Articles written in November, 2009

November 25 2009

Three Ways to Promote Your Facebook Fan Page

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Facebook is becoming more and more powerful everyday and everyone wants to become a part of it.  Here are 3 quick ways to promote your page and build up your company’s fan base.

Step 1 – Invite people from your Facebook friends list. Do you have your personal friends and professional colleagues segmented into lists on your Facebook home page? You can invite these lists as groups to your Facebook fan page rather than sending individual invites. This is the easiest and fastest way to jump-start your fan base. When you click “Suggest to Friends” on your fan page, start typing in the name of your friends list in the filtered friends section; for example, “Social Media Experts.” This will automatically send an invitation to your Facebook fan page to all of your colleagues listed in that category.

It’s possible that it may take a while before you start seeing those known faces pop up in your fan page, because people are busy. If is really crucial for a particular person to become a fan, you can also send them an individual invite. As you add more people to your network, remember to go back to your same lists and send the invite to the new people you have added. The names of those who have already been invited will be “grayed out” and the invite will only be sent to your new contacts.

Step 2 – Find People with Facebook Search.

The updated Facebook Search feature (see the Search bar at the top of Facebook) gives you a view into conversations of your friends and status updates that may even show you who may be looking for the services you offer.

There is even an option to search “Posts by Everyone,” which gives you a glimpse into conversations of people who may not be connected to you. After entering a search term, there will be a display, “Posts By Everyone.” This allows you to view conversations from others who aren’t in your friend lists. Then you can start up a direct conversation with them, telling them what you do and how you may be able to help them and let them know about your Facebook page.

Step 3 – Attract People With Facebook Social Ads

Social Ads provide advertisements alongside your Facebook sidebar which show related actions your friends have taken on the site. These actions may be things like “Mike is now a fan of Mashable”. Would you like to become a fan too?” It is possible to tailor ads to your friends and their interests, which makes it more appealing for them to take action because you are interested as well.

This strategy requires a small budget, but can be effective in finding your target market. It is very important to do a Facebook search with specific keywords in your particular niche to find out if it’s being talked about on Facebook.

If you click on “Promote with an Ad” on your fan page, you can start a campaign.  You can set a daily spending limit of $10, $25, or other appropriate amount. Use your keywords to identify your prospects. If they use those words in their profile, possibly in a job description they could come up in your fan page.

It’s possible to run your Facebook ads for only 4 to 5 days with a $25 per day budget. Then stop the ad for a few weeks and run the same ad again a few weeks later. This allows your fan page to grow in spurts. This can be effective in growing fan bases without spending a lot of money at once.

These are just three easy and quick ways to build up your fan base.  Some require less effort and some require a little more but overall the more faces seeing your business page the better.

Posted in: Facebook

November 20 2009

Choosing the Right Blogging Software

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Are you interested in starting your own blog?
If you are, there are a couple of things that you will need to consider.
Do you want to set up your blog as a user host platform or on a developer hosted platform? A lot of people tend to choose developer hosted platforms, since all they require is a set up of an account and no installation is required from the part of the user. If you decide to go for a user host platform, you will need to install your blog, which in many cases gives you freedom to change the blog’s style more easily and faster. Another important factor that user host platform blogging software provides is the implementation of SEO in the template of the site; usually developer host sites have a restriction when it comes to making the site template.

A question that might help you decide which blog platform to choose is: do you currently host a site? If you do, you can place blogging software in your current hosting server, meaning you will use a user host platform. This will allow you to keep all of your web content in the same location, which allows the indexing of your site and blog to be to the same domain and not two separate domains, allowing a better SEO implementation toward your main site.
If you decide to place your blog in the same hosting server, you should do a little research if you don’t already know about the type of server that you are using. Is it a Windows server or Linux? If it’s a Windows server you can use Engine.net, DotNetNuke or Subtext if using .Net. If you currently use PHP on the server you have a lot more options to choose from. If you are using a Linux based server, you need to check what has been installed on your server. Do you have PHP, Ruby on Rails, Java, or other languages or platforms installed in the hosting server? After having that information you can begin looking for the right blogging software for your blog.
If you do not currently host a site, you might decide to use a developer hosted platform, such as Blogger, wordpress (developer hosted version), or typepad. If you would like to use a user hosted platform, a lot of blog sites offer different hosting services. 

Another question that you need to have in mind is: Are you going to add widgets to your blog? If you are, you will need to conduct research on what kind of widgets you would like to add. Depending on the blogging software that you choose, the widgets will either be free or you will need to pay a fee for them. In the case of free open source software blogs, the widgets are usually free and there are more available. It is a good idea to keep in mind that there are widgets available for SEO implementation and these widgets should be a priority when creating a blog.

After gathering all the information needed and doing research on the widgets you would like, you can make the decision of which blogging software or sites is best for setting up your blog and customize it.

November 19 2009

Consumer’s Speak through Social Media- Businesses Pay Attention

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There used to be a time that if a consumer had a complaint with a company, they would write a letter or make a phone call. If the issue wasn’t resolved a consumer would probably complain to family and friends and discontinue any business that they had with the company. In rare cases, some consumers went as far as getting a lawyer or asking a TV station to look into their story. This might cause a company to lose a little business, but normally it didn’t cause a major dent in productivity. However, Social Media is changing the way the game is played. This means businesses have to pay attention and respond quickly; otherwise, they could get unwanted publicity.

Consumers are now using Social Media to make their voices heard. Take the Bank of America incident that happened recently. According to an article on CNNMoney.com, Ann Minch posted a video on YouTube after she claims her credit card interest rate shot up to 30%. She did attempt to work things out with the bank before posting her YouTube video. The bank responded, after getting much unwanted attention, and according to the article, “Jeff Crawford, the bank’s senior vice president of existing customer credit services, called Ann to discuss her concerns.” They reached an agreement. In this situation, it appears that Bank of America’s slow response caused them to get unwanted publicity. If they had acted quickly when the complaint first surfaced,   fewer people would know about Ann Minch and her ordeal with Bank of America.

On the other hand, when businesses act quickly to resolve a consumer’s complaint, the results can be win/win. Recently, one of my colleagues was able to get results from Disney via LinkedIn. My colleague visits Disney frequently with her family. As a frequent/returning guest Disney acknowledges this on future visits by greeting you by last name in restaurants and hotels on property.  For example: Hello Smith family and welcome to breakfast. However, Disney kept calling her family by the wrong name. She had updated her information with Disney before, but apparently Disney didn’t make the change. She didn’t rant and rave, instead she called to get the change made, but to no avail. Then she decided to go to LinkedIn, where she found the profile of a top Disney marketing executive, and sent that person an e-mail explaining the situation. In a few days, she was contacted, apologized to and told that the situation would be rectified. Disney acted quickly to solve the issue and everybody came away happy.

Many consumers are using social media to make their voices heard. Think about it, in a matter of minutes a consumer can e-mail a top executive on LinkedIn, post a video on YouTube and tweet on Twitter for the entire world to see, about an issue they had with your business. Companies need to pay attention when a consumer reaches out to them concerning a matter they want to get resolved. Good customer service and an effective response can save a company from having to spend time and money on damage control later on.

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