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CoSchedule Review: The Social Media Calendar I chose over Buffer & MeetEdgar

If you recall from my June Income Report, my July goal is to build a social media calendar to help grow our Social Media audiences. Currently, Social Media produces only 17% of our traffic, so I wanted to tap into that potential. A social media calendar would regularly/consistently stay in contact with those audiences. So I compared 3 different social media tools for this CoSchedule Review to do just that, manage Wallet Squirrel’s social media.

Obviously, from the title, I choose CoSchedule for Wallet Squirrel, but anyone wanting to dramatically improve their Social Media game should look this over.

CoSchedule Review Header Image

The Three Different Social Media Tools I Tested:

MeetEdgar – This tool allows you to automate your social media messages. You can write a Tweet/Facebook Post/LinkedIn Message and have it automatically repost every month, 3 months or year so that you’re never running out of content. While this is a great tool, the interface was a bit clunky for me in the 14-day trial and for the price of $45 per month, I wanted a bit more than just a backlog of messages automatically posting.

Buffer – This allows you to set up a queue of social media messages on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn where you can write messages beforehand, and Buffer will publish them based on timeslots you decide. Think of writing one message then selecting all the different social media platforms you want to send it out to. This eliminates going into each social media account and copy/ pasting your message each time. You can also schedule retweets so you don’t have a bunch of messages going out at once.

I actually use Buffer at work and love it. The biggest downfall is that once you send a message, you can’t automatically reschedule it to be sent again. Since Tweeting only hits 10% of your audience at a time. You’d manually have to add the same tweet over and over and over. It’s just a giant waste of time.

CoSchedule – This is really a combination of the two. CoSchedule allows you to see a full calendar of messages going out and automatically ReQueue them to go out again if they’re popular. I’ve done the 14-day trial and now I’m a paid subscriber. I’m a bit of a fan. Let me dive a bit more into CoSchedule.

I chose CoSchedule, but what is it?

Because CoSchedule loves demonstration videos, here is a brief CoSchedule Review Video of their software.

To me, CoSchedule is a visual calendar that you can see when your different social media posts are going out. You can schedule a post in advance and automatically repost (they call it ReQueuing) popular content so your audience doesn’t miss great content. Here is a screenshot of what Wallet Squirrel’s calendar looks like after using it for two weeks during the CoSchedule Review.

CoSchedule Review Social Media Calendar

How I use CoSchedule for my Social Media Calendar

Not going to lie, it’s a bit intimidating at first, as is any software. It integrates into a number of social media platforms and WordPress, it took a bit to get my head around it. However starting off, I primary use it for my social media accounts.

How I Setup Social Media Campaigns

This is a term I’ve heard as a buzz word, but I never really knew what it meant until this CoSchedule Review. I’ve come to learn that a social media campaign is a series of social media messages posted at different times, with all the same purpose. Like the 1,000 tweets you read when Lady Gaga launches a new album. Those set of tweets, collectively are a social media campaign.

For me personally, I use their social media campaign to promote new blog content. I click their campaign button and I set up a template for my new Income Reports. To describe the screenshot below, I add the URL of the post I want to promote and it automatically inserts that hyperlink into a series of messages scheduled to go out that day, the next day, a week later and a month later. All the times are completely customizable. Each message has a default basic message like “check this out”, but I tweak these each time. This is one of my favorite features because it provides a carpet bombing of social media messages for new content over an entire month, created in seconds.

CoSchedule Review Social Media Campaign

How I Automatically Repost Popular Content

CoSchedule has a popular feature called “ReQueue” which creates a cache of messages that will automatically be published if you have a gap in your social media calendar. Let’s say I want to post 3 tweets each day. If I don’t have a social media posts going out on Friday. CoSchedule can pull an old social media post from my library of social media messages to fill that gap.

