McDonald’s announces nationwide all-day breakfast in wake of BK proposal

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McDonald’s has announced that it will indeed be offering nationwide all-day breakfast. After some apparently successful market testing in San Diego beginning in April, the fast-food chain has committed to implementing the massive menu change across the U.S. by October.

The announcement comes just days after McDonald’s now-infamously denied and rebuked Burger King’s peace offering. While each chain received approximately the same amount of media coverage during the three days that the McWhopper was on the table ━ both cashed in to the tune of ~3,000 online mentions ━ in the less-than 24 hours since the breakfast announcement, McDonald’s has accrued more than twice that number. Burger King? Just over 1,000.

McDonald’s may be in a growth freefall, but it would appear it still knows how to whip John Q. into a frenzy.

Read our first analysis of McDonald’s plans for all-day breakfast.

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24th Canadian federal elections: Top issues

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Prior to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s dropping of the writ on August 2, the economy appeared to be the forefront issue in the upcoming federal election, when voters would choose to either stay the financial course with the Conservatives or make a change and vote a new party into government.

As we enter the second month of the election campaign, the public’s focus becomes paramount; this is when parties learn what exactly are the most relevant issues to Canadians. In the media in the past few weeks, this focus has been on economic philosophy debates, budget plans, deficit vs. surplus, and the Duffy trial. However, while all of these are relevant to the discussion on social media, it is interesting to note where focus has also been drawn, to issues that are not at the forefront of the current Canadian electoral media landscape.

Amongst all tweets either mentioning a federal party or its leader’s Twitter handle, the most mentioned issue (not including either general terms, the economy, or partisan-fueled content) was the combined #EndPolio/#globalcitizens campaign, which garnered over 24,000 mentions throughout the month of August. This followed an initiative from the U.S.-based organization Global Citizen, which urged all Canadians to tweet the following message to support the global fight against polio:


This initiative was sparked following a tweet from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development near the end of July, acknowledging Canada’s commitment to ending polio:

Mentioned briefly in the previous blog post, one of the largest trending issues on Twitter in August was that of the exclusion of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May from any future federal debates during this election campaign. In conjunction with this, an alliance of women’s organizations called Up for Debate is advocating for a federal debate regarding women’s issues, and is also committed to raising awareness for women’s rights leading up to the federal election. These two issues have combined for over 14,500 mentions on Twitter, with #upfordebate garnering almost 2,000 on its own. This story also garnered support from both the mainstream media, and May herself:  

In connection with the above, one of the major election issues popping up on Twitter continues to be the repeated calls for an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, using the hashtag #MMIW. This hashtag and associated keywords, often used in connection with the issue of violence against women, garnered over 3,000 mentions on Twitter last month. Of note is that such an inquiry was also supported on Twitter by opposition parties, including the NDP:

Also, on August 31, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair recognized the relevance of this issue by making it a core part of his electoral platform, unveiling a $40-million plan to end violence against women, while also highlighting the issue of an inquiry.

Some of the other trending issues for the federal election on Twitter include: #C51, in reference to the fact that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals voted for the controversial legislation, that fact being used by both NDP and Green Party supporters as a reason not to vote for him; #usury, in reference to financial commentary related to the Bank of Canada and how federal funds are used, and; #DuffyTrial, associated with the fallout from the ongoing trial of Senator Mike Duffy and its implications for the Prime Minister’s Office.

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Big data: Leveraging data blending

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Data analytics firm Alteryx this week released a survey from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services on how companies are leveraging data blending to uncover business insights, even as Big Data sources continue to grow at an unprecedented rate.

The survey, which included over 500 business leaders and data analysts from around the globe in more than 15 industries, reveals that a vast majority of executives find data analytics important for their decision making process, and highlights the tremendous bottom-line potential from using the latest generation of data analytics tools for data blending and analysis.

“Companies have more and more data that they need to blend together to get the whole picture and make more informed decisions,” said Bob Laurent, senior director of product marketing at Alteryx, in a news release. “With only seven percent rating their analytics tools effective, companies need an easy-to-use, modern toolset to enable self-service data blending and analytics, so data analysts can effectively blend an increasing number of data sources, perform analytics and come away with new business insights that will positively impact the bottom line.”

