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Keep This Handy: The Ultimate Facebook Page Dimensions Cheat Sheet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Keeping up with all of the recent changes to Facebook’s business pages could make a person’s head spin! Good thing we came across this handy infographic from DreamGlow that keeps all of the important info in once place.

Whether you are creating a Facebook ad, profile picture, thumbnail, cover photo, writing copy or uploading a video- this time saving guide tells you everything you need to know. So Bookmark it, Pin it, Tweet it, post it to your profile….do whatever you need to do to keep this handy. Trust me, you will use it.

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Leverage Social Media Tools to Respond to Customer Feedback

Social media brings word of mouth marketing to a whole new level. Thanks to user generated content sites, consumers are more empowered than ever to voice their opinions and share their experiences with the rest of the world.

One of the biggest advantages for companies who utilize Social Media tools is the having the ability to respond to customer feedback: the good, the bad, and yes- the ugly.  Rather than fear negative feedback- turn it inside out and view this as an chance to respond to the feedback and build trust with your customers.  This as an opportunity to show the public that you listen.

Here is an example:  A few years ago found some negative comments about a restaurant managed by someone I knew in a popular dining blog. The comments were posted by an angry customer who had received terrible service while dining. I contacted her to see if she was aware of this. She was aware, but wanted to ignore them so she would not draw further attention to them. She felt that the incident the customer was referring to happened so long ago that it did not matter. However, it did matter- the damaging comments still came up when I did a search!!

She explained that the server who had given the poor service had been terminated, and the customer was given a generous gift card and an apology from the manager. However, this did not stop the customer from going to this site and writing a damaging statement in the comments section. You do not have to be a marketing genius to know how ONE bad review for a fine dining establishment can really hurt business.

I strongly advised her to get in touch with the writers of the blog and let them know some negative feedback has been published about her establishment and request an opportunity to make it right by inviting them to dinner. I also advised her to log into the review site, create her own account with her identity clearly visible and to directly respond to the accusations directly in a diplomatic and respectful manner. Perhaps she could say-

“Thank you for your honest feedback. Our customer satisfaction is very important and we regret that you had the experience described. We handled the situation by……..Please let us know how we could have handled it differently in order to serve you better. We hope to have the opportunity to make it right.”

If I were an outside reader and I came across a genuine, proactive response to poor feedback – I would be more inclined to give that establishment a second look.

Bottom line: Ignoring negative feedback is not going to make it go away. Address negative comments directly and with grace. This gives you an opportunity to learn and grow as an organization and communicate your key message to other customers. By doing this, you demonstrate that you are in tune with your customers.

If your business is not using social media to connect to customers, you are missing a big opportunity.  Here are some tips for businesses to utilize social media tools:

  • Create a Google Alert for your business.  Place the title of your business in quotes like “Out of the Box Marketing”.  You have the option to receive these alerts daily.
  • Conduct a regular audit for your business using Social Mention.  This will search online content and filter it all into a report for you to go through.
  • Regularly search consumer review sites for your brand (like travel sites, electronics sites, Google Reviews)
  • Create a Facebook page for your business (if you have not already done so) and invite feedback from your consumers!

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Facebook’s New Business Page Tip #1: How to Login as Your Business Page

There has been a great deal of chatter about the sweeping changes Facebook has made to Business Pages this month.  Our clients have so many questions about this that we are planning to devote a series of posts to answering them- one post at at time.

With some assistance and explanations from savvy bloggers like JohnHaydon.com, we have realized that in the case of Facebook’s New Business Page Layout- change is good!

Facebook’s New Business Page Layout Tip #1: How to Login and Interact as Your Page

Business Page admins now have the ability to shift/toggle from their personal Facebook Profile to “Page Mode” and interact with other Business Pages as their Business Page.  This is probably the most significant new feature of the new pages launched this month.  What does this mean for you?

  • You can now log in as your page and “Like” other pages and interact with them just as you would from your personal profile.
  • Note: Pages cannot interact with personal profiles unless the profile’s privacy settings are wide open.
  • FAQ: Can I use a separate email and password to use Facebook as the Page I admin? Not at this time. In order to use Facebook as your Page, you must first log in to your personal profile, and then select the option to use Facebook as your Page.

How to do it?  Watch the video below! Got  more questions about the new Facebook page layout? Post them and we find the answer!

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The Buzz……Facebook “Deals” Increases Engagement with Mobile App Users

Image Credit: Facebook.com

Businesses and consumers are benefiting again through Facebook.  It began with the Business Page; then Facebook Ads; then Facebook Places took interactions to a new level with mobile device users.  Now we have Facebook Deals open to some businesses who have claimed their page in Facebook places.

So here’s how it works: You create a “Deal” for your customers and it will appear on their mobile phones when they are near your location- they can take advantage of the deal when they check in on Facebook.  We love that it is currently free for businesses to use- and can be an excellent way to reward Facebook users and build great buzz for your business!  The more value you give your customers, the more buzz your deal will generate.

Depending on your marketing goals, there are four types of deals for you to consider:

Individual Deals

  • Simple, easy to follow
  • Great way to get people into your store or get rid of excess inventory
  • Perfect if you want to offer a one-time deal
  • Flexible – can be used on new and current customers.
  • Examples: Offer a 40% Discount, or a free gift with a purchase from your store, or complimentary appetizer at your restaurant with the purchase of a dinner, etc.

Loyalty Deals

  • Rewards your most loyal customers
  • This deal is claimed by customers after a certain number of check-ins (no fewer than two and no more
  • than 20 check-ins)

Friend Deals

  • Goal is to provide a deal to a group of people
  • Can offer discounts to groups of up to 8 people when they check in together.
  • Great viral exposure for your business because it requires customers need to share you deal with their friends and family

Charity Deals

  • Builds awareness
  • Builds appreciation with your customers- it shows you care about your community
  • You will make a donation in the amount of your choice to the charity of your choice each time someone claims your deal.
  • This is a great way for your business to give back

Here are Facebook’s recommendations when creating your Deals:

Offer your customers a lot of value
Example- offer a 10% – 50% discount or a gift with purchase that is of equal or greater value than the customer purchase amount.

Keep Your Copy Short, Simple and to the Point! The easier for your consumers to read and understand, the more successful your deal will be. Stay away from wordy titles and descriptions.

Avoid “deal fatigue” ! Running too many deals at the same time may be confusing for your employees and customers. Deals that run too long may become irrelevant and may be viewed as readily available discounts that
don’t drive people’s intent to purchase. In addition, pay attention to the number of deals that you run.
Running too many deals at the same time may be confusing for your employees and customers.

To create your deal: Make sure that you have claimed your business on Facebook Places. If you are eligible, you should see a “Create a Deal” button on the top right corner.   At this time, deals are only available to a limited set of businesses in the US. If you are part of the initial beta, you’ll notice a “Create Deal” button at the top right of your Place. If you are not- don’t worry!  Facebook is committed to bringing this opportunity to everyone and we will keep you posted!

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Keyword Research is Crucial to Optimizing Your Blog Content

Do either of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

Scenario #1: You are a very busy business owner who barely has time to search for anything on the Internet- let alone sit down and write a blog post that will be seen on a wide scale.

Scenario #2: You have taken up valuable time to write what you consider to be a masterpiece in your industry- and nobody reads it.

