This year’s Facebook changes are on—full throttle—and there’s been a wee bit of backlash, particularly about the news feed. Seems that some people preferred the more streamlined, Facebook-curated content chosen for you on the news feed wall. But now those pre-chosen posts (Top Posts) as well as “Recent Posts” are in your main news feed AND there’s a real-time ticker of the minutial activity of the friends and businesses you follow running constantly down the right side of your monitor, which can be a bit overwhelming for some.
Here’s the good news! You can create categories or “Lists” of specific people and pages you follow and when needed click on them and instantly clear out everything in your news feed that doesn’t pertain to the specific list you’ve created. Imagine the possibilities for lists like “Business Contacts,” “Favorite Stores,” “BFFs,” or “My Hobbies.”
Here’s your quick “how to”–
- Go to your Facebook home page where you see the news feed of everyone you follow.
- In the left-hand navigation area, click on LISTS. You’ll see some default categories that have been set up for you and you can create new ones for yourself like the ideas above by clicking “Create a List.”
- Click on “Add friends to list to see their updates” and you’ll be given a drop-down option box. Drop down to “pages” or “friends” as appropriate. Make sure you hit “Done” after you’ve added all the pages you want to the list so that it’s saved.
- Each time you log on to Facebook and are brought to the home page, just click on the list you created on the left-hand side and you’ll see only the news from those friends and pages you’ve added.
Change isn’t easy for everyone, but within a few weeks I guarantee you won’t remember how limited your news feed was before. Enjoy!
So the word is out, the “chat” feature of Facebook, which you may or may not have been using (or even known you had), now has a video chat feature! This is seriously cool—it takes all the awesomeness of Skype and puts it right into Facebook for you to use with your friends in real time. No setting up a Skype account, no asking for Skype names, and no coordination of effort. And you can really start using it right away. How to get this going has been a bit of a mystery, but let me be the one to tell you how easy this is right now…
Good to know first:
- Don’t try to do this with your mobile device. This is for desktop and laptop experience only right now (and possibly tablets!).
- Your “chat” feature on the bottom right side of your screen has to be on with a green dot. If it says you’re offline, pop it open.
- You can only video chat with other friends who are online at the time.
- You can video call from the chat platform or from your friend’s profile (upper right, where it currently says “send message” and “poke”. The Video Call button will only be displayed if that friend is online.
- The other friend does not have to be set up with video chat for you to make the call. If they haven’t set it up yet, they’ll be prompted to when they are notified of your call with the tell-tale “ring” and dialog box that tells them you are trying to call.
How to set yourself up:
- Make sure you’re logged into Facebook, chat-ready.
- Enter this address is your address bar: http://www.facebook.com/videocalling
- Click “get started” which will prompt you to first find a friend to call in the chat area and click “video call.”.
- “Save” the Facebook Video Chat application.
- Find your downloads file folder, find the Facebook Video Chat application and hit “run”.
- Your chosen friend’s PC will start ringing and notify them to answer. If they aren’t set up yet, they will be prompted to go through the quick set up process you just went through and then they can answer.
- Count to 15 before panicing it didn’t work. The box with your friend’s smiling face will appear soon.
- To end a video chat, just “X” out the video box.
Have a GREAT time! Shoot me an email if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you heard yourself saying or thinking any of these statements?
1. Social media costs a lot of money. Let’s get this out of the way right now. It doesn’t cost any money to establish a presence and a marketable following on the social networks. There’s an investment of time, for sure. But as far as your marketing budget is concerned, there doesn’t have to be any impact.
2. Social media marketing doesn’t apply to my business. To understand the opportunities that exist with social media, you have to know that social media doesn’t mean just hanging out on Facebook. While Facebook may be the leader of the pack and most popular social network, there are other platforms and strategies to consider depending on your business, market, and goals. Let’s put it this way, if your company has a web site, there’s social network marketing to do.
3. Social networking is a fad, so I’m not going to invest the time. Denial about how social networking is effecting the Internet, and therefore effecting business, is not going to serve you well in the long term. The population of Facebook users makes it the 3rd-largest nation on the planet, and its reach is very quickly becoming integrated into all other social networks and Internet marketing applications. If you’re not represented in this nation, you can kiss your business growth goodbye. This is not a drill, social networking is here to stay.
4. My assistant/brother-in-law/teenager can do it for me; they’re always posting and tweeting. Herein lies the biggest mistakes companies make when they decide to set up shop on the social networks. The activities of playing on the social networks as an individual or consumer are not the activities necessary to incorporate social media into your company marketing plans. Think of your most-travelled highway as a sea of your target market (social network users), and your business’s social media efforts as the billboard you put up to capture the attention of the traffic. Does it make sense to ask one of the drivers on that highway to create your billboard for you? Does driving a car on the highway daily make him qualified to create and design an effective marketing message?
