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Connecting to Your Social Media

January 16, 2011

If you’ve taken the first step and gotten your business or organization on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others, then pat yourself on the back because you’ve already got a jump on many organizations out there who are still trying to figure that out. What you don’t want to do is fall behind because you aren’t properly connecting all of your platforms.On your website it’s extremely important to make sure you have the links to all of your social media platforms. For anyone whose first encounter with your organization is via your website, you want to make sure you give them all of the information they’ll need to connect with you on all of the other platforms that you’re putting time and energy into. Give them the opportunity to help you spread the word about your organization and be able to tag you in any posts they make about you by giving them direct access to your social media pages. If possible, try to use the social media logos with a hyperlink to the pages, these are the most recognizable. If you just use words with a link, it could get lost in all of the other words on the page. Put the logos in the header, in the footer or on a sidebar so anyone who scrolls down the page will see them easily. I prefer the header, so if someone doesn’t take the time to scroll down the page they are still going to see them.

On Facebook, you want to create tabs on your business page for your Twitter feed, blog feed and YouTube channel if you have them. The Twitter tab will allow you to showcase your Twitter feed on your Facebook page. It will be very obvious to anyone who visit your Facebook page that you also have a Twitter account and *hint hint* they should be following you. This means, however, that if you have your tweets auto-feeding into your Facebook page, that you should probably stop doing that. No one will want to follow you on Facebook and Twitter if the content is exactly the same. See my previous post on The Art of Re-Posting. Also create a tab for your blog to feed into, and if you use Networked Blogs you can set it so it will auto-post to your wall as well.

Also on your Facebook page, in the info section make sure that you have the URL’s for your website, Twitter account, blog, YouTube channel… anywhere you’d want people to visit.

You want to do the same thing on your blog and YouTube channel. Find a place to incorporate a link to your Facebook page, Twitter account and all of the other social media platforms that you’re on. There is only space to put one link on your Twitter profile, so make that a link to your website, and when people click on it they’ll see all of your other social media platforms then.

And try some direct marketing approaches as well. Post your blog links and your Twitter link on your Facebook page every so often, post tweets asking your followers to join your Facebook page and read your blog, and blog about your efforts on Facebook and Twitter. Showcase a post you made that got a lot of great comments or highlight a Twitter conversation that occurred about your brand. Don’t be shy about promoting yourself.

It’s pointless to waste your time and energy on creating and updating your social media pages if you don’t let people know they exist. Make it as easy as possible for people to be able to find them, and it will make your job that much easier.

Tips for Getting Seen on Facebook

October 24, 2010

Did you ever wonder why you never see some of your friends in your Facebook News Feed? If you only have 3 friends you probably get to see all three in the News Feed, but if you have  few hundred there are most likely a handful that never show up. Tom Weber and The Daily Beast did a one month test to see if they could figure out how Facebook’s News Feed algorithm works.This also applies to business pages. If the members of your organization’s page on Facebook have a few hundred friends and like a lot of business pages, you’ll have to fight for your spot in their News Feed.

The Daily Beast’s one-month experiment into Facebook’s news feed yielded the following discoveries:

  • A bias against newcomers
  • “Most Recent” doesn’t tell the whole story.
  • Links are favored over status updates, and photos and videos trump links.
  • “Stalking” your friends won’t get you noticed.
  • Raise your visibility by getting people to comment.
  • It’s hard to get the attention of “popular kids.”

As a business owner getting started on social media, you may read that and think that it would be fairly impossible to grow your business page, especially if you won’t be showing up in anyone’s News Feeds because you’re new and you don’t get any interactions. Whenever I do presentations I always get asked by those getting started on Facebook how they can begin to grow their page members. Here are the tips I give to all of my clients:

1) Get your friends involved. If you’re a small business owner, or you’re the solo employee, you don’t have much of a choice on this one. A lot of people like to separate their business Facebook from their personal Facebook, but you’re friends support what you do (I hope) and should be willing to join your business page in order to help you grow it. Ask them to join, and then ask them to suggest the page to their friends.

2) Get your staff involved. If you have a business with some staff members, get them on board with being on Facebook. Tell them why you’re doing it, what you hope to get out of it, and what they can do to help. Like your friends, ask them to join the page and suggest it to their own friends.

