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New Facebook Fan Page Upgrade: Some Info You Should Know

Feb/Thu | Category: Uncategorized | 


Freaking out over the new Facebook Pages Upgrade? Relax. We’re here for you!

According to us here at the Social Method, the new layout means great things for businesses and their fans. Now your page can establish itself and connect with fans and other companies as a brand This enables companies to engage in more conversations and add value across the platform and not just on their page alone. Admins will finally enjoy the convenience of getting notifications when fans comment on their Page and when new fans join the page.

Don’t just take our word for it though,  other smart social minds, like Jenna Lebel from Likeable, are weighing in with similar opinions:

The layout is a more efficient and cleaner approach to your Page. It allows for greater expression of your brand by way of the photo stream and customizable information sharing at the top. For fans, it’s similar to their own Profiles making navigation very seamless. It also quickly gives them access to the most useful information (top and side-bar navigation). The mutual interests and shared friends really gives users a strong connection with your Page and makes it much more relevant to them”

In addition to the new layout being more efficient for your fans, it also enables you as admins to now engage on the pages you manage as either yourselves or the brand, enabling community managers to finally have a face to the public when they want and need to.

 

Ok, so what does this mean?

While using Facebook as your company page you can post on other pages and develop relationships with other brands. This will help to build a virtual community amongst like-minded brands and companies. Say a partner company just won a Grammy, now you can congratulate them:

 

These new engagement opportunities break down barriers, making your brand seem more approachable and encouraging fans to regard your page as another Facebook friend that they know personally. Wildfire breaks it down this way in their article “Facebook Rolls Out New Brand Page Design”

“A completely new feature, Facebook has added the ability to interact with items around the social network as the brand page. In this way, you can “Like” other brand pages, interact on their Walls, and have those interactions be from your brand page, instead of your personal profile. We think this will be a great way to increase your brand awareness, by tactfully interacting with other pages and people who are influencers.”

 

To use Facbook as your page, just click on account in the top right of your page, and select “Use Facebook as Page”. From the pop-up, select the page you want to use Facebook as.

 

You will now see notifications identical to those on personal profiles allowing for a quick response to any fan’s interaction with your page.

 

You can also click the Facebook icon on the top left to see a newsfeed of the pages that your page has liked (convenient for knowing what your partners are up to and finding opportunities to comment on their pages).

 

When you “like” other pages, you can also display your top likes on the left side of your profile, under the navigation links.  To select which you want to feature, go to your admin section (Edit Page feature) and then select “Featured” and adjust your settings.

 

We could sit here for hours discussing and walking through the great new features of the Facebook Page, but let’s face it, we’d rather be on Facebook checking things out!

To take a look at all the changes, be sure to check out Everything You Need To Know About Facebook’s Epic Upgrade.

Reading not your thing? We’ve got you covered! For a step by step video walkthrough check out this video from Jason Falls over at exploringsocialmedia.com

Also, if you want a handy-dandy guide to keep at your desk or share with your clients, admins or anyone who might need it, here’s a great guide Facebook created you can print out and use in hard copy form.

 

 

Social Media for Small Business Series: Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

Feb/Mon | Category: Uncategorized | 

Now that you’ve gotten to know your target, have chosen a social media network for your business and have made a plan, it’s time to implement it! While executing your plan and connecting with your target, it is important to keep in mind the definite Do’s and Don’t’s in the world of social media for your business. 

Do:

Realize what you’re getting into. Many companies do not realize just how time-consuming social media can be; and even though it’s worth every minute, it can take away from other responsibilities you must tend to. It is important that you keep in mind when you need to delegate the work to another employee, an intern or even an agency (Hey, wait, that’s what we do!).

Get personal. Let’s be honest, readers only want to read things that are relevant to them personally. Make your posts interactive and real. Adding a witty remark or a fun link to show your point keeps your readers interested in what you have to say.

Network. Get to know other companies and franchises in your area. By connecting with these franchises you get to know your target and can even pull in more readers and future customers.

