How I schedule social media content with Buffer [VIDEO]

No fewer than a half dozen people have asked me recently how I’m scheduling my social media content. Here’s a quick video that shows the entire process in just 11 minutes a day or so, depending on how fast you read.

Click here for the full size version on YouTube.

In this video, the following things are mentioned: for content curation
Flaticon for default art (paid)
Flickr for photo storage and sharing
Buffer, obviously
Buffer’s Pablo app
Tamsen Webster’s Buffer image tip
Moz FollowerWonk for Buffer timing
Buffer Optimal Timing Tool for Buffer timing

I do want to emphasize strongly that this process is my particular way of doing it. It is not “the right way”, nor is it appropriate for a company with an actual social media team that can devote lots of hours and effort to curating content that’s unique and tailored to each channel. This is a methodology more suited for a solo proprietor/individual practitioner who doesn’t have hours a day to devote to content scheduling.

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The litmus test for influencer disclosure


As you’ve no doubt read, the FTC has increased its scrutiny of social media influence. Above and beyond what the FTC requires as the minimums for disclosure, what else do you need to consider?

The litmus test you should apply to yourself for disclosure is this: what makes you change your speech?

For example, as stated in my disclosures, I am an investor who holds various stocks and mutual funds. If you’re an investor who has holdings that affect how you talk about companies in your investments, and you give even a passing thought to whether your words will potentially affect the financial performance of your investments, you need to disclose.

I work for a public relations firm, SHIFT Communications. As such, not only does my speech change when referencing my employer, but my speech changes when referencing my employer’s customers. I am naturally less likely to say something negative about a client than if I had no relationship at all. Thus, by the litmus test above, I need to disclose when I speak about both my employer and its clients. You may be in the same boat.

In both cases above, my speech has changed. The FTC’s disclosure guidelines center around endorsement, around the act of saying something positive and promotional about a company. If you go by the test of whether your speech changes, disclosure also includes the negative, what you don’t say. If you would ordinarily complain about a customer service experience you had, but you don’t because the company is a financial holding or a customer, then you’ve changed your speech. That change is a clear sign that in any environment in which you invoke your influence, any mention of that company requires disclosure.

These guidelines also impact more than just direct social posts. Today, everything is social. Everything is mobile. The slide deck you’re showing at a conference? That will end up on the Internet. The talk you’re giving? That will end up on the Internet. The conversation you’re having behind closed doors? Ask any politician who has had their secret conversations outed – it will end up on the Internet. If you are influential in any sphere – not just social media – disclosure is necessary any time you do something which will end up on the Internet.

What changes your speech? What makes you consider saying something a different way? That’s a clear sign for disclosure.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer. The above does not constitute legal advice. If you want legal advice, hire a lawyer.

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When are new vs. returning visitor ratios useful?

One of the things I’ve lambasted over the years in Google Analytics is the new vs. returning visitor ratio. In aggregate, it tells you nothing useful, because as far as marketing objectives go, you want more of both.

However, is there a time when these ratios might be useful, might give you some insight? The answer, unsurprisingly, is yes: when you’re looking at individual channel performance. Let’s look at an example.

Here’s my overall site new vs. returning visitor ratio.


This is not super-informative. I can see that on a big picture level, 4 out of 5 of the visitors to my website are new, but without the context of whether traffic is increasing overall or decreasing overall, this doesn’t tell me much other than my site is attracting new visitors fairly well.

However, what if I apply some segmentation and look at channels such as email, social media, organic search, and referrals?


Now we’re getting somewhere. Above, I see that email marketing is a loyalty tool: 1/3 of the visitors it brings in are returning visitors. The same is true for social media: it brings significantly more returning visitors than referral traffic or organic search traffic.

This tells me that if I want to increase loyalty, I should focus on email and social. If I want to increase new visitors, I should focus on search and referrals.

Let’s dig deeper into social media:


We see above that LinkedIn drives more new than returning users, so even though it’s lumped into social, it behaves more like referral and organic search, an important distinction if we care about driving new visitors.

We also see that Twitter drives an astonishing amount of returning traffic. If I care about engaging my audience more, Twitter is the place to do it for me. Conversely, if I care about getting new audiences, Twitter may not be the place to be, not as much as LinkedIn.

These charts can now inform my social media strategy, helping me to understand what I should be doing on each channel.

Drill down into each of your channels and understand what’s contributing to your website traffic, using the new vs. returning ratio. While you always want more of both, it’s helpful to dig into your traffic composition to gain more insight about how people are finding you.

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