The Core Competencies of Tik Tok and Clubhouse for Social Media Managers

TikTok and ClubhousePart of the challenge of being a Social Media Manager is keeping up with the constantly changing world of social media and digital marketing. Graduates of our certificate program have the option of keeping up with the changes throughout the monthly meeting via Zoom. Two of the new and important players that have arrived on the scene include Tik Tok, launched in 2016, and Clubhouse, launched in 2020.  We want to review some things we think are key for Social Media Managers about Tik Tok and Clubhouse here. 


Tik Tok is based on really short videos that draw a massive young following. It took off in 2018 and quickly became the choice of the hyper-influential Gen Z. It is like a bite-size version of YouTube, with the creators having access to an assortment of filters and effects, as well as to a massive music library. The difference as compared to Instagram is that Instagram started an image-based platform and Tik Tok started a vertical or portrait video platform. As Tik Tok grew, Instagram started integrating many of Tik Tok’s features. 


After downloading the Tik Tok app from Google Play or the App Store, you can create an account by choosing a method to sign up e.g. through your Facebook profile or through your email.



  • Add a photo or change a photo (at least 20 x 20 pixels) by clicking “change photo”, then selecting “take a photo or upload photo.”
  • Add a video or change a video by clicking “change video”, then “select from your gallery” (NOTE: Profile photo will not be visible on your profile once a profile video is set)
  • Your username can only be changed once every 30 days. Usernames can only contain letters, numbers, underscores and periods. However, periods can’t be put at the end of the username.
  • To link your social media accounts, select “Add Instagram” or “Add YouTube” to your profile.
  • To change your language preference, tap the 3-line icon in the top right to go to your settings, tap “language”, and then select your preferred language from the list.
  • To create a new video:
  1. Tap + at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Upload content from your device’s Library or use the Tik Tok camera.
  3. Add Sounds, Effects, Filters, or use other camera tools.
  4. Start your video by pressing the Record button.
  5. Record your content.
  6. Tap the check mark.
  7. Make additional edits on the post page.
  8. Post your video!

 USING TIK TOK FOR CREATING VIDEOS:  You can jump to the sub-sections below:

  • Under the subsection “Stitch”, you will be able to combine a video on Tik Tok with the one you are creating. If you allow another person to Stitch with your video, they can use a part of your video as a part of their own video.
  • Under the subsection Duet, you will be able to post your video side-by-side with a video from another creator on Tik Tok. (A Duet contains two videos in a split screen that play at the same time). Keep in mind that you must have a public account to allow others to Duet with your videos.
  • To “like” videos, tap the heart on the panel of the video or double tap on the video (NOTE: Heart will change from white to red on liked videos).
  • To “unlike” a video you previously liked, tap the heart again to “unlike” and the heart will go from red to white (NOTE: If you don’t like a video, you can long-press on the video and tap NOT INTERESTED and similar videos will be shown less).
  • You can share trending sounds, creators or videos with friends, family and your larger community.



LIVE Gifts is a feature that, if enabled in your account, allows your viewers to respond to your Tik Tok videos and show their appreciation for your content. LIVE GIFTS is a way of collecting diamonds at Tik Tok. Diamonds can be exchanged for cash with Tik Tok.

To collect diamonds through LIVE gifts, you must meet certain conditions:

  • You must be part of the “Creator Next” program.
  • LIVE gifts must be available in your area.
  • You must be 18 years or older.
  • You need at least 1,000 subscribers and your account must be at least 30 days old.
  • Your account must be properly managed, meaning compliance with Tik Tok’s Community Guidelines and Terms and Conditions.
  • Corporate accounts are not eligible to participate.

(How to Live gifts on Tik Tok: Go to profile in the bottom right, then settings, then creator tools, then tap Live Gifts and follow the on-screen instructions)

Clubhouse is a social audio app for iOS and Android where users can communicate in audio chat rooms. It has the quality of being part of live phone audio chat where, by default, you are only able to listen if the moderator responds to your request to join the conversion, then you can talk. It is like a live podcast where you can be invited to join the discussion or just listen. 



  • Download the App.
  • You no longer will need an invitation to join. Anyone can singup now. 
  • Open the App, confirm your password and Biometric.
  • Enter your phone number for verification.
  • Choose a unique username which represents your personality well on Clubhouse.
  • You can choose to use your name or use a creator-alias (to do this, click on your name, this will bring to you 3 options: i. Use my correct, legal name  
  1. Add my creator alias  

iii. Never mind

    • Add a photo which will represent you well with size 110 x 110 pixel.
    • Select your interests and people you wish to follow. Use the search button to search for new people to follow.
  • Set your Bio:
  • The first three lines (125 characters) of your Bio must be kept short, detailed, powerful and within the preview length as this is what people will see when they see you in the clubhouse.
  • Your Bio should contain: who you are, what you do and who you help.
  • It should also have “Social Proof” (past projects or companies you work with).
  • You should include your Intent (how you intend to add value to the platform, topics you wish to discuss/address).
  • Verify your account. Tap “@,” which is at the top of your profile, enter your email and tap verify.
  • Add your Instagram and Twitter by tapping “Add Instagram” and “Add Twitter” on your profile.



  • In the club hallway, you will see and be able to join rooms that are available for you based on who you follow.
  • To join a room, tap “event” and then you will be able to start listening.
  • You can contribute by tapping on the hand icon at the right corner below (You will be the speaker on top and the listeners will be shown below).
  • To leave the room, tap “leaving quietly”.



  • Tap “Start a room icon”. You will be given three options to choose from which are:
  1. Open – tap “open” for a public room
  2. Social – to start a room with ONLY people you follow, tap “social”
  3. Closed – To start a room with ONLY specific people, tap “closed.”
  • Give your room a descriptive heading by tapping “Add a topic here”.
  • Tap “Let’s go” to go live or you can choose people to invite who you want to your private room.
  • In the room, you can give people access to the conversation by tapping the “hand icon” located at the right corner, and then inviting them to speak.
  • To end the room, tap on the three-dots, then tap on “End room”.

Clubhouse attracts people that enjoy being part of a conversation without having to show their faces on video, and Tik Tok attracts people that want something quick to watch that entertains or informs them, as well as content creators that make a living by video entertaining and/or educating. 

By the time this is published,  I am sure something will already have changed. If you see that something important has changed or you see something that should be added, please put it in the comments below. In the class, we say that this world is like being on an island that has random earthquakes changing its terrain constantly —  your job as a social media manager is to stay grounded and up-to-date with the core changes that are relevant to your responsibilities. 

Learn more about our Social Media Management and Marketing training at
– Martin Brossman

Alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Youtube

Alternatives to the Major Social Media

Alternatives to the Major Social Media

The age we live in is one of the most globally connected eras. This is both good, bad, and ugly, just like humanity itself. In some ways, we are becoming more fragmented and media and many seem to benefit from accentuating extremes.  For every group excited that someone other group was silenced or devalued on the main social media has created the opportunity of alternatives to the main social media platforms.  If your group seems to be “winning” with this division you are excited if you feel it is being silenced you are looking for alternatives to communicate. It uses to be that when people had their name attached they acted better on social but some of that is dissolving. As Social Media Managers we are taught to look from many perspectives especially the ones we don’t agree with. I am not condoning one side or the other here just showing some of the alternatives to the main social media platforms that I believe have evolved in part to these decisions. We need as social media managers to listen to both what is said online and what is not said online.

Here are some of the Alternatives to the Major Social Media Platforms. If you see any I missed please add them in the comments.

