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8 Ways To Automate Your Social Media To Give You More Time For Coffee


The automation of social media has a bit of a bad rep. We’ve seen a lot of small business and overworked social media peeps just automatically cross-post content between social networks, hoping that if they get their message out on every social network, it will result in more business.

The classic case of this is “push my Facebook posts to Twitter” or “push my Instagram to Twitter”. We know this is bad practise because it neglects the audience on the “automated” social channel (looking at you, Twitter.)

The reality is that different types of people use different social media platforms. If an audience is on Facebook, it’s possible they’re not on Twitter. If an audience is on Linked In, they might not be on Facebook. It’s about knowing who uses your business, and which social network they are on. Just manage a few social networks and nail it.

It’s just not even worth setting up an automated feed if that community isn’t going to be engaged (and it’s possible that that community isn’t even there.)

The other risk of automation is when things auto-post beyond our control. There’s nothing worse than posting a Facebook post which has a typo or incorrect info – only to discover it’s already been sent out to Twitter and Linked In too. Damage control can be tough when you don’t remember to pull it down fast enough.

Now that we’ve moved on and tackled the bad boy side of automation of social networks – let’s look at it the way how automation can be a kickass tool to help manage social media more effectively.

Recipes For Awesomeness

IFTTT is a user-friendly site which connect the APIs of various sites together in ‘recipes’, so that “if” a certain task happens “then” this action happens. IFTTT stands for “If This Then That” – so it’s kind of in the name!

Now, each recipe does just one thing – so if you want many things to happen, you will probably need to set up multiple recipes.

The other thing is that you can create your own recipes. If these aren’t quite what you’re after, they’re pretty easy to set up and customise.

Below are a few recipes which might be useful in helping you manage your social media!

DIY Social Media Monitoring

Want to see if someone mentions your business or account across social media? Pull that into a Google Doc. You could then do an audit to see how often people are posting, the kind of comments, the frequency and what kind of things people respond to.

IF someone uses a Twitter hashtag, THEN pull it into a Google Doc | Check it out

IF someone mentions you on Twitter, THEN pull it into a Google Doc | Check it out

IF someone mentions you on Instagram, THEN pull it into a Google Doc | Check it out

IF someone mentions your site on Reddit THEN pull it into Slack | Check it out

Find Your Super Fans And Build Community

It’s essential to get to know your loyal customers and engage with them. Building a relationship with them is Marketing 101 to increase their likelihood of returning. These tools will help you find your community.

IF someone sends you a Twitter @mention, THEN add them to a Twitter list. | Check it out

IF people follow you on Twitter, THEN add them to a Google Doc | Check it out

Archiving Your Gold

Don’t trust the intern and want to keep an eye on what they’re posting? Pull all your social media posts into Google Docs to you can look like you’re working on spreadsheets but you’re really stalking them. Just kidding – as if we have interns!

But seriously, though, this is a useful set of tools for archiving your content. If you have evergreen content, you could even consider re-serving the content later.

If you are posting content for a sales client and you need proof of posting, this can be a great way to record your activity.

IF my brand Twitter account posts something, THEN archive to Google Docs | Check it out

IF my brand Instagram account posts something, THEN archive to Google Drive| Check it out

IF my brand Facebook page posts something, THEN archive to Google Docs | Check it out

IF my WordPress blog posts a new blog, THEN create a backup in Google Drive | Check it out

IF my account created a Bitly link, THEN record all the details in a Google Doc | Check it out

Content Calendar

This one might not be for everyone. With the flexibility of tools like Hootsuite which can manage multiple social media accounts, using Google Calendar to do it might be a bit redundant. However, I can totally see how someone creating a content calendar THEN copying and pasting content to schedule it can be exhausting and a bit of a time suck, so this might be the perfect set up for some.

Obligatory warning: beware the typos and sending out automated content if you’re not sure exactly when and where it’s going out in order to monitor the responses.

IF post is in Google calendar, THEN post to Twitter. | Check it out

IF post is in Google calendar, THEN post to Facebook. | Check it out

Realtime alerts

This isn’t for the faint-hearted or pages with a lot of traffic. But if you’ve got a small business and want to respond to customer comments or queries on the go, get notified via SMS when someone gets in touch.