Listen to your followers…and then respond! If you are doing social media right, you are going to have interaction from your followers. This is a great thing! However, many companies forget that social media isn’t just about putting information out there; that’s what a website is for. Social media should be utilized in such a way so that you are interacting with your customers. Reply to their posts, say thank you to their comments and most importantly answer their questions! This will keep your existing followers happy and increase your number of new followers.

 

Don’t:

Showcase yourself. While I’m sure that picture of you vacationing in Hawaii is one of your best, and no doubt your favorite photo of yourself, does not mean you should post it as your profile picture for your company. You may be laughing, but we have seen this many times. You’re obviously an established business and people know you by your brand, so naturally you should be using your logo as your photo so users know exactly who they’re connecting with. Save the other photos for you personal account.

Waste your time. Many companies find a social media site they love to play with, but it’s really not benefiting them with their target. Make sure the social media forum you are using is utilizing the connection with your audience and not just occupying your time. This comes from getting to know your target, see our previous post for a recap on this.

Check out. The biggest mistake a company can make is creating accounts with social media and then letting them go cold. You’ve set up a connection with your target, now keep it! They want to hear FROM you not ABOUT you. Your postings should be consistent and of substance. In Lindsay Wilson’s post “5 Ways to Connect With Your Target Market on Social Media” you can find great ideas on establishing and keeping that connection.

Become a salesman. Forgetting that social media is about engaging in the conversation and not just about selling is a downfall for any company entering the world of social media. Your target wants to connect with you, not hear a pitch. Make sure you are connecting with them on a personal level. That’s what social media is all about; connection!

There you have it! Get those connections started and check back next week as we continue to sort through social media for your small business.

Social Media For Small Business Series: Getting Started with Social Media

Jan/Mon | Category: Uncategorized | 

So you’ve decided to launch the social media side of your business. Congratulations! This is by far going to be one of the biggest “leg-up’s” in the marketing field for you. However, with this decision comes many questions, but don’t worry; we’re here to help you out with three of the big ones.

First, you need to ask yourself which social media site is going to work the best for your company. Are you generating enough information and buzz to start and keep up with a Twitter account? You need to get to know your company and your target in order to find a social networking site that will work for you. Perhaps a weekly video on a Youtube channel would fit the personality of your company and allow you to be more interactive. Many companies fail to include Youtube in their social media strategy. Amy-Mae Elliot provides some great tips on utilizing Youtube for your business in her article “Top 10 Youtube Tips for Small Businesses”.  If you’re not sure where you should get started at all, find a reputable consultant or company (like us ;) ) to help you out.  Many can come in and just help you create a solid strategy and leave you to the implementation of it – saving you precious time and money in trying to figure it out by trial and error.

Second, make sure you research your target audience and figure out where they’re spending their time. Many companies will launch a Facebook page for a target who simply is not spending their time on Facebook. A more appropriate angle may be establishing your company’s presence on LinkedIn or setting up a blog. Get to know your target to avoid this problem. The easiest way to do it?  Think like your customer!  Put yourself in their shoes and think about where they are likely to get information from and which networks they likely use on a daily basis.

And third, create a plan!  As a wise man (or woman) once said, “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.”  So, start things right by having a plan.  Think about what your long term business goals and short-term objectives are and write them down.  Now, think about how you’re going to use social media to help you get there.  Want to build awareness for your new sandwich shop?  Have a downloadable coupon for people to come in for a free sandwich on their first visit, and when they redeem the coupon, ask if they liked it.  If they did, ask them to kindly give you a review on your Facebook Page or on Yelp.  Have a computer set up where they can easily do it (or better yet, use an iPad!).  To help you write the plan, we’ve created a basic template you can download here.

That should give you a few days worth of work.  If you have questions – ask in the comments and we’ll give you as much help as we can.  Come back next week when we’ll cover the Do’s and Don’t’s of social media.

 

Twitter: It’s a Relationship, Not a Religion

Jan/Wed | Category: Uncategorized | 

The social media revolution has done wonders for making conversation with consumers more accessible and measurable.  With simple statistics, businesses have been able to get a clearer understanding of how successful they are as a brand.  But many businesses get lost in the numbers while going through the motions, and, in the process, they forget about their bottom line.  A high twitter follower count may look good, but what percentage of your so-called followers are truly listening to what you have to say?  Better yet, are you listening to them so you can say what they want to hear?

