Free Social Media Tools to Try in 2018

As we covered in Just Because You’re a Millennial Doesn’t Mean You’re a Social Media Wizard,  social media is ever changing and so are the tools we use to express ourselves. Here are some outstanding free tools that set your social media presence to the next level.


Usage: Create new images for your web and social media presence. It has thousands of templates and millions of images to choose from.

Features: Animate designs with Crello for free. Whether you have a design team or not, faster is better.


Usage: This is an editing tool to create stories on Instagram and Snapchat, allowing you to add text and upload videos. You can make stories in advance, email them to yourself, and post them when it’s convenient for you.

Features: Keeping a publishing schedule is a challenge. I like this tool to prep stories in advance.


Usage: Are you sending blogs and newsletters on Facebook Messenger? Are you running a campaign with a strong Facebook presence? Now you can send up to 1000 messages a month for free.

Features: Like many new marketing tools, you can track and review your performance in the same place.

For additional reading, check out:

Digital Marketing Tips for Digital Natives

Gifs and Memes: The New Art of Marketing



The Future of Paid Social Media Marketing: Kinda Creepy, but Also Smart

Professional Development Series

Interview Spotlight:

Nick Footer: Founder and CEO of Intuitive Digital 

We had the pleasure of interviewing Willamette MBA alumni Nick Footer about the continuously emerging market of paid social media advertising, how he got to where he is and where he thinks it’s going.

Tell us about your previous work experience and how you got to where you are at today.

So, way back in the day – by this I mean 2006 – when I was in college, Facebook was the new shiny object. I just geeked out on it; I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Along with a few other networks you might have heard about, like Myspace, I spent as much time trying to figure out and learn how a business could use these networks to get in front of consumers. Obviously, during that time the networks weren’t designed or optimized for this, but I still did a bunch of my undergrad work on social media, then went to agencies and did everything I could there.

Advertising really started on a lot of the channels like Facebook when they realized they’d need to make money to go public. They started focusing on ad capabilities and all of it was terrible. FB ripped off the same model forum sites had been using, just a bunch of banner ads down the side. The entire strategy was: get a bunch of eyeballs and people will pay. Paid advertising was pretty shitty when it started. It’s gotten better, but in large part, all they’ve done is a better job of hiding the fact you’re looking at an ad, coupled with better targeting. Actually, Facebook has bought a bunch of different companies just to feed in consumer data to improve targeting accuracy. It’s kinda creepy, but also smart.

Like IBM did by buying insurance companies to feed the health records data to Watson? Yes, exactly like that.

What’s changed from an agency perspective?

Five or six years ago, I wouldn’t recommend paid social to any of our clients. But I was also working with small businesses with small budgets so there were better places to spend their marketing dollars. Today I recommend paid social to almost all our clients. It still has problems, but with the additional targeting capabilities, you can get a good return on investment.

When would you not use paid social?

Facebook sometimes isn’t the best for super B2B. LinkedIn has gotten better but you need a large target audience both geographically and in volume to eventually get to the right people.

What challenges do you face in posting quality content within your field?

The biggest challenge is what used to work 6 months ago doesn’t work today and what’s working today won’t work in 6 months. The industry is evolving faster than it ever has and I think this will continue for at least the next couple of years.

Can you give us an example of this?

Sure, let’s stick with Facebook as an example. Content posts where you’re just sharing linked content with a blurb to drive web traffic specifically is dying.

What’s working now is content that’s literally engaging with or trying to get responses with your audience. So actual comments back and forth. This increases its edge rank and helps it show up organically in people’s feeds.

Does that work when you’re asking consumers to engage with a brand?

 It’s definitely more difficult as a brand. We’ve seen some success with letting people know who the social team behind the brand are. It’s not faceless IBM, it’s these three people managing IBM’s Facebook account.

Other than the obvious mechanic differences, what other important ways do you think paid social differ from organic?

The difference for us is that is that we do all our testing organically. Once we find the most engaging content, that’s the stuff we then use in our paid campaigns. This has a lower cost for our clients because we’re cherry picking the best.

Also, you always need to think about who you’re targeting. Targeting your potential customers is what paid content is for. With organic, you’re targeting people who’ve already liked your page.

Let’s talk about the difference in B2B and B2C.

