Sharing links with your Twitter followers is a great way to share industry-related information, keep your followers up-to-date and, and keep them entertained.  To do this, though, you need to be tweeting these links when most of your followers are online and likely to see them.  Given time zone changes and the differences in individual schedules, it can be difficult to know exactly when to send tweets for maximum effectiveness; even harder still is to be at your computer, ready to push the send button at exactly those times.



Fortunately, there is a simple, free tool called Timely which takes the guesswork out of Twitter timing and also allows you to schedule tweets in advance, so you can get out from behind your desk.  With Timely, your content will get the best possible engagement in terms of link-clicks and retweets.  Timely is extremely easy to use, so we recommend it for people who are eager to ramp up their Twitter efforts and start to publish a lot of content.

In order to use Timely, simply go to, connect your Twitter account and enter a tweet and a link. The tweet will then be scheduled for you, in order to generate maximum exposure based on the Twitter habits of your followers.  Timely even offers a toolbar button so you can submit and schedule links as you’re browsing the Internet and come across something relevant and interesting to your community.

Timely  determines the best time for your tweet is by analyzing your last 199 tweets for link clicks and retweets.  It also keeps a historical record of the tweets you send through their service, allowing you to see the number of clicks, retweets and reach over time.  Looking at your tweet history, you’ll learn a lot about what people responded to, shared and clicked on. And that’s one of the greatest features of social media. You’ll be able to experiment, learn from your results and get better every day.

Do you use a Twitter scheduling tool? Have experience with Timely or any others? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Note: Social Media School has no relationship with Timely except as a user.

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What Is A "Call To Action?"

You may have heard the term “call to action” and perhaps you even know how it applies to an advertisement or TV show. When you are watching a television ad and they say, “order now!,” that is a call to action.

In social media, most of your writing will probably not end with “order now.” If you want to see results, you do, however, need to have a call to action for any marketing effort, social media included. But since social media is more about establishing a relationship, establishing authority or humanizing your brand, the call to action is going to have a different tone than the screaming TV ad.


call to action

In social media content, a call to action might tend to be more about asking for people to engage in conversation with you. On Facebook, you may ask a question like “Share your favorite experience using ___” or “Tell us what you think about___.” That will get you more engagement than simply posting pictures and links. On a blog, you might end with a question, asking people to weigh in on a topic you have covered or answer a question that came to your mind while writing the post. These types of calls to action are asking for engagement, and they set just the right tone for your social media presences.

On your blog or website you can put more explicit calls to action, asking people to connect with you in social media (with your Twitter, Facebook or blog icons and links) or to sign up for your newsletter (with a signup box right there). Remember, when you ask people to take that a step that requires a commitment, whether it is receiving your newsletter or Liking your Facebook page, remember to tell them why they should do it. Answer the question which will be on their minds, “what’s in it for me?,” with information about what you will be providing through that medium, whether you’ll be giving them special offers, free e-books, new product announcement or tips and ideas.

You are putting your efforts into social media for a reason. To make sure you get out of it what you want, you’ll have to ask for it. Don’t you agree?


Use Social Media At Your Next Conference

I recently returned from the BlogHer Conference in San Diego, the largest gathering of women in blogging – at 3,200+ strong, we’re quite the amazing group. With BlogHer, Evo Conference and Mom 2.0 Summit all happening within 1-2 months of each other, I’ve been relying on a bunch of new (and older) tools and platforms to maximize my conference-going and networking. Some of these tools may be new to you, too so I’m happy to share them with you.

HootSuite: This is my go-to app for managing my own Twitter and Facebook presences, as well as those of my clients. The HootSuite iPhone and Android apps and website allow for easy creation of a new stream that searches for the hashtag of the event you’re at – so you can quickly scan to see what everyone else is doing and saying.  I also use HootSuite to livetweet events, with the event hashtag, of course.

Foursquare: Not everyone wants to broadcast their location, but for those of you that do, Foursquare makes conferences a lot of fun, particularly for a conference like SxSW with multiple events happening at once. Seeing where your colleagues and friends check in can help you make a snap decision on where to go next. I also use Foursquare as a simple way to catalog my travels – where I ate, what hotel I stayed at, etc.

Hashable: Available as an iPhone app (or use on the web), this site allows two people to make quick connections via Twitter, which are then augmented with your contact info online.  At the recent Mom 2.0 Summit, a friend of mine made two important connections for me within the space of 30 minutes, both using Hashable.  I love this for its speed (no long-winded intro emails necessary) and ease-of-use via the iPhone app (though the website is just as user-friendly). [UPDATE 2012: Hashable is, sadly, no longer in business!]


QR Codes: This is a bit on the heavy geek-tech side, but it’s a cool icebreaker. Use the ZXing Project QR Code Generator to create a 2-D barcode with your contact information in it.  Then store that barcode as a photo in your smartphone. If you meet people who carry a smartphone, suggest that they snap your QR Code (from the photo) using a QR code reader (I recommend the i-nigma Reader) to quickly upload your contact info to their phone. You can also print the QR Code on a business card (mine has one) but that takes more advance planning!

Group Texting: If you’re traveling as a pack, or want to make plans with people as you go, try out one of the up-and-coming group text services. These apps and services allow one-to-many texting, saving you lots of phone calls and making quicker connections than email. And, at a conference with bad mobile web reception (who hasn’t been in those black-hole ballrooms?), texts will usually get through.

Once you’ve got all your social media tools in place, think about the physical tools you use, too. Take a Sharpie pen so you can write notes on any business card, even a glossy one – those notes may be really helpful to you when you’re struggling to remember who’s who.


Here’s my special trick for keeping business cards together – thanks to the crafty and smart Tauni Everett for this idea: a binder ring (with holepunch) for all the cards from a single conference. These can sit on my desk together for easy flipping and referencing.

Whatever you do, remember that networking is all in the follow-up – so whether you use Twitter, Facebook or good old-fashioned email, don’t forget to follow-up with your new contacts as soon as possible after the event.

Are you in riding the conference carousel? How have you used (or do you plan to use) social media to help keep it all together? Please let us know in the comments!

This post originally appeared in a slightly different form at the Creative Concepts Blog, where I’m a regular contributor on social media topics.



Social Media Safety for Teens

With back-to-school around the corner, now is a great time to talk to your kids about social media safety and smarts. Last summer I was fortunate to be able to present a series of seminars to a bunch of tweens and teens at an upstate New York summer camp. I think the most important concept we discussed together was the need to think about what you’re posting today, to avoid issues when a future college or employer looks you up online and discovers a youthful mistake.

Hopefully this presentation (click through to view on will help you to talk to your tween or teen about internet and social media safety.


Please leave a comment if you’ve had or plan to have this conversation with your kids. We’d love to hear how it goes!


clean up twitter stream with list

If you’re following a significant number of people on Twitter, it’s likely your stream is pretty full. It’s fun to follow a lot of people, but with so many updates flying by, it can get difficult to focus on the conversation and people you care most about. You may even be tempted to start deleting some of the Twitter accounts you follow, but that’s a difficult decision. How do you decide who makes the cut? If you started following them to begin with, unless that account turned out to be a spam account, it’s not likely you want to un-follow them now.

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