Oh my goodness it’s so nice to automatically repost evergreen content

For example last Sunday while writing this CoSchedule Review, I filled my ReQueue library with fun social media messages promoting old content. That way, I will always have at least 3 tweets going out a day. You can even set categories for your ReQueue library such as “Evergreen Content”, “Promotional Content” like a referral link to Bluehost website services or any categories you can think of. Here are the categories I’ve created so far.

CoSchedule Review ReQueue Categories Screenshot

Quick CoSchedule Review Pros/Cons

Pros

  • The software allows you to create an entire social media campaign, aka numerous social media messages on different platforms, in seconds
  • CoSchedule allows you to automatically “ReQueue” popular content so that it never disappears in the social media abyss. It automatically posts old content whenever you have gaps in your social media calendar.
  • It has the pros of both Buffer and MeetEdgar.
  • The really clean design makes looking over your calendar very easy.

Cons

  • It’s pretty pricey, it says $39 per month for their solo blogger plan, but it doesn’t include the ReQueue feature which everyone wants. I especially wanted. If you want ReQueue, you need to pay another $30. So in reality, it cost $79 per month. WTF! This is one of the most expenseive social media calendars I’ve found.
  • The Social Media Analytics isn’t included in the base $79 per month I’m currently paying. If you want analytics, you need to pay more. Yuk, at least Buffer had at least basic analytics in their $10 per month plan.

Why I chose CoSchedule over Buffer and MeetEdgar

As a current user of Buffer, it is great but there are days that I don’t have time to post a new message to social media and my Buffer queue ran out. I needed something with Buffer’s queue feature, but also automatically posted content like MeetEdgar. I considered getting both of these since combined they’re cheaper than CoSchedule, but I prefer to use one piece software that incorporates the best of both.

Plus there are other benefits of CoSchedule that I haven’t touched on during this CoSchedule Review. Mainly because these features are singularly what I wanted the software for. It’s currently a must if I want to grow our Wallet Squirrel social media presence. Not just rapid firing social media messages, but creating conversations and dialogue while reminding our audience of older content. Those combined features won me over.

Conclusion

I’m willing to try CoSchedule out for a couple months to see how this goes, use my referral code for 14 DAYS FREE if you’re interested in trying it too. So far I’ve been impressed with the power this software provides during my CoSchedule Review. Plus their blog has so many great tips on social media you don’t need to pay for. In 6 months I’ll do an ROI “Return on Investment” Analysis to follow up on my progress.

So far, I’d honestly recommend it to any blogger who can afford to spend a ridiculous $79 per month (save 50% if you write a review). It’s a great tool to visualize a social media calendar that’s smart enough to fill in the gaps. Like a Social Media Manager would. Follow us on Wallet Squirrel’s Facebook and Twitter page to see it in action.

Are there any other tools you use I didn’t mention?

*Disclaimer I wasn’t paid for this review, but CoSchedule does offer a 50% discount if you write a review. Since I love saving money, we did this review but maintained our honest opinion and user experience.

How We Reached 500 Twitter Followers and Lessons Learned

Growing Twitter followers organically is NOT easy. It is a hard, grueling process, where we just reached 500 Twitter Followers but we could have done it so much easier and faster. Here is how we reached 500 twitter followers and lessons learned for the next 500.

First, 500 Followers isn’t THAT impressive

I’m not saying reaching 500 twitter followers is the best you can ever do. It’s just a nice milestone I would like to highlight as I tweak my Twitter strategy. Some of the top Twitter stars have MILLIONS of followers on Twitter.

For example, some of the top Twitter Influencers like Katy Perry has some 99.5 million, Justin Bieber at 96 million and Barack Obama closes in on third at 89 million (source).

Obviously, I am not an ex-president or pop singer, so I’ll stay within the Personal Finance world. Which among them, most Personal Finance Bloggers I’ve seen on average have around 1,500 Twitter Followers. Wallet Squirrel is 1/3 way there!

What I learned getting to 500 Twitter Followers

I am still fairly new to Twitter, so I did a lot of research to understand what Twitter was about and how people are gaining mass followings. Here are the top 20 things I learned from research and experience.