Orbys –

Comparable to Facebook and MyspaceIf you remember Myspace, Orbys has a very similar feature. The layout is comparable to Facebook. There are some exceptions. Not only does it give you a personal profile, it includes quizzes, polls, music, photos, news media, groups, events, and a marketplace. It is very open and user friendly with a few exceptions. The overall focus is to give users a personalized way to engage with different communities, individuals, and activities online.


  • Various Avenues such as quizzes, polls, blogs, music, shared photos, and news media
  • A user-friendly profile
  • Free Speech 
  • Open marketplace online
  • Create pages for free
  • Alternative to the Facebook community
  • No data collection
  • Mainly individuals with personal profiles
  • Advertisements are posted on the sides of web pages and not part of feeds. 


  • No Hashtags 
  • Complicated RSS
  • Could be considered Conservative-Centric
  • Difficulty uploading photos with privacy
  • Not a lot of content 
  • Not a global community. Mainly English and Spanish speakers.

Business Platform

Businesses can either create groups, pages or pay for advertisements displayed on the sides of public Orbys pages. The advertisements are not overwhelming but are visually appealing. If you offer one-time services or sell merchandise, then Marketplace on Orbys is perfect for you. You can even sell everything from eggs to firearms on Orbys. Make sure to tag your specific location for perishables. 


Comparable to Facebook and Meetup

MeWe is a colorful emoji-rich alternative to Facebook with hashtags. The Profile layout is very similar to Facebook yet has a bit more of an intimate feel than Facebook. The layout design is much simpler than Orbys and has a messenger-style chatbox for private messages. You can join groups and create your page for a small monthly fee. The groups are not filtered, and your private messages are not encrypted. Freedom of Speech is supported unless it endangers others. 


  • Politics are not filtered, and diverse political groups are present.
  • Freedom of Speech is allowed as long as it does not endanger others.
  • There is a colorful layout with tags and emojis
  • Simple layout
  • Private non-encrypted messages
  • No data collection
  • Advertisement free newsfeed
  • Advertisements are not present around the regular webpage
  • Plenty of business meet-up groups free of charge
  • More global than Orbys with over 15 languages available from Japan, China, and the whole Western Hemisphere


  • Not as many languages available as Facebook
  • The main content and belief of groups are unknown until you are accepted.
  • You must pay to add pages of your organization or group
  • Business pages are not shown on the users’ page.

Business Platform

     You can post links to any of your promotional content on your profile for friends to view. You can join different groups depending on their group guidelines and share your business there. You can pay $1.99 a month to create a business page and gather fans on MeWe. 

WT.Social –

Comparable to Twitter, Wikipedia, Tumblr, and Drudge

WT.Social is a text-styled bulletin feed similar to Twitter. The look is very technical and includes a variety of categories. Top categories are popular hashtags posted at the top of the homepage. Everything is information-oriented. You can create a sub wiki, which is a discussion group on any given topic. All posts are checked for verifiable information. If you are interested in sharing and conversing to get to the truth, this platform is for you. Amateur information seekers and journalists alike contribute to the information on here. 


  • Very fact-oriented with the discouragement of anonymous sources (unless the safety of sources is compromised) 
  • Simple and easy to use
  • A writer or journalists paradise
  • Perfect for most accurate fact checks
  • No emphasis on popularity or fan bases
  • Group forums known as Subwikis created to discuss specific topics
  • Stereotypes, sexism, racism, and political rants are not allowed
  • Neutral politics
  • Hashtag algorithms help users to find what they search for; nothing more and nothing less. 
  • Multiple sources linked to News stories
  • No advertisements


  • Posts are subject to cookie and data collection for WT. Socials business affiliations.
  • Opinions are discouraged
  • Profiles and posts are bare-bones with minimal photos. 
  • User data is collected for third-party vendors.
  • Currently, this site is only in English.

Business Platform

There is not a large business platform, and it is difficult to gain an audience. However, Subwikis could be developed for a particular business. You can also share posts with stories of a business as long as it is factual information. 

    OpenSource Social Media –

     Comparable to the Original Facebook platform, Wix, or WordPress

With OpenSource Social Media, you create your own Social Network. You can create groups or pages. You can become the admin of a network. Like the early Facebook, you can create your regulations for the Social Network, and you own all of your content. You can choose from their hosting companies and programs offered for a free or extra charge. You can create your pages and add multiple features and languages. 


  • Create your social network
  • Admin and manage your social network.
  • You own all the content to your discretion. 
  • You can add a variety of features. 
  • You can add as many languages as you want to your page.
  • OpenSource Social Media offers a variety of vendors who are free or available to hire for hosting, programming, and design
  • You can design your web pages.


  • Not ideal for those looking for a quick fan base
  • Somewhat high maintenance
  • Very bare-bones launch

Business Platform

     For an experienced social networker, this is a viable business platform. Keep in mind, take time and effort will need to be developed to develop a large network. The site is designed to include web pages. This feature could be useful for a small business to share through email and other social media platforms. You can customize the social network to a preferred area of interest. 

Elgg –

Comparable to the early Facebook and WordPress

Elgg is a platform for those looking to build a social network and create their plugins. For creative IT minds, this platform is perfect to showcase your skills. You can also create a new kind of social network. 


  • Create a new kind of social network with your special plugins. 
  • You own all the data on your site. 
  • You can create your plugin products through the site for your users.
  • You can add friends through your profile and collaborate.
  • You can build groups upfront.


  • Very bare bones upfront
  • Very high maintenance and designed for experienced app developers

HumHub –

Create your own Social Network and develop a name instantly. Add widgets for free and pick from a site layout free of charge or a professional upgraded version. Humhub has an increasing number of modules available. This platform is ideal for those looking to build a team-based social network. 


  • Choose from different software to develop a private social network.
  • A growing number of modules to choose from for the advanced networker.
  • Choose from or create tags easily.
  • Create and brand your social network.
  • Great for small teams to work together on and include others; a virtual business networking chapter
  • Choose from a variety of languages 


  • Very complex
  • It may take a long time to develop traffic for a business.
  • Collects cookies and lots of personal data
  • Could be eliminated by the European Union without notice (unlikely)

Business Platform

If one wishes to create a business platform, showcase the modules they created or, build a business networking chapter, this platform is ideal. You can also develop a large social network later on, yet that approach may be very time-consuming. 

Nextdoor –

Comparable to Facebook or Yelp  (more like an online “Neighborhood Watch”

Nextdoor is a more localized version of Facebook. You have to join a neighborhood before you can create a profile. The rules on posts are pretty clear about no harassment or appropriate spaces for discussion of politics or sale of items. Non-local politics and business have designated pages specifically designed for these discussions. Data is only shared if you post through a social media platform like Facebook. There are marketplaces, groups, and local News Feeds based on your community. You can broaden the information border of your community as long as it is within nearby driving distance. This feature is ideal for neighborhood communication and posting goods in services within the appropriate platforms. 


  • Localized posts between neighbors with little political pressure. 
  • Create a local business page.
  • The ability to sell almost anything through the marketplace.
  • Options to Sponsor ads for your business. 
  • Great for real personal information between neighbors.
  • Discourages fan-base creation and following.
  • Do not share your data unless you connect Nextdoor with a third party. 
  • Includes a holiday cheer feature to inform neighbors of where they can find the most Christmas lights.
  • Protects individuals from language that incites violence or intimidates people.
  • Help keep a neighborhood watch program in check.


  • Limited to the local neighborhood
  • Limited where you can discuss business and politics
  • Not ideal for Public figures or those looking for a large circle of influence

Business Platform

     Small businesses will find this platform ideal because they can register in their local marketplace and potentially make the news feed. You can create your business page, sell services and products through the local marketplace, and sell real estate. There are also safety guidelines in place to protect you from dangerous transactions. 

