Outreach – Twitter vs. Email

So many articles have been written about how to design and structure an awesome outreach email.

Many articles have been written about how to connect with a target before an outreach email.

Something I don’t see mentioned as often is the power of reaching out on Twitter. I wish I could pull the numbers and show real data, but off of the top of my head I’d have to say that Twitter outreach typically gives ten times the results when used preceding an email, over using email alone.

When scouting out a site for a potential link opportunity, find a Twitter account for the site if it’s a one person site, or if a specific author if it’s a multi-author website.

Check to see how active that person is on Twitter, do they tweet on a pretty consistent basis, do they answer people who tweet at them? Too big is also a problem, if they are followed by ten thousand people it will probably be a struggle to cut through the noise.

Once you’ve located a Twitter account that seems like it is worth targeting, you are good to go. “Bob, I see you wrote about flux capacitors recently, how can I reach you with some cool info?” A simple tweet like that can really help your prospects of getting a link. Surprisingly often you’ll find that people respond with their email address. Often, it’s the same email address publicly available on their website but now they are expecting your email and you’ve made the all important connection.

Email them immediately and then tweet to tell them you’ve sent it along.

Most importantly, don’t fear rejection, and keep at it!

Social Media for Kars4Kids – Tools, Tips, Tricks of the Trade

How to organize and track social media for a brand

At my day job, one of my responsibilities is managing and monitoring all social media networks, responding to questions from customers, replying to brand mentions, and creating a content strategy for the channels we are involved in.

I work for a large car donation charity called Kars4Kids. Many of you will be familiar with our national radio commercial, which is adored by some, hated by many, and is stuck deep in the cranium of all who have ever heard it. Feel free to grab a listen on the Kars4Kids song page (original version), but don’t say I didn’t warn you, it’s ridiculously catchy. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about the tremendous success of our radio jingle and how brands can try to emulate it, but for now, suffice it to say that the song has turned Kars4Kids from a small local organization into a large national charity.


Thing is, people hate this song. This hate generates a tremendous amount of online chatter. Twitter is constantly voicing this hatred, see this short selection of Tweets for less than one week, Facebook utters a few primal screams of pain every day (public, probably many more privately);

and thousands of forums dedicate threads to “commercials you truly detest”. reddit has some great threads worth looking into as well;

That equals A LOT of chatter to keep on top of and manage. To top it all off, Kars4Kids has another unique challenge:

Kars or cars? With a 4? Or is it for? I’m confused…

We at Kars4Kids have a unique challenge which is the choice of our brand name. At some point in the distant past some clever marketing guy decided that spelling “cars” with a “k” was a brilliant marketing idea. He threw in the number 4 for good luck. This definitely makes monitoring sites like Twitter even harder because we have to monitor every possible brand name misspelling.

Here are some of the tools I use to keep up with it all.


For Twitter I use Tweetdeck MetroTwit. Hootsuite is another popular Twitter platform and it also works great, I just happen to prefer Tweetdeck’s Android app, especially the ease of use when switching between saved searches. I set up a separate column for every search because I’ve found that using the OR operator to combine searches is very unreliable.

I heard you love Twitter so I saved your old Tweets so you can go back and read them again…

I also love to have a searchable archive of all tweets so I can go back in time to find one if necessary.

Social Mention does the job wonderfully if you are willing to take the time to set it up properly. Social Mention has an RSS feature that allows you to set up an RSS feed for the terms you are monitoring. Enter your search term, choose “select social media sources”, choose Twitter, hit search, and then select “RSS feed” from the top right hand corner of the page. The feed URL should look something like this http://api2.socialmention.com/search?q=kars4kids&src%5B0%5D=twitter&f=rss.

Notice that I am only tracking Twitter here, I’ll get to everything else in a minute. I set up RSS feeds for every search term I follow, then I pull these RSS feeds into an obscure Outlook folder setting it to update only once a day so that my send-receives don’t take a month. Set it and forget it, and all the data is happily waiting for you in Outlook if you ever need it. I’ve never tried it, but I assume that pulling the RSS feed into something like Google Reader should work just as well, although I don’t know how long they store the data for.

I also keep a few links on hand that I commonly tweet out. For example, in response to the constant irritation expressed about our radio commercial I wrote a blog post entitled “Ten Things More Annoying Than the Kars4Kids commercial“. I have an Evernote folder with that link in bit.ly form just waiting to be tweeted at the next person who complains about our jingle. I also keep a link handy to the new remix version of our song that we recently created. And if we are in middle of running any campaigns or events, such as this Kars4Kids coat giveaway we held in Newark NJ, I’ll have applicable links readily available.

