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The Do’s And Don’ts Of Social Media Management

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The Do's And Don’ts Of Social Media Management

Are you looking for better ways to manage social media accounts without missing out on anything important?

Social media platforms play a vital role in our lives today. From staying connected with friends to sharing personal updates, they provide countless opportunities to connect with others.

In addition to staying informed about current events, brands can also build relationships with potential customers and grow their audience.

Social media management tools allow you to post content from multiple sources at once and schedule posts in advance. They also give you access to analytics data, allowing you to track metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and even conversions – all of which can serve as helpful guides in determining the effectiveness of specific campaigns.

These tools can also work with various platforms (i.e., Twitter and Facebook), giving you complete control over your presence across multiple mediums.

So now, let’s get into the current social media management trends for B2B and B2C brands.

Social Media Management Strategy Trends

Social media is one of the most versatile and effective marketing tools today.

We use social media to drive our branding efforts, connect with customers, generate new leads, gain insights into buying habits, manage reputation, and bolster our digital footprint.

But, while social media is an essential part of modern business, many companies still aren’t getting the full potential from their digital efforts.

As Social Media Examiner’s 2022 Social Media Marketing Industry Report reveals:

  • Those new to social media marketing generally focus on Facebook (82%) and Instagram (67%). However, those who have been social media managers for more than five years have diversified across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.
  • The top two platforms that B2C marketers use are Facebook (94%) and Instagram (85%).
  • The top two platforms that B2B marketers use are Facebook (85%) and LinkedIn (81%).
  • Regarding organic social plans, 61% of marketers will be increasing their Instagram activity.
  • Most marketers agree that they want to increase their video marketing, with 68% of marketers planning to increase their video marketing for Instagram, 67% for YouTube, and 56% for Facebook.

If this surprises you, you might want to shift your marketing efforts. Because unfortunately, most B2B and B2C businesses lack an effective strategy for social media management. You’ll have to create a strategy that moves with social media trends and help companies to understand that shift.

Now, I’ll walk you through the most important social media “Do’s” and “Don’ts.”

And at the end of this article, I’ve also included a table that recaps my main points. Feel free to print it out and use it as a reminder whenever you need to get your social media strategy back on track.

Do

1. Have A Strategy

The most important part of social media management happens before you sign up for Facebook or publish your first Tweet.

Each social media marketing campaign should start with clearly outlined goals and a battle plan that will help you achieve those goals.

Here’s the secret of an effective strategy: For a plan to be successful, it must be as specific as possible.

For example, SEJ’s Social Media Strategy breaks down tactics for dealing with the different types of platforms (photo sharing, video sharing, bookmarking, and discussion forum), and each one is specific in its aims. They refine their strategies by listing tone guidelines, posting strategies, engagement strategies, and strategies to find new followers.

Typical start-up social media management strategies will look a little different. These strategies revolve around assessing your strengths and weaknesses as a company and finding opportunities to turn your early customers into brand loyalists.

Of course, your perfect strategy won’t be a carbon copy of some other brand’s goals. So, when building your social media management strategy, set realistic goals to impact your business.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about creating a social media strategy that also incorporates SEO efforts, check out this article.

2. Choose The Best Platforms

How’s your Facebook outreach going? What about Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+? Do you have a YouTube account? What about Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr? And lest we forget, TikTok.

With so many social media platforms to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you don’t stay organized. The worst part is that overlooking one platform might mean missing out on a massive potential market.

Check out Shelley Walsh’s research on social media usage, marketing, and strategy.

3. Use The Right Tools

Keeping up with social media is an impossible task for us mere mortals.