Some key findings of the study reveal:

  • 88% said data analytics is important to extremely important to their organization’s decisions and processes
  • 93% do not see their analytics tools as effective and 92% are still using excel
  • 64% leverage 5 or more data sources to perform analytics
  • 77% expect their number of data sources to continue to increase

Download the full report here.

Source: PR Newswire; edited by Richard Carufel

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McFlop? Nope—Burger King’s snubbed PR stunt still kinda worked

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When Burger King ran a series of full-page ads in the The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune proposing that McDonald’s team up with them on Peace Day for the “McWhopper”, its playful offering of the olive branch didn’t go so well.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook served up a too-cool-for-school open letter on Facebook (“A simple phone call will do next time”) with a side of shame: “Let’s acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”

BK’s elaborate proposal boiled down to a simple concept — a one-day-only pop-up restaurant with all profits going to the charity Peace One Day — and Burger King had already designed everything right down to the packaging and hashtag #settlethebeef. But McDonald’s refused to bite.

People called out the chain for being grumps—and just as swiftly, other brands attempted to insert themselves into the dialogue with “peace burgers.” Disillusioned fast food fans made heartbreaking DIY attempts. Nothing worked—McDonald’s wouldn’t budge. Instead, they promised a more “meaningful global effort” but so far, no word on what that plan entails.

But one thing their little exchange did accomplish? Lots of media attention.

Using MediaMiser software, we tracked news coverage from the day of the proposal (August 26) to August 28. During that time, McDonald’s received 2,180 mentions in articles—slightly more than Burger King, which pulled in 2,083. For both brands, approximately 80 percent of brand mentions first occurred in the headline.

For context, from a total of 2,216 articles tracked from May 7 – August 28, 91 per cent of McDonald’s mentions occurred in our three-day sample.

It seems both sides got a boost in coverage, but had McDonald’s accepted the invite, maybe the stunt could have netted an even bigger media circus? Could those likeability points have helped out sales as McDonald’s stumbles its way through a landscape of changing (read: healthier) consumer tastes? Could it have been a momentary break from headlines about a company in trouble–with the narrative getting so bad that McDonald’s recently decided to make its monthly sales reports private?

Tim Carman of The Washington Post says there are a few ways to view this one: as an insincere effort to raise a competitor’s profile at the expense of the market leader, ie. McDonald’s, or as Burger King’s genuine “attempt at a corporate allegory”.

Maybe McDonald’s resented being painted into a corner on a public stage — after all, the two could have collaborated on the project behind the scenes instead — but their CEO didn’t consider optics: marketing ploy or not, how will this make us look if we say no?

Andrew Collins, CEO of Mailman Group, says that Burger King has shown it’s more in tune with the millennial audience by bringing its proposal out for public debate. McDonald’s could have sparked a massive social media discussion by saying “Great idea, we love it. But it’s not our decision, let the people decide #McWhopper”, but instead brought down a corporate iron fist.

Lost opportunity? There’s no way to know for sure, but with zero investment and a substantial number of headlines, perhaps Easterbrook’s next memo to the kind folks at Burger King should be a thank you card.

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The future of media content curation

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The media content curation workflow is central to a MediaMiser Enterprise user. Every day, our media analysts are required to select a handful of relevant media items buried in the enormous amount of online and traditional content. Productivity is key and content relevancy is king.

The current approach to efficient content curation mostly relies on keyword based-filtering. Basically, we punch keywords in a full text search engine using boolean expressions such as “macaroni AND NOT cheese”.

But could media monitoring also leverage collaborative filtering?

I recently stumbled upon a blog post about how The New York Times built their recommendation engine. The analogy to content curation is very strong, in my opinion. The selections that a media monitoring professional makes on a daily basis can certainly be framed into a mixture of topic modeling and collaborative filtering.

