Facebook Newsfeed Changes Make Page Cover Images and Videos More Important

Friday, March 8th, 2013

On March 7, 2013 Facebook announced their upcoming Newsfeed changes. It’s no surprise that images will be featured more prominently across the board.

For Facebook business pages this means the cover image is more important ever. It will be seen more often and its essential that your cover image be optimized for marketing. It needs to not only provide an attractive visual, but to instantly convey your brand and the benefits of your product, services or organization to the viewer.

What does your Business Page Cover image look like? Does it effectively sell your business or organization?

Here are a few examples of Facebook Cover images I have designed:

Facebook Cover Image Designed by Christine Green

 

Facebook Cover Image Designed by Christine Green

 

Facebook Cover Image Designed by Christine Green

 

Facebook Cover Image Designed by Christine Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Videos will also be displayed much larger, giving your company or organization an even greater opportunity to utilize Video Marketing. Take a look at our Video Portfolio. We recently added a new project.

Get in touch if you need a new marketing-optimized cover image for your Facebook business page or want to talk with us about adding video to your company’s marketing plan.

LinkedIn Allows Video Embedding in Profiles

Friday, January 25th, 2013

The business professional’s most popular social media venue rolled out a new format at the end of 2012. This may be a game-changer because you can now add video to your LinkedIn Profile.

On January 17, 2013, LinkedIn announced that they are “gradually rolling out the media link feature to those that have the new profile design.” I recently noticed it in my profile but it may not yet be available to everyone.

Here’s what it looks like:

LinkedIn Profile with Video - Christine Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is great news for business professionals, business owners and solo entrepreneurs. It’s one more significant leap toward a video-focused Internet. Video marketing is no longer a luxury for large companies, but has become a necessity for small businesses. It can put you ahead of your competition and is the competitive edge for job seekers.

Individual professionals now have the opportunity to create a video resume to feature on a website, on LinkedIn and other online venues. And business owners can add a promotional video about their company to their LinkedIn Profile.

A word of caution – while video can rocket you ahead of other companies or job candidates, a poorly crafted video can do more damage then good. Don’t post a video that falls short, from either a technical or a marketing perspective.

Hire a video marketing consultant to advise you and produce videos that feature you in your best light (literally and figuratively! :-)) and effectively portray the compelling aspects of your company or you as an individual.

Find out how we can help you with your Video Marketing.

See my LinkedIn Profile with the embedded video: http://www.linkedin.com/in/christinegreenmarketing

Are Your Products Too Hard to Find?

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

 
Today I observed a huge missed opportunity by a professional who recently published a book.

An image of the cover of the newly published book with a compelling title appeared in my News Feed because a Facebook friend had commented on it (she was a Facebook “friend” of the author who posted the image).

I clicked on the image and the title grabbed my attention enough that I wanted to find out more about the book. I then clicked on the Facebook link for the person (book author) who had posted it. I landed on their Facebook Personal Profile and looked around. But there was no opportunity for me to subscribe to their public updates, no link to a website for the book or for the person or their work, no link to a Facebook Page, no LinkedIn Profile or Twitter account – NOTHING. Nothing I could connect to in order to stay in touch and updated with this person. No way for me to learn about their new book.

I copied the book title and checked on Amazon – not there. The best I could do was to Google the book title. I found one video of a presentation on the subject. I knew it was the same person because the name matched. The person was a great presenter. Unfortunately, there was no contact information or web link included. There was a title frame in the video that included the company name but no URL. So I had to click replay and pause the video to get the name of the company. I then Googled that.

FINALLY!….I found the person’s site. A decent website but still no mention of the book or “upcoming book.” My frustration was growing.

I was surprise to see that they did have a Twitter account linked from the site. I clicked the link and saw that they had 130 Followers. I decide to follow them even though I saw nothing too interesting as I scrolled through their past Tweets – they were mostly repetitive posts announcing that the latest issue of their email newsletter or blog was available. But there were no interesting titles to inspire me to click their link.

After some more digging, I discovered that this person also had a LinkedIn Profile linked from their site. It was tucked away far down on the footer of the site. I clicked on it. Okay! Now, we’re talking! Big presence on LinkedIn. Over 500 connections, blog link and feed, website link and a recent update. Good job on LinkedIn! Too bad the people who don’t know this business person already, can’t find them or their book.

Take off your social media blinders and spread out your online presence. There are a lot of us out here in cyberspace and we want to know about the great things you are doing!

Don’t make it so hard to find you!
Oh, and you can help make this blog article easier to find by clicking the “Like” button at the top of the page, or using one of the share buttons below. :-)

See How Your Website Looks on an iPad

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

 
Have you wondered what your website looks like when viewed on an iPad? If you don’t have an iPad and haven’t loaded your site onto the iPad of a friend, you might be wondering how it will render on the tablet.

Here’s a short video that shows you how to use an online iPad simulator at ipadpeek.com to find how your site looks on that digital device.

How does your site look?

Marketing and Branding Impact of the New Twitter Format

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

image

Has your Twitter page transformed into the new format yet? If not it will very soon (like probably today!)

