Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Get Verified on Twitter: The Essential Guide for Marketers

The blue verified checkmark is a symbol of trust on Twitter. Continue reading to discover why getting verified on Twitter is important—and how you can accomplish this.
CNN International

CNN InternationalVerified account


The benefits of getting verified on Twitter

Having the blue checkmark next to your account name signifies authority and authenticity. Not just anyone can get that coveted blue badge. Twitter’s team careful vets each submission.
Edelman’s Trust Barometer found that 85 percent of consumers choose to buy products or services from brands they trust. When users see that you are verified by Twitter, they know that they can trust your content—and your brand.
Verified users also have the ability to:
  • Opt-out of group Direct Messages
  • Restrict notifications to only other verified accounts

Tips to help you get verified on Twitter

Link to other verified Twitter accounts in your bio

Twitter’s vouching process recognizes your positive connections. If you are associated with other verified accounts, list them in your bio. For example, if your company’s Twitter account is verified you can include something like “Writer at @Hootsuite” in your bio to boost credibility.

Make sure your account is active

Twitter’s goal with the verified account process is to “help more people find great, high-quality accounts to follow.” If you aren’t tweeting often, you aren’t helping Twitter reach this goal.
Twitter has a responsibility to protect the quality of their community, and will not grant you verified status if your account is inactive. In order to be considered for verification, you need to show that you are consistently providing valuable content to your followers.

Have a high-quality image

Whether you use an official company logo or a professional and up-to-date photo, you need an image clearly visible on your Twitter profile.
And use your professional name (whether your given name or a stage name) and/or the name of your company. This needs to be consistent across platforms so:
  • Your branding is immediately recognizable
  • Twitter can confirm your identity
  • You can differentiate your business from others in the industry
Twitter recommends a profile image size of 400 x 400 pixels, and a header image dimension of 1500 x 1500 pixels. Adhere to these guidelines with a clear, on-brand image, and boost your chances of getting verified by Twitter.

Optimize your bio

In addition to having branded visuals, a clear Twitter bio helps increase the possibility of being approved for that coveted blue badge. If you are a business, include a description of your company and its mission statement.
If you are an individual, list your job title with links to other verified accounts where possible (as discussed above).
Whether you are writing a Twitter bio for a business or an individual, including a website will improve your chances of success with getting verified. This legitimizes your account and helps Twitter cross-check your identity.
For help writing a Twitter bio that increases your odds of getting verified, our post Twitter Bio Ideas to Increase Your Follower Count offers the following recommendations:
  • Showcase who you are and what you do
  • Convey personality
  • Target your ideal audience with keywords
  • Include a call to action
  • Include other Twitter accounts or hashtags

Make a solid case

When applying for Twitter’s verification badge, you will be asked to submit a paragraph outlining why you deserve to be verified. As Twitter explains, “If the account represents a person, we want to understand their impact in their field. If it represents a corporation or company, let us know their mission.”
Instead of explaining why you want to get verified on Twitter, share the ways you believe your brand adds value to the Twitter community. How does your expertise benefit users? How are you working in the public interest? Make sure you answer these types of questions in your application with the benefits to Twitter in mind.

Be exact with your location

The connections made on Twitter often lead to real-life relationships that can benefit your business. So we recommend listing a precise geographical location in your Twitter bio.
Twitter has to verify the legitimacy of your business and understand your activity in the offline community. Listing your geographic region helps provide this information.

How to submit your Twitter profile for verification

  1. Have all your information ready. You will need to provide Twitter with:
  • Your phone number
  • Confirmed email address (If it’s a company or organization account, the email address should be a company or organization email address.)
  • Bio
  • Profile photo
  • Header photo
  • A birthday (for accounts that are not company, brand, or organization accounts)
  • Website
  • Tweets set as public in tweet privacy settings
If you are missing any of this information, Twitter will ask you to resubmit the form with the revisions.
  1. Visit Twitter’s verification application site and enter the username you want to get verified.
  1. Add links to at least two websites Twitter can check to verify your identity. Twitter recommends choosing sites that “help express the account holder’s newsworthiness or relevancy in their field.”
  1. Write and submit your case describing why you deserve to be verified.