In B2C providing specific offers, usually, a discount code or coupon continues to work well. We have an online pet store that’s just murdered it on Facebook. In large part, it’s because they’re offering 10% discounts to people who’ve liked their page.

B2B isn’t rocket science either. It’s normally trying to provide thought leadership and content. We’ve done a lot of white papers and also had great success with getting people signed up for video drip campaigns. You’ve got to make it easy to engage with the content. We make sure we have a really low risk for signing up; all that’s required is an email and these are short videos, 90 seconds and you’re out. We’re also doing Youtube and other remarketing based on them.

 What do you think is coming with paid social?

For me, I hate interruption marketing, but that’s still really the only way that we’ve been able to do it. I see a continuation of that through in-stream video, specifically geotargeted and very specific to content. So, if someone snaps a video and says, “I’m outside of this club!”, people who open that up will get a specific ad from that club. It’s going to get creepier in terms of AI knowing what we’re saying, where we are and who’s viewing it through crawling the voice content or the image. To me that’s really going to get pushed is our line of privacy.

Obviously, there are also other smaller platforms. If you have a specific demographic or psychographic which aligns, these can be really effective. There’s probably going to be more of those as Facebook trends down. This opens up some places in the future.

What’s your favorite thing about social media marketing?

What I love most about social media is the ability to communicate directly with your end consumer. Prior to social, you had to pay hundreds of thousands (if not more) to have the type of communication you can now have organically through the internet.

If you liked Nick’s Q&A Interview Check Out Other Posts in the Series: 

Q&A with Andrew Hickey: Ten Top Tips on Linkedin Marketing

Lessons we learned from real life experience in the social media world

Timing – Posting/Sharing the article at the best times will help you get more traffic and engagement. Factoring in the time zones of the target audience definitely helps.

Content Translation – If you want your message to reach a wider audience, a proper translation to native language is a good strategy. Two of our articles have a Thai translation version and it reaches to a handful of a unique audience in Thailand.

The Length of Stay – If we reach the right group of audience, their length of stay on the page tend to be longer as they spend time reading the article.

The length and the content of the post itself matter in attracting more audience. Who wants to read a long post about boring subjects?

Advertising for the articles – When you try to engage the audience with a sneak peak of the content in the post text they would be more engaged and click the link.

Funny and catchy titles get more engagement than the serious ones – even if the subject is not very interesting for your audience, you should create a title that makes them at least smile in order to make them click on the link.

Original content is a key for engagement – for example, creating the video with original ideas and scenes attract people more because they know they will see something new and different from other social media contents.

Targeting closest friends and family is the easiest form of spreading information – the larger the group working on the project or post, the more seeds you have to pump out information. For example, Willamette University students were engaging well with the content because they are in our community.

Graphics such as gifs or movies help adding some content to the articles that can increase visitors time spent on the website.



เคล็ด(ไม่)ลับในการเป็นตัวแม่วงการโซเชี่ยลของ “คาร์เดเชียน”


สำหรับท่านที่ติดตามวงการบันเทิงต่างประเทศคงจะเป็นที่ทราบกันว่าเรื่องราวของพี่น้องตระกูลคาร์เดเชียนนั้นถือเป็นสีสันของวงการโซเชียลมีเดีย และพวกเธอก็ประสบความสำเร็จในการใช้โซเชียลมีเดียเพื่อสื่อสารกับเหล่าแฟนๆทั่วโลก เห็นได้จากจำนวนผู้ติดตามนั้นเพิ่มขึ้นอย่างต่อเนื่อง


จากที่ได้ลองวิเคราะห์กันดู มีเทคนิคอยู่ 5 อย่าง ที่พวกเธอกำลังทำได้ดีมากๆ


  1. รู้ว่ากลุ่มผู้ชมหลักใช้แพล็ตฟอร์มใดบ้าง

กลุ่มผู้ติดตามของพี่น้องคาร์เดเชียนนั้นส่วนมากจะเป็นผู้ใช้ Twitter, Facebook, Instagram และ Snapchat  สิ่งที่สำคัญคือต้องเข้าใจถึงระดับการมีส่วนร่วมของผู้ติดตามในแต่ละแพล็ตฟอร์ม เพื่อที่จะได้เลือกนำเสนอเนื้อหาให้เหมาะสมกับแพล็ตฟอร์มนั้นๆ และให้ความสำคัญกับแพล็ตฟอร์มที่ผู้ชมมีส่วนร่วมอย่างต่อเนื่อง