The New York Times recommendation engine

So, you’ve been reading The New York Times for years, maybe more recently on your tablet, phone and computer. The New York Times is and always has been your favourite newspaper for the best articles and content. But don’t you find it frustrating to sift through articles that are irrelevant to you so that you can find the ones you are most interested in? Thankfully, The New York Times is making use of a recommendation engine based on Collaborative Topic Modeling so you see relevant and recommended articles first.

Collaborative Topic Modeling is a mixture of textual information retrieval and collaborative filtering. The New York Times has been hard at work creating a clever algorithm whereby it analyzes the articles you have read in the past 30 days. Based on article keyword tags, the algorithm will recommend articles which it believes will interest you. This is bound to succeed because if, for example, you read 15 articles with the tag “Trump”, you will likely want to read similar articles in the future.

This recommendation engine works well in most cases and can be a really great approach. However, keyword context changes and word frequency can quite often lead to an incorrect relevance score.

This is where collaborative filtering kicks in: if other people are actively reading the same news you are interested in, then you will likely be interested in other news they read.

A savant mix of the two approaches was the key to creating a powerful recommendation engine at The New York Times.

Collaborative media monitoring

At the end of the day, we are always looking for ways to lower the cost of media monitoring to our clients while increasing the quality and relevancy of their daily briefs.

How can we leverage and benefit from the content curation work performed by multiple analysts? Could analysts working in different accounts in the same industry benefit from collaborative filtering? Or could we look at media items shared by thought leaders and influencers in one client account and recommend them to other analysts?

The future of media content curation should not be limited to boolean expressions and keyword matching. It would benefit from a collaborative approach.


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Twitter, Meet the US Open

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Though it doesn’t have the ad power of the Super Bowl, and doesn’t attract the gamblers among us as much as March Madness, don’t cry for the US Open; it gets its fair share of attention.

Starting Monday, August 31st in Flushing Meadows, New York, the fourth major on tennis’s calendar always manages to up the drama, producing over the years some of the sport’s greatest matches. This year is shaping up to be no different ━ with Serena Williams vying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in ’88 to win all four majors in a year, and the top-heavy men’s bracket promising some epic bouts ━ and the talk on Twitter is ramping up in anticipation.


MediaMiser analyzed 43,000 tweets to see who you the people are talking about…and the results just might surprise you (but only if you don’t know who Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are).

Here, then, is the Twitter share of voice of the top ranked players in the world going into the 135th US Open:



If Twitter mentions are anything to go by ━ and if they aren’t then what is the internet even for ━ we might be in for some history in the coming weeks, with Serena the seeming favourite to take the women’s tournament. On the men’s side, the breakdown is a little less startling, but Mr. Djokovic nevertheless looks poised to win his third major of the year.

MediaMiser will continue to monitor #USOpen tweets until the tournament’s end on September 13. Who knows? Maybe Ms. Suárez Navarro makes a comeback.


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Branding lesson from Donald Trump: disruption is the new innovation

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Question: Why has Donald Trump, at least until this point, done so well in Republican Party polling?

Answer: It’s because he’s disrupted the landscape, whether it be by gliding down an escalator with his former model wife while blasting Neil Young, uttering his ridiculous comments about Mexican immigrants, berating Fox News personality Megyn Kelly, having his legendary hair, being on brand with his fleet of “Make America Great” hats or having a willingness to tell other Republicans where to stick it—and the list goes on.

More than anything, Trump has been disruptive because his lack of institutional respect for the traditional political process has allowed him to deliver his message, whether you agree with it or not, to its intended audience—the disillusioned American voter.

And the parallels are vast between what Trump is doing and what brands and organizations can and must do in order to accomplish their goals through strategic marketing communications.

Indeed, one could argue that “disruption” is the new innovation.

Consider that truly disruptive initiatives redefine everyday life, as many technologies are doing now, from how we socialize to how we consume media to how we make purchases. Disruption has reduced the friction of interactions and opened up opportunities like never before.

Banking and financial services—historically a commoditized space—have been disrupted by platforms such as the Square payment system and peer-to-peer digital payment technologies that even Facebook recently adopted.