1. Get a Schedule Tool like Buffer or HootSuite to schedule tweets when you’re not around. Tweeting consistently will tell your audience that you’re engaged and visible. I use Buffer and love it.

2. Start following other people in your niche, or who you’re interested in. People feel obligated to follow you if you follow them. Following someone is providing value to them, and people typically want return that value to you. However if you’re following someone Katy Perry, she’ll likely not follow you back. I’m still waiting on Taylor Swift…

3. Regularly Retweet others content. For the same reason as above, people typically feel appreciative when you Retweet their content and will likely follow you since you have similar tastes.

4. ALWAYS add photos in your tweets, it’s regularly proven that tweets with photos are engaged by more readers than plain text. People like photos, use a gif and get even more engagement. I personally don’t always use gifs, I’ve learned photos work just as well. I just make sure to use some type of graphic.

5. Use the Hashtags! That’s the point of Twitter, people can follow certain keywords and your tweet may be among them. Twitter shows you the popular keywords if you want to hop on a current event, otherwise sometimes making up funny hashtags reaches a more engaged audience.

6. Sometimes just ask for a Retweet, it seems silly but people who enjoy your content are happy to help you out if you ask.

7. Don’t use a logo as your profile image. Twitter is a conversation platform, people engage more with people’s faces as profile photos rather than faceless logos. I just updated my Twitter Profile Pic.

8. Promote your Twitter account on your other social media platforms and blog. While Wallet Squirrel’s Twitter is 500 Followers, Facebook actually brings in the most traffic for us monthly. So we can ask our Facebook users to follow us on Twitter every once in awhile.

9. Reference people/companies from your blog posts in your Tweets. We get way more engagement when we specifically reference people in our Tweets. Usually when I comment on other people’s blogs, I’ll send out a Tweet referencing them saying nice article. I did this in “What I Learned from Commenting on 30 Blogs in a Week“.

10. Use Follow Buttons on your website so people can share your content. So far NO ONE has done this through our page buttons, but maybe in the future. I’m on the fence about this one, but maybe when we get more traffic.

11. Tweet Inspirational Quotes from Warren Buffett or your favorite philosophers. It seems silly, but sometimes it hits someone right when they’re feeling down. I need to do this more.

12. Pin your best tweets to the top of your Twitter Profile. When new users look at your Twitter Profile, they’re going to look at your top tweets to see what kind of personal tone you use. Pin your best tweets up top to give the best impression. I’m going to try to pin my monthly Income Reports up top.

13. Ask your email list to follow you on Twitter. This can be a simple “PS please follow me on Twitter so I can have more follower than my mother” comment.

14. Tweet the same content multiple times. Each Tweet last 15 seconds on average and then disappears forever. What if your perfect audience wasn’t reading at that time? Retweet messages that you think are beneficial. Some of the top Twitter influences do this all the time.

15. Always reply to tweets that reference your or direct messages. If someone takes the time to mention you then you should give them some kind of thank you or recognition. It’s polite and really well received in the community. I try to thank everyone publically who retweets my tweets.

16. Always thank users for Retweeting your content. I mentioned it above, but it deserves its own line item.

17. Don’t send a massive amount of tweets in a short period. If your tweets are filling up people’s entire screens over and over, they’ll get aggravated and unfollow you. You should constantly be tweeting but spread them out.

18. Don’t stop Tweeting. People who regularly tweet are considered to be more engaged and get more followers than those who tweet once every two weeks.

19. Tweet snippets of your articles. Instead of tweeting “5 Ways Millennials Waste Money”, you should break it into 5 different tweets each sharing 1 of the reasons. Giving value in your tweets is better than taglines any day.

20. Be a real person. Don’t spam your Twitter account with “READ THIS” and all of your stuff to read/sell. Remember that you’re talking to real people. Use words and tones as if you were talking to a group of your friends. People WILL notice.

My Short Failed Twitter Experiment

In February I told myself that I would tweet 16 tweets a day for a month to see what would happen. In February I had previously sent 111 tweets, had 338 Twitter Followers and was following only 29 people.