  1. เลี่ยงการโพสต์แต่เรื่องราวของตัวเอง

จะเห็นได้ว่าโพสต์จำนวนมากของพี่น้องคาร์เดเชียนนั้นจะเกี่ยวกับพาดหัวข่าวดัง การเปิดตัวสินค้า และความสนใจส่วนตัวอื่นๆ เช่น การแต่งหน้า การออกกำลัง และการช็อปปิ้ง  เพราะผู้ติดตามคงไม่ได้อยากเข้ามาเพื่อดูแต่รูปเซลฟี่ 4-5 โพสต์ในแต่ละวัน การแชร์เรื่องราวที่เหล่าผู้ติดตามมีความสนใจร่วมกับเจ้าของแอคเคาท์นั้นเป็นสิ่งที่สำคัญมาก

  1. ลิงค์โปรไฟล์ต่างๆให้เชื่อมต่อกัน

ในแต่ละแพล็ตฟอร์มของโซเชียลมีเดีย ไม่ว่าจะเป็น Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter หรือ Instagram ควรจะมีลิงค์ หรือ ชื่อแอคเคาท์ ให้ผู้ชมสามารถไปติดตามข้ามไปแพล็ตฟอร์มอื่นๆได้  วิธีนี้จะช่วยเพิ่มโอกาสให้ผู้ชมสามารถเลือกติดตามผ่านโซเชียลมีเดียที่พวกเขาชอบ และช่วยเพิ่มความเป็นไปได้ที่ผู้ชมจะมีส่วนร่วมในแพล็ตฟอร์มนั้นๆ

  1. โพสต์เนื้อหาให้เฉพาะเจาะจงในแต่ละแพล็ตฟอร์ม

การโพสต์เนื้อหาให้แตกต่างกันในแต่และแพล็ตฟอร์มนั้นจะช่วยให้เนื้อหาของคุณน่าสนใจ ไม่ซ้ำซาก เช่น เลือกใช้ Instagram ในการโพสรูปสินค้าหรือคลิปวิดิโอต่างๆ และใช้ Twitter ในการพูดคุยเกี่ยวกับหัวข้อข่าวที่กำลังเป็นประเด็นดัง

  1. เลือกใช้ภาษาและเนื้อหาให้เหมาะกับบุคลิกและตัวตน

พี่น้องคาร์เดเชียนนั้นไม่เคยอายที่จะโพสต์ Meme ตลกๆเกี่ยวกับพวกเธอเอง ตราบใดที่เนื้อหาและข้อความเหล่านั้นตรงกับบุคลิกของพวกเธอ  หากจะโปรโมตธุรกิจทางโซเชียลมีเดีย ทางแบรนด์จะต้องเลือกเนื้อหาและการใช้ภาษาให้เหมาะกับบุคลิกและคุณค่าขององค์กร

หวังว่าเทคนิค 5 อย่างจากพี่น้องคาร์เดเชียนจะช่วยให้ไอเดียใหม่ๆและเป็นประโยชน์กับธุรกิจหรือโปรไฟล์ส่วนตัวของคุณ แต่คงจะรับประกันไม่ได้ว่ายอดผู้ติดตามของคุณจะทะลุหลัก 50 ล้านคน เพราะความโด่งดังระดับนี้คงต้องสงวนไว้ให้กับเหล่าเซเล็บที่อุทิศตนให้กับการถ่ายเซลฟี่อย่างสม่ำเสมอ

Of These Advertising Marketing Agencies, Which Industry Leaders Have Name Recognition?

Team Ruckus

This is a digital marketing experiment by Team Ruckus with Willamette University’s MBA for Professional Program.

Of these advertising marketing agencies, which names do you recognize?

Ogilvy & Mather, Wieden+Kennedy, 72andSunny, IDEO, iProspect, Razorfish, Ruckus, Edelman, Interbrand, Wunderman

Copy and paste the survey link to choose.






15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice

In response to my first post 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following I received a lot of questions about what stretches I did to get my splits. So, here you have it!

