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June 9 2009

How to Hide on Facebook

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Okay you really can’t hide on Facebook.  It is, after all, a social media site whose sole purpose is to help you share information.   You purposely connect to other people and invite them in to view a piece of your life.  That said, there are some tools available to help you separate your friends from your “Facebook friends.”

So log-in to your Facebook account, go to “Settings”, select “Privacy Settings”, and let’s get started!

You’ll have four options here and I’ll take them one at time — with the exception of Applications — which I’ll handle in another post.
 
1. Profile

There are a lot of options here and they may not all be obvious.  To combat that, Facebook gives you a great tool to help you determine the impact of any changes. 
See that box on the top that reads: “See how a friend sees your profile.”  You can enter any friend here to see your profile as it would appear to them.  Now you can tweak the settings and have a real world example of how it impacts your friends or “friends of friends” and your network. 

One important item here is the link to “Edit Photo Album Privacy Settings”.  Once you enter here, select “customize” and you can prevent friends (or your boss, mom, etc.) from seeing that photo from your party on Friday night.

2. Search.  

If you are in hiding, then this is the tab that you’ll want to focus on.  Facebook allows you to determine who can find you on Facebook and whether or not people can find your listings in the search engines.

So if you have a stalker or are in the witness protection program, uncheck “create a public search listing” and the box to share your picture in search results.  You’ll also want to select “search visibility” and limit who can find you in an internal search by selecting “Only Friends”. 

3. News Feed and Wall

If you like to post comments that are private and meant for one person, then compose a new message via your mailbox!  But if you want to comment on a thread or photo and don’t want everyone to know via their updates and notifications, then you’ll want to come here and uncheck the options for the highlights section.

Facebook does provide some useful tools to help you manage your privacy, but it’s important to remember that you (and some of your information) are visible in the search engines and internal searches on Facebook by default. So if you’d like to be a share a little less of your life online, use the privacy settings and make adjustments until you are more comfortable with what you show your Facebook friends.

Posted in: Facebook

June 8 2009

Blogging for Social Media

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A few months ago I touched on why blogging can be good for SEO.  Today I want to offer a few tips on the social media aspect of blogging.  One of the biggest pitfalls that we see related to blogging is that many blogs are not maintained regularly.  Typically the first few months that a blog is up and running are great, but then the posts start to reduce in frequency, sometimes only to once a month or less. This not only prevents you from making use of the blog to supplement your SEO efforts, but it can also cause your website to look out of date.  Additionally, if your blog is pulled into your social media channels or pages, those too can end up looking poorly maintained. So with that said, I want to offer a few blog post ideas that can help you to formulate future blog posts ideas. 
Identify a need of your audience. Are there common questions that are asked by your customers?  If so, try compiling the most frequently asked questions into one blog post.

What is going on in your industry right now?  Finding something topical to write about will afford you the opportunity to have your blog post position in the search results for those popular search terms. Google Trends or a Google Blog search may help you identify what is being talked about. You can then comment on those topics from your own perspective.

Provide “How-To” posts. These are a great way to offer easy instructions that help your readers.  If you have complicated/technical products, this may be especially beneficial.

Make recommendations.  The best way to engage your audience is to offer value, and the only way to offer value is to provide something that is useful to your readers. Making recommendations about other companies, products or services that compliment what you have to offer is just one way to do this.

Has a popular book recently been written by someone within your industry? Showcase an interview with the author on your blog or do a review of the book within a blog post.

Lastly, create an editorial calendar. Formulate the topics that you want to write about and spread them out over time accordingly.  This will make posting less stressful and will enable you focus on offering valuable content to your readers.

June 4 2009

Social Media and your Link Building Campaign

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Social Media is all the talk these days.  With marketers jumping on the social wagon, it is important to note that engagement in social media channels shouldn’t be considered as something to do just because everyone else is. There are many benefits your website can receive by engaging in social media channels.  One of the benefits relates directly to your Search Engine Optimization efforts.  Most SEO initiatives involve some kind of link building campaign and social media can really aid that cause.

Utilizing social media channels is a great way to enhance your link building campaign and there several ways to make this a successful effort. Whether you post a really interesting tweet, update your Facebook status with a compelling message, or involve yourself in the answers forum on LinkedIn, each social media channel has the potential to have your content reposted and shared through the community.  Each time your content is reposted or shared, there is an opportunity to increase links back to your website, therefore aiding your link building efforts.  No matter which social media channels you are involved in, you should consider link building as a part of your strategy. You’ll make some great Organic gains.

There are some pointers that I would like to highlight.  First, in order to have your content shared, it has to be interesting enough for people to want to read it, and then share it with others.  Social media is online word of mouth marketing, and people love to share funny or compelling content.  Avoid posting mundane info, like “just got to the office,” or “I’m starving can’t wait for lunch time.”  These posts don’t serve any benefit. Instead try getting creative, or use humor to capture your audience’s attention.

Whenever possible make sure the content you post has links back to your website. This way as your content is redistributed, you are increasing the number of links back to your website and therefore building up your backlinks in a very natural manner.  The more links back to your website you have out there, you increase the likelihood for the search engines to find their way back to your website over and over again.  The more this happens, the more search engines will view your website as a reputable source, and over time, you will begin gaining stronger organic positions.

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