Parler –

Comparable to Twitter – “the world’s town square.” Parler is an American microblogging and social networking service. It has a significant user base of conservatives. 

Parler is very similar to Twitter in terms of its platform. You can speak out on almost anything and creates a News Feed for individuals. There are virtually no limits to your posts, and shadow banning is not a thing. They allow freedom of speech and expression. The hashtags rank by the most popular topics! If you are looking for unbiased freedom of speech, then Parley away!


  • Hashtags presented as trending. 
  • Visually appealing user-friendly platform.
  • Topics presented based on your current interests.
  • Follow who you choose and get an equal platform with other users. 
  • Receive a special badge for verifying you are a real person. 
  • Your data is erased after a timeout period.
  • Your information is not sold to third-party vendors. 
  • You can monetize your growth on Parlors.
  • Freedom of expression is allowed.
  • Includes most globally used languages
  • Has gained social popularity with well-known individuals and celebrities


  • New and somewhat smaller database than Twitter.
  • Mostly used by Conservatives

Business Platform

     The possibilities of promoting your business or abilities are endless. You are more than able to post anything that concerns your business. However, business is not the primary focus. You can gain a following, and find potential clients or customers. This platform is ideal for public figures, and anyone looking to monetize a following. 

Air.TV –

 Air.TV provides content on channels based on where people live and topics that interest them. Currently, their database is not very large. However, for individuals looking for safely filtered items appropriate for their children, this platform is ideal. Also, broadcasters who are starting may find this channel great. You can get paid 75% of revenues for a regularly published video. You can also get paid for embedding Air.TV videos if you get enough viewers. There are a variety of ways to monetize Air.TV. There are TV channels listed separately for viral video channels and News Channels. Information gathered here is for third parties, but only with your consent. There are no advertisements currently, and the content is very fact-oriented and gives all news networks equal coverage. 


  • Own published content
  • Make money from Youtube videos you embed through Air.TV, so long as you obtain a license from 
  • Make 75% of ad revenues for Air.TV ads. 
  • You can choose what ad or broadcasting programs you want to join. 
  • You can receive unbiased News from a national to a local level.
  • Air.TV is organized by pins on topics, dates, and locations.
  • Great for business ad embeds. You can choose to pay Air.TV to advertise for your business.
  • You have free unlimited storage on Air.TV


  • Not very prolific or global.
  • Not very user-friendly for those wishing to post their videos.

Business Platform

     You can use Air.TV to embed your videos to Social Media platforms like Facebook and increase the likelihood of views. You can also build a business around Air.TV if you choose to embed your videos using their server, so your channel gets more traffic to their database. Small networking channels would benefit from embedding videos from Air.TV to their website. 

Alignable –

Comparable to LinkedIn but the key focus is supporting local small businesses 

Alignable has pretty much all the features of LinkedIn. The only difference is it focuses on businesses and LLCs. You can still create an account as a professional offering their services in hopes of finding a job, but business clients are the focus. You can give or get advice, join networks, and connect with individuals and businesses. 


  • Offers advice and allows you to share advice
  • Allows you to join local networks and connects you with businesses based on the vicinity. 
  • Very user friendly and visually appealing
  • Memorializes businesses that go out of business if the owners choose.
  • Erases all personal information once you permanently close an account.
  • Allows some privacy settings without disclosing your personal information to third party vendors. 


  • Solely business-oriented 
  • Focuses on local business and access to global databases if hard to navigate.


Business Platform

Alignable is a social platform for your business more than for yourself. It allows you to create a Rolodex of clients and potential partners. You can gain reviews and advice from these individuals. It is an ideal tool for the individual trying to improve their business or find new connections.

Rumble –

Comparable to Tumblr and Youtube

Rumble has a vast database of viral videos and focuses on information sharing. You can bring together your Youtube videos, other embeds, or upload videos directly to Rumble for earnings from views. 

You can build your monetary earnings through uploading videos or use Rumble to upload your videos to your business site. You do not have to worry about licensing even if you are gaining income from your Rumble videos. Choose from a list of featured channels on your Rumble homepage.


  • No hidden licensing fees.
  • Download and license videos for your site.
  • Copyrighted videos are protected upon upload. 
  • Leverage Rumble brands to make money
  • Unbiased News Feed
  • A community forum for questions and answers is available on the front page.
  • Search engines are easy to find topics.


  • Does not seem to post in many different languages
  • A bit confusing at first
  • Not a large database

Business Platform

 For businesses looking to create ads and monetize views, then this is the website for them. Also, your content is your content, and Rumble publishes content for you so that others cannot steal it. You can customize your videos to fit your webpage with a variety of options.

New since the article was completed:

Retalk  –

Comparable to Reddit 

A more conservative discussion group and clearly in response to the perception that conservative voices are being silenced on other platforms. Their own statement about “Civil discussion for the center and center-right”. 

Odysee –
A Blockchain version of Youtube. “ LBRY is a blockchain-based file-sharing and payment network that powers decentralized platforms, primarily social networks, and video platforms. LBRY’s creators also run Odysee, a video-sharing website that uses the network.”


“Gab TV is a video hosting platform powered by the freedom of speech.” and from Wikipedia “Gab is an American alt-tech social networking service known for its far-right userbase.”

Clubhouse –

Comparable to Podcasting that could have many participants talking

A voice real-time-based discussion group. At the time of this posting is only on iPhone and IPads. A game-changer because it offers a new way of communicating not offered yet by other platforms. Once signed that it is a  game change is that other platforms are trying to copy it, eg. Twitter “Twitter Spaces” See this video I made predicting this. link to the website    

Messenger Alternatives

Signal – Private Messenger –

Telegram Messenger – Private Messenger –

Comparison of the two

Alternatives to Paypal: 

Private email 

Proton Mail – Private email

Again we are not enforcing any of these just providing information so if you hear about them you will recognize them. What did we miss that should be added? Add your own perspectives. Again note use good judgment with any information you find.
Martin Brossman

What Social Media Managers need to know about TikTok


Picture source PIxabay – tiktok-5064078_640

by Author: K. Leah O’Connor 05/27/2020 

This article contains clickable links to websites that are not on Facebook.

TikTok is a social platform that people can use to create, edit, add music, and or special effects to a short video and share it with other users around the globe. 

To be a success on any Social Media platform you first need to ask what is my target audience? The difference between TikTok and other Social Media apps is the largest group of users are in the 25 and under age group. Generation Z has taken to the platform like ducklings to water. They will ignore you if you try to push traditional forms of marketing and advertising on them. They do not want to be sold to; they want to be entertained.  

I signed up for a TikTok account two days ago. What I have gathered so far is that everyone loves pets and little kids, dancing, lip-syncing, cosplayers, and general silliness. There are a lot of artists, sewists, musicians, singers, gamers, Cosplayers, and people who are not afraid to be themselves. Some people are putting up how-to videos. It is an interesting mix of everything. 

The tagline on sums up the most important aspect of this popular app that Social Media Managers need to remember. Make Your Day, Real People. Real Videos. There are no hard and fast rules of what you can post to TikTok. Although, you must keep in mind that being upbeat, funny, downright silly, sincere, chaotic, real, informative, or whatever spin you want to use in your video without sounding like a salesperson will keep you from being ignored. People do not use TikTok to look for products or services they use it for entertainment and fun. These are the aspects of the app you must remember to be successful. 