If you run a big page or community – don’t to this. Switch off your computer, have a bath and some downtime!

IF someone sends a message on Facebook THEN get an SMS | Check it out

IF someone sends a message on Twitter THEN get an SMS | Check it out

Update profile pics across your network

If you’re the kind of person who creates novelty avatars for Halloween and Christmas (I secretly am!) then this is one which might be handy – update all your social network profile pictures in one go, based off what your Facebook page has. Just remember to save a copy of the original! ;)

IF my Facebook Page profile picture changes, THEN update my Twitter Profile | Check it out

IF my Facebook Page profile picture changes, THEN update my Google Plus Profile | Check it out

Boost your SEO

Let’s be honest – the only reason people use Google Plus is to help increase their SEO, not as a social network. For this reason, I’ll let this auto-posting recipe slide! ;)

IF you post to Facebook, THEN post to Google Plus | Check it out

IF you post a WordPress blog, THEN post to Google Plus | Check it out

Pin your Instagram photos to a board

If you’re a big Pinterester, it’s pretty likely you post the photos you Instagram to a Pinterest board manually as it is.

This recipe just pops those shots straight on Pinterest. Use this recipe if you actively maintain other Pinterest boards and this saves you posting things you’d manually upload anyway!

IF you post to Instagram, THEN post to Pinterest | Check it out

Are there any additional recipes you’ve created? Share them in the comments – I’d love to check them out!

Social Media Content Plan Ideas: October and November


One of the biggest challenges with running social media account day-to-day is coming up with ideas for content – especially timely ones that tie in with current events.

It can sometimes be a bit overwhelming to do the research across multiple calendars to keep abreast of it all: there’s public holidays, charity events, sport, local festivals and just what’s on tv – it can be pretty overwhelming!

After you’ve waded through them all, you then need to work out which ones would suit your brand.

Below I’ve scoured the internet to come up with a list of days coming up in Australian in October and November which might give you some ideas for your upcoming social media content calendars!

It’s by no means exhaustive, but if there’s any special ones I’ve missed in my adventures across the internet, feel free to add them in the comments!


October 2015

October 1
International Coffee Day
Girls Night In begins Oct

October 11
Bathurst 1000

October 12
The Walking Dead returns on FX
House Husbands final on Nine

October 14
World Maths Day
The Good Wife returns on Ten

October 15
Inside Amy Schumer on ABC2

October 16
National Boss Day

October 18
Melbourne Festival begins

October 21
Fargo (tv series) returns on SBS

October 22
Sculpture By The Sea – Sydney

October 24
Garage Sale Trail
United Nations Day

October 31
Rugby World Cup wraps

November 2015

November 1

November 3
Melbourne Cup

November 9
The Real Housewives Of Atlanta premeires on Arena

November 11
Rememberance Day

November 14
Schoolies week

November 21
World Television Day

November 25
White Ribbon Day
1 month to Christmas

November 26
Thanksgiving (USA)

November 27
Black Friday (USA)


Know of any others? Pop them in the comments below!

How To Add An Animated Profile Picture To Facebook

In September, Facebook announced that they are created animated profile pictures to personal accounts. It will be launching very soon. And while it’s met with some excitement, I think we can agree that it might soon become a bit of an animation overload (let’s face it – if we can remember the lessons of websites from the 90s, it’s that things shouldn’t animated ev-er-y-where!)

What do we know so far?

The first thing to keep in mind is that this is from your mobile device only, and from what we can see, it’s a small looping video which you can take live, or select from your library. Videos are likely to be quite short, around 1 or 2 seconds.

How do you set it?

For those who don’t want to sit through Facebook’s promo video, here’s the rundown with screengrabs from it:

Step 1:

On your mobile, head to your profile, then select your profile picture to edit it.


Step 2:

Select upload a video or take a video.


Step 3:

If you’re recording the video – it’s lights, camera, action!


Step 4:

That’s it! Done! Your profile pic will now animate!


Animated Selfies

However, because it looks like you can also upload pre-recorded videos, there’s no reason you can’t have some fun and create an animated profile picture using stop-motion wizardry.