There are many interesting changes and plenty of places to learn what you need to know, so I won’t go into those details here.

There is, however, a small but not-so-minor change that will be of interest to businesses using Twitter as one of their marketing tools. Twitter’s new format emphasizes the “name” associated with the account rather than the @username, that was previously the highlighted identifier.

The name might be a person’s actual name, but can be whatever the account holder has chosen. In some cases it’s the name of a company or some combination of a name, company, word, etc.

This change has significant implications for branding yourself or your company.

For example, I have two Twitter accounts – one for myself as associated with my company Christine Green Consulting, and one that is associated with my mobile marketing and text messaging service.

My first account has the username of @ChristineGreen_ and the name associated with it is Christine Green. No surprise.

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My second Twitter account has the username of @MobileMrketing but also has the name Christine Green associated with it.

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When I first launched that account the name associated with it was “Bost MobileMrketing.” I choose to do this temporarily for branding while I was building the website.

I was also curious to see how followers would interact with an account that had no web link and no identified person behind it. I did attract followers slowly but surely. I still have a rather small following and am not very active on the account yet, but once the Boston North Mobile Marketing site was launched, I added that link and changed the name to my own.

In the old Twitter format I was being branded primarily as @MobileMrketing because that username was most prominent. It was shown first and was larger and bolder than my name.

In the new format the opposite is true. The person’s name is now first (or at the top), large and bold.

This changes the way you are identified and perhaps even how you are perceived. Have you been branding yourself by your username or as your name? For some of you they are the same, but for many, your @username has become well known and even its own brand.

The example that comes to mind immediately is @Pistachio who is Laura Fitton. She is well know in the Twittersphere and co-author of Twitter for Dummies. To be honest I followed her for almost a year before I knew her name!

But check out how she shows up in the new profile:

image

In both of these screenshots you can barely see, much less notice her @Pistachio username.

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So what does this reformatting mean for businesses using Twitter for marketing?

Mostly, you need to be aware of this change. You or your social media marketing consultant or staff can decide if you need to take any action. The good news is that you can change your username or your name. I wouldn’t advise changing your username since it has been your brand to many of your followers. (I am not sure what happens if you change your username but I assume you would keep your followers).

You may however, want to change the name associated with the account. If it’s your own name, I’d recommend keeping it, but if it is a made-up word or combination “name” you will want to assess the impact of it now being front-and-center. Now’s the time to make a change if you believe another name will improve your branding.

A final consideration related to your Twitter identity, is the photo or image that you use with your account. Now, more than ever, the image that represents your account is critical. If you aren’t crazy about it, change it now to assist with your branding.

The new format is an exciting change for this micro-blog. Hopefully it will stay the same long enough to allow businesses to optimize it for marketing…unlike another social media venue, (which will go unnamed) that changes almost daily! #FB Smile

P.S. As you can see, my Twitter accounts aren’t exactly brimming with followers, but you can change that! Let’s connect!

Why Twitter’s Link Shortening Service is a Big Deal

Monday, November 21st, 2011

2011-11-21 17h13_16

Twitter launched its own link shortening service in August of this year. At first only links that were too long to fit into the 140 character space were shortened. But as of October 2011, all links are shortened.

There are many link shortening services, so what’s the big deal?

The big deal is this – the service offers the following:

  • It protects users by checking against a list of potentially dangerous sites that spread malware, engage in phishing attacks, and other harmful activity, and warns them before they continue.
  • The service also measures information like how many times a link has been clicked.
  • A promise by Twitter that the information measured “will eventually become an important quality signal for our resonance algorithm, which determines how relevant and interesting each Tweet is when compared to similar Tweets.”

What you need to know:

  • All links published through Twitter are safe to click, including those in Direct Messages.
  • You can still use other link shortening services, so you don’t have to stop tracking your metrics with another service like bit.ly.
  • The Twitter t.co service only works for links published on Twitter and cannot be used independently for general link shortening.
  • Twitter’s shortened links will now show up separately in your analytics as a referral source.
  • You can not only track the effectiveness of your Twitter activity, but now your individual Tweets!

The tracking feature alone will boost Twitter as an engagement marketing tool for brands. And we will hear a sigh of relief from Tweeters everywhere when they learn about the safe browsing.

Follow Me and send me one of your shortened links! :-)

LinkedIn Company Pages Can Now Publish Updates

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

LinkedIn just announced a new feature for their Company Pages – “Status Updates.” This means you can now publish an update as your company if you have a Company Page on LinkedIn.

Company Pages for LinkedIn

Of course, if you don’t yet have any, you’ll need to attract Followers to your business on LinkedIn, otherwise no one will see your company’s status updates. It does not get published to your personal updates feed.

As a small business it’s a good idea to create a Company Page with at least the basic information and a logo image, but it might not be the best use of your marketing time and energy to focus on your LinkedIn presence.

Company Pages are probably most effective for medium to large companies that have a lot of employees and are known already on LinkedIn and currently have their employees connected to the company page. Another important feature is that, like Facebook Business Pages, Company Pages on LinkedIn can have more than one Administrator who can publish status updates.