So how real is it? It is very real, and users will see through you faster than you can post a 15second video. Some people call it cringy, some say it is outright stupid. I read on Quora that turning on your privacy settings is important to keep people from knowing your location. Probably good advice. This platform, however, has become massively popular no matter what people call it and it is growing every day.   

I reached out to a young woman, @r0mmie, 21 years old, and asked her about her TikTok. Her profile features videos of herself expressing her fears, her challenges, and her frustrations. Or as she put it, “My TikTok is a mess of me complaining about work and me being comedy gold.” It was not the type of profile I expected to find. Her answers to my questions provided insights from a user point of view that I found to be helpful. 

Question: Why did you join TikTok?  

@r0mmie: It was a creative outlet similar to Vine that I was super active on before it closed down. The community on TikTok is a lot more accepting than Vine.  Question: What do you like and dislike about TikTok?  

@r0mmie: I love that I can make videos up to a minute long instead of the 6 seconds you had on Vine and that there are lots of cool editing effects. I dislike that once I create multiple segments in a video, I can only delete the most previous section. Also, my recommended page generally shows people I already follow. I find myself having to look for tags (hashtags) to find people to follow instead of using that. And I love the many different communities on TikTok. They are all SUPER active and so accepting. There is a large LGBTQ community and I have made friends with a lot of nice, supportive people.  

Question: Have you watched any videos or followed any businesses that are using TikTok? 

@r0mmie: I have seen quite a few businesses on TikTok, but they are mostly large companies like Coke or Skittles. I have seen artists promoting their Esty’s though! I am not following any yet because I post when I have a few spare minutes and I don’t have that much time to browse. I have been using my time to make friends. As for ads, there is usually one when I first open the app, but again they are only for super big companies.  

Question: If you were to follow a small business or an Esty artist, what about their profile or video content would be most interesting to you and make you want to follow them? 

@r0mmie: The process of the craft! I have seen tons of painters showing small snippets of themselves painting. Sewers doing the same thing, showing the process and progress during creation. It makes it so interesting to see what they do and how they do it.  

TikTok is a relative newcomer to the arena of Social Media. Launched in 2016, the platform has, according to, over 800 million active users worldwide. The U.S has about 60 million monthly active users. At an average of 52 minutes a day per user, that equals enormous potential for Social Media Managers that are willing to take the plunge. 

 As influencers on platforms such as Instagram are getting left behind for being too sales-driven the influencer culture remains strong on TikTok. Many of these influencers are children, celebrities, and public figures. To hire one will cost you a premium, .01 to .02 cents per view of an ad. The average cost of advertising with TikTok, at least for now, is beyond the reach of most small businesses. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow a following using ingenuity and creativity. To become a TikTok influencer rack up 10, 000 followers and you are in. 

 A great deal depends, of course, on the goods or services you want to market and what your target is. Your ideal demographic may be generation Z. But if not, there is good news for Social Media Managers. The users now include Millennials and Generation X. But do not let a jump in age groups lead you to believe you can get away with anything old school. You are going to have to leave production type videos for other platforms and get personal. 

 You have decided to jump in and give TikTok a try. You download and install the app. You create an account and visit to read their Beginner’s guide to TikTok. You watch some of the videos that range in length from 12 secs up to 60 secs and think, yeah I can do this. I can be creative, unique, authentic, and funny. Building an organic following, as with any social media platform, will take time and effort. The more content you post the further your reach will extend.  

Using Hashtags, (tags as they are referred to on TikTok) also must be on your to-do list. This will take you some research and time to perfect, but it is crucial. Be sure to include a few of your own tags. It is how users search for content. Many individuals will use other’s tags and spread content they like by making their own videos about it. The more engaging you can be the more success you will find. If you have been using Twitter or Instagram this will be easier for you. If tags make you go what? Jeanne Munoz, of Jeanne Monoz Consulting, gives a great course on Instagram for Business through the NC State Continuing and Lifelong Education. It includes the importance of hashtags and how to use Hashtags. Useful information to have for Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.  

TikTok does also offer paid advertising options. On their website, you can sign up for an account. When I did this, I got the message, “This region is not yet available for self-serve. Please leave your contact info”. Paid options are not open to users in the United States yet unless you contact TikTok directly. Several large brands, such as Pepsi, Kroger, Chipotle and Elf Cosmetics have been using paid advertising on the platform since it started last year. They have seen their tags used billions of times, so it does warrant looking into if you have the budget for it.  

 To run ads on TikTok, the word on Quora is, expect at least $10 cost-per-1000 views with a $500 minimum campaign spend. Depending on your client and the possible ROI they can get from a campaign, it well may be worth it. Keep in mind though that the largest demographic using the app is 25 and under. Insurance, umm no. A new game release, or a cool gadget, something artsy, or otherwise fun or fashionable, might be worth the cost. Outstanding content is what will get you the best exposure no matter what you are selling. Plumbers are even posting videos.  

 We may well find that our target audience is on TikTok waiting for us to entertain them. So how do you market a business, product, or service in new uncharted cyberspace to mostly young lipsyncing, cosplaying, dancing, wannabee influencers with a penchant for dogs, cats, and little kids? Especially if you are going to do it organically?  

 As with anything new, there is a learning curve. First, we must explore; we must get a feel for this new platform and make it our own. A plan of action will have to created and fine-tuned. We, as Social Media Managers, must rethink the strategies we have used on other social media. We cannot be a brand with a personality, we must be a personality that has a brand. There will be trial and error. No doubt we will make some mistakes. We will have to create content that inspires. We must dig deeper into our creativity than we may have ever done. We will have to present our brand with honesty and a fair bit of wit, and also be willing to show our fun and humorous side without reservation. Then they will follow, share, create new content with our tags, and buy from us. 

The challenge is on.

Language Sensitivity Critical to Social Media Managers

Writers have love affairs with words. As a writer, I am fascinated by the words’ ability to inspire to unite and to enlighten. At the same time, I am distressed by their ability to horrify, to divide, to wound, to belittle and incite.

Working with social media, all of us need to be extremely sensitive to the power and limitations of the written word. Words in a post, in an article or presented through any of the numerous channels today, can convey
persuasive, passionate messages or perform almost irreversible harm and disseminate devastating misinformation. Even more troublesome is the fact that those same words—in spite of their intent—can be misinterpreted and change the reader’s perception of the sender. This is true for an individual, a small business, or a large corporation. So, here’s a question: How do words impact on a screen or on a page and what about the effects of a video?

What happens to those squiggly lines we propel through social media and print?

Words Have Power

A study many years ago purported that communication is only 7% verbal [for our purposes, this is the written word] and 93 percent non-verbal. This indicates that the written word itself is only a small part of the communication process. The results of the study also proposed that body language makes up 55% and the remaining 38% is conveyed through the tone of voice.

Although arguments since the study have pointed out that these percentages may not be totally accurate, there is a truth in the concept. One of the more recent arguments pointed out that this breakdown applies
only to emotional communication. Today, especially in social media messages, many which focus on the pandemic and racial inequality, most communications have strong emotional content. This is a result of
messages with heavy doses of opinion and selective information.

An important lesson here applies directly to all communication and particularly to social media, whether you take the percentages in that study as exact or approximations. When we read posts, look at memes and
consume other forms of digital communication, we are prone to misinterpret, especially in the current divisiveness of our culture. The same is true for the written word.

Another factor in misunderstanding is a lack of awareness about context. As we mature, we begin to learn that everyone has different perspectives. Although this becomes part of our self-awareness, the implications take longer to sink in. I am reminded of a quote attributed to Robert McCloskey, a U.S. State Department spokesperson.

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

When I came across this statement, I needed to read it again to understand its full meaning.

