You just launched an app and already have partnerships, but no funding. How do you start generating some serious publicity and media coverage on a minimal budget?

Basically, if just launched a mobile app technology startup and already have some partnerships in place, but no real funding to support advertising, marketing, publicity and all of that, then how would you recommend to start generating some serious publicity and media coverage on a minimal budget? By funding, I mean there’s no significant funding via an accelerator, angel investor, fund, or VC group. It is primarily bootstrapped and funded by the founders of the startup itself.

Please let me know – thanks!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

[Nexa3D in 3D Printing Media Network] Nexa3D launches xCLEAN, an eco-friendly cleaning solvent for resin-based 3D printers

Nexa3D is introducing – with immediate commercial availability – xCLEAN, an effective and environmentally friendly washing solvent that is designed to work consistently with most photopolymer 3D printers and resin systems available on the market.

Read more here.

The post [Nexa3D in 3D Printing Media Network] Nexa3D launches xCLEAN, an eco-friendly cleaning solvent for resin-based 3D printers appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Invest In or Grow a Business with Collaborative Social Media Platform, Lander

Welcome to the Lander Life.

As social media becomes increasingly popular, it’s easy to see the power it has in helping businesses grow. Social media platforms are a great place for companies to increase brand awareness, engage with customers and potential customers, and drive sales. While a variety of platforms are available, none combine the community aspect of a social network with the fundraising capabilities of an investing site…until now.

Lander is a new social media platform where entrepreneurs, investors and the general public can come together as a community to grow their favorite businesses. Lander aims to give all potential companies – whether small, medium or large – a level playing field.

When a company joins Lander, their business is tokenized on the XRP ledger based on the value of their company. Investors can then invest in a company by buying these tokens. With the ability to invest as little as $ 100 in a company, this is a great opportunity for investors of all sizes. Once all tokens have been purchased, the business is considered funded.

Lander provides a huge benefit for businesses, especially at a time when many are permanently closing their doors. By allowing crowdfunding and conventional investing, the platform helps entrepreneurs get back in business. Companies also have access to investors in their geographical area as well as across the country and the world.

Investors benefit as well, especially small investors who may have previously been unable to get involved with larger projects. Investors can even pool their money with others to invest in higher-cost companies. Lander provides an easy way for investors to find and support new business projects.

Lander goes beyond basic social networking and fundraising to build communities where people are emotionally and financially invested. It’s a win-win-win opportunity for businesses, investors and the public.

Features

Lander is an app designed for smartphones and tablets. Its core is similar to Facebook’s and includes familiar tools that encourage communication and engagement.

Communication features include:

  • Video messaging
  • Instant messaging
  • Video and phone conferencing

Lander also enables businesses to share information and help people get to know their company.

Content capabilities include:

  • Photo and video uploads
  • Blogging
  • Posting
  • And more

Lander was created for businesses of all kinds, from food trucks to accountants, bars to construction contractors, hair salons to blockchain developers, and more. With Lander, entrepreneurs have a platform where they can grow a business from concept to reality.

Businesses will be able to:

  • Build a community of investors from all over the world
  • License products for manufacturing
  • License service franchises
  • Build a service or product sales business
  • Develop a business concept
  • Sell a business or concept

Interested?

If you’re looking for a social media platform that helps businesses succeed through the support of investors and the public, you won’t want to miss out on Lander. Learn more and join the Lander life at TheLanderLife.com.

The post Invest In or Grow a Business with Collaborative Social Media Platform, Lander appeared first on KillerStartups.

KillerStartups

Looking for alternatives to social media marketing. It feels like a massive waste of time.

Is there a way around social media? I feel like nowadays, especially for people starting from 0, social media is a lot of efforts for low results. The thing is I’m a graphic designer and I feel like I’m expected to have a presence but what I do isn’t necessarily pretty or high end or it’s a lot of website maintenance stuffs for ex. I have few clients at the time too but they take a lot of time and it’s mostly the same “boring” things I do for them. I could repost and share quotes etc but that’s nothing innovative and you can easily find all that online. And the issue is that it has to be constant and they keep adding content to create to rank well on the algorithm..

But it’s actually the same with the brands that contact me for social media. Some of them have competitors in social media that already are huge and they aren’t willing to budget enough for it to be of any use or compete successfully with these huge brands. Tbh it also just all seems so fake and always the same content that I’m started to get an aversion for it almost.

Do you think social media is necessary for businesses or do you have any recommendations or alternatives to Facebook/Instagram. What options do you think are most efficient for online marketing? I’ve been doing this for 3 years and it’s truly getting nowhere and taking up all my time.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Best Social Media WordPress Plugin – (Review Updated for 2020)

A good social media WordPress plugin lets visitors engage with you on social media. It also helps social media followers convert on your website.

Let’s look at an example: You wrote and published a killer blog post. A reader loves your post and wants to share it with their friends on social media. How do they do this?

Without the proper tools, the person would have to copy your blog link, navigate to the social platform, login, and manually paste the link before sharing it. The person may ultimately decide that it’s just not worth going through all of those steps to share your post. That decision may not even be conscious—they may get distracted and move on to something else.

Social media WordPress plugins can make it easy for website visitors to share with just one click.

That’s just one example of why you need to install a social media plugin to your WordPress site. As we continue through this guide and review the best social media WordPress plugins, you’ll learn about the additional benefits.

The 6 Best Social Media WordPress Plugins

After taking a look at dozens of social media WordPress plugins, I’ve narrowed it down to the six best:

  • Social Warfare
  • Instagram Feed
  • Social Locker
  • Super Socializer
  • Revive Old Post
  • Kiwi Social Share

Read on to find my in-depth reviews of each one.

1. Social Warfare

Social Warfare

Social Warfare is considered among the best social media WordPress plugins because it’s so simple. Other plugins have a reputation for slowing down your website, but that shouldn’t happen with Social Warfare.

This plugin is designed to increase shares by adding social sharing icons to your website. You can add buttons for the most popular social media networks, including:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

If you upgrade to Social Warfare Pro, you’ll gain access to share buttons for other platforms like Reddit, WhatsApp, Buffer, Tumblr, Pocket, and more.

Social Warfare also lets you choose exactly where you want to place the sharing buttons. You can add them above your content, below your content, in both of these locations, or manually place them on your pages. This plugin offers floating share icons as well — as a user scrolls your site, the sharing buttons remain in view at all times.

Social Warfare allows you to track your results with UTM parameters. You can view analytics to see how well your sharing icons are performing so you can tweak them, if necessary.

