Online Communities

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The Rules of Engagement

As we close the door on 2010 and open to 2011, I have a thought I'd like to share... There are still a lot of people doing it wrong. Image by fredcavazza via Flickr They are using social media as a platform to yell, blast and spam out their goods and services.  At no time do they explain what they are about, who they help or how they work.  While the goal of using social media is awareness, the best way to get there is by encouraging people to talk, write, converse online and off. We live is a world where there are so may people / businesses / things screaming for our attention.  Sometimes the noise level is painful. Encouraging people to get into the conversation, by sharing things that are of interest, peek curiosity and by simply being nice is a far better use of Social Media tools. For example: Real estate agents typically post about an open house or a new listing in their Facebook status or Twitter stream.   Does this spark interest or encourage conversation?  No.  It's flat out boring.   Talk to me about the trek in the snow you made while showing the property, share tips on making the house show ready, talk about the goings on in the neighborhood, upload a photo of something cool you saw on the property... these things create curiosity and encourage interaction. Quick ideas: Post up on other people's pages Ask questions Be interesting Take an interest in others Be informative Be helpful It's never been about the tools, it's always been about the outreach.  Get the methods of outreach down and you can succeed in any platform you chose to use. Make a promise to yourself and your connections in 2011 to do social [...]

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Using Facebook for Business

Below is my Radio interview with Paul Chaney and John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka.  We had a great disucssion about how to use Facebook for Business.  We talked a lot about Facebook personal profiles vs. public profiles (aka Fan pages) and what it means to share in the Social Media space. (Plus, it was just a ton of fun!)   You can visit User  Friendly Thinking Radio show at http://www.userfriendlythinking.com/ to listen to all their archived shows. [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

The Creation of Community

It’s easy to talk about the mechanics of marketing yourself online.  The “how to’s” in setting up profile pages, twitter accounts, fan pages and the like.  What is more difficult is explaining the how you should go about marketing yourself.  On one hand, the concept is simple, be yourself, share your knowledge and hang out.  Let people come to you.  Being aggressive in today’s market place will result in people recoiling away from you.  On the other, it’s such a different mind set from old “push” marketing principles, that few people really get it. It amazes me how many so called marketers do nothing but post links to content, theirs or other peoples, without revealing a single thing about who they are or why they are there.  What makes them think that this method would create a desire to do business with them?  When I look on my Facebook home page and see the same face over and over again with a series of links – no insights, no sharing – I get a knot in my stomach.  They just don’t get it.  However, I do not disconnect from them.  They serve as a reminder of what I do not want to become.  I always encourage clients to be proud of who they are, what they do and why they do it.  The reality is that their “who” is not going to resonate with every person they come across.  What most have a hard time understanding is:  THAT’S GREAT!  I would rather have a handful of people that are truly interested in me and my work then a throng of thousands who simply tolerate me.  That handful of people will be the ones who engage [...]

Did you lose your Facebook Fan Page list?

Many users have noticed that their Facebook Fan page list has vanished from their INFO tab.  The list of pages and groups is normally at the bottom of the INFO Tab for you to reference and share with your friends. If your list has vanished, go to the Fan Page Browse section here http://www.facebook.com/pages/?browse then select MY PAGES.  A list of the pages you are a fan of will display.  Facebook is aware of the problem, but currently has no date for a fix.  Hope this helps!   Related articles by Zemanta The NEW Facebook Fan Page (newward.com) Twitter to Facebook: 5 Ways to Post to Both (mashable.com)

Get Yourself a Facebook Badge

Many of my seminar participants wonder how to "advertise" their Facebook profile.  Luckily Facebook makes it very easy to spread the word about your profile and business page. Log into Facebook and go to http://www.facebook.com/badges.php  The default badge is your profile picture and your name.   For email signatures, I prefer the signature badge.  It has your photo, name and various contact information.  The photo badge is entertaining, but unless you have "business related" photographs in your albums, I'd steer clear of it.  Check out some of the options - play with it and add it to your email signature, your blog, your web site and anyplace else that feels right.  Give people the opportunity to connect with you in many ways to build your relationship with them  

Should my Facebook profile be named after my business?

Image via CrunchBase The short answer is no.  People want to do business with people.  The whole point of entering the social networking realm is to make personal connections and build your business.  While brand recognition is important, it is not as important as connecting with your customers and prospective customers.  When I look at a Facebook profile and see a business name, I feel like the person behind the page is hiding behind their logo.  It does not convey that trusting feeling that would make me jump to do business with you. My advice is to create a personal profile and then create a page or a group around your business or products and services.  You are not your business.  You have other interests that you can share with your customers.  You can tell by my profile that I like snowmobiling, own a motorcycle, have kids, etc…  That makes me “human” to the people who will approach me for web consulting.  If I solely focused on NewWard then many of the connections I have made would have never come to fruition.  Be you first – sell second and always be genuine. Who are you online?

How is Social Networking going to benefit my Business?

During yesterday’s seminar one theme that kept cropping up is “How is this going to benefit my business?”  The key to online networking lies in being subtle.  When you are there to offer your information for the benefit of the community, people start paying attention.  The “in your face”, let’s make money, “I made $30,000 in a month” sales tactic does not work.  Today’s consumer is too suspicious and extremely cautious about how their dollar is spent. Don’t get bogged down in the plethora of details on how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like – they are only tools.  The mechanics will come with practice.  The real question is:  What is your intent?  If you are here to build relationships, make real connections and share your expertise, then you will succeed.  There is a lot of “noise” online – and most users of social networks filter out the noise to find the real pearls of wisdom.  Those are the people you want to make authentic connections with.  I know I sound like a broken record… but I can not stress the point enough.  People want to do business with real people, people want to donate to not-for-profits they see making a difference.  So, share your stories, offer up your knowledge and let your prospects come to you.   Don’t you want to attract the people into your business that already see the value?  It is so much easier to sell to a person who already perceives your product / service as a valuable asset then it is trying to convince someone they need you.  It’s easier then it sounds and I know it’s also risky.  You are putting yourself out there for better or [...]