With so many online profiles, pages and venues, it’s essential to make an informed decision about where and how you spend your marketing time.

A carefully crafted marketing strategy, based on an in-depth assessment of your company, will help you determine if and how your LinkedIn Company Page fits into your marketing plan and time allotment.

Learn more here about LinkedIn Company Pages

The Risk of Piecemeal Marketing

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Marketing Puzzle

No matter how limited your budget, a piecemeal marketing approach of jumping onto the latest bandwagon, is usually not wise or cost-effective.

Putting up a Facebook Business Page or adding a QR Code to print collateral will be effective only if your strategic plan calls for those initiatives and they are properly implemented and managed. Don’t get me wrong, both can be extremely effective, but not simply because you use them.

See my post What Businesses Are Doing Wrong with QR Codes.

Neither Facebook or QR Codes are a business promotion quick fix. In fact, they can both be a waste of money if they are not the best use of your marketing dollars.

How do you know which initiatives will best utilize your marketing budget?

Well, you’ll first need to take an in-depth look at what you are doing and why….and more importantly, what you are not doing.

What you need is a Marketing Strategy – one that’s been developed by the appropriate professional. And I’m not talking about your web designer who thinks s/he has marketing expertise because they add social media links and email capture forms to your website. That’s popularity-based piecemeal marketing and will likely give you inconsistent piecemeal results.

You might think you can’t go wrong with social media links, but actually you can. If your prospects and customers go to your Twitter account or your Facebook Business Page and you are not versed in the social media protocol that will give them what they want and keep them engaged, you can lose them with a click of a button. And in most cases you will never see them again.

Don’t fall into the trap of the marketing bandwagon. Business owners, like everyone else, are strongly influenced by trends. Trends are important to pay attention to, but don’t forget to think for yourself rather than following blindly. Get the advice of a marketing expert, not your friends or business associates. Even if a business colleague has gotten great results with specific marketing tactics, those same activities may not translate to success for your business. And even if they do, you might have loose ends about how a particular initiative fits into your overall strategy, how it interfaces with other initiatives and the essential details of its implementation.

And what you may never know is what opportunities you missed, including the additional customers you could have attracted and converted, had you followed a skillfully crafted strategic plan.

Individual initiatives that are not part of a strategic plan are merely marketing “activities” and likely won’t lead to a fully successful campaign that helps you meet your business development goals.

The launch of any initiative requires a comprehensive understanding of today’s digital and social media protocol, as well as considerations of the complexities of context, scope, timing, management, tracking, and analysis.

While your current activities may not necessarily be off the mark, you are likely only accessing the tip of the iceberg in terms of your marketing potential.

I’m not talking about high-budget campaigns that you can’t afford. I’m talking about things you don’t know about, innovative approaches you will never think of, and creative strategies. I’m talking about the smart use of your business development dollars. If you are serious about your business and want to build your customer base and increase your market share, don’t do your own marketing.

Outsource it, just as you do for legal matters, bookkeeping, and taxes. You can be closely involved and there are certainly marketing tasks you can perform, but you’ll have guidance and will feel confident that your activities are on track and making a difference for your business.

Your marketing budget will be best spent on an in-depth assessment and and a marketing plan based on those findings. Hire a marketing consultant with expertise and creative skills, who can design an effective strategy.

I just might know someone. Winking smile

Reason #1 to Get on Google Plus

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Google Plus icon

This is the first article in a series about why you should create a profile and participate on Google+ (“Google Plus”). This series may consist of one post (that doesn’t make it a series then, does it?) or more, depending on how many reasons I can muster.

Since the social media venue is only about a week old, the community on Google+ is not yet humongous (though today it’s supposed to reach 10 million – Okay that’s pretty darn big, but a far cry from Facebook’s 400 billion!).

As a social media consultant it was important for me to get on G+ as soon as I could and begin assessing it for business use. You may think it’s not possible to have a business presence yet. Google has asked businesses to hold off on creating profiles for their companies, and I recently saw a post stating that they were already cracking down and removing profiles with a business name (unlike Facebook, where thousands, if not millions of businesses get away with violating the Terms of Service by creating a “Profile” that can “friend” others, rather than a business “Page” that is “Liked”)

So,  you may say “Why bother, if my only interest in social media is for boosting my business?” Well, I’ll tell you why you should bother.

Since the pool of participants is still relatively small and the connecting protocol is being made up as we (early adopters) go along, you may have an amazing opportunity as a business professional. At least if you are a marketer or social media specialist. Though I have a feeling what I am experiencing will hold true for other professions if/when they are participating.

As I search for specific people, by typing in the search form or browsing the connections of others, I add them to my circles. I have the choice of adding them to an existing default circle (which are titled “following,” “friends,” “family,” and “acquaintances”) or creating a new custom-named circle. My approach is to add the hot shot well-known marketers and social media gurus to my “following” circle….just as I do on Twitter. It’s likely I will later sift this down into sub-categories but that’s what I am doing for now.

Because this venue is so new and it is almost a combination of Facebook and Twitter, there may be behaviors happening now that will vanish later.

