Archive for August, 2011

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Who is Driving Your Social Media Bus?

August 22, 2011

As many of you know, I teach people how to use social media and other technology tools on the web and on their PC/Macs.  My reason for this is very simple; you do not want anyone in control of where you are going.  I often say “You can hire someone to operate the pedals, but you need to be the one in control of where the car/bus is going.”  That means, you need to understand the 4 Whys of Social Media.

  • What is social media?
  • Why should I use social media?
  • When should I use social media?
  • Who will be doing my social media activities?

These are all pretty simple questions to answer.

The What is – social media is a set of tools and websites which allow you to extend your network by conversing with friends, clients, prospective customers, and people you have not met yet.  It is NOT about selling or pushing your product or service.  It is about long-term relationship building and maintenance.

The Why is – you need to be in control of your reputation on the Internet and in real life.  Information about you and/or your business/organization is already on the web.  Although, you can’t control the conversation, you want to be aware of what is being said and you want to participate.  You also want to make sure you are meeting the needs of your clients.  Finally, you want to share your expert knowledge to your clients, prospective clients and/or employers.

 The When is – now and every day for at least an hour.  As a business owner or employee, trying to squeeze out another hour to add this activity into your daily routine is rough, but there are methods and tools to help you manage your time.  You can usually squeak out 10-15 minutes when you would rather be doing anything but work.  Use those minutes to start talking on-line.  Do it 4 times per day and there is your hour.  There are also tools that will help you manage your interactions and monitor what is being said about you.

The Who is – not so simple.  Sometimes all you have to do it is you.  Sometimes you have employees that can help you with it.  AND sometimes, you hire an agency or firm to do it for you (I rank this one the LAST thing you want to do.)  Run away from anyone that promises they will do X number of updates per/day or week and get you a ranking of Y.  If you read my previous post – you know that social media is NOT about the numbers.

 You and your employees know you and your business the best.  Therefore, you and your employees understand the culture that is your company.  No matter who “The Who” is, you need to understand what social media, social marketing, social commerce and social networking is and how to do it.  That means you will be the one in control even if you do hire an agency.  You want to be the one driving your social media bus.

So who is driving your social media?

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Social Media is NOT about the Numbers

August 19, 2011

Yesterday, I received a call asking me what social media packages I offered to small businesses.  AND today, I saw a LinkedIn message from someone selling social media packages to small businesses.  It got me thinking … there are 2 approaches to using social media for marketing yourself or your business.

Approach 1: Create a Facebook account, a Twitter account and setup or have someone setup a website/blog for you. Hire someone to create and post x number of tweets, updates, etc per week.  Join services that promise they will increase your number of fans, friends, followers, connections.  Push out messages about your product, service or website/blog.  The goal – to get as many followers, fans, connections as possible within a short period of time so you can get them to buy your service/product.

Approach 2: Create a Facebook account, a Twitter account and setup or have someone setup a website/blog of you.  Comment on, share and retweet other people’s tweets, updates, blogs, etc.  Tell all your real life buddies to follow you, friend you, become a connection and basically carry your relationship onto the web using social media tools.  Don’t hire someone to do it for you. They can’t really be you.  Learn to do it yourself.  Reach out to people you don’t know, but want to get to know and ask them to follow, friend and/or connect with you.  Don’t send out messages about your product, service or website/blog on a regular basis.  Send out information which might help your network and have online conversations.  The goal – to network with your online community of friends and business associates so you can establish and grow your network.

Approach 1 is a LOT easier to do because the whole thing can be automated and anyone can automate your social media activities.  Approach 2 is harder and takes more time because although you can automate some social media activities, you really need to be there to have genuine relationships with people.

Both approaches have their pros and cons, but when someone asks me “What social media packages do you have for small businesses?”, I have to respond “I don’t have any packages.”.  I think of my social media activities like any live networking event.  Oh, I have some pat things that I say to people, but ultimately, I want to have conversations and share information which might be helpful to others.  I know that when I show a genuine interest in others, they are more likely to think of me next time they need something or next time they or a friend of theirs want help, support or just a simple question answered.  So how does that translate to my bottom line – make money, it doesn’t.  That is not my goal.  My goal is to have some real business friendships in real life (IRL) and online.  I don’t know about you, but I want to do business with my friends and I often refer people to my friends because I know they are great.

