Social Networking

As small to mid-size business and non-profit leaders, many of you have to wear multiple hats, providing technology advice, marketing strategy and engaging in sales work supporting relationships. This is for you.

I was watching a video by my sister Payson Cooper, who has cultivated a nice skill-set in strategic marketing, and I thought she articulated something more clearly than I’ve ever heard it before, so I wanted to share it with my audience.

So what is the difference between Marketing, PR and Sales anyway?

Professionals blur the lines between these disciplines, its not surprising that small business entrepreneurs who have less time to specialize do the same.

Here’s what Payson had to say:

Marketing is identifying what problems you solve, how you solve them, and getting that information in front of the people who care. This covers everything from strategic marketing, where you are thinking about your audience, what problems they face, and how you can solve them, to lead-generation marketing, where you identify people who care and pass them to a sales team.

PR (Public Relations) is defining information to help third parties understand what you do and who cares about it. This is very important because it provides your potential customers with a third-party, relatively independent, perspective into what you have to offer. Its dependent on marketing, but entirely different. It supports sales, but is different. This is identifying industry experts who have credibility and giving them what they need to make an impartial evaluation of your services and
offerings, so that the folks who listen to them get to know about you and what you can offer.

Sales is the process of overcoming natural objections to purchasing your services or products. Isn’t that a nice description? When you have something to offer, those interested will have natural questions and objections. Why would this help me? Do I need it? What is included? How much is it? Why is that a fair price? Sales is the process of helping a potential customer answer those questions.

So there you go; a nice, discrete separation of Marking, PR and Sales for the small business executives and entrepreneurs among you out there to use when you need to strategize.

I am in training the first couple of weeks of August, when I return Techivity will take a look at some of the new services Google has made available.

If you found this post helpful, and want to take a look at what Payson offers in marketing strategy, take a look at her site. She and I approach things a bit differently, but her strategies are quite effective.  As usual, feel free to post a comment, or contact Techivity for consulting services.

Well, well.  I was checking my news feeds this AM and I see this post about project Spartan.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/15/facebook-project-spartan/

Seems that there’s a top-secret project at Facebook to implement an app delivery service on Safari to target the iPhone and iPad.  It also seems that the social media giant is working on a major update to their photo apps:

http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/15/facebook-photo-sharing-app/

I know many small business contacts who still shy away from Facebook not sure how to leverage their time there.

What this means to you, if you are a small business client, or just someone who follows our blog for tech advice and strategy is that if you haven’t figured out how to use Facebook to connect, network, and grow your business yet, you need to do that.  LinkedIn is a great business, professional networking site, but at this point it should be pretty clear to most of us that the mobile world is going to be very important to our future in business communication and networking.  Already, we use our phones constantly, most calls are mobile-to-mobile these days, and we use email, messaging, and more constantly.  Its only natural that social media would make that migration too.

And Facebook is putting resources and effort into being a major mobile social media player.  It will help you if you are comfortable using it.  As usual, if you want help, we’re happy to provide consulting and assistance.

So get in there!

A quick post about the audience found at each of the major US social networking sites to share how they can work for you!  Each of the major social networking sites has developed its own niche, audience and purpose.  Use social media to reach an audience that cares so you don’t upset your potential customers or waste your effort.

MySpace has developed into a kind of hip culture site that is ripe with music, art and pop news.  The home page for MySpace connects up to hulu, has music info on it and other popular media.  If you are looking for people who are into music, who are interested in connecting and finding this pop and artistic, then MySpace is a good spot to do that.  Most of the clients that I know who use MySpace to connect to their customers are dance clubs, social venues, musicians and other artists.

LinkedIn is a much more professionally oriented service, in fact, their home page talks about creating a career fast-track and getting more out of your professional network.  LinkedIn provides tools to connect with business professionals, provide references, promote services and so forth.  Its great if you want to connect with and promote to business professionals.