Fortunately, there are some handy software options to help you manage and monitor all of your social media accounts from one central hub. Here are some of the best options:

  • BuzzBundle: BuzzBundle was developed to be the ultimate social media management tool. Not only does it connect with all the biggest social media platforms, but it helps you monitor blogs, forums, and Q&A sites, too. BuzzBundle analytics gives you the insights you need to reach new customers, boost your SEO campaign, and find key influencers in your industry.
  • Hootsuite: Hootsuite connects you to numerous social networks. Like BuzzBundle, Hootsuite lets you find out what your customers are saying about your brand and easily manage your outreach, thanks to a central hub for all of your social media management.
  • Buffer: Social media is Buffer’s specialty. Buffer lets you post photos, videos, and posts to the most popular social media sites. It also enables you to craft posts in advance and publishes them later for maximum exposure.
  • Sprout Social: Sprout Social’s platform lets you manage your social messages through a single-stream inbox. You can schedule, publish, and post content to your favorite social media sites and get valuable insights into how audiences engage with your content.
  • Social Studio: Social Studio’s offering helps you engage with your customers by connecting you to different sources and can replace programs like Photoshop and Canva. With this software, you can use AI capabilities to create posts across platforms.

4. Track The Metrics That Matter

If you don’t know whether or not your social media outreach is impacting your business, then what’s the point? When you’ve defined a goal for your social media campaign, gathering corresponding metrics is the only way to tell if it succeeded.

Here are some metrics that might indicate success:

  • If your goal is to expand your reach, measure the engagement and new followers.
  • If your goal is to grow brand awareness, measure shares and influencers mentioning your brand.
  • If your goal is to get more sales, measure referrals, CTR, and conversions.

The tools listed above will give you a lot of insights into the metrics you need to measure the success of your campaign.

5. Engage And Post Regularly

Last but not least, the point of a social network is to socialize. So, share great content regularly to give your followers something to share and get excited about.

Don’t forget to engage with their content, too. Make sure to follow the industry leaders in your niche and try to give more than you receive.

To ensure you keep up with social media, consider setting a schedule for yourself. Even 10 minutes spent sharing and engaging daily goes a long way toward boosting your web presence.

Don’t

1. Try To Please Everyone

Understanding your audience is one of the most critical parts of your strategy. If you try to please everyone, you’ll offer nothing unique, and nobody will be satisfied.

On the other hand, if you know your audience and understand their pain points, you can tailor your services to solve their specific problems.

Do that better than any of your competitors, and you’ll have a loyal following in no time.

2. Delete Negative Reviews

When you see every mention of your brand, it can be tempting to purge negative experiences from the web. Resist that urge.

Instead, reach out to people who leave a negative review. Ask how you can improve their experience and work hard to regain their trust. Doing this may not only salvage a bad situation but also show other potential leads how far you’re willing to go for your customers.

Responding to both positive and negative reviews is a helpful way to gain insight into your business and target market.

3. Lose Your Personal Touch

Automation may be the only way to keep up with all the bustling social spheres, but that’s no excuse to lose the human element in your brand.

That means posting new content for every demographic, no matter where they fall in your sales funnel. Keep your messaging personal, targeted, and bursting with your brand’s unique personality.

On this note, make sure that your outreach always feels organic. Don’t make the mistake of befriending every follower and spamming inane posts.

On the flip side, don’t be a hermit who only posts and promotes their content. Instead, share content you truly love and connect with people whose insights you value.

4. Become Complacent

Finding your audience on all the bustling social media platforms and watching them respond enthusiastically whenever you post new content isn’t enough. So, the best social media strategists plan ahead – and they’re always experimenting.

The truth is that social media management is never done. There’s always a better way to reach your target audience, a new platform waiting to be discovered, and more avenues for you to engage with your customers.

Stay ahead of the curve and never let your current strategy be “good enough.”

5. Neglect Your Audience

Disengaging is one of the worst social media sins. Don’t neglect one network in favor of another or leave comments and questions from a genuinely engaged audience unanswered.

If you need to go on a hiatus, use social media to inform your followers – they’ll value the communication.

Final Takeaways

Social media management can be overwhelming if you aren’t careful. However, countless platforms, apps, and tools are available today to help you manage your accounts and eliminate some of the unnecessary stress.

If you focus on these simple “do’s” and “don’ts,” you’ll be able to create an effective and streamlined social media management strategy for any brand.