5. Review and submit your request.
  1. Wait for a response.
If Twitter approves your request, you will receive a Direct Message with a link and further instructions.
Once verified, we recommend you don’t change your account information as Twitter can revoke based on these alterations. If Twitter denies your request, you can re-submit your edited application again after 30 days.
Learning how to get verified on Twitter is a key step towards building a credible brand. Use the above guide to boost your chances of receiving that coveted blue checkmark—and establish yourself as a trusted source in your industry.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Useful Social Media Tools for Marketers

Need some new social media marketing tools?

Looking to save some time?

New tools have recently emerged to meet the evolving needs of busy social media marketers.

In this article, you’ll discover six tools that will improve your social media marketing workflow.

#1: Create User-generated Content Feeds With Waaffle

According to Yotpo, ads based on user-generated content (UGC) can get 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% lower cost per click (CPC) than average. Managing user-generated content campaigns can be tricky though. Waaffle simplifies the process by creating aggregate custom feeds based on any @ account or #hashtag.

Waaffle’s current “early bird” pricing starts at $9/month per campaign. To get started, create an account and attach your Twitter or Instagram profile. From here, you can set up campaigns to track content published by individual accounts or that contain a specific hashtag.

You can create Waaffle feeds based on individual accounts or specific hashtags.

You can then view content based on your feed parameters.

Waaffle displays content matching your campaign parameters.

Click the Analyse tab to learn more about the content you’ve aggregated.

You can find out more about your aggregated content on the Analyse tab.

Certainly, Waaffle is a valuable addition to your own UGC campaigns. However, you can also use the tool to:
Monitor performance of your company accounts and hashtag campaigns.
Publish content you’ve curated from other accounts to your feeds.
Monitor your competitors’ accounts or hashtag campaigns to inform your own channel curation.
#2: Curate and Bookmark Content from Influential Sources With Refind

Refind is a free tool that aims to address an issue every social media manager has faced: trying to remember an article you saw that would be perfect for sharing on your social profile. While Refind is a great option for curating personal articles to read later, it’s even more beneficial for loading your social channels with relevant updates.

The desktop version of the program is currently in beta, so you’ll need to submit your Twitter ID to see if you’ve been invited. If not, you have the options to join the waitlist or tweet about the app to gain priority access.

Enter your Twitter handle to see if you’re invited to the Refind desktop beta.

Refind’s iOS and Android apps are available to everyone, so you can access the tool on your smart device. A quick wizard walks you through setting up your Refind channel. First you’re prompted to choose your interests.

Choose interests for your Refind account.

Next you’re offered suggestions for influencers to follow in these spaces.

Refind suggests relevant influencers you may want to follow.

The final step shows you how to save links from your device. You can also choose if you want to automatically import links you share on Twitter.

Select the check box to import the links you’ve shared on Twitter.

Once signup is complete, you’re taken to the welcome screen where you can take a tour of the app or begin browsing links that have been selected for you.

Refind’s welcome screen shows recommendations for you.

Within each suggested link, Refind provides buttons that let you save the link, send it directly to Twitter, or perform a number of other actions.

With each article, you’ll see buttons that allow you to save, tweet, or perform other actions on the article.

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of this tool for social media management:
Save interesting links you want to upload to your social profiles later.
Follow influencers in your industry to curate links they share for your audience.
Check a link’s stats to see how many others have shared it (and therefore, how interesting your audience might find it).
#3: Add Text Overlay to Social Media Video With Rocketium

Rocketium is one of the simplest ways to create overlaid-text videos for your social media and content marketing campaigns. Use it to create quick videos (like BuzzFeed’s Tasty series) to fill out your social profiles.

This tool is free for watermarked videos; paid plans at $19/month and $49/month will unlock premium features.

Rocketium’s video editor consists of two screens. On the first screen, add your content including images, videos, and captions. When you’re finished, click Continue in the upper-right corner.

Add content to create your Rocketium video.

On the next screen, customize your video with different animation styles, music clips, aspect ratios, and more. When you’re done, click Finish.

Customize your Rocketium video.
#4: Optimize and Automate Social Posting via Slack With Yala

If you use Slack, you need the Yala bot. This free tool uses machine learning algorithms to identify your social following’s most active times and lets you auto-schedule “series” of posts from within Slack. Yala currently works with Facebook and Twitter, and the team is exploring offering a similar service through Facebook Messenger.

To get started, click the Add to Slack button.

Click Add to Slack to install the Yala integration.

