How to Tweet

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform accessible via the Web and mobile phones. In just 140 characters or less, users can share thoughts, ideas, news, feedback, images, video and more. Twitter is also a searchable database of shared content and user generated ideas. It is a primary source for many realtime search engines and is useful for tracking trends and measuring sentiment about brands, events and topical issues as they occur. Continue reading “How to Tweet”

What Sucks About Facebook’s Page Design Updates

If you are using a Facebook page to promote your business or organization,  you already know that come March 2011 your Facebook page will have an ‘updated’ layout. Some of the updates are great for page administrators – but from a marketing perspective, some of the updates are a headache. Here are three potential hitches and what you can do about them –

1. Hello photos, goodbye tabs. Info that was once accessible via tabs at the top of your page has moved to the left column – as ‘links’. Photos have taken over the space that was once dedicated to tabs. This might have been a great update for profiles since people enjoy looking at their friend’s photos – but are people as interested in photos from the businesses and organizations they choose to ‘Like’? This update is not going to bode well for businesses that use customized tabs for promotions.
What to do: Set your preferred customized FBML tab as your landing page.

2. Where is my ‘Like’ prompt? Most customized tabs have an arrow or some kind of prompting text reminding visitors to ‘like’ the Facebook page. You may need to update the alignment of these prompts as your Facebook page now has a breadcrumb navigation that pushes the ‘Like’ button to a new position.
What to do: Embed a ‘Like’ button on the customized FBML tab.

3.  They traded my wall size for…? Your wall got narrower – and the ad space to the right got wider. Businesses and organizations are not going to be happy about losing 50 pixels of messaging space to ads from competing brands. Marketers on the other hand will be happy about having more space to promote their wares.
What to do: Run ads to promote your business and organization – social media advertising is always worth it.

What’s Great About Facebook Page Upgrades

Facebook Pages New UpgradesFacebook profiles aren’t the only products getting a makeover. Starting March 2011 all Facebook pages will start looking like personal profiles. If you have a page for our business or organization, you can start enjoying the new layout right away – that’s right, you don’t have to wait till March to test out the new features.

Here are three great improvements to Facebook pages
1. Who am I, profile or page? You can now choose to use Facebook as under a business persona – or as yourself. For example, when managing your page, you can either post updates and comments under your name or your Page’s name. The new “use Facebook as your page” setting will also allow you to promote your page on other pages through comments, get notifications when fans interact with your page or posts, and see activity from “liked” pages in your newsfeed.

2. Show and tell. You can now show off pictures affiliated with your business or organization. Similar to profiles, if you tag pictures with your business name, they will appear in a photo banner on the business’ page. This is a great way to showcase your brand, products, services or community.

3. Popular vs. latest posts. Users will have two wall filters. You’ll be able to feature the most popular posts on your Facebook page versus the latest posts.

Here’s to making your business (or organization) look great on Facebook!

Yahoo! Embraces the Power of Facebook and Google

Yahoo! Google and FacebookAfter much testing Yahoo! made a bold move last week to allow all users to log into their Yahoo! accounts with their Facebook or Google IDs. According to company executives, this is a move to consolidate usernames and passwords and make it easier for new users to manage their Yahoo! account.

Businesses and organizations can learn three things from Yahoo!’s move –
1. If you cant beat ’em, join ’em. Google has long outpaced Yahoo! in the search business, and with over 500 million users, Facebook is the go-to place on the Web. Making space for the competition will boost Yahoo!’s relevance.

2. Shared login or OpenID authentication is a great idea. If your business or organization require members to log in to access content, this feature is a great way to share content and user activity in a wider network — and if your members are sharing something good, you may even recruit new members.

3. Embracing the competition can keep you in the game. Yahoo! may have lost it’s search engine crown to Google but it still has a popular and successful email product. Associating Yahoo!’s brand with Google and Facebook is also a good way to make users feel they can have all products with just one log-in — yeah for interoperability!

Do you need a mobile phone for facebook?

Do I need a mobile phone to be on facebook?