Using iPhone (using an app like iMotion) or on Android (using an app like Motion,) you can use the magic of stop-motion animation to create a pretty awesome animated profile pic.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration for how you can make some killer stop-motion profile pics, you’ll want to look at Vine, the six-second video platform.

People have been creating some pretty incredible videos for a while there. These might give you some cool ideas of what you could do with your Facebook profile pics!

Inspired by a selfie? What are you going to create?

I think I’m going to go for something a little more subtle to start with!


Happy animating!

The Case for Video Games for Positive Social Change

via pixabay

via pixabay

Video games have often had a bad wrap in the media, but I believe are actually a really important tool for future generations to learn the skills needed to adapt to our ever-changing technological future.

There are a few misconceptions around video games, which I think it’s important to address first. Firstly, the largest group of people to play video games are not kids or teens, but men in their 30s. There are as many genres of video games as there are books or films: mystery, action and yes: even dating games. The type of game can be anything from solving a puzzle, to a role playing game – think when you are a kid enacting cops and robbers. But, in video games of today, role playing could be acting as a refugee or a member of the UN with stories that are so rich, that many are actually turned into films afterwards.

Let’s look at how video games are an important tool for learning and problem solving.

Educational video games have actually shown that they are more effective at conveying the core concepts of a school syllabus than traditional teaching, because games are interactive (James Paul Gee is doing some kickass research in this area).

Video games mean that you also experience worlds and challenges you never would in real life.  For example, in the game series Mass Effectwhich is set in space, where you play a soldier who is the commander of a spaceship. You negotiate politics with alien races, but also fight in skirmishes with sentient robots. On more than one occasion, you need to attend a council meeting to negotiate between these races to avoid war. These are skills we would never experience in real life (unless you worked in robotics, at NASA or in politics, I guess), but these skills in problem solving and negotiation are very transferable skills.

Let’s keep going. Positive role models isn’t something that usually comes up when talking about video games. But, these are characters which you embody, so they need to have depth.

Let’s look back at Mass Effect. Your character is Commander Shepard and you are a brave, strong fighter who is strategic in battle. But what if these same qualities are attributed when you character happens to be …female?

What this game does is illustrates a world where “the gender game” just doesn’t exist.

Female characters are leaders and asked about battle tactics and not what they’re wearing. Women can, basically, spent a hundred hours living life as if they were Ellen Ripley. And that is a pretty great role model.

A FemShep Cosplayer - via Wikipedia

A FemShep Cosplayer – via Wikipedia

But now, let’s look at the most powerful of these: identity creation.

We all know we juggle between identities in the real world depending on context. You can be a boss, a friend, a parent, a fan of NRL. But in the right circumstances video games actually have the ability to help you forge another of these identities, because video games are so immersive. But … you need to be playing a role with values which you personally identify with and which society reinforces.

So in Mass Effect, ) you’re playing a strong leader who is female, 2) and you believe that is important for society to have female leaders, 3) and society tells you that females at the top of businesses are important: then that’s when you’ve got the seeds of identity creation.

Could this use of identity creation be used to empower women? Or help people recover from trauma? Or break the poverty cycle?

In the end, video games are a powerful educational tool and can be used to make an educational syllabus more accessible. It can represent strong role models which we might not see in mainstream media. And, they have the power to forge a new identity for someone.

Video games are a tool: they aren’t inherently good or bad, but they are what we, as a society make them. They can be used to create positive social impacts.  It’s really up to us to decide what lessons we wish to impart on future generations.

Four Ways of Watching TV

I recently wrote a blog post for Social Media Week about the changes to the television industry over the past few years. Below is the opening excerpt. You can check out the full post here.

via Pixabay

via Pixabay

There’s no doubt about it, television has well and truly changed.

The advent of live broadcast television with integrated social media commentary or on-demand television allowing marathon viewing of our favourite television shows (yes, I’m looking at you, Orange Is The New Black), has altered the entertainment landscape.
At Beamly, the social and content network for television, we pay close attention to the ways that people interact with and consume television, and, of course the way people socialise around it.
It’s not just dependent on technology either: a show’s genre and the mood of the participant shifts the way that that person interacts with television.
Let’s look at the different ways that television is consumed in 2014…

You can check out the full post over at the Social Media Week site here.

