Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Claim Your Place

Monday, November 14th, 2011

You’ve got a website, Twitter account and Facebook page. You’ve set up your LinkedIn profiles (both for yourself and your business), and you’ve created your Google+ profile and business profile.

You’ve even been an overachiever and created a YouTube channel, Flicker and Tumblr accounts.

Whew! That’s it, right?

Well, maybe not. If you are a business with an actual address, there are a few other things you’ll want to claim and monitor. I know, not what you wanted to hear, but if being a small business owner were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Don’t forget about Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local and perhaps Foursquare. These are other places customers can find you and talk about you. Some reviews will be good. Others maybe not so good, but you need to know about them.

Why do you care? Two reasons.

1. If you don’t claim it someone else, like your competition, might

Let’s take Yelp for an example. A Yelper can create a page for your business to review it. Also, Yelp spiders roam the web, looking for business listings and creating basic pages for them. Once a page is there, anyone can stop by and review you.

They can also stop by and “claim” the page. What does that mean? It means they have set up a user name and password to access and make changes to your business information. If that person is you, great. If not? Do I really need to spell it out for you?

If you claim your own page, no one else can claim it for you.

It works basically the same for Foursquare, Google Places and Yahoo! Local.

2. If you don’t know it exists, you don’t know what people are saying about you

If people are complimenting you, don’t you want to know about it? If they are saying you suck, you need to know that so you can fix the problem. But you have to go to where they are commenting, and the four places I’ve discussed in this post are the ones I suggest paying attention to. Yes, there are others, but until you have a large staff working for you, apply the 80/20 rule. Those four places, plus your social media channels, will hit 80% of the places people are reviewing you.

What if someone says something bad? Respond. Ask what happened. Offer to make it right. If someone on your staff received the bad review, discuss what happened. Maybe the reviewer is a jerk. Maybe your staff member was having an off day. But you, as a business owner, need to know about it so you can address any problems.

Respond publicly when you can. People notice and appreciate it. If you’ve made something right for a client, ask them to update their review. We understand that things can happen. We love it when we know mistakes will be fixed!

Social Media Questions and Answers

Monday, October 24th, 2011

A few days ago, I was speaking to a group about social media, and they had lots of questions, many of which I have answered on this blog. Naturally, I suggested they drop by for more information, but it occurred to me that many of my answers to common questions are fairly old posts.

So here’s a link post with common social media questions and answers. If this goes over well, I’ll do another one next week on face to face networking.

How often can/should I post to Social Media?

Is it better to follow lists or people on Twitter?

Why should I use LinkedIn Groups?

Is LinkedIn Premium worth it?

How do I manage my time in Social Media?

What’s all that weird stuff on Twitter mean?

How do I thank someone for a Retweet?

What are some crazy things people believe about social media?

What’s this “Mention” thing on Twitter and how does it work?

I heard there was more than one way to Retweet. Explain?

What do you think? Was this helpful?

How Often Can/Should I Post in Social Media?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Everyone asks this question. How often can I post? How often should I post? Can I post too often?

The answer is, “It depends.”

It really does. Each channel has a different audience. People are there for different reasons. And there are differing etiquettes. I’ll cover the big channels with my suggestions.

Facebook

Creating posts one to three time a day is good. Facebook users don’t want to be inundated. Remember content balance. One to three posts a day means you can post one thing about yourself and share one or two good articles from somewhere else. One to three times a day doesn’t count commenting on other people’s posts or responding to comments on your posts. Do that as often as needed. We won’t mind.

Twitter

Five to ten a day.

Yes, that’s a lot. But remember. Twitter is like a running river. If you only post a couple of times a week, you’ll get lost in the rapids. Twitter users expect that you’ll post frequently, and we’re okay with it. Otherwise we won’t see you.

Blogging

One to five time a week.

Among other things, blogs help you in search engine optimization. SEO is beyond the scope of this article, but it’s important for you to know that search engines like fresh content just as much as your audience. One to five times a week will keep your site updated and on the radar of search engine spiders.