One of those behaviors is that some of these well-known folks have added me (yes me!) to one of their circles. Now that could mean that I’ve been added to a custom circle called “The losers who are following me” or “Think I’ll make her day by adding her to this circle that I will never view,” but I don’t think so. I’m sure I’m not in their “Essential Contacts” circle, but they probably take a gander now and then at the masses who follow them, especially while this is all still new.

I think the social media marketing rock stars are thinking that anyone who is already on G+ is worth adding just because we know enough to jump in as an early adopter. And they want to build their circles and are being generous.

Twitter has the similar quality of giving you the opportunity to connect with highly regarded people in any field. They may not follow you back or respond to the @famousperson messages you Tweet, but you do have the opportunity to “talk to” them publicly that way.

The deal with G+ is that once you add someone to one of your circles you get to see everything they publish – or at least what they publish to the public or to the circle you’re in. AND you get to comment on any of their posts that you see. So guess what? Even though that person may get 87 comments on any one of their public posts, one of them can be yours! And I’d be willing to bet that at least for the next few weeks, that person is going to read most of those comments.

So your name gets in front of them in several ways. First you added them and they get notified that you did. Secondly, if you comment on their posts you potentially get seen by them once again (not to mention being seen by all the others who commented). And if you have something halfway interesting to say, you may even get noticed or responded to in the comment area. And if you turn into a stalking commenter, you’ll at least be a familiar name!

Seriously, though you have the ability to get known. Whether it’s by someone highly regarded in your field or by potential clients or referral sources…..you still get known. And that’s what social media is all about. And that’s what doing business is all about.

G+ is a big conversation. And if you post thoughtful comments of substance and publish your own content of value, you’ll become known for that. But if you become a pest or just toot your own horn, you’ll become known for that. Your choice.

So jump in. Listen for a while to make sure you “get” what’s going on, so you don’t do more damage than good – then start participating.

Find the people you want to get in front of:

  • valuable connections
  • leaders in your industry
  • mentors and colleagues
  • potential clients
  • potential collaborators
  • referral sources
  • interesting people

Add them to one of your circles.

Then Don’t be shy. Contribute to the conversation. But don’t have an agenda or try to force an outcome. Stay connected and stay open.

And most of all – relax and have some fun.
They call it “social” media for a reason!

Come find me on Google+

I promise I’ll put you in the perfect circle! Smile

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Facebook

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Eggs-in-Basket-FB

Many businesses have jumped on the Facebook band wagon. Many are using their Facebook Business Page as their primary “website” and/or for various promotions and opt-ins. This had made me nervous for some time and I would strongly advise against relying too heavily on Facebook.

Right now Facebook seems like an unstoppable empire. But I personally don’t think they will last if they continue in the direction they are heading and maintain the same business attitude. Mark Zuckerberg is young with more than a touch of narcissism and thinks me knows best what FB users need and want. He has a narrow vision which has proven to be clueless time and time again, both for Personal Profiles and Business Pages.

I believe Facebook has too many fatal flaws that they will likely defend to the end. Their policy of making users “opt-out” rather than “opt-in” to annoying and invasive privacy settings is a sore spot for many people.

When they did away with the chronological order of posts on Business Pages they almost destroyed the effectiveness of the Pages for many companies.

Their almost daily changes with little regard for user preference is turning people off and confusing the rest of us.

And now…..finally there is a contender that may knock them off their feet. Something that might not be hard to do, especially when it comes from a well known company like Google.

I don’t even have a Google+ (pronounced “Google Plus”) account yet, but from viewing their intro videos I see that they are addressing the missing and failed elements of Facebook. It appears that they have actually designed the venue to what users want. It might be worth the switch for the “Circles” element alone.

“Circles” are groups based around common interests, values, philosophies or whatever, and provide the opportunity to post exclusively to the members of that group. To me this allows for more freedom of expression than I feel comfortable publishing to my entire “friend” list on FB. The reality is that we all have pods of different types of people and we communicate a little differently within each of those groups.

My prediction is that while it may take a while – perhaps even a year or two….Google+ will likely climb to the top of the heap as the number one social “friending” venue, with Facebook going the way of MySpace.

I have no idea what Google+ does or will feature for a business presence. But Google is a sophisticated business-savvy company and I have confidence that they won’t have any difficulty out-shining Facebook in that arena. Facebook has had no competitors and had no significant consequences to face for its many missteps. But the party’s over and there’s a new kid in town.

So if your business has a Facebook Business Page, ride the FB wave while you can. But do some forward thinking, take a look at Google+ (once you can) and think about where you want to keep your eggs.

How to Get Introductions on LinkedIn

Monday, June 6th, 2011

linkedin

Using LinkedIn to connect with professionals and companies can be a great strategy for certain professions. Requesting introductions to hard-to-reach individuals is one such strategy.

If you have the free version of LinkedIn, you may only request 5 introductions per month. The paid LinkedIn Plans are 15, 25 and 35 introductions per month respectively, as the price increases.

