This week on Sprout Social Insights we tackled guides for Facebook, Twitter, and small business to help you better reach your customers with the social media tools that make a difference.

Check out our articles below to find out more about each one and how they can help you with your social media goals.

And check in every day to Sprout Social Insights for more how to guides and breaking social media news.

8 Companies With Fantastic Facebook Timeline Cover Images

Facebook Timeline is now the standard layout for all brand and company Facebook Pages. There’s been extensive chatter about how the change will impact businesses, but the general consensus is that the addition of the cover photo has the potential to be a huge asset for visual storytelling.

So now that everyone is using the new layout, who has best capitalized on the change? Here are eight companies that have used the cover photo as a way to show off their products, their people and their missions on Facebook. [ Read More ... ]

Promote Twitter Lists with Bit.ly

This week we show you how to promote a Twitter list using a customized short link created in Bit.ly.

It’s been a while since we’ve written about Twitter lists — the powerful Twitter feature that allows you to create your own lists (or groups) of Twitter members based on things they have in common. Here’s how to create Twitter lists, if you haven’t done so already. Once you’ve created some lists, why not promote them to your followers? Here’s a creative and effective way to do just that.
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6 Ways Social Media Strategy Is Like Football

6 Ways Social Media Is Like FootballAs business owners grapple with the mechanics of social media — like what platforms are most appropriate and how often to tweet — they can lose sight of the larger goal. In these cases, it can be useful to think about why and how you’re using social media in the first place.

To help you ponder the big picture, a metaphor can often be an effective means to evaluate your activities from a different perspective. Take the game of football — it actually has a lot of parallels to social media. Both activities involve the pursuit of a common goal using a variety of specialized tactics and strategies. Still not convinced? Take a look at the following comparisons between football and social media and see how the former can inspire and inform the latter. [ Read More... ]

Spotlight on Start-Ups: Speakerfile

Spotlight on StartupsAt Sprout Insights, we comb the web to bring you the most up-to-date and actionable resources on how to use social media to grow your business. In our travels, we also come across new products, services and companies that can help you increase your productivity, find new business opportunities, or gain competitive advantage in your industry.

To that end, we’re pleased to present a new series on Sprout Insights: Spotlight on Start-Ups. We’ll find the most innovative, useful start-up companies out there, get the inside track on what they’re doing, and tell you how you can leverage their products and services for your own business.

Whether you’ve been too busy to find these start-ups on your own or they’ve simply been under your radar, leave it us. We’ll do the leg work to bring you the most relevant information about these companies and show you the best way to apply their offerings. Who knows? We might even have a few promotions from time to time to keep you coming back for more!

Four the inaugural article in our series, we’re presenting Speakerfile — a start-up dedicated to bringing industry experts, speakers, and thought leaders together with their counterparts in the events and meetings industry.
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5 Ways to Brand and Customize Your Pinterest Page

5 Ways to Brand and Customize PinterestPart of the explosive success of Pinterest is its focus on personalization. The site allows people to display a collection of their most valued things, from material objects to intangible inspirations. While the social network has become a rapid success among individuals, recreating that same popularity for businesses is a little more complicated.

How can you translate the focus of an individual’s tastes and passions into the broader scope of a company? You’ll want to blend smart marketing ideas with the same level of care and detail that you’d apply to your own personal page. Here are five ideas to help you brand and customize your Pinterest presence to better represent your business. [ Read More... ]

How to Advertise With Google AdWords

How to Advertise With Google AdWordsWhen promoting your business online, a crucial factor in your success is simply being discovered. Unsurprisingly, a common way people discover new businesses and services is through Google search.

Google uses many factors to provide relevant search results with an algorithm it calls “PageRank.” PageRank determines where your website will be displayed in an individual’s search results. While tactics like search engine optimization can help improve your PageRank score dramatically, many other factors remain outside of your control — making it hard to climb to the top. This is where Google AdWords comes in.

Google’s AdWords platform allows you to pick search terms that are relevant to your company and bid on them. This allows your page to appear prominently in Google’s search results as advertisements — essentially cutting the line and placing a link to your business in front of all the other organic search results. AdWords can be a very effective part of your online marketing strategy. Here’s what you need to know to deploy a Google AdWords campaign for your business. [ Read More... ]

How To Identify and Overcome Social Media Burnout

social-media-burnoutSocial media is growing at a frighteningly quick pace. With new social networks, features, and rules popping up every day, it can be challenging to keep up. But for people who also manage multiple social media accounts, it can also be exhausting.

No matter how experienced you are, or where you are in your career, social media burnout is a real possibility — just like with any other activity or profession. One of the most important things about this medium is participation, and when you’re burnt out, you’re off your game and your community notices — sometimes even before you do. In this article, we’ll show you how to identify and overcome the symptoms of social media burnout. [ Read More... ]

Create Sponsored Stories Directly From Your Facebook Page

This week we’ll discuss strategies for Liking and tagging other brands’ Facebook Pages with your own, and the reasons why that can benefit you.

Facebook’s ad dashboard has become increasingly more complicated to use, especially for small businesses that are unable to work with a Facebook ad rep or third-party partner.

To remedy this, the social network will begin testing a “promote” button that will enable you to create Sponsored Stories directly from your Page. Sponsored Stories are different from Facebook Ads in that you can organically insert mentions of your company into the News Feeds and the News Ticker.
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[Image credits: Marco Gomes, Dov Harrington, Arty Guerillas, AngryJulieMonday, DennisCHEN.me, Janice Hiromi]