2. Instagram Feed

Instagram Feed

As the name implies, the Instagram Feed WordPress plugin lets you share your Instagram content directly on your website. By adding your Instagram posts to your website, visitors will have a better idea of what type of content you share on that platform. And, they won’t have to search for your profile on Instagram. This is a great way to increase your Instagram followers. It’s also a great way to keep your site updated with the fresh images you’re posting on Instagram.

Setting up the plugin is easy. All you need to do is link your Instagram account and determine where you want the feed displayed on your website.

There is a premium version of this plugin that comes with features like:

  • Shoppable feeds
  • Ability to filter content based on hashtags
  • Popup lightboxes
  • Hashtag feeds
  • Advanced moderation for hiding or showcasing specific posts
  • Post comments for user feeds

For one website, you can purchase the pro license for $ 39. But if you just want the basic feed on your website, you can stick with the free version and save a few bucks.

3. Social Locker

Social Locker

Social Locker is definitely one of my favorite social media WordPress plugins. Personally, I love the whole concept behind how this plugin works.

Here’s the thing. Just adding social sharing icons to your website doesn’t necessarily give people a reason to follow you or share your content. You can increase those chances by installing this plugin.

That’s because Social Locker restricts your premium content. For example, let’s say you have an ebook on your website. As opposed to charging for downloads, you use social media engagement as a currency. If someone follows, likes, or shares content on your website, the ebook is unlocked.

Here’s an example of what this would look like from the perspective of a website visitor:

Social Locker Example

For those of you who normally charge for various types of content on your website and don’t want to give it away for free, you can use these social engagements to generate discounts for that content.

Maybe you have an online video tutorial that you normally charge to view. With Social Locker, you can choose to offer the video at a discount if a user shares your content.

This plugin helps you drive social media traffic while simultaneously gaining quality followers. It’s a great way to generate new leads and drive conversions with social media integration on your website.

4. Super Socializer

Super Socializer

Allowing your website visitors to create a customer profile benefits everyone — the user will receive more personalized content, and you’ll be able to learn more information about your customers so you can target them accordingly. It’s a win-win situation.

In order for this strategy to be effective, people need to create these profiles in the first place. That’s easier said than done.

Think about it for a minute: What steps does someone need to take to create a profile? At a minimum, they need to provide you with some personal information and create a username and password. People have so many accounts to keep track of on various websites. Is your site important enough to them to go through this?

You can increase your chances of getting more visitors to do this by integrating your sign up and login process with social media. Super Socializer is perfect for this.

Now users can create an account and login with just one click since they’re likely already signed in to their social media profiles. Plus, they won’t have to remember a new username and password.

Another benefit of this plugin is that you’ll get access to more information about your website visitors. You can target people accordingly based on their social media likes and habits. You can also enable social comments with Super Socializer. This is a great way to drive conversation and get more comments on your blog posts.

Overall, this plugin definitely has more advanced features and functionality that goes far beyond simple social sharing icons, although it does have those options as well. If you want an all in one plugin for social logins, social comments, and social sharing, Super Socializer is worth checking out.

5. Revive Old Post

Revive Old Post
What happens to your blog posts after you publish them? In a perfect world, they remain relevant in terms of SEO forever, but that doesn’t necessarily help you out on social media.

Here’s another question for you. How are you deciding what to share on your social platforms each day? It’s not always easy to come up with ideas for social media posts.

The Revive Old Post WordPress plugin by Revive Social provides a solution to both of these questions. This plugin automatically shares your previously published content on your social media platforms like:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest

Revive Old Post can share more than just your blog posts. It can also share pages, custom posts, and media from your website. The plugin will automatically fetch images from your content and attach them to the social media post.

You’ll have complete control over how each post is shared. Maybe you just want the title of your post or page. Some of you may want more, such as a hashtag or additional text.

Revive Old Post can be integrated with your Google Analytics profile. This is ideal for campaign tracking to see how well these links are performing. Overall, it’s a great way to automate your social media posting while simultaneously driving traffic to your website.

BONUS: Revive Network

Revive Social has another plugin, called the Revive Network. This plugin is designed specifically for Facebook and Twitter. It’s made for sharing content from other websites in your industry on social media. This is a great way to expand your professional network, in addition to sharing relevant information on your website. It’s great for those of you who don’t have an active blog or lots of content of your own.

6. Kiwi Social Share

Kiwi Social Share

Kiwi Social Share is designed for the average WordPress user. If you’re looking for a plugin that’s easy to install, setup, and won’t confuse you with too many complex features, you’ll definitely want to take a closer look at this option.

With Kiwi Social Share, you’ll be able to create custom icons for social media sharing on your website. You can customize the position of the icons, as well as enable a floating bar that’s always in view. Kiwi Social Share also gives you the option to change the size and shape of the sharing buttons.

It has a “click to tweet” function for specific phrases as well. So if you’re writing a blog and want to highlight one of your favorite quotes, users can share that quote via Twitter with a link back to your blog.

Kiwi Social Share doesn’t slow down your website and lets you create social sharing icons that are visually appealing to your visitors. Installing this plugin puts you in a great position to increase engagement on your website and gain more exposure on social media.

Top features to look for in a social media WordPress plugin

Before we analyze specific plugins, I want to take a moment to identify some of the functionalities to keep your eye on when searching for a social media plugin:

Social icons — This shows your website visitors that you have social media pages. If they click on an icon, they’ll automatically be directed to the corresponding profile.

Social logins — Allow people to sign into customer profiles using their social media accounts. This makes it easier on your customers since they won’t have to create brand new usernames and passwords to access content on your website.

Social sharing icons — Website visitors can share content from your site to their social media profiles with just one click.

Social feeds — Showcase your social media feeds directly on your website. This feature gives your website visitors an idea of what to expect if they follow your profiles.

Social locking — Restrict your best content with a social locking tool. Content can be unlocked if a website visitor makes a specified action, such as following you or sharing content on social media.

Social comments — Enhance the conversation in your comments section by adding social media comments to your posts. This is a great way to drive engagement and get more blog comments.

Automated posting — Instead of manually posting your website content on social media, you can take advantage of plugins that do this for you.

Now that you know the top features of the best social media WordPress plugins, it’s time to check out the top options to consider.

Conclusion

It’s obvious that your website and social media profiles need to be working together to generate optimal results. So what’s the best social media WordPress plugin? It depends on what you’re looking for.

Some of you might just want to add something simple, like social sharing icons to your blog posts or Instagram feeds to your landing pages. While others might be looking for features that are a bit more advanced, like restricting content based on social media actions.

Maybe you want an all-in-one plugin that also has features like social signups and logins.

Do you want to automate your social media posts with your previously published content? There’s a plugin for that too.

As you can see from this guide, there’s a social media WordPress plugin for everyone based on your specific needs. Now, share this post with a friend who needs it. Naturally, there are social buttons right here for you to do just that.