Everything you do should be geared towards getting people talking about your brand, and getting the media writing about your brand.  

Auto-following, auto-direct messaging and auto-updates can be beneficial, but they can also make your twitter page very impersonal and robotic, and can lead to a temporary or insincere following.  Who wants to talk about that?

Let’s say yours is one of the said “robot” twitter accounts.  When people follow your account, they receive an automated direct message.  They read your automated updates, and when they reply, they get no response because YOU are simply not there.   This isn’t networking; this is spamming.  In addition to being robotic, detached Tweeters such as these are probably also engaging one or all of the “7 habits of highly annoying twitter users” that Rob McGuire discusses in his post.  A detached, robotic tweeter is sure to be unfollowed as John Chow describes in his article, “Why I unfollowed 55,000 Twitter Users.”

So how can you be an effective tweeter?

1.      Get personal. Communicating with your followers takes time and dedication, but if you want to create a genuine following and some true positive buzz for your brand, it is a must.  Use search.twitter.com and look for people talking about you.  Look for people who need help on a topic, and join in on their conversation.  Don’t just put out post after post and wait for people to come to you.  Go to them! 

2.      Be polite.  Answer their questions, thank them for retweets and mentions, and do some retweeting and mentioning of your own.  Always do it professionally but with a personal tone.  Talk to people as if you’re looking them in the eye.

3.      Be interesting. No one wants to follow someone who only tweets about their new products or only thanks people for following them.  Change it up.  If it relates to your business somehow, and could be of interest to your target audience, try to use it.  Tweet what you think others will want to share with their own social networks.  When your brand becomes entertaining, fascinating and newsworthy, people will start talking, and positive buzz will grow exponentially. 

4.       Use hashtags.  To pick up buzz about your brand or topics related to it, use hashtags.  Why?  Because as Kirsten Wright says, “Hashtags Give Your Tweets Legs.” Highlighting key words is crucial to starting new conversations and keeping up with old ones.  Still not sure you understand the power of the hashtag?  Read more about the “Science of the Hashtag” here.

5.       Know your goal.  If you aim at nothing, you will be sure to hit it every time.  It is important to know what direction you want to take your business and WHO you should be networking with and “targeting” on twitter.  Know what you want to accomplish, and create updates and conversations that will lead you in that direction.   If one of your goals is to create true positive buzz, repeat steps one through five. 

We think about it like this:  Imagine Twitter is one really gigantic cocktail party with all types of people having all kinds of conversations.  Naturally, people will evolve into having these conversations in groups, so use your search and monitoring tools to identify people having conversations you can add value to.  These might be people talking about your brand, but it might also be people talking about a topic that surrounds your brand.  If you’re a real estate agent, look for people talking about “selling homes” or “buying property.”  Now, don’t just butt into a conversation yelling your message.  Listen to what they’re saying and then politely find a way you can add value to a conversation.  It might be sharing an article that person or group would find interesting or it may be just giving them a tip.  If you tell them you can sell their home in the first tweet, they are likely to ignore you.  Warm them up first.  Buy them a drink.  Chit-chat a bit.  Then politely slip them your “card.”  If done right, chances are they’ll ask you for your help/service/product before you even have your card out of your pocket. 

NOTE:  Rome wasn’t built in a day and your brand and reputation won’t be either.  It’s a day-by-day, brick-by-brick process.  Commit and dig in, but don’t forget to measure along the way. 

 

My Mother is on Facebook

Dec/Thu | Category: Uncategorized | 

Taking advantage of the site’s diversity.