This age of social media is an amazing era for entrepreneurs and business owners. The advent of social networks has leveled the marketing playing field for you and handed your company the opportunity to compete locally, nationally, even internationally. I am VERY passionate about transforming local business owners from social media doubters to enthusiastic opportunists. Do you need a transformation? Talk to me about private coaching for you or on-site training for your team. Take a look and see if this is for you. You are always free to email me if you have any questions: email@example.com
Like many other business owners, I’ve had plenty of proposals rejected on price. And like those other businesses, I know that there will always be someone less expensive than me out there, and there are plenty that cost a whole heck of a lot more. I tend not to focus on these losses as losses at all. I know in my heart that they’ll get what they pay for, and of course that I’m worth every penny (solid recommendations and testimonials will prove it).
However, today I hung up with a friend who was pitching me to a senior partner at his company. He wanted to give me the inside scoop on what was happening. Apparently, management had gotten a bid from another vendor who came in about 30% lower than I did and, in his words, “offered the same exact service. It was an apples to apples comparison.” As he was my friend, he answered my questions about the competitor. “They’re our web site development company,” was the response. I questioned the qualifications of this company; it’s difficult to be in the graphic design/web engineering field and also in the copywriting/social media marketing field, unless they’re a larger, full-service agency. I couldn’t find anything substantial about social media services on their web site (though their site design portfolio rocked), so I headed to this company’s Facebook and Twitter profiles to see what they were up to.
My discovery? They had no profile image on their Facebook page other than a logo, their posts were infrequent, and every other one had typos. I went to Twitter and was even more shocked to discover that in the past five months they had only tweeted a dozen times, and each tweet was a sales message about their own services. The icing on the cake? They only had 16 Twitter followers.
Now I KNOW that social media is a new world, and it’s hard as a business owner to even understand the language, let alone know what questions to ask. But what my friend thought was an “apples to apples” comparison was not one, in any stretch of the imagination. My gift to my friend and to you, a busy business owner with little time to do research, is a list of questions to ask social media strategists and service providers, BEFORE you sign the dotted line and questions to ask yourself during the campaign once they’ve started working for you:
1. Is your background technical, design, marketing, or copywriting?
2. What social networks do you think I should be on, and why?
3. What would your goals be for my social media campaign?
4. How often will you post on each of those platforms?
5. When might I expect those posts to happen each day?
6. From where will you get content?
7. Can you give me a few samples of posts you might use?
The answers you receive will help you determine a few things. A, if they know what they’re doing. B, if they are marketers or technologists. C, if they understand the platforms they are using to promote your business, and D, how they compare to other service providers. Most importantly, you’ll illustrate that you know a thing or two about social media.
Here’s the other gift. Once you’ve gotten your consultant posting for your company, ask yourself these questions:
1. How’s the messaging online?
2. Do the posts have publicity/share-ability built into that?
3. Is there original content from your company on the social networks?
4. Is there sharing of others’ content?
5. Are you/ your company being positioned as an expert?
6. Are the profiles optimized for the search engines?
7. Are contacts being converted into sales and inquiries?
8. Are the posts generating good feedback numbers and high impressions?
9. Is traffic increasing to your site, services, and products every month on a consistent basis?
I know I’m good at what I do; my clients tell me so. And I also know that budgets are real and everyone wants a fair deal. As far as that other proposal goes that my friend received, clearly he’d be overpaying at that price, even though it was 30% less than mine.
Take those questions to your proposal reviews. I have several clients that have come to me after rejecting my proposal and hiring another team to do the work based on price. The difference that they discovered immediately upon engaging my services made them regretful that they had turned me down in the first place.
Does this mean that I’m the answer for you? Not necessarily. But I’m a righteous chick, and I want you to get a fair deal, no matter who you hire. And you can always reach out to me for advice or with questions. Let me see what you’ve got going on. You already know you get what you pay for, but you may get more if you ask the right questions.
(or How to Monitor and Engage on Social Networks)
If you were at a cocktail party and overheard someone mention that they were looking for a product or service in your industry, wouldn’t you step over and introduce yourself? Ask some questions to get a feel for what that person was really in need of, and then explain that you can help? Now wouldn’t it be cool if you could eavesdrop on the millions of updates and posts on Facebook and Twitter to find conversations there that you could introduce yourself to?
