On Blogging and Tweeting: Best Practices

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BestPracticesDisclosure: this post is part of my course project at SNHU. For more information, please go to mySNHU page. Also: I'm an Office Champion and that relationship has facilitated this giveaway. This week's post (the final one for my Social Media class) brings us to the question of best practices for blogging and tweeting. Being in social media means that I am forever culling through blogs, webinars, workshops and classes to glean more information on the topic.

Most days I feel like my brain is oozing with too much information. However, I think one of the primary best practices is having a plan. Social media isn't sitting in front of the computer and just putting thoughts into 140 characters. I mean, it is. Don't get me wrong, I do this all the time for my personal accounts. But when looking at the business of it all, a plan of action is necessary.

An editorial calendar is key. I think I mentioned it in a previous post. My first interaction with one was with Mel over at MomComm. She provided us with a cool one in Excel that has served me well.

I think that having a plan and having the tools to execute those plans will ease some of the pains found within social media. I don't know where I'd be without Office 365. I use OneNote extensively to maintain information and notes (brainstorm of ideas/thoughts/potential posts). The good ones eventually make it to the editorial calendar.

Ease of use is also important. As with all of my schoolwork, I keep my files in SkyDrive which means I can access my information at all times via any one of my devices. When I'm working with a client, it is easy to create a shared folder where images and ideas for posts can be shared. I can also share my brainstorming notebook from OneNote thereby closing, at least in part, the circle of information and how I access what I need for blogging and posting on social media channels.

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

What is it that they say about using it? Ah yeah, if you don't use it, no one will Tweet it. Consistency is key. Making sure that you post regularly and that you interact regularly is so important.

For Twitter, I try to have lists of people I follow (and that sometimes follow me back) so that I can take a quick look and catch up to see what they're doing and interact accordingly. While this is something that's done for "work" don't forget that these are genuine interactions with real people. Making sure that the conversations are authentic organic real is important.

Blog What You Know

Why are you blogging? Why is your business blogging? What do you bring to the table? These are all questions that we must think about when we blog. Making sure that we are able to provide content that is informative and engaging goes a long way in establishing a business as a thought leader in their space.

Tools of the Trade

I've told you guys about how I use Sprout Social to keep me organized as I post for my clients. Sprout Social is definitely a must have tool that will allow for the use of best practices. With built-in reports, the ability to do smart searches and data on-hand that allows you to see the interactions you've had an measure that day after day, this is definitely a tool that facilitates best practices in my industry.

I think a plan of action and the right tools are important for any industry. Especially those of us that are in school. I mentioned Office 365 here and recently found out that there's an Office 365 University available to us studious masochists. It includes the new Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. You also always have the latest and greatest version. No need to upgrade, just keep up with your subscription.

What's different between Office 365 and Office 365 University? You pay $79.99 for a four year subscription! Yah. You read it right. And if you don't finish in 4? You can renew for a 2nd term, so to speak. This version gives you the ability to have it installed on 2 computers: Mac or PC. Read more about the great benefits! And here's how you can get it: enter the giveaway below.

I use Rafflecopter for my giveaways and it's a nice integration tool that will keep a list of entries and uses Random.org to help you select a winner. This is another important tool and best practice for a giveaway. I don't do them super regularly but it is definitely a tool that is pretty standard across blogging for giveaways. There's also something called PunchTab. I've used it in the past and found it to be not as intuitive for the readers to enter giveaways. I heard some updates have been done but, I haven't gone back to it. My readers complained when I used PunchTab which is why I've stuck with Rafflecopter.

And that leads into making sure that the tools that you use are...well, user friendly. Who wants to come to a site and not be able to leave a comment because you have to do 3,000 different authentications? There are now cool plugins (that I plan to install when I work my redesign) that allow you to comment right from your FB account. Easy peasy. With Rafflecopter, readers are able to share a preset Tweet that gets them an additional entry to win the prize. No muss no fuss.

I think at times we can get wrapped around the axle a bit. Remembering our readers as we work through all of the new "must follow" rules of blogging and social media will go a long way.

What's a best practice within the social media industry that facilitates the use of blogging and Twitter?

a Rafflecopter giveaway