The answer is Facebook. Now, what is your question?

Facebook, Inc.
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A recent study by Business.com said that 83% of respondents said that Facebook is their favorite social media tool for reaching customers and no wonder — when Facebook recently passed 350 million members after gaining 250 million members since August 2008 [yes, that’s right — the Facebook ‘nation’ is larger than the United States and growing at an incredible rate] it became clear that if someone was online, you’d probably find them in Facebook…

Yet, as a social media consultant I see so much confusion around the topic of personal profiles, groups, and [fan]pages that I thought it might be time to share THE single best post I’ve found on the topic and share some of the practical experience I’ve gained over the past year working extensively with people and brands in Facebook. I agree with internet marketing expert Dan Zarella when he says “If I could give you only one piece of Facebook marketing advice, it would be: People have profiles. Brands have pages.” He goes on to say…

Social networking profiles represent people. From your Facebook profile, you declare personal relationships, grow your network by manually accepting friend requests, and discover other people in your network to add as friends. Your Facebook profile includes facts about you including your favorite movies, what schools you went to, and your favorite quotes.

Your brand isn’t a person. It doesn’t have a favorite quote or book. You can’t friend a brand, and it certainly can’t friend you back. Brands don’t have friends. Brands have fans. Fans have discussions about your brands, share news about them, and share information about your brands with others.” Source: On Facebook, People Have Profiles, Brands Have Pages.

Here’s the part where it really gets good…

“Profiles are for People. At this point in Facebook’s community’s development, you do not want to keep a profile if you are a brand. Keeping a brand profile is a surefire way to come across as totally out-of-touch. And worse, even if you were to pull off a successful corporate profile, Facebook has been known to suspend profiles for “too much marketing activity.”

Groups are for People. Groups really aren’t suitable for a serious marketing effort. They originally were created as a place for like-minded people to communicate outside of their immediate network and never were intended for brand use. There is very little time and energy required to make one and consequently, users do not value them as much as pages. How many I-lost-my-cellphone-so-I-need-all-your-numbers-again groups have you been invited to?

Pages are for Brands. After setting up a page for your brand on Facebook, use applications to pull in content from your blog and Twitter account (you do have those too right?) to keep your page full of fresh, frequently updated information. Resist the urge to turn your page into a watered-down version of your website. Include some offers, media or conversation on Facebook that does not appear anywhere else. Retail brands like Victoria’s Secret are especially talented at this. I recommend viewing their Victoria’s Secret Pink Facebook page and see how their brand interacts with fans.” Source: On Facebook, People Have Profiles, Brands Have Pages.

Hopefully, that clears everything up from a strategy perspective. Now, a few of my favorite tactics for those who have read this far…

The phrase ‘fan page’ is a misnomer and needs to be addressed. Facebook calls them PAGES, plain and simple, but people refer to them as ‘fan pages’ because they have to ‘become a fan’ to interact with the brand — the correct terminology, however, is ‘page‘. Frequently, when working with someone who wants to become a thought leader, I’ll get a statement like “Well, I’m just a _______ [business owner, politician, teacher, etc. – insert thought leadership role here] — I don’t have any fans. My advice to you? Get over it! Why? Because if you are attempting to create any kind of thought leadership position that evokes a response from people, you have become a brand and brands have fans. When Facebook gives you the ability to build a page [which is really a free mini-website] in the middle of the biggest social media group in the universe, they’re doing you a huge favor!

I recently spoke to a LinkedIn group in Green Bay on the topic of “Facebook for Fun and Profit”. At the time, I advocated using a Facebook primarily as an outpost for your website in order to draw people in. Good strategy, yes, but here’s the part I missed: a Facebook page may be all the website an entrepreneur or organization needs in the beginning! Why? Try these reasons…

  • Facebook pages are indexed by Google so the content is searchable; group pages are also searchable, but many Facebook application such as Social RSS only work with Pages, not groups — groups are not good tools for BRANDS
  • Facebook pages are visible to non-Facebook members [they just can’t become fans or interact with the brand or other fans if they are not a member]
  • You can assign your own url to a Facebook page; see http://e1evation.org
  • Facebook page urls can be modified to something more manageable and referenceable to the outside world; see http://facebook.com/skittles. You cannot do this with groups.
  • Facebook pages are highly customizable; see http://facebook.com/victoriassecret. You cannot do this with groups.

As I read back over the five bullet points, it occurs to me that the primary value of groups is for INTERNAL communications within an organization while pages are EXTERNAL. I think that about sums it up but if you’re still confused, leave a comment or contact me and we’ll get you straightened out!