Well hold on to your hat! You can do the same thing on Twitter and Facebook that you do at cocktail parties! Monitoring the world-wide conversation and poking your head into the room is perfectly legit, and a great way to gather future customers. Here’s how to do it:
Search—You have two methods to search on Twitter: 1. the search box that’s right on your home page or 2. the url: http://search.twitter.com/. The key here is to search for phrases. For instance, if you’re a career consultant, you could search for “need help with my resume” or “I need a new job.”
Engage—When you find the right status posts to reply to, you can get their attention with an “@reply” post with a response. An example would be “@Susie246 I can help you with your resume. Do you want to talk?” Be sure to also start following this Twitter account if you aren’t already. If they already follow you there’s the option of sending a direct message (DM). I actually prefer the public response because I find these get noticed more quickly than the DM. Now be sure to watch for an @reply back, or they may reach out to your business email .
Search—Search for key phrases in the Facebook search box. When the results come up, filter them by then clicking on “Posts by Everyone,” which can be found in the left-hand navigation area of the search results page. Here you will find all relevant status updates posted by anyone who doesn’t have privacy settings set on their wall.
Engage— Next step, click over to that Facebook user’s page. Even if you aren’t “friends,” you can click “Send a Message” which can be found right under the Facebook user’s profile picture. Now you have an opportunity to say anything you want via private message. But be careful not to come off as the eavesdropper you are and don’t come on to strong. Try this for a subject heading: “I may be able to help you with your resume.” As far as the message goes, be honest: “Hi, Jeffrey. I’m a career consultant and while doing a Facebook search I came upon your post about…” Be humble and helpful, not sales-y.
Tools for monitoring it all:
Of course, with every need to work better and smarter on social platforms comes an app that fits the bill. Kurrently (http://www.kurrently.com/) is a simple and straightforward website that lets you plug in the phrases you want to search and then it searches both Twitter and Facebook simultaneously to provide you with results for both! The best part is that each poster’s ID is a live link and takes you directly to their Facebook profile or Twitter page to begin the engagement process.
So, pretty neat, huh? Now you know why social networks are so cool for business, and how to really start to leverage them for building your empire. If you feel like you just found a little hole in the wall for eavesdropping, or like you developed super-hero powers for listening to every conversation going on in the Twitosphere, good for you! It was my pleasure to be the one to let you in on the secret. Let me know if you need help : )
We all need a break once in a while, but your social media strategy really ought to be contuing even if you’re on the other side of the world, feet in the sand, drink in your hand. But if the rest of the social media world goes on without you, how do you not skip a beat? Well with a little planning and some free ninja-trick application shopping, you’re good to go!
Step 1: APPLICATION SHOPPING: If you’re not in on this secret, you’re just going to love me! Did you know there are web-based social media management applications that allow you to not only permanently search and monitor your industry within social media platforms and post from there, but that also allow you to schedule your posts, tweets, status updates, etc. for a future date and time? There are some that are free and others with fantastic analytics capabilities that you’ll appreciate for sure with a price tag attached. My two favorites are HootSuite (free) and Objective Marketer (fee-based). Once you find one you like, sign up and play!
Step 2: POST PLANNING: While of course your posting strategy is always mapped out in advance (isn’t it?), a few days before your bags are packed, plan out the types of tweets and updates you would post if you weren’t going away. Consider what is happening at your company, in the industry, or promotions you have going on. Here are some examples for a local business owner vacationing July 3 – July 10:
Day one- 1 fun store happening post
Day two- 1 holiday message/office hours
Day three- 1 promo reminder
1 funny staff member quote
Day four- 1 how-to link
1 industry bite
Day five- 1 promo reminder, etc. etc.
Day one- 2 local happenings posts
4 following re-tweets
Day two- 3 holiday info re-tweets
Day three- 1 promo reminder
2 industry content links
4 re-tweets, etc., etc.
Step 3: SETUP, SEARCH, and SCHEDULE:
Log in to your chosen social media management app for your vacation posting. Start typing up your originally-authored posts and schedule accordingly throughout the vacation week. Remember not to neglect any of the networks you are active on, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ping, etc. You can even automate your WordPress blog posts and Foursquare updates with HootSuite.
Most apps have a search box for industry content posts and retweets. Simply search on a phrase and all recent posts with that phrase will show in a column (that you can—and should—make it a permanent search column if it’s relative to your business). Select content you want to share and schedule it! Select tweets to re-tweet and then schedule each one!
While this strategy is fantastic for keeping your business in the loop and staying in the newsfeeds of your followers, it’s a good idea to take a peek at your notifications halfway through your trip or ASAP when you return to make sure you don’t let any un-responded-to engagement opportunities slip past you.