Facebook is a fairly generic social media resource and it has a huge audience.  Most of Facebook is used to connect and promote around our own lives; major events, projects and relationships.  There are games and resources for having fun, but in my experience, Facebook is mostly about being able to publicize who you are, who you know, and what you like.  Its a great place to build and manage a natural network; the friends, family and associates you know, and if you have a product or service that is appropriate to present to family and friends, this is a good spot.

Twitter is all about small burst information on a wide range of subjects, thus has a wide audience.  With Twitter, its about building up connections with your networks, connections that are interested in quick updates and advice from you.  With Twitter, your emphasis ought to be what you offer and whether or not you can build an audience that’s interested.  If you can find an audience interested in your professional advice, news tips and other quick notes then you should try using Twitter.  There are some good courses out there about using Twitter, like the one my sister Payson Cooper put together.

As with pretty much any marketing effort, using social media appropriately is all about understanding who you are trying to reach, where they hang out, and articulating what you can offer them.

So I promised a post that would summarize the past few months of marketing strategy, Facebook pages and analytics. This is that post; it will give an overview and link to the other posts.  As usual, if you want help with any of this stuff, just contact us – we work in small, reasonable chunks of consulting and development.

Web Marketing Strategy

The point of the few posts on this are to devise a relatively high-level strategy to get folks started on good marketing. The point of good marketing is communicating clearly and effectively. That’s it. Good marketing isn’t to trick people into anything, its to help them understand what you offer. So, here’s what you should make clear:

  1. What problem you solve
  2. How you solve it
  3. What is special about the way your solve it

You also want to make sure that you understand your audience and what appeals to them.  In many cases this means designing your website to speak specifically to types of people or market segments.  For more information, stay tuned, and check out the posts tagged as Web Marketing.

Analytics & Tracking

The really key thing for analytics and tracking is to make sure that you are running a package that tells you:

  1. Who referred people to your site.
  2. How many of them came.
  3. What they did on your site.

From those 3 things you can tell what interests people have, what sites and phrases are bringing them to your site, and what they are trying to find when they are there.  Google analytics does this perfectly – for more information check out the posts tagged Web Analytics.

Facebook Pages and Social Media

You can (and should) set up a Facebook Page for your business to keep it separate from your personal profile.  You should be conscientious about what you put in the public arena (you are what you publish) – you wouldn’t expect to run around naked in public without consequences, and you shouldn’t run around the web that way either.  For more information about setting up a Facebook page and connecting  a blog toFacebook and  Twitter, or on social media strategy.  Check out those posts tagged Social Media.

Ok so there’s the over-view.  We will get back into using analytics, technical tricks, great open-source packages and more in the future.

So the girl “Jenny” quitting her job was a hoax. Check out http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/11/elyse-porterfield/

How interesting. What I find most interesting is that this still illustrates my point. In this case actress Elyse Porterfield has become that HOPA actress who did the hilarious skit on Chive. She has over a million Facebook friends and has probably created career opportunities for herself as an actress – so long as she’s willing to leverage this image. She didn’t know what the stills were for when she took them.

Illustrates the point. In this day and age, you are what you publish on-line. If anyone out there has publications that haunt them, I would like to hear from you. I want to start a consulting service to help clients clean up past publications that cause them troubles – and good service starts with understanding the problem well. Give us a call or an email.

I am going to reiterate this idea from a post last month because of something my wife just showed me.

In the modern age of social media, we are what we publish. If you apply for a job, its common practice to research you on the ‘net.  So, I give you the case of a girl, Jenny, who quit her job yesterday morning by emailing a series of photos to everyone in her company.

http://thechive.com/2010/08/10/girl-quits-her-job-on-dry-erase-board-emails-entire-office-33-photos/

Over 30k people know how Jenny quit her job, more to come, and when bloggers find out her last name, these series of photos could easily come up connected with her on a Google search.  So, when Jenny applies to her next job, this is what could easily come up when the HR manager checks her out on Google before bringing her in for an interview.

Not that Jenny is in the wrong.  Sexual harassment is a serious HR issue, and if she had a boss who yelled at her and made inappropriate remarks, she needed to deal with that, or quit.  The problem here isn’t that Jenny was wrong to quit; the issue is how she quit.  Granted its funny, but lets look at the impact on her career opportunities.