It is no secret that the Facebook population is growing by number and diversity every day. It may have started as a social networking site for college students but, as we all know, it evolved into something much more diverse not long after its launch. As a recent college student, I remember joining Facebook under the impression that it was a way for me to stay connected to my friends on campus as well as my friends that attended different colleges across the country. It seemed like mere months later when I found teeny boppers invading the site, then came generation x, and now, you guessed it, my mother is on Facebook. While my mom is hip (and may quite possibly be the number one reason Farmville is staying in business), her demographic is far from the one Facebook was targeting during its initial launch.

With well over 500 million users varying in age, ethnicity, socio economic backgrounds, education, et cetera, almost every type of consumer you are trying to reach can be found on the FB, as I so affectionately call it. Let’s cut down to the chase; now more than ever it is important to ensure that you are utilizing Facebook to its upmost potential. With 2011 just around the corner, I am sure we are going to see a surge of businesses allotting more funding and resources to Facebook and other social media efforts than in 2010. Why? Because people are increasingly realizing Facebook’s reach and the prospective productivity it can bring them.

Are you getting a piece of that pie?

Still doubt that Facebook can reach the right audience for you? Consider these Facebook statistics (as of 1/1/10):

Breakdown of the US users by age

  • 11% are 13-17
  • 29% of users are ages 18-25
  • 23% are 26-34
  • 18% are 35-44
  • 12% are 45-54
  • 7% are 55-65 (word on the street is the 65+ category has significantly increased over the past year)

Now I KNOW your customer base falls into one of those categories. And here is what those hundreds of millions of people are up to.

  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • Average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook
  • Average user clicks the Like button on 9 pieces of content each month
  • Average user writes 25 comments on Facebook content each month
  • Average user becomes a fan of 2 Pages each month
  • Average user is invited to 3 events per month
  • Average user is a member of 12 groups

Through Facebook, you have the opportunity to market your brand, product, service, etc. to the masses. And with powerful statistics like the ones stated above, how can you afford not to get in on the action?

 

How to Create Great Social Content- Quick Tips for the Over Scheduled.

Dec/Fri | Category: Uncategorized | 

Not enough time to update your Facebook/Twitter/Blog as much as you would like? Have I got helpful tips for you!

Trust me, no one understands better than I do how difficult it can be to keep those social media pages dazzling with a constant flow of communication. You are swamped with deadlines for work, a meeting got scheduled last minute, or let’s be real, you have NO idea what to write about! Fear not readers, help is on its way. With a few of my favorite tips and tricks, your Facebook, Twitter, and Blog pages will never be lacking new content.

1.   Creativity= Content

Often times, people steer clear of posting through their social media sites because it seems like such a daunting task. They don’t know what to write about or how to get inspired so their pages just sit there- lonely and content-less. That attitude will just not do so kick off your shoes and dive in.

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to show off your personality. Dry writing is just that- dry. Who wants to read a bunch of messages with a monotone voice? I don’t and neither do you. Add some wit and humor to your messages. Make them multi-dimensional and interesting to read.

Think outside of the box. Sure your product might be kitchen appliances but you don’t only have to post content about stoves, microwaves and refrigerators. Write a blog about the methods people in other countries use to make their food or how to feng shui your kitchen. 

When you get a block of free time, brainstorm topics to write about. Write down every idea you have, no matter how absurd it is. You never know when that once crazy idea will spawn a just crazy enough to be brilliant blog topic.

2.   Schedule. Schedule. Schedule. Did I mention schedule?

You should be updating your social media sites at least 3- 4 times per week. The key to staying on top of your posts is to schedule time for it the same way you do any other work project. Make a calendar for the month. Then mark which days you want to send out messages and stick to the plan! Which leads me to my next point…

3.   Social Media and a daily planner had a love child and its name is Hootsuite.

Hootsuite.com is a social media dashboard. It allows users to manage multiple social networking sites from one place.  Through Hootsuite you can post updates to your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, blog, and other social networking sites at the same time! (high five for time saving!) You can also track campaign results and trends in order to quickly adjust your tactics.

But I must say my favorite Hootsuite feature is its ability to schedule messages. Say you want a message to go out on a day you’re out of the office. All you have to do is write out your message, click the date and time you want it sent and VOILA!, you have a message being sent out on a day you’ll never touch your computer. Magical.