For any business owner, having a company blog is becoming a standard in most Social Media Marketing plans. The benefits of smart business blogging include a better connection to your customers, stronger branding, and more consistent communications…which can result in increased traffic to your site which can mean: more business.

We are finding the “just put it out there and they will come” approach to Social Media is not the best strategy when it comes to getting the most out of your investment of time and money. One very important step to your campaign strategy is to optimize your blog. There are several ways to do this- and it really is not as complicated as you think.

I am launching a series of posts dedicated to helping you understand different tools and techniques that are used to make sure your blogging efforts do not go unseen.

Blog Optimizing Tip #1:  Keyword Research.

Your choice of words is critical- particularly in the title. When you sit down to write, ask yourself “What words would my customers use to search this topic”– and be realistic. For instance, if you own a bakery and you are doing a post on current wedding cake trends- a bad title would be “Some of my favorite styles” .  Perhaps a better,  (though less personal) title would be: “Best Wedding Cake Ideas” (or something similar to that).

You want to think about who your customers are and what they search for. I know this seems like common sense, but you would be surprised by how many bloggers miss an opportunity to be found online just because they did not think about the keywords in their title.

Take a few moments to do keyword research before every post. I cannot tell you how much this quick and easy step will help you become a better blogger and see more satisfying results.

Google’s Keyword Tool is one of the best ways to conduct your keyword research (and it is free & easy to use).  Type in the topic you want to blog about in the “word or phrase”  field  (ex/”Wedding Cakes”) and it will pull up the most searched for terms relating to that topic.

Something to keep in mind: The higher searched terms are more competitive and the “big fish” out there may have a lock on those words (this means you won’t see as much traffic because your blog post could end up on page #256 of Google if you only focus on highly competitive keyword).   You might be better off using a slightly less competitive term- use your best judgement.  The more you practice this- the better judgement you will be able to use when choosing your keywords.  If you want to explore other options there are lots of great tools out there to explore.  Here are a few to get you started: Wordtracker; WordStream; Google Suggest; Thesaurus.com

Here is an excellent video tutorial that breaks down the ins and outs of using  Google’s Keyword Tool

 

I will be doing a series of posts dedicated to sharing the best ways to optimize your blog so you can enjoy increased (and more qualified) Web traffic to your site.  Check back for my next tip!

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Revisiting 10 Golden Rules of Social Media

Revisiting 10 Golden Rules of Social Media
January 5th, 2010 (9:00am) Aliza Sherman 13 CommentsTweet This (248)
http://webworkerdaily.com/2010/01/05/revisiting-10-golden-rules-of-social-media/

As 2010 opens its doors, I wanted to take another look at my Golden Rules of Social Media, published back in May of 2009, to see if I could consolidate those rules into five actions we can take to work better in — and through — social media in the coming year.

Here is the original list of ten social media rules to live and work by:

1. Respect the Spirit of the ‘Net.
2. Listen.
3. Add Value.
4. Respond.
5. Do Good Things.
6. Share the Wealth.
7. Give Kudos.
8. Don’t Spam.
9. Be Real.
10. Collaborate.

5 Things to Do Within Social Media in 2010

Here is how I’d consolidate those rules to the fundamental ideas about how we should be using social media tools and platforms in 2010:

1. Listen. The best way to start your foray in social networks and other social media platforms is to listen. Listen to the conversations already happening around you before you jump in to join them. Listen to the ebb and flow. Listen to the rhythm of discourse. Listen to the stream to make sure you understand — and respect — what is already taking place. You will surely misstep if you do not listen.
2. Add Value. The term “value” is subjective, but once you have truly listened, you will be able to discern with relative certainty what is valuable to any given conversation or community. Can you add value to the conversation, not just an empty voice? Can you be a resource? A supporter? A cheerleader? An organizer? What is your social media value proposition?
3. Respond. If you are listening, you will hear when someone says something that begs your attention. You will hear when someone references you. You now have a door to enter the conversation. And if you’ve listened thoughtfully and have something valuable to share, your participation will be welcome.
4. Do Good Things. At this point in our lives, we should all know right from wrong. We should all want to do the right thing. We know that spamming is wrong — it is invasive, thoughtless, worthless, and a surefire way to mucking up a potential conversation. We know that scamming is wrong. We know that being honest is good and the right thing to be. We know that helping others and being generous is good, too.
5. Be Real. Be yourself. Even if you are representing a company or brand and are using the “voice of the company” or “voice of the brand,” you can still be human. Yes there is a time and place for automating a message, but learn when that’s appropriate. Be present. Be there. If you — or a real person who is paying attention and cares — cannot be there, don’t bother with social media. Remember that people are on the receiving end of everything you put out in more intimate ways than ever before. Don’t abuse that privilege when they let you into their feeds and streams.

What is the most powerful social media lesson you’ve learned in 2009 that can be good advice to others?

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Turning social media into a sixth sense

Turning social media into a sixth sense
The “Holy Grail” of social media isn’t real-time search, but “ambient streaming,” argues Edo Segal. Over time, Segal argues, social media will evolve into a virtual sixth sense — a constant, seamlessly immersive flow of information, passively filtered to meet our needs without overwhelming us. “It may sound like science fiction, but there are engineers and entrepreneurs out there already trying to make it fact,” Segal adds. “We will be seeing the first swells of this coming tsunami in the years to come.”

From: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/12/20/ambient-streams-realtime/

Beyond Realtime Search: The Dawning Of Ambient Streams

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by Guest Author on December 20, 2009

The following guest post was written by Edo Segal (@edosegal).

It was 1993 and I had just decided to drop out of college. I was a graphic design major in a great art school but decided I want to start my second company. Knowing this would mark the conclusion of my studies there I set out to create my final project. I would write a short story, design and produce it in print. I put out an edition of 300 and gave it to my friends and people who inspired me like author William Gibson.

Cut to November, 2009, when I returned from sitting on a panel at the second Realtime CrunchUp. I had urged the audience and participants that when thinking about the realtime web we should not consider the challenge through the lens of how consumers behave today. I argued that the future potential of the realtime web is not in the misnomer “realtime search,” as the consumption of this signal will predominantly be in what I call ambient streams. These are streams of information bubbling up in realtime, which seek us out, surround us, and inform us. They are like a fireplace bathing us in ambient infoheat. I believe that users will not go to a page and type in a search in a search box. Rather the information will appear to them in an ambient way on a range of devices and through different experiences.

A few days after I got back from the CrunchUp, I was organizing some old documents when I stumbled on I Was Just Dead< , a cyberpunk short story I wrote 16 years ago. A story about a world of augmented reality. A world where at birth a chip is embedded in people’s brains creating a reality where they no longer discern what is “real” and what is augmented in their surroundings (Hear the audio-book or download the free eBook below). It was strange to hear my former self calling out about the importance of augmented reality from across the span of almost two decades of experiences in the digital world, half of which were spent solving the problem of how to filter the massive realtime stream.

When trying to understand something potentially transformative, knowing what questions to ask is more than half the challenge. We are still in the early stages of these changes and don’t yet have the necessary metaphors to make the leap into the future. It is for that purpose that I want to suggest what I consider to be the building blocks of our next big evolutionary leap in how we use technology. The four main building blocks are:

1. Realtime Web (Twitter, news flows, world events, and other information which relates to changes in the world)
2. Published Information (sites, blogs, Wikipedia, etc.)
3. Geolocation Data (your location and information layers related to it, including your past locations and that of your friends, as well as geo-tagged media)
4. Social Communications (social graph updates, IMs, emails, text messages, and other forms of signal from your friends).

