Facebook or LinkedIn – Getting Started on Social Media

Start with either Facebook or LinkedIn. My previous post discussed why social media presence should no longer be considered an optional activity for organizations of any size; including solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, professional services, and nonprofits. But for people whose expertise is embedded into their profession and the services that they offer, getting started can seem complicated — and maybe even a bit intimidating.

So, how do you get started?

Ideally, even the smallest business or organization should be active on several social media platforms. And ideally, one day, maybe you will be!. But getting started can be pretty easy if you choose just one platform to begin your social media marketing journey. There are two primary social media platforms that have tremendous reach. Facebook and LinkedIn. Which one is right for you depends not so much on what your business offers, but on who your main customers are.

Facebook

FacebookFacebook has over 2 billion users logging on to it every day. That’s nearly everybody in the developed world, outside of China. But that doesn’t mean that Facebook is the right platform for you. Let’s consider who those users are… And why they are on Facebook…

Typically people use Facebook for personal social connections. They are not typically using it for business purposes. So why use Facebook as business marketing tool? Well, if your business or organization is oriented towards individual consumers, there is literally no better place in the known universe to connect with them.

LinkedIn

LinkedInLinkedIn continues to grow, but will probably never have as many users as Facebook does. LinkedIn currently claims to have over 500 million users, but third party sources but the number of users per month at about 106 million. So why use LinkedIn if it has only around 10% as many daily users as Facebook? Once again the key consideration is who those users are.

Typically LinkedIn users are using it strictly for business purposes. Cat videos and YouTube “fails” are strongly discouraged, and seldom seen there. LinkedIn is the online leader for business to business networking, and for individuals looking to build their personal network connections for business or career building opportunities. If your business or organization is primarily business to business (b2b), there is literally no better place in the known universe to connect with them.

Using Facebook Professionally

You probably already have a Facebook page that you use to stay connected with friends and family. Good, you are going to need that. What you are NOT going to do, is use that personal Facebook page for your business!

Set up a Facebook business page, also called a “fan page” by Facebook. Once you are logged in to Facebook, simply visit this page and follow the instructions to set up your page. We’ll talk again in a few minutes once you’ve done that…

Great! That was easy right?

Now we need to get down to business. Hopefully you had some images available, at least your logo, or a professional looking head shot. It’s no disaster if you don’t yet, but you are definitely going to want some images to take advantage of such a visual medium. You’ve also already gone through the setup wizard and entered plenty of relevant information about you and your organization and what it does. Now what?

Once you have created your Facebook Business Page, there are two things that need to happen in order to be successful.

  1. You need people to see your page
  2. You need something for them to see when they get there.

 

Getting People to See Your Page

The Achilles’ Heel of Facebook is visibility. Business pages only show up regularly in the Facebook feeds of people who have “Liked” the page. This creates a kind of “Catch 22” for new pages. You don’t get seen unless you;re liked, and you don’t get liked until you are seen. Ouch.

So what can you do about this? First, you will be able to ask all of your personal Facebook friends to “Like” your new business page. Click on the link that says “Invite your friends to like this page”. That should get your personal friends  connected to your business.

Of course that’s not why you created a business page, but it helps lend credibility to your page if it already has some “Likes”. Getting “Likes” is almost certainly going to require some paid advertising on Facebook. This is neither as difficult, or expensive as it may sound though.

Facebook offers what is probably the most detailed and granular advertising tools for small organizations available anywhere. You can set your daily budget to be any size you want, even just a few dollars at first to test the waters. You can also set your campaign to run for a day or two, or for as long as you want. Facebook also allows you to target your ad to extremely precise demographics. Want to target only women between the ages of 35 and 49 who have expressed an interest in natural health products? You can do that.

Remember, your goal here is not to “sell, sell, sell”. It’s simply to get the right people to visit and “Like” your Facebook page.

Posting to Facebook

Once people begin visiting your page, there needs to be something there for them to read and see. Once again, a quick reminder that Facebook is communications, and networking tool. If you post nothing but “hard sell” messages, it won’t be long before people start clicking on the “Unlike” button.

The key to all social media posting is to provide something of value to visitors. People are visiting your page because they want to, not because they have to. Whatever you post should give them something of value. What that is will depend on what you offer. Occasionally you can offer something with financial value, like a discount coupon or code, but more often than not, people will appreciate valuable information. For example if you sell hand made handbags, an article about how they are made might be nice, Maybe even a video showing all the steps involved in creating a quality handmade handbag. If your product is high end furniture, articles and picture that show what to look for when shopping for high quality furniture might offer value. Show people how a $3000 dollar coffee table is vastly superior to a $150 coffee table.