3) Ask your friends/staff to interact. From the article we learned that profiles and pages show up in the News Feed more often when posts/photos/videos get a lot of comments and interactions. When you’re getting started, ask a couple of friends and staff members to be dedicated commenters. This will also help break the ice for new page members to feel comfortable interacting as well.

4) Put the Facebook logo on your home page. If you’ve already got the traffic on your website, why not tap into that to help grow your Facebook page? If someone has taken the time to check out your website and what you’re all about, it’s likely they’ll be willing to join you on Facebook as well to see what you talk about there.

5) When you get to 25 page members, create your unique URL. A lot of people forget about this, but it’s so important because it will help you market your page. Put that URL on your business cards and in your email signature. To do this, go to facebook.com/username and it will prompt you to create your own URL (facebook.com/whateveryouwant). Make sure you spell it correctly, because it can’t be changed!

6) Keep the posts coming. Even before you start worrying about getting people to your page, you should be worrying about what they’ll see when they get there. You can be actively inviting people to join, but if when they get there they see two posts that were posted over a week ago, they might not stay. Sometimes it feels weird to be posting information and asking questions when no one is responding, but keep it up and over time you’ll see an increase in your interactions. And make sure the posts include a variety of photos, videos and links. Like they said in the article, links are favored in the News Feed over plain status updates, and photos and videos favored over links.

BizBuzz Social Media Conference – Hartford – 11/16

October 22, 2010

Official press release, with added Twitter handles and all added to the BizBuzz2010 Twitter list.

AGENDA SET for HARTFORD BIZBUZZ SOCIAL MEDIA CONFERENCE NOV. 16

  • Social Media Pioneer Brent Robertson (@brentrobertson) to Kick-Off Full-Day Conference

HARTFORD, CT, Oct. 223, 2010 – The BizBuzz Social Media Conference on Nov. 16 will bring together the pioneers and thought-leaders of the social media world for a day-long conference in Hartford.  The agenda’s been set and workshops and hands-on sessions will range from overall strategy to specific tactics.  Whether you’re a social media newcomer or a social media maven, this conference will allow you to pick something new and productive.  BizBuzz is presented by Site-Seeker, Inc. The event will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The conference kicks off with a keynote address by social media pioneer Brent Robertson, President and Chief Creative Officer for the award-winning branding firm, Fathom. He will set the stage for the day-long conference with his presentation, “Building Sustainable Relationships with Social Media.” His concept of “Intersections of Affinity” builds on the idea that marketers need to identify and target the intersections where their audience has developed an affinity with an organization and use them as the launching pad for social media activities.

BizBuzz will feature three tracks: Nuts and Bolts, Marketing, and Business Management. Conference participants will have their choice of a full menu of presentations in each of these tracks and do not need to stick to one track all day. Presentations will include:

During the lunch hour, participants can take advantage of the “Practice Café” where they can meet one-on-one with presenters for short personal consultations on social media issues.

The conference will conclude with a panel called “The Future of Social Media is NOW” which will be moderated by Brian Bluff, Site Seeker, Inc. Panelists will include: Brent Robertson, Fathom Marketing; Danielle Cyr, Co-Communications; Alyssa Henry, Syracuse University iSchool and Kathy Hokunson, Site Seeker, Inc. Following this, participants can network together and with speakers at the TweetUp Networking cocktail hour.

Tickets will be priced at $140.00. Discount tickets will be available for students at $80.00, with a valid student ID.  Preregistration is encouraged, but walk-ins will be available on a first come-first-serve basis.  To register or for more information go to: www.bizbuzzsocialmediaconference.com.

About BizBuzz Conferences

BizBuzz conferences are presented throughout the Northeast by Site Seeker, Inc., and its other major sponsors.  They offer business owners and marketing communications professions a look at best practices for using social media productively.  All explore the impact social media has on marketing, advertising and PR and give participants a first look at the latest tools to engage the public.  Sponsors for the Hartford conference include Site-Seeker, Inc.; Digital Vertical Marketing; The Events Company; Visual Technologies; Plus Sign Graphics and Andrea Obston Marketing Communications.  For more information, including registration and sponsorship packages see: www.bizbuzzsocialmediaconference.com.  Follow BizBuzz on twitter: @BizBuzzConf.

Media contact:

Andrea Obston aobston@aomc.com

(860) 243-1447 (office) (860) 803-1155 (cell)

(860) 653-27612 (home)

For more information and resources on this client please visit the Andrea Obston Marketing Communications Online Newsroom at www.aomcnewsroom.com

PodCamp CT – Session Four – International Internet

October 16, 2010

It’s called the World Wide Web for a reason.