Early on, Red Bull understood that a new generation didn’t want to just “have a Coke and a smile.” Rather, the brand knew its audience was mobile, active and adventuresome. It knew today’s young Americans want less watching and more doing. They don’t want to sit around and play cards, but rather, they want to race down a muddy slope and swim across icy waters.

Why is disruption so important? Because upright mammals have never been surrounded by so much clutter, which makes it harder than ever to deliver a message and achieve a goal. Think about it: We have information (such as billboards, text messaging, social platforms, email, IMs, carrier pigeons, sandwich boards and geotargeting) barreling down our throats at every corner, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s why, when we concept strategic initiatives for clients, disruption is where we begin. We can’t simply rely on block and tackle tactics such as the highly inefficient notion of writing two news releases per month or advertising on “Days of Our Lives.” And the results have proven out as the disruptors are the ones who are winning.

One campaign we created for H&R Block drove the tax authority’s highest number of tax returns in history because it was ridiculous and stood out from the blah that it has traditionally used. We put U.S.-based crop forecaster Lanworth on the map by telling its story relative to the movie “Trading Places,” leading to its purchase by Thomson-Reuters; and we helped drive 30 percent year-over-year online sales for Charter Communications for three years because we came up with fresh idea after fresh idea.

That’s disruption, and done effectively, disruption leads to very real business results.

So next time you’re sitting around your office wearing comfortable slacks, sipping your civet coffee and concepting what to do next for a client, ask yourself if the ideas on the whiteboard are truly disruptive before you waste your client’s time.

Guest contributor Aaron Perlut is the Founding Partner of Elasticity.

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Amazing Race Canada, Season 3 Ep. 8: ‘There’s no crying in yoga’

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***Spoiler Alert***

When it comes to reality TV, the cast is generally in on the joke: they know there’s an expectation to ramp up the emotions and produce epic one-liners that will keep us tuning in.

In turn, Twitter takes the joke and runs with it—sometimes in the form of its own one-liners—as we saw in this week’s trending hashtag for Amazing Race Canada #NamasteStrongBrent.

It all started when contestants travelled from Saskatchewan to Vancouver, to Tokyo, enroute to Kolkata, India — formerly known as Calcutta.

During filming in Kolkata, the country was suffering through a horrible heatwave—even by India’s standards—so contestants were pushed to their limits.

In the sweltering heat, contestants had to perform tasks, such as assembling a garland of flowers in the Mallick Ghat Flower Market, finding an idol, delivering goods by rickshaw, or performing yoga.

In the case of Brent & Sean Sweeney, their difficulty with yoga poses caused Brent’s emotions to get the better of him.

In fact, the number one tweeted and retweeted clip was of Brent crying.

I have attempted yoga a few times and I’ll admit it is really though. I was warned that for some people, a lot gets released—from gas to tears—so I felt a bit sorry for the guy. Stats show I wasn’t the only one: most people on Twitter were sympathetic. In fact, the hashtag #NamasteStrongBrent was tweeted 86 times and the yoga segment helped propel Brent and Sean to become the most mentioned contestants during the episode. But not everyone was so compassionate. @Janilez tweeted that “there’s no crying in yoga,” a reference to the 1992 movie, A League of Their Own.

Yes, sometimes at MediaMiser, we come across a good chuckle in our day-to-day media analysis.

The episode focused heavily on the ancient practice, with contestants visiting a statue of Swami Vivekananda, the person most credit for introducing yoga to the Western world.

Yoga references represented 74.3 per cent of social media activity in context of roadblocks or tasks. This is not surprising. According to Statistics Canada, the popularity of yoga has been growing steadily.

The number one yoga brand, Lululemon, happens to be Canadian and not surprisingly, Yoga is most popular in our country.

So how can data like this be leveraged? Numbers resulting from media analysis might interest brands like Lululemon, Prana, Shakti and Fabletics as they look for spontaneous PR and marketing opportunities.