Once you grant the appropriate permissions, Yala will initiate a tutorial via private message to help you connect your social accounts.

Yala takes you on a quick tour of the app.

Once you’ve added a Facebook or Twitter profile, Yala will make recommendations about your ideal posting schedule:

Yala recommends posting times for you.

You can call Yala at any time for instructions or to schedule posts (including both text posts or images with text). It’s a simple, great option if your team already spends a lot of time on Slack.
#5: Identify and Schedule Topical Content With Quuu

Quuu is an automated social scheduling tool that suggests updates for your social profiles based on topics you choose.

The tool ties into Buffer and HubSpot, and available features include the ability to receive content suggestions for multiple profiles and manually or automatically approve suggestions. You can also promote your own content pieces with Quuu Promote.

A limited free plan is available; paid plans begin at $10/month.

Quuu is easy to set up. After you create an account, select the platform you’d like to send your suggestions to.

Quuu integrates with both Buffer and HubSpot.

Then you’ll need to grant the tool you selected access to your account.

Once you’ve completed the sign-up process, choose from different interest categories based on your niche and its keywords. (The free plan limits you to five categories.)

You can select up to five categories with Quuu’s free plan.

Also, set the number of suggestions you’d like to receive per day. (You’re limited to two per day on the free plan.)

You can receive two suggestions per day with the free Quuu plan.

Once your account is set up, suggestions will automatically be sent to your Buffer or HubSpot account, where you’ll be able to manually approve the tool’s suggestions (unless you’ve set your updates to publish automatically).
#6: Monitor Social Ad Spend via Slack With Reveal

Another helpful Slack bot, Reveal, brings your paid ad campaigns into your chat tool. The goal of the app essentially is to warn you when your ads are losing money. Paid plans begin at $10/month and 14-day free trials are available.

To add this tool, click the Add to Slack button on the Reveal homepage. It then leads you through the same permission-granting steps as Yala. Once set, Reveal offers a similar set of tutorials.

Like Yala, Reveal takes you on a tour of the app.

For best results, use Reveal’s reporting features to monitor your daily, weekly, and monthly campaign performance and receive alerts when your CPC changes significantly.


New social media management tools hit the landscape every day. While these are some that are worth checking out, there are plenty of others being launched to address the common challenges of social media marketers.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Must do Assignments in your first week as a Social Media Manager + Templates to Help You

Things to do During Your First Week as a Social Media Manager

Image by VFS Digital Design via flickr

It’s your first day as a social media manager for a new company. Where do you even start?
This question is a common one, but one that often goes unasked as people are worried about seeming inexperienced or making a bad impression when they start their new jobs. Really, it’s a very reasonable question. Making a critical error would be far more costly than asking colleagues for help.
You can’t just jump in and start Tweeting on behalf of a business you’re unfamiliar with. Every company has a different audience, different needs and goals for their social media presence. At the same time, you want to show initiative and jump right into your new role.
Your first day or week at a new social media job should be spent doing a lot of listening and learning. You need to establish what works, what doesn’t, and what goals you’re trying to meet. To help you kick things off on the right foot, here are five things to do during your first week as a social media manager.

Audit the company’s existing social media

Lifeguards are taught that the first thing you do when you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation is to look for dangers (fire, wire, gas, glass, as the saying goes). While you won’t necessarily have to worry about hidden dangers as a social media manager, the notion of first examining your surroundings before taking action is sound advice. In the case of social media, this will usually come in the form of a social media audit.
Social media audit Step 1
This audit will help you assess the current state of social media within your new company and help shape the goals you set moving forward. The audit will include:
  • Making a list of all corporate social media accounts, and evaluating their current performance
  • Determining who has access to all accounts, and centralizing permissions if necessary
  • Establishing all tools being used for social media and potentially centralizing social activities into one social media management dashboard
  • Establishing the process by which social media activities are requested and executed
An audit will really help you gain a foothold in your new role. You’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, while familiarizing yourself with the business’ approach to social media in the process. This will prove invaluable to you as you begin to shape the company’s new social media strategy moving forward.

