Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Understanding SMS in Squareberry

Email to SMS

There are different types of SMS features in Squareberry. The "Email to SMS" allows you to utilize the automated calendar reminders. For example, on the top of each calendar there is a "Get Email & SMS Reminders" button that takes someone to this screen: http://squareberry.com/holidays - - - on this screen, people can sign-up to receive reminders about upcoming events for different categories. Subscribers will get automated messages about upcoming events.

These reminders are sent by email and by Email to SMS. "Email to SMS" is a free service most mobile carriers offer. Our system sends an email to the mobile number on that carrier, the carrier than attempts to deliver it as an SMS message. Email to SMS is not 100% reliable as carriers tone it down or sometimes fail to deliver the message. But, overall it is a nice free option for most organizations to utilize and take advantage of.

When using Email to SMS this is the extent of mobile SMS features that are offered.

True SMS With Twilio

Twilio allows you to send TRUE SMS messages. Twilio is a mobile gateway that will deliver the SMS message directly to the device from your phone number (number you purchase on Twilio). Deliverability is much more reliable and the message is cleaner (no From or meta content like when an Email to SMS is delivered).

Additionally, when a Twilio account is connected you can send/schedule custom SMS messages. This allows you to schedule messages to send to SMS subscribers the same way you can schedule message for Twitter and Facebook. This custom message publishing is only available when utilizing Twilio.

True SMS sending through Twilio does have extra costs. These fees are paid directly to Twilio and Squareberry does not up-charge or take a cut. You simply have a Twilio account you pay into and connect that account to Squareberry for publishing etc.

Lists & Subscription

When using Twilio for SMS, you are able to add multiple contact lists of SMS numbers. These lists can then be sent instant SMS messages or scheduled SMS messages. The SMS Subscription Widgets is used to get additional subscribers for your lists. Select a list and then copy the embed code. This code can be added to any website and displays a simple field for visitors to add their phone number and subscribe to your list.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Understanding Categories

We are continuing our "Understanding" posts this week by talking about categories. Categories are one of the most important aspects of your Squareberry account. They control where events are displayed, how they are published to social media and who can add/edit them.

Creating Categories

When creating a category you start by naming it. This name will display on calendars and on the events. You also select a color and icon. The color is used for the event name text and the icon is shown next to each event name. The next options regard snagging. Snagging allows other Squareberry accounts to pull your category into their account. They can display your content, but they can not edit it. Decide if your category is snaggable and if it requires approval.

"Settings For Publishing Reminder Messages" controls when automated posts about your upcoming events are published on your social media channels. You can have automated posts go out at different times on different social media accounts. Your social media account must be connected to show up here. You can also determine when events are published on RSS feed and to mobile subscribers.

"The "Day Of" settings dictates how many minutes before the event reminder messages are published on the day of the event. So, if you have automated messages set to go out on the day of (above) and you have the Day Of setting at 45, a message will be sent out 45 minutes before the event start time.

The next two settings help dictate the format of the automated messages. The first one determines if the category name should be included in the automated messages and if it should be at the front or back of the message. The second setting determines if a URL that links to event details should be included in the automated messages.

All of these settings are used by events and promotions that are created and put in this particular category. You can create as many categories as you want and customize the settings for each category to your liking.

Using Categories in Other Parts of Your Account

In the Calendars & Widgets section, categories are selected for each view you create. Read more about this in the Understanding Event Views post.

In the Users section, categories are selected for each Author you add to your account. Read more about this in the Understanding Users post.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Understanding the 'Users' Features

It's nice to have a helping hand. With Squareberry you can add any number of users to your account to contribute to your communications and marketing. Additional users can schedule message, add events, run promotions and more. It is important to understand the different user levels and what kind of access each user would have.

Administrators vs Authors

For both Administrators and Authors you must provide a first name, last name and email address. The email address is how access is gained to the account. This address will be sent an email with instructions on activating their login and accessing the account. For Administrators, nothing else is needed. Administrators have full access to the account and the ability to add/edit anything.

Authors have more options. Authors can be limited by content type (Events, Messages, Promotions) and by category. If categories are selected, the Author can only access events/promotions in that category. When allowing an author to schedule messages, you can then select the social accounts they can publish to.

Author Flexibility

The flexibility for creating authors means they can be limited to any type of content. If you want someone who can only schedule messages to Twitter, you can do that. If you want someone who can only create events and only in two specific categories, you can do that too.

Build Your Team

In some cases, it is difficult for one individual to be entering all the content for an organization. Building a team of contributors can help streamline content adding. Larger organizations such as churches and schools can make authors who are responsible for their department or area. Assess your organization and decide what kind of arrangement will work best for you. Squareberry's flexibility will allow you to build a team to your liking.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year - New Followers

Another year is here. Amazing. 2014 is sure to be filled with more exciting technology and marketing opportunities. As your organization begins another year, take this opportunity to gain more followers and promote your various marketing/communications channels. You want to make sure that you have as many followers as possible for the upcoming year.

Your media should promote all of your other media.

Promote Other Channels

Many organizations are strong on a single social media channel, but fall short in other areas. You can use your strong social media channel to promote your weaker ones. For example, you may have thousands of Facebook "Likes" but only a few hundred Twitter followers. Post messages to Facebook promoting your Twitter presence. Encourage people to follow and connect with you on Twitter.

Exclusive Promotions & Contests

Another strategy for getting more followers on a certain channel is so offer exclusive content on that specific channel. Using the same example above, you could post on Facebook that you will be offering exclusive discounts and promotions on Twitter. This will help push some of your Facebook followers to also follow you on Twitter.


Don't Forget Your Website

Websites are still a main destination for web users. It is important to make sure your website sends people to your various social media channels. Beyond simply having social media buttons in your footer, make sure your pages feature social sharing buttons. Additionally, you can create larger graphics and pop-ups that encourage people to connect with you on social media.

Beyond providing information, your website's goal should be to help you gain real and relative connections on your various communication channels. This will lead to an increase in the reach of your events and promotions.