To recap, here are the top “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to social media management:

Image created by author, September 2022

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Mozilla VPN Security Risks Discovered

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Mozilla VPN Security Risks Discovered

Mozilla published the results of a recent third-party security audit of its VPN services as part of it’s commitment to user privacy and security. The survey revealed security issues which were presented to Mozilla to be addressed with fixes to ensure user privacy and security.

Many search marketers use VPNs during the course of their business especially when using a Wi-Fi connection in order to protect sensitive data, so the  trustworthiness of a VNP is essential.

Mozilla VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN), is a service that hides (encrypts) a user’s Internet traffic so that no third party (like an ISP) can snoop and see what sites a user is visiting.

VPNs also add a layer of security from malicious activities such as session hijacking which can give an attacker full access to the websites a user is visiting.

There is a high expectation from users that the VPN will protect their privacy when they are browsing on the Internet.

Mozilla thus employs the services of a third party to conduct a security audit to make sure their VPN is thoroughly locked down.

Security Risks Discovered

The audit revealed vulnerabilities of medium or higher severity, ranging from Denial of Service (DoS). risks to keychain access leaks (related to encryption) and the lack of access controls.

Cure53, the third party security firm, discovered and addressed several risks. Among the issues were potential VPN leaks to the vulnerability of a rogue extension that disabled the VPN.

The scope of the audit encompassed the following products:

  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for macOS
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Linux
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Windows
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for iOS
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Androi

These are the risks identified by the security audit:

  • FVP-03-003: DoS via serialized intent
  • FVP-03-008: Keychain access level leaks WG private key to iCloud
  • VP-03-010: VPN leak via captive portal detection
  • FVP-03-011: Lack of local TCP server access controls
  • FVP-03-012: Rogue extension can disable VPN using mozillavpnnp (High)

The rogue extension issue was rated as high severity. Each risk was subsequently addressed by Mozilla.

Mozilla presented the results of the security audit as part of their commitment to transparency and to maintain the trust and security of their users. Conducting a third party security audit is a best practice for a VPN provider that helps assure that the VPN is trustworthy and reliable.

Read Mozilla’s announcement:
Mozilla VPN Security Audit 2023

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Meilun

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Link Building Outreach for Noobs

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Link Building Outreach for Noobs

Link outreach is the process of contacting other websites to ask for a backlink to your website.

For example, here’s an outreach email we sent as part of a broken link building campaign:

In this guide, you’ll learn how to get started with link outreach and how to get better results. 

How to do link outreach

Link outreach is a four-step process:

1. Find prospects

No matter how amazing your email is, you won’t get responses if it’s not relevant to the person you’re contacting. This makes finding the right person to contact equally as important as crafting a great email.

Who to reach out to depends on your link building strategy. Here’s a table summarizing who you should find for the following link building tactics:

As a quick example, here’s how you would find sites likely to accept your guest posts:

  1. Go to Content Explorer
  2. Enter a related topic and change the dropdown to “In title”
  3. Filter for English results
  4. Filter for results with 500+ words
  5. Go to the “Websites” tab
Finding guest blogging opportunities via Content ExplorerFinding guest blogging opportunities via Content Explorer

This shows you the websites getting the most search traffic to content about your target topic.

From here, you’d want to look at the Authors column to prioritize sites with multiple authors, as this suggests that they may accept guest posts.

The Authors column indicate how many authors have written for the siteThe Authors column indicate how many authors have written for the site

If you want to learn how to find prospects for different link building tactics, I recommend reading the resource below.

2. Find their contact details

Once you’ve curated a list of people to reach out to, you’ll need to find their contact information.

Typically, this is their email address. The easiest way to find this is to use an email lookup tool like Hunter.io. All you need to do is enter the first name, last name, and domain of your target prospect. Hunter will find their email for you:

Finding Tim's email with Hunter.ioFinding Tim's email with Hunter.io

To prevent tearing your hair from searching for hundreds of emails one-by-one, most email lookup tools allow you to upload a CSV list of names and domains. Hunter also has a Google Sheets add-on to make this even easier.