The Evolution of Privacy on Social Networks

via Pixabay

via Pixabay

Over the past decade, we have seen an enthralling evolution take place. We have seen social networks bloom and collapse based on changes in culture around privacy and digital footprints.

The original incarnation of MySpace was one of the first time that people who didn’t know how to build a website could have an online presence and connect online. It was open, you would befriend strangers with similar interests and could comment on each person’s profile. It was a pretty simple site, which could be personalised with the exciting feature of unique backgrounds and images.

When Facebook launched, it had something that people didn’t know they wanted: privacy. The ability to post to a select group of people was something that we discovered we craved online – especially for the demographics which brought Facebook to it’s heights – the twentysomethings and teens who were busy finding ways to communicate outside of prying eyes of parents.

Twitter launched with an almost exclusive public focus – but due to the character count, Twitter became less of a personal diary and more about sharing articles and information – it became a public chatroom where what you said was said to be seen (with the rise of the twitter one-liner becoming core to it’s culture).

In 2014, we know a very different kind of Facebook. It’s now no longer private – and not just because of their privacy settings and data mining, but because everyone’s entire social network is connected to them. Most people are likely to have friends, family and colleagues on the site, so information about personal views/feelings/politics/that night out is no longer limited to a select few besties, but, it is, in the context of your social circle, entirely public. In fact, an average user has over 300 friends – which is double the amount of people we can actually maintain relationships with, according to Dunbar. Posting on Facebook is, essentially, posting into a public environment which not only impacts those who see the content each day, but leave a digital footprint which is pretty close to impossible to erase.

Digital footprints are with us forever – comments, blog posts, photos, stupid updates online – it is something that will haunt us. So we are noticing a trend in people looking for a new kind of privacy. The rise of niche social networks on mobile devices which limit the people who can see your content is a reflection in this.

SnapChat has the feeling of privacy that Facebook had decade ago – where teens can send information to their friends without their parents entering that space without their permission, with the additional benefit of knowing that it isn’t going to be recorded to use against them (either long term for future employers, or for what they did last Saturday night – as many an incriminating SMS would have taught a few teens).

Facebook’s epic $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp is a move to muscle in to this private messaging mobile space. It’s a safe bet that Facebook will attempt to monetise WhatsApp. After purchasing Instagram, they have rolled out ads on the network early this year – there is no reason they would not do the same thing with WhatsApp.

It’s entirely possible that if Facebook include advertising in WhatsApp, users will flock from the app. Using private conversations as a basis for advertising is the very thing people are using WhatApp to escape from, so it would put Facebook on very thin ice.

The Average Joe, however, will not pay for a social network like Facebook – freemium models are the norm.

Niche-based networks, like LinkedIn, have had more traction in that realm with both free and Pro versions. The subscription social network (aka “twitter for rich nerds”), doesn’t seem to have gained traction on a large scale (but then, maybe that’s the point of a paywall, to keep out the masses.)

People might be shifting to niche and mobile platforms to grasp at privacy: but the same stresses and strains exist around how to maintain a business model. Will WhatsApp shift from being a private place to one funded by ads and user data? Probably. But is it the only way forward?

Recapturing the Vine

When Twitter’s video service Vine first launched, a lot of people didn’t really know what to do with it. It was only six seconds of video – which isn’t a lot of time to capture a video memory.

One of the things it did create is an artistic community, determined to work with the limitations of six seconds. Whether it’s sketch comedy or stop-motion animation, the Vine community which arose was more like Tumblr or Etsy – a community exclusively for creatives.

Vine themselves are obviously embracing this trend, as their more recent update has grids and ghosting features as a default – all features pretty exclusively used for projects involving stop motion animation.

One of the things which I believe has really fostered the creativity of Vine is Mashable’s weekly Vine challenges – a topic set each week where people submit a Vine relating to the topic. The reward? Internet fame!