This pithy saying can help us contemplate what the effects of our communications may be. If you express something from your point of view and do not realize that I am hearing it from the sum of my experiences, you may think that you were clear in what you expressed. However, since my background is different than yours, your words may evoke an experience or memory that is contradictory to what you are saying. I may interpret your message in such a way as to reject it, hear it as confrontational or simply stop listening to you.

When we add the visual and auditory aspects of expression with our digital technology like Zoom™ and other tele-meeting platforms, these two factors—communication percentages and awareness of context—have a profound influence. I have seen and heard participants get caught up in contentious topics in online tele-meetings and become adversarial.

One recent example was a discussion about having a live event. The person organizing the event scoffed at the idea that there were significant risks. His viewpoint was motivated by the importance of keeping his
business thriving in the face of the extraordinary limitations all business people, especially those who rely on in-person events, are encountering. Another attendee sat quietly but others could see by the look on her face that this upset her. She had recently lost both parents to COVID-19 within a week. Even if the organizer had no intention of alienating other participants and may not have even recognized that he did, his connection was severed. This ended the other participant’s willingness to hear anything else he said both in that session and perhaps on future occasions. My empathy with her position changed my opinion of the person promoting the event and I will re-evaluate our future relationship.

I focused on him in the example, but this experience continues to be a vivid lesson for me. It reminds me of statements I have made that could have and probably did alienate people with views different from mine.
Fortunately, I have been more careful with my social media presence. I have shied away from expressing personal opinions on social platforms because I don’t believe that it is an effective way to change minds.

The original excitement for social media faded for me years ago with the politicization of posts. I have had to unfriend people on both sides of issues because, in their fervor, they have been rude and hateful. I’ve also
limited my consumption of social media and television news and opinion programs. Others around me have done the same. I decided not to participate and that saved countless hours of unproductive communications. This action also protects my social media clients. I prefer to use social media personally for more positive messages, specifically because of the second tenet of misunderstanding I described above.

These same challenges face our ability or inability to discuss racial inequalities. Many people express extreme views and are unwilling to listen to the other side. Some of the more radical expressions may have been necessary to bring this painful circumstance to our attention, however becoming entrenched in any perspective and refusing to consider anything contradictory prevents understanding. These entrenched views thwart any possibility of a compromise that might be acceptable to both sides.

During the protests in the 1960s, about Civil Rights, the Viet Nam War and other issues created a similar division. Only when more moderate views on both sides were expressed, did a path emerge where more people could work together. Only then did legislation and government action initiate the changes that followed.

I have heard the new generation of protesters argue that nothing came out of these previous actions, but the war ended, and minorities gained some rights (even though it did not bring about racial equality). Without the
understanding that ensued, there would not have been integrated schools, increased business opportunities and a greater awareness of minority contributions to America. We would have had many fewer Black and other minority filmmakers, actors, and more inclusive television shows. We would not have had as much awareness of the plight of minorities since that time.

I concede to these younger activists that much more could have been done. Granted that after the heightening of awareness, many in the majority culture returned to their previous, more personal focus, however, they were more aware. This awareness kept the coals simmering since so that when new protests were enflamed, the somewhat forgotten embers of the past were ignited and some from the older generation added their voices and support. Still, many others like what happened 50+ years ago, cling to what they are used to and what is comfortable. Now however even those people are seeing that the world will not be the same, if only because of the results of the virus and our attention to policing efforts.

What can we as social media managers do? Can we bring a new sensitivity about language and communication to bear? We are living through a time where it is easy to be overwhelmed, frightened and stressed. This is also a time where we may want to help, to contribute to solutions and to a path forward. We can change the world, but it has to begin within us, with a review of our attitudes and actions, and specifically our messaging.

It is our responsibility as social media managers to examine our intent and our clients’ intent in all communications. We must be clear and act with one of the promises in the Hippocratic oath, primum non nocere: “first, do no harm.” I now read my posts, emails and other communications one more time. I want to be sure to deliver the correct message in the clearest language. I pledge to watch my language and hope other social media managers will do the same.

~Written by Drew Becker

Design, The good, The bad, and The Unaesthetically Pleasing.

What is good graphic design? That is a question akin to “What is good art?” The first thing one needs to remember is that graphic design is an art form. Unlike traditional art, however, it is art for commerce, marketing goods and/or services and follows several key design components. Of course, it is more complicated than that, but we’ll talk about that later. I would like to take some time to share a few insights and things to consider about good design.

I find that in today’s fast paced world many small companies don’t understand or even consider the impact that good design can have in marketing products or services. There are on-line services that anyone can use to create their own marketing materials or have someone bid on a project. One question that often comes to mind is; Why should I hire a designer to develop a logo when I can do it myself for free using company “X” on the web?  The truth is there are many things one should consider. Is the final product really free? What is the overall value of the design, meaning how well does it represent your company, and your company’s core values? Is it a good representation of the goods and services you offer? What is the quality of the digital file? Can you use it across multiple marketing platforms? Do you own the copyrights? There are many other questions, but let’s not get too carried anyway just yet. I cannot give you all the answers, but I hope to help you understand a few things about good design and how it specifically relates to using online “design” services. Let’s look at The good, The bad, and The Unaesthetically Pleasing.

The Good

There are a few good things about using online services for your design needs. One they are usually fast. People do sometimes need something very quickly, I understand this. When someone makes the choice to start their own company, it is not usually done on a whim. I have never met a small business owner that said; “I woke up this morning, quit my job, baked some cupcakes and started selling them on the side of the road.” The point is, most people have a plan for their new company, and marketing is part of that plan. Do some research and have a marketing budget that includes design and/or marketing services.

Cost effectiveness, yes, some on-line services are based on people biding on jobs for the lowest rate. We have all heard the saying; “You get what you pay for.” I say, you only have one chance to make a lasting first impression, make the most of it. Consider, who is the person doing the design for you? How much of your time are you going to spend selecting a design you like? Is there customer support? What about the cost for design changes? Don’t forget your time has a value as well.

The Bad

Not all things are of equal quality. With an on-line design bidding service, you may have a real person working on a design for you, but how much time did they spend on getting to know your company and what you do? Was it a face-to-face meeting? What questions did they ask you? How much input did you have in the final design? Did you submit a project and have few dozen people send you files and you spent hours looking through them only to give up and pick one? Many people I have worked with ask for my help because they have been down this road and are simply not happy with the outcome, the work they received did not fit their marketing needs. Just for fun, I investigated an on-line site for creating a company logo. The overall process was easy, but the final results were bad. The logo was a random combination of easily recognizable clip art and the fonts were also widely used. Yes, I had the option to download a “free sample” of very low resolution. Other options included standard logo files, files for social media, re-sizable files, and an option to have a designer redesign the logo with new options. The list also included a branding plan and a way to order business cards. What about the quality of the files? Are they good enough to use on a web site? Are they crisp enough for resizing? Are they in a format and resolution for printing, or will more costly work need to be done? Does this sound like a great value? These companies do this all without any understanding of who you are and what you do. How does that represent your company in any way that is important to you? Ask yourself, what is the real cost of this.

The Unaesthetically Pleasing.

