshares will be represented by a link instead of the graphic. You’ll get better clickthrough and sharing if people can see the media, so don’t use HootSuite when sharing something important.
  • AutoSchedule is a great feature, but use it sparingly. I’m not sure how HootSuite calculates things, but you might have a better idea of when you want to share. I usually start with autoschedule and then adjust on the fly.
  • You can target your Twitter shares to specific countries. I haven’t used this much, but it’s worth looking at.
  • Basic click reports and summary reports from HootSuite are included in their business plan, but other reports cost credits and can get expensive.

Getting Your Own Curation Tab Setup

  • Take stock of your social accounts and site subscriptions outside of HootSuite.
  • Identify the ones you use the most.
  • Create a Curator tab.
  • Go to the HootSuite App Directory
  • Search the Hootsuite App Directory for the names of the social accounts and sites you use.
  • Select the ones you find.
  • Connect each app to the network/site/service
  • Whenever you add an app, you’ll get prompted to add it to a new tab or an existing one. Choose to add to an existing one
  • Arrange the apps based on usage expectations. For example, I put scoop.it first because I look at it the most.
  • Test sharing from each stream to see what the output looks like. You want to make sure you’re getting the right URL/message out there.

A Good Platform is A Good Start

A lot of social is time-consuming and manual. This is the nature of the beast, especially if you’re trying to be responsive and engaged. But there are a lot of tasks that don’t require brain work or special skills — just time. Platforms like HootSuite are good for removing grunt work and giving you workflows. Take advantage of them, so you can focus on strategy and optimizing campaigns.

Save time and stay sane with a content curating dashboard in HootSuite. Here’s the set of apps I’ve put together to Curate content via HootSuite. Its a good mix of sources I actively manage and sites that make discovery easier.
Plan je actie als je publiek online is!

Plan je actie als je publiek online is!

Ben je zakelijk actief op social media? Zorg er dan voor dat je jouw blogs en posts op momenten post, waarop je publiek online is!

Hoe vaak en hoe laat – voor ieder netwerk zijn er andere ‘sweet spots’, momenten waarop je bereik het grootst is. Veel ‘social media marketing experts’ willen doen geloven dat het ongelofelijk ingewikkeld is om een social media strategie te ontwikkelen, die precies…

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I have a hard time posting regularly on social media, but it’s critical to building an audience.

Hootsuite describes itself as “the leading social media dashboard to manage and measure your social networks.” For example, you can queue tweets using this tool. 

Here are more ideas for social media posts that are a bit basic, but helpful for when you get stuck.


Hootsuite nos regala 40 minutos de su buhíto de Navidad frente al tronco navideño. #obssessedwithowls

MailChimp Changed My Life


by Rana Seabrook

There are tons of useful apps and tools to escalate your marketing to the next level. I use a variety of them including BufferHootsuite and Asana. However, Mailchimp as simplistic as it is changed my life for the better. I think on a deeper level in terms of marketing to our current customers. I use their tools to properly analyze data and create better quality emails. Prior to mailchimp I was using our appointment booking system Mindbody to send automated emails. The problem is that customizability is limited in terms of email content and the small options they do have requires way too much work.

Through the power of Mailchimp, I can export all emails that we have on file and email market in segments. For clients who are big spenders, I can thank them for floating with us and also send them an offer. Our female clients I can send them certain offers for our float tanks that would not appeal to men.

The power of MailChimp goes further. Their analytics show me how many times an email was opened by a certain recipient and that’s powerful. If I see a client gravitates towards a certain offer but did not purchase, I can send an additional email to them to remind them to buy.

Another awesome tool that MailChimp has is the A/B split campaign. You can test two different subject lines for a small controlled group of recipients. Whichever gets more opens in a certain period of time, MailChimp will automatically send the remainder of the group that version of your campaign.

A/B Split Campaign

The web analytics are also a great feature. They are super in depth and allows you to see which recipient clicked the links in your email which also includes the social media buttons. This is helpful to track how many of your clients are looking to connect with you on Social Media. It is also a good method to use when altering the way you include links in your email based on the clicking pattern. For example if you notice only two people clicked your social media links when you placed them on the bottom of the email, try placing them at the top to see if that garners a different response.

Mail Chimp Analytics

I have to admit thanks to MailChimp, I am sending better email. I recommend it for any one who has a large email list and doesn’t like to waste their time!

7 Sites and Apps to Help Organize Your Life

I’m fairly certain the phrase, “If your head wasn’t attached, you’d lose it” was created just for me. I tend to be forgetful and am always looking for new ways to help keep myself — and my life — organized. Thankfully, these 7 digital sites/apps have done more than my various Post-It notes can.

1. Evernote: If you’re anything like me, you may have a tendency to scribble down partial notes anywhere and everywhere, try really, really hard to put them in their proper place, and then promptly lose them. It happens. It sucks. It doesn’t have to be this way. Evernote is both a site and an app, accessible from your desktop computer as well as your phone and/or tablet (so long as the app has been downloaded). It lets you type up your notes and organize them into whichever means of organization works for you. You can search the notes by keyword, put them in separate folders (so your “Work Notes” can be separate from your “Half-Baked Ideas for a Novel I’ll Never Write Notes”). Regardless of where you use Evernote, so long as you’re using the same login information, you’ll be able to access all of your items wherever you are.

2. Hootsuite: Hootsuite is often used for businesses, but it can be great for personal use, too. It’s perfect for anyone who’s got multiple social media accounts they want to keep up with. The service is free, and you can connect your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other accounts into this one platform. From Hootsuite, you can see all of your dashes, including the updates from your friends; you can also choose to set up special tracking so you can monitor a specific hashtag, page, or whatever else. It’s excellent for the person who wants to keep an eye on all of the feeds at once without having to have several pages open. Plus, you can schedule posts, if that’s your thing!

3. Pinterest: I admit that I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict — but this social media site is actually fantastic for bookmarking things you find on the internet. I created a slew of “secret boards” which I use to pin articles, photos, products, and anything else I find on the internet at some point in my day and want to revisit later. Sometimes, these are long-form articles I stumble across at work but don’t have the time to read in the moment; sometimes I’ll pin products I love that I eventually want to save up to by. Your Pinterest boards can consist of literally anything, so long as there’s a nice image to go along with it — plus, you know, it’s great for recipes and DIY suggestions and home decor and fashion tips and, and, and…

[Get the other four apps here]