Using LinkedIn Professionally

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is set up from the get-go to be business oriented. But there are several ways to use it well. The first, easiest, and most important, is to get an account on LinkedIn. Once you have an account (or if you have one already) it is very important to make sure you set it up completely, and keep it up to date. I cannot stress this highly enough. You MUST have a complete profile, relevant titles, headlines and taglines, a decent professional picture, and up to date info. 

You have complete and up to date profile, now what?

LinkedIn is a social networking tool. So the next step is to start networking. Connect with all of your business connections. They will probably all be on LinkedIn already, so find them, and connect with them. LinkedIn can also be connected to your address book on Outlook or Windows or MacOS. If you have a lot of business contacts there, you should consider clicking on “Allow” when asked if you want to link your account.

What About Connecting with People you don’t Know?

Generally speaking, this practice is discouraged, and considered to be “bad form”, or worse – “spammy”. But there are exceptions. If the person is a friend of a friend, you can either ask your friend for an introduction, or send a note with your invitation. There may also be circumstances where you feel that mutual interests are so strong, that a nice introduction note will almost certainly be well received. Hopefully, you have succeeded so far by having good judgement and people skills. Use those skills on LinkedIn just as you would in “real life”.

Other Best Practices on LinkedIn

 

Posting
Just like on Facebook, you are going to want people to find something interesting to read when the visit your profile. Post updates frequently (one or twice a week is plenty). Post articles occasionally, if you enjoy writing. Every time you post an update, a little note will appear in the LinkedIn feed of your contacts. So it’s a nice, easy way to stay connected. Well written, full articles, are occasionally picked up by LinkedIn Pulse. When this happens (if it happens) literally thousands of professionals and business people will see your article, and learn about you.

Endorsements & Recommendations
LinkedIn has a skills section that you should have completed when you set up your profile. All of your contacts also have skills listed. The value of these skills has become somewhat questionable, as there is no verification scheme in place. However, I recommend that you occasionally endorse your contacts for the skills that you know they have, and send them a quick thank you note when they endorse you. It’s just another nice way to stay connected, active, and keep your name in front of your contacts.

Recommendations are a bit more work, but also have significant value. Essentially, a LinkedIn recommendation is a “Testimonial”. Be generous with yours when appropriate. Ask for them when you believe they are deserved AND will be forthcoming.

Groups
Like Facebook, LinkedIn has groups. It’s a very good idea to join a few that are relevant to your business. Posting to a group guarantees that many people with shared interests will see what you have to offer. They can also be a great way to build your personal LinkedIn contact network. Even if you don’t post new articles to your group, an occasional comment or “like” — will keep your name in front of the right people.

LinkedIn Business Pages

Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers business pages. Unlike Facebook, there is not much need for a separate business page unless your organization has many members and employees. Remember, LinkedIn is a business oriented platform already. That means that your “personal” LinkedIn account is already a “business” account. If your organization does merit a separate business page, you can set it up here.

Hopefully, I have provided enough information here for you to get started, and keep using social media for your business or organization. If you’d like some more help, or for someone to go through the process with you, contact me. I’ll be happy to help you.

Solopreneurs – Is Facebook Right for your Business?

Facebook Sign - should your nonprofit, ngo, or charitable organization be using Facebook?

If you are a solopreneur, or self-employed professional, you’ve probably considered using Facebook as a marketing tool. But is it the right tool for your business or professional practice?

Let’s start with the benefits of Facebook.

  1. Nearly everyone you know has a Facebook profile
  2. Nearly everyone you know uses Facebook daily
  3. It follows that every one that will use your services or buy your product is also on Facebook!

But does that automatically mean you should use Facebook for marketing?

Not necessarily!

Let’s dive a bit deeper. Why are people using Facebook, and what do they want and expect from this particular social media network?

  1. Communicating with family and friends
  2. Keeping up with what friends and family are doing
  3. Letting family and friends know what we are up to
  4. Managing events, inviting others to events, and responding to event invitations
  5. Entertainment; checking out interesting and/or humorous memes
  6. Watching videos
  7. Learning new things and keeping up with different kinds of news

While not completely inclusive, the above list is pretty representative. You’ll notice that only the last item on my list has any real relationship to the marketing objectives of most businesses.

We are facing a dilemma, aren’t we?

All of our potential clients are on Facebook, but most of them are not using it to learn about new products or services, or to network with business interests.

How to use Facebook to Maximum Effect

The most important aspect of using Facebook for business interests is to use the technology appropriately.

Do NOT use your personal Facebook profile for business purposes! That is a surefire way to alienate friends and family, while simultaneously over-sharing with business related contacts. Your family does not want to know more about your business than you share with them at dinner, and your business contacts and potential clients, would probably be happier if you spared them photographs of you, shirtless at the cottage with a beer in one hand and a case of empties at your feet!

Set up a Facebook Business Page!