If you’d like to be introduced to a specific person, by a colleague on LinkedIn, follow these instructions:

  • Login to LinkedIn
  • Find the person to whom you want to be introduced – you can do a LinkedIn search or go to the Profile of one of your connections that you know is connected to this person, click on that person’s connections and scroll till you see the person you’re looking for.
  • Click on the person’s Profile
  • In the upper right corner you’ll see a link that says “Get introduced through a connection”
  • Click that link
  • That will take you to a page with a list of all the connections that you share with that person (the people you are both connected to)
  • Click the button next to the person you will ask for the introduction
  • Then click “Continue” at the bottom of the page
  • That will take you to a page called “Request an Introduction”
  • This is the message that will be sent to the person you are requesting the introduction from. There are several things to select and fill in on this page. You can include your email and phone number. You will want to choose from the Categories drop-down menu to indicate why you are seeking this introduction. There is also a text box for a message to the person you are requesting the introduction from and another text box where you can write a message to the person with whom you are seeking the connection.
  • Compose your message carefully. Be succinct. Don’t make the recipient read a long pitch or description. If you take up too much of their time or give them a hard sell they will be less likely to accept a connection to you. Remember – write your intro in a way that describes what they might get out of it. Don’t try to sell them your services! You are merely connecting. This is the beginning of the relationship not the marriage proposal!
  • Write your message. Go do something else for a few minutes or hours. Reread what you wrote and edit accordingly.
  • When you are happy with it – click “Send”
  • Rinse and Repeat (for each person you want to add to your connections)

The LinkedIn paid plans offer additional ways to contact people. The features change on a regular basis so check the LinkedIn site for details and pricing.

What’s Great About Facebook

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Christine Green's Facebook Video Post

I have read some recent blog posts by people who are disillusioned and bored with Facebook. One blogger insisted people are obsessed with Facebook. Yeah, so? People get obsessed with just about anything.

Some bloggers are unfriending a lot of people and others are even deleting their Facebook Profiles.

I am baffled by this. Other than the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is a dictator who thinks he knows what we want and what is best for our businesses, I love Facebook!

In his recent post Unfriending My Facebook Friends, Ari Herzog asks people to consider that they might be following the wrong people if they think Facebook is a waste of time. Ari also states that “Facebook has a tendency to remain static.” I think I understand what he’s trying to say, but Facebook is far from static. It is literally not static as a platform since they keep changing the format and how users can interact. And if one’s Facebook experience is static than that is about the user, not Facebook. I do agree that perhaps some are following the wrong people. If your FB friends bore or annoy you, then you might want to consider unfriending or “hiding” them.

Facebook can be an interesting mirror of our lives. If you are bored with your FB friends, you might want to branch out into new offline circles – get out into the world and meet some new people who interest you. Then if you choose, you can friend those people on FB and you might just find them engaging, inspiring and funnier than you could imagine!

Don’t blame Facebook for what’s lacking in your life. Facebook is nothing more than a venue. It’s essentially a blank slate that allows you to add whatever you want. You are the artist and Facebook is the canvas. What will you paint? Will you follow your heart and your interests? Will you choose from your palette the things that will bring meaningful sharing, connection, valuable information, education, humor, and joy? Or will you paint a picture that is not true to yourself, but is bloated with “stuff” from others that is of no interest to you?

You are at the helm. It’s your ship to sail.

So why might someone “friend” anther person on FB whom they later delete? I imagine there are many possible reasons. Just as offline we ebb and flow in our relationships. Sometimes we disengage with friends – either temporarily or forever. That’s the flow of life.

I have unfriended only one FB Friend in almost 3 years. I hide others for periods of time if their posts are not aligned with the experience I want to have. But those issues are a minor part of my FB experience.

Each user decides the parameters of their own FB policy. It might be thought out in advance, or implemented inconsistently depending on one’s mood or the behavior of others. It doesn’t have to be formal, but it can be helpful to reflect on why you friend people, why you won’t friend someone, and what will make you unfriend someone. Follow your guidelines and reevaluate them from time to time so that they are in line with your current desired experience.

Maybe FB is not for you. Maybe online engagement has no place in the design of your life. That’s fine. Send your energy in directions that fulfill you.

Even though I have a Facebook Business Page, I consider my Personal Profile part of my business presence as well. I don’t directly promote my business on my Personal Profile as it is against the FB terms of service. I certainly don’t keep it a secret that I am a social media marketing consultant and web designer – I talk about my work on my Personal Profile so that people know that about me, but I don’t pitch my services directly.

On a personal level I get great value from Facebook and have had profound experiences because of it.

So, what’s so special about Facebook?

First let me clarify that there is nothing special about “Facebook” itself. It happens to be the venue that most people use (for now) and therefore is my current choice for social networking.

Online social connection is what is special.