Before these building blocks can create an ambient stream which is not overwhelming, all of this data needs to pass through a filter. The Holy Grail is a filter which only serves up information which is relevant based on who you are, your social graph, what you or your friends are doing now, what you or friends have done before, and in context of other information you are consuming. It needs to be delivered wherever you are and on whatever device or display can deliver the ambient stream: mobile phone, laptop computer, TV, heads-up display in vehicle or inside your glasses. The future of how ambient streams might enter our world is illustrated with the following simplistic diagram:

Putting all of these building blocks together will be an industry-wide task. There are a relatively small number of people who have already managed to spend a lifetime thinking about this problem. It has bred several academic disciplines and many sci fi novels and films. These related fields include pervasive computing, everyware and the buzzword du jour augmented reality (AR). All of these technologies produce ambient streams. AR, in particular, (which is focused mostly on methods of how to render information visually) is capturing the imagination of innovators around the globe. The underling technologies that allow devices to marry data to physical locations continue to evolve at a fast pace, and with other disciplines jumping into the mix the magic is finally starting to happen.

One only needs look at a teenager today as they do their homework, watch TV, play a game, and chat while watching their Facebook stream to get a sense for humanity’s expanding affinity to consume ambient streams. Their young minds are constanty tuning and adapting to an age of hypertasking .A very useful metaphor is that humanity is constructing its own synthetic sixth sense. An ambient sense that perceives the context of your activity and augments your reality with related information and experiences. Increasingly, we will be sensing the world with this sixth sense and that will change the way we collectively experience the world. Going back to the point made earlier, the watershed event is when we will be experiencing this “ambient sense” without being in a retrieval mode (i.e. not when we go to the computer or our mobile device to find information but rather as a product of our activity, location, and profile in context with the events and information available to us in a wired world).

We will be seeing the first swells of this coming tsunami in the years to come, but for our children the ambient sense will play a bigger and bigger role as it slowly evolves and weaves itself into their consciousness much like Google search weaved itself into their memory functions. The challenges we face in terms of making real progress stems from the fact that the overarching goal is one that requires a multi-disciplinary approach across a myriad of data sets. While there are many companies executing in each of the quadrants few are in a position to access the full scope of data and therefore the ability to create the Holy Grail of filters is limited. This is where the world of walled gardens and deals with major search providers presents a challenge for progress. Many iterations and mistakes need to be made before we arrive at the right way to collate and filter all these different streams of data into an ambient sense. If only one or two companies are in a position to iterate, progress will be very slow and the probability of success diminished. For success, it is necessary to create an ambient sense that will manage to balance the level of interruption with insight and arrive at the true goal of any sufficiently advanced technology, which is to be transparent and taken for granted as part of the human experience. It may sound like science fiction, but there are engineers and entrepreneurs out there already trying to make it fact.

Is it possible in the age of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Apple for a startup to innovate across the entire stack to come up with this sixth sense? Chime in at #ambientstreams

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One Suggestion For Getting Higher Google Rankings

http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/the-little-known-secret-to-getting-page-1-google-rankings-steve-strauss
Want Page 1 search engine result rankings? Of course you do; we all do. Well, what if I were to tell you of a little known way that profoundly increases your odds of getting a Page 1 search engine result – might that be of interest?

I thought so.

The answer is video. But not just any old video. It has to be search engine optimized video. Properly post that, and according to a recent study by Forrester Research, you stand a 53 times better chance of getting a Page 1 Google ranking.

Yes, I know, the holy grail.

By now I’m sure you know all about search engine optimization – keywords and key phrases and incoming links and all the rest. The problem is, so does everyone else. That means that getting Google to think that your page is more valuable, more deserving of a high ranking than other pages, is harder than ever, despite all of your fancy SEO work.

That is where SEO video comes in.

What I am not talking about is simply putting a video on your homepage or some other desirable page. And similarly, I am not talking about submitting a video to YouTube and then embedding a YouTube player on your site. Neither of those will generate great Google results for your site because

1. They are not search engine optimized, and

2. Videos using YouTube result in click-throughs results for YouTube, even though the videos are re-posted on your site

But what will work – the magic bullet if you will – is video SEO. Video SEO is the process of using SEO tools with your video and then submitting the SEO videos themselves (not just the pages where the videos reside) to the various search engines.

Here is why video SEO is such an incredible Page 1 generator: First, search engines like Google are increasingly using “blended” search results – articles, video, pictures, and other forms of content. So video inherently gets more play because there is less competition for video results. And that is the second, and more important, reason. Because there is so much less of it, and because only very little of all online video is properly submitted with SEO, there is a disproportionate bias towards properly submitted SEO video.

You end up being a big fish in a very small pond.

So here is what you do:

1. Create some great video for your site. Note: Research indicates that if you have video on your homepage, up to 80% of your visitors will click that first, so it better be good!

2. Post it prominently throughout your site.

3. SEO it and submit it. Here’s the trick, and it is two-fold. First, you must optimize the video for search engines. That means key words and phrases must be used in the file name, in the captions, etc. Second, once posted on your site, you must then submit the video itself using XML tools to Google and the other search engines.

I know that last part may sound a little intimidating, but it need not be. There are some great online services that will submit the videos for you. For example, one I like a lot is Fliqz.com. Fliqz will, easily and affordably, index your pages and video, and properly submit them to the various search engines.

The upshot is that your videos and video pages should end up at or near the top of any default search results, the “Web” results, and not just the video results.

In fact, according to Fliqz, by using their “SearchSuccess” tools, “more than two-thirds of all videos submitted produce a first-page Google search result, and up to 25 percent have resulted in a number one Google ranking.”

Well, what are you waiting for?

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How Can Social Media Marketers Tap into LinkedIn’s Potential?

What about LinkedIn

This is a question I have been asking myself ….I have to admit I spend much of my time in larger social networking communities- namely Facebook and Twitter; – but LinkedIn; is one of those social networking communities where it feels like there is more potential to build a business brand than we know.

It does not have the mass following and hype of Facebook or Twitter…but there is a very active audience in this community that is ready to listen and engage in your conversation.  There are numerous features in LinkedIn that make it simple for marketers to conduct targeted searches and engage in meaningful (and sometimes lucrative) conversations.

How do we harness the potential of LinkedIn?  What can we do to bring value to prospective leads and the community as a whole?

I recommend checking out Lewis Howes article posted this week to find answers to these questions…… Top 5 Ways to Market Your Business With LinkedIn.  He literally wrote the book on tapping into the LinkedIn market when he co-authored ‘LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website’- so he may know a thing or two about LinkedIn.

Here is a summary of his 5 best practices tips…..Be sure to read his full article.  I look forward to putting all of these into practice and will let you know the results!

LinkedIn Tips From Top 5 Ways to Market Your Business With LinkedIn

1: Use LinkedIn Groups Receive Tons of New Leads Daily
Make sure you create a group that fills a need for the audience you’re targeting in your business field. This will ensure that every person who joins the group is a qualified lead……Here’s how to maximize your LinkedIn group:

1. Add keywords in the description of your group to increase your search rankings on LinkedIn’s search section.
2. Add keywords in the title of the group to be found on Google.
3. Add your company website or blog to the group to drive traffic to your site.
4. Add your blog RSS feed to the group so every new article is automatically posted to the home page of every group member.
5. Send a weekly message that adds value for group members and drives traffic back to your site.
6. Connect people in the group by making introductions to those who could potentially do business with one another.