In my humble opinion every business of every type should have a business page on Facebook. Even if we recognize that Facebook is not our ideal social media marketing platform, we should have a presence there. Essentially, Facebook has become a secondary website. Just as people expect that every serious business will have some sort of web site, people now expect that every serious business will have a Facebook business page.

A business page is strictly business. It is managed from your Facebook personal account, but is separate from it. Posts made to your business page can be set to be from you personally (which makes sense if you are your business), or from the page name, which makes sense if your business brand is not the same as your name.

It is not difficult to set up the business page, Facebook has instructions, and easy to follow prompts, for doing so. And professional help from people like me is also readily available.

You Have a Page – Now What?

Let’s start with the basic “must do” stuff. A header image, a logo image (or professional head shot). Descriptions of your products and services, and of course invitations to “Like” your page sent out to your personal Facebook contacts. Add a couple of interesting posts over the next few days, and you’re set to go.

The really big question now needs to be answered in earnest. How much effort, time, and money should you spend on an ongoing basis of your business’s Facebook presence?

This takes us back to the dilemma we talked about at the beginning of this article. And here is how we are going to resolve the dilemma. We will ask ourselves the following two questions:

  1. Who is my ideal client?
  2. Is my ideal client likely to be responsive to my business interests via Facebook?

The concept of an “ideal client” is fundamental to all marketing efforts, whether through traditional (predigital) channels, or through contemporary digital channels like social media. Once you have a profile of your ideal client, you can answer the second question.

In broad terms, if your ideal client is an individual consumer, it’s reasonable to expect that your Facebook page is going to be very important to reaching out to them. Facebook has built its social network around individual consumers. In fact, we as individuals, are Facebook’s “product”. Facebook users are the product that Facebook sells to advertisers.

On the other hand, if your ideal client is another business—you are a B2B enterprise, Facebook is less likely to be your social media platform of choice. Keep your business page active. Check in on it from time to time. Be especially responsive to any inquiries or posts made to it, but don’t spend hours of time or thousands of dollars promoting it. Your basic presence there will probably suffice.

Your “Ideal Client” is a Consumer on Facebook

Here is where things get interesting. Once you have a Facebook business page, you can hope and pray that people will find it. Fortunately, some people will. Mostly they’ll be your friends, family, and most active customers. That’s great. But it’s clearly not enough. Those are the people that you communicate regularly with in other forums.

For your Facebook business page to be really useful, you are going to need to reach out, and that is almost certainly going to involve an advertising spend. Sure, you’ve been told that social media marketing can be done for free, and that has been the case (besides your investment in time) right up to the completion of your page setup. But since your ideal client is using Facebook, you’re going to need to find a way to be seen by them.

Fortunately this is where Facebook’s business model really shines. Because Facebook users are Facebook’s product, and because Facebook knows nearly everything about every user, it becomes exceptionally easy to be extremely granular about who will see your Facebook ads. There is literally no other advertising platform that allows such precision targeting. Is your ideal client a 35 year old single woman who is looking to be a condominium in Toronto? No problem! Target your ad to female Facebook users between the ages of 32 and 39 who have interests in real estate, condos, lofts, and home decor. Is your ideal client a 21 year old who likes to listen to live music in Oshawa? No problem. Target your ad to 19 to 25 year olds, living within 20 km of Oshawa who like local bands and dance music.

Keep at it. Stay engaged. Build your like list. And, as always, offer something of value on your Facebook page. Once you’ve managed to bring someone to your page, it is vitally important to keep that person engaged. At the end of the day you want all the time, energy, and money that you’ve invested to translate into sales, and lasting, mutually beneficial business relationships.

Want to talk about this a bit more? Contact me!

The Reputation Economy and Social Media

Facebook Sign - should your nonprofit, ngo, or charitable organization be using Facebook?

We are living today in a “Reputation Economy”, and like it or not, your reputation is affected by your social media activity (or lack thereof).

What is a Reputation Economy?

We are accustomed to the idea that our reputations precede us in our social interactions in the “real” world. Our friends know us, our colleagues know us, our clients and customers know us. And each of them has developed an idea about us that can be shared – our reputation.

In the digital economy and its extended social networks, the distinction between our physical and virtual reputations has disappeared. Our digital reputation is our “real” reputation, and the digital economy has become a reputation economy. Our reputations, as available digitally, carry very real implications. In the reputation economy our online personas can attract new clients, new friends, even new romantic relationships.

Your reputation defines how people see you and what they will do for you.  It determines whether your bank will lend you money to buy a house or car;  whether your landlord will accept you as a tenant;  which employers will hire you and how much they will pay you. It can even affect your marriage prospects.

