Tag Archives: Facebook

Successful Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn

This is an old post from my former blog, but I felt the information was still relevant today.

The corner where Marketing Ave. meets Strategy St.Deciding on a marketing plan for your business, whether or not to market your business in either Facebook or LinkedIn, and the right mix of disciplines to use is a combination of personal preference, trial-and-error, and industry statistics. The industry statistics help determine what combination of online and offline marketing tools your competition is using. Objectives help keep you on your marketing path by providing the support for the plan. The trial-and-error helps determine what works and what doesn’t by being flexible to try some other marketing idea when the current idea isn’t working. The personal preference is, well, up to you. Learn what your target market is using for social media platforms and gear your messages to both the audience and the platform.

LinkedIn is a social media platform with a more professional population. In this platform CEOs, entrepreneurs, decision-makers, business owners network for jobs, projects, and information. Members connect for colloboration, to show expertise, continue company branding and expand their professional network. Creating a LinkedIn Group has three advantages over joining an existing group for professional connecting:

  1. You write topics and/or posts and invite like-minded people to join and contribute to the new community.
  2. You are viewed almost immediately as a leader.
  3. Make new connections, find & be a resource for those needing help.

Facebook is another social media platform that is more social than professional. Members connect here to stay in touch with friends and family, or to find friends or family. The atmosphere is more laid back, more conversational, less formal than LinkedIn. After creating a personal profile, you can create a Business Page (f.k.a. Fan Page). This has three advantages:

  1. Build a community and network through posts and discussions.
  2. Continue branding and awareness of your business.
  3. Insights allow Pages to see what content is most influential for their followers, as well as receive notifications of new Likes and messages to Page.

The choice I am making for my two business’ marketing plans is to engage more through LinkedIn Groups. I am weeding out Groups I have joined that either are no longer active, or are no longer aligned with my business’ strategies. Ideally, continuing to utilize both cultures and maintaining a presence is desirable, but for my companies — both B2B (business to business) oriented, I must spend more time engaging in LinkedIn and create my own Group for interactions, information, and assistance.

Bottom line: business owners should make their social media choices based on knowledge of their target market, finding out what social media platforms they are using via email, phone and/or surveys, and what type of content is most important to them. Don’t assume your audience knows everything about your business. Listen to the questions they ask, and they will point you in the right direction for content creation.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Turn Off The Auto-Responder!

Visibly Media social media toolboxThat’s right, turn off the auto-responder! You may think you look like you’re on top of things by using this “feature”. Sadly, the opposite is more true than not. Abusing an auto-responder can make you look like an online novice instead of a professional.

Auto-responders are scheduled pieces of response. In email, it’s a scheduled, programmed note back to your email inbox when you sign up for a whitepaper download or some other information box. When you use an auto-responder in social media, you are scheduling a specific response (i.e., “I’m on vacation…”) to be triggered when one of your friends, followers or connections makes a post. The issue? Because it’s programmed, scheduled, you don’t know what kind of message the auto-responder is responding to.

Allow me illustrate an example. Last week I saw an auto-responder to a post on Facebook, one of the last social media channels I thought would ever have seen such a thing. A friend had asked for prayers for a family member who was very ill. A mutual friend chimed in on the Facebook post with this message:

social media auto-responder

 

 

REALLY?

Yep.

Here’s three reasons why you should turn off the auto-responder:

  1. It looks tacky. This type of response doesn’t show the world you’re staying connected or on top of things. To the contrary — it makes you look lazy.
  2. You look clueless. It was clear the respondent hadn’t read the post at all.
  3. It translates to apathetic concern. Basically, you didn’t care enough to personalize the message. Social media is, first and foremost, social. That means people should be making real connections to real people, with real feelings, right?

Here’s the deal: the photos you see on social media aren’t just avatars or images. Those are photos of real people, with real feelings. How would you feel if you made a similar request of your friends, and saw an auto-responder like the one above? You might forgive it, thinking to yourself, “At least he or she thought of me at all, they’re just a little busy right now.”. Seriously, how long will that feeling last?