#2: Ask (And Answer) Questions: Build Your Credibility with LinkedIn Answers

Here are some tips for answering questions….First, set up the “Answers Application” on the bottom right-hand side of your home page for the subjects you know best.

1. Research the person who asked the question, and find a way to tie in a personal response with something from their LinkedIn profile.
2. Be as helpful and resourceful as possible when answering the question.  Give tips, website links with additional information, or even recommend someone who is the best expert on that topic.
3. Leave the answer with an open invitation for more communication by asking them to contact you privately if they need any extra help.

All of these tips will help you gain the most out of answering questions, and will help you build powerful relationships that will grow your business.

#3: Create Powerful Events

Hosting an event is a great way to build your business (see events under the ‘More…’ news in the LinkedIn navigation bar).  LinkedIn has an events platform that allows you to target thousands of professionals for free.

Due to the viral nature of LinkedIn, once someone RSVPs to your event, it shows up on the home profile of everyone that person is connected to, spreading the message for you.

Creating an event on LinkedIn is simple.  Answer a few questions and start promoting your event.  Send an invitation to the people who would be interested in the event based on region or niche. You will notice a wealth of opportunities from hosting your own event.

#4: Run an Advanced Search in Your Target Market

The advanced search function helps you get in touch with the exact people you’re going after. Simply click on “advanced” on the top right side of your home page next to the search box.  This will take you to a clean page where you can input anything you need to find the exact lead you are seeking.  You can search by industry, keywords, company and title, to mention a few.

#5:  Send Personal Messages

Once you find leads, you want to send them personalized messages.  The best way to drop any walls—and give yourself the best chance of making a sale—is to connect with someone on as many personal levels as possible. Look at their profile, find out which companies they’ve worked for in the past, which school they attended, what groups they’re in, listed hobbies and who your mutual connections are.

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Holiday Video for Marketers and SEO Fans Everywhere….

Christmas is here, bringing good cheer- so I am sharing this clever, delightful video from the genius staff at Hubspot Marketing. Enjoy:

If Marketers Went Caroling, What Would They Sing?

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How to Protect Your Privacy on Facebook – A Must Have Guide

FacebookI am afraid that Facebook has aquired a really bad rep over time as a place for people to exploit themselves, their families, friends, and personal details.  I want to argue, however, that being a Facebook user does not mean that you will have to endure hackers and strange people peeping into your personal life.  Nor is it necessary for people to have multiple Facebook accounts- one for personal, and one for business. I have always believed that it is a far better use of time and energy to have just one big account- and carefully managing your contacts and how much access they have.

I am sharing this article written earlier this year, it is a well known resource to most Facebook users and referred to as the “Holy Grail of Facebook Privacy”.   When I advise our clients to set up Facebook accounts, and be active users in these communities- the very last thing that I want for them is to feel vulnerable and “exposed” to people they may not know.

If you follow the 10 guidelines mentioned in 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know by Nick O’Neill (revised this month)- you will  be able to breath easier.  Nick shows you how to do the following smart steps in “Settings” to ensure your account is seen only by those who you want to see it- and helps avoid potentially embarassing situations among your friends, family and colleagues.   Be sure to read his article and follow the steps outlined:

1. Using Your Friend Lists

2. Remove Yourself From Facebook Search Results

3. Remove Yourself From Google

4. Avoid the Infamous Photo/Video Tag Mistake

5. Protect Your Albums

6. Prevent Stories From Showing Up in Your Friends’ News Feeds

7. Protect Against Published Application Stories

8. Make Your Contact Information Private

9. Avoid Embarrassing Wall Posts

10. Keep Your Friendships Private

These are just ten ways that you can protect your privacy on Facebook. While there are a few other small things to keep in mind, these ten settings are most important. Keep in mind that while you may have turned off the visibility of many profile sections, there is no way to prevent all photos or videos from being visible if friends of yours make the images visible.

The best way to prevent embarrassing items from showing up on Facebook in the future is to not make bad judgements in your personal life. We’re all human though and being completely paranoid about every choice you make is probably not the best way to live your life. Be aware of what privacy settings are available and be conscious of what your friends may be publishing about you.

While you may not want to configure all of the privacy settings outlined, simply knowing how to do so is a great step in the right direction. By following the 10 settings listed above you are well on your way to an embarrassment free future on Facebook!

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Marketing Study Shows Social Media Marketing is Not Just a Trend- It is Becoming an Industry Standard

Because Social Media marketing is relatively new to most businesses, I find that lots of small-medium sized business owners are a bit timid about jumping into it.  Many are worried Social Media is a fad, and investing precious time and money is just not worth it.

I am always searching for articles that give good examples of Case Studies and other companies using Social Media – and found a great article in Inc. 500 about a recent study from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and how mainstream Social Media marketing is really becoming.

To our clients who have already embraced Social Media as a way to build their brand online- congratulations for being a head of the game and I will work as hard as I can to keep you there!  To those who hesitate and need further proof that Social Media is becoming more standard in our industry, read this article:

Inc. 500 CEOs Use Social Media for Business

A new study shows that the use of social media is particularly prevalent among Inc. 500 companies and provides new insight on the role social media plays in running a business.
By Tamara Schweitzer | Nov 25, 2009

For the third consecutive year, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has conducted a study on social media usage among Inc. 500 companies. The 2009 results confirm the upward trend of social media adoption rates among some of the fastest growing private companies, and provide a useful comparison of social media trends from 2007 on.

This year’s study, which was conducted by researchers Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson, included 148 of the 2009 Inc. 500 companies. As with the past two years, respondents were asked about their usage and familiarity with six types of social media tools, including blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, message boards, and wikis. In the past year, social media usage by the Inc. 500 has grown, with 91 percent of companies reporting that they use at least one social media tool, compared to 77 percent in the 2008 survey. And, of the six social media categories, the one that continues to be the most familiar to Inc. 500 companies is social networking, with 75 percent saying that they are “very familiar with it.”

To account for the rise in popularity of newer types of social media, this year’s study also asked respondents about their interaction with sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace. Not surprisingly, the study found that many of the companies have already embraced these sites for running their business, with Twitter being the most widely used of them at 52 percent of the total respondents. While Twitter and other social networking sites have seen significant growth in comparison to previous years, other social media tools such as message boards and podcasting declined in the level of usage. But despite lower usage of some tools in 2009, many companies that have not yet incorporated social media in their business operations say they intend to do so in the future. For example, 44 percent of companies without a company blog say they plan to start one, and 36 percent intend to use some form of online video.

Eric Mattson, CEO of research firm Financial Insite and one of the head researchers in the study, believes that the high reception to social media among Inc. 500 companies is significant for several reasons. “Inc. 500 companies are focused on doing anything they can to grow faster and social media is an innovative tool that may give them an edge over their competition,” say Mattson. Additionally, he says their status as private companies plays a role. “There is less implication for private companies using social media – they don’t have to worry about the stock market going up or down based on someone’s Tweet,” says Mattson. “And often in smaller organizations, there is more room for innovation because it requires less processes to adopt.”