If you owned a firm and had somebody like this fellow Spencer managing it for you, would you want to know from an employee about their concerns directly?  Or would you rather read it on Facebook? As an HR manager, would you rather present a candidate who has a quiet, professional history to a hiring manager, or a HoPA who reacted bitterly and quit without notice in public forum?  Would you rather have a quiet level-headed broker working for you, or someone who reacts unprofessionally to unprofessional situations?

Here’s another note to think about; when you post something that someone else did online, you wield a great and terrible power over their life.  Jenny sent this to her office, which wasn’t well thought through, however, somebody in her office posted it online for her, which was simply cruel and may have affected Jenny’s career for years and years to come.

Remember that Star Wars Kid video?  Funny, yes.  In interviews that kid said the video haunted him for years and ruined his adolescent life…and somebody else posted that for him.

Again; with great power, comes great responsibility.  Having the power to post to the Internet and get the immediate attention of millions is great power.  If you use it irresponsibly, then, eventually, that is how you may be known…if you use it responsibly, it can have great impact on your life.

Next up, we will do a summary review of analytics, Facebook pages and marketing strategy, going over the posts for the past few months to put them in context before moving on to building traffic.

You ARE what you PUBLISH. Think about that.

In this Internet world, so many of us are interconnected through social media and I want to encourage my clients and friends to think about what they publish online. Publish what you want to publish, I am not suggesting that you censor yourself. I am making the radical assertion that you want to be responsible and conscientious about what you publish.

With the flattening of communication so we all have the power to reach hundreds, if not thousands, most of us are suddenly and irrefutably accountable for what we publish on-line.

For example, I was reading on Facebook a note from one of my former youth (I was a youth adviser for a while) that was a rant, full of 4-letter words about something they thought was out of line. Even if their Facebook settings publish that only to their friends, maybe one of those friends has a feed out to other sources. Its hard to control where information on the Internet winds up.

Think about it. Its not uncommon for employers and HR folks to go to Google or Yahoo and type in the name of a candidate, their city, and a few keywords. Right or wrong, its common practice, and since the information is in the public domain, its fair game. Try this interesting exercise. Go to Google, type in your name, city and something about yourself that you might put on a job application and dig around a bit…

Even if your various profiles are not public, when you write status, share thoughts, comment on-line and publish videos, you are publishing to the largest interconnected, grass-roots network the world has ever known. One of the most beautiful things about the ‘net is that information is free – so no, you don’t get to control where the things you publish wind up.

The power at your fingertips is immense, humbling and staggering. “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Yes, I will continue to write technical posts for every-day people on this blog. Next we’ll get into the basics of reading analytic data. I am also going to provide some coaching and reflection about wielding this great power that we all suddenly find in our fingertips through Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Blogger, Google Connect, Yahoo Groups and more!

So, when you next click “Publish” – remember, the great power the Internet offers is a mighty double-edged sword.

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Next up, free options for web analytics.

I consider this to be the most important strategy book in my library. Robert Cialgini defines six ways humans influence each other. It is the best perspective I have ever read on how we influence each other’s decisions and attitudes. Just read it.

If you work with other people at all, in any capacity, it will provide tools and resources to help you. Or, if you want to understand how other people influence your own choices, it helps there too.

Here’s a link to order a copy at Amazon.

A knowledge of the six “weapons of influence” is useful not only in a proactive way, but is also helpful to improve our awareness of when the principles are influencing our own choices.

Influence discusses the six “weapons of influence” and how they impact our decision-making.

  1. Reciprocity: People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. We feel obligated to return good deeds. Examples include the influence of business lunches, small favors and how reciprocity influences negotiation.
  2. Commitment and Consistency: If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor their commitment. Even when the original incentive or motivation is lost, people try to honor an agreement.
  3. Social Proof: People do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. The experiment was so effective, it stopped traffic and had to abort…
  4. Authority: People tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.
  5. Liking: People are easily persuaded by people that they like. For example, friendship and social connections increase sales, its why network marketing works. People are more likely to buy if they like the person selling it to them.
  6. Scarcity: Perceived scarcity generates demand. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” impacts a decision to purchase.