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.51.15 AM

15 Stretches: How I Got My Splits in 65 Days

  • Disclaimer: I am not an expert on flexibility. However, these are all stretches I learned from certified personal trainers, yoga instructors, and contortionists and the order that I did them for 65 days.
  • Warm Up: Spend 10-15 minutes warming up. Do not stretch“cold.”
  • Questions? I’ve hyperlinked to video tutorials from professionals for most poses.

1) Downward Dog (Yoga with Adriene, 2012)

Press into the ground with your hands and draw your hips back. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.03.44 PM

2) Cobra Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)

Press into Cobra Pose from Downward Dog. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.05.55 PM

3) Downward Dog Leg Extensions

Raise each leg, while maintaining Downward Dog form and pulse the leg 10 times. Then, pull the extended leg forward for Pigeon.

downward dog, leg extended

4) Pigeon Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)

Keep your ankle bent to protect your knee and draw your hips forward to keep them squared forward. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.07.37 PM

5) Warrior One Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2012)

Keep your hips squarely forward, while tucking your pelvis (avoid just sinking into this stretch). Hold for 30-60 seconds. Drop the back knee to get into a Runner’s Lunge.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.09.41 PM

6) Runner’s Lunge

Do not sink into this stretch. Press your hip forward for your back leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Then, draw your hips back for the Hamstring Stretch.

runners lunge

7) Hamstring Stretch

Fold forward with a flat back and front foot flexed. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

forward runner lunge

8) Lizard Pose (Yoga by Candace, 2014)

Press forward and drop both elbows to the inside of the forward leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.11.17 PM

9) Seated Modified Hurdler Stretch (Strong Runner, 2012)

Hold for 3-5 breaths, reach a little further. Repeat 3 times on each side.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.11.41 PM

10) Frog Stretch (ehowhealth, 2012)

Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. Keep your hips in line with both knees.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.12.30 PM

11) Pancake or Straddle Stretch (GMB Fitness, 2014)

Hold for 3-5 breaths and reach a little further. Repeat 3 times on each side.

forward fold

12) Side Reach in Pancake or Straddle Stretch.

Add a side reach. Rotate your torso to the sky and look up, while reaching with the opposite hand as leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

other side reach

13) Wall Lunge (Charlotte PoleFit, 2016)

Feel free to use yoga blocks to help with balance. Similar to the Runner’s Lunge with the added resistance of the wall. Hold for 30-60 second intervals.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.13.37 PM

14) PNF Hamstring Stretch (Brian Abelson, 2012)

You’ll need a theraband or friend to create resistance. Watch the hyperlinked video for best practices. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat 3-5 times on each side.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.14.18 PM

15) Try Your Split

Quick tip: Put on calming music and focus on your breathing. Try to get out of a place of fear. Listen to your body and never push past extreme pain to get your split.

From your Runner’s Lunge, slowly slide forward into your best split. Hold for 5 deep breaths or 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times on both sides. Feeling bendy? Try to roll through to the other side, like this:

How often to stretch?

I did the stretches listed above for 20-40 minutes daily for 65 days until I got my first split. To maintain that flexibility, I stretch a minimum of 4 days a week for 20 minutes. That said, I am not a naturally flexible person so it may take you less or more to maintain.

Tips for Sharing Your Practice

Before creating this post, I sought out advice on developing “How-To” posts. As an instructor, I am used to verbally queuing students. Writing about my own flexibility practice has proved to be much more challenging. Ali Luke (@aliventures), author and blogger, shares great tips in “How to Write a How-To Post: 7 Simple Steps” for creating a written tutorial:

  • Step #1: Pick a Good Topic and Goal
  • Step #2: Work Out the Steps from Start to End
  • Step #3: Write the Introduction
  • Step #4: Write Instructions for Each Step
  • Step #5: Add a Conclusion and Call to Action
  • Step #6: Tweak the Title
  • Step #7: Edit Your Post

Step 4 really resonated with me. As I began writing this post, I found myself just listening poses. Being both a student and instructor, I know that is not actionable. I think this blog does a great job of identifying not only the steps of how to create a tutorial but how to make it engaging. Following her steps made writing this post much easier for me, I encourage to check out her blog here.

Share Your Practice!

Our community is build on sharing. Having success with a new pose, strength, or flexibility? I encourage you to share your journey too and use the seven tips from Ali Luke.

Happy bending!