Quick Sprout

Taiwan-based TNL Media Group raises $8 million to build its publishing and data analytics businesses

Since launching in 2013, Taipei-based TNL Media Group has grown from an independent news site to a media company with several online publishing verticals and a data analytics business. The company, formerly known as The News Lens, announced today that it has raised $ 8 million from New York-based investment firm Palm Drive Capital, as part of its Series D round.

TNL Media Group’s last funding announcement was a Series C round announced two years ago. Co-founder and chief executive officer Joey Chung told TechCrunch that its latest infusion of funding will be used to add more media verticals, continue TNL Media Group’s international expansion and finish its current pipeline of data analytics and tech service products.

TNL Media Group’s previous investors include North Base Media, the firm co-founded by Washington Post and Wall Street Journal veteran Marcus Brauchli (who is also a member of the startup’s board). The News Lens launched seven years ago as a bilingual site to give millennial readers an alternative to traditional media outlets in Taiwan, where coverage is often sharply divided along political lines and traffic is driven by celebrity gossip and other tabloid fodder.

Since then, it has grown through a series of launches and acquisitions. In addition to its main news site, it also operates separate sites for tech, sports, lifestyle, gadgets and entertainment content. Earlier this year, TNL Media Group acquired Taiwanese mobile ad technology startup Ad2iction, a cloud-based platform for brands to manage and create digital ads.

Because TNL Media Group already has offices in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and also has a media vertical dedicated to covering Southeast Asia, Chung said the company is now looking for opportunities to expand there. At the same time, he added that TNL Media Group has “had numerous very late-stage conversations” about partnerships to launch in Japan.

The company’s media verticals complement its data analytics business because it is able to draw on TNL Media Group’s user base for data, which Chung said is “one of the largest readership pools for digital audiences in the greater China market.”

On average, TNL Media Group’s sites have around 14 million monthly unique users. Its data analytics business, which launched within the past year, currently has about three to five clients per month. “But of course, we are planning for that to be ramped up substantially in the coming months and years, and that will gradually grow to become a very important part of our entire business portfolio,” Chung said.

TNL Media Group’s other products include mobile ad tech, digital ticketing services, online events and online classes, and a content management system (CMS) it will start licensing to other companies.

Chung said that by the end of this year, many of these products will be integrated with its readership and data to develop a demand-side platform (DSP, a tool that connects ad buyers with publishers) and a data management platform that are already in production.

In a press statement about its investment in TNL Media Group, Palm Drive Capital managing partner Nick Hsu said, “Palm Drive Capital focuses on investing in global technology startups using software to transform traditional industries. This is evident in the media industry, particularly as Taiwan’s online ad expenditure has already reached over one billion U.S. dollars and is estimated to grow to 1.65 billion U.S. dollars by 2021. Having known the TNL Media Group team for years, we see massive potential to leverage data to drive growth, consolidation, and international expansion in the media industry.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Applicaster Raises $11M to Let Media Companies Manage OTT Across All Platforms

Applicaster’s Zapp App Management Platform simplifies the development and lifecycle management of OTT media applications. In an era, where media companies must be where the audience is, Applicaster enables these companies to seamlessly widen their distribution without custom development for each platform and multiple codebases. CEO and Cofounder Jonathan Laor shares more on how the company was bourne out of need, prescient in its thinking, and was able to recently close its latest funding round from investors that include Viola Growth, 83 North, Pitango, Saban Ventures, Planven Investments, and La Maison
AlleyWatch

How to positively handle negative social media comments

Negative social media comments and reviews are sometimes amusing, but they can pose major problems for businesses. Many studies have explored the impact of online reviews on consumer behavior, and the general consensus is that:

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google are unavoidable parts of running a business today. They increasingly act as the primary connection between your company and its customers, and they also largely shape your online reputation.

While these interactions and your social media marketing efforts can be productive for your business, they’re also highly visible and can hurt you if handled haphazardly.

For instance, when someone posts negative feedback on Google, all of your current and potential customers can see it, as well as your subsequent reaction. Is that reaction calm and empathetic, rash and emotional, or something else entirely

Handling negative social media comments and reviews poorly is one of the biggest reputation mistakes that internet entrepreneurs make.

 

If you’re running your own business and haven’t found a solution for gracefully dealing with your customers online, it’s time to change that.

In this article, we explore several strategies for dealing with negative social media comments, walk you step-by-step through responding to a less-than-ideal customer review, explain what not to do when managing the comment sections of your social media profiles, and finally elaborate on the importance of responding to all comments — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let’s get to it.

Strategies for handling negative social media comments

Not sure how to respond to negative comments on social media like a pro? These suggestions can help.

Ready? Let’s go.

Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

Respond to the comment quickly

Woman Sitting On Floor With Laptop

The last thing you want a disgruntled customer to feel is that you’re ignoring their complaint or concern. Not to mention, casual bystanders (i.e. potential customers) will take your silence into consideration before purchasing your products or services.

Even if you need some time to look into their problem, there’s nothing wrong with simply posting an official statement that says you’re investigating the situation and will be in touch as soon as possible. Just make sure you remember to leave a response once you’ve figured it out (or it won’t be a good look either).

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Be sincere and transparent

Believe it or not, most customers understand that you and the individuals working with you are human. Mistakes happen. How you deal with them, however, is where you can really hurt (or boost) your reputation.

If there’s an issue with your products or services, let your customers know that you’re aware of the problem, and are working on a solution.

Leave the script behind and communicate your genuine concern and commitment toward addressing the issue.

Plus, negative comments can humanize your social media profiles. A constant stream of 5-star reviews might seem phony to some users, so engage with them sincerely to de-escalate situations and generate goodwill.

Related: 15 social media tips and best practices for 2020

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Give discounts when necessary

Sometimes people just need to know that you understand their frustration. When you back up a thoughtful response with a discount, you don’t just tell them you understand — you show them.

Think of a small discount as an extra token of your appreciation for their business, and for taking the time to provide feedback.

 

Just make sure the discount makes sense and is proportionate to the issue they’re facing, or that discount will look insincere.

Discounts can provide a variety of benefits for businesses as well. Although handing out a discount may cost you a little upfront, it often pays off in the form of a loyal customer, or even future business from that customer’s social circle (word of mouth marketing is a powerful thing).

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Interact directly with your customers

Red Phone With Cord

It’s not always ideal to handle negative social media comments on public forums. Know when to leave a polite and sincere response, as well as when to step back and directly message customers.

Not only do public forums reduce your control of the situation, but watching a Twitter battle unfold might also annoy your followers, even if you’re being kind and accommodating. And if you’re dealing with negative feedback on Yelp? Also a place where things can escalate quickly.

