Symphony is an all-in-one dashboard to publish, schedule, and manage your content on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

Carousel Post Support on Symphony

The Symphony team is excited to officially announce our Facebook Carousel post feature!

source: facebook.com

Carousel posts are a great way to grab a user’s attention, optimize screen space, and maximize the information a user sees at first glance.

Given Facebook’s large, and increasing mobile audience, usage of screen real estate is more important than ever. This is where the Carousel post excels. Let’s look at a normal post, showing your audience one picture, one caption, one label, and one description:

posted normal

Now, a Carousel post:

posted carousel

Even if the user does not scroll through all the images, they get a glance of multiple things.

In addition to increased info, because publishers are not taking full advantage of this feature, Carousel posts tend to stand out. It’s no wonder why viewers engage with Carousel posts more.

Creating a Carousel Post from Multiple Links

Let’s walk through making a Carousel post of super bowl articles from The Ringer, a sports and pop-culture blog. First, copy & paste a link into the Crosspost window. If you’re using the Crosspost browser button, then just click that button and it’ll pick up the link of the page you’re on. Once you paste the link, Crosspost will scrape it and fetch the article title and images. You’ll see something like this. Notice that the preview on the right side doesn’t show a Carousel post yet. This is the standard post style:

Single Image Post

Converting the Post into a Carousel Post

When you paste the second link in the Crosspost window, the post becomes a Carousel post. The first link pasted is the first item in the Carousel, and the second link is the second item. The first item here is about Falcon’s QB Matt Ryan, and the second link and item is about the Patriot’s Tom Brady:

Two image post

BAZINGA! That is how you create a Facebook Carousel Post with different links.

Creating a Carousel Post from One Link, and Multiple Images

To create a Carousel of multiple images that use the same link, paste a link into the Crosspost window, then add your own image to convert the default post into a Carousel post. Click on the image icon in the bottom left side of the window. This will reveal the built-in image search feature. Here you can find public domain and Creative Commons images that you can attach to your post directly. Or if you want to use an image from your computer then just drag & drop it over the Crosspost window.

one link and image selection

Now both items in the Carousel use the same link.

Edit Labels and Captions, and Remove Links

Every part of a Carousel item is editable. If using a link, you can scroll through thumbnail images that Symphony automatically scrapes from the destination. Carousel item labels and descriptions are also editable, just click on it to edit. Here you can see the second item has a different label and description, and the post has a caption (the author seems to appreciate a good logo):

one link one image edited desc and post caption

You are now a space optimizing, attention demanding content expert!

Carousels have proven to be more engaging than regular posts, and as you have seen, they allow you to show the viewer more information at a single glance. In one of the next few posts, we will be outlining the data behind the increased engagement. We will also be covering very exciting 360 degree video support, stay tuned!

Start Optimizing your Social Media ❯

Announcing Symphony Analytics

Today we’re happy to announce a big addition to Symphony: advanced social analytics and reporting. This gives you detailed engagement stats across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We support Facebook pages, groups, and personal profiles. And for LinkedIn, we support profiles and company pages. With this new addition we hope to give you one more tool to help you optimize your social media strategy. Let’s go through the key features:

 

analytics

 

Engagement at the Individual Post Level

These detailed stats are available on all plans, including the free plan. Follow the Analytics -> Posts menu to see a history of everything you’ve published through Symphony. Under each post, there are detailed engagement metrics in the form of small horizontal bar graphs. The color coding and the relative sizes of each graph compared to other posts on the page make it easy to see which posts have higher engagement at a glance.

Screenshot 2015-11-30 00.20.30

 

Publishing & Engagement Reports

The full analytics reports are available in the Bach plan and up. Go to the Analytics -> Reports menu and select the social profile you want to check from the left side list. The top part of your report shows two important graphs: How often you’re posting, and how much engagement you’re getting. If you don’t check anything else, check these two graphs. They give you a high level assessment of your social media efforts.

The Engagement line in the second graph represents the total of the interactions (i.e. clicks + likes + comments + shares + ….). And each component of that line is represented by it’s own separate line as well. You can click on the labels to show/hide each individual line.

Screenshot 2015-11-30 14.58.40

 

Which Type of Content gets More Engagement?