The heart of the matter. Unaesthetic means offensive to the aesthetic sense; lacking in beauty or sensory appeal; unpleasant, as an object, design, arrangement, etc.1 You’ve probably seen bad design before, and said, that looks bad or what were they thinking? One of my design professors in college told us that good design is barely noticeable, we see it, it appeals to us, but we don’t give it another thought. Bad design hits like a brick. It looks unpleasant, and many times we don’t know why it looks bad, it just does. Sounds confusing right. It can be, we already know that what one person finds appealing another may not. This is true with art and music. It is also true with design. All designers must walk the line of what people find aesthetically pleasing and what is unaesthetically pleasing. To complicate things even more, they need to do so while delivering a clear message about a product or service. How do they do that? With a bit of magic and a wave of a photoshop wand. Not really just checking to see if you are still there. Graphic designers follow seven key design components. Color, Line, Point, Shape, Texture, Space, Form, Unity/harmony. I will not go into detail for each, that would take several pages to explain. My point is that a good graphic designer understands these concepts and understands how to utilize them to design marketing products that fits the needs of your company. The design process is not something that should be an algorithm based on a three or four multiple choice questions. It is a creative process, based on a conversation about your companies’ products/services and core values. Every designer has their own creative process. I like to meet with a client, ask them about their company, who they are, what the company values are, what they offer, and understand how they wish people to view the company. I then began my creative process, and it usually includes lots of coffee, music and a drawing pad. My point is, consider the real value of a well-designed marketing piece. Will people look at it and say; “What where they thinking?” or will they look at it a say; “Oh, you do this? Great, let’s talk”.

I am a graphic designer with eighteen years of experience. My experience includes corporate marketing, high production design with print vendors and freelance design work. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in graphic design, a certificate in Computer Art and Animation., a Webmaster Certification with Adobe Flash Specialization and a certificate in Social Media Management for Marketing and Business.

Joe Butters
Rogue Ferret Design


Core competencies, skills of a social media manager

It is essential in today’s economy for every company to have a robust, malleable digital presence; and, since social media platforms provide that ability, the demand for social media managers is growing by the day.

Therefore, those seeking social media manager positions or jobs of a similar ilk need to understand what qualities and competencies are required to obtain this type of job and succeed in it. Here are some of the core skills and competencies that a social media manager must have.

Photo courtesy of Martin Brossman

The fall 2018 Social Media Management Certificate Program graduating class

Contrary to popular opinion, the requisite skills for a social media manager are diverse and take practiced refinement. Some of those core skills include collecting, creating and curating content; operating social media scheduling tools; utilizing and interpreting analytical data; SEO and social media writing and editing; understanding social media advertising and post-boosting (especially on Facebook); and marketing to increase interest and revenue. In essence, the skills that a social media manager should have group into three categories: creation, development and maintenance.

Creation requires the ability to gather information quickly and produce engaging and targeted written or visual content that represents a brand well and advances the progression of that brand. While being able to produce effective content with relative speed is a large part of the creation competency, a social media manager must also know which content and form are most effective for each platform. For example, brief posts that have immediate or short-term relevance are ideal for Twitter, whereas Facebook allows for (and users have come to expect) lengthier content. So being able to produce content that utilizes the purpose and format of a social media platform is the name of the game.

Then again, if a social media manager doesn’t know who the platform-specific content is supposed to reach, its effectiveness is compromised. “I start with getting grounded in a comprehensive understanding of who our target audience is and what they care about,” says Vanessa Williams, senior manager of integrated strategy and promotions at Ignite Social Media in Cary. This is where development of content (in the areas of audience, brand exposure and sales) comes into play. If a clothing store producing wares for teenage girls is not using Pinterest (or Instagram) and failing to produce image-heavy posts with catchy text on a daily basis, that company will have a difficult time reaching its intended audience and market.

Which is where analytics enter the fray and aid in the development of market-targeting or narrowcasting. “Social media managers … need to be analytical,” Williams says. “They need to be able to interpret quantitative and qualitative data to determine what is working …  [and] bubble up social results into metrics that matter for the business.” Those metrics include advertising return on investment or spending, cart value, offline- and online-sales conversions and loyalty program enrollment, Williams says.

The more a social media manager or a business knows about its market, the easier it is to forge relationships; and in a social media world, relationships are king. “One of the great things about social media … is the ability to build one-to-one relationships with your current and potential customers in real time,” Williams says. “Being a helpful resource, surprising and delighting fans, and taking their feedback into consideration can help build relationships and brand loyalty with customers.” The content has to engage those most likely to buy the products or services a company offers, and providing resources for customers to accomplish that can establish relationships with new customers and strengthen those with existing customers.

Lastly, there is the maintenance or the curation of the content produced and the relationships and markets that have been developed. Outside of being able to refine, update and schedule content, the most important aspect of the maintenance competency is discipline. A social media manager needs to be consistent in upholding the quality of content and in tailoring it to meet shifting and burgeoning trends while also adhering to the strategy that has been established. Consistency is paramount in maintaining the relationships that have been developed. As with any system, the components that make it work need attention and discipline drives the maintenance of those components.

Social media is a fundamental part of contemporary sales, marketing and advertising and is only going to become a more integral part of those industries. As a result, companies need those inclined to utilize this dynamic tool, those social media managers about to find their stride.


Special thanks to Janet Constantino, Melanie Diehl, Cathy Comella-Ports, Martin Brossman, Karen Tiede, Kerry Mead, Davina Ray and Sasha Fetisova, all of whom contributed to this article. Learn more about me, Justin Goldberg (primary author) at

Marketing to Generation Z on Social Media – Tips for Social Media Managers

family photo Social scientists, marketers, and educators identify the generation born between 1998 and 2016 as Generation Z. The Gen Zs are the first generation that is completely native to internet technology. They are the Jedi masters, and the internet is their Force.

The Zs might be the most important generation in the history of humankind. That’s not an overstatement. The Grand Challenges we face today are potentially cataclysmic. Climate change. Terrorism. Nuclear weapons. Economic disparity. Cyber security. Clean water. The rise of machines. Drug-resistance diseases. All of these challenges are reaching a tipping point in the coming decades . . . decades in which the Zs will be running the show. They didn’t create these challenges, but they will be expected to solve them. Fortunately, for all of us, the Zs are uniquely prepared to save the planet.

As parents, educators, and social media marketers, we need to understand this generation and not take them lightly.

The Generation Z Profile

What puts the Z in Gen Z? Here’s the basic makeup of the Gen Z profile:

  • The internet, technology, war, terrorism, the recession, social media, and the emergence of “fake news” shape their lives.
  • They are tech savvy.
  • Social media has connected them globally to like-minded peers.
  • They stream entertainment, information, and data continuously in a cloud-based world.
  • The internet has connection them to global knowledge.
  • They are bright, and their IQ scores are higher than previous generations.
  • They are the most racially diverse generation in American history.
  • Their worldview is distinctly different from the generations before them.

The Hard Road That Shaped Gen Z Values

Every generation thinks the generation that comes after them is spoiled, and no doubt the Millennials think Gen Zs have it easy compared to them. That assumption doesn’t hold up under the most basic scrutiny. Gen Zs only know an America that has been at war. The media is filled with stories of terrorism, gun violence, school violence, and polarized political parties.

Gen Zs see the dark side of the modern world firsthand, too. They know someone who’s been to war. They’ve always had to take their shoes off to board an airplane. Their schools practice active shooter lockdowns. They saw foreclosed homes in their neighborhoods and had a relative who lost a job in the economic downturn.  

All of this has further shaped the Gen Z profile. Here’s a short list of their core values:

  • They are digital natives, but not necessarily digital citizens.
  • They value diversity, inclusion, and equality more than any other generation.
  • They are not as patriotic as previous generations and are more distrusting of their government.
  • They are flexible in nature and expect flexibility from institutions.
  • Surveys show Gen Zs are less optimistic about the nation’s current status than older generations.  
  • The same surveys show Gen Zs are far more optimistic about the future than older generations.  