Here’s how I use Facebook for social connection:

  • to keep up with the activities of my nieces (the reason I originally got on FB!)
  • to stay in touch with my friends even when I am very busy with my work
  • to feel a thread of connection to the world while working alone all day
  • to express myself with humor
  • to share my perspective on world events and life in general
  • to share my creative work
  • to enjoy, support and promote the creative work of others
  • to use (as one way) to get to know my friends and their families more deeply
  • to connect with people I want to get to know personally and professionally (these are people I’ve met and getting to know them might not otherwise happen or could take years)
  • to reconnect with long lost cousins (and other extended family)
  • to reconnect with friends after many years (which would likely not have happened otherwise)
  • to receive news updates on a variety of topics (from News Pages that I have “Liked”)
  • to stay connected with my local community news and events (from local Pages or posts of local friends)
  • to learn about fascinating things
  • to be alerted and invited to events of interest
  • to have my day brightened by humor exchanges
  • to keep up with political issues
  • to connect friends who share values (they find each other on comment lists and friend each other)
  • to make business connections and facilitate the connection of others
  • to post a video I shot of the celebration of a dying friend, to share with loved ones unable to attend and as an inspiration to those who don’t know her. It doesn’t get any better than that! (see the photo at the top that shows the conversation and connection that happened yesterday)

My last point is reason enough to participate in a social network like Facebook. It is an example of how technology and so-called non-intimate platforms can be used to share a profound experience or event with a community of people, and to give those people the opportunity to respond.

Now, I don’t pretend or want to be best buddies with all my FB connections. And I know they feel the same about me. That’s not what it’s about for me. I have a unique relationship with each of my FB Friends…just like in “real life” offline. For me FB is real life also. It’s just different. To assume it would be the same as my face-to-face time with people would be ridiculous. It enhances and facilitates my in-person social life.

I don’t care if many of my FB friends never call me and only wish me Happy Birthday once a year. I don’t care if they ever post an update or comment on one of mine. I’d love to read posts from the silent ones and find out more about who they are. But I don’t expect anything specific of them (or them of me) because that is the level of connection we have – I may see them around town, or at a party or never at all. I still choose to maintain a connection with them on FB. Of course I have no capacity to be in close touch with 262 people! That’s not the purpose of most of those connections – at least not for me.

The funny thing is that I run into acquaintances who are my FB friends all the time, who tell me how much they enjoy my posts. There are tons of people who read their friend’s posts but never post or comment themselves. I scratch my head on this, but they have their reasons which I fully respect. My sense is that it’s mostly shyness. Or maybe that they are not fully familiar or comfortable yet with the format.

And as you can see from the number I mentioned above, I don’t have a zillion FB Friends. Perhaps too many “Friends” is the issue for those other bloggers? It seems that many of the social media early adopters had an “open-door” policy on their FB Personal Profile and they are now re-thinking and deciding to unfriend the people they don’t know or will try to transfer them over to their Facebook Business Page (where they probably belong).

That’s fair enough and makes perfect sense. And it’s a reminder to those of you who are just starting to use social media:

  • Don’t jump in too quickly
  • Learn about each venue by listening first
  • Create a policy for yourself (and one for your company when using social media for business marketing)
  • Reevaluate and make changes on a regular basis

Social networking is still in its infancy. Navigating and managing new media is a process and has a learning curve both technically and interactively. Each person will find out if it is useful for them and how it is useful. And that will evolve for them and for all of us.

What’s your policy for your Facebook Personal Profile?
Please comment below. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and experiences.

And if we haven’t met and you want to connect on Facebook, you can do that here at my Creative Factory. (it’s an out-of-the-ordinary “Business” Page – I think you will like it!) :-)

The Difference Between Facebook Profiles and Facebook Pages

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

CG FB Profile CGCF FB Page

Facebook has a real knack for confusing people. Not just because they make changes every 10 minutes few months, but because their terminology is not clarity-friendly. The terms “Profile” and “Page” sound similar and are terms that most of us have used interchangeably.

So…who the heck can remember the difference between a Profile and a Page? And the alliteration doesn’t help one bit. Isn’t a Page just a page? Do they mean web page? Isn’t that what I am looking at when I am there? And then there is the Home Page on my Personal Profile that is really a News Feed. But do my “Friends” post “News” or do they post a “Status Update?” And what’s the difference? And how is my Home Page different from my Profile Page? Geez, who designed this thing? Twenty year olds?

Yup, you guessed it! A kid and his buddies. A kid who, we all know is now a billionaire. Is that legal? To be a billionaire under the age of 30? :-)

There are a number of things that many Facebook users don’t know, because they have not read the Terms of Service.

The basic idea is that Facebook is now being used by both people and businesses. And there are rules for how each is allowed to participate on this venue. So let’s talk about the nitty gritty of the distinction between Profiles and Pages, so that you don’t get yourself in trouble or booted off the book.

1.  Your Personal “Profile” is for your identity as a person and is where you are “Friended” by other individual humans (I will talk about non-humans later). A Profile that adds people as “Friends” is not for businesses. And it is against the Facebook Terms of Service for businesses to create a friending Profile. And yet I see this all the time. I suspect that it is not intentional to break the FB rules, but these businesses risk being banned from Facebook altogether. It is my policy to not “Friend” a business who has set up a Profile (though I have done it on occasion).