By the numbers

Twitter activity compared to last week’s episode: Down 43.7%

Top Twitter activity during the episode:

Social media activity by city

Toronto Ontario Canada (GTA) 28.9%
Winnipeg Manitoba Canada 10.2%
Sudbury Ontario Canada 5.5%
Edmonton Alberta Canada 4.7%
Hamilton Ontario Canada 3.9%
Barrie Ontario Canada 3.1%
Halifax Nova Scotia Canada 3.1%
London Ontario Canada 3.1%
Ottawa Ontario Canada 3.1%
Calgary Alberta Canada 2.3%
Brandon Manitoba Canada 1.6%
Manitoba Canada 1.6%
Montreal Quebec Canada 1.6%
Sarnia Ontario Canada 1.6%
Vancouver British Columbia Canada 1.6%
Other 22.7%


Contestants’ Share of Voice

1. Brent & Sean Sweeney 25.3%
2. Nick Foti & Matt Giunta 24.3%
3. Jesse & Gino Montani 20.9%
4. Dujean Williams & Leilani Ross 12.5% (Winners)
5. Brian & Cynthia Boyd 11.1% (Eliminated)
6. Simi & Ope Fagbongbe 5.9%

MediaMiser actively blogs about Amazing Race Canada, and leverages MediaMiser Enterprise to compile analysis on the show.

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Twitter weighs in on Jose Bautista’s Sportsnet boycott

BlueJays SportsNet GotStyle Jose Bautista Boycott


The Toronto Blue Jays are on a tidy little run these days, having won 21 times over their last 26 games, and look destined to get back to the postseason for the first time since winning the World Series in ’93.

But while the boys in the locker room are playing like family, on August 26 the Toronto Star revealed that for the past three months a little animosity has been simmering between Jose Bautista, the team’s all-star right fielder, and Sportsnet, its official broadcaster. Contrary to perceptions, all has not been completely copacetic in JaysLand.

Some background:

On May 19, Sportsnet aired a six-and-a-half-minute segment featuring Jays rookie Devon Travis buying a suit (a cobalt blue Ted Baker, FYI) from upmarket Toronto fashion retailer GotStyle. When Bautista learned that Sportsnet ━ whose idea it was to go shopping in the first place ━ had not ponied up for the suit but rather had let Travis foot the bill, he took it upon himself to stick up for his teammate and promptly went into protest mode: @JoeyBats19 was going to refuse one-on-one interviews with the broadcaster until Travis was reimbursed.

The interview strike ended on August 26, having lasted 99 days. But when the story first broke that morning and the details of the feud were made public, Twitter, as it always does, really weighed in. And public opinion was heavily in favour of Mr. Bautista.

The Twitterverse also turned its ire toward @GotStyle, and the hashtag #payforthesuit started popping up with frequency.

Though to be fair, GotStyle did have its defenders.

While we don’t know exactly how the conflict was resolved, as neither Bautista nor Sportsnet have come forward to elaborate, we do know that GotStyle received a pretty plum bit of exposure with the segment. The entire ordeal has thus raised some compelling questions about where journalism ends and advertising begins.

As inevitably happens on Twitter, sides were taken, one calling for either Sportsnet or GotStyle to #payforthesuit, the other defending them, mostly claiming that paying for the suit would compromise the journalistic integrity of the broadcaster.

Herein lies the issue: is that which, by all intents and purposes, appears to be an ad covered under the saintly cloak of journalism simply because it was produced by a news outlet?

The original Toronto Star article quotes Janice Tibbetts, a journalism instructor at Ottawa’s Carleton University, as believing that yes, it is. Ms. Tibbetts feels that if Sportsnet were to pay for the suit, there might arise “an ethical conflict…some threat to journalistic independence.” She argues were Sportsnet to ‘buy the Baker’, it might give the impression of there existing “too cozy a relationship” between the station and the team. (But many people following this story find that argument amusing, as both entities share the same owner, Rogers. Yes, the waters swirling around this debate are sufficiently muddy.)

