Melissa Ward

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About Melissa Ward

Melissa can often be found at the front of a room giving a presentation or hands on training session in one of many areas of Social Media Marketing. Melissa's role is to train businesses how to use Social Media Sites (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, etc), to get into the “conversation” with the right audience. She also creates and implements Social Media Marketing Strategies on behalf of her clients.

Timeline for Facebook Business Pages

Today is launch day for Facebook Business pages.  I held off writing this until I had a chance to play with it. I converted and published the NewWard page:  take a peek here:  https://www.facebook.com/newward.  The cover photo replaces your "landing tab". The cover photo gives you the opportunity to brand your page and show off some nice items, but Facebook doesn't want you to get too spammy about it.  Keep it clean and neat, and not too much text please (You will see a pop up when you change your cover photo giving you the rules).  Cover photos are 830x350. Custom tabs run across the top, right below the cover photo.  They are not as obvious as they were before, but not hidden either.   If you have too many tabs a "see more" will appear. What's interesting is that people can now contact you privately via the FB messaging system.  You can see those when you click on the Admin drop down panel.  The admin panel button is located to the top right of your cover photo.  When you click on it, you can see your insights, notifications and messages. You can add business milestones and "pin" posts to stay at the top of the page.  People you are personally connected to that commented on the page have their posts higher in the timeline (for the admin) so you can see them and interact easier.  I personally prefer it to be all chronological, but we'll see how it goes.   Similar to personal timeline profiles, you can chose which interest boxes show up under the cover photo. I like the "Build an Audience" button.  Speaks more to what a business owner is trying to accomplish by using Facebook. [...]

Why Use Facebook Groups?

Image via CrunchBase Yesterday Facebook Groups got a little upgrade.  At the top you can now see photos of members, which click through to their personal profile. I played with Group Cover photos to add a little pop to the group, and I personally think it looks much better and it lets you quickly identify which group you are in. Facebook groups are useful for people who wish to discuss things outside of the general public's' eye.  Say a board of directors who want to brain storm, or for private group coaching. Groups can be set up as public - but since they are not indexed by Google, they are a bad choice for business.  A Facebook Page / Business profile is far more useful for brand engagement.  A private group is searchable in Facebook, but only the members can see the posts.  This is the best option for most uses.  Then there are secret groups.  They are neither searchable nor can the posts be seen.  Don't let secret groups give you a false sense of security, my basic philosophy still holds true - what you post online can be shared with or without your knowledge, so use caution. Groups have a few fun features: 1) They are searchable:  If you recall a topic or keyword you can search the group for the post.  Since groups list posts in chronological order, some posts may get lost in the chaos of conversation. 2) You can adjust your notification settings.  Click on the notifications button to turn notifications on or off (default is on).  You can leave notifications on and avoid getting emails by clicking on settings and removing the check box next to your email address. Have you used [...]

Facebook Changes – Fast and Furious

Isn’t it fun to wake up and have everything turned upside down and inside out? Well, let’s see if we can clear up a few things. The New Facebook Newsfeed Page: When you first log in, you see your “top stories”. These are the stories Facebook thinks you are most interested in based on your interactions, how many people liked and commented on it and who you have listed in your “Close Friends” list. If you haven’t visited in a while, the top of that page will have photos (I like to new photo album layout) and status updates. These stories are marked with a blue corner. You can remove something from Top stories by hovering over it and clicking on the little down pointing arrow that shows up. To Edit the News Feed stories – hover over newsfeed in the left hand column and click on edit. From here you can chose to hide (or unhide) stories. The right hand “ticker”: Your most recent updates are now constantly scrolling in a window on the right hand side, very Twitter like. You can’t close the ticker window, but you can hide it by moving the scroll bar. To view a story in the ticket window, just hover over it. You can also hide a story by clicking on the little down arrow. While Facebook says your privacy settings have not been changed, you should take a peek at them and make sure you control what updates of yours show up in the ticker window. Changes to Pages: The most noticeable one is ”Friend Activity”. This shows you how your friends have interacted with the page. More to come... Want to know what the Future Holds?