The bottom line is that almost every popular social media platform has a direct message feature. Use that feature to your advantage.

After you’ve handled the formalities of making a public response, move the conversation to private messages where you can explore the customer’s unhappiness and try to make it right. Just remember to conduct yourself as though everyone is watching, because people will take screenshots if they feel slighted.

Related: 3 steps to managing reviews online

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Make yourself available and visible

Your company website and social media profiles should make it easy for your customers to contact you, and for you to reach out to them.

A social media complaint response doesn’t always have to be incredibly public, either. If a customer complains on your business page, leave a polite reply saying that you’re sorry for their experience and that you’ll be in touch via messenger to rectify the situation.

You can also provide an unhappy customer your customer service phone number or email address to give them direct access to a human being — especially if the issue is ongoing or if you’re trying to troubleshoot their problem.

There’s nothing more disheartening for a customer than having to cut through red tape when they have a problem.

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Keep things in perspective

The best business owners know they have to take the bad with the good, and that bumps — like negative feedback — are part of the game. Strive to resolve negative social media comments responsibly, and stay focused on the good that can come from them. Your customers will appreciate you and your business much more if you do.

Finally, when thinking about your optimal response to negative comments, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your customers are reaching out for help (even if they do so in an angry or exasperated way).

Take care of their needs and, most of the time, they’ll repay you with loyalty and positive comments in the future.

Related: 4 ways to wow with social media customer service

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Considerations for leaving a response to negative comments

So when that negative comment inevitably appears, what steps should you take to make the situation right? We’ve got five steps below to guide you through.

1. Step back and take a deep breath

Some people are naturally laid back in every situation. But for the rest of us, it’s easy to get defensive when someone complains or attacks something we hold close to our hearts, like our business.

Do whatever you need to achieve a stable state of mind before responding to a negative social media comment.

 

You want your brand voice to be professional and level-headed, even if irreverence is on-brand for your particular business.

When you’ve achieved that mental state (or something close to it), proceed to the next step.
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2. Write out your response on paper

Don’t jump online and push out a hurried response to the negative social media comment. Take your time, and write your thoughts out on paper.

Taking notes and writing a draft like this lets you gather your ideas, consider how to best articulate your response, and determine if you think this customer deserves a discount, refund, etc. It also gives you time to think about what to post publicly, and what to keep private.

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3. Be ready to give something up

As you’re writing out a response to the complaint, also think about what you could potentially give up — discounts, free shipping, free products — in order to turn things around with the customer.

Ultimately, placating an unhappy and vocal customer will save your business money.

 

However, it’s important to phrase your offer in a way that comes off as sincere, or it may not end up helping at all and may actually make them angrier.

That’s why it’s important to get a second opinion on your response.

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4. Loop in a colleague or trusted individual for writing feedback

Two People Having A Discussion At A Picnic Bench

It might seem drastic, but a single social media complaint response can end up causing many issues for your business. After you’ve written what you think is the ideal reply for this particular scenario, get a second opinion.

Having someone else assess the tone of your words — whether it’s a colleague, trusted friend, or even spouse — can help ensure your writing comes off as sincere.

Show them the customer’s complaint as well as your potential response, and see what they think. It’s possible they’ll have suggestions on how to better ameliorate the situation, and they can give you an opinion on whether a discount/refund seems like the next logical step.

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5. Comment and track the situation

You’ve put together an on-brand, calm-and-collected response and had its tone approved by someone else — you’re now ready to respond to the negative comment.

After you’ve clicked “reply” or “send,” you’ll want to make sure the situation comes to a satisfactory conclusion for both you and the customer/user, so don’t sweep everything under the rug just yet.

Make sure that any promises you make in your comment come to fruition, follow up in a private message if the customer is unresponsive to your reply, and be ready to wrap everything up with a nice bow once the customer reaches out again.

If you’re able to turn these negative social media comments into a positive (or even just mitigate their impact), your business’s online presence will be a stable, healthy one.

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What NOT to do when responding to negative social media comments

There are several things you shouldn’t do when responding to negative social media comments.

1. Don’t delete comments (usually)

For instance, don’t delete negative comments. There are few situations where deleting a user’s complaint about your product or service is a good idea. If they are slinging profanity or posting off-topic things, it’s fine to hit the delete button, but don’t censor legitimate critiques.

Deleting a negative comment can create bad blood very quickly, particularly because people who take the time to post something on your social media are active users.

They are much more likely to follow up if they feel they have been unfairly silenced, and once other customers hear about it, they’ll all grab pitchforks.

Related: How to flag a Yelp review

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2. Don’t neglect your social media presence

You should also not leave your social media in the hands of untrained employees.

Consistency is key with any business process, and the same applies for your response to negative social media comments. You don’t want to deal with a rogue employee or intern tweeting rude things on your company profiles.

To avoid such issues, have a clear, written outline of your company strategy for responding to negative comments on social media, and put serious effort into training your staff.

Go over your outline with all existing employees, and make that outline part of the onboarding process.

There is no way to plan for every scenario, so your staff will always be expected to use their own creativity and customer service skills. Each employee should be prepared to do so at any time, with any customer.

Take your social accounts seriously, and you’ll be able to achieve a more consistent brand voice across all social media platforms.

Related: How to grow your business’s social media following

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3. Don’t argue

While you might not believe in the sentiment “the customer is always right,” you should abide by it when addressing negative social media comments. Even if you’re certain they’re wrong, don’t argue, and don’t pick a fight with them, because it will backfire.

And if you know they made an obvious user error, send them a private message politely explaining the situation rather than publicly torching them. They most likely will appreciate the tact and should move on from their gripe as well.

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Why responding to all comments is good for your business

Responding to all comments is the best strategy for savvy business owners because getting engagement is a challenge. There are many competing voices out there, and as long as the customer in question is sincere and not a spammer or troll, they are worth your time.

Unhappy customers create a dialogue about the quality of your products and services and may be a little help away from being a long-term customer.

Happy customers boost your reputation, connect your business to their social circles, and end up becoming the ones you rely on to keep your business running. Taking care of both demographics is crucial to your online success.

And with the right management tools and plan in place, negative scenarios don’t have to be detrimental to your business either.

It’s definitely possible to walk away from a negative situation with increased loyalty from a previously upset customer, as well as from the users — new and old — who witnessed the situation play out on your social media profiles.

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Respond well and enjoy the benefits

Mobile Phone With Social Media Reactions Above

The level of visibility afforded to social media presents business owners with a unique opportunity when they encounter a disgruntled customer. Your response to negative social media comments, if handled with the proper care and technique, can actually leave your business’s reputation stronger than before.

Whether the feedback you’re getting on your social media accounts is good or bad, engage your customers like never before with GoDaddy Social. Elevate your online presence on the platforms that matter most.

This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Genevieve Tuenge and Simon Slade.

The post How to positively handle negative social media comments appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

GoDaddy Blog

16 Best Social Media Management Tools

Social media is a wasteland of productivity.

Marketers use social media to grow their businesses. Most, however, are wasting their time.

I’m not saying social media is a bad marketing channel. In fact, I use platforms such as Facebook to drive tons of quality traffic to my websites.

Clearly, I’m not the only one.

92% of marketers stated that they put a high value on social media as a marketing platform.

Knowing that, it’s not surprising that 8 out of 10 small and medium sized businesses incorporate social media marketing into their growth strategy.

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What’s really great is that it works, at least to a small degree, for most businesses.

According to a industry report compiled by Social Media Examiner, 80% of marketers report that social media has increased website traffic for their businesses. As expected, there are other benefits. For example, 72% of marketers say social media helps them develop loyal fans.

So when I’m talking about waste, I mean that although almost everyone uses social media for their businesses, very few do it efficiently.

They spend a lot of time and resources and get back minimal results.

You need to spend time optimizing your social media efforts. Once you do, you will save time and get better results in terms of engagement, traffic, and conversions.

One of the fundamental ways to do tasks more efficiently is to use tools.

There are hundreds of social media tools specifically designed to make the lives of social media marketers easier.

I’ve put together a list of 16 of the best social media marketing tools to improve your social media marketing efforts.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is great because it has versatile plan options that can match the size of your business and its needs. If you’re the only one using it and you’ve got no more than 10 social media profiles, it’s only $ 20 per month to use this tool.

But for larger teams and businesses, it has plans for up to 20 and up to 50 social media profiles that can be managed by multiple team members. Those plans go for $ 99 and $ 499 per month, respectively.

Hootsuite helps you schedule all your social media posts across all your accounts.

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That way, you can schedule all your posts in one go on all your accounts as opposed to manually posting on all your profiles throughout the day.

Hootsuite allows you to easily organize all of your content. Their content library dashboard is extremely clean and easy to navigate.

Those of you who store your content on the cloud-based platforms, such as Drop Box, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Box, can access those files directly from the Hootsuite dashboard.

If you’re using other apps to help manage your social media accounts, Hootsuite can work with those tools as well. That way, you can manage everything in one place.

The schedule menu clearly displays all your pending content, so it’s easy to monitor. You can view the schedule by day, week, month, or even as a list.

If you have a large team using Hootsuite together, you can assign team leaders to have the final approval of content before it goes live. That way, you’ll catch any mistakes and won’t have to worry about posting unapproved content.

One of the best parts about this social media marketing tool is the analytics reports.

You won’t have to use another third-party platform to measure the reach and engagement of your content. You’ll see the metrics of each post per platform, which can even help determine your social ROI.

Hootsuite also has tools that help monitor your team and keep everyone accountable. You can see which team members are resolving tasks the fastest and which ones need improvement.

As a whole, Hootsuite is worth checking out. They offer a 30-day free trial, so it can’t hurt.

2. MeetEdgar

If you have problems coming up with new content to post on your social profiles, you may want to consider MeetEdgar as a solution.

This software will recycle old posts when you run out of new ones to make sure your posting queue is never empty.

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this is a permanent solution and a strategy you should employ all the time. But with that said, there’s nothing wrong with bringing old posts back to life.

It’s definitely better to recycle old content as opposed to posting nothing at all.

If you’ve been slacking off with creating new content and your posting queue runs dry, you can set up MeetEdgar to share older posts with high engagement statistics.

Even if you’ve got a content library full of new content but don’t want to take the time to decide what order to post them in, the auto-scheduler can choose for you.

Instead of having to download the software and open it every time you want to manage your social media accounts, MeetEdgar has a browser extension, allowing you to access its services from the web.

If you operate a small business and have bigger tasks to worry about than micro-managing your social media accounts on a daily basis, I’d say you’re an ideal candidate for MeetEdgar.

It’s $ 49 per month, and you’ll get a free month if you enrol in an annual billing cycle.

3. Buffer

Like most social media management tools, Buffer also allows you to schedule your social media posts from a single platform. But what separates Buffer from the crowd is its mobile application.

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I know what it’s like to be constantly on the go. You don’t always have the time to sit in front of your computer to manage your social media accounts.

Even if you’re just scheduling posts for the week, having the option to do this from a mobile app makes things easier and gives you lots of flexibility.

You can access the Buffer app on your smartphone while you’re on the train, bus, subway, or in the back of an Uber. If you’ve got downtime between meetings, it’s much easier to pull out your phone than to grab your computer to do the work.

Buffer provides you with visual reports and analytics that track engagement metrics such as:

  • mentions
  • likes
  • comments
  • shares
  • retweets
  • clicks
  • reach.

This service also highlights your top performing posts. You can see which strategy is working the best and craft your future posts in a similar fashion.

With the Buffer RSS feed, it’s really easy for you to publish content from any of your favorite websites with just one click. The platform also supports video and GIF uploading, so you can share different types of content with your followers.

Buffer also has its own image creator. This is a chance for you to let your creative juices flow and come up with original images that make your social posts stand out from the crowd.

Here is a quick guide on how to create a posting schedule using Buffer.

Set up a free account, and connect a social media account. Once you’ve done so, click “Schedule.”

You’ll be able to choose when you post and what days you post on. You can do this once and then never think about scheduling social posts again—a huge time saver.

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Now you need to add some content to your queue, which will be shared automatically at the times you just selected.

If you click on the main “Content” tab, you can pick a social profile on the left menu, and then type in a message you want to share.

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When you click the blue button at the bottom, your post will be added to your queue.

When you click on your main content area, you’ll see your current queue as well as the times when your posts are scheduled to go out. You can drag around messages to change their order or edit them whenever you like.

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The real power of Buffer is that you can add content to your queue anywhere on the web.

Let’s say you read a Quick Sprout post and think your followers would love it as well.

If you click on any social sharing button, you’ll notice that an option to add it to Buffer now appears in addition to the regular options.

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You can add a post to your queue without ever going to your actual account.

Finally, Buffer also offers useful information on the performance of your posts. You can use this information to tell whether you should alter your sharing strategy or whether growth is going well.

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Bonus Buffer tool – In some situations, you’ll have a list of great URLs or a whole bunch of posts that you would like to add to your Buffer queue all at once.

Bulk Buffer allows you to upload a text or csv file with all these shares to your Buffer account all at once.

Usually, with social bulk posting tools, you need to follow a complicated format with dates and other information, but since you already took care of that in Buffer, it’s much easier.