If saving time, tracking results, and efficiently working collaboratively interests you then click here to visit Hootsuites getting started manual. With genius like this, you won’t be disappointed.

While these are just a couple of my favorite ways to stay on top of my social media game, there are plenty other ways to successfully manage your social media. Share your tips and tricks in the comments.

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Watch this Video and Enhance Your Passion for Social Media

May/Wed | Category: theResources | 

Sometimes we think there is no way we could possibly be any MORE excited about social media.  There has to be a limit to our giddiness, a point at which we become bored by each new video, each blog post by other social media marketers and each new tool that joins the mix.

But, no.

Each day we have the pleasure of doing what we absolutely love – connecting brands and companies with their customers, discovering creative ways to share information and most of all learning from the other amazing practioners in the field.

Today’s re-invigoration (and the object of a serious social media crush) comes via Erik Qualmann at Socialnomics with the refresh of his Social Media Revolution video.  As impactful today as it was when it was released over a year ago, this refresh includes new data and even more reasons why you MUST be using social media as part of your marketing mix.

Spare five minutes of your day and allow yourself to be re-inspired…

 

Also, you can visit the Socialnomics Blog to get all of the data presented as well as see all of the sources or just engage with the great Erik Qualman himself!

 

The BIG Announcement: Introducing the Social Media Training Center

Apr/Thu | Category: theResources, theTraining | 

Yes, we’ve been quiet for awhile, but it was for a good reason.  We were busy building a Social Media Training Center in Orange County!  Check it out, here’s the official release going out today:

 

 

Southern California’s First Social Media Training Center Opens Doors in Orange County

Specialized workshops cater to marketers looking to expand their current careers as well as those looking to start a new career in social media marketing.

Costa Mesa, Calif. – April 30, 2010 – Introducing a new resource in Orange County dedicated to helping companies that want to effectively engage with customers and drive business using social media – the Social Media Training Center.  Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate as well as the way businesses engage with customers and build their reputations.  These tools have businesses scrambling to create Facebook Fan pages and tweet their latest deals – often without understanding how these tools fit into the overall marketing mix and how they can best be used.

Created as a joint effort between ASG Renaissance (www.ASGren.com) and the Social Method (www.theSocialMethod.com), the Social Media Training Center offers a unique place to dive into the world of social media marketing.  While the Social Method brings an experienced team of social media marketers to the endeavor, ASG Renaissance adds specialists in training, recruiting and job placement as well as marketing communications.  The combination allows the course content to focus on not only training marketers looking to expand their current careers, but also to offer courses geared at re-training unemployed persons looking to start a new career.

Founder Rebecca Markarian shared, “While there may be thousands of online webinars on social media marketing, the content is often vague and you’re one student among one thousand.  We wanted to offer more impactful workshops taught in person and with small class sizes.  Our goal is to deliver high-quality instruction so that our attendees leave ready to start or progress their programs.”

The Social Media Training Center shares office space with both founding companies adjacent to John Wayne Airport.  The Training Center offers regular courses which can be found at www.ocSMTC.com and are taught in the Social Media Lab which is equipped with workstations for each student.

“With our expertise in training, we’ve designed a system where attendees work right alongside the instructor – building their networks and setting up their tools during the sessions.  This allows our team to answer questions and offer hands on assistance – saving valuable time and ensuring programs are implemented in the best possible way,” added Beth Ardisana, ASG Renaissance’s CEO.

    Prices range from $25 – $500 per course.  Sessions are limited to 10-20 attendees depending on the material.  The Training Center also offers on-site training sessions for larger companies and agencies.  For more detailed information, visit www.ocSMTC.com.

     

     

     

    Hip to be Foursquare? Maybe for Some…

    Mar/Wed | Category: theTools | 

     

    I believe that you always have to give something a shot before you say you don’t like it.  That’s why I recently signed up for Foursquare to test it out.  However, I admit that before I signed up, I had some preconceived thoughts about Foursquare both good and, well, not so good:

    1. Great Potential for Business: If you had the means to track who’s checking in at your store all the time and reward them in a consistent manner for doing so, it can inspire brand loyalty and evangelism and keep them coming back for more.  There’s also being able to advertise to those people directly and allow them to become a deeper part of the brand.