Gen Zs on Social Media

The internet is sometimes described as the “Wild Wild West,” and if that analogy is true, then Gen Zs would include Buffalo Bill Cody, Wyatt Earp, Annie Oakley, Jesse James. They might not be the pioneers, but they are the settlers who left an indelible mark on the West.

Where is Gen Z on social media? Let’s be honest, they own it. Sure, millennials created Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, but then the Gen Zs took all of it and made it theirs. When Johnny Cash remade the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt, Trent Reznor (NIN frontman) said, “I felt like I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn’t mine anymore.” Gen Zs did the same. They made social media their own, and they probably took Trent Reznor’s girlfriend, too. We have a lot to learn about the Zs and from the Zs if we want to connect with their generation on social media.  

Here’s where they are on social media:

  • Gen Zs are continuously and seamlessly connected to their friends, relatives, acquaintances, celebrities, brands, and complete strangers through social media.
  • Gen Zs use social media and social media profiles to create their own personal brands.
  • Instant contact is very important to them.
  • Waiting for emails has never been part of the Gen Z world.
  • Social media has led to a sense of social justice, especially when they are bombarded with images and news of war, recession, and climate change.
  • Social media has made it easy for them to take up social causes. They search for careers and opportunities that will help the world.
  • Rating things on the internet is in their DNA. Giving plus 1s, clicking on thumbs up or down, awarding stars, and leaving comments is a natural part of their day.
  • Making celebrity and big brand misbehavior go viral is a major achievement for the Zs.
  • Gen Zs use social media to find like-minded people, giving greater strength than ever to counterculture and alternative groups.
  • They “crowd source” for solutions on social media.
  • They’ve learned to be careful on social media. They are concerned it is too public. This is why Snapchat is so popular with them. They want to better control who sees their messages.

Marketing to the Gen Zs

Is it important for social media managers to understand Generalization Z? Yes, because they are running roughshod over traditional marketing campaigns. They are brand resistant and social media savvy.  If you connect with them, they will be your best ally.  If you dismiss or ignore them, they will make you go viral in the worst way. And they will do it quicker than you can log in and delete your entire internet footprint.  

Here are some key points for commerce and marketing with Gen Zs:

  • Gen Zs are not brand loyal. They will mix and match everything from clothes brands to philosophies.
  • Gen Z teens and preteens have the biggest impact on the economy for that age group ever. Their social media “likes,” product ratings, forum feedback have companies and marketers scrambling.
  • They see way too much negative product information online to immediately believe ad campaigns.  
  • Gen Zs have grown up in the world of online reviews. They not only write reviews, but they rely on them and trust them for making their own purchases.  
  • Events like the recession and Occupy Wall Street have left Gen Zs distrusting of big brands.
  • They spend more on the economy than any generation before them at their age. Most of their spending happens online. This is driven by gift cards like Amazon, Etsy, PayPal, Xbox, PlayStation, and iTunes.
  • Gen Zs also understand commerce online. They sell and swap their own goods (and possessions) on sites like Etsy, Depop, OfferUp, Poshmark, and letgo.
  • They are more concerned about purchasing environmentally safe products than the generations before them.
  • They don’t have a regard for the traditional “Pro America” brands.
  • Gen Zs want to be the first to like something, follow something, buy something.
  • They like anti-establishment brands
  • Label wariness has led to the rise of the thrift shops. See Thrift Shops by Macklemore.
  • Big brands that use social media openly and honestly have connected with Gen Z.  
  • Big brands have reached Generation Zs through other Gen Zs. Big brands have reached out to popular Gen Z YouTubers and Instagram user to advertise their products. Gen Zs are much more trusting of individuals within their own generation than of big brand institutions.
  • Gen Zs spend their money wisely. The know too many Gen Xers who graduated college, live with their parents, and are saddled with college debt. Gen Zs find this horrifying.  
  • Gen Zs value “cheap” more than older generations.
  • Gen Zs are not easily impressed with technological improvements because it is an expectation. Unless your technology improvements revolutionize the product, don’t make it the center of your ad campaign if you’re targeting Gen Zs.
  • Gen Zs like brands that “stand for something.” Brands score well that stand for diversity, inclusion, and equality.
  • Gender specific ad campaigns don’t fare as well with Gen Zs, who tend to think more in gender neutral terms than older generations.  

Marketing to Generation Zs on social media will be no easy task. We have to catch up in areas where we are used to leading. The better we understand this group, the better we can connect with them, and that’s really what social media marketing is all about.

Note that the last people born into Generation Z ended sometime around 2016. This year gave birth to a new generation. Wait until you meet Generation Alpha. (Que intense Darth Vader entrance music.)

Look forward to hearing your comments.
– Adam Renfro


Content Tips for Social Media Managers Whose Clients Offer Nothing

Can't get content

Photo credit Sean MacEntee

Finding content for your company’s social media accounts is not easy. While some businesses supply social media managers with a steady stream of white papers, blog posts, videos, and ideas, many of us are left with almost nothing.

Even worse: the very people who hire you refuse to participate in anything fun, even as a modest team photo. (It’s called social media, people.) Maybe your client does not have a blog, or your colleagues refuse to write. (Check out Martin’s useful tips for that situation.)

Alas, until AI (artificial intelligence) takes over our job, we must create a lot of content to post on social platforms each day. Make your life easier with these ideas for finding, producing, and tracking content for your social platforms for your B2B clients:

Tried and True

Let’s start with the basics.

  • Content Calendar – This is a must if you manage multiple accounts. A content calendar allows you to see what you’ve done before and plan for the future. These don’t have to be fancy, by the way. I like to use spreadsheets.
  • Google Alerts – As we learned in SMMCP class, Google alerts are a useful way to find blog posts and other people’s content to share on your social media accounts. One idea: get creative with the alert terms so you can find something different from what everyone else is sharing.
  • Evernote/Notebook – Make sure you have a notebook or someplace you can write down brilliant ideas while you’re having lunch. Creativity doesn’t keep to a schedule; keep your notebook on hand. Many of my best blog post ideas occur while I’m trying to fall asleep. (Darn it.)
  • Feedly or other RSS Reader – Who’s got time to read? You do if your client leaves you high and dry. While we know it’s better to share in-house content, you’ll need a strong mix of other people’s links.
  • Basic photo editing software and programs like Canva. With no graphic artist handy, you’re in charge. Find royalty-free images and try out infographic programs so you can produce your own useful, shareable content.
  • A face for video. Or at least the bravery to try it. Join the new video-focused Toastmaster group in Raleigh and start practicing. If your company/client allows you to shoot videos for Facebook (or better yet, go live!), you’ve got one useful way to generate something interesting.
  • Find the one. There is probably one person in the office mildly interested in social media. Chat with him or her. Is he/she willing to help or offer ideas? Follow his/her accounts.
  • The holiday list. Yep, time to drag out the “It’s National Topic that Relates to Our Company Day.” (Curious about those holidays? Check out this podcast episode.)     

Other Avenues

Next, here are some other ideas for finding and creating content. Some of these might not work for all industries. Some brands and companies prefer to stay safe rather than stand out. If that’s yours, best wishes to convince them to be bold! As Ann Handley always says, our biggest mistake is playing it too safe with content.