And in the coming Reputation Economy, it’s getting more powerful than ever.  Because today, thanks to rapid advances in digital technology, anyone can access huge troves of information about you – your buying habits, your finances, your professional and personal networks, and even your physical whereabouts – at any time.  In a world where technology allows companies and individuals alike to not only gather all this data but also aggregate it and analyze it  with frightening speed, accuracy, and sophistication, our digital reputations are fast becoming our most valuable currency.
~ From The Reputation Economy: How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset

The Role of Social Media in a Reputation Economy

Social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or WhatsApp are readily available, easy to find, and easy to share. Everything we post, and just as importantly, everything posted about us, has an effect on our reputation. Prospective employers will Google you, and they’ll take a look at your Facebook account. Regardless as to your level of active participation in the social media world, there is more than likely something in cyberspace that has an impact on your reputation.

It is important to each of us that we actively manage our reputations online, and effective usage of social media tools is the best mechanism for doing so.

First Steps

If you don’t have at least a Facebook account and a LinkedIn account – get one now!

Yes, I’ve heard all the excuses. I have nothing to post. I am a very private person. I don’t have many friends. I don’t know how to use it. I don’t like computers. Technology scares me. I’m too old. My friends don’t use Facebook. LinkedIn isn’t for people like me. Feel free to add your own excuses… But here’s the thing; if you are not controlling your reputation online through these media, then your reputation is being controlled by other people.

Either people are talking about you, and you have no way to direct the conversation (or even know that it’s occurring), or, just as bad no one is talking about you at all. You may think that’s dandy – but it isn’t. When you are an unknown entity online employers may be reluctant to hire you, potential clients may be less likely to hire you, and potential romantic partners might even be less likely to date you!

Why is having no reputation online nearly as damaging as having a bad reputation?

  1. You are always competing with people who do have online reputations.
  2.  It is not advantageous to have an unknown reputation a reputation economy. Whether for a job or a date, it is human nature to fear and distrust the unknown.

Signing up for an account is pretty straightforward. Companies like Facebook and LinkedIn go to great expense and expend a lot of effort making their products easy to use and as intuitive as possible. Visit facebook.com to start there, and linkedin.com to join LinkedIn

Next Steps

Once you have some online presence, it’s important to manage that presence.

  1. What would you like your reputation to look like?
    This is straightforward enough at the most basic level. You probably want to appear as an honest, decent person, of integrity. But beyond that you may want to emphasize certain aspects of your personality and deemphasize others. You need to have a good idea abut what you want your reputation to look like if you want to effectively manage it.
  2. Edit the “About Me” sections in all your social media accounts
    Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google MyBusiness, you need to keep this section current, consistent, and on message. It’s often the first thing people see when they visit your social media pages. Make sure that there is something there, and that it reflects upon you exactly the way you’d like it to.
  3. Photographs, photographs, photographs
    People love images. We can’t help it. Make sure you accommodate that desire – first and foremost with a good profile picture. If your account is in your personal name, then use a photograph of yourself. No silly symbols. No avatars. You are the person with the the reputation. Your picture is who you are. Corporate accounts or accounts for business names should use either an official logo, or the principle person’s picture, as appropriate to circumstances. Beyond profile photographs, the use of photography will enhance your pages, make them more enjoyable for visitors, and encourage people to learn and linger. If you have the budget, inclination, and ability video posts can be even more powerful than photographs.
  4. Participate
    They call these media “social” for a reason. Spend time there. Join a few groups. Answer questions. Share information and knowledge. Become active online. You don’t need to spend hours every day, even a few minutes every couple days is enough to build a reputation as an active participant, and as a person that adds value in their online community.
  5. Monitor
    Login to your accounts daily if possible. Remember, you are there to manage your reputation. You’ll never put out a fire that you didn’t know was burning.
  6. Manage
    This is the hard part. It isn’t technically difficult. It’s hard because it requires discipline and commitment. There’s the old saying that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Well your online reputation in the reputation economy won’t be built overnight either. Stay focused on your goals. Set aside time every day to monitor your accounts and respond to questions and comments. Set aside time every week to post content and add value to your online communities.
  7. Ask for help
    You hire a lawyer to draft your contracts. You hire an accountant to do your taxes. You hire consultants to help you solve business problems. Consider hiring a consultant (like me) to help you develop your social media strategy and manage your social media presence. I’m located in Toronto and provide most of my services here, though I will consult online or by telephone too. Just like the field that you are in, my field is competitive too. I’m happy to help you find someone more appropriate to your unique requirements, if my services are not what you need.

Contact Me

 

Facebook for Nonprofit Organizations

Facebook Sign - should your nonprofit, ngo, or charitable organization be using Facebook?

Should Your Nonprofit be on Facebook?