Your readers also like fresh content. So give it to them. Less often than once a week, and we’ll forget about you. More often than once a day, and we’ll all be overwhelmed.

Remember to check back frequently to respond to comments. Two to three times a day is good, unless you are lucky enough to have a very high traffic blog. We like to know you are listening to us, but we also know you need to get work done, so we’ll forgive you if you don’t respond immediately.

LinkedIn

I mention this one because it’s important. LinkedIn users do not want to be inundated with status updates from other sites. Do not link your Twitter account to LinkedIn! You will overwhelm your connections, and they may drop you from their contact lists.

Keep LinkedIn updates for the really important things. Landing a big contract. Earning a certification. That sort of thing.

Make sense?

It’s All About the Relationship!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

I met earlier this week with someone who told me he wanted to work with me because he liked that I viewed social media as a relationship building tool and that I wasn’t too hung up on the tech part of social media.

I appreciated that someone recognized that social media is about the relationship first and the tech second.

I know people who get hung up on “should I use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck?” or “How often should I post?” or “I want to design the best possible landing page on Facebook.”

Don’t get me wrong. Those are important things to consider. But they are secondary to building relationships through social media.

The tech will always change. Look at Google+. Will it replace Facebook? I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t care. What I do know is that I can build relationships through Google+, and the same basic principles apply, no matter the platform.

Just a quick review of those principles:

1. Give back
2. Don’t be a pain
3. Look for ways to promote others
4. Interact with people you like who can add value to you and your network

If you do those things, you’ll be successful in social media, business or any other endeavors. And it won’t matter if Twitter still exists in a decade. It probably won’t, so start worrying more about relationships than tech now. You’ll be much happier when your favorite social media platform changes or goes away in the future!

The Flexibility of Social Media

Monday, September 19th, 2011

I was meeting with someone last week about using social media, and she got me thinking about different ways to get value from social media.

Let me start by saying her attitude toward Twitter was…umm…less than positive. She said she considered it a waste of time because it “was just celebrities and other people talking about where they are and what they’re doing.”

True, there’s an awful lot of that happening on Twitter (and Facebook). We talked some more, and she told me some of her challenges in marketing her business. The three that relate to this post were:

1. Blogs and other content in her industry generally contained uninspired content
2. She wanted a source of indexed content
3. Some of the people she wanted to meet are hard to get to

As we talked, I realized Twitter could help her with all three.

1. Better content

As a blogger, I rely on Twitter to point me to good content as a source of inspiration. I’ve added to posts, disagreed with other posts and synthesized information to create my own analyses. Sometimes, I even repost material on my blog. I’d guess that 1/4 to a 1/3 of my content comes from inspirations gleaned from my reading.

I’m sure she and others could use Twitter as a similar source of information.

2. Indexed source of information

Well, no Twitter isn’t indexed, but the search feature isn’t bad. If you are looking for information on a particular topic, you can create a search and then follow that search instead of following a person. As you follow that search, you’ll likely find certain names popping up over and over. If they’re stuff is good, you could start following them.

3. Access to people

Maybe some of the people you want to meet are on Twitter. It’s funny. I’m noticing some people are more likely to respond to a Twitter @Mention than a phone call or email. So search Twitter. If the people or companies you want to meet with are present, build a virtual relationship. If you do it right, the virtual relationship can be transformed into a face-to-face relationship, giving you access to someone you might not have been able to meet otherwise.

See, social media can be good for a lot more than pushing your product or service or keeping up with the antics of your favorite celebrity.

How about you? How have you used social media to grow or add value to your business?

Social Media and the Big Table

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Social media is like a conversation with a lot of people participating at the same time. Think of it like the big table at a family reunion. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s loud, and you can’t hear what the person two plates down is saying because you have Auntie Ruth embarrassing you with stories from when you were two and running around her backyard in your birthday suit.

