Linkedin: Is There a Reason To Be There?

February 25, 2011 at 9:05 am | Posted in Linkedin | Leave a comment

Does it feel like just another social media platform? Are you having trouble seeing the point? Ya, me too.

I have to admit, I’m there but I’m not active. Sometimes just being there is the reason to be there. If you are not there people will wonder why or they will just forget about you.

If I am looking for a person with certain skills I might look for them through Linkedin. If I can’t find them, I might post a message to all my connections telling them what I am looking for. If you need a person with certain skills for a job, this is a great way to find them. If they come to you through one of your connections, then you know who to call for a reference. It’s a great way to be sure you are getting a quality person.

I notice that some people use Linkedin like Facebook. They post something every day. I also noticed it is the same thing they posted on Facebook. They seem unclear on the concept. Have a look at your connections. Are you also Facebook friends with most of them? Then quit repeating yourself. It makes you look dumb. If the connections are different then by all means say something interesting. Make it relevant to what you do. No one cares what you did last night. This is a professional site so please remember that your personal life holds no interest to the rest of us. Please also remember, I’m not reading it anyway. I just don’t care.

I admit I have a bad attitude toward Linkedin. I am there because I should be but it’s not a place I spend a lot of time and I never read the news feed. I get all the news I want on Facebook, Twitter and my Google Reader. I don’t want any more thanks.

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Are You Making Facebook Mistakes?

February 21, 2011 at 10:32 am | Posted in Facebook | Leave a comment

A lot of businesses and non-profits think they need to be on Facebook but, once they have created their page they don’t know if they are doing it right. There are three ways to know if you are using Facebook as an effective tool or making mistakes that will cost you.

First, does anyone ever comment on your posts? The number of comments you receive is an easy way to tell if your community is engaged. The whole point to Facebook is engagement. It is not a soap box to shout out your message, it is a way to find out what people think of your message. Have a look through your last ten posts. Any comments? They can be good bad or indifferent but just having a comment tells you that someone read your post. If you have no comments, you may be making mistakes in your assumptions about what people are interested in.

Second, if you have comments, do you respond? Even if someone slams you, leave their comment up and come up with an appropriate response as fast as you can. Take the criticism and show them the light. Did they misunderstand, can you do better… tell them something positive. Turn it around to your benefit and you will be a rock star.

The third indicator of  how you are doing on Facebook is your fans. Is the list growing? It is hard to get it kick started initially but it should be a growing number. There is always some fluctuation but if you see a significant drop have a look at what your last posts were. You pissed someone off so have a look at your messages and see how you can do better. Annoying your fans is definitely a mistake.

The final way to know how you are doing is tricky. You may actually never know the answer to this one (well… until the Facebook geeks hear my pleas).  How many people are blocking you? If you are annoying people will block you from their news feed. Do you have an friends who play Farmville? Have you blocked anything related to Farmville from showing up in your newsfeed? I hear you…most of us have blocked all of those goofy games. Well, if you are as annoying as Farmville people will block you too. I became a fan of one group that posted something every hour. Waaaay too much information for me. I still like them but I blocked them from my feed because they were clogging it up with crap. I don’t have time for that. So, make sure you are not posting more than 3 or 4 times a week and make sure it really is news. Not random crap. Your random crap is going to get you  blocked and then no one will see your good messages.

Are You Keeping Up With Facebook?

February 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Facebook | Leave a comment
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Are you keeping up with all the social media changes? It seems like every day there is something new happening on Facebook.  Are you keeping up? Are you using any of the new apps? Or are you overwhelmed by the whole thing?

Here is a bit of the hottest news on Facebook in the last week or so….

Last week I noticed a lot of people were getting excited about Instant Personalization. We are always worried about our privacy being violated when we are using social sharing sites and this new feature seems to have pushed some buttons with people. This is a feature that was actually released last April. Instant Personalization is merely a way for your personal information (age, gender, name etc) to be utilized by partner sites to give you a more personal experience. When you visit one of those sites, you will be notified and you will be given an option not to have a personal experience on the site. No problemo. Your data can not be used for any other purpose or shared with any other site.