I did 2 weeks of it until I was exhausted. I only sent out my own tweets and it was all promotions garbage. I hated every second of it. So I cut back to 5ish tweets a day and started a mixture of retweets, some promotional content and new content. I told myself I would do this until I got to 500 Twitter Followers and reevaluate if Twitter is worth it.

It took 4 months, ugh. Growing Twitter Followers is hella hard.

Today I’m at 513 Twitter Followers (151% increase) having sent 646 Tweets (581% increase) and now following 184 Twitter Followers (634% increase). Calculating the math to it, it seems like the increase in people who I follow had a significant impact, related to lesson #2.

Conclusion

While I originally went into this experiment hating Twitter, I’ll admit it’s grown on me. It’s an effective communication tool for short concise messages. I can’t knock that.

During the last 4 months of focusing on Twitter, I’ve learned a lot. So I’m daring myself to get to 1,000 followers in the next 4 months. Think it’s possible?

Lol Not with my current stats. I’ll have to up my game and stick to these 20 lessons learned. Any additional suggestions?

Self Improvement – Get Rid of Your Distractions Right Now – Part 1/4

Self Improvement – Get Rid of Your Distractions Right Now – Part 1/4

I am going to try something new for a self improvement article that has not been done here on Wallet Squirrel yet. Starting this week I am going to do a little mini series about getting rid of distractions within my own personal life. This series will go for the next 3 months with an article being released at the beginning of each month. It will be during the same week when Andrew releases one of his awesome income reports.

This will not be one of your typical self improvement articles where I list off a bunch of things for you to try. No, this is a list of items for me to go out to personally experience it for you! Over the years I have been reading article over article about self improvement, and do not get me wrong, there are some good tips out there. The issue is most of the writers have never tried these “self improvement” tips themselves so how do we know if they work?

Getting rid of distractions is key to self improvement. Without those distractions you can work on what you truly love.

Getting rid of distractions is key to self improvement. Without those distractions you can work on what you truly love.

One of my favorite writers about self improvement is Z from Zero to Skill. He often writes about his own personal experiences on becoming a better and more productive person. One article I loved was his Ultimate Guide For Waking Up Early. He walks through what helps him and what did not work out to help him get up in the morning after years of trial and error.

This personal touch is what I want to bring to this mini-series. My goal is to give you several ideas throughout the series on decluttering your life to for self improvement and increase your productivity.

The Beginning – Part 1 of 4

Today we will talk about the foundation as to why and what I plan on doing over the next three months. Today we will talk why we should all get rid of distractions in our lives. Then I will lay out some goals that I want to accomplish. Then I will set out for a month using several techniques I have researched about over the years. Part 2 of the mini-series will talk more about those techniques and what did or did not work out.

Let us begin!

Why Getting Rid of Distractions is Beneficial to Self Improvement?

Just this past weekend my pastor at church talked about work during his sermon. One thing he mentioned really resonated with me. He talked about what if everyone would cut back on all extra clutter in life (ie. Playing on the Xbox, watching Netflix, looking at Facebook, etc)? Then he asked, what if everyone took that time/energy and put it into their passions instead? Think about how much more productive and successful those individuals would be.

Now this is not the first time I have heard these questions about people spending more energy on their passion rather than only being consumers of unhealthy distractions. Sadly, I cannot remember those other examples but this is my most recent encounter with the thought.

The Fear

The thought of removing all of this extra clutter in my life seems really scary at first. I think, “What if a better video game such as COD: WWII comes out?” Or, “What if I miss some big important message or video of a cat saving a dog’s life on my Facebook feed?” This fear is FOMO, the fear of missing out. Just recently, I have only begun to understand that this stuff does not really matter in life. What I should be worrying about is my family, my friends, hiking in the Colorado mountains, along with other passions such as working on websites.

After coming to this realization I was able to clearly see that there are so many materialistic items in my house that I really did not use anymore. The only reason I am holding on to them is because of that “What if” moment. For the first time, I was free to let go of those items.