If you’ve got a Facebook fan page for your business, you’ve probably noticed that rather than clicking on “Become a Fan,” your page visitors are now clicking on a button that simply says “Like.” Facebook has done this as part of a much bigger empire-growth scheme that allows them to eventually take over the planet, but within our own smaller agenda of social media engagement, they may have just rocked our world.
It’s good, but it could be bad.
So, from an optimistic standpoint, there is something much less psychologically committal about saying you like something than saying you’re a fan. Apparently, Facebook has already proved this with their market analysis. So that’s good, right? More people seeing our news feed, more people to potentially engage with. My hunch, however, is that many Facebook users aren’t taking it seriously. I can’t tell you how many of my own personal friends are now “becoming fans” of the silliest, most useless, controversial, and downright raw pages. Do they know this is coming up in my news feed? My conclusion is that for the past two years, the action of clicking on “Like” has simply been our way to acknowledge a tongue-n-cheek status update without commenting on it, a way of pointing out that we’ve looked at a picture that was posted, or appreciate someone’s political satire post from a news source. So whereas we business owners and marketers know that this button is just a replacement of the word “Fan,” users overall just don’t recognize the difference.
So it’s bad?
Well, it feels bad. It feels like, at least when it comes to the viral newsfeed phenomenon, Facebook has diluted the power of the fan page and the overall willingness of our fans to ultimately engage with us. My hope is that Facebook users will catch on to the various meanings of the word “Like” throughout the network and adjust back to being more particular about the business pages they want to follow.
Let’s wait and see.
With every change comes opportunity (see last blog post), so let’s work with this. Facebook has given us an opportunity to coin a new term to replace “Become a Fan” in our marketing. I loved this, because it is so actionable! How can we use “Like” in an action statement that doesn’t seem needy? Let’s hear it!
For weeks now, Billy Joel’s, “Don’t Go Changin,” has been playing in my head. It sure is irksome, but it’s a constant reminder of the theme of change that has come up repeatedly in my day-to-day meetups.
It is a romantic notion, as Billy meant it to be, but when it applies to business, we better think twice about not changing to please the object of our affection: the customer.
Many businesses still don’t grasp the concept of change, sticking with the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” philosophy. I’ve met with several prospects who thrive on the printed word, an isolated web page, or door-to-door sales, and cannot see why they need to get in on the social media conversation. Without thinking forward to their future customers, who are doing most of their decision making on line within social platforms, they are destined for extinction.
The concept of change has come up with friends and associates as well. Some have become agents of change to seek new career opportunities, build a client base, or even to improve their social life. How? By embracing the social networks that have been introduced to us and harnessing all that they have to offer.
Yes, many fear the unknown: The very public status update. The transparency of our “behind the scenes.” The new culture of telling it (and hearing it) like it is. But changing your mindset means appreciating rather than fearing the new normal–and being liberated by it. It means that your local business is playing on the same field as a national chain. That your customers are bonding with your brand because they like engaging with the new open you. And that, if you’re really good at it, your brand personality is contagious and you go viral.
Your core business doesn’t have to change, nor your guiding principles. Just be open to the new ways business is getting done and how your customers are choosing which brands to be loyal to. You’ve heard it before, but it doesn’t get old, so I’ll close out with it—The company that doesn’t change, dies.
Taking your company’s Facebook page to the next level doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are five easy ways to take your business from simply having social media presence to being a relevant and savvy brand.
1. Auto-feed your blog. With Facebook’s NetworkedBlogs app, every time you add a new post to your blog, it lands on your fans’ newsfeeds. (Bonus: you can also add a “blog” tab to your page once you connect with NetworkedBlogs.)
2. Create Custom Tabs. It takes a little finagling or a friend that speaks html, or fbml, but with compelling labels on unique tab content you’ll be the coolest biz on the block! Consider different tabs for different product lines, target markets, locations, etc.
3. Record video right to your page. This is some serious immediate gratification when you want to communicate directly with your fans, and in seconds! Click on the + at the end of your tabs and drop down to “video.” Record right away with your webcam or upload something cool from your files. Don’t forget to post about it!
4. Run a contest or sweepstakes. There are apps available that create these classic promotional tools and then publish them to your fan page. This is a fun way to get your page viral. Check out www.wildfireapp.com. It isn’t free, but you can pull it off for as low as $5 a month.
5. Create a Fan Badge. Visitors to your website or blog don’t have to leave to become Facebook fans with this cool widget. To get one: click “edit page” from your fan page and look for a link to create a Fan Badge. In three steps you’ll magically have a “Become a Fan” shortcut on your web site.