Giving Thanks

Imagine how wonderful it would feel to receive a random thank you just for participating in the community. Here's your homework starting next week: Make note of status updates throughout the week that resonate with you.  Maybe it's a cool quote, a new pearl of wisdom, something that made you laugh out loud... it can be anything. At the end of the week - post up a Thank You in your status, and tag those people who made your day / week / a moment a little bit brighter. Try it on Facebook (use the @ to tag people) Twitter, Linked In, etc.. See what a difference it will make in your interactions...  You will feel the joy you felt in the moment you first read the orignal post, and the person will be encouraged to keep posting wonderful messages. I think it can really make a difference in our interactions. Thoughts?

Social Media – Making a Case for Non-Profit use

Let's face it, when it comes to going "viral" there are few tools that out pace social media.  The exact tools may differ, but with passion behind the project, goals outlined and a good strategy, social media can increase awareness and fund raising. Articles: Brooklyn Autism: A great case study, Reported ROI = $25 dollars for every dollar spent: Help Hadassah Heal:  Raising $2,500 in 48 hours. California Parks Foundation:  how the CPF built a successful Facebook Fan Page Autism Speaks - Using Social media top promote events How one man raised $91,000 for Charity:  the story of 12Kfor12K challenge The above illustrates how the use of tools like, blogs, Facebook and Twitter, in particular help increase advocacy among Not for Profits.  It's never about asking for money, it's always about getting people to believe in your mission.  Once you have them by the heart, the dollars will follow. What tools have you used in your NFP Social Media campaigns?

Why Bother With Social Media?

The telephone has become such a common fixture in our society that we use it without giving it a second thought.  Be honest, have you ever said yourself, “I have no time to use the phone.”?  Email has become a similar commonality in our everyday lives.  Whether we like it or not, Social Media is on its way to entering into the same category. Consider this: You go to your favorite pizza place and check in on Four Square (www.foursquare.com).  The people you are connected to on Facebook (www.facebook.com) and Twitter (www.twitter.com) see that you are at “Joe’s Pizza” and assume it is a place you enjoy visiting.  Your best friend happens to be walking down the same block and, having seen your Facebook update, knows you are at Joe’s.  He decides to stop in and have a slice with you.  You enjoy the surprise; have some quick conversation over slices and soda then part ways to head back to work. What happened? 1)      You created awareness among your sphere of influence for Joe’s pizza 2)      You connected with a friend who you haven’t had the chance to chat with in a while 3)      Your spirits are lifted and you return to work a little cheerier. This is what Social Media is about.  Connecting with each other in such a casual manner that it is a part of our every day conversational lives. The advantage of Social Media for business is obvious.  By having a presence in various social media Web sites, you give your customers and the opportunity to help spread the word about your business.  You also give your customers and prospective customers the ability to ask questions, stay up to date on [...]

A New WordPress Surprise

I am not new to Wordpress.  I have been building client sites on the Wordpress platform for a number of years.  Yet, every so often something surprises me. I have a client who uses the Featured Content Gallery on three sites.  To use the plug in, you need to use custom fields in your post. Well, when I installed Wordpress 3.1 and moved the site to my servers, I was shocked when I looked at the posts and saw NO custom fields.  After momentary panic,  I looked around the FCG support forums and found this helpful link.  Basically, WP 3.1 hides a lot of  post info by default.  Panic over. I've set up my post and page edit screens to my liking.  Moved some boxes around and feel considerably more in control of my WP environment.  Give it a try, you will to.

Moving Web sites to New Servers

When ever I move a client's site to our hosting servers, I get myself all worked up. Static sites are not too complex, copy down to local computer and upload to new servers. Database driven sites, like Wordpress, always make me a little paranoid.  Wordpress offers some best practices on moving the site, but something always seems to go wrong. Key in the process is backing up the database.  Where I've run into problems is with plug in settings that don't seem to carry over.  I ran into this with the Contact-7 plug in and ended up having to redo the entire thing.   I copied down the entire plug in directory and uploaded it to the new servers and got nada!  Oh well, at least it was an easy fix. My problem is that I want everything to be perfect.  I do not want the client to miss a beat or see any down time.  I set up wordpress, upload the theme, plug ins and database files, then change the DNS to let the domain propagate over to our servers.   85% the process goes smoothly, but every once in a while I get a little surprise. It's nice to know, I suppose, that I am still learning after 10 years in business.

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 [...]