All you need for this tool is a simple list. Put one message you want to share on each line, and wrap each line in quotation marks.

For example, I could save the following three messages in a text file before uploading the file:

“How to Write an Author Bio That Doesn’t Suck http://bit.ly/1JU6eoR  My latest from @hubspot”

“The Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing Any Google Penalty https://www.quicksprout.com/fixing-google-penalty/

“27 travel tips that even frequent fliers may not know http://ow.ly/QsS8i”

Inside of Bulk Buffer, import your file where it gives you the option, then select the social account connected to Buffer where you would like to share the posts (you can select multiple).

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4. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo differs from the marketing tools we’ve analyzed so far.

The software analyzes social media profiles and connects you with influencers to promote your brand.

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If you’ve read my top marketing trends of 2018, you know that micro influencers are on the rise this year. If you’re looking for help in this space, Buzzsumo is a great place to start.

Even if adding influencers to your marketing campaign isn’t part of your marketing strategy right now, Buzzsumo still has lots of great tools to make your social media marketing strategy easier.

It has brand monitoring tools that will alert you with mentions of your company as well as your competitors’ plus any relevant keywords, backlinks, and other domains.

This makes it easy for you to see how you stack up against your biggest competition.

Buzzsumo also searches for relevant to your brand content across the Internet. The software filters information that resonates with your audience to help you stay up to date on the latest trends.

You’ll have access to reports about the content shared the most across all the different social media platforms. You can filter this information by the last 24 hours or other time intervals, going back to the past year.

You can determine which type of content is popular short- and long-term.

Buzzsumo lets you organize popular content by its type. You can look at videos or infographics in addition to images and written posts.

Here are examples of two ways to use Buzzsumo.

The first is to “spy” on competitors and see what has worked for them. When you enter their domain name into the search box, you will get a list of their most popular social content, sorted by total shares.

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If you look at 5-10 competitors, you can get a really good idea of which content resonates best with your target audience.

You can even share some of the most popular content you discover, which will resonate with your existing followers.

Alternatively, you can look for popular content to share by keyword.

In the text box, enter some main keywords from your niche:

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When you’re looking for content to share to a particular network, you should always click on the header of that network to sort by those shares.

5. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is another top choice if you’re looking for one place to manage all your social media profiles.

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This platform makes it really easy for you to draft, store, and queue all your social posts. You can see everything organized from the calendar, which serves a visual representation of your schedule.

The dashboard also helps you monitor how your posts are doing. You’ll get to view all the metrics by platform or post.

If you’ve got several team members working together on your social media campaigns, Sprout Social is a great option for you. It’s easy to delegate tasks and choose who gets to approve posts before they go live.

Sprout Social also helps you respond to all of your messages from followers. You won’t have to individually log in to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other profiles to see these messages.

This will help you stay organized and respond to messages in the order they were received, as opposed to responding based on which platform you’re logged in to at the time.

Sprout Social has features that help you monitor hashtags and keywords. You can see the share of the volume of those specific keywords your company has.

You’ll also have access to features specifically designed for building and managing your customer relationships.

Members of your team can make notes about different customers and their social media profiles based on your history and contact with them.

If the same customer contacts you more than once using more than one platform, all their information will be neatly organized in one place.

6. Oktopost

Oktopost is different from the other tools I’ve discussed so far because it’s specifically designed for B2B companies.

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B2B marketers don’t use social media the same way B2C companies do. The type of engagement and response they’re trying to get out of each post is different.

B2B marketers put a strong emphasis on the quality of their lead-generation strategies.

Depending on your business and industry, you may not need to expose your brand to hundreds of thousands of social media profiles. Sometimes, just a handful of new clients per year is enough for a business to be extremely profitable.

Oktopost is great because it helps B2B businesses make sure they’re using the right social platforms effectively to reach their audiences.

You’ll still get the same benefits of posting automation, scheduling, and management you receive with some of the other options I talked about, but you’ll get the analytics geared toward a B2B business.

7. IFTTT

IFTTT is a fantastic Swiss army knife tool for all types of marketers. Best of all, you can use all of its functionality free.

While this tool has gained some popularity, the reason it has not been adopted by more marketers and SEOs is because there’s a bit of a learning curve.

IFTTT stands for:

  • IF This…
  • Then That

You get to define the “this” and “that.”

For example, you could say IF a new post is published on Quick Sprout (the “this” event), THEN send me an email (the “that” event).

Each series of events that you define is called a “recipe.” You can create as many recipes as you like.

They’ll look something like this:

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IFTTT is especially great for social media marketers because the tool can post, read, and do all sorts of things with almost all major social networks:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr

One other neat thing about IFTTT is that you can add recipes created by other people. While it’s good to think about how to customize a recipe for your specific business, sometimes you’ll find that the perfect one is already made.

There are thousands of great social media recipes, but I’ll walk you through two so that you get the hang of it. It gets really repetitive and simple once you get used to it.

Recommended recipe #1 – Create an automatic social media calendar: I’m a big fan of editorial and social calendars.

They are great for keeping you on track and can also show you useful performance trends so that you know if your work is actually resulting in growth.

This particular recipe requires you to be a Buffer user (Tool #1).

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When you add a post to Buffer, it is automatically scheduled according to the times you’ve set. When you activate this recipe, it will automatically take that scheduled post time and add it to your Google Calendar.

This way, you can quickly see a visual representation of what and how often you’re posting on all of your networks.

When you find a recipe page, while logged-in, you’ll often see bright blue buttons that tell you that you need to do something.

In this case, you’ll need to connect both your Buffer and Google accounts before adding the recipe:

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Once you connect those accounts, those buttons will disappear, and the “Add” button will become active:

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Click that button, and you’re done!

Recommended recipe #2 – Save Tweets in a spreadsheet: Depending on how you track your Tweets, it can be useful to have a list of them in a spreadsheet. This recipe does that for you automatically.

You could then rewrite or re-use the Tweets.

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Again, you’ll have to connect your Twitter and Google Drive accounts if you haven’t already.

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It’s not as complicated as an “automation tool” label makes it sound.

Here are a ton of other great recipes you can look at now:

8. Canva

Social media has become more and more visual over time, and that trend isn’t going to stop. Posts that contain pictures get more engagement on almost every network.

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If you have a huge audience and need top-notch images, I do recommend hiring a quality designer.

But, not everyone needs amazing images. You might just need good or great images. Also remember that you can use the same pictures for both blog posts and social media posts, so the cost isn’t as high as if you were creating unique images for each channel.

When you’re on a tight budget or need a picture in a rush, you can create one using Canva even if you’re not great at design.

Create a free account and log in. When you return to the homepage, you’ll see many different template options—many are specifically for social networks.