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Why people tweet…

Twitter
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Do you tweet? Or twitter? Victoria Harres does…

“The other day I sat down to write something about Twitter. I struggled with my thoughts, threw some words down, and came up with a question: “Why are you twittering?” I knew the answer people would give. I know Twitter, and I know the type of people who tweet. I know why my husband is on his iPhone flipping through tweets at 1:30 a.m. He insists on reading every tweet from every person he follows. Personally, I’m guilty of recently tweeting after midnight with a couple of people who tweet for major newspapers. So I know my husband and I are not the only ones afflicted with this social addiction.” Source: Why People Twitter – in one word.

So? Do you? Spill the beans in the comments…

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Have you been laid off? Make lemonade!

Been laid off? Don’t despair — it may be the best thing that ever happened to you! e1evation, llc came about as the result of a layoff — a couple actually — and I’ve had some of the best years of my life since the last time that happened almost 5 years ago…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJltcT7DH7g&feature=player_embedded

If you like the movie, you can join the Facebook group. If you need help or support leave a comment or use the contact page. I may be able to offer some encouragement…

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Optimize Your Company's LinkedIn Profile

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Boasting 90 million users, LinkedIn is one of the social media titans. For business professionals, it has become an essential tool for staying connected to their business network.

But for companies, there’s been little reason to pay attention to their presence there. LinkedIn has been about individuals, not organizations. LinkedIn Companies existed, but offered little in the way of functionality. That has now changed.

In November, LinkedIn quietly introduced an upgrade to LinkedIn Companies that makes it both a critical and powerful tool for managing your company’s digital presence (especially if you market B2B).

Here’s a primer to help you plan and make the most of some of the powerful new features on LinkedIn Companies.

Follow the ‘via’ link if you’d like to know more…

While you were sleeping 2/17/2010

Facebook, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Good morning…

“Every leader I know has at least one need in common: a need to connect honestly with others. One way to help foster improved connections is by asking good questions. Leaders who excel at asking good questions have honed an ability to cut to the heart of the manner in a way that disarms the person being interviewed and opens the door for genuine conversation.” Source: Learn to Ask Better Questions – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review

It’s almost all Facebook from here on out…

“If you are still wondering why Google is pushing so hard with its new product Buzz, it is because it wants in on social traffic. For many sites on the Web, social traffic coming through Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace is beginning to rival, and in some cases overtake, search traffic as the single biggest source of traffic. This traffic comes from shared links, photos, and videos. By its own numbers, 5 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every week.” Source: Facebook Drives 44 Percent Of Social Sharing On The Web

Moving on…

“Confused about the new Facebook home page? While it should be pretty easy to use, there are a number of things that have changed that you should be aware of. Whether it’s a new location for the logout link, or hidden friend lists, many users still haven’t completely figured out the way the new Facebook home page works. In this guide we explain how to use the new home page and have a complete video tutorial included at the end.” Source: The New Facebook Home Page Guide That You Must Read

How much time do you spend on Facebook?

“A recent Nielson Company survey of web users found that Facebook users spend an average of seven hours a month updating statuses, sending messages, creating events, playing games, and just generally using the social network. The time spent on Facebook far surpassed the average time spent on any other site examined in the survey.” Source: Facebook Users Spending 7 Hours A Month On Site

Are you a mobile user?

“Facebook has released scant details about a new stripped down version of Facebook for mobile devices to save precious carrier bandwidth. The site is being dubbed as Facebook Zero, and can be accessed at zero.facebook.com.” Source: Facebook Launches Facebook Zero: A Light Weight Mobile Site

Finally? Something for the bloggers…

“Got a business blog? Want some inspiration to make it awesome? This is a GREAT slide deck by Convince and Convert social media blogger Jay Baer. Here’s his post with lots more information and explanation of his 11 Must-Do’s. Awesomesauce.” Source: 11 Must-Do’s For the Serious Blogger — SocialFish

Have a great day…

“A man should take away not only unnecessary acts, but also unnecessary thoughts, for
thus superfluous acts will not follow after.” Marcus Aurelius (121–180), Roman emperor

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Social media strategy in 7 steps

Interesting thoughts from Jay Baer’s “Convince & Convert” blog…

Here are some additional ideas…

“Before you begin, commit to worrying about social media tools last, not first. Why? Because tools will change. They always do. There was a time when Netscape seemed invincible. Yahoo, too. Myspace also. If you fall in love with tools, you’ll constantly be changing directions, with no real plan to guide your way. Source: Develop a Social Media Strategy in 7 Steps | | Social Media Consulting – Convince & Convert target=”_blank”

Go to the source for more…

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12 Ways to Keep Your Business Relationships Alive

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“Every businessperson leads a busy life. There are marketing meetings to attend, RFPs to reply to, and client projects to finish. With so much work demanding so much attention, many of us never make the time to keep our business relationships alive, and wish we did: ‘What does he do again?’ ‘Does she still work there?’ ‘Didn’t I know someone at that company?’

Rather than regretting not staying connected, pick some of the twelve ideas below and use them to start conversations with people you’ve met before and want to speak with again.”

You might want to also check out the RainToday series on LinkedIn 101.

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