In looking at the data from a longitudinal standpoint, it’s clear that it’s not just the level of social media usage that’s significant, but the way in which businesses are using it. As in years past, respondents were asked if they were monitoring their company name or brands in the social media space, and 68 percent said yes, compared to 50 percent just two years ago. Lastly, companies were asked for the first time if they are using social media to communicate with vendors and suppliers, and 34 percent reported using social networks as a way to communicate, while 26 percent cited Twitter as an important vehicle for communication. “From a big picture trend standpoint, these results show how prevalent and widespread social media is becoming in every aspect of business now,” says Mattson.

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Is Twitter Striking a Deal with Google & Microsoft?

All right all you Twitter Nay-Sayers.…pay attention- this is big.   Last week, the news broke that Twitter is in serious talks with Google and Microsoft about incorporating  their data, or “tweets”, into their Internet search results. The search toolbar added to Twitter earlier this year (allowing users to search for specific keywords used in Tweets in real time) has evolved into very popular method of conducting online searches.  As we have seen from recent major new stories (the Iranian Elections for example) Twitter users are finding key information on the latest news events and happenings in real time.

Why should business owners and marketers care about this developing relationship?  Because Twitter feeds could soon be integrated into the results of search engines- and if you are not using Twitter to connect to major players and influencers in your industry, you might be missing a big opportunity to position your brand to find more search engine traffic once this deal goes through.  I want to share some smart advice I found in What Twitter’s Deal with Google Might Mean for Marketers!

So, what should marketers do? Start connecting with influencers in your industry. Do keyword searches on http://twitter.grader.com/search  and find the influencers relevant to your business. Start sending them resources, responding to their tweets and doing whatever it takes to form relationships. You’ll need them to know about the content you’re creating, find it interesting and hopefully … retweet your stuff.

Great advice- this is a practice marketers ought to be doing any way. 

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Case Study: Dell Exemplifies How Social Media is a Critical Link to Your Customers

I was inspired to write today’s post because I wanted to share an article today from Richard Binhammer, a senior manager in corporate communications at Dell, posted on SmartBlog on Social Media.

Those who have worked with me know that I spend a great deal of time encouraging businesses to let go of their fears and embrace social media as a means for their message to travel efficiently and to build trust among their customers. What better way to do this than to encourage employees to share their valuable insight in social media communities?

In the article, How Dell took social media mainstream, Richard describes how communication tactics among businesses have changed since community driven social networks have taken such a prominent place in our society.

I think Dell is an excellent case study of a large business who has embraced this concept by encouraging their employees in marketing, sales, service and support, and product groups to engage with customers and each other via social media channels.

The social media model being used at Dell exemplifies the true spirit of engaging and listening to your customers. All businesses should pay attention and learn from their experience. Dell has benefited from platforms such as Twitter and IdeaStorm to share their brand, build trust with their customers and have received valuable feedback to make them an even better company.

Richard sums up what I have been trying to say for some time much more eloquently that I can:

After three years of experimenting, listening and learning, ….we have concluded that social media is ultimately about connecting and communicating across all aspects of our business….. While social media started as a way for Dell to distribute news and special offers, it has evolved into a critical relationship builder, integrated into all business units.

Here are three tips for getting started on integrating social media into your business operations:

* Listen first. Learn from what your customers are saying to establish your baseline.

* Engage employees internally through social media. Use blogs, Yammer or company-specific social tools to get people used to and excited about the platforms.

* Encourage employees to set up social media accounts. As you know, social media is addictive! Once people try it, not only will they be itching for more, they’ll be coming up with ideas for how it can benefit their team.

Ahhhh…Poetry!   Music to my ears!

-Amy Dunn

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Tagging Friends & Businesses in Facebook Updates (And Why This is Great News)

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Tag your friends and favorite businesses in your Facebook updates!

Facebook has added a very nifty tagging feature this month so that it functions a little more like Twitter in certain capacities.  Facebook users now have the ability to communicate directly with another Facebook user or business by adding the @ symbol before their user name.

For instance…lets say I want to make the following update on my Facebook profile:

Amy is “Saying hello to everyone at Out of the Box Marketing “ or Amy is “Just read an interesting blog post from Schoodoodle” or Amy is “Meeting Becky Smith at the park”.

Wouldn’t this be so much more interesting and useful if there was a link to the Out of the Box Facebook page and the Schoodoodle Facebook page or to Becky’s profile?  To do this, simply type in the “@” symbol before the name of the business page or your friend’s profile and a drop down menu will appear for you to select the name. Upon name selection- the link to the business page or to your friend will appear live so it shows up like : Out of the Box and Schoodoodle

Those who use Twitter are already familiar with how this works- and understand why this is so exciting for businesses on Facebook. This feature allows:

  • More viral “buzz” to occur about business pages and groups in Facebook
  • More direct interaction between friends and businesses
  • The ability for businesses to have more direct and meaningful engagement with their fans. When you tag a fan of your business, they will receive notification and are likely to come back to your page and engage.

Here is the catch for Facebook admins (there seems to always be one!) that I learned after reading Jason Fall’s informative article Facebook Tagging for Business on Social Media Explorer today:

The catch is that you can only tag those who are your Facebook friends as well. If someone is a fan of your business, but not a friend of yours on the network, you won’t be able to tag them. As a result, you’ll have to think through having a professional account for yourself that you use to friend people who are fans of your brand. Some may not feel comfortable “friending” someone from the brand as well, but some probably will.

Confused? It’s ok. Just try it, go with it and see what happens. This does not over expose people because Facebook users still have to accept friend invitations in order to see their profile updates and information. In other words, the same privacy rules and settings will still in effect.

If I tag Becky Smith in my updates and someone in my Facebook network sees this update and clicks on Becky’s link- they will not be able to see her information if that person is not already friends with them. Becky also has the option of removing this tag.

This is a very exciting tool for social media marketers BUT I strongly encourage all admins of Facebook business pages to read Jason’s article and follow his 5 tips to best tagging for business practices:

Five Rules For Facebook Tagging For Business

1. Only tag people who will find the information you’re posting relevant. Throwing up a coupon and tagging all your friends is spammy. Use your update or email marketing features for that. Use tagging when you mention one of your Facebook friends showed up at your event and you were glad they came. It sends a personal “thank you” in a public way and allows them to see that you appreciate them.

2. Don’t tag the same people all the time. Just like blasting messages via email, when you get into copy and paste procedures, you become spam-like and annoying. Make sure you follow rule number one, but mix it up and tag different people in different messages, pictures or notes.

3. Set your notifications appropriately. The first thing most people noticed when the tagging feature was added is they started getting notifications of not just being tagged, but when anyone else responded to the item you were tagged in. Change those email notifications to get the exact information you want from Facebook and one that you don’t want or don’t need.

4. Be sensitive to your customer’s wishes. I would only recommend tagging people you have a great relationship with an know won’t mind you connecting them with your brand publicly. Your best friends … fans … advocates. Tagging a new person who has joined your Fan Page in a note or status update can seem a bit creepy if they haven’t had a chance to get to know you yet.

5. Encourage your employees, friends, followers and fans to tag your fan page when mentioning you on Facebook. It’s a simple act (just hit @ followed by your brand name or page name, then select) that places a link to your page or group in their updates. I would recommend, however, you ask in a way that is subtle and implies that you’d appreciate the gesture but it certainly isn’t required. Don’t worry. They’ll share the love if they really love you.