To the newcomer, social media can seem just as loud and overwhelming as the big table. But remember that, unlike the table, you can drop in and out of the conversation whenever you like. Interested in what @beyourboss is talking about? No problem. Notice that a friend on Facebook is starting to talk about something funny? Not a problem. Unlike the big table, you can easily drop into and out of any conversation. Because it’s all saved in your stream, you can listen in to what people were saying while you were sleeping.

Can this still lead to overwhelm? Sure. And if it starts to feel like too much, you can always pull back for a bit until you’re recharged and ready to go.

Using lists and groups can help you focus the conversation so it’s not quite as loud. But definitely take advantage of joining conversations you couldn’t get to at the big table.

And if Auntie Ruth is still telling the embarrassing stories? Well, there’s always the “Unfollow” button. ;)

Third Party Posting To Facebook

Friday, September 9th, 2011

I’m surprised I haven’t seen more discussion about this in the social media verse.

A few days ago, I study was published showing that auto-posting to Facebook decreases Likes and Comments.

This is significant. I’ve been telling people for a couple of years now to use tools like Hootsuite to automate their posts to both Twitter and Facebook, not realizing that Facebook de-emphasizes posts published through third parties.

Okay, people in the comments debated the validity of the study, but I still think it’s important to note. Yes, it can take a bit longer to create a post directly on Facebook, but if you rely on Facebook for your customer engagement, it might be worth the time.

I plan to change my advice to clients, and modify my own behavior. I’ll be curious to see if it makes a difference.

Earthquake In D.C.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

I wasn’t going to post here until tomorrow. I’ve been on vacation (it was wonderful), and I was enjoying one more day of blog break.

But then the earthquake happened. Yes, earthquake in D.C. I remember one other a few years ago, but that’s it, and I’ve been here more than 20 years.

So what did I do after the shaking stopped? Tried to call my husband and son. No good. Cell system in jammed. I sent both of them texts and am still waiting to hear back.

But I know all my Twitter and Facebook friends are okay. As soon as I gave up on the phone, I went to the computer. WiFi is fine. Lots of tweets about the quake. And Facebook was all abuzz.

A few years ago, I would have turned on the TV or radio. Now I don’t have TV service, and I think the only radio is in my car. I get all my news from social media. And from what I read, so do many other people.

What about you? Where did you go after the quake? Where do you get your news?

First Impressions of Google+

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I got an invitation a few days ago and set up my profile. The first really good thing for me was that my husband was interested in joining. It’s the first social network he’s been interested in, other than LinkedIn, and it was neat to try something with him.

I like the interface, both of the iPhone app and the web app. I really like how it integrates with Gmail, so I can see notifications directly from my Gmail page or any other Google Page. That’s easy!

The circles seem nice. I love dragging and dropping people into circles. That couldn’t be easier and is more intuitive than adding people to lists on Twitter or Facebook. I like that you can send to a circle, unlike on Twitter where a tweet goes to everyone.

I ran across a couple of bugs. I tried to share a link, and my comment showed up, but the link didn’t. Also, I had some trouble with sharing pictures from the iPhone app, but it’s still early days.

I’ll keep playing with it. I still have a few invites. Anyone want one?

Is It Better To Follow Lists or People

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Lots of people (myself included) create lists on Twitter as as way to group those they follow, often by topic, but sometimes for other reasons.

Other users can use these lists as a resource for information, or for finding people to follow. When I told a client he could follow either the list or the individuals, he asked “why would I follow each individual?”

Good question. Following a list is easy. One click and you’re done. Set up a column in your Twitter client app, and you’re done. I told him there were two reasons to follow the individuals.

One was that he might not like every account on the list. Some people on my Small Business Resources list tweet A LOT. Maybe you wouldn’t want to follow those people. Or maybe you like the marketing/branding folks but don’t care about the small business finance people.

The other reason to follow individuals is to increase your own followers. Remember, the people on the list won’t check to see who is following the list. They are focused on who is following them. So if you follow the individuals, they might follow you back. If you are satisfied with your follower numbers, you might not care about that one.

Anyone else have pros and cons for following lists vs. people?