I highly recommend this book to anyone in business or who is trying to collaborate and work with clients or peers (so pretty much everyone).

This is an incredibly long blog post that shows how to link a Facebook Page to Twitter, and a WordPress Blog to a Facebook Page so that when you update your blog, it automatically updates your Facebook Page and your Twitter account.

I had to do something similar for a client and decided it was cool enough to want to do a blog post about how to do this.

This took a lot of experimenting to because there are so many different WordPress plugins and options to connect WordPress to Facebook or Twitter.  Honestly, I think this is probably the easiest way.  Here are the requirements that I followed:

  1. Easy to learn and use, neither I nor my clients have lots of time to invest.
  2. Automatically update a Facebook Page and Twitter from WordPress
  3. Not update my personal Facebook profile, just my Facebook Page.

Seems simple enough, right?  It wasn’t.  I think because of the number of plugins and options available.

So, here’s what I did, with what I hope are fairly simple screenshots and steps to help those of you along inclined to do this.  Of course, if you want some professional help, feel free to contact or call me (801-274-8490 is the office line ;-).

These instructions are for linking a Facebook Page to Twitter, and then a blog to your Facebook Page.  They are more oriented for a small business owner than for a personal blog.  If you don’t have a Facebook Page, and you want one, check out the post on creating a Facebook Page.

First, get your Facebook Page talking to Twitter

This was pretty easy.  There’s a Twitter application that Facebook put together to link a Facebook Page to Twitter.  It does not work to link a personal profile (you have to add it to a Facebook Page).

So first, log into Facebook and open your Facebook Page (note that if you want your personal profile to talk to Twitter, you can add this application to your personal profile.  These steps add it to your page.)

Log in to Facebook.

Make sure you have, or create a Facebook Page

In the search bar up top, enter “Twitter”

The first link that comes up should be an application, click on it

Search for "Twitter" on Facebook
Select the Twitter App

Selecting the Twitter Facebook App will open the Twitter application page and you’ll have to select on the left side to add the app to your page.

Click “Add to my page”

A web pop-up will open showing a list of pages in your Facebook account.  Click “Add to Page” for each page you want to send its wall updates to Twitter.

Now you will need to navigate back to your Facebook Page and click on “Edit Page” in the upper left.

Under the “Applications” area if you scroll down, you should see the Twitter Application, click “Edit” under the application and if you get the page asking to Allow the application, click the Allow button.

This will open up a Twitter login screen within Facebook (if everything has gone well so far):

Log in to Twitter within Facebook

At this point you will have to allow the Connection in Twitter. You still need to allow your page into Twitter.

Click on the Facebook App in Twitter Connections

Once you are logged in to Twitter, click on “Settings” and then “Connections.”

On the connections page, click on the Facebook app.

The next page will show a Facebook logo with an arrow pointing to Twitter and a large green button that says “Link a Page to Twitter”

Click on the large green button.

Again, a list of your Facebook Pages appears, with the pages on the left and a button “Link to Twitter” on the right.

Click the “Link to Twitter” button for your page, which will open the options panel for the Twitter Facebook Application

Ok — Finally, you should be all set.  Again, if this was confusing, and you want some help, don’t hesitate to contact me.

If you want to double-check, you can go into Twitter, click on “Settings” and then click on “Connections.”  If you see a Facebook connection notice there, with a “remove access” option, you’ve done it.

Connect WordPress to your Facebook Page with Networked Blogs

Now that we’ve finally got your Facebook Page updating Twitter, now we can connect your WordPress Blog to your FaceBook Page, for this we are going to use the Networked Blogs Facebook App.

Again, go to your Facebook account and log in (or stay logged in) and in the search bar type “Networked Blogs” – the first one in the list, where it says “Applications” is what you want.

Click on the Networked Blogs application

That should open the application page, and on the left, you should see a link that says “Add to my Page” click on that link to open a web pop-up with a list of your pages.  Click “Add to Page” for the page you want to link to WordPress.