Question: Go ahead, take a look around your house. Do you have any of these items in your house? What is your goal by getting rid of distractions for self improvement?

For me, it is all about getting rid or minimizing these distractions so I can become more financially free from debt. This will be accomplished by replacing Facebook, the Xbox, as well as reducing Netflix to spend more time on Wallet Squirrel, Adam Olson Photography, and other side hustles. This will all lend me to enjoy my family and friends more.

Ugh! Facebook…..

My Story

Getting distracted is very easy for me. Especially when I have something in front of me such as an Xbox, Netflix, or Facebook to distract me.

There is something that Marc from Surviving Prepper said that really caught my attention.

“If you eliminate items in your life that are not needed, you have room for items that are needed”

For me, I see this as I need to remove the distractions in my life so I can really focus on what is important to me (God, family, friends, fitness, and yes…Wallet Squirrel).

I tend to be a very materialistic person. These fun but worthless items keep me distracted on what really matters, my family, life goals, health, and so on. It is time to make the sacrifice by selling a bunch of items in our house that seem to add more value to my life but really do not. Some of these items include an extra 42 inch TV, an Xbox, a couple old laptops, an old camera, and whatever else I find.

I also like to watch a lot of Netflix on my own while working on tasks. It really slows down my productivity. Netflix will not get canceled because I also enjoy sitting down with my wife to watch a show or movie. Instead, I will set a rule that Netflix watching is only when I am with her.

Social media and Netflix are major distractions for me.

Social media and Netflix are major distractions for me.

The biggest step self improvement will be dropping social media sites such as Facebook. I have tried many ways to avoid this evil distraction but I cannot get away from it. Because I use Facebook messenger to communicate with my best friends and some are too stubborn to switch services **Cough**Cough** Andrew **Cough**Cough** I cannot get rid of Facebook altogether. So I will use Cold Turkey to block the site on my personal and Home computers as well as my phone.

Side Note: If you do not know what Cold Turkey is, I highly recommend you check it out. It allows you to block any distracting website on your computer or application on your phone. You can set up custom schedules to when and when you cannot access these websites or applications. It is really helpful!

Self Improvement Goals in the Next Four Weeks

I have a lot to accomplish in the next four weeks till the June follow up article comes out. Below is a set of goals I plan on accomplishing before the next follow up.

  1. Sell extra items that can be a distraction. I will sell the items just like Andrew did in his article How to Sell Something on Craigslist and Make Money. This extra money will go towards paying off our car loan quicker.
  2. Finish our backyard renovation. This project has been a HUGE distraction the past couple of weeks. We completely tore up the backyard and are starting all over with a blank slate. In a future article, I will write about this experience and save over $4,000 in costs! Stay tuned!
  3. Start waking up earlier, 5:00 AM, to work out. Using Z’s method, mentioned above, I will try to wake up earlier to work out on a consistent basis. It is well known that people who work out in the morning tend to be more productive during the day. My wants are there but the will is not so this is going to be a challenge.
  4. Stay focused on achieving my goals one percent at a time. There is nothing wrong with having big goals but trying to accomplish them all in one big chunk is setting yourself for failure. Instead, it is better to divide those large goals into smaller goals and accomplish those. I will focus on to only complete smaller tasks each day that get me one percent closer to completing my overall goals.
  5. Set up my next day the day before. Each night before bed I want to layout my plan of attack for the next day. This will not require much time, maybe 10 to 15 min. Here I will plan out the smaller tasks that I want to conquer.

 

Wakey! Wakey! Time for eggs and bakey!

What to Expect in the Follow Up

I will go over if I accomplish these goals or not and the techniques/tips used for each goal. There will be a detailed review of what I did to accomplish each one and what you can do for yourself. If I fail, I will go over what did not work and adjustments to be made.

Stay tuned for the remainder of this raw adventure giving yourself real life tips and tricks to getting rid of distractions for self improvement.

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