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Powerful Video Demonstrates Why Social Media is Not a Fad- But A Revolution

For anyone who thinks that Social Media Marketing is a fad or a waste of time- watch this video one our friends from Earth Studio shared with us yesterday.  These are some pretty amazing stats that surprised even me!   A year ago- I was eager to learn as much as I could in this field- so I went to bookstores to try and find resources that would teach me skills like managing a campaign on Facebook and best practices on Twitter– and the employees could find nothing. A couple of them had never even heard of Twitter.  So I relied on blogs and hands on experience to learn.

Last night, I was shopping in a mega bookstore and came across an entire section devoted to Social Media. Not Marketing, not Business, not Computers, – but the name of the section is actually Social Media.

It is very exciting to be in this field right now.  I believe this is truly a revolution- and marketing professionals and business owners are going to have to accept the old rules of marketing and PR are losing ground.  Smart businesses understand what is happening, and they are learning to adapt to our new culture.  While there is still value in traditional marketing practices today- it is essential to invest time and energy into creating effective social media campaigns to sustain in the future.   Consider the statistics presented in this video and let me know if you agree:

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How to Find Relevant Information and People in Twitter- A Simple Explanation

I frequently come across people who say- “I Just Don’t Get Twitter! What’s the Point? ”  Everyone knows that Twitter is new and popular- but how do you use it to benefit you?  In my head- I know the answer to this question, but I cannot seem to make the right words come out in the right order: “Well…ok, you see, people post tweets…and then you tweet them back…and they find and follow you…and stuff..you know.  You should do it…it will help your blog and…stuff..because you know…ummm…how can I explain it…uh…I guess…people will find you when you search…them- ach!!”  Not exactly the most helpful advice.

For Twitter newbies- all they see is an endless stream of weird and pointless information. The Twitter guys knew this was a growing issue- so they recently added a search bar on the homepage of Twitter and in your profile page.  See  It’s Official- Twitter is a Search Engine.  Whenever I try to introduce and explain Twitter to somebody who has never used this site before, I am usually met with a glazed over stare that screams- “I have no idea what you are talking about”.

Finally- the wonderful guys at Commoncraft have created a video that explains how we can use Twitter Search so that we are actually benefiting from this huge social network.  I hope this video helps people to understand the value of Twitter- heaven knows that I struggle with explaining it!  Please let me know if you found this to be helpful!

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Social Bookmarking Explained

You have heard about Social Bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Digg, Stumble-Upon and more….but how and why should you use them?  Social Bookmarking is a great way to share your content and to bookmark articles/blog posts/and websites that are important to you.  What are some of the benefits?

  • You can efficiently organize your content and your bookmarked sites by labeling them according to key words- (known as as tagging).  When you “tag” your content and bookmark it into your profile- you make it very easy for the content to be found not only by you- but by others in your network.
  • Social Bookmarking communities are a great way to build authentic relationships by sharing comments, content and links with one another.
  • These communities are often used by bloggers and journalists for searches.
  • This is a great way to research trends and get an idea of what people are talking about within your field.
  • Adding content to social media communities often results in better search engine authority if you use your keywords when giving titles to your bookmarks.  I have found this to be especially true of Digg and Delicious.
  • Adding your content to these communities will give it a longer shelf life by allowing it to be seen by more eyes; hence deepening your footprint on the Web (a phrase we like to use around here!).

If you are still confused about How Social Bookmarking works and Why You ought to consider it- check out this helpful tutorial……

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Ideas to Generate Brilliant Blog Posts and Article Content

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I often come across a number of business owners who are true experts in their field. Their minds are filled with wonderful insight and ideas about their industry, but do not know how to translate their knowledge into brilliant blog posts and articles.  Social media expert Chris Brogan recently compiled a list of questions business owners can ask themselves to generate better content to support their inbound marketing efforts.  Here are some of the questions to think about when you feel “stuck”:

Blog and Article Topics to Get You Unstuck


  • What challenges are my potential customers facing? Do I have any advice for them?
  • What have I read lately? What points were interesting? Can I add more to it?
  • What bugs me? Can I write about another way to approach it?
  • Who do I admire? Can I write something about them that explains how to emulate those traits?
  • What has the potential of helping (hurting) me or my community in the coming months? Are there possible ways out of it?
  • What kinds of tools are missing from my environment that would help things along?
  • Which companies or parts of an industry might benefit from my ideas?
  • How do other industries compare to what my community is thinking about?
  • What kinds of thoughts will inspire my audience to contact me (or support a cause, or buy my product, or support my interests)?
  • What do I want to know that I can ask my community?

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Ice Cream and Social Media

I love ice cream year round- but there is nothing better than a perfect ice cream cone to cap off a lazy summer day. What does this have to do with social media and why and I blogging about this? I found this wonderful video that demonstrates the importance and value of social media in You Tube created by Common Craft. This group produces short explanatory videos that are focused on making complex ideas easy to understand (something we all need). This clever video used the analogy of ice cream flavors to demonstrate and remind us how social media marketing at it’s best can work:

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There is Value in Other Social Media Communites Too!

This weekend, I have been spending some time catching up on my reading- and came across this great piece published in the Hubspot Blog.  This blog is a wealth of information and I recommend adding them to your reading list if you are interested in learning best practices in Social Media Marketing.

The piece is called

Five Tips for Contributing to Online Communities Other Than Facebook and Twitter

I am sharing this post because I know that we place a lot of our attention in the big social networking communities.  But there are many other smaller niche online communities out there that are worth exploring besides Twitter and Facebook.  It depends on who you want to reach.   I am not saying the large communities do not have value- but I am encouring business owners to look beyond the big sites and find other communities to network in as well.

Let me know what you think!

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Managing Your Social Media Life

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It seems like every single day, someone emails me a link to site or an article about a new social media tool, trend or application that is supposed to make life easy and prevent SMO (Social Media Overload). As someone who practices and studies social media marketing all the time, even I find it difficult to stay on top of all of the available tools! I can only imagine how overwhelmed a business owner must feel!

If I had a magic wand to make social media marketing easy, perfect and predictable- I would probably use it often and become pretty wealthy. Until I find that magic potion or wand- here are just a few of the tools that I rely on to help me manage my social media life in some capacity.

HelloTxt:

HelloTxt is a wonderful tool to manage your social media life. I advise that you go to the site today and create an account. With HelloTxt, you can post updates to most of your social media accounts (like Linked In, My Space, Twitter, Facebook) in one spot. Why log into so many places when you just do this from one place? It is very easy to set up and most of the people who use it love it.

FriendFeed:

FriendFeed is a social media community where all of the feeds from your other social media communities and blogs can feed into one place. It is a good way to view all of the activity from yourself and friends in one location. In my opinion, the popularity and functionality of Friendfeed remains to be seen- but I certainly believe this kind of social media streamlining is going to become a more important feature in the future.

TweetDeck:

TweetDeck is an application designed to help you manage your Twitter and Facebook account and lives on your desktop. It would be a huge waste of time for anyone to sit and stare at Twitter all day and navigate from page to page to see if someone has attempted to engage in a conversation. Downloading is simple, simply go to http://www.tweetdeck.com.