The answer to the Facebook question will be either yes, no, or maybe, and it will be determined by the type of organization you have and who your nonprofit servers. To better answer the question, we’ll answer the question in three parts:

  1. Yes. You are a charity or NGO that has a public face and depends on public support in some way.

    Facebook Pages (distinct from personal profiles) are public facing by default. With nearly 2 billion accounts (1.79 active users) it is highly likely that you have an audience on Facebook. That means that there are people there that want to know more about your organization, and that your nonprofit wants to reach. Facebook is a fantastic way to reach out to people to let them know what you do, what you are all about, and who you are trying to help. Equally, a Facebook Page for your NGO or charity, gives people an opportunity to communicate with you, and importantly to find ways to help your organization. People can share news about your good works with their friends, and they can more easily find ways to help your organization financially, if your nonprofit organization depends on public fundraising in some way.

    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Any organization that is dedicated to “doing good” out in the world, in any way whatsoever, will benefit immensely from a presence on Facebook.[/perfectpullquote]

    Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides medical care where it is needed most in nearly 70 countries. They make excellent use of Facebook, as you can see for yourself.

  2. Maybe: Your Nonprofit organization is membership based, and serves primarily members of the organization

    Membership based nonprofits, such as professional associations, and clubs, may or may not benefit from a Facebook “Fan Page“. Business and organizational Fan Pages are meant to be public, and that is the key consideration.
    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Keeping in mind that Facebook Pages are public by default, whether your organization will benefit a lot, a little, or not at all, will depend largely on how important public outreach or input is to your organizational goals.[/perfectpullquote]
    For most professional associations a Facebook page should be an organizational priority. Especially if the members are part of a self-regulating profession. Self-regulating professions have obligations to the public, in addition to obligations to members of the profession. Anything that enables better communication, and enables increased transparency, will probably enhance the public perception of the profession.

    The OBA (Ontario Bar Association) uses a Facebook page. You can see immediately that they are reaching out to their members, but are also presenting a professional image to the public.

    Clubs can also benefit greatly from Facebook. However, in the case of private clubs, there is another option that should be considered. As with other organizations, a Facebook Page is a good idea if the club is reaching out to the public. If the club is more focused in serving club members than on public outreach, it should probably create a Facebook Group instead of a Facebook Fan Page. A Facebook group page serves as a home base for club members. It is a place on Facebook where members can share pictures, videos, and stories with each other. A place where members can meet each other online to communicate. Unlike a “page”, a “group” can be completely private so that only group members can participate in conversations or see each others posts.

    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A Facebook Page is best for an organization that wants to inform its members, or the public, and seek input or kudos from members and/or the public. A Facebook Group is best for an organization that wants a place for members to meet online and share things with each other.[/perfectpullquote]

  3. No: Your nonprofit organization is private, it serves only a very specific community and purpose.

    There are indeed nonprofit organizations for which Facebook may not be a worthwhile investment of time, energy, and money. The one that springs most immediately to my mind is a Condominium Corporation. Some larger condominiums, or condos with board and committee members that are already very active on social media might want to set up a Facebook Group for owners and residents, but many condo corporations are already faced with overworked volunteers that are struggling to keep up with the day-to-day demands of keeping their particular nonprofit running smoothly. These smaller organizations are likely best off with the philosophy of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

    Something for organizations in the “no” group to consider though, is that they may one day face demands for more transparency and/or better communications. [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A group may well be the answer to meeting demands for better communications. Unlike in the dating world, when it comes to social media for nonprofits “no” indeed might mean “maybe”.[/perfectpullquote]

     

When your nonprofit, NGO, or charity wants to talk about how to make Social Media work for it, get in touch. I’d love to help you out.

The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

entrepreneurs meeting

entrepreneurs meeting

Social Media and the Entrepreneur

For the entrepreneur, solopreneur, or sole practitioner, it often seems that business life is divided into two phases. Either we have a lot of work (and sometimes money) but zero time – or – we don’t have enough work or money to invest in marketing initiatives (like social media) that will bring in more money. This “money but no time” vs. “time but no money” is at the heart of the Entrepreneur’s Dilemma.

In my work, helping entrepreneurs get the most impact from their online presence, I come across variations of this theme nearly every day. It seems that nearly all business people have come to recognize the importance of social media and blogging to their online marketing efforts, but too many of them excuse a lack of execution with some version of the entrepreneur’s dilemma.

It’s either,

I’d like to do more online but I can’t afford to hire someone right now, and I don’t understand it well enough myself

or

I don’t have time to do my own social media marketing. I’d hire someone today to do our social media, but I also don’t have time to teach them about my business

The end result of either of these scenarios is that opportunities to build the business and cement relationships with clients are lost. Lost opportunities represent lost money, and at worst, the result of weak customer relationships can mean business failure during the inevitable downturns in the business cycle.

So What’s an Entrepreneur to do?

The good news is that it takes only a little bit of effort to overcome the entrepreneur’s dilemma when it comes to social media marketing and blogging. Let’s start with the first scenario. “I can’t afford to hire someone, and I don’t understand it well enough myself“.