Three key takeaways:
  1. Make the connection personally. An auto-responder is just a pre-recorded message. Step up to the next level and make a post of real, genuine concern. If you feel comfortable, take it offline to either a private chat or phone call, but be real.
  2. Clue back in. You decided to connect to these people, or accept their connection request. Why? What did it mean to you then, and what does it mean now? Read, really read their posts, and answer personally if you are so motivated — not programmed.
  3. Get re-connected to the world. Dial it back in. You are connected to these people for a reason, right? What was the reason? Re-examine the strengths, abilities and individuality of each connection first, then re-examine yourself and your reasons for staying connected.

You should be building lasting relationships on social media. What kind of footprint do you want to leave? How do you want to be known and/or remembered? Strive to be remembered and known for caring past a number or notch on your belt, and see what happens.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.

Facebook: Sharing Is Caring!

TechCrunchYesterday TechCrunch.com reported in a blog article that Facebook has decided to not allow text-based status updates from Pages. This may turn out to be a good move for Pages, as they will now need to not only concentrate more on remarkable content with updates that are media-based or link-based. This is a positive move for Pages, as Admins can now concentrate more on remarkable, strategic content.

Facebook share link button samplesThis new tweak from Facebook also means authors should use the opportunity to incorporate the Facebook share link with every article.

The best way to get your content to get read and go viral is through share links. Share links capture the headline, the first line or two of the article, the image used in the article, and a link to the full article. When sharing, you can either share directly to your Facebook personal timeline so your friends can see the content, or that of your Page so followers and Likers can read it.

Click here to get Facebook’s share link button. You can also use a social media sharing app such as Shareaholic for your blog articles.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.



How Much Privacy Do We Need On Social Media?

This week two startling announcements in the social media world were made, and they made me wonder how much privacy we need while we are on social media.

FacebookFirst, Facebook, and yet another change. Read the full article here. Effective immediately, someone can search for your profile AND find you — even if your privacy setting is turned on. Apparently, some people were upset because they couldn’t find a friend through a search, so, in true fashion to appease investors, this mechanism (part of Facebook since its inception) has now been cancelled. In recent comments, CEO/founder Mark Zuckerberg has stated people shouldn’t be doing things they want to keep secret. Why, then, was this mechanism built into Facebook in the first place?

GooglePlusSecond, Google has gone the way of Facebook and decided to sell its users’ profiles and photos in advertisements — effective November 11 of this year. Read the full article here. The skinny: if you make a +1 (the equivalent to a Like on Facebook) on a GooglePlus status update, YouTube video, or even a Google Search, Google’s new interface allows your friends and connections (anyone you agreed to share content with) to see this in an advert along with how many stars you have rated it. Google calls this a “shared endorsement”. While this could be used to gain strategic eyeballs for customer conversion, you can modify your settings so your name and photo don’t show in an advert. Here’s the catch: Google has a very large footprint, and this action will become effective for any Google application.

Now, let’s put the elephant in the room: How much privacy do we really need on social media?
Answer: As much as we choose to have and is allowable by each platform we decide to use.

Globally (not just in the United States), our expectations of privacy are over-inflated. Social media is the vehicle by which we can communicate with others, belong to communities (or start one), share and gather information, and sell our products or services. We can also give written endorsements or testimonials about companies and their products or services.

But, should social media be used by marketers or political figures to infiltrate all our conversations and groups? If you like a certain Page or Google post, should you then expect to see any and all Page or Google posts from similar affiliations, companies or beliefs? Just because you Like Petsmart or a quote from your sales coach, should you have to see other Pages or quotes from similar entities, spewing forth their unwanted sales pitch?