Google alerts

Google alerts have proven to be wildly unpredictable and completely unreliable. Often, I will be sitting next to someone and he will receive an alert that I won’t get for hours, even though we’ve both set up searches on the same term. However, Google alerts are still very important and truthfully I wouldn’t discover many of the brand mentions I find if it wasn’t for them.

Facebook, Forums, and Everything in-between

That said, it is imperative to supplement that data with some other alert system. Again I turn to Social Mention. Set up RSS feeds for all of your search terms, but this time choose to see alerts from every option besides for Twitter. Skip Twitter if you are monitoring it through some other means. (Yes, Social Mention really needs a “select all” option).

Here is where this gets a little tricky. I pull these feeds into outlook as well, but because of the way Social Mention crawls the web, they often discover newer content before discovering older content that they should have found first. So you’ll see that you have unread items but they’ll be buried somewhere inside this monstrous folder. Set up a search folder using this RSS folder as the source, and set the search folder to only show unread items, that way you’ll only see unread, new items.


Ah Klout. Oft maligned, taunted, made fun of, and bullied, Klout is an incredibly useful tool for social media management. A community manager or social media manager for a large brand can not respond to every brand name mention. Even a large team will probably overlook many Tweets that mention their company name or one of their services both because of simple time concerns, and because not everyone likes to be tweeted at by a company, even if it is in a friendly helpful way.

Here’s where Klout comes in, as inaccurate as Klout can be, it is very useful for providing a quick snapshot of a users influence in their sphere. We have all seen it over and over and over again, Twitter profiles with tens of thousands of followers and Klout scores in the thirties. That’s very low, and it means that those followers are most probably not real people who engage, reply, or retweet that content. Follower counts can easily be gamed, but engagement metrics are a little harder to spoof.

The reverse is also true, there are many Twitter profiles with less than two hundred followers that have Klout scores in the fifties, this is indicative of a small but highly engaged group of people who are well worth engaging.

Using Klout in tandem with follower/following counts, is a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff for Twitter.

That’s about it

That pretty much covers the tools that I use for social media management, I’d love to hear your tips tools and tricks, please drop them in the comments.

Steven out.

Google Plus RSS Feed for ifttt Awesomness – A How To

ifttt.com has rapidly become one of my favorite websites ever in the whole wide world. “Put the internet to work for you by creating tasks that fit this simple structure: if this then that”, their website claims, and it’s true, using this simple structure ifttt (pronounced ‘lift’ without the ‘l’) allows you to create a myriad of awesome programs with no programming experience needed. None at all. You connect your “channels” a.k.a. the services you use like email, Twitter, Evernote, Facebook, Google Reader and many many more. You use these channels to create a task, for example; when I star an entry in Google Reader send it automatically to my Evernote account.


Or, when Amazon adds a new book to the top 100 free ebooks for Kindle, send it to my Evernote or to my email address.


The ideas and uses are  limited only by your imagination. Your tasks also become “recipes” available for all users to grab and use with their personal channels. It’s neato and if you’re not using it you should be.

I’ve wanted to connect Google+ to ifttt.com for a while but there are few or no easy options for pulling Google+ content into an ifttt recipe.

Luckily, that is about to change.  gplusrss, an automatic feed creator for Google Plus. Just log in with your Google+ account and voila! A custom RSS feed. Sweet!

But first: Add me to your Google+ circles, I’d love to connect with you!

So this is what the full link to a RSS feed of my G+ profile looks like http://gplusrss.com/rss/feed/f8b8fc0160b2ac05373745da0f4af12652d3026b49e38, not very handsome, but it gets the job done, and I’m handsome enough for both of us (see above). Also, I wear cool shades.

Another good option is the feed from the people at Magenta River.

Now crack open ifttt.com hit the ‘create a task’ button, and let’s get the awesome started. Click ‘THIS’

and choose the ‘Feed‘ option.


Now you can choose a trigger, if you choose “New Feed Item” every time you post something to Google+ it will trigger your task, choosing “New Feed Item Matches” allows you to choose a keyword or phrase to trigger the task. For example, my task won’t trigger unless I include #sw in the post.

Insert your feed URL into the correct form box and Create Trigger, and you are ready to go. Now you can do whatever you want with your Google+ data. I use this to cross-post to Twitter, and it can easily be extended to other social networks, Facebook, LinkedIn, tumblr, and many more. You can also use it to save an archive of your posts using Dropbox, Evernote, Email, etc… You can use it for whatever you want.

One note, ifttt checks every 15 minutes for task triggers so don’t be surprised if it’s not instantaneous.

So go do it, I’m curious to hear what you do with your Google Plus RSS feed and ifttt. Comment below, or hit me up.

Steven out.

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