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Click on an appropriate template depending on the network you use, and a canvas will be created for you. It will also be the perfect size for your social network.

Under the “LAYOUTS” tab in the left sidebar, you can see all the different template options at your disposal:

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Click a template that looks good, and it will appear on the right.

You can then click on any of the elements on your canvas (background, text, symbols, etc.) and edit them as you like:

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Once you’re done, click “Download” from the top menu bar.

If you get proficient with Canvas, you can create a picture in a minute or two that will get your social shares extra attention.

9. Post Planner

Post Planner is an app that integrates directly into Facebook. It is designed to make scheduling Facebook posts easier and more effective.

The main limitation and strength is that it is limited to Facebook. If you only focus on Facebook, it might be the best tool for you. But if you focus on other networks instead—or as well—you’re probably better off with a tool such as Buffer or Edgar.

This is a really robust tool, so I can’t go through all its features. Here are the most important ones:

  • Post scheduling – You can schedule posts on your Facebook page ahead of time and do it in bulk.
  • Target your audience – One really useful feature is the ability to target specific countries while scheduling a post. You can segment posts by time zone or run a promotion for certain users.

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  • Automate posting – You can tell the tool to automatically post new content from an RSS feed. Not usually the best option, but it can be handy.
  • Trending content – You can quickly find trending content on Facebook based on a chosen keyword. You can share this content knowing that it will be popular with your followers as well.

Since you use the app right in Facebook, it looks and works very similarly to every other Facebook function:

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Facebook has always been pretty good with analytics, but Post Planner allows you to get a little more advanced and really dig through the performance of past posts in its analytics:

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10. Bundlepost

Bundlepost includes the ability to schedule posts on all major social networks but has a few great features that will save you even more time.

I will say, though, that Bundlepost isn’t quite as intuitive as most other tools, so while it is useful, it will take some time to learn the ins and outs of it.

One thing I’m really bad at is including hashtags in posts even though I know they are a great way to improve your engagement.

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One of the main features of Bundlepost is the ability to automatically replace common niche keywords with hashtags.

For example, you can add the phrase “social media” to a hashtag folder in the tool and tell it to replace any mentions of that phrase with #SocialMedia.

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Not only will it save you time, but it will also eliminate the chance of you forgetting to add the hashtags.

The second useful feature of the tool is the ability to create Bundle Feeds. You enter as many keywords as you like, and the tool will automatically find relevant social media content to share on your channels.

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There is a chance you could share some low-quality or off-topic content, so it’s a good idea to review the generated suggestions.

11. Mention

One of the hardest part of managing a social media program is spotting social mentions as they come up.

You only have a chance to respond if you’re aware of the social mention in the first place. That gives you a chance to:

  • Respond to negative reviews or complaints and end on a positive note
  • Amplify positive reviews
  • Connect with partners and influences that are already talking about you
  • Discover new audiences for future campaigns

Mention solves this problem.

When you sign up with them, they do all the listening for you.

Set up an alert (like your brand) and any time someone talks about that subject, you’ll get notified instantly.

They even have a free plan that comes with 1 alert and connects to up to 3 social accounts. It’s a perfect way to see the power of social notifications.

For power users, there’s host of reporting, analytics, and account tools to help you manage everything. This includes publishing features so you can do everything from a single tool. It’s an ideal tool for advanced social media marketers.

Mention Publish

Don’t let social mentions go on without you, get the alerts you need to stay on top of the conversation.

12. Inkybee

Influencers are a big part of most social media marketing strategies. The goal is usually to connect with them, establish a relationship, and get them to share your stuff.

Finding the right influencers, however, can be tricky. That’s where tools such as Inkybee come in.

Inkybee lets you search for top bloggers in your niche on all major social networks.

Once you log in, search for a keyword in the bar on the “search” page:

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It will quickly find a large list of related blogs. It also ranks them based on relevance, visibility, and engagement, all of which are positive traits for an influencer to have here:

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Notice that you can click a button in the bottom right corner of each result so that it says “selected”. If you look back up at the top of the results (in the outlined area), you can see that you can save all selected blogs to a list. This would help you come up with a plan later to strategically target each influencer.

Since you can get many results for broad keywords, consider using the filter options on the left.

You can limit the influencers to a certain area or profile authority:

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13. Tagboard

One of the reasons that marketers want to be on social media so much is to monitor any brand mentions or opportunities to interact with followers. Tagboard is one way to eliminate the worry over missing one of these chances.

To use this tool, simply search for a hash tag in the main search bar (once you’re logged in).

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Once you do so, you’ll get a page of results of all the most recent posts that have included that hashtag on multiple networks (mainly Instagram/Twitter).

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You can certainly use it to monitor non-brand keywords like the ones above to look for people interested in a certain hashtag. You could then follow them or reply to them.

A better way to use Tagboard is to monitor brand keywords instead. These typically include your name and your website name (and its variations, e.g., Quick Sprout and QuickSprout).

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As long as you check once a day, you won’t miss anything.

14. FollowerWonk

FollowerWonk is a solid tool focused solely on Twitter. It’s main use is to analyze your Twitter followers to give you insights about how you can engage with them better.

In addition, you can use FollowerWonk to find people to follow.

Go to “Search bios” on the top menu, and type in keywords from your niche.

You can sort by any of the standard metrics such as “followers” and “social authority”:

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When you go to the “Analyze” tab in the tool, you can enter your Twitter username. The tool will then scan your followers’ user profiles to figure out data such as when most of them are active on Twitter:

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You can use this information to optimize your posting schedule.

15. Onalytica

Onalytica is another tool that focuses on finding the right people to follow, but it takes a unique and interesting approach.

Instead of just searching for a keyword, you upload a file with a blog post or add a link to a published blog post. The tool then scans your content, determines its theme, and returns influencers that might enjoy your content.

This is more of a promotional tool than anything.

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Pick either of the options to get started.

Below, I clicked “add a link” and then entered a URL of a Quick Sprout blog post:

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And within a minute, I had a large list of (hopefully) relevant influencers to connect with and promote my content to.

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You can follow any or all of the influencers listed there by clicking the button in the top right of each result card.

16. Quill Engage

I’ve heard just about every opinion out there on using analytics. Most complaints are that they are too complicated, or there’re too many options.

Quill Engage is a smart little tool that can scan your Google Analytics account and produce a report in plain English.

Instead of reporting everything, it makes notes of big changes that warrant your attention.

Now, obviously, this has to do with marketing in general, not just social media, but it can let you know when there’s an unexpected change (good or bad) with your social media referral traffic.

There’s not much you have to do: just create an account, and connect it to your Google Analytics account. Soon, you’ll get a report like this:

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Depending on your business, this could save you hours per month.