Money may be tight, but the good news is that you have time. So basically all you need is a little bit of knowledge, and the discipline to apply it, for a few minutes every day. The first thing that needs to be done is to decide what social media platforms make the most sense for your business. It’s easy to either get overwhelmed into paralysis by all of the possible options, or just as bad, to join every network out there and the do a half-assed job of maintaining them all. I’m guessing that you didn’t get to where you are in life doing things half-assed.

Which Social Media Platform Makes Most Sense?

The answer to this question depends a lot on the nature of your business. I’ll provide a few suggestions.

  1. Retail Business (B2C)
    The key to choosing the right platforms is in selecting the ones on which your clients are most likely to be found. For a typical B2C (business to consumer) retail store that should start with Facebook, and probably include Instagram too. It’s not difficult to do both, because Instagram photos can be configured to show up automatically on your Facebook page. Just remember, that you want to set up a Facebook “fan page” for your business, that is separate from the page you use to communicate with your friends and family.
  2. Professional Practice (B2C)
    For professionals that serve consumers a Facebook business page is also the best place to start. Since virtually all your customers are on Facebook, it makes sense for your consumer focused professional presence to be there too. The biggest issue with Facebook is that business pages can be difficult to find, especially in the early days. Facebook offers the opportunity to pay for page ads to show up on targeted Facebook feeds. This can cost a few dollars, but can be done fairly inexpensively, and Facebook offers amazingly granular targeting, so you’re going to get huge bang for your buck there. All professionals, whether B2C or B2B (business to business) should also have an up to date LinkedIn page.
  3. Professional Practice (B2B)
    Here’s where Facebook becomes pretty much irrelevant! While every consumer is on Facebook, business users are on Facebook mostly for outreach to consumers. Trying to reach the right people at a business of any size, using Facebook, is probably going to be extremely unfruitful. Make sure you have Facebook page anyway – but don’t spend much time or energy there once you do. Just a quick check to respond to any comments or questions. B2B professionals need to be on LinkedIn, and more than that – to actually use LinkedIn. What do I mean by, “actually use”? Log on every day. Comment on interesting posts by other people. Post updates and ideas of your own using the Share an Update link, and better still, write the occasional article using the (what else!) Write an Article link. It’s also a good idea, even for a self-employed professional to have a blog—either on their existing website, or as a stand alone, that links to and from the website.
  4. Other Business to Business
    For any B2B business that goes beyond the solopreneur level, IE/there is more than one employee, the suggestions for best platform change. Having an up to date Facebook business page is still a good idea, but as with my suggestion (above) to B2B professional, it doesn’t make sense to do more than keep it current and monitor it – unless it becomes very busy. B2B businesses should concentrate their online marketing efforts where their business clients are most likely to be found online during business hours. And that’s going to be on the Web (as they search for products, services, and solutions to problems) and on Twitter, where many business people have their own Twitter feeds open on their desktops all day. Web-based social media marketing basically means blogging. Blogging requires the most input, in both time and money, but a good blog is by far the most effective tool for inbound marketing. Unlike the ephemeral nature of Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram (etc.), you blog posts are permanent. Blogging means that every new post adds more content to your online presence, and makes you increasingly important to search engines like Google and Bing. Using Twitter, in combination with your Blog, is like putting Batman and Robin to work for your business! Set up your blog to display your Twitter feed, and use Twitter to promote your blog posts.

Let’s Talk a Bit More About Scenario Number Two

You’ve read the section appropriate to your business type, and you’ve decided where to concentrate your social media marketing efforts. But you still don’t have time!

OK. My first and smart-ass, thought is just, “make time!” But since I’d never say anything as smart-assy as that, let’s talk about other options. The best option is to hire a person or an agency to manage your social media for you. If your business is big enough, with the human and financial capital to justify $4000 to $12,000 per month, you can probably stop reading, and start shopping now. There are a lot of good agencies that can fill all of your social media marketing needs, including post writing, account management, metrics measurement, etc.

Here’s where my own self-promotion kicks in!

I, and people like myself, offer social media services specifically intended to help busy professionals, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs, get maximum benefit from social media presence. In a nutshell, I offer the same services as I suggest that entrepreneurs should use themselves. I set up, manage, and maintain ONLY the social media platforms that make will bring the biggest return for the smallest possible investment. Typically that means, I can charge only $500 to $1000 per month instead of the $4000 to $12,000 per month typical of the bigger agencies.

Want to learn more? CONTACT ME

Jobseeking and Blogging

Jobseeking

There is a lot to think about while we are looking for a job. Jobseeking is a tough job. It’s a world of resumes and rejection letters, of occasional interviews, and too much insecurity—and too many “helpful” people offering too much “useful” advice!