Ever wonder if images get more engagement than status updates? How about videos vs images? While it’s commonly known that visual content gets more engagement, in practice your results may be different. It depends on your audience, your topic, and your content. The Story Types table and graph display your engagement data categorized by content type. Here you see how many posts of each content type you’ve published, and what the engagement level for each type was. The Engagement/Post value is important here. It shows the average engagement per post for each content type. So if you see that images are getting more engagement, for example, then it’s a signal that you should post more images.

Screenshot 2015-11-30 00.44.25

 

Best Times & Days to Post

What’s the best time to post on social media? We get this question a lot. And, of course, there is no one answer that works for everyone. The best way to find out is to measure the engagement on your own posts over time and see if any patterns emerge. This is where the Engagement During the Week graph comes into play.

Let’s explain this graph with an example. Here you see that our publishing times (the grey circles) are consistently distributed across all days of the week between 8am and 8pm. But the blue circles (i.e. engagement) are not evenly distributed. There are more blue circles between 8am and 12pm every day, which is a good signal that we get more engagement during that time. Also, notice that Thursday from 12pm and up has very little engagement (small blue circles), compared to Wednesday which seems to have high engagement throughout the day.

When you check your own graph, keep in mind that you need data spanning a long period of time to get meaningful insights. So set the time range to 90 days or more. If you see big grey circles and no blue circles, then those are bad times to post. And if you see big blue circles, then these are good times to post.

Screenshot 2015-11-30 00.48.36

 

Identify your Top Performing Posts

At the end of your report you’ll find a list of your top performing posts for the selected period. These are the posts that got the most engagement. Knowing what your audience engages with is critical to optimize your strategy.

Screenshot 2015-11-30 01.04.40

 

Sort by any Engagement Metric

When you’re optimizing your posting strategy you don’t just want to know which posts performed best. You also want to know which posts are the least engaging. If you’re on the Bach plan or higher, go to the Analytics -> Posts page where you can sort your posts by any engagement metric. You’ll see a drop-down list as shown below. Sort your posts by the least comments or least likes and see if there is a pattern among those posts that might be causing the low engagement and avoid it going forward.

Screenshot 2015-11-30 01.16.08

 

Bonus for Franchises and Agencies

If you’re a franchise and need to publish the same post to many social accounts of each branch then you’ll like this: We aggregate the analytics and engagement metrics across all social accounts. For example, the post below was published to 163 Facebook pages. Under the post you see the aggregate stats across all the pages. And if you click the details link, it expands to show the stats from each individual page. This aggregation of data applies to all the reports described above as well.

feature_masterpost_analytics

 

I hope you find this useful. Give it a try and let us know how we can improve it.

Start Optimizing your Social Media ❯

New Feature: Queue Top & Queue Random

How many times have you come across a great piece of timely content and wanted to shout it out to your entire social media empire? Typically, when you add a post to your publishing queue, it gets added to the end of the queue. If it’s a time sensitive post, it may get stale by the time it goes out.

Well, have we got a feature for you. As of today, you can slot posts straight to the top of your queue, so that fresh content goes out at the very next time slot. This hidden gem is tucked right under your SHIFT key.

But since we’re overachievers here, we’ve added not one, but two shortcuts for two options:

  • Queue Top: Press the Shift key and the “Queue” button will change to “Queue Top”. This adds the post to the top of your queue. For example, say you just found a timely post that you like to share today, at the next publishing time slot. But your queue has enough posts for a whole week. If you queue the post to the end, then it will be published a week later. The “Queue Top”, however, puts it in the front so it gets published first.
  • Queue Random: Press the ALT Key (Option key for Mac) and the Queue button will change to “Queue Random”. This is useful when you’re scheduling to multiple profiles and you want the post to go to each of them at different times. When you use this option, the post will be inserted in a random spot in each queue. For example, it might get inserted at the top of your Twitter queue and the middle of your LinkedIn queue, and so on.

queue

And, as you know, if you need to rearrange your posts after the fact, you can always go to the queue page and drag posts around to reorder them, or click the “Shuffle” button to completely randomize the queue.

So happy Friday folks- now go forth  and skip to the front of the queue without the dirty looks!