Thus, Social Media is not about the numbers.  It is about conversations and real relationships with people.  Those relationships lead to increased revenue, but it takes a long time and real work just like any other life long relationship.  I show my clients how to do what I do to establish those life long relationships for their business, brand and themselves.

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20 Tips to Increase Your Facebook Insights & Become More Visible

August 4, 2011

Two posts within the same week – amazing!  But I digress, I want to talk with you about how to increase the impressions for your Facebook business page.

I manage my own Facebook page in addition to some pages for other organizations.  One of the pages belongs to a small networking group in Chicago.  It has between 20,000 and 45,000 impressions per month.  I have noticed that when I practice the following behaviors, the impressions increase.

  1. Post something every day or even better, a couple of times each day
  2. Post photos, videos and podcasts
  3. Post information that is compelling and useful to your readers
  4. Respond when people comment or like something you have posted
  5. Use questions and/or the question feature to interact with your fans
  6. Post events
  7. Encourage discussions and participation, but don’t let one individual hijack your page
  8. Encourage people to tag themselves in the photos & videos
  9. Welcome new fans. People love to have their 15 minutes of fame
  10. Invite your Facebook friends and have your friends tell their friends to “Like” your page
  11. Have a custom Welcome page which is displayed to non-fans
  12. Have several administrators so that you have content from several people and so that you do not lose access to your page if something happens to your personal Facebook account
  13. Use the page settings to control how you interact with the page.
  14. Monitor your insights to do some analysis to find out what types of posts have the most hits.
  15. Use Facebook as the page name and then like other pages
  16. Consider promoting it with Facebook Ads
  17. Include the URL on all printed materials, your signature, other websites, and other digital mediums.
  18. Stay positive
  19. Don’t spam or sell your services or products
  20. Be YOU

Increasing your visibility is like “planting a garden”.  It takes time and work in order to see the results of your efforts and to create a blooming garden that people want to see every day.

Impressions do not tell the full story or necessarily convert to increased dollars.  However, the more people that see something, the better chance that they will remember you when they need something or a friend needs something.  Thus, although impressions are not the “end all, be all”, they can help you become more visible.

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10 Ways to Improve Your Digital Visibility

August 1, 2011

So a friend of mine asked me to do some research and compile a list of bloggers.  Mind you these are some pretty amazing bloggers with great followers.  They are leaders in the field of blogging so I expected that I would be looking at some pretty tech savvy folks.

BUT I found a problem – many of them have not taken advantage of the various visibility features that are available in all social media tools.  You might think, well, this only applies to bloggers.  Not true, I have seen the same things with professionals in all fields.  Like it or not, we are now a digital society and it is always good to take charge of your own personal, professional or company brand on the internet.

Here is a list of 10 ways to improve your digital visibility.

  1. You need a LinkedIn profile no matter what your field
  2. Upload a picture of yourself, your logo or some sort of avatar rather than accepting the default supplied by the social media site
  3. Customize your public URL. Do not accept the default or your URL will have a random combination of numbers and letters
  4. If you are a personality, have a business, a blog, etc., you need a Facebook page
  5. Open up your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google profile so that people can see the great things you have done
  6. But if you don’t want the world to know your phone number, address, etc., don’t put it on your profile
  7. Make it easy for someone to research you. Each account needs to have links to all of your other profiles/pages/blogs/etc.
  8. Be aware of how much time it takes to load your page.  If too long, the search engines may not like your site/blog/profile
  9. Tell a compelling story. Be creative with the summary on your profiles and make them something that would encourage people to want to find out more about you.
  10. Monitor your visibility/ranking. Companies are looking at them so right or wrong, you need to be aware of how they are rating you.

Here is my call to action; take a serious critical look at all of your profiles on the internet and make them work for you rather than making others work to find you.