For most people, social media seems to serve mostly as a time wasting distraction from the real business of looking for a job, and blogging seems like the ultimate in self-centered vanity. But that is not how it should be.

Perhaps the most difficult part of jobseeking is networking. It can be tough to network when we are out of the natural networks formed in a workplace. Blogging and social media are the keys that can open up new networks. The important thing is to use our blog wisely, with purpose, and determination.

So where does one start, and what can one do?

Let’s start with Facebook

If you’re not already on Facebook, get on it today. And if you are already using Facebook, remember that nearly every potential employer is going to take a look at your Facebook profile. If your profile is hopelessly personal and full of party pix or politics, change all your privacy settings to make that profile as private as possible. Then set up a Facebook “Fan Page” in your name that contains all the information that you’d like a potential employer to see. If you don’t have a Facebook profile yet, just use your newly created one as a home for the kind of posts that you’d like a potential employer to find.

NOTE: Personal pictures, family posts, friends comments, are all OK on Facebook. The goal here is not to make Facebook look the same as a blog or LinkedIn; it;s to have the kind of Facebook profile that an employer will think, “Gee, this person seems like they’d be a great fit here.”

Speaking of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the jobseekers best friend. It’s imperative that every jobseeking person has a LinkedIn and profile, that the profile is complete, and it is always kept up to date. If you’re serious about finding work, do it today. We’ll talk more about LinkedIn, and Facebook soon, in our next section…

About Your Blog

OK, now we’re ready to start blogging. Having an employer friendly Facebook page, and an up to date LinkedIn profile, is only the preparatory groundwork for our real mission. What is our real mission?

To have an online content magnet that sets us apart from all the other people looking for the same kind of jobs that we are.

Since money is probably more precious than time while looking for employment, an exception to my general rule that every blog should have a unique Domain Name and URL can be made for the jobseeker. If you can afford 8 or 9 dollars a month for yourname.com, I recommend that you go for it, but if money is tight, you can always use yourname.wordpress.com. Don’t get fancy or cute with the name of your blog. You are the product that blog will be pitching. Make it obvious. Make that clear.

How Can a Blog Help me with Jobseeking?

This, of course, is the question that you’ve been waiting for me to answer!

Remember what our goals are—to build our network AND to be the person that potential employers want to hire when they find us online.

We’ve already accomplished part of that goal by having our name in the URL and in the title of our blog. The next thing we need to do is start writing blog posts. What to post? The blog is to help us land a job, so our posts should emphasize the kinds of skills that we have to offer potential employers. If your an IT professional, blog about IT. Are you a marketing professional? Blog about marketing. If you’re a lawyer, blog about the law.

What if I find writing difficult?

Not everyone finds writing easy. Maybe you are someone that finds writing difficult or intimidating. You can still blog! Here are few tips to get you started blogging—even if writing doesn’t come easily to you.

  • Start your post with an image. Pictures a re captivating. Take a photo, or find an image that illustrates a point you’d like to make. Don’t be a pirate! Always acknowledge the source of your images, and link back to the web pages that host them. Most bloggers are happy to share with people that help bring traffic to their websites.
  • Share an interesting article from another blog. Post a brief (no more than a few sentences) from the article, add your own value to the article with some thoughts of your own. And (as with images) always link back to the article on the original website.
  • Write an article about a company you’d like to work for, or one of their products. Remember, you might want to work for one of this company’s competitors too. Always be positive, never write anything negative about any person or company. Stick to benefits and value propositions.
  • I’ve talked a bit more about this here.

Getting Readers, or Why we Started with Facebook and LinkedIn

You knew we weren’t finished with social media right? Now that we have a blog, it would be nice if we had people visiting it, and reading our posts. We can probably assume that the people that might want to hire us upon receipt of our resume will visit, but what we really want is to get in front of people that don’t get our resumes or applications before visiting. Here’s where our accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn begin to serve double duty.

Every blog post should be shared on LinkedIn and Facebook. Post a brief excerpt, just enough to tweak interest, and then a link to your blog article. Oh, and while we are on the topic of social media, don’t forget to add your blog URL to your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

Now Start Blogging and go Get That Job!

Social Media Marketing: DIY or Paid Professionals?

Facebook Twitter Blogging

Do it yourself, or pay a professional? The question comes up every day for self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs. For most people, most of the time, the answer is relatively straightforward. Unless you have expertise in the task that needs to be accomplished, it’s better to pay a professional. But when it comes to social media marketing, the answer can be less straightforward.

Self-employed people, unlike bigger organizations, are selling more than just a package of generic products or services. We are selling OURSELVES. We know that the factor most important to our clients is the personal service and expertise that we offer. Our advantage is ourselves. We are the value-add, the differentiation, the x-factor, that sets us apart from the competition. It follows then, that the best person to put that differentiation out there on social media is you.