Why I love it:

  • It consolidates everything into 4 simple columns so you can see everything at once. Column 1: The Tweets of everyone you are following, Column 2: All @Replies that mention you (@yourtwitter username), Column 3: All Direct messages sent to you, Column 4: Facebook Status
  • The fact you can easily manage your accounts from these 4 columns. You can reply, direct message, retweet incoming Tweets that pop up in the first column. If you choose, you can quickly unfollow or view the profile of the person who posted the Tweet.
  • It is relatively simple to use and you can post updates to your Twitter AND Facebook accounts, or just your Twitter account, or just your Facebook account.
  • TweetDeck also provides quick links to other wonderful tools to help you make the most of your the Twittering.

What I do not love about it is the fact someone really needs to be familiar with how Twitter and Facebook works to get good use out of it. If you have no idea how Twitter works, the application will probably not make a lot of sense to you.

Hootsuite:

Another Twitter Tool that I advise using is HootSuite– “the ultimate Twitter Tool Box”. This is another free application that will allow you to manage your multiple accounts AND schedule your Tweets to post during optimal dates and times.

For example, if you would like to share info about an event in with your community- but fear you may be too busy to post this Tweet during the right time, you can schedule your Tweet to post at the exact time you wish to share the information.

Posting a Tweet in Hootsuite is very simple, plus you can view any @replies to respond to or direct messages.  Hootsuite makes it very easy to reply and Retweet (a practice that is very valuable to building your network). What I love the most about Hootsuite is it makes very simple to shorten a url if you wish to share a link with their ow.ly url shortener. When you use this wonderful tool- it enables you to pull stats and see how many people clicked on the url (useful information indeed!).

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How to Build Fans of Your Facebook Business Page

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I must be honest, one of the biggest challenges that I am having as I assist clients with their social media marketing plan is building a strong following and fan base in Facebook.  Facebook is a gold mine of new leads and connections but it can be tough to build that bridge that allows them to easily find and connect with your business. Facebook Business Pages are a valuable method of engaging with fans on a regular basis and building buzz in Social Media Communities.

I recently had a conversation with a fellow marketer who manages a Facebook business page. I was impressed with the large following she has managed to build and asked her about her methods. How was she able to get so many people on Facebook to care enough to become fans? I will share these tips with you!

Step One: Develop a Strategy for your Page.

Build the page with the goal to become a valuable resource to your customers. Nobody joins social networking communities so that they can be advertised to. People do not always care about your product or service. They care about THEIR issues and finding solutions.

Give them a good reason to come to your page. You can use the page to post links to valuable articles, post helpful and interesting videos, photos and other fun updates.

You can also join other Facebook pages and groups similar to yours to see what they were doing. This is a great way to do research and get a feel for what works and what does not work. You will want to participate in these communities by contributing to discussions, answering questions, and share information.


Step Two: Organize the Masses.

After convincing the “powers that be” in your organization that having a Facebook page for your business can be a powerful tool; I recommend organizing the staff to officially launch the page. Explain to everyone that the goal is to become an industry resource for people in your field.

Have a meeting with the entire staff to explain what a Facebook page is and the purpose of it. Outline how you intend to use it and answer questions and address everyone’s concerns.

Encourage the staff to support the page. It is not uncommon to request employees of your company open a Facebook profile and become fans of the page. Perhaps they can help start the momentum by being fans and sending out invitations to their family and friends to be fans as well. You may find that friends and family are more than happy to support the efforts of a company where you are employed.

Step Three: Give reasons for people in Facebook to join and come back to the page.

Do a bit of research each week and post resources in your field. Post relevant links to articles and blog posts that offered helpful advice and tips. Remember- posting on your wall will cause an update to feed into your fans newsfeed on their home page.

I also recommend sending regular fan updates so the existing fans would have a reason to come back to the page. In doing this, you will began to attract more fans. However, do not use the fan updates to be overly promotional and salesy- this could be a turn off to your fans. See this as more of a conversational “hello” and express gratitude to your

Facebook fans for their support. Perhaps you can also gently request they invite people in their network to become a fan of your business page too.
Step Four: Seek any and every opportunity to promote your Facebook page.

Post a link to in the signature of your email (think about how many people you email every day). Request your staff (if possible) to post a link to your Facebook page as well! Post a link to your Facebook Page on your company site AND the blog.

Posting media such as photos and video and tagging them with relevant keywords has been proven to attracts new visitors.

Consider budgeting for a low cost ad campaign to promote your Facebook page through targeted advertising. Lots of businesses have seen positive results from doing this- and have built onto their fan base.

Most importanly, remember that there is no magic program or quick fix to launch a successful Facebook page for your business. While the service is currently free (take advantage while it still is!)- is does require planning and hard work to build your own online community. But the payoff is tremendous!

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Facebook Funny Video

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Facebook Profiles, Fan Pages, and Groups Explained

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Everyone knows and has heard of Facebook.  Everyone knows Facebook is the biggest and best thing since sliced bread. Yet there is confusion on why and how a business should use Facebook? I am writing this post because I cannot stress how valuable this social network can be to a business when utilized in a smart way.

First, I believe that business owners and managers really need to have a personal Facebook profile.  This can be used to network easily with their personal contacts AND for building business relationships.  It is true that Facebook is designed for people to connect on a personal level; however, countless business relationships have been made through this network.  How many times have we been able to land a big opportunity through friends of a person we know?  The purpose of Facebook is to connect you to everyone that you know whether it is someone you went to school with, former or current coworkers, groups, associations, or family members. By connecting to those you know, Facebook gives you the opportunity to safely connect to people that your friends know. Facebook networks tend to grow very quickly as the network is constantly offering suggestions of people that you may know.

Once someone has a Facebook Profile- the next step is to create and promote their business with a Facebook fan page and eventually form a Facebook group.  BOTH features are valuable and important because they are both methods to engage and interact with people interested in your business for free (that may not last forever).  Pages and groups have different features and should really compliment one another.  Group members can be invited to join the fan page and fans of the page can be invited and encouraged to join the group.

Here is what I know-

A Facebook Page

  • Functions like a personal Facebook profile- it has a wall to post on, photo albums, video, notes and is set up with tabs so it is easy to navigate
  • You can post updates on the wall (which should be fed into fan’s newsfeed)
  • Fans have the ability to also post on the wall and post photos
  • Admins can and should send frequent updates to Fans (that are fed into the “Updates” section of their Facebook Profile) to keep them coming back to the page
  • You can feed your blog into the notes of your Facebook page.
  • You can promote the page and reach a targeted audience for a very reasonable price

The more content you post in your Facebook fan page- the more fans you will attract.  The page should be viewed as a resource for your audience.  People do not join social networks because they want to hear about your product or service. They join because they want to connect with others and find solutions and ideas to inspire them.

The first step to building a Facebook page is to determine who your audience is and put out content that they would find appealing.  Posting links to relevant articles or blogs, video, photos, that address your audience would be a smart way to make your fan page a resource- and gives your fans reasons to come back.  In addition- you should also balance the information on your page with your news, updates, events, announcements and photos.

Facebook Groups-

  • Intended to be an online community (People who love Thai food, People who love Bob Dylan, etc)
  • Admins can send messages directly to group member’s inbox (REALLY valuable feature)
  • People can post and contribute to ongoing discussions, links, etc.

I like the Facebook pages because it allows us to provide more information and interaction with fans- but I like the Facebook groups because I like the concept of attracting an online community based on similar interests and the ability to communicate directly to their inboxes is very valuable.  It is a smart strategy to put effort into both so they compliment each other.