    2. Annoying Status Updates: I love my friends, honestly I do.  However, I really don’t need to know when they arrive at work, visit Starbucks or are at the local watering hole.  The people among my friends that use it (granted, there aren’t many) check in places all the time and I’m constantly being updated on both Facebook and Twitter about it.  Like I said, I love them but it’s a little annoying.

    3.  Potential Security Risks: For individuals it can notify burglars when you’re away from the house or where you’re dropping off your kids.  It can also tell your stalker when you’ll be at the local bar.  (of course, if you’re the stalker then this could be a great tool).  Kbuzz posted a hilarious music video on this today which you can view here.

    4.  Fun Game to Play: Some people have fascinating lives and check in at really interesting places that I might want to ask them about.  It might also remind me that I’ve been meaning to see that play or movie or try that new restaurant.  Plus, the whole badge idea could be cool if badges get you something in real life.

     

    Preconceived notions taken into account, I created an account, found a few friends and began checking in.  After a few weeks I came to the following conclusions (and, please, feel free to chime in with any of your own thoughts):

    1.  Definite Potential for Business: As I’d thought – huge opportunity to get creative with Foursquare if you’re a business, but you’ve got to be in the game and figure it out.  It’s like any other customer loyalty program – find ways to reward those that visit the most and make them into evangelists to help you grow business.  I think it will be great if Foursquare figures out how to add some functionality to the platform to support this.  My guess would be they’re thinking about that already.

    2.  Control Status Updates: In creating an account, I discovered that I can choose what I want to share and where so I’m not always updating people with my trips to the grocery store.  I can instead focus on using it to share little gems I find with my network.  You can also add a little commentary – “this place rocks. Totally recommend it.”  That’s pretty cool, but I already use Yelp for recommendations and that works for me.  Bad part?  I realized some of my friends aren’t doing this which made me a little more annoyed.

    3.  Security Risks are Real: Definitely something to think about.  However, going back to my last point, you can control your updates, so, like anything, think before you post.

    4.  Not for Me: While I can see using Foursquare as a company, and we’ll definitely use it when the Social Media Training Center opens, it’s just not for me personally.  Like Mafia Wars, Farmville and lots of other games, I just don’t have the time or energy.

     

    My final thought? While I am not all that interested in it personally, there are plenty of people that will feel differently and more than one million people already do.  As a marketer, it will be interesting to see how Foursquare can integrate people’s “check ins” with the ability for companies to give rewards and perks.  If they figure out how to add that in the platform, then it has some serious potential to become the “airline miles program” of the future and all of those Ryan Bingham types will be quick adopters.

    Have you tried it? What do you think?

     

     

    Rant: Social Media Management is NOT for Interns

    Mar/Thu | Category: theRants&Raves | 

    First, let me say that I LOVE interns and have had the great privilege of working with some seriously brilliant interns over the years.  However, leaving them on their own to manage a social media program is not something I’m a fan of. 

    To me this is a bit like leaving your teenage child home alone for a weekend and expecting to come home to anything but this:

    Maybe a tad overly optimistic, you think?

    You’re putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.  Think of what happens when a crisis erupts?  Will an intern be able to think on their feet and rely on years of experience dealing with delicate situations?  Are you confident an angry online mob will be disbanded by your $10/hour employee?

    If you want to see how bad these situations can get, check out this look into a recent situation Nestle experienced with Greenpeace by Olivier Blanchard.  Unfortunately the situation wasn’t handled as well as it could have been and, thus, became an even larger issue for the company.

    Still confident an intern can handle it?

    Managers of social media programs, whether dedicated or performing the job in addition to another role, need to be someone you have complete confidence in to represent and speak on behalf of your company. 

    Can interns play a role in your social media programs?  Absolutely!  Even a large role if you get a good one.  However, always ensure they have an experienced manager to help create your social strategy, provide solid guidance and help them through the difficult situations.