The first step is to get in touch with the US, which means making your information available in more than just English. Translate your website into other languages using Google Translate and creating new pages for your site. (I have clients who use Babel Fish, the Yahoo version) The translation will never  be perfect, but it’s a huge step forward for anyone who doesn’t speak English.

One participant in the room disagrees with that, saying that as a non-native English speaker, seeing the “botched translation” ruins the language, and shows that the company isn’t willing to spend money on a translator but would rather have it done and have it be good enough. Our moderator (whose name I didn’t catch because I came in late, shame on me) replied that it’s a step in the right direction. It’s a process and it’s the first step in the process.

With all the tools we have to find out who visits our websites and blogs, we can find out where people are visiting our site from. If they’re visiting your site from a non-English speaking country and they don’t speak English, they won’t stay long. If you have the ability to translate your website into other languages, why not do it? In the United States such a large population of Latino/Hispanic it seems obvious to put your information in Spanish. (Reminds me of visiting Hawai’i and how every street sign is in English and Japanese because of the large number of Japanese tourists who visit.)

When you visit a large company like Lindt (who I used to work for) you can get a page where they tell you all of the other languages the site is tranlated into. And this isn’t Google Translate translation. They’ve spent the money to translate the site. 

Someone pointed out that not all of us sell a product, some of us provide information or education so this doesn’t necessarily help us. We can certainly provide basic information to someone in another language but we’re not going to able to answer questions or further the conversation with anyone else unless they speak English as well.

PodCamp CT – Session Three – Hug It Out

October 16, 2010

I’m looking forward to this session. I had lunch with @mriggen  from @batchblue and was asking her what her session was about since it was titled; “The Business of Small or How to Hug it Out”. That didn’t give me a lot to figuring out what she would be talking about. She told me it would be about businesses working with (and not against) other businesses so everyone can succeed. This is a very non-profit mind set, that most businesses struggle with. During most of my presentations when I talk about sharing information, I get some eye rolls and some looks of disbelief. Not many people believe in the “give and you will receive” idea.

@mriggen considers her business path to be a bit non-traditional, in that it was her, her husband and her business partner who started it and wanted the company to be what she calls a “lifestyle company”. One where people’s lives are just as important as their career.

Two tips from @mriggen which seem like common sense but which not everyone always pays attention to: be good at customer service and listen to your customers. So many people that I’ve talked to have said that they don’t want to start up a Facebook page or Twitter account because they’ll give people a place to talk badly about them. My first response is always that if people are going to give you a bad review, they’re going to do it no matter what. And if they are going to give you a bad review, you want to know it so you can rectify that situation. You want to make sure you have the ability to listen to what your customers are saying about you, good or bad. @mriggen says to make sure you’re googling yourself and keeping up with what people are talking about. Also, Google “<your company> sucks” and see if people are saying that as well. :)

If you have the time and availability, try starting up a Twitter chat. There are some fairly famous Twitter chats out there (at least within the Twitter world) like #blogchat, and @mriggen said they started one up called #sbbuzz (small business buzz), which unfortunately after two years will be stopped pretty soon because they have so many other things going on. But Twitter chats are incredibly helpful to show people your expertise and share information. You’ll gain a following and make a lot of friends who are interested in the same thing you are.

Focus has shifted to social media and privacy, and how employers now check applicant’s social media accounts before interviews or before hiring. The way technology is heading, certain sites can pull information, tweets and posts from your accounts and posting it on their own site because everything is public. @ctwebsites said there is a fine line between what is appropriate to be tweeting from a business account and it’s something he thinks about all the time because he’s extremely personal on his account.

Some great conversation in this room about how to use social media for your business, what’s right and what’s wrong and how that right and wrong changes for every single business. What’s OK for one business wouldn’t be appropriate for another business to talk about. So don’t tweet about your drunken night because you’ll end up on Drunken Twitter like @ctwebsites did :)

PodCamp CT – Session Two – SEO

October 16, 2010

Session #2 with @ahynes1, all about SEO.

To start of, figure out what terms you want to be highest ranked for. He gives the example of a San Francisco psychologist. When you search for San Francisco psychology, you get 1 million plus. So narrow yourself down. Group psychology specializing in x, y and z. Figure out what makes you unique. Use Google Adwords to search keywords to find out what people are searching for. It’s not what you search for, it’s what everyone else is searching for.

