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Tips from a Digital Marketing Guru on How to Do Social Media Effectively

Social media is so important. Most businesses know it, but maybe don't believe it. I wanted to illustrate the value of social media without merely 'telling' you. So, I decided to interview Chris Makara, founder of Bulkly, to talk about social media!

Bulkly has been around for a little over three years, but Makara has been doing digital marketing since 2003. "Over the years, I've built and sold numerous websites, done quite a bit of client work, as well as held a full-time digital marketing job at a publicly-traded company," Makara said.

Building Bulkly was a result of needing to work more efficiently. "One of the largest social media scheduling platforms is Buffer. Where I work, we were using Buffer to schedule social media updates. Part of my responsibilities at the time was to add content to our Buffer account every week," Makara said. "However, I noticed I was consistently adding the same evergreen social media content updates again and again. I knew there had to be a better, more efficient way to do this."

"All of our social media updates were being saved in an Excel spreadsheet," Makara added. "I figured there should be a way I could easily upload the spreadsheet and have it automatically get added to the Buffer account."

After some research, Makara discovered there weren't many options to automate the updates. "Some enabled me to upload, but I would be stuck in the same position of uploading the following week again once all my updates were sent," Makara said. "This ultimately led me to create Bulkly."

The foundation for Bulkly allows you to upload an Excel file and have it automatically sent to your buffer account and recycle your posts again and again. "The first version of Bulkly allowed me to set and forget evergreen social media content updates," Makara said. "Evolving into multiple ways to add content to Buffer, giving you more flexibility in automating the process of adding content to your Buffer queue."

How does Bulkly compare to other social media schedulers?

There are quite a few platforms that allow you to schedule social media updates. Bulkly has a few differences.

Bulkly can connect and use with your Buffer account. You can automatically recycle your status updates and create updates from several different ways:

CSV (Excel) upload. You can easily add hundreds (or thousands) of status updates in a few clicks. You organize content into unique groups with their posting settings and schedules.

Import RSS feeds. Pick and choose content to use as status updates. Bulkly will import all content from the feeds you add, and allows you to edit (or delete) any content that is imported before it sends to Buffer.

Automatically use and recycle content from RSS feeds. Unlike other RSS feed posting services, Bulky will build a library of updates over time from your feeds to reuse. You can also customize the feeds. For example, you can create filters to exclude posts if posted recently to Buffer, or if the blog post publication date is X days old.

Bulkly supports Buffer, where it lacks. Buffer does not include the ability to bulk upload content, recycle content automatically, or organize status updates sharing to multiple connected accounts. "If you're looking to supercharge your Buffer account, Bulkly will make it happen," Makara said. "Bulkly is a tool that fills in Buffer's gaps; it's something a power user would be interested in."

Most businesses understand the power and benefits of social media, and Makara offers his opinion. "One of my favorite things about social media is the ability to connect with others who I might not have ever been able to otherwise," Makara said. "Part of that connection is made possible by automating my social media accounts' scheduling aspects."

On the contrary, businesses might view social media negatively and hesitate to engage. "People look at social media as a platform to complain or push certain agendas," Makara said. "Unfortunately, using it in this way makes a lot of people look bad because they don't think about what they say before posting."

Things to Include in a Social Media Post

Messaging is a huge component. It must be clear and direct, written for a specific audience. "I think the messaging should be to the point and relate to what the link is they click on," Makara said. "For example, it's best to think of it like it is a pay-per-click (PPC) ad. You want your headline to deliver on the promise once it is clicked. There shouldn't be a disconnect between the two; it should be the same for social media."

High-quality images. You can use stock photos, but its best to hire a professional photographer to create branded images—an investment upfront, but worth it. "Let's face it; if you aren't using images, you are leaving clicks on the table," Makara said. "You must use eye-catching images and avoid boring or cheesy stock images."

Links. Social media is a tool to drive users somewhere. If you aren't using links, you can't track your audience or determine if what you're doing is indeed working. "When possible include a link, not a direct link, but a trackable link and UTM parameters," Makara said. "The good news, Bulkly does this for you! You can see what's working (or not) in Google Analytics."

Wondering what UTM parameters are? UTM parameters are tags that you add to a URL. When someone clicks on a URL with UTM parameters, those tags are sent back to your Google Analytics for tracking.

The fun stuff!

When asked what his favorite platform is, Makara says LinkedIn. "[I like LinkedIn] because I tend to find less noise and political opinions than other platforms I am on," Makara said.

When asked if social media were an animal (or a food), what would it be, Makara says fast food. "Fast food may seem like it's no big deal to have at the time. Only to realize later it probably wasn't the smart thing to have (or do with your time)," Makara explains. "Social media can be a huge time suck if you're not careful."

High-quality images. You can use stock photos, but it's best to hire a professional photographer to create branded images—an investment upfront, but worth it. "Let's face it; if you aren't using images, you are leaving clicks on the table," Makara said. "You must use eye-catching images and avoid boring or cheesy stock images."

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