2011 is a big year for mobile marketing and facebook is gearing up to take advantage of this trend by forcing users to add mobile phone numbers to their profiles.

facebook users are now being asked to enter their mobile phone numbers and enable SMS texting from the social network in order to verify their identities for simple tasks such as logging in or setting up a vanity URL. If you’d rather not enter your mobile phone number in the network’s database, you are simply told to try again “at a later time”.

There is no word from facebook to clarify what “a later time” might mean, but this is proving an inconvenience for businesses that don’t use mobile phones or people would rather not add their mobile phone number to the network.

facebook requests mobile phone number for vanity url
facebook: no mobile phone number? try again at a later time

But let’s be clear, a mobile phone is not a requirement for being on facebook and doing business in the world’s #1 social network – but it’s fast becoming a necessity.

Facebook Vanity URLs – Get your name in there!

Good vain - facebook vanity URLs
Good vain - facebook vanity URLs

There is a big difference between the URLs below – even though they take you to the same place on facebook.

  1. http://facebook.com/marooninteractive
  2. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maroon-Interactive/167733809553

The first URL is called a ‘vanity’ URL, because it gives you the opportunity to say something unique about your facebook profile and help to promote your brand in the network if you are managing a page for your business.

Vanity URL’s are great, they are –

  • Easy to remember.
  • Work better on printed materials than the long-form facebook URLs (see second example above).
  • Makes it easy to direct someone to your page or profile.

But there’s a catch – think very carefully before you set one up because you will not be able to edit or transfer your new username/URL once you set it! That said – it’s fairly easy to set up a vanity URL:

How to set up a facebook vanity URL

  1. Have a list of 3 possible unique usernames/URLs you’d like to use
  2. Go to (or click) the following link – http://facebook.com/username, and follow the steps.
  3. Check to see if any of your unique usernames/URLs are available and if they are – voila! You are ready to be just as vain as the rest of us.

Now go claim your brand name before it’s too late!

Email vs. Social Media – Should you follow Ben and Jerry’s?

social media or email marketing... what should you use?Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream recently notified their UK subscribers that they are dropping e-mail marketing and focusing on their social networks instead. US subscribers will still get the monthly edition of ChunkMail, Ben & Jerry’s e-newsletter. With over a million Facebook followers and a growing Twitter following, the company appears confident that social media can fill all of their relationship management needs – at least in the UK. Continue reading “Email vs. Social Media – Should you follow Ben and Jerry’s?”

Social Networks: Free R&D for Small Business

How do you keep your products and services fresh? Three words – “Research and Development”. True, R&D can be expensive and time consuming, but without it you could be wasting money trying to convince your target market to buy your products when you should be providing the products and services that they actually want.

Most small businesses think that they have to get to ‘big’ before they can afford R&D – not true. Here’s our quick guide to using social networks for research and development (R&D) on a shoe string budget: Continue reading “Social Networks: Free R&D for Small Business”

Stop Your Email List from Shrinking

Businesses that depend on email marketing to engage customers will notice two things about their email list every year; 1. Your email list will shrink by at least 15% before the end of the year, 2. Your bounce (email return) rate will be greater than it was the previous year – but does this mean you are losing your subscribers? That depends on your Website.

Customers no longer depend on emails to keep up with the latest news from their favorite marketers – thanks to SPAM (the worst kind), your recipients have grown tired of wading thru emails to decipher which ones they really want to read. Continue reading “Stop Your Email List from Shrinking”

When to use a Social Network as Your Website

Test your business idea for cheap. If you are an entrepreneur that’s just starting out, launching your business’ Web presence in a social network could be a great first step before launching a fully developed Website. Social networks are often free to use and the best ones even offer e-commerce tools for cheap. Take a quick peek at the top social networks and you will find entrepreneurs of every stripe using the networks to understand and break into their markets.

Create a buzz, get feedback. Social networks are great places for polling an audience and getting a product or service airtime that it would not otherwise get. MySpace for example has been a true blessing for unsigned bands. They are able to create profiles with pizzazz, upload their music, share it for free and even sell it; with a big enough following of “friends”, they might Continue reading “When to use a Social Network as Your Website”