It’s been very fascinating watch six-second animators rise out of the woodwork, I began to wonder if an interest in stop motion animation such as clay animation in a longer form would arise and come back in vogue (especially with 20-somethings wanting to recapture a time before the fast-paced world of technology where they can listen to their LP’s while animating.) I reviewed Google Trends to see how many people have searched stop motion animation, but interest has been seriously lacking – down to double digits of people curious enough to google it.

In the end, I doubt there will be a rise in hobbies like long-form claymation, simply due to the time it takes to create content – and the fact that our culture is enamoured with snack-sized entertainment. In the end, we will probably see stop-motion animation left to the experts (who have sway with narrators like Geoffrey Rush. You just wouldn’t see that on Vine!)


(p.s. If you are one of the seven people researching clay animation it it’s longer form, this website dredged from the past has many useful links. It’s like sitting aside McFly in the DeLorean. Seriously.)

The Death of a Social Network

via pixabay

via pixabay

For nearly a decade, Facebook has been the dominant social network in most of our lives, with the rise and fall of a social network usually only happening on the fringes of the internet. For this reason, most of us haven’t really experienced the loss of a social network. However, I think it’s time we began talking about the loss of social networks, and how they impact us.

Let’s imagine that your local rollerskating club that meets every Tuesday is thrown into disarray because the only rollerskating rink in town is shut down. You try moving the group to a park, but only some people turn up.  One by one people drop off. And then your Tuesday becomes Macaroni and Cheese night curled up with an Agatha Christie novel. The loss of a real-world community is genuinely heartbreaking, and the loss of a community, in the same way as breaking up with a friend, is rarely discussed.

Social media communities are a real community. When a social network closes down, in this example the rollerskating rink, that community is lost. One of the hardest parts, I believe, is actually talking about this loss with people, because it’s easy have it brushed off with ‘it’s just a website’.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen networks like  Google Wave shut down,  Google Buzz shut down, Myspace relaunched (stripping all your old contacts and communities) and Posterous is about to wind down, too. Over the past decade, I suspect countless online forums have also closed. Those communities that are lost are spaces where those that inhabit it daily share their lives, loves and fears with friends who have been met in person and those communicated with online only.

The loss of a social network also means the breakdown of an entire support network for those people that use it. And it’s really tough to regain that community in a new space – especially when that community formed around the way that space functions (for example, the way that forums frame long-form dialogue is really hard to come by on other spaces).

It feels particularly cruel when you know that when a social network is downsized, it is usually due to a strict number-crunching process of a business stripping off the fat. The fact that we have no control over whether these spaces live or die can be incredibly frustrating when it is announced that these spaces are shutting down – and there’s nothing we can do about it.

In the end, we cannot control when social networks make big decisions which affect our lives like this, but we can certainly begin talking about it more.



Facerage: Facebook Ads Getting All up in Our Newsfeeds

via Pixabay

via Pixabay

For a few years now there have been members of the online space who have predicted Facebook’s downfall. Maybe it’s part of Australia’s tall-poppy syndrome – how can one company stay top dog for so long; or maybe it’s because the fall of Rome has set a precedent. We’ve seen the establishment of rival social networks in an attempt to capitalise on this shift from Facebook, such as Diaspora and, but as of yet with little traction – people still, day in, day out, use Facebook.

Over the past month Facebook has made some changes to it’s Edgerank algorithm, which affects the way that news stories are served to people based on their interactions with them, which has affected brands, and, for the first time, consumers. These are two different activities around sponsored stories which are frustrating users of Facebook which might be the first steps toward a movement away from Facebook.

There have been several articles which discuss Facebook’s Edgerank changes for brands: in short, historically, when a Fan page made a post, only about 20% of fans saw those posts. In the past few weeks, Community Managers have noticed that posts which should have reached a wider audience are reaching a lot less. Like 5% – 12%.

Facebook claims that this that this is to separate ‘the boys from the men’, to ensure that fans receive the updates which are most engaging and relevant to them, not simply Likebaiting. If a post has more likes and comments, it will increase the exposure of that post. The theory is that we must work hard to create engaging content which is most relevant to fans – which sounds fair enough. But what if the content which was engaging fans last month now simply isn’t reaching fans for them to interact?