Melissa Barker

Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

Surviving a Beer Fest    |     Investing In A Home, Part 1      |     The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon


Luke Ali (2011, December 12). How to Write a How-To Post: 7 Simple Steps. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from:

Yoga with Adriene. “Downward Dog – Downward Facing Dog Yoga Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 12 December 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Cobra Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 16 January 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Pigeon Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 April 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Warrior One Yoga Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 20 December 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga by Candace. “How to do Lizard Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 15 September 2014. Web. 14 July 2016.

Strong Runner. “Seated Modified Hurdler Stretch is One of The Most Important Stretching Exercises For Runners.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 11 October 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

ehowhealth. “Pilates Exercises : How to Do a Frog Stretch.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 25 February 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

GMB Fitness. “Stretching for Super-Stiff People – How to Get into Position.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 April 2014. Web. 14 July 2016.

Charlotte PoleFit. “Wall Lunge & PNF Flexibility Technique.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 5 January 2016. Web. 14 July 2016.

Brian Abelson. “PNF Stretching For Your Hamstring Muscles – Kinetic Health.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 6 August 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

How-To Growth Hack ANYTHING with Content Marketing

What IS Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. This term was coined and made famous by Sean Ellis (@seanellis) who later started a company of the same name.


Case Study: How One Company Growth Hacks through Content Marketing

The Good, a trusted conversion advisory in Portland, Oregon uses content marketing to growth hack their own marketing efforts. The Good creates 100% original content on digital marketing topics and distributes the content through a variety of channels:

  • Weekly emails to 140,000 loyal subscribers
  • Syndicated content on social media
  • Guest posts on partner websites like UXPin, Leadpages, etc.

All topics for the original content are carefully selected based on the latest trends in digital marketing and website conversion rate optimization. The content marketing staff at The Good culls through a variety of sources to learn what the hot topics are in the industry:

  • Google Trends
  • Twitter Trends
  • Recent findings from real research
  • Expert opinions
  • What the loyal subscribers are asking for

The goal of this company’s content-driven growth hacking is to consistently generate Thought Leadership in their area of expertise so that potential clients view The Good as the first place to go when they need to purchase these professional services.

Through growth hacking experimentation, The Good determined the two most effective content types are “Timely” and “Timeless” content:


  • Topics that match pop culture to business
  • Hot and trending topics
  • Ranking lists (e.g. Top 10 Best ___ of 2016)
  • Listicles (a list-based article)
  • Controversial topics


  • “How to…”
  • “What is…”
  • “The Definitive Guide to…”
  • Case Studies

Scannability is KEY

For the largely business-based subscribers to The Good’s original content, time is always at a premium so The Good optimizes all articles for key components of scannable layout:

  • Headers
  • Sub-headers
  • Short paragraphs
  • Numbered lists
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Tell stories, not boring research

Heatmapping is a key tool used to help gain insights about the effectiveness of an article layout. Real visitor data is tracked and aggregated to show where clicks, movement and scrolling occurs on a given page.

Sample movement map on an article
Sample movement map on an article

Content effectiveness is then measured daily using the following metrics:

  • Visits by time of day
  • Pageviews
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on site
  • Pages per visit
  • Traffic sources
  • Popular social posts

Popular Tools to Help Content Marketing

  1. AHREFs – an online tool to show topic popularity and which keywords are most effective to drive organic search traffic to your content.
  2. Google Trends – shows what people are searching for, how they’re forming their search terms, and when they’re searching for it.
  3. Canva – tool that allows users without Photoshop expertise to make high quality graphics–easy and free-ish.
  4. Hootsuite and Buffer – tools to schedule and syndicate content across social media channels
  5. Reddit – the original message board is still wildly popular. Great for finding trending and controversial topics.
  6. SlideShare – a LinkedIn tool that turn PPTs into digital content.
  7. Hotjar – a heatmapping service.

Advanced Strategies

  • Influencer Marketing
    1. Identify key people with large base of followers
    2. Develop content that mentions influencer in a way that benefits them
    3. Ask influencer to share your content with their audience
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
    1. Find highly-ranked keywords
    2. Use keywords in all the right places
    3. But don’t use TOO many of the keywords
    4. Meet as many of Google’s standards as possible
  • Backlinking
    1. Find popular ranked content
    2. Create better “timeless” content
    3. Ask related content owners to “backlink” to your content

Get Your Free PDF Download: How-to Growth Hack Your Business with Content Marketing