Using the Hunter for Sheets add-on to find emails in bulk directly in Google SheetsUsing the Hunter for Sheets add-on to find emails in bulk directly in Google Sheets

3. Send a personalized pitch

Knowing who to reach out to is half the battle won. The next ‘battle’ to win is actually getting the person to care.

Think about it. For someone to link to you, the following things need to happen:

  • They must read your email
  • They must be convinced to check out your content
  • They must open the target page and complete all administrative tasks (log in to their CMS, find the link, etc.)
  • They must link to you or swap out links

That’s a lot of steps. Most people don’t care enough to do this. That’s why there’s more to link outreach than just writing the perfect email (I’ll cover this in the next section).

For now, let’s look at how to craft an amazing email. To do that, you need to answer three questions:

  1. Why should they open your email? — The subject line needs to capture attention in a busy inbox.
  2. Why should they read your email? — The body needs to be short and hook the reader in.
  3. Why should they link to you? — Your pitch needs to be compelling: What’s in it for them and why is your content link-worthy?

For example, here’s how we wrote our outreach email based on the three questions:

An analysis of our outreach email based on three questionsAn analysis of our outreach email based on three questions

Here’s another outreach email we wrote, this time for a campaign building links to our content marketing statistics post:

An analysis of our outreach email based on three questionsAn analysis of our outreach email based on three questions

4. Follow up, once

People are busy and their inboxes are crowded. They might have missed your email or read it and forgot.

Solve this by sending a short polite follow-up.

Example follow-up emailExample follow-up email

One is good enough. There’s no need to spam the other person with countless follow-up emails hoping for a different outcome. If they’re not interested, they’re not interested.

Link outreach tips

In theory, link outreach is simply finding the right person and asking them for a link. But there is more to it than that. I’ll explore some additional tips to help improve your outreach.

Don’t over-personalize

Some SEOs swear by the sniper approach to link outreach. That is: Each email is 100% customized to the person you are targeting.

But our experience taught us that over-personalization isn’t better. We ran link-building campaigns that sent hyper-personalized emails and got no results.

It makes logical sense: Most people just don’t do favors for strangers. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen—it does—but rarely will your amazing, hyper-personalized pitch change someone’s mind.

So, don’t spend all your time tweaking your email just to eke out minute gains.

Avoid common templates

My first reaction seeing this email is to delete it:

A bad outreach emailA bad outreach email

Why? Because it’s a template I’ve seen many times in my inbox. And so have many others.

Another reason: Not only did he reference a post I wrote six years ago, it was a guest post, i.e., I do not have control over the site. This shows why finding the right prospects is important. He even got my name wrong.

Templates do work, but bad ones don’t. You can’t expect to copy-paste one from a blog post and hope to achieve success.

A better approach is to use the scoped shotgun approach: use a template but with dynamic variables.

Email outreach template with dynamic variablesEmail outreach template with dynamic variables

You can do this with tools like Pitchbox and Buzzstream.

This can help achieve a decent level of personalization so your email isn’t spammy. But it doesn’t spend all your time writing customized emails for every prospect.

Send lots of emails

When we polled 800+ people on X and LinkedIn about their link outreach results, the average conversion rate was only 1-5%.

Link outreach conversion rates in 2023Link outreach conversion rates in 2023

This is why you need to send more emails. If you run the numbers, it just makes sense:

  • 100 outreach emails with a 1% success rate = 1 link
  • 1,000 outreach emails with a 1% success rate = 10 links

I’m not saying to spam everyone. But if you want more high-quality links, you need to reach out to more high-quality prospects.

Build a brand

A few years ago, we published a link building case study:

  • 515 outreach emails
  • 17.55% reply rate
  • 5.75% conversion rate

Pretty good results! Except the top comments were about how we only succeeded because of our brand:

Comments on our YouTube video saying we succeeded because of our brandComments on our YouTube video saying we succeeded because of our brand

It’s true; we acknowledge it. But I think the takeaway here isn’t that we should repeat the experiment with an unknown website. The takeaway is that more SEOs should be focused on building a brand.