Now, go back to your page (click on the word “Facebook” in the upper left to go back to your home page and click “Ads and Pages” again), and click “Edit Page” on the left.

Scroll down and look at the list of Applications.  Networked Blogs should be on the list.

In this case, you have to allow your blog permission to post to the wall, so click on “Application Settings” and open the “Additional Settings” tab and check the box that says “Publish recent activity to my wall.” and click “Ok”.

Now we’re going to add your blog to Networked Blogs.  Click “Edit” under the NetworkedBlogs Application.  If you are following along with these instructions, this is probably the first time that you are running this, so you’ll have to Allow it access; if you get a page that starts with “Allow Access” click the button that says “Allow.”

This should open the networked blogs setup page.

You will get a form to fill in with information about your WordPress Blog.  Fill out the information and click “Next”  – if you get an offer to check out a promotional widget, you can (and should) uncheck that box and click the next button.

NetworkedBlogs will ask if you are the author of the blog.  Click “Yes” (assuming you are), now you have to go through a verification step.

Choose to verify using the widget, open another browser window, log in to your WordPress blog and open “Appearance” and “Widgets”.  Put a text widget on one of your side panels.

Switch back to the networked blogs interface and from the “Copy the following HTML code” box, select everything, copy it, switch back to your blog and paste all that code into your text widget.  Save the widget.

Switch on back to the Networked Blogs interface and click “Verify Widget” – if you copied the code correctly, you should see a green box indicating you are verified.  Click that “Next” button to show the NetworkedBlogs configuration page.

We are ALMOST done here.  ALMOST.  This has been an incredibly long blog post, hasn’t it?  In the future I think we’ll choose smaller topics 😉

So here is the NetworkedBlogs page once you have it installed into your Facebook Account, and you’ve got a blog set up properly:

Ok, now you want to click on the right side where it says “Feed Settings” – this is the final step to syncing your blog with Facebook, and thus, with Twitter.

Once you click on “Feed Settings” you will see an interface listing all your Facebook Pages – pick everywhere you want your blog to publish its updates.

After you pick the options you want, Networked Blogs can publish a test post for you.  Go for it, you’ve worked hard, publish that test post.

If it doesn’t show up, step back through and check all the settings.  Feel free to post a comment here with questions or to contact me for some professional help.

This seems like it should be easy, and in fact, it is easy, but there’s few step-by-step instructions to create a Facebook Page out there.  Par for the course for the web and technical industry, most of the Creating a Facebook Page Instructions skip steps or make assumptions that make them hard to follow for those of us who are learning as we go.  I’m going to try and provide some solid, simple step-by-step instructions for creating a Facebook Page for your business or anything else really.

First, Log into your Facebook account

Here is the first rub…if you already HAVE a Facebook Page, or are linked to one as an editor, you have a simple little link on the left side saying “Ads and Pages” – so to get to the page interface click on that…a lot of reference material says to click that link.

BUT, if you don’t have that link, scroll to the very bottom of your profile page and click “advertising”, this will open Facebook’s Ads and Pages location…and its just not that intuitive to click “advertising” when you want “pages.”

So, anyway, once you are in the “Advertising” interface, it will open up showing information about advertising on Facebook.  Click on “Pages” up above all the ad information (or if you want to create an advertisement, stay there, click the green button and wander around until you are happy and run the ad, this post is about Facebook pages).

Click on “Pages”

Once you are in the pages interface, click on the large green button that says “Create a Page” – which will open up the first step to page creation.

You are on your way to having a Facebook Page that describes your business, product or other thing…in fact, now you have to choose how to categorize your page:

Make sure you name the page something appropriately descriptive and useful.  Of course, if you’re interested in Search Engine Optimization, Key Phrases and that kind of stuff, it would help to have some key words identified as you do this, but that’s a topic for another post.

When you click “Create Page” you will have created your Facebook Page and can start filling in the details.

You have the option of making your new page private while you work on filling in the details, until you’re happy with it.

Ok, so in future posts, we’ll talk about connecting Facebook Pages to Twitter and WordPress.