If you can’t fathom jumping into the online world of social media for your business, start with your personal life.
You have probably heard that any business committed to long-trem growth has added social media to their marketing plan matrix. You’ve also probably heard your friends, colleagues, competitors, and, of course, your kids bragging about how social networking has solidified deals, increased business or kick-started a creative campaign. But, alas, this Internet thing is not for you, right?
If it’s hard to imagine why you need to jump into this alternative universe if your business is already running smoothly, consider starting with the light version of social networking by setting up a personal account on Facebook. Joining the world of Facebook can be a real turning point in your relationships, family management, social life, and self-improvement, the likes of which could never have happened before. Here are just a few examples of the life-changing purposes a personal Facebook account can serve:
Long-Lost Friend Database
Whatever became of the friend you played Battleship with who moved to another state in fourth grade? Type in his name and voila! It is very likely he will appear on the search results list, the magical effect of critical mass attraction to this online universe. Not sure if it’s him? One of Facebook’s handiest features is that you can send private messages to users, even if you haven’t officially connected through a “friend request” yet. Chances are it will be him, and you may be surprised that not only can you pick up right where you left off, as is the nature of “running into people,” but you will probably discover you have several unlikely friends in common! The automatic posting of who you and any person whose profile you are viewing have in common is yet another super-cool Facebook feature, and a great conversation starter to boot!
Playing Field Leveler
In social networking culture, every participant is treated equally. If you’ve felt too intimidated to talk to someone, you’ll be pleased to discover that everyone is approachable in this virtual world. This is for two reasons: 1, they are on social networking sites such as Facebook to network, the purpose of which would be defeated if they snubbed people, and, 2, you are now more confident because you have the luxury of putting your thoughts together before expressing them with the keyboard. Your newfound confidence is sure to bring you new friendships and other opportunities you otherwise would have let pass by.
Mutual Admiration Society
Another fun aspect of social networking is that people want to tell you they are happy for you, you’ve done a good job, and that they love the outfit you were wearing in the recently posted picture from your boss’s retirement party. It’s a funny thing; Facebook users genuinely enjoy the opportunity to say something nice and supportive. It’s their way of saying hello each time they log in. (By the way, when your birthday comes around, you’ll feel like a kid again when you discover 50 happy-birthday messages waiting for you–no more forgotten birthdays for you!)
Crisis Support Network
While it’s nice to have so many people say nice things to you, it’s that much more wonderful when they are there for you when things aren’t so great. In the real world, when we experience a tragedy or heartbreak, it can be awkward to pick up the phone and announce it one friend at a time. However, when you update your status with information about what’s going on in your life that‘s hurting, comments and offers of support are posted in droves. What may otherwise have been an isolating time for you has become an illustration of the true sympathies and empathies your friends and acquaintance are willing to give to you.
Socially Acceptable Bragging Arena
Did your kid get a B on his math test after three grueling months of tutoring? Shout it from the rooftops! Did your basketball team slaughter your rivals on the court last weekend? What about you? Were you just honored for your volunteer efforts at a major fundraiser? Go ahead! Post it on your Facebook status. Again, what may seem awkward in the world outside is just another sunny day in online conversation. Not only should you be proud, you’ll get the applause you crave and deserve.
Travel and Activity Forum
Getting practical is definitely something to rely on in an online conversation. If you’re looking for advice or recommendations for travel, a hotel, a good podiatrist, or a kid’s pirate-themed birthday party, don’t spend weeks asking around. Post the question on your profile! People are happy to give their opinion, and in an online forum you are wasting no time gathering varied information. You’ll also find you accumulate quite a treasure trove of info just by being in on conversations, browsing photos, and checking out event postings.
A-List Event Invites
No one likes to feel as if they’ve been left off the guest list. Those days are a thing of the past with Facebook and other online networks. You’ll feel like a VIP when you are receiving invitations to all kinds of events via postings. Not only will you be remembered for the surprise 45th birthday of your spouse’s co-worker, you’ll be invited to high-level benefits, restaurant openings, exclusive sales, book signings, and spontaneous excuses to just get out. Events that have been posted online also provide a little thrill when you are finally meeting some online friends in real life for the first time.
It won’t take long for you to appreciate that Facebook is a party that you can join whenever you log in. And the longer you stay, the more connections you will make and the more sense of community you will feel. Just be warned: once you’ve had a taste of what social networks have to offer, you won’t be able to disconnect. But don’t worry, that’s a good thing! Your next step is to introduce your business to the online conversation.