Listen to your followers, industry chatter

Assuming the business that you join already has some social media presence, one of the first things you’ll want to do in your new role is to simply listen to their followers. Your followers are your best source of information and inspiration.
When you start at a new company, you may not know what kinds of content will resonate with your followers or what drives online discussions. Skim your follower list. Click on profiles and see what’s being shared. See who regularly engages with your content and then examine what they’re posting.
This is a great way to learn qualitative information about not only your followers, but your customers, including:
  • The sentiment around your brand or products
  • What features or products customers are looking for from your company
  • How you can solve your customer’s problems
At the same time, you should seek out and follow relevant hashtags to see what general news and chatter is popular amongst people in your new industry. This includes competitors. If a competitor has more followers or engagement than you, see what they’re posting and learn what you can from it. Create streams to track all of this information and check in regularly. You’d be surprised how much insight you can gain just by listening in this way.

Look back at their best performing content

You may not be in charge of creating content, but much of your job will be spent promoting it. If you have access, take a look at the business’ Google Analytics. See what content from the blog or website has performed the best in the last year. Then, pull your social media analytics. Identify the posts and messages that have performed the best in the same period, and compare the two. Certain posts might work from an SEO standpoint but not on social networks and vice versa. You want to identify the posts that perform well in both areas and double down on those types of content moving forward. Don’t be afraid to share your insight with the content team. You’re both probably working towards the same goal, and even if you’re not this type of coordination is mutually beneficial.
Best Performing Tweets
Looking at the best performing social media content will also offer insight into what type of messaging resonates with your audience. Look at the form of the Tweet or post (Where is the link? How long is the message?) and the language of the post (Was it humorous? Serious? Simple? Complicated?). Pull out the top 10 or 20 best-performing posts on each social network and put them in a document. You can reference these later for inspiration.
Then, do the exact same thing with their worst performing content. You can learn just as much from content that under-performs.

Talk to other employees about social media

Once you get an idea of what the business’ social media presence looks like from the outside, it’s important that you speak with your new colleagues for an insider’s look.
Ask employees what they know about the company’s social media. They may not know anything, and that in itself is valuable information. You’ll learn what departments are totally disconnected from your corporate social strategy, and can start thinking about how to get them involved. In the very short team, you can at least ask them to follow your company accounts. Employees, after all, make the best social media advocates.
From the employees that are more familiar with your company’s social media strategy, you should try and find out:
  • How often are employees outside of marketing are involved in social media activities? Do different departments run their own accounts?
  • Are staff encouraged to have personal social media accounts? Are they allowed to use them during work hours?
  • Are employees trained or educated about social media?
  • How do staff outside of marketing request social media support?
One of the biggest ways to make an immediate impact in your new role is by facilitating the process by which other employees work with social media. Identify ways to speed up the requests process. Plan training for staff so it doesn’t seem so complicated. Identify ways in which departments not using social media could be using it to make their lives easier.
Talking to employees won’t just familiarize you with social media at the company, it will familiarize you with your colleagues, an important first step in any new role.

Create a series of social media templates

 A social media strategy template
An example of a social media strategy template

Does the business you joined have templates built out for their social media strategy? What about for publishing? If the answer is no, an easy way to quickly make a big impact within your new company is to build out valuable templates that can be used again and again by your team.
A social media strategy template will keep your team focused on the goals you set, and will make it easier to shift your approach when necessary.
An editorial calendar template will help you track content being produced within the business, so you can plan out your social media content promotion.
A social media content calendar is the next step, gathering all social media messaging you’ll be using to promote your content and engage users, and organizing it by date and time. The calendar may also help shape your editorial strategy, by showing you where there are holes and what themes you might be missing.
A social media image template will act as a quick reference of image sizes so that you can rapidly make new cover or profile photos for any social network profile you manage.
These are just some of the templates you can build out within your first week. Even if you’re not filling them with content right away, these shells will quickly become an asset to you and your entire team as you take on more responsibility.

Social Media Templates to Save You Hours of Work


This is an updated version of a post originally published in December 2014.
Whether it’s your first time running social media for a company, or you’re just looking to boost your online profile, social media templates will save you valuable time and effort. And we’ve created six to help you on every leg of your journey—from planning and message scheduling, to publishing and results tracking.

1. Social Media Strategy Template

A social media strategy will bridge the gap between where you are in the pursuit of your social media goals and where you want to be.
Use this template to create a social media strategy that will guide you in your online activities. Answer the questions in each step to establish what your goals are, how you will achieve them, and how you will measure success.
Aligning Social Goals to Business Goals
The social media strategy template teaches you how to:
  • Clarify your business’ social media goals
  • Audit your current social media status
  • Create or improve your social media profiles
  • Develop your content strategy
  • Use analytics to track progress and adjust your strategy as needed

2. Social Media Audit Template 

An important part of creating your social media marketing plan is conducting a social media audit. This audit serves to assess your current social media use and goals, and how they’re working or not working. We’ve put together a social media audit template to walk you through the steps and help you conduct your audit more effectively.
Social Media Audit Template 1
Social Media Audit Template 2
The template is comprised of six steps that will take you through your audit from start to finish:
  1. Creating a spreadsheet of your social profiles
  2. Finding other accounts that may be representing you or your brand
  3. Creating a mission statement for each profile
  4. Ensuring accounts are on brand
  5. Centralizing ownership of passwords
  6. Creating a process for how new channels will be established moving forward

3. Editorial Calendar Template

There are two important types of content calendars that a social media manager will almost always make use of. The first is the editorial calendar, which will gather all your content projects into one document to help you plan and schedule each release.
The easiest way to organize a content calendar is by using a separate ‘sheet’ within a Google or Excel Spreadsheet for each month. Activities can be broken down by day or hour, depending on the volume and cadence of your content plan.
Editorial Calendar Template
Your editorial calendar should include simple information about each of these projects:
  • Title or description of the content
  • Links to supporting documents, like content briefs
  • Author or writer
  • Deadline
  • Channels you will promote it on 
The following is a very basic template of an editorial calendar. You should add columns or rows as required.
Download our editorial calendar template

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence with Hootsuite.

4. Social Media Content Calendar

The second valuable content calendar is a social media content calendar. This should include all of the social media messaging you’ll be using to promote your content, organized by date and time. Social media engagement can’t be planned in advance, but social media promotion can be, which is where this calendar comes in handy.
Social Media Content calendar Template
This calendar will solve some of the biggest issues that social media users face—continuing to post badly-performing content, ignoring certain accounts and overwhelming others, missing important dates or events, and holes in the content calendar.
Download Our Content Calendar Template

5. Bulk Upload Template 

When you run your own business, it’s hard to find time to publish Facebook or Twitter posts one-by-one throughout the day. To help save social media users valuable time, Hootsuite allows you to bulk upload up to 350 social media messages across social networks.
To do so you need to create a .csv file of all the social messages you’d like to upload, placed in a specific format:
  • Column 1: Date and time. The accepted DATE format is: mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm or dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm. Be sure to identify which format you are using when uploading your file. Times must be set in the future (at least 10 minutes from upload time) and should end in either a 5 or a 0, i.e. 10:45 or 10:50.
  • Column 2: Your message. For Twitter there is a limit of 140 characters, including the URL (which reserves at most 23 characters)
  • Column 3: URL (optional): The full URL you want to include in your message
For this purpose, we suggest using a plain text editor like TextEdit or NotePad. They don’t have built in columns so you have to use commas, but the format is clear in the sample .csv above. Unfortunately Excel usually causes formatting issues, so we don’t recommend using it to build your spreadsheet. (Note: If you decide to use Excel, you’ll need to tell Excel that that data in column is Text and not to be changed or it will try to convert your dates into a different display that will fail your upload.)

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence with Hootsuite.

6. Social Profile Image Sizes

Social media profiles are often your first opportunity to make an impression on new prospects or customers. And the pictures on these profiles are the first thing people notice—often coming to serve as the visual representation of your brand online.
You should always strive to have images fall within the recommended dimensions of each network. Why? A square is a square, right? Well, you never know when profile images will be posted elsewhere on social.
Here are templates showing the optimal dimensions for profile images on each major social network:


Social media templates - Suggested Facebook image dimensions
Suggested Facebook image dimensions


Social media templates - Suggested Instagram image dimensions
Suggested Instagram image dimensions


Social media templates - Suggested Twitter image dimensions
Suggested Twitter image dimensions

LinkedIn Profiles

Social media templates - Suggested LinkedIn personal image dimensions
Suggested LinkedIn profile image dimensions

LinkedIn Company Pages

Social media templates - Suggested LinkedIn company profile image dimensions
Suggested LinkedIn company profile image dimensions


Social media templates - Suggested Google+ image dimensions
Suggested Google+ image dimensions

With these social media templates you’re one step closer to being a social media pro. Start using Hootsuite and take your skills to the next level.