For those with the freedom to increase their marketing spend, the simple answer is that Facebook has created the ability for each post to be sponsored to reach a greater number of fans. So in order to reach the amount of people which we organically reached a month ago, we now need to pay.

Smaller businesses have been effectively priced out of the market and it’s a wonder they don’t turn to other social networks which they have been cultivating which have the same if not greater exposure without having to pay per post. However, we are still in the hands of a third-party site, being completely disempowered as the web underclass with no control of the platform which we’re on.

Those who have been lucky enough to have marketing budget to spend on Facebook, have been suffering the ramifications of their sponsored stories turning up un newsfeeds of not just their fans, but of average users. It’s being branded as spam – which is a damning association for a brand to have.

Facebook advertising has often been accepted by users because it’s either in the sidebar, unobtrusive, or opt-in, such as Liking a Fan Page. When posts are shared because a friend interacts with it, this was also understood – it is the action of someone you know, not a brand. However, now advertising on the newsfeed is not opt-in, Community Managers are now dealing with huge volumes of rage directed at their company because they are ‘spamming their newsfeed’.

Sponsored Stories are the only form of advertising currently on Facebook Mobile, so browsing the newsfeed on mobile means that suggested pages and sponsored posts feel like they flood the feed. Of Facebook’s 1 billion users, 604 million access Facebook on a mobile device. With a large number of people using mobile as their core access of Facebook, it’s easy to see why ads in the newsfeed are becoming a point of frustration.


Irrespective of whether both advertisers and consumers become frustrated with Facebook’s new advertising model, there seems to be no alternative social networks to turn to – although Google Plus is making traction as a viable alternative.

As to whether these changes will entice people to shift to other networks or simply abandon social networking because they’ve lost faith in social networks as a whole is yet to be seen.

The Borrowers: The Shifting Culture of the Internet

via pixabay

via pixabay

On the other weekend I saw an adorable anime called Arriety – an interpretation of The Borrowers, which you may know from the books, or the terrible John Goodman film from the 90s. The premise of the story is that little people, smaller than our thumb, borrow items which are discarded about our homes – a cube of sugar, a pin, a millimetre of sticky tape. The culture of ‘borrowing’ in Arriety would be seen by others as theft – but these items which are taken are pieces which are unnoticed and are morphed into something for a whole new use. A pin becomes a sword, a match becomes a lantern, sticky tape gives you spiderman hands.

I’d like to talk about borrowing and how our culture uses digital media to feed, recycle and create. Our online culture has become one of borrowing – we piggyback off information, creations, words and stories which are already on the web. Sometimes we reference these sources, with a nifty little hyperlink, but often we don’t – there is simply no way of sourcing the origin of a meme.

No longer is the dominant form of communication on the web static pages written by individuals – whether these be journalists or bloggers. The internet seems like was built on the premise of linking an encyclopaedia – that one person would create a lengthy piece of information, and to link to other sources using hyperlinks. However, today, we source our stories and entertainment from across the web – our jokes are memes pulled from a pastiche of sources as they evolve, we torrent movies from someone anonymous on the otherside of the globe. This is our culture – we borrow.

The internet today is community driven, community written and exists by a mass of voices coming together. The most popular platforms on the web – Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia – are written by millions of voices.

Should we be creating a new kind of internet which tags information in a new way, since our culture is now one of borrowers?

Could we consider building an internet where we don’t need to hyperlink information, but it is already tagged, so that when we share it, or edit it, we can always trace the original source? Could we keep the functionality, the simplicity of the web, but add a means to source and attribute original authours? Whether this is finding the original creator of a meme, an original tweet, or tracking down a production company and sending them a few dollars for a series we’ve torrented – could there be a new way to tag data to reflect our new use of the internet?

With new cloud-based services and operating systems (I’m looking at you Google Chrome) could this be facilitated more easily? Is there a need for this?

I’m not hearing people protesting in the streets for this – but I wonder if this is a tool which this new kind of internet needs – a way of mapping the travel of information or sources as it morphs from place to place.

What do you think? Is it time to update the internet? Afterall, the internet was conceived and constructed over 50 years ago – along with video tapes, super glue and Mr Potato Head.