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Forget About Twitter- It is All About “Flutter” Now

It is my job to stay ahead of the curve and I am here to tell you Twitter is so- last week!  Check out the newest and greatest thing to hit social media marketing.  Are you ready for “Flutter”?:

Oh- and in case you think I am serious- HAPPY BELATED APRIL FOOLS!

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Twitter Can Connect in Many Industries

I was recently approached by Connie Cho, Web editor of California Apparel News to give my thoughts on Twitter & how it can benefit the fashion & apparel community in her article Something To Tweet About.

It made me think about how Twitter is a diverse community that welcomes people from all industries and backgrounds: Fashion, Education, Accounting, Coaching, Construction, Parenting, Retail, Body Building- you name it. 

These groups are on Twitter and embrace anyone who is willing to open up and join the conversation!    There are also numerous Twitter directories that allow you to find others you want to connect to- check out WeFollow,  Twellow and TweetFind  to name a few. 

For those who have been using Twitter, they might have noticed some users are placing hashtags in their updates- you know, those weird key words with a (#) sign in front of them like- #lost, #inaug09, #homeschool- etc.  Try finding people in Twitter who share your common interests by doing a search in #hashtags using your keywords or simply go to Twitter Search to connect to Twitter users who are using your keywords in their conversation.  There are numerous ways to identify and connect with relevant people in Twitter.  It takes time, and a bit of effort- but well worth it in the long run.  What other tools do you use to connect to people in your industry?

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Create, Optimize and Promote Your Content to Boost Your SEO

Earlier this week, I participated in an excellent webinar from PRWeb (thank you PRWeb!) and learned some very valuable tips about utilizing your news to drive traffic to your site.  The speaker was Lee Oden, CEO of  Top Rank Marketing.  The purpose of this training was to help us learn how to create, optimize and promote news content to reach consumers and journalists.

Lee opened the training with sharing that an estimated 70% of people are getting their news online. As traditional marketing and public relations methods are evolving; we are adapting to new ways of reaching journalists.  Journalists are now utilizing social media networks, blogs and other online sources to get their story.  Lee shared some very interesting statistics with us that demonstrate how search engines are utilized when looking for facts, sources and information for their story.

When using search engines, 91% of journalists say they typically do a standard and general search- meaning they do not limit their search to any specific type of media.  However- in many cases, the same journalists do specify their search to narrow their results.  When doing this-

9% search for video
18% are searching for images
14% are searching blogs
27% are searching social media networks (Twitter/Facebook)

So, which social media tools do journalists use to do their research for facts, experts and trends?  According to Oddem:

55% say they use Blogs
36% use Microblogging sites (such as Twitter)
64% search in social networks (such as Facebook, Linked In)
9% search in Social Bookmarking Communities (Digg, Delicious, Stumble Upon)
36% search in Media Sharing
14% search Podcasts
50% search Wikis

So the million dollar question is: how can I make it so journalists can find it and write about my company?  Right?  Most companies use SEO for lead/sales generation (quite important!).  However, we should also look at ways to optimize our content so anyone doing research in our individual field or industry can find us.
Oddem demonstrated the importance of using a healthy combination of “Push vs Pull” tactics of marketing.  As he explained this, I interpreted “Push marketing” to be traditional marketing as we know it- using outreach methods to get information to writers in the form of press releases in the wire services and pitching directly to the journalist.  There is still value in this method- but needs to be complimented by “Pull Marketing” which is the practice of optimizing content so it is easier to find.

So- how do we optimize our content?  Oddem stressed the importance of researching and strategically placing your keywords in specific areas about 2-4 times- (namely in the title and within the body of the piece).  However, make sure the piece is optimized for people to read- not just search engines.  Some companies are so focused on using their keywords- they lose sight of the fact that real people read them and the piece reads poorly!  It is also valuable to add media such as photos and video when possible.  He gave us his model on how to best optimize a company press release using a combination of the “Push & Pull” marketing:
1.     Research Keywords
2.    Optimize the content with the keywords
3.    Create a call to action within the piece
4.    Direct the reader to a landing page designed specifically to convert them into a solid lead
5.    Post to a newsroom (see GM Europe and Electorlux for great examples of online newsrooms)
6.    Pitch to the media
7.    Utilize an RSS feed
8.    Utilize Wire Service Distribution
9.    Measure success

He gave us some very valuable PR tactics that companies can utilize that will affect their SEO (implement your keywords in all of these!):

  • Press Releases
    Letters to the Editor (print editions and letters often appear online- so use your keywords!)
    Online Newsrooms
    Media Kits
    Blogs
    White Papers
    Webinars
    Newsletters
    Real World Interviews (make sure you use your keywords when giving an interview)
    Podcasts

While I am not sure I was able to grasp and articulate each of his points in this post, I learned a lot in the 50 minutes that he spoke.  I appreciate his approach on combining some of the traditional (and still relevant) marketing methods and complimenting these methods with the new approaches that allow our information to be accessible in the search engines.  I believe these tips will be useful for any web marketer or business owner.

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Social Media On The Today Show

As a work at home mom, and social media enthusiast- this piece on The Today Show hit a little close to home.  With the shakey, allright- downright HORRIBLE, economy- many women are finding ways to utilize their talents into money making consumer blogs- and major brands are taking notice of some of these marketing powerhouses:

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Avoiding Rookie Social Media Mistakes

Since most social media sites have existed for just a few years, the concept of participating in social media marketing is still very new to most people and we are all learning together.  Anytime you try something new- it is likely you will make a mistake right?  It does not make you a bad person or marketer.  In fact, the really great marketers are the ones who make the mistakes, learn from them and use their lessons to teach us “newbies” about what not to do.   I am listing some of the top “rookie” mistakes people often make in Social Media (I may have even been guilty of one or two of these mistakes myself in the past).
1. Using your social media profiles just to sell and push your brand or product. People use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to build relationships and learn from one another. They do not want to hear advertising. Blatant selling and pitching in these networks is a way to make sure your followers will un-follow you quickly. Concentrate on building relationships, adding value to the conversation. This can lead to indirect sales later.

2. Having a one way conversation. Ignoring your followers updates in social networks is not recommended. This brings no value to your followers. Again, build connections, comment on someone’s status update- even if it seems silly or trivial- it is important to start somewhere to get the conversation going! Post a link or blog about a post someone in your network posted. Social media users who just log in and post a series of updates without paying attention to what the others are saying are really missing the boat.

3. Trying to build a huge following immediately. This is a common mistake that happens in Twitter- but occurs in all social networks.  Twitter users are leery of those who jump in and blindly follow hundreds and hundreds- even thousands of people who have no intention of following them back. This will make them think you are a “spammer” and this method will likely backfire. Instead, add a few people gradually, and contribute to the conversation and you will build a nice following organically.

4. Using Auto devices. Don’t “Auto” anything in social media, be a real person. Auto responses are impersonal and offends many users- especially ones that say “Hi- check out my link…”. This will also give people the impression that you are a spammer. Concentrate instead on sending genuine and real messages. It is worth your time and effort to be a real person.

5. Too much url information in your bio. Don’t fill your bio with urls. They won’t be live and it just looks silly. You can place one web site URL in the appropriate location.

6. Using your bio to pitch your product or service. This has been known to drive people away. Include basic information about your role with your blog or organization, and state a brief fact or two about it (whatever is allowed in 160 characters).

7. Bringing no value to your followers. Before you post an update in a social network, or your blog- think about the others in the community.  Make sure you are publishing something that others will find useful and interesting.

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