One of the fastest growing apps is Badoo. Essentially it is a dating app. It is an app to find single people in your area. So spruce up your profile photo! Facebook is one of the fastest growing sites to meet new people! Is this an app you would try?

Over three million people now use the app Causes. This app allows  individuals to mobilize their network of friends to grow lasting social and political movements. You can start your own cause and inspire your friends to action or you can join an existing cause. It is another great way to get the word out on issues that you are passionate about.

Are you familiar with EdgeRank? If you ‘like’ a number of fan pages you will find that your news feed has quickly filled up with posts from all the pages you like and you are missing some of the posts from your actual friends. EdgeRank helps you manage your news feed so you can see what is important to you. EdgeRank Checker is a new tool for those people who manage fan pages so you can measure your level of fan engagement on any given day or even over a large span of time. Have a look at this blog post by Mari Smith to see how to use it.

This is just Facebook news. There is a lot happening on all the social media sites every day. And there are new social media site popping up all the time. I will try to keep on top of them and report on the highlights.

New Facebook App Makes Browsing Photos Easier

January 11, 2011 at 9:58 am | Posted in Facebook | Leave a comment
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A company called Pixable is launching a new Facebook app that will change the way the social network’s members browse photos online.

The free app allows users to see all of their friend’s photos without jumping from profile to profile, browse photos by categories such as “most popular,” and get updates when specific friends add or are tagged in new photos.

As apps for sharing photos multiply and photographers upload their snapshots in record numbers, the move to create an organized way to rank and share photos could be a smart one. Have a look at how many friends you have and how many photos there are in total. You might not want to see all of your friends photos but do you wonder if you are missing out on some good ones? Being able to organize them all to view the ones you want to see can help you to stay more connected. Making your Facebook connections a little less shallow and a little more meaningful is part of what this app is all about.

Pixable says it’s attempting to fill the same niche in the online photo world that Google and Yahoo filled on the web when the number of web pages started to become overwhelming.

Two or three years ago there weren’t that many photos online, but now all of those photos are being uploaded. You have a way to access them through your social graph, but it is impossible to keep track of all of them.

Plans for customizable categories would also make browsing friends’ photos of “weddings” or “men under age 25″ possible. At which point, we think, there’s potential for it to become a really important resource in any photo lover’s arsenal.

So tell me, is this something you would use?

Setting Your Social Media Budget

January 10, 2011 at 2:07 am | Posted in Social Media | Leave a comment
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There is a common belief among marketers that if you are setting your marketing budget based on what you can afford, you have probably set it too low. Remember the saying ‘you have to spend money to make money’? I think the person that said that must have been talking about marketing.

Your marketing budget should be based on your goals not on your revenue. Set some realistic goals based the research you have done into your consumer market, your competition, the economy, your product, and even your location. Once you know what you want to achieve, you can work from there to set your budget. Setting your Social Media budget is the same.

When you are trying to set your Social Media budget, there are several questions you need to ask yourself, such as:

  • What are your goals for using Social Media?  Brand awareness? Generate sales or leads?  This greatly determines the tools necessary to achieve those goals
  • What are your resources?  Can you handle everything in-house, or will you need to outsource some of the work?  All of the work?
  • What is the length of the project?  Obviously, a 6-month project will cost more than a 3-month project.

Here are some of the prices I have found in my research. But if anyone gives you a price without asking you any questions about what you hope to achieve – don’t let them do the work, they are fools.