2.  To have a business presence and to promote your product or services on Facebook you must create a “Page.” A Page is were people used to become your “Fans” but now can only become “Likers” by clicking the “Like” button at the top of your Page. You can have as many Likers or fans as you want – zillions if you can get them. But on a Personal Profile the limit is 5,000. That’s another funny rule made up by twenty-somethings. If the Profile is really for social interaction with people you know, who in this world “knows” 5,000 people? How did they come up with that number? Why not 3,000? or 1,000?

Okay business owners – here’s a juicy helpful piece of info – Business Pages are indexed by Google but Profiles are not. This means that what you post on your Business Page can show up in a Google search, but your Profile posts will not (your name will, but not individual status updates).

And another caution – you can’t add your tagline to your Page title.

Then there are what I call, the “fake” Pages with temporary content that gets created when your business is mentioned (yes that content later disappears, leaving the Page blank). They are officially called “Community Pages.” (whatever that means!) People can LIKE these pages also and they get confused and probably irritated when you later ask them to LIKE your real Business Page.

3.  The Facebook Terms of Service states that users are not allowed to post anything to their “Personal Profile” that will make them money. Here’s the direct quote: “You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain.” In other words it’s against your agreement with FB to directly promote your business. Now many of us (myself included) do mention our projects and show examples of our work. I do that only occasionally on my Profile and I keep it conversational and not anything close to a sales pitch. I am merely sharing what I do and my experiences. I do post a link to my blog articles either on my Profile or on my Page. I think sharing a blog link is acceptable since it is an article that your friends can choose not to read and as long as you aren’t posting something like: “Read my blog and then hire me to shampoo your dog and your carpet.”

There are obviously some gray areas but I think the spirit of the rule is that you can’t ask people to buy something from you. I have FB Friends who do directly pitch their classes or workshops on their Personal Profile. They probably don’t know that they are breaking the rules. The solution is to create a Business Page. Once you do that you can pitch and toot 24/7 if you want.

4.  It’s against the terms of service to have more than one Profile. I see this fairly often also. If you have two Profiles, go delete one of them right now. In other words you cannot be two people. Profiles represent real people. I believe that animals are not people either (though I know many of you will disagree). Yes my cat is on Facebook, but he has a Page not a Profile (can a cat have a business? Not sure….but he’s a spiritual leader and writer so he’s allowed to have a Page). And yes, he would so appreciate it if you would “Like” his Page: http://www.facebook.com/zenmasterziggy

Oops! I said “Fan” but they no longer exist! All the Fans have been transformed into “Likers” – how ridiculous is that? What the heck is a Liker? I still call them fans, and

5.  A business or organization can only be represented by a “Page” or a “Group.” (You “Join” a Group and when a Group posts something it goes no farther than the Group page….and is, in my book, therefore useless because no one will see it unless they keep visiting the Group page, which no one ever does.)

So the essential thing to remember is that a person can only be themselves and a business is not a person. Are you following me? (no I don’t mean on Twitter – that’s a whole different topic…though now that you mention it, you can follow me at http://twitter.com/ChristineGreen_) :-)

You now know how to avoid the most common mistakes on Facebook. Here are links to what you should read, especially if you have a business on FB:

General Terms of Service: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php

Business Page Terms of Service: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php#!/terms_pages.php

This is very interesting and if you are thinking about any contests or other promotions (even on your Business Page) – read this first! Promotions guidelines: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

Did I miss anything important?
You tell me.

Please comment and include any other info that will help Facebook users stay within the guidelines.

Facebook Page Changes Outrage Businesses

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

BringBackPageOrder

Recently Facebook changed the way posts show up when published on business pages. They used to be listed chronologically. Makes sense, huh?

A company wanting to alert fans of news-related or time-sensitive topics and offers would post them on the appropriate date. That way fans would not only receive them in their news feed at the right time, but would also be able to view them on the company’s page in the sequence in which they were posted.

Well, somehow the developers at Facebook decided that chronological order was not only not necessary, but not desirable for business pages. They decided for all of us that business page posts should be ordered by relevance – meaning popularity, apparently determined by the number comments.

Tens of thousands of business owners, including me are now screaming wondering “What were they thinking?”

The worst part is that we have no choice. There is no option to set the post order.

It is mind-boggling how this could have seemed like a good idea.

Yesterday there was a panel on Facebook Live introducing the new page updates and answering questions submitted by viewers. The very first question was about why they had discontinued the chronological order. Their answer was lame. They compared it to “Top News” (the personal profile equivalent to non-chronological and so-called “relevance” order – which I hate and always have to click “Most Recent” in order to read my feed where I left off). They claimed that users were not interested in chronological order and that there are other cues that indicate what a user/fan wants to see. The example they gave was if your friend liked the post then it would be of more interest to you. They stated that this new ordering was more engaging for users and therefore preferred.

They seemed to be clueless about what might really benefit a company using a Facebook page. They seem to be wearing “social” blinders and unable to understand the perspective or needs of businesses or organizations.

What struck me most when I tuned into the live chat, was that the company representatives and (at least partial) decision makers of Facebook, looked all of 25 years old. And we all know that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg is only 26. I am showing my age, but these youngsters could not possibly have the experience or expertise to understand what would be of most value to companies, organizations and individuals who use Facebook pages as part of  their marketing.