If a social media platform has the ability for us to keep our profiles secret, we should not only be able to use it, we should have a reasonable expectation it will be respected by the platform itself and its members. If the platform creators change their EULA (End User License Agreement) to make privacy next to impossible, there are a few things you can do:

GooglePlus profile settings

  1. Adjust your settings. Google still allows for some privacy, while Facebook doesn’t. Go to your Profile home page and hover over the Home button, then click on Settings. Your Google+ settings should be onscreen. Scroll down to Shared Endorsements and click Edit. Click off on the box in the image below and click the Save button on the right.
  2. Facebook profile privacy settings

  3. Limit the Facebook search. It’s a limited parameter but may help. Go to your Profile and click the Tool icon, go to Account Settings, then click Privacy. Go down to the subheading “Who can look me up?”. There are two options:
    • Who looks you up using your provided email address or phone number – change this setting from the default “Everyone” setting to the one you want.
    • If you don’t want other search engines to link to your Timeline, turn this setting Off.
  4. Create a secret Group. Invite only those you want in the Group. Share information only with those in the Group, and share only what you want them to know. It won’t keep someone from finding your Timeline, but it will keep some of your contacts a bit more private.
  5. Delete your account. This has become a large bone of contention, particularly with Facebook. If you feel the social media platform you’re using is becoming too intrusive, you don’t have to continue using it. Extreme but effective.

Privacy will become a valuable commodity in the very near future. Be careful how much of your life you list on social media. Be aware of your contacts and make sure you know someone very well before allowing someone to Friend/Follow you. Never become predictable.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found. Be safe.



Hashtags Are Not Spaghetti!

Hashtags thrown against the wall.Hashtags are the newest “idea” to hit Facebook. It has worked well for Twitter veterans; Twitter has been using hashtags since August 2007. The concept is to use a hashtag or two so marketers, bloggers and business owners can follow engagement and interactions easier.

You can, and should, create a hashtag for just about anything you want to track. Want to promote a holiday special or just announce a new product or service? Create a hashtag to capture comments (and complaints). Starting a new online chat? Make a hashtag. If your company is hosting an event in real life for many people (i.e., networking, holiday party, etc.), create a hashtag so people can see who is attending, chat and upload pictures, and generally network using the hashtag.

Unfortunately, what this has resulted in for Facebook is some users creating and listing as many hashtags as possible for a singular post. One post I read had 9 hashtags! I ask you, seriously: How does listing 9 hashtags for your Facebook post help you be found using strategic visibility?

The answer is in your purpose. Hashtags are not spaghetti. Rather than throwing them out into the social media world to see what sticks, you should perform a bit of due diligence first. Here are 7 tips for better hashtag use:

Facebook search box

  • Be intentional. If you want to create a hashtag and aren’t sure if one has already been borne, type in the hashtag you want into Facebook’s search box. You can also conduct at search on hashtags.org. This website will also show you what is trending and allow you to track the hashtags you are using.
  • Be responsible. Look for a hashtag before creating one. If it has been created, see what is being said around the hashtag. Don’t hijack a hashtag and assume your conversations are “right” or more important. Make sure the conversations are relating to what you want to talk about.
  • Be strategic. You can use generic hashtags such as #Facebook or #Twitter to get into a general stream of conversation. This is great for promotion, as long as you remember to check out the hashtag first and see what the conversations are surrounding the hashtag.
  • Be creative. If the hashtag you want to use is taken, try adding your company’s initials or an event date with it and see if it’s available. If so, post it on #Twitter and #Facebook for your followers.
  • Be reasonable. The more hashtags you use, the more you have to check. Use one, no more than two, hashtags for your event or promotion.
  • Be measured. Monitor the progress and conversations surrounding your hashtag. Use an online tool such as Twubs or tchat to see the active stream and respond in real time when people post to it.
  • Be found. Let your audience know about the hashtag as soon and as often as possible. Write up a blog article about it. Post to your #LinkedIn company page, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Make a short video and tie in to your website or blog.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.