  • Thrift stores. You don’t have to be a #Girlboss to find a deal at a thrift store. Can you drag a team member in there and take a fun photo? Can you find an item that relates to the business in some way? Can you tell a story of a forgotten, cast aside item and tie that into the business? Can you buy some items and put them in the office for a photo?
  • Art gallery. Or some other interesting place. The idea is to tie it back to your company’s services in some way. Of course, you don’t always have to be “sell, sell, sell,” as we know. But it pays to think hard about the stories you’re telling.
  • Events. Is the company involved in charity work? Are you attending something interesting this weekend you can share? If nothing else events provide a photo opp. A lot of North Carolina’s smaller towns have various fun things happening. If you client is located in one of them, help spread the word about those local events. By using hashtags, you might even gain a few followers in the process.
  • The long story in short segments. Write a blog post or story related to your company, but then divide it up into 140 character statements. Number each one and then spread out those posts on Twitter, labeling each with a number and/or hashtag.

Often the hardest part about content creation and social media for businesses is convincing them it’s OK to be different. Many of the people I work with prefer to stick to the basics. What helped you convince someone to be bold? What helps you create strong content for social media platforms?

Jennifer Suarez is a Raleigh content writer who offers blog posts, social media, and other writing services to small business owners and marketing agencies. She graduated from the SMMCP program in May 2016.


Photo credit Sean MacEntee

How to Encourage Coworkers to Blog for Social Media Managers

Blogging for BusinessHow to Encourage Coworkers to Blog – An important aspect for Social Media Managers filling their content requirements
Madi Johnson – Graduate of the NCSU TTS Social Media Management Certificate Program

Blogging is crucial for a business’s overall marketing plan. We’ve all heard it before. More blogs lead to more website views which leads to more conversions. But HOW. How do we create blog content ourselves, and more importantly, encourage our coworkers to create blogs.

The Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less team takes pride in our blog page. The entire team recognizes the importance of the blog. But since we have been blogging since 2011, sometimes motivation is lacking. What else can I possibly blog about? How many more exercise with my dog posts can I write? As I forged through each month, repeatedly asking for coworkers to send me their blog, I realized a few simple practices could put a pep in their [blog] step again.

Make it a competition. This is the number one motivating factor for our team to blog at least once a month. We hold a monthly competition of the top 5 most viewed blogs. At our monthly team meeting the winners are announced and congratulated (or lovingly booed if someone is bitter). The top 5 blogs are featured at the top of a handout everyone receives. These handouts have been known to be framed when the number 1 spot is claimed. At the end of each year, we look back at the top blogs for the entire year. Now THAT is a coveted list of top 5 to be on! The winner of the year’s blog gets a small prize, but it’s more about the bragging rights. It sounds simple and insignificant, but you wouldn’t believe the competitive spirits that come out. It’s amazing what a little recognition and praise will do.

Top 5 blogs

Create specific (and fun!) blog challenges. Throughout the year, I create extra blog challenges to change it up and re-motivate colleagues. Over the holidays, it’s a challenge for the most creative holiday blog. Occasionally, it’s a challenge to see who can recruit a guest blogger and whoever’s guest blogger gets the most views wins. Another example is our 4th of July challenge for the best grilling/cookout recipe (healthy of course). Or, as we just recently launched, an Olympic themed challenge where a gold, silver, and bronze medal are awarded. Now who doesn’t want a gold metal (even if it’s actually a fake apple spray painted gold… because #health).


Start it for them. Help your coworkers get their creative juices flowing with blog prompts. Whether you provide them with a theme, a title, a picture, or the first paragraph, get them on the right track. This helps you gather the type of blogs you want for the website as well as eases the writing process for your colleagues. We all know the title is the hardest part of a blog.

Create a theme or a series. It’s easy to jump on board when something has already been set in motion. Create a series of blogs your coworkers can add to, or a theme they can always come back to. For example, we did a series of frozen lunch reviews. Coworkers could taste test their own frozen lunches, rank and review them, and add it to the blog. Easy peasy and it generated great content.

It’s important to remember to encourage your colleagues to blog, not force them to blog. No one wants to read a disgruntled negative blog. Help them find things they like to write about and understand writing is not everyone’s strong suit. Make it fun. Make it exciting. Make it fresh. Make it simple.



Social Media Security for Social Media Managers

Social Network SecurityAs Social Media Manager for your client, you hold the “keys to the kingdom”, at least in terms of their online reputation and social messaging. Those keys are very important – how do you protect them? That’s what we are going to talk about.

First of all, let’s make it clear that the security we are talking about here concerns risks to a business reputation and marketing efforts, specifically with regards to controlling and safeguarding access to their social media accounts. Discussion of risk in the social media realm often centers around personal use and related privacy issues; while those are legitimate issues for private users, our primary concern is for business use.

Similarly, we are not covering curation or moderation of content. While this is also relevant to the client’s online reputation, that is a question of content management and is more related to the client’s social media, marketing, and branding strategy than it is to security.

The following are time-tested Social Media Security Best Practices. While the applicability of individual points may vary a bit depending on the size of the organization and scope of social media activities, the following checklist is a comprehensive starting point that will ensure a secure online presence.

Business-wide coordination

  • If not already done, inventory all social media accounts.
    • The results should be harmonized with the online strategy, e.g. eliminate duplicates, add accounts where needed, focus your efforts where they will be most effective, etc.
  • Centralize account control and responsibility for maintaining social media accounts under the Social Media Manager.
  • Define roles and responsibilities for the Social Media Manager – what can they do and where does the client retain control?
  • Establish codes of conduct and acceptable use policies for all social media content contributors. For example, is political commentary allowed? It can be relevant, as some account attacks are politically motivated.
  • Provide education and training on the above for all content contributors and community managers (a role sometimes defined in larger organizations with multiple contributors, often filled by the Social Media Manager).

Account Management

  • All social media accounts should be in a business name, registered via a business email (on the business domain), and not a personal account (private name, private email, etc.).
  • Have a backup person named and given access to the account, if possible.
  • For social media that distinguish between business and private account types, make sure to use the business account (e.g. Facebook business page instead of a personal profile).
  • There should be an access termination and/or turnover plan for changes in personnel, both voluntary and involuntary.

Login control

  • Carefully control passwords!
    • Have a unique password for each social media account.
    • Use strong passwords (follow the usual guidelines, or better yet, use strong, unique passwords generated by password management tools).
    • Use a password management system.
      • In a corporate setting, maintain and control SM passwords using the same procedures and systems as with other important credentials (many larger businesses use a centralized credential control system, which automates many of the features above).
      • In a smaller business, use something like LastPass or similar.
  • Consider using 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) where possible (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer 2FA).
  • Consider using an account aggregator.
    • Third party platforms are available that can create secure logins to manage multiple social media accounts, their users, and the publishing of content (e.g. Hootsuite, buffer, Sprout Social). This can provide a single sign on capability for centralized management of accounts. Of course, a single sign on is a single point of entry to all accounts if those credentials are not properly protected!

Profile Maintenance

  • Review account settings (such as privacy/sharing) and match them to your objective. Even though this mostly affects privacy, they can also have security implications (e.g. do you accept invitations from 3rd party applications?).
    • Keep up with changes to options and settings as they evolve.

Third party extensions

  • Be careful about installing 3rd party extensions on browsers and / or using mobile applications that link with social media accounts. Vet them thoroughly before using them, making sure to understand all access privileges they require and their reputation in the community.

Damage control

  • Monitor social accounts regularly so you know quickly if there is a problem.
  • Anticipate likely scenarios and have a response plan.
  • When a problem does arise, respond quickly.

If you follow the above best practices, you can sleep well nights knowing that the accounts under your control are secure, allowing  you to focus on the content and messaging. Being a social media professional means never having to say you’re sorry for a hacked account!

About the author: Randy Earl is a Senior Business Analyst at AtlanticBT and enjoys helping clients leverage technology to enhance their business. Feel free to connect with Randy on LinedIn: