10 Handy Social Media Tips for Spring

Posted on 19. Apr, 2012 by in Digital Marketing, Tips

Regardless of whether or not you work in digital marketing, you will have used Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, URL shorteners, or a combination of different Social Media platforms. Many of the posts we write on this blog are designed for people in the digital marketing community, so I wanted to break from the norm and create a ‘handy tips’ post which can be used by anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

The warmer Spring weather will soon be upon us, and the countless holiday pics and videos will soon follow, so here’s 10 simple tips to help you make the most of your social activity.

1. Edit the title or description of any link you post on Facebook

Whenever you post a link, a video, or an image to Facebook, you have the option to edit both the title of the link post and the description. It’s not immediately obvious, but if you hover over either the title or the description of the link content, it turns yellow. This is an indication that the text can be edited. Click once and nothing happens. Click the yellow content twice, and the text or title will turn into an editable textarea;

Facebook edit link title description tip

In editable mode, you can change the link title or the description to whatever you like. Click outside the editable text areas to view the result. Once you’re happy, click post. Voila – a personalised link and description for your friends :) .

Facebook edit link title description - final product

2. Resizable Textareas

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress all provide resizable textareas. These are very useful for any long posts…especially in WordPress and Facebook. You can tell if the text area you’re writing in is resizable by the markings in the bottom right corner of the text area. In Firefox, the text area has 6 little dots in the bottom right corner. In Chrome, as shown below, the text area has two small lines.

Resizable Textarea - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPressWhenever you see a resizable textarea like this, it means you can left click on it with your mouse, and drag the textarea box to the size you want it, making it easier to view your post in full.

3. Find anything that has ever entered your Twitter stream

Sometimes I want to share a link or a tweet with someone, but can’t remember when I tweeted it…or even if I tweeted it at all. That all changed when I was introduced to PostPost. PostPost is an application that acts like your personal Twitter search engine. It finds the tweets, links, photos and videos that you and the people you follow have shared. The example below shows a search on PostPost for ‘flying beagle‘, and PostPost tells me I tweeted this back on 27th May, 2011.

PostPost - your personal Twitter search engine

As well as PostPost, Twimemachine and SnapBird are two other excellent Twitter search tools.

4. Goo.gl URL Shortener – Chrome Extension

URL shorteners have become incredibly popular over the last few years, following the introduction of 140 character posts on Twitter, meaning users need to make the most of the characters available. With the addition of shortened URL tracking, short links are now the most common form of links across social networks. Ow.ly and Bit.ly are arguably the most popular URL shorteners, but I use the Google URL shortener, http://goo.gl.

I also use Chrome as my browser. Chrome has some useful extensions and apps, such as PDF Mergy and Smooth Gestures, but one of the most useful for me is the Goo.gl URL shortener. The Goo.gl extension adds a button to the right of your Chrome address bar. If you’re logged into your Google account, one click on the button will create a short URL and provide a number of options, such as copy, view the QR code, or post on Facebook or Twitter.

Google URL shortener Chrome extension

Say I wanted to post this article onto Twitter. If I click on the Twitter link, it connects to Twitter and writes the post as well as adding the shortened URL into the post. Very efficient :)

Google URL shortener Chrome Extension - Tweet Button

If you’re one of the many that use Internet Explorer or Firefox, then this extension isn’t available. However, you might also like Shareaholic, which allows you to share content onto many social platforms at once.

5. City Level Targeting in Facebook Pages

This is a useful tip for any groups or business who want to target users at a city level. When you post on Facebook as yourself, you get the option to hide your posts  from certain people or groups. When posting in Facebook Pages as a company or organisation, you get the option to hide your posts from certain locations.

Here’s how – once you’ve written the post, click on the default ‘ Public’ link next to the ‘Share’ button. This link then gives you the option to target users by location and/or language.

Facebook Pages - city level targeting

A new pop up box appears and asks you for the location and languages you want target. Initially, the location box will say ‘Enter a country‘. Once you select the country or countries your want to target, you then get the option to target by ‘State/Provice’ (or County if you live in the UK) or by ‘City’.

Facebook Pages - City level targeting

Simply add the city or cities you want to target, click ok, and hit ‘share’. You could even share the same post, with a different offer link for each city, county or country you want to target.

6. Denying a Facebook friend request doesn’t actually deny a Facebook friend

Yes, you read correctly. Remember those ‘friends’ who added you on Facebook but you turned them down? They are still lingering in your friend request section. When you view your friend requests on Facebook, you get two options – ‘Confirm‘ and ‘Not Now‘. Not now. Not ‘no thanks‘, just ‘not now‘. That means Facebook is storing these so-called friends for a later date. Just in case you do want to befriend them.

Log into Facebook and click on the two person icon in the main Facebook navigation bar, then click on ‘See all Friend Requests‘, and you’ll see all the people sitting in your pending pile. At the bottom of that list is a link which says ‘See hidden requests‘. This hidden list contains all the ‘friends’ you originally denied. Facebook has information on their FAQ pages about hidden friend requests.

Facebook hidden friend requestsThe problem is that when someone asks to be your friend on Facebook, he or she automatically becomes subscribed to all of your public posts. Therefore, if you don’t deliberately delete your friend requests, or hide your News feed from the public eye, your information and posts can still be followed by the ‘friends’ you rejected. Might be a good time to go review your Facebook privacy settings :).

To delete your hidden, rejected friend requests forever, simply click on the ‘see hidden requests‘ link, and select ‘Delete request‘. Facebook will then ask you if you know that person outside of Facebook, and you need to click yes or no. If you click no, this person will not be able to send you future friend requests.

Facebook hidden friend requests

7. Changing your Twitter handle / username

If you’re having a spring clean and planning on changing your Twitter username, then this will probably be very useful for you. Many people I’ve spoken to are scared to change their Twitter username in fear of losing all their followers and Direct Messages. The truth is, it’s actually quite an easy process, and you don’t lose any followers or DM’s (though obviously that all depends on if your followers like your new username :) ).

I changed my Twitter username from @bmmSimon to @MrHeyes last week. Much like snapping up domain names, I secured @MrHeyes over a year ago. To do this, you simply sign up as a new user with the username(s) of your choice.

Twitter provides guidance on how to change your username to any name that is currently available, but they don’t tell you how to switch to another username in another account that you may also own. Here’s how:

  • Make sure you tell your followers that you’re changing your username, and what the new name will be. Any @replies or Direct Messages sent to your old username will not be associated with your account once you’ve switched to your new username.
  • Log out.
  • Log back in, using your new username account. Let’s say your new username is going to be @moonshine. In order to release this username, you need to change it to something new, so for this example let’s say we change it to @moonshine4. Hit save.
  • Log out.
  • Log back in to your main account, go to Settings, and under Account settings, you can now change your username to @moonshine. Hit save.
  • Log out.
  • Log back in again, using the @moonshine4 login. Go to Settings, and under Account settings, you can now change @moonshine4 to your old username. Hit save.
  • Post your first tweet under your old username which tells your followers of your new username. This will also ensure anybody looking for your old username will know where to find you.

8. If This Then That (IFTTT)

IFTTT is one of my favourite Social Media tools. It is a simple rule based application tool that allows you to organise your social web. Eessentially it does what is says on the tin. It allows you to define any task as: when something happens (this) then do something else (that).

Let me show you an example. Let’s say that I wanted to create a rule that says: “For any new blog post on this blog, automatically tweet the blog title and URL to Twitter“. Voila:

If This Then That (IFTTT) task setting

IFTTT works across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email, Soundcloud, Delicious, Gmail, Foursquare, Tumblr, YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Reader and much more. The possibilities for creating ‘tasks’ across each of these networks is endless. Here’s another example – everytime I am tagged in a Facebook picture, IFTTT will then save each image URL to my Dropbox;

IFTTT task setting - Facebook Images to Dropbox

Give it a try – if you’re someone who has many fingers in many social pies, and want to save time hopping in and out of each network/application, I assure you it will change your life :) .

9. Tweetbot – Scrolling to the top of all the new tweets

If you’re an iPhone Twitter user, the best app is Tweetbot. The tapbots site has a few handy hints and tips for using the app, but I came across another handy shortcut last week.

If the Tweetbot app is running in the background, but you don’t check the tweets for a while, Tweetbot will tell you how many new tweets you have yet to view. Quite often I can be in the 200+ range, so scrolling with my thumb or finger can take ages. If you want to quickly jump to the top of the timeline and view the most recent tweets, simply tap twice on the timeline button. This also works for mentions.

Tweetbot Shortcut - read tweets

10. Formatting Posts in Google+

One of the downsides of posting on Facebook and Twitter is that you can’t control the font. You can’t make words bold, you can’t strikethrough, and you can’t put words in italics. However, you can do this on Google+, which means you can get very creative with your posts.

We’ve created a simple infographic to show how you can format your Google+ posts;

Google+ Formatting Posts INFOGRAPHIC

This post by Gabriel Vasile is a good example of a creative Google+ post, which actually looks more like a blog post. https://plus.google.com/106393478695568433143/posts/hg8bvSQSjFB. Go on, embrace your inner creative :) .

Last tip – when browsing your Google+ stream, there is also a set of shortcuts or ‘hotkeys’ you can use to make browsing the posts easier;

Google+ Hot keys

Image source - hacker9.com

I hope you enjoyed the tips! If you like the post, pleae give it a like or a retweet, and feel free to share any of your tips with us :) .


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  • http://twitter.com/nataliem100 Natalie Martin

    I so picked your twitter name! Love all of the tips here- very good Mr Heyes!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=731490230 Simon Heyes

      You may have indirectly helped, yes :) . Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

  • http://twitter.com/sbearne Suzanne Bearne

    Wow. Very useful. Just deleted lots of unwanted friend requests. 

    • http://twitter.com/MrHeyes Simon Heyes

      Thanks Suzanne :)

  • http://twitter.com/lewisphillips Lewis Phillips

    Did not know about the ability to edit link descriptions on Facebook – really handy. Thanks very much!