AND THERE LIES THE DILEMMA

How do we leverage the strategic advantage that is ours alone, with the fact that most of us are not professional marketers and writers?

Realistically, there are only two options available to the typical entrepreneur:

  1. Do it yourself, and turn your weaknesses into strengths, by letting your personality shine through your writing and marketing quirks. This is actually not nearly as hard as it seems. Big companies pay professionals thousands upon thousands of dollars to “sound” authentic on social media. By definition, everything that you post on your own is already authentic! That in fact is the biggest reason that social media marketing succeeds. IMHO (in my humble opinion), the only reason NOT to do it yourself, is lack of time. An as an entrepreneur, time is always hard to find.
  2. Pay a professional to help you stay on top of your social media marketing. This can be accomplished in a few different ways. The easiest, most expensive, and IMHO, least effective way, is to outsource the entire process to an online marketing agency. I posted an example in a previous article, but in a nutshell, you end up paying a lot of money, getting much more than you really need, and losing the one thing that you sets you apart more than anything else – your individual voice – your authenticity.The better way forward is to hire an entrepreneur, just like you. Someone capable of speaking with same kind of authentic voice as you have AND who knows how to leave room for you to take part in the conversation. The service that I offer other entrepreneurs is specifically designed to be very affordable, and to offer enough to make sure that the social media presence of your business is consistent, ongoing, and professional. I post to your blog, to your Facebook page, and to your Twitter account. And I make myself available to help you post too, and help you choose any other platforms (like LinkedIn or Instagram or YouTube) that you might consider using in order to boost your presence.

Read my other article

or

Contact Me Now

 

 

Social Media Account Management

social media icons

What is “Social Media Account Management”?

Essentially, a social media account manager, or management service, looks after the social media needs of an organization. That service comes at a cost to the organization, and will nearly always include at least Twitter and Facebook. Larger organizations will have greater needs, and specialized organizations will have special needs.

The following quote offers some insight into what organizations in the private sector typically pay for social media account management services.

Creating a comprehensive strategy for social media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels (with a minimum of two social networks) costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month. If you want the social media agency to start the accounts from scratch and consult on a 4- to 12-month contract, you’ll pay between $3,000-$15,000 per month. What do they mean by channels, minimum of two? That’s just a fancy way of saying that the cost includes both Facebook and Twitter…I’m betting there’s probably an upcharge if your company wants Google+, too.

The Content Factory

Social media account management services are included in the social media marketing packages of agencies like The Content Factory. They provide great service, but their services often come at a cost that the typical self-employed professional entrepreneur can’t afford.

What about Buziness.com?

We offer a set of services designed to be a perfect fit with the needs of nonprofits, charities, and NGOs.

The goal of Buzzyness.com is to enable nonprofit organizations to manage their own social media accounts. To make that process as cost effective and simple as possible, we work with organizations to determine which social media platforms offer the most value to their unique requirements.

How do my prices and service compare with other agencies?

I’ll be blunt. My prices are significantly lower than the agencies and companies set up to service for profit organizations in the private sector.

The following example is not meant to show how for profit companies get “ripped off”, or how a big social media agency will “rip off” your nonprofit. It’s actually easy to see that by paying a lot of money, an organization can expect a lot of very good service. The issue, of course, is that the typical small to mid-sized non profit organization is being run on a budget that makes this level of service unaffordable. (My prices)

Example:

The Content Factory ($8000/month)

*The Content Factory positions itself as a lower cost alternative to the big agencies.

For $8,000 per month, here’s a rough outline of the social media marketing, digital PR, web content writing and content marketing you can get with The Content Factory – and we’re also able to negotiate a smaller package for a smaller price tag:

  • 3 blog posts a week. We’ll develop a keyword strategy that targets all of the search phrases you want to rank for. From there, we’ll build out an editorial calendar that systematically targets your keywords, while also offering informative, actionable and interesting content to your readers.
  • Monitoring of Twitter for related keywords, then pushing links/tweets to those talking about relevant topics. If people are tweeting about it, I’ll get an alert and can tell ’em all about your company
  • Getting relevant Twitterers to follow you – We hunt you down several hundreds of followers a week, targeting users by location, number of followers, number of updates, bio keywords and tweet keywords.
  • Daily Twitter updates (an average of 7-10 per day, focusing on interacting with thought leaders, journalists, existing and potential customers, etc.)
  • Managing the Facebook page – 2-3 updates per day, with a focus on sharing content from thought leaders and complimentary, non-competing businesses.
  • Facebook ads – Facebook ad campaign management with a $250 monthly budget built into the rates (you get ads, without being paid extra for them).
  • Google+ and LinkedIn management – With daily updates
  • Reddit Advertising – A mixture of posting, commenting, and generally being active in the community (or specific communities of your choosing). Reddit marketing is flