Filling My Prayer Closet

How To Easily Improve Your Social Media Sharing

Social MediaCristina Comment

That's right, I am in love with an app. I guarantee you, that if you're a blogger, this one thing will create instant butterflies in your stomach too.

How To Easily Improve Your Social Media Sharing using a scheduling tool. Or how I cheat on Hootsuite with Buffer to achieve awesome social media sharing results by @fillpraycloset

I am a Hootsuite gal. I've always been a Hootsuite gal. To me, it looked old school, and I liked that. I use scheduling tools to manage social media for Real Housekeeping, to keep up with my Pinterest account - Tailwind, I am so sorry to cheat on you. You're still my sweet thang. Sorry, Tailwind was looking at me a little sideways from the sidebar. He knows he has a post coming up soon.

I have columns set up for mentions, messages, notifications whenever my blog is mentioned and keywords that I search regularly to join in on Twitter conversations. I have a set up for my Facebook profile and Fan page so I can keep up with that as well. I even have a column to check Instagram and use Just Unfollow there to keep up on follow-runs. You know, those people who follow, wait for you to follow back and then dump you? 

Basically, I followed "A Beginner's Guide to Hootsuite" to the letter Hootsuite was my man, the stud of my social media scheduling. But managing my accounts and Real Housekeeping's accounts were getting to be a bit hairy. I couldn't schedule content through Hootsuite on Facebook and have the large, pretty image I wanted. Besides, I'm not completely convinced that Facebook's Edgerank prefers that you use Facebook to schedule content and not third party apps, like Hootsuite and Buffer (give us the truth, Markee Z. <-- has he ever been called that?) To play it safe, I would only schedule content direct to Facebook for RH, two weeks at a time.

Using Feedly, I created an "RH Curation" list based on categories that they wrote about {finances, recipes, DIY, home decor, crafts, family, organization, etc}. Every night, I would check my Feedly for my personal categories to schedule on social media, and I would bypass the RH list because I only checked it when I needed to schedule for them. Whipping out my trusty Erin Condren planner, I used the full month spread to keep track of the last scheduling session. Three - four little dots a day vertically aligned and spaced within each little date box. I set up a key for myself, this time, not color coded:

"I" stands for inspirational
"RH" stands for new + / or old content from the site
"N" stands for niche content

I batch schedule all of the Tweets, easy peasy, in Hootsuite. I manually schedule each day's content in Facebook for two weeks at a time and place a check mark beside the dot in my calendar when I do so. But Cristina, you can schedule a month's worth! Of course you can, but, I keep track of enough. Since Hootsuite gives you suggested content for two weeks that I use in conjunction with the links I find, that's the timeline I use across the board. 

Enter in Buffer, because I like to test and test and test. 

So how does a newbie host a #twitter chat? How does she do it for an account with 41k+ followers? I'll tell you because I did it!

A photo posted by ➳ Cristina 💟 (@fillpraycloset) on

How To Easily Improve Your Social Media Sharing using a scheduling tool. Or how I cheat on Hootsuite with Buffer to achieve awesome social media sharing results by @fillpraycloset

I knew the "free" account wasn't going to get me anywhere and the paid version aka Awesome for $10/month was something I could handle for one month to test and incorporate any findings. I was the guinea pig, even though I'd added Real Housekeeping's profiles to it as well.

It's very user friendly and intuitive. I was going to give you a step by step of how to connect your accounts, add rss feeds for personalized content to choose from, check your analytics and use that to push content to other platforms, but there are plenty of that out there for you to read through, not to mention Buffer has their own blog which is all that and a bag of chips + a dill pickle. 

What I am going to share with you is something that made me do a double take. It made me search and search and search to figure out how to do it. When I finally figured out how easy it was, I was able to get some sleep. Stuff like that keeps me up at night. 

I am all for Guy Kawasaki + Peg Fitzpatrick, as you know. When they pushed sharing your blog posts multiple times to get the most bang for your buck in their book The Art of Social, I was happy they put it in print! Tweets lasts only 18 minutes and who knows if your audience is online, paying attention or even has your profile set to receive notifications every time you post (yes, I do that and read the content when I have a minute ---> usually on my way to scan something or make tea). 

That said, in Hootsuite, I manually did this just as Guy + Peg suggest with a twist, I used Co-Schedule's little visual for how often to publish posts. I even have it saved to my smartphone just in case I need to re-check. I actually have a template I use where I list out all of my posts with little boxes to check off:

Shared on Facebook 0 0 0 0 0 
Shared on Google+ 0 0 0 0 0
Shared on Twitter 0 0 0 0 0 0

You guessed it, those "0" are for the repeated blog posts that I schedule on various platforms, and there are more than just Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

If you'd like to have this sheet I created to ensure that I'm consistent with blog post promotion every time, subscribe and / or click here, for my template for your personal use. Because <3

I do this for every one of my posts. Like I said, I keep track of a lot so the last thing I need to do is try to remember all of the blog post promotion steps.

Using the Chrome browser, because I have a Chromebook, I downloaded the Buffer extension, like I do with all of my social platforms. I figured it worked just like any other social media extension. When I came across something I wanted to share, I could just click on the icon and schedule it. I was reading Social Media Examiner, like I always do over tea time, and saw that Ian Cleary of Razor Social wrote a post on 8 Ways to Improve Social Shares for Your Blog <---showing all my nerdiness.

Here was my internal chatter: "Yadda yadda, meta data, I know, I know. Optimize for mobile, yep, got that. Create tweetable content, yep check, got that, reshare content...nothing new here, ok." I'm a quick reader and scroller. "Buffer features a scheduler, which allows you to specify when you want to send out your content and on what channels. For example, share your blog post to Twitter when it goes live, then again in 8 hours, a day, a week and some custom time in the future. Also, vary your timing when you share posts to other channels, yeah yeah...wait. WHAT!!??

You mean, all that manual scheduling of posts next week, next month, and all the nexts can be done in a few less clicks? I must have this. At first I thought this was just for people who purchased the next level of Buffer, the big kids, you know. And I couldn't figure it out. I searched all kinds of ways on Google to see how to get'er done and I just didn't see it. 

Enter in, this Google+ post:  

Indeed, sir Thomas E. Hanna of BlogPhoto.TV, this is huge. Now I can easily go to the post I just published, and schedule my face off forever and ever, Amen!

How To Easily Improve Your Social Media Sharing using a scheduling tool. Or how I cheat on Hootsuite with Buffer to achieve awesome social media sharing results by @fillpraycloset

When you have that Chrome extension, you head over to your post, or any message you'd like to repeat, and instead of using the default "simple composer", click on the "power scheduler" tab and choose the days, times and months, whatever you'd like to schedule and across whatever platforms you have connected to Buffer. 

Now, that's wassup.

Not to mention, this awesome IFTTT recipe to turn your entire Buffer schedule into a visual Google Calendar!

IFTTT Recipe: A Google Calendar view of my Buffer schedule connects buffer to google-calendar

Got any more Buffer tips for this newbie? It's Friday and I'm thinking comment gifts?!

P.S. I've only had Buffer for about a couple of weeks, so I'm still learning. This development was released back in the deezy of October 2014, but back then, Hootsuite was still my best thing, and when I learn something, I share it with you, so be happy for us, will ya?

For more social media goodness, you know where to go:

How To Easily Improve Your Social Media Sharing using a scheduling tool. Or how I cheat on Hootsuite with Buffer to achieve awesome social media sharing results by @fillpraycloset

Will Sharing Your Secrets Make You Obsolete?

Vlog, linkupsCristina Comment
How do you feel about sharing your wisdom? What are you afraid of? Will Sharing Your Secrets Make You Obsolete? by @fillpraycloset

Ever hear the saying "A rising tide lifts all boats"? That's what I'm talking about today in the #thoughtsonthurs link up with Jen at JVKomChronicles

The last couple of weeks I have shared a lot of tips and tricks on how I blog and manage social media.

Am I worried that people won't work with me, or that I won't be seen as valuable?

Find out.

How do you feel about sharing your wisdom? What are you afraid of? Tell me in the comments, I'd love to hear from you. For more secrets, subscribe and gain access to my exclusive freebies page. 

How do you feel about sharing your wisdom? What are you afraid of? Will Sharing Your Secrets Make You Obsolete? by @fillpraycloset


How A Newbie Hosts a Twitter Chat

Social MediaCristina 2 Comments

I recently hosted two Twitter chats for The SITS Girls as a Community Lead for their network. Their weekly chats take place on Saturday mornings at 10AM EDT and the other on Monday nights at 8PM for an hour each. I had never hosted a Twitter chat before and had no idea what to expect. To be perfectly honest, I had only participated in two Twitter chats prior and never thought I would ever host so I wasn't taking notes. 

I pictured it like a party, a really loud party where I was trying to do my best to give directions in an impromptu game of Twister with people I'd never talked to before. 

How a Newbie Hosts a Twitter Chat with over 40K followers. I share my process for knocking out two twitter chats in 3 days for a women's blogging network by @fillpraycloset

I moseyed over to their Twitter profile and saw this and panicked.

Hosting a Twitter chat for 40.1K followers? Sure, not all of them would be online chatting at the same time, but I knew I needed a game plan. Here's what I did as a newbie hosting a Twitter chat for the very first time.

Come up with a topic

Sure, this was their idea to come up with a topic, but it makes sense. You don't want to go to a party and have nothing to talk about. Imagine? "Do you like the weather?" *crickets*. Knowing the audience helped me to formulate a few topics to run by the head honchess and see what could work. "Balancing Blogging + Motherhood/Work/Life" was chosen for Saturday morning's Twitter chat and "What's the One Blog Nut You've yet to Crack" was chosen for Monday evening's Twitter chat. Both topics could be chewed on for an hour to be sure.

Create a timeline

I had an hour. I wanted to be sure that I wasn't scrambling for pertinent links, what to say and remembering to type in the chat hashtag #sitsblogging after every tweet. I was going to have tons to focus on and I knew I would forget that hashtag. I opened up a spreadsheet (surprise) and started with an Intro at the 10AM mark for Saturday. Something simple "Hi, thank you for joining us today! #sitsblogging" Then I set the timeline to ask questions every 10 mins. You knew it had to be color coded. 

Use the right format

Twitter chats have a format, did you know that? The moderator (me in this case) has to start their questions with "Q" and the number of the question. This way, chatters can retweet the question and their followers know what they're talking about. Not a necessary action on the part of the participants, but a good rule of thumb.  The participants reply in kind, with starting with "A" and the number of the question they are responding to. 

Research and include relevant links

I searched the SITS website for relevant posts that would help the participants with the questions I was asking. I also included links on my spreadsheet from another Community Lead who was kind enough to share the more common links requested. I added those for backup, just in case and included the title of the post, the URL and the chat hashtag.

Test and Promote 

I tested whether prepping people 5 mins before boosted engagement, but hadn't considered that the two chats would "feel" different. Saturday had a lot of conversations going between participants, whereas on Monday evening, there was more conversation directly with me. I loved both. I shared that I would be hosting on my personal Facebook page, within Facebook groups that I am a part of as well as on my personal Twitter timeline. 

Download a Twitter feed management tool

I chose Tweetdeck but you can use Hootsuite or even Tweetchat. You don't just want to use Twitter, although I had that open in another window pre-loaded with my questions. For me, that was easier. I could just chat away and not worry about what I was asking.

Engage, respond and engage some more

This is the fun part. All you have to to is follow the conversation and jump in when you have something of value, or super funny to say and be sure to end your responses with the Twitter chat hashtag <--- say that three times fast, I dare you.

You're doing it, aren't you?

Be yourself

Let your personality shine through. If you want to say "that's wassup" or quote The Count from Sesame Street, go right on ahead. I did. The whole point of hosting Twitter chats is to connect with other people and the only way to really connect, is to be your quirky, unique lovable, self. 

Keep a pen a paper handy for follow up

This was something I wasn't planning on, not because I didn't think I would "make friends" but because I was so focused on getting my questions out and the flow of the chat that I didn't think to keep track of the people I connected with. I stayed on the chat for a few more minutes, silently (as in not favoriting or responding) to scroll through the chat and write down the names of the people that I talked spreadsheets + color coding with #instantbuddies. As soon as I jumped off the chat, I logged into my account and followed them all (hint, some of them are in the Storified Twitter Chat below!) We continued to tweet over the weekend and I think I found a great group of new peeps to talk all things blog with!

Consider sending a visual "Thank You" on Twitter and tag those people (in the image, you get up to 10 and it doesn't count toward your character limit!) you connected with.

I did this for Monday's chat <---I'm a test kind of gal, whereas for Saturday's chat, I just sent a regular ol'text tweet and use the @ mention. I love the visual option, don't you?

What about you? What are your Twitter Chat tips, because I'm no longer a newbie!

For fun, I've included a "quick-not-at-all-comprehensive-because-lots-of-tweets" timeline of my very first Twitter chat on Saturday in case you missed it!

4 More Ways to Maximize Your Time on Social Media

Social MediaCristina 3 Comments

Today, I am sharing tons of social media tips. Not just here, but over at SITS as well because if we’re going to use social media, we should get the most bang for our buck!

We all know I love social media + I love sharing what I learn with others, so let's not waste anymore time!

4 More Ways to Maximize Your Time on Social Media with tips for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest by @fillpraycloset

1. Cross post your Pinterest pins all over Facebook

I am sure you knew that you could share your Pinterest pins to your Facebook wall, but did you also know you could share your pins on your Facebook fan page, a group you manage or a group that you’re a part of? What a great way to cross-promote your pins, posts + multiple platforms.

4 Ways to Maximize Your Time on Social Media Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest tips by @fillpraycloset

2. Cross post from Instagram to Facebook, and Twitter - the right way

Sticking with Facebook, why not post your Instagram images to Facebook when you’re capturing the perfect lighting on a sweet daffodil? There is an option to share to Twitter as well, but I wouldn’t do it. When you post to Twitter from Instagram, your followers only see a link.

Who cares about that, right? You probably won’t get much engagement because as we all know, visuals rule (move over, will ya content?). Set up a recipe in IFTTT to share all Instagram images to Twitter as a native image and you’ll increase engagement.

If This Then That is a wonderful tool to make it seem like you are everywhere at once (especially when you’re sleeping). My favorites are:

Sharing Instagram posts to Twitter as native images.

IFTTT Recipe: Post your Instagram photos as native Twitter photos connects instagram to twitter

Pushing posts that I “save for later” on Feedly to Buffer

IFTTT Recipe: Feedly to Buffer connects feedly to buffer

My favorite bloggers posts shared to my Twitter timeline when they publish a post! When I share posts, I like to let the author know that I am mentioning them, think of it as a virtual high five. Automated "@" mentions are discouraged by Twitter's terms, but there's a work around. I only recommend this for bloggers you trust - like your mastermind group, or trusted influencers you follow.

IFTTT Recipe: RSS to Buffer (Twitter) connects feed to buffer

Saving all of my tweets to a spreadsheet on Google spreadsheet

IFTTT Recipe: All your tweets in a Google Spreadsheet connects twitter to google-drive

Don't sleep on that last one! Think of all the time you spend looking for content to tweet. Some of that is evergreen content that you could reshare (inspirational quotes, anyone?). Keeping that spreadsheet can be used to bulk upload in Hootsuite (or BulkBuffer a free, third party bulk upload feature for Buffer) . Talk about leveraging social media to work for you!? IFFT is a great free tool and it’s so fun to use, I was sad when I ran out of recipes. So maybe I’ll try these.

Before we move on to the next tip, I’ll ask that you really consider the Instagram to Twitter recipe. This will keep you on point and accountable to yourself for staying on brand with what you share on Instagram. You'll pause just a millisecond before sharing because you know it’s going on Twitter, too. I don’t know about you, but for me, Twitter is my serious business platform because of the easy access to profiles, content and influencers. I feel like Instagram is going in that direction as well (if it isn't there already) so I want to stay consistent on all of my platforms and be sure to post on brand all the time.

3. Create an Instagram landing page

I’ve been waiting to share this with you since I shared how to start sharing your blog posts on Instagram. I figured out an easier way to share your posts on Instagram cutting out a step. Instead of grabbing a unique bit.ly link for each post, why not create a landing page as I’ve done with my Archives page? For now, it’s doing double duty acting as a landing page for my Instagram posts + an archive page for those people who wander over to my blog organically. Not to mention, Instagrammers who stop by, may want to read something else *wink*,

Be sure to leave a warm welcome for your Instagrammers and let them know that you were totally expecting them. Your blog is like a second home, always make your readers feel welcome. Tea anyone?

4. Instagram push notifications

The latest update of Instagram brought push notifications. I love this! There are people that I love to follow on Instagram (potential post coming on that? Hmmm…) and sometimes, I don’t catch them in my feed in real time. I end up having to scroll for their profile. I imagine they see serial <3’s from me because I want to support them and like their images sorry, Katie. I show an example of how you can find it with Pauline Cabrera of TwelveSkip below.

 
4 More Ways to Maximize Your Time on Social Media with tips for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest by @fillpraycloset
 

When you're in the profile of the person you want to receive notifications for, click on the three vertically aligned dots in the upper right hand corner. That window with the option for "Turn on Post Notifications" will show up, click and done. 

Now, I receive a notification whenever Pauline posts. How does this help? Think of the influencers you follow. If you are interested in getting noticed, in a non-creepy way of course, receiving notifications means you can be the first to like their image.  At some point maybe even build up the courage to leave a super witty comment (#introvertsunite). The only way you’re going to grow beyond yourself is to reach out, so I say, why not!?

What about your tips to get the most out of social media? Are you curious as to what I shared over at SITS? Here are 5 more ways you can get results from the time you spend on social media.

Still hungry for more social media tips + tricks? Look no further than my favorite place to catch all the latest social media finds.

And for even more tips and tricks, be sure to keep in touch to receive freebies that are exclusive to my subscribers!

4 More Ways to Maximize Your Time on Social Media with tips for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest by @fillpraycloset


Why You'll Never Succeed at Being Perfect

Vlog, Working Mother, Social Media, linkups, BloggingCristina 7 Comments
Why You'll Never Succeed at Being Perfect, a new vlog post with some social media info by @fillpraycloset

Welcome to my living room! Changing it up to see if you're paying attention. So much has happened in the last couple of weeks and I learned a lot. Mostly, that I'll never succeed at being perfect. Have a watch and I'll see you after the vlog.

As promised, here's the info that I talked about, you know in those "show notes!" 

As a community lead for The SITS Girls, I get to host Twitter chats and guest post for them. The first set of twitter chats I'm doing will take place April 11th at 10AM EDT. We'll be using the #SITSBlogging  hashtag for "Saturday Sharefest". Here's a link to the latest link up so you can see what I mean (and realize how scary and crazy this thing is for me? Yeah!) Bloggers share their favorite post and we all jump on Twitter and chat about it. The next twitter chat is on Monday evening April 13th at 8PM using that same hashtag. I'll be talking about that one blog nut you've yet to crack!

I've never hosted a twitter chat ever, so of course it makes total sense to host my first one with an account that has 40,019 followers <--- no, I did not make up that number.

This will coincide with a post that I am writing about optimizing your time on social media going live on their site on Tuesday, April 14th. Talk about huge right? Huge.

Stay tuned for a teaser post on Tuesday where I'll share even more social media tips with you guys that I didn't share on SITS.

I applied on a whim to be a community lead for this network, I never thought I would get picked. To be completely honest, I forgot I signed up - that's how little of a chance I thought I had. My mastermind ladies will tell you, I sign up for everything. Everything. I cast a wide net, so who can keep up, right? When I received the email, I almost choked on my new favorite tea, which is a Peach Ginger Matcha, by the way. 

This is what I'm talking about. You're never going to be ready, you're never going to be perfect. In fact, I was totally set on editing this video and getting rid of the "Peace out" part. I thought, that's not professional, that's not going to get you clients, that's not...and then I thought, but that's me. I'm serious when I need to be and playful, BFF when I need to be. I know the difference. So, play on baby, play on. 

Just get out there, apply for everything and see what happens. You may be completely blown away at what comes back. You only know what you know right now. That will change because you want it to. 

Take this example, I'm totally legit now that Taye Diggs follows me on Twitter. I think this means I made it, right? 

So does this mean I made it?! Am I big time now?! 󾔗 Come on, I know he has people that follow for him, but it made me chuckle 󾌴. #celebrity

Posted by Filling My Prayer Closet on Thursday, April 9, 2015
Why You'll Never Succeed at Being Perfect, a new vlog post with some social media info by @fillpraycloset