Make sure you’re using Google Analytics and check in regularly with what search terms people are using to find your website. The keywords you think people should be using to find you may not be the same as the keywords they’re actually using to find you.

@LifeWithWendy talked about writing her blog and having someone tell her that she needs to put the words “parenting solution” as much as possible so Google really knows what you’re writing about. @MattCrouch and @ahynes1 immediately nixes that and says essentially, content is king. Just make sure you’re writing good content, don’t worry so much about the keywords you’re using.

Don’t write blogs or publish content because you want people to read it. Write it because you want to write it. When you write with SEO or keywords in mind, you won’t do as well as when you write for the content. Google constantly changes their strategy on pulling keywords so don’t base your sites on that.

When you’re putting links on your blog, or others are linking to your site, the anchor text is really important. @ahynes1 gives the example: “To read the blog on social media, click here“, then you’re not helping anyone out because the anchor text is “here”. Make sure it’s “To read the blog on social media” so you’ll help the page ranking because it’s clear what the link goes to. How this all works goes a little bit over my head, but this is a pretty simple idea that anyone can incorporate.

In my first blog about session one of PodCamp CT about podcasts (see what I did there? :) ) where someone said that YouTube really isn’t the best video hosting site, now @mattcrouch is saying that YouTube is his choice because a) it’s the largest video site with the most traffic and b) promoted videos on YouTube are fairly cheap and a good idea for some businesses.

Wrapping up, @ahynes1 is explaining SEO long tail and how this can be used when developing your site with the right keywords. @mattcrouch says it’s important to do some pretty extensive keyword research before you create your website so you can keep the right keywords on the right pages and that will make it easier to be found in searches. @LifeWithWendy writes a blog about parenting. Everyone writes blogs about parenting. So @ahynes1 is saying narrow it down, from parenting to ADD parenting to parenting kids 7-10 with ADD. Now you’ve narrowed it down to the long tail and you’ll be found more often by the people you want. Don’t aim for the same things the big parenting blogs are writing about because you’ll never be able to compete.

Resources: SEO Moz, High Rankings Forum, WIEP.NET and use the SEO pack plugin for WordPress.

PodCamp CT – Session One – Podcasts

October 16, 2010

PodCamp CT is today, and as I write this I’m sitting in my first session. I’m hoping to use this blog as my notes for the day so everything is clear and straightforward in terms of what the sessions are about.

This first session is about podcasts and our moderator is @lilyjmills. Full disclosure: I know essentially nothing about podcasting. I know what it is but I’ve never done it and I don’t listen to any, so this session is all new for me. Within five minutes of the start of the session I immediately know that I need to learn more and start to include it in my repertoire. Lily talked about her experience of doing podcasts for a song competition in Canada called Song Quest. She talked about using podcasts for audio, video or even jpeg; but that audio is generally thought of first when it comes to podcasts. She would record conference calls, interviews and stories people had for the event and would post them in iTunes. The great thing about podcasts is that people can subscribe to them with RSS and have them download automatically.

I asked why podcasts would be more beneficial than say, a video to put on YouTube. One of the participants said that with all of the content available on YouTube it’s sometimes impossible to find the content you want or get your content seen. Another participant followed up saying that iTunes is the same way with podcasts, with so many out there it’s hard to find what you want. So I wanted to know why one or not the other. The answer was basically to do both. Podcasts are great because they’re portable. People can download them, sync it to their phone or iPod and take it in the car with them like it’s a book on tape. The other benefit is the RSS feature of them, which YouTube doesn’t do.

With video, there’s really a time limit on how long it can be because people’s attention spans will only last so long. Podcasts can be longer because people will pay attention longer. Lily also talked about enhanced podcasts which include chapters, so if you post a longer podcast you can chapter it and it makes it easier for people to stop when they want and listen to the particular topics or songs that they want.

There was a lot of emphasis on putting the audio out on as many sites as possible. Put it on iTunes, stream it on your website, tweet it, Facebook it, give the link to download it directly so people don’t have to search for it and so those who aren’t subscribed can still get it.

Some of the sites mentioned to host podcasts are Podcast Pickle, Blip.tv which Lily thinks does audio now and Talk Shoot.

I definitely learned a lot and will continue to learn more and start incorporating it into my client’s accounts when it’s appropriate.

Thanks Lily!

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