We’re all humans—we rely on heuristics to make judgments. In this case, it’s branding. If your brand is recognizable, it solves the “stranger” problem—people know you, like you, and are more likely to link.

The question then: How do you build a brand?

I’d like to quote our Chief Marketing Officer Tim Soulo here:

What is a strong brand if not a consistent output of high-quality work that people enjoy? Ahrefs’ content team has been publishing top-notch content for quite a few years on our blog and YouTube channel. Slowly but surely, we were able to reach tens of millions of people and instill the idea that “Ahrefs’ content = quality content”—which now clearly works to our advantage.

Tim SouloTim Soulo

Ahrefs was once unknown, too. So, don’t be disheartened if no one is willing to link to you today. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Trust the process and create incredible content. Show it to people. You’ll build your brand and reputation that way.

Build relationships with people in your industry

Outreach starts before you even ask for a link.

Think about it: People don’t do favors for strangers but they will for friends. If you want to build and maintain relationships in the industry, way before you start any link outreach campaigns.

Don’t just rely on emails either. Direct messages (DMs) on LinkedIn and X, phone calls—they all work. For example, Patrick Stox, our Product Advisor, used to have a list of contacts he regularly reached out to. He’d hop on calls and even send fruit baskets.

Create systems and automations

In its most fundamental form, link outreach is really about finding more people and sending more emails.

Doing this well is all about building systems and automations.

We have a few videos on how to build a team and a link-building system, so I recommend that you check them out.

Final thoughts

Good link outreach is indistinguishable from good business development.

In business development, your chances of success will increase if you:

  • Pitch the right partners
  • Have a strong brand
  • Have prior relationships with them
  • Pitch the right collaboration ideas

The same goes for link outreach. Follow the principles above and you will see more success for your link outreach campaigns.

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter X.



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Research Shows Tree Of Thought Prompting Better Than Chain Of Thought

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Research Shows Tree Of Thought Prompting Better Than Chain Of Thought

Researchers discovered a way to defeat the safety guardrails in GPT4 and GPT4-Turbo, unlocking the ability to generate harmful and toxic content, essentially beating a large language model with another large language model.

The researchers discovered that the use of tree-of-thought (ToT)reasoning to repeat and refine a line of attack was useful for jailbreaking another large language model.

What they found is that the ToT approach was successful against GPT4, GPT4-Turbo, and PaLM-2, using a remarkably low number of queries to obtain a jailbreak, on average less than thirty queries.

Tree Of Thoughts Reasoning

A Google research paper from around May 2022 discovered Chain of Thought Prompting.

Chain of Thought (CoT) is a prompting strategy used on a generative AI to make it follow a sequence of steps in order to solve a problem and complete a task. The CoT method is often accompanied with examples to show the LLM how the steps work in a reasoning task.

So, rather than just ask a generative AI like Midjourney or ChatGPT to do a task, the chain of thought method instructs the AI how to follow a path of reasoning that’s composed of a series of steps.

Tree of Thoughts (ToT) reasoning, sometimes referred to as Tree of Thought (singular) is essentially a variation and improvement of CoT, but they’re two different things.

Tree of Thoughts reasoning is similar to CoT. The difference is that rather than training a generative AI to follow a single path of reasoning, ToT is built on a process that allows for multiple paths so that the AI can stop and self-assess then come up with alternate steps.

Tree of Thoughts reasoning was developed in May 2023 in a research paper titled Tree of Thoughts: Deliberate Problem Solving with Large Language Models (PDF)

The research paper describes Tree of Thought:

“…we introduce a new framework for language model inference, Tree of Thoughts (ToT), which generalizes over the popular Chain of Thought approach to prompting language models, and enables exploration over coherent units of text (thoughts) that serve as intermediate steps toward problem solving.

ToT allows LMs to perform deliberate decision making by considering multiple different reasoning paths and self-evaluating choices to decide the next course of action, as well as looking ahead or backtracking when necessary to make global choices.

Our experiments show that ToT significantly enhances language models’ problem-solving abilities…”

Tree Of Attacks With Pruning (TAP)

This new method of jailbreaking large language models is called Tree of Attacks with Pruning, TAP. TAP uses two LLMs, one for attacking and the other for evaluating.

TAP is able to outperform other jailbreaking methods by significant margins, only requiring black-box access to the LLM.

A black box, in computing, is where one can see what goes into an algorithm and what comes out. But what happens in the middle is unknown, thus it’s said to be in a black box.

Tree of thoughts (TAP) reasoning is used against a targeted LLM like GPT-4 to repetitively try different prompting, assess the results, then if necessary change course if that attempt is not promising.

This is called a process of iteration and pruning. Each prompting attempt is analyzed for the probability of success. If the path of attack is judged to be a dead end, the LLM will “prune” that path of attack and begin another and better series of prompting attacks.

This is why it’s called a “tree” in that rather than using a linear process of reasoning which is the hallmark of chain of thought (CoT) prompting, tree of thought prompting is non-linear because the reasoning process branches off to other areas of reasoning, much like a human might do.

The attacker issues a series of prompts, the evaluator evaluates the responses to those prompts and then makes a decision as to what the next path of attack will be by making a call as to whether the current path of attack is irrelevant or not, plus it also evaluates the results to determine the likely success of prompts that have not yet been tried.

What’s remarkable about this approach is that this process reduces the number of prompts needed to jailbreak GPT-4. Additionally, a greater number of jailbreaking prompts are discovered with TAP than with any other jailbreaking method.

The researchers observe:

“In this work, we present Tree of Attacks with Pruning (TAP), an automated method for generating jailbreaks that only requires black-box access to the target LLM.

TAP utilizes an LLM to iteratively refine candidate (attack) prompts using tree-of-thoughts reasoning until one of the generated prompts jailbreaks the target.

Crucially, before sending prompts to the target, TAP assesses them and prunes the ones unlikely to result in jailbreaks.

Using tree-of-thought reasoning allows TAP to navigate a large search space of prompts and pruning reduces the total number of queries sent to the target.

In empirical evaluations, we observe that TAP generates prompts that jailbreak state-of-the-art LLMs (including GPT4 and GPT4-Turbo) for more than 80% of the prompts using only a small number of queries. This significantly improves upon the previous state-of-the-art black-box method for generating jailbreaks.”

Tree Of Thought (ToT) Outperforms Chain Of Thought (CoT) Reasoning

Another interesting conclusion reached in the research paper is that, for this particular task, ToT reasoning outperforms CoT reasoning, even when adding pruning to the CoT method, where off topic prompting is pruned and discarded.

ToT Underperforms With GPT 3.5 Turbo

The researchers discovered that ChatGPT 3.5 Turbo didn’t perform well with CoT, revealing the limitations of GPT 3.5 Turbo. Actually, GPT 3.5 performed exceedingly poorly, dropping from 84% success rate to only a 4.2% success rate.

This is their observation about why GPT 3.5 underperforms:

“We observe that the choice of the evaluator can affect the performance of TAP: changing the attacker from GPT4 to GPT3.5-Turbo reduces the success rate from 84% to 4.2%.

The reason for the reduction in success rate is that GPT3.5-Turbo incorrectly determines that the target model is jailbroken (for the provided goal) and, hence, preemptively stops the method.

As a consequence, the variant sends significantly fewer queries than the original method…”

What This Mean For You

While it’s amusing that the researchers use the ToT method to beat an LLM with another LLM, it also highlights the usefulness of ToT for generating surprising new directions in prompting in order to achieve higher levels of output.

  • TL/DR Takeaways:
  • Tree of Thought prompting outperformed Chain of Thought methods
  • GPT 3.5 worked significantly poorly in comparison to GPT 4 in ToT
  • Pruning is a useful part of a prompting strategy
  • Research showed that ToT is superior to CoT in an intensive reasoning task like jailbreaking an LLM

Read the original research paper:

Tree of Attacks: Jailbreaking Black-Box LLMs Automatically (PDF)

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