Business owners are speaking up through blog posts like this one and FB pages like Bring Back Chronological Posts On Pages – if you are one of the frustrated business page managers who wants to join the ranks pushing for the return of chronological order, please “Like” that page.

We will be heard!
And we will Restore Order! :-)

Social Media Early Adopters Get Big Boost

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Google Social Search

This week Google made some big changes to their Social Search that will pay off big if you have a Google Profile and have been actively building your online presence.

Google Social Search was introduced in 2009, but the new features are the most significant to date.

In a nutshell what happens now is when you are logged in with your Google Profile and you enter search terms, you receive results that include relevant links to blogs, tweets, photos and other content of Google Profile users with whom you are connected. This has been the case for a few years but they are now integrated rather than at the bottom of the page.

Here’s how it works: If you enter “famous cats who use social media marketing in Newburyport to raise money for charities” into Google search and your cousin’s ex-husband’s neighbor’s college roommate is one of your Twitter connections (who has a Google Profile) AND they have published content related to famous Newburyport cats who use social media marketing to help charities – that person’s article, name and picture will show up on the first page of your Google search results!

How great is that?

And…if YOU have a strong online presence and someone digitally connected to you searches for something that you have blogged, posted or tweeted about, guess whose smiling face shows up integrated in their first page Google search results? Yep…You!

So, if you already have a Google Profile, pat yourself on the back and keep cranking out that content!

And if you don’t have a Google Profile…get going and create one. But not before you share this post with your colleagues who also need a Google Profile!

You can do that by using the “Spread the Word” buttons below and then head over to the Google Profiles Page and get yourself digitized!

It’s never too late!

Social Media – The Introvert’s Dream Come True

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Social Media is the best thing that ever happened to brilliant introverts. (That would be me :-)) – I can easily get my message out to friends/colleagues/the world….who have not seen me shine very often, or been aware of my knowledge and skills. I don’t step into the spotlight very often in a social setting and when I do I don’t stay there. I hang back. But in a blog platform I can step to the head of the class. As a blog publisher, I have created my own soap box and those who wish to stop by and listen can do so. Interested readers can choose to have my thoughts sent right to their inbox (see box in right sidebar for subscribing to this blog by email)

Can you relate to this? Are you someone who has great ideas and a lot to share with the world, but have not had the opportunity? Do the extroverts around you get most of the attention personally and professionally? Do you know that your ideas would be well received if you only had that chance to share them with those who would appreciate what you have to say?

If so, then blogging and social media participation might be just what you’ve been seeking.

No, your personality won’t change and you won’t likely be the belle of the ball, but if you participate with honesty and share unique and valuable content – you will gather a following. You will create online connections. You will be part of a community of like-minded people. And you will get your moments in the spotlight. But mostly you will gain recognition and respect as you engage in the conversation of social media.

Inbound Marketing (using social media to get found) is not about tooting your own horn. It can be about expressing your ideas and tips but in the spirit of offering value that will position you as the go-to person in your field.

This is why social media is a venue where introverts can excel. We usually aren’t focused on loudly broadcasting about ourselves or using hype or hard-sell approaches. We just want a turn at bat. And tend to like a quiet, focused message that gets to the point.

If you’re an introvert, or even an extrovert trapped in an introvert’s body, blogging and social media platforms will likely be your dream come true!

Now…get yourself out there!

Oh….and if you can muster up the courage – leave me a comment! :-)

Social Media – Secret Weapon for Small Businesses

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

At first it was websites that could level the marketing playing field for small companies. With a relatively small investment and a good marketer, your small or solo business can build a website that offers an in-depth presentation of the features and benefits of your service or product. A website can also provide a platform to show customers how you out-shine the competition and why they should do business with you instead.

Unfortunately, many small businesses still have not effectively taken advantage of a strong marketing-focused web presence.

Today, the marketing new kid on the block is Social Media. Most large corporations know the power and necessity of engaging with prospects and customers using these venues. But alas, once again many small businesses are slow to embrace the power of Inbound Marketing. Many small businesses insist that even FREE Social Media is not in their budget.

While Social Media is free, there is a cost. That cost is mostly time, but initially investing in a skilled consultant is also a good idea in order to assure that you understand the protocol and allot your time resources wisely. There certainly is an art and science to effective Social Media participation.

If you are serious about playing with the big boys and girls, you’ll make it your business to use Social Media as fully as you can. You don’t have the time? Make the time.

At this date you likely can even get ahead of your competition if you jump in now and make a consistent concerted effort. And because Inbound Marketing builds on itself like compounded interest, a year down the road you could be miles ahead of your competition, making it extremely difficult for them to catch up.

You don’t want to be kicking yourself 2 years from now saying “Gee, we should have gotten in then.” It’s never too late, of course….but the truth is that for many small businesses, it’s still early in the game.

Be on the cutting edge and step into Social Media Marketing now.

You won’t see instant results – it takes time to build your online presence. And there are ways to speed up the process if you are truly committed to the campaign.

But one thing is for sure. Two or three years from now you’ll be patting yourself on the back for being so smart.