Conclusion

Effective social media management is imperative for all businesses in every industry.

You just need to make sure you’re using your time wisely while doing that.

I’ve given you 16 great social media tools that you can use to:

  • gain more followers
  • engage with social media users better
  • drive more traffic to your website (that converts)
  • do it all in a reasonable amount of time

My goal with this article is to have you, at this point, pick just a few tools and incorporate them into your social media strategy.

However, as you do start to use tools more, remember that they should not be used as a crutch.

Don’t automate everything just because you can. If automation lowers the quality of the content you share, don’t use it. Pick the tools and the features of those tools carefully.

Also, there are many other great social media tools, so if there’s a specific problem you’re having, look for a solution.

Quick Sprout

Brief’s mobile news app aims to tackle information overload and media bias

Brief, a newly launched news aggregator founded by former Google engineers, aims to tackle a number of problems with today’s news cycle, including information overload, burnout, media bias, and algorithms that prioritize engagement over news accuracy.

Today, there are so many places to read the news and many aggregators on the market offer access to a near-infinite number of sources. Meanwhile, algorithms profile you to determine your leanings, then serve up more of the news that fits your worldview, to keep you engaged with the product.

Brief’s founders wanted to make it easier to stay informed on key topics without having to spend hours reading the news from a variety of viewpoints to get the full picture.
Before Brief, co-founder and CEO Nick Hobbs was a Google product manager who had worked on AR, Google Assistant, Google’s mobile app, and self-driving cars, among other things during his time at the company. Co-founder and CTO Andrea Huey, meanwhile, was a Google senior software engineer.

The two met while building the Google iOS app and left, says Hobbs, “after becoming increasingly alarmed by the damage technology is doing to public discourse.”

Image Credits: Brief

Brief (which was founded as Broadsheet), is staffed by similarly-minded, mission-driven team, including engineers from Apple and Google, and a small editorial team who had worked on curation and fact-checking at Snapchat and Wired.

Before today, the company tested a beta version of their news app on the Apple App Store. The version arriving on Tuesday offers a new design, feature set and overall experience.

Brief’s app is a lot different from what you might expect from a news aggregator like Apple News or Google News, for example. It’s not meant only as a tool that points you to news articles published elsewhere, that is. Instead, it summarizes the key fact, provides context, and offers viewpoints from both sides.

Image Credits: Brief

“Traditional aggregators were designed to help readers discover more and more content—a vestige of the days when it was actually hard to find enough interesting stuff to read online,” explains Hobbs. “However, now that the internet has ‘grown up,’ everyone faces the exact opposite problem: there are so many things clamoring for our attention we end up skimming everything and understanding nothing,” he says.

Brief takes the opposite approach. Instead of offering far too many articles to actually read, Brief gives you just a few, easily digested news bulletins crafted by journalists. These “front-page” story summaries will help you keep up with key developments in areas like U.S. news, politics, business and technology, among others. Much of the content for Brief comes from its licensing of AP wire feeds, but it will feature breaking news stories and exclusives from other sources, as needed.

These bulletins are also paired with timelines that help you understand the latest development in context and relevant quotes offering different perspectives.

Image Credits:

The result is that you’re able to catch up with the most important news in only minutes, not hours — hence the app’s name, “Brief.”

One key area where Brief aims to differentiate itself is how it will heavily rely on human curation.

“We strongly believe that human editorial judgment is irreplaceable, which is why our newsroom decides which stories are covered and what priority they’re given,” notes Hobbs.

This is similar to how Apple News relies on a human editorial team to program its own News app, for instance. But in Brief’s case, journalists aren’t just selecting the news to feature, they’re also helping to translate it to this short-form news reading experience.

That said, Brief does lean on technology where it makes sense. Algorithms help to smartly organize the content in the app and its software will automatically archive the stories you’ve already read to keep you focused on what’s new to you.

Perhaps just as important as its efforts to address the information overload crisis, Brief also attempts to tackle issues around increased polarization of the news. This problem has led to readers isolating themselves within their own ideological bubbles and among their prefered set of either right-leaning or left-leaning sources.

Though it won’t stop news addicts from clicking on their prefered, if biased, cable TV news channel, Brief hopes to reach those who are, in fact, interested in hearing a more balanced perspective. It even aims to reach those who have largely given up on news altogether, due to being overwhelmed.

Image Credits: Brief

To counteract bias, Brief first ensures that all users receive the same information. Its algorithms will not attempt to profile you to determine your leanings, then feed you ever more of the content you’re naturally inclined to seek out.

And not only do all users see the same news, all content is ordered the same, too.

To tackle bias in the framing of news stories — including the selective uses of quotes and biased sources — Brief introduces a feature called “Perspectives” that presents a range of influential voices for every story. This, again, is viewed by all users in the same way.

For example, a story around U.S. politics may include relevant quotes from both the Republican and Democratic senators or representatives. That means users will see the way both sides are thinking and talking about the topic at hand, and they won’t be spared from the “other” side’s views, however distasteful.

In the case where one side is effectively being untruthful, the app’s timeline feature comes in handy. This feature aims to give the news more context, which can help highlight was was actually said and done and when that took place. The timeline can also be useful for tracking updates on a politicized issues where often much of the talking is being done by voices on one side, while the other stays quiet. At later times, who’s being vocal may shift from one side to the other. The timeline helps keep this in balance.

While Brief makes an admirable attempt to solves issues around news consumption and bias, these are not simple problems to solve by technology alone. There are often stories reported accurately by major publications, but those who don’t like the story simply choose to disagree with it.

In addition, for Brief’s app to actually have the impact it desires, it needs to attract a large mass of users. And it has to also figure out how to steer people away from getting their news on social media, where misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and conspiracies thrive. That’s a far larger challenge — and one which the app doesn’t have a strategy to address. It’s only focused on what Brief itself can do, not on how to bring users to its less algorthimic-driven solution.

But Hobbs believes there’s a market for a news app that steers users away from the drama.

“I think we can do a pretty good job of finding a lot of people who are really tired of having their news come with a side of shouting relatives,” says Hobbs, noting also the app has gained its initial traction just through App Store search ads alone. Before its public debut, Brief made it to No. 12 Magazines & Newspapers on the App Store.

Another issue is that Brief limits its audience by way of its subscription model, which requires a $ 4.99 per month commitment. Those in most need of a news detox aren’t likely going to pay for the pleasure.

The company is backed by a million seed funding from SignalFire and handful of angel investors, including Sequoia Scouts like David LiebMaia Bittner, and Matt Macinnis.

The app itself is a free download on the App Store if you want to take a look, and there’s a waitlist for Android users. 

 

Startups – TechCrunch