 

Announcing: Image Sharing Widgets

Hover over Me

You know how there is a ton of sharing widgets that you can put on your blog, right? They encourage your visitors to share your posts to their social networks. But, interestingly, there aren’t any that allow your visitors to share your pictures! It’s a big missing feature, isn’t it? After all, if you use an amazing image in your post, wouldn’t it make sense to let your readers share that image to their social networks with a link back to your post? That’s what we thought.

Today we’re releasing a simple sharing widget that you can put on your Website or blog to make sharing your pictures easy and fun. Once you add the simple code to your template, it will make all the images on your site sharable. When your users hover their mouse cursor over your images, a small Crosspost button will show up to encourage them to share that picture with a link back to your site. It’s simple, and it’s totally free for you and for your visitors.

Hover over the picture on the side to see this in action. It’s cool, right? And it’s easy to add to your site: Get Your Widget Here.

 

Symphony Update: Bit.ly Integration

social media dashboard Integration with bitlyWe added Bit.ly link shortening to our Crosspost publishing tool. Now, every link you insert into the Crosspost dialog box will be automatically shortened with Bit.ly.

The Bi.ly link shortening feature is turned on as a default setting. To make the most out of the Bit.ly integration, you should connect your own account. By connecting your own account you will have access to analytics of everything you Crosspost on your own Bit.ly page.

To access the settings and configure your own Bit.ly account, click the Publishing tab on the top of the Symphony dashboard. From there, select the “Options” button.

Symphony Integration with Bitly

Integration with Bit.ly makes your messages look cleaner and provides analytics. Connecting your own Bit.ly account will also save you time by not having to go outside of the Crosspost publisher to shorten your links. If you don’t want to shorten your links, with one click you can toggle the feature on and off.

bitly link shortening

Crosspost is the power tool of social media publishing! You can download the free Crosspost Chrome extension here.

Share Blog Posts as BIG Pictures on Facebook

Symphony Crosspost, the publishing tool within our suite, lets you share your blog posts as big pictures. Different than copy-pasting your blog link directly into Facebook, which shares the post as regular link along with a thumbnail picture, Symphony publishes the link as a big picture and adds the text in the caption.

Bloggers understand that their blogs need to be interesting and engaging in order to attract and retain readers. While it is the content and context of each blog post that keeps readers coming back, adding images to accompany each post is an important part of attraction.

The same principles apply to using social media to attract readers. Social media is all about headlines and images. If both are not unique and/or compelling, no one is going to click on them to read more. On Facebook, considering their updated news feed algorithm, if your posts aren’t drawing engagement, it’s actually better not to share them at all. But that’s a different conversation altogether.

How to Select Blog to Share on social media

People are more likely to click on a post with a picture than one without a picture. People are also more likely to click on a big picture that a small one. Sharing your blog as big pictures on Facebook can help increase your click-through-rate (CTR).

post blog as BIG picture on facebook

Because we know writing strong, sharable blog articles take considerable time, we made adding the pictures incredibly fast. If you haven’t found that perfect image for your blog post yet, but still want to get it out on social media, our tool will suggest a picture for you based on the content.

Spend your time writing great posts, not figuring out how to share it on social media! Give Symphony a 30-day free trail and watch your readership grow.

 

New Low-Cost Plan For Publishing

We just added a plan called Verdi. We created the Verdi plan specifically as a way to better cater to individuals who are only interested in publishing content and sharing their blog on social media. The Verdi plan is $14 a month.

Happy People

What is the Verdi Plan?

The Verdi plan is designed for power publishing on social media and offers users the ability to connect up to eight profiles and blogs. The publishing feature, called Crosspost, has a built-in image search, an image editor, integration with Dropbox, and scheduling and queuing.

The plan also contains the Facebook tab feature. In a few easy steps you can add your blog as a tab to Facebook and automate social media publishing. There are multiple templates to choose from to make sure your blog pictures are displayed the way they should be – BIG!

Missing from the Verdi plan are the features for monitoring and replying as well as teams and collaboration. Compare features and pricing from all three Symphony plans here.

Is the Verdi Plan for Me?

Sharing content on social media is important for businesses, bloggers, hobbyists, and everyone in between. Verdi is the perfect pro-consumer solution for social media publishing and blog sharing. If you are moonlighting as a photographer, running a fashion blog, promoting real-estate listings, running a fan page for gamers, or you just like creating and publishing unique content for social media “just because”, the Symphony Verdi plan is for you.

Turn your passion into great visual content to publish on social media with Symphony.

User Guide: Publishing Images

Publishing Images Got a Whole Lot Awesomer!

A tool designed for publishing beautiful content is at your fingertips. Added to the drag-an-drop and built-in image search features, the Symphony publisher now has the ability to connect directly to your Dropbox folder and edit your images! Photoshop skills? Who need ’em!

Built-in Image Search

Eliminate wasting ungodly amounts of time scouring the web for the perfect image to publish. The built-in image search suggests an image for your post based on what you write. All of the suggested images are public domain and creative commons. This is 2013, who has time for downloading and uploading anymore?

built in Image search in symphony

Built-in Image Editor

It’s ok if you aren’t a photoshop wiz. You can edit the photos you want to use right in the publisher. You can add text, filters, graphics, draw, and more. Quickly add your own flare to any image and make it unique. Create a new meme, add a hashtag, display your company’s url, highlight specific parts of an infographic, put a funny hat on a picture of your CEO… the options are endless!

edit photos in symphony publisher

Select effect in symphony image publishing

filters for symphonytools publishing

MJ_added-effects

Publish edited images with symphony

 

Dropbox Integration

Grab your own photos from the cloud! The Dropbox plugin lets you use photos from any of your folders right within the publisher. If your mobile device is synced up to your Dropbox account, you can snap a picture of your coworker sleeping, add a great caption, and share it with the world!

Use images from dropbox with symphony

Edited images from Dropbox

 

The Hottest Queue in the West

Howdy partners! As of today, scheduling your social media posts with Symphony just got sleeker with queues. We’ve replaced the multiple date and time selections with a single ‘Queue’ button. Symphony will slot posts to be published at the next available time in your queue. You can see and edit your queues under ‘Auto Post’ in the main menu.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 11.38.38 AM

Don’t Look Like a Robot, Use Approximate Times

Publishing every day at 4pm sharp looks automated. We want your posts to feel as human as you are so we’ve built in a ‘Use Approximate Times’ option. This allows your posts to publish at a random time within a certain window. For example, a 4 pm timeslot with a 15 minute window will publish anytime between 3:45 and 4:15.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 11.40.29 AMCustomize Your Queues

You’ve got a default queue for each profile in your account. We’ve set them up to the optimum publishing times for each platform. There is nothing to “turn on” nor “activate”. But if you want to customize a queue, of course you can. Click on the queue calendar to add, change or remove timeslots. Try it, it’s easy.

You get a separate queue for every profile. And you can select different times for different days as well. There is no limit on the number of timeslots you can set up.

What if I’ve Already Scheduled Posts Before this Update?

They will still go out at the exact time you had scheduled. You don’t need to change anything.

How Does This Effect My Blog Syndication?

It doesn’t. Your blog posts will continue to go out as you publish them.


That’s all for now folks. Happy publishing!

Pulling Back the Curtains

opening the curtainTwo and a half months ago, on April 1st, we crossed our fingers and pushed the first version of Symphony Tools online. An early alpha product, still in development, and barely functioning. But we decided to show it early because we wanted to get our users involved and design a product that people loved. We scheduled one or two meetings a day with friends and volunteers and watched as they signed up and used the application. At first, everyone was confused. Clearly we had a lot of work ahead of us. Every day, after the meetings, we’d go back and change the application based on the feedback we got. Then repeat the process the next day.

Our goal from the start was to build an intuitive application. Of course nobody sets out to build a complicated product, but it happens gradually as you add features. To build something simple you must make simplicity your top priority, and you need the discipline to pass on features that complicate things even if you really like them. Our guideline was: if a feature needed instructions then it needed to be redesigned.

In the time since April 1st, Symphony gradually got simpler and more powerful. It also became beautiful and a pleasure to use. It was great watching that transformation. Towards the end of May the feedback we were getting was that of happiness and excitement. One user told us that she had tried many other apps recently and this was by far the easiest. We knew were were finally ready to show it to the world.

As we launch publicly today, we’re  thankful to everyone who was courageous enough to sign up when things were broken and give us feedback and suggestions. It was invaluable and we really appreciate it. Thank you, you’re awesome.

Haven’t tried it yet? Please do and let us know what you think:  http://www.symphonytools.com