Twitter pundits, though well versed in the philosophical underpinnings of journalism they may not be, we’re not buying the integrity defence, dismissing it based on the opinion that…


Media consumption has never been higher. People want immediate and interactive information,  and outlets feel the pressure to produce. The new media landscape has thus blurred the lines between what has always been known as traditional journalism ━ where information is gathered, facts are researched, and stories are carefully and objectively crafted, edited, and delivered ━ and that which simply gets clicks, views, shares.

The nature of journalism is changing for good, but not everyone is convinced it is for thegood. As long as journalism and advertising continue to blend though, there is no doubt that we will hear plenty from those on both sides of the debate.

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10 free tools to help with all aspects of your PR efforts

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Sometimes when you’re first starting out, finding the right tools to implement effective public relations and communications strategies can be difficult—especially if you’re strapped for cash.

Below is a list of free tools and resources that you can use in all aspects of your PR efforts:

  1. Buffer

    In order to implement any great social media strategy, scheduling is key. Scheduling not only allows you to focus on other areas of your communications outreach, but also ensures that should you be tight for time, you’re constantly in touch with your audience.

    Buffer offers a free version of their service, but this can be quite limited for companies who want to ramp-up their social media efforts. For $10/month you can upgrade to the Awesome plan which lets you connect up to 10 different social accounts and schedule up to 100 posts!


    When it comes to communications, metrics are extremely important. Shortened URLs allow you to track the status of your link, regardless of the medium with which you choose to share it. offers a free version of their service that allows you to shorten URLs and review valuable information associated with them.

    You can even integrate your account with Buffer so that all of your links are automatically shortened!

  1. MailChimp

    Maintaining multiple touch points with your audience helps ensure that your product, service or brand is always top-of-mind. Email marketing is a great way to keep your clients, customers and prospects in the loop about new content, news or promotions your company may be sharing. MailChimp’s visual editor is one of the easiest to use, and ensures that your content is always mobile-friendly.

    MailChimp has a free service that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers each month.

  1. Bitrix 24

    All communications strategies require some level of project management. Britix 24 is a little-known project management software that allows you and your team to track time on projects, delegate tasks, communicate in a social forum, and provides your company with it’s own intranet portal.

    Bitrix 24 is free for up to 12 employees and offers 5gb of online storage.

  1. Google Analytics

    Solid metrics are both the foundation and stepping-stones of a good communications plan. Metrics allow your business to understand which outreach efforts are working, which are the most effective, and pinpoint which areas need improvement.

    Google analytics is the best tool for tracking visits on your website, as well as acquisitions you’ve obtained through other channels, such as social media. Best of all it’s completely free.

  1. Canva

    Visual elements on social media, as well as your website, have been proven to drive engagement. Now, thanks to Canva, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to produce beautiful graphics to accompany your content marketing efforts. Choose from a number of templates and fonts, and import your own images!

  1. IFTTT

    Advertisers, Marketers and Public Relations professionals are always fighting against time: sometimes there just isn’t enough of it. That’s where automation comes in handy. If This Than Than (IFTTT) helps these professionals automate different aspects of their social media efforts; from sending a direct message to a new follower, to automatically retweeting a tweet with specific keywords, automation helps drive engagement and frees up valuable time.

    Be careful, though—Too much automation makes you look like you’re a spam bot!

  1. is a Twitter management tool with a specific focus on relationship management. The simple dashboard gives key information as to who your influencers are, who you should be following, who you should unfollow, and what type of content resonates well with your audience.

  1. Hubspot CRM

    Now you may be engaging with your audience, but are you keep tracking of who you’re engaging with, or who might be a valuable lead or prime for a sale? Hubspot, a renowned inbound marketing software company and experts, has recently released a CRM system that is completely free. It allows you to track your prospects in one easy, convenient place and track emails through it’s Sidekick email add-on.

  1. Zapier

    Remember who we said some level of automation is great? Well Zapier makes it easier to transfer information from one system to another. For example, if a potential lead clicks a link in an email you’ve sent through MailChimp, you can have it automatically add that lead into your CRM, and vice-versa.

    The free version of this Godsend allows you to set-up 5 zaps, with 100 tasks a month. This number may be good for a smaller company, but larger companies that require more automation may opt for a paid plan.

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