Blog:

  • Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource all content creation (including customer interaction, handling responses to comments, etc) – $1,000-$12,000 a month
  • Launch a blog from the ground-up, outsource some content creation – $1,000-$8,000 a month
  • Ghostwriting blog posts – $100-$500 per blog

Twitter:

  • Launch a new presence on Twitter and outsource all content creation and customer interaction – $1,000-$7,500 a month
  • Launch a new presence on Twitter and then provide ongoing training for company – $1,000-$6,000 a month
  • Restructure an existing Twitter presence to improve your efforts – $1,000-$4,000 a month for 3-6 months

Facebook:

  • Launch a Facebook Page from the ground-up, outsourcing all content creation and customer interactions – $2,000-$9,000 a month

Social Media Strategy:

  • Comprehensive Social Media Strategy Creation, assuming outsourcing of all content creation through all channels (minimum 2) – $3,000-$20,000
  • Comprehensive Social Media Strategy Creation, assuming limited outsourcing of content creation and/or ongoing training –$3,000-$15,000

Social Media Consulting:

Hourly rates – $50-$500/Hr

I know what you are thinking: ‘Wooow’. Me too. The fact is that no two companies are alike and no consultant should  have a flat rate for each job. If they are not taking the time to find out who you are and what your goals are then how can they know how much time they will need to spend on your strategy? Spend some time talking to a consultant and discussing your goals and then talk price.

Social Media – It’s Just One Tool In Your Marketing Toolbox

January 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Posted in Social Media | Leave a comment
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I keep hearing about how great Social Media is and how it is the fastest growing advertising tool. Ya, I think that is probably true. In my experience the use to these tools is growing among business users and consumers. They are fun tools to use, not very expensive and they can be really effective. But what are the real numbers?  I did a non-scientific quickie search of Google to see what stats are out there. Here is a bunch of fun facts I found on the web:

  • 70% of respondents indicated that a company’s social media influences their purchase decisions;
  • 30% of respondents indicated they regularly pay a higher price for products active on social media over competitors who are not;
  • More than 700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook;
  • Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web;
  • The number-one advantage of Social Media marketing (by a long shot) is generating exposure for the business, indicated by 85% of all marketers, followed by increasing traffic (63%) and building new business partnerships (56%);
  • Social Media outsourcing underemployed: Only 14% of businesses are outsourcing any aspect of their social media marketing;
  • Facebook claims that 50% of active users log into the site each day. This would mean at least 175m users every 24 hours;
  • What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…

So what does this mean to your business? It means: “Ahhhh!!! HURRY!!!! Get on Facebook!!” Ok, no it doesn’t. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, You Tube etc are really cool marketing tools. Billboards are also really cool marketing tools. Some have lights and moving parts that are super cool. Just because something is cool and has lights does not mean that you should be spending your advertising dollars on it. If you think it does then I have a flashlight to sell you.

Social Media sites are great ways to find your consumer and target your ads to them. If I sell ladies shoes to 18 – 30 year old trend setters, I can advertise to those women specifically within 20 km of my store. I will only pay for the ads that these women click on. I can also create a Facebook page and try to reach them without spending money – only time. There are some really effective ways of reaching this specific target market using Social Media. And it does not need to be expensive.

But what if I sell widgets? And my widgets are only used by select gadget manufacturers. Should I take out a bunch of Facebook ads? No. If the consumer of your product is not on Facebook or Twitter then you don’t need to be there. Like any other marketing tool you want to think about where your customer is and then advertise to them on that platform.

But, what if I sell a specific kind of green widget that is only used by certain gadget makers. My problem is that many gadget makers use only blue widgets. I’d really like the gadget makers to realize that they can sell more of their gadgets if they contained my special green widget. In this case I might be able to utilize some Social Media tools to target the consumers who purchase gadgets. I want to get them to request green ones! Now I am not using Social Media to advertise a product I am using it to build my brand and change a mindset of the consumer.

As with any form of marketing your best bet is to figure out who your customer is, think about what you hope to achieve and research the best tools to reach that consumer and meet your goals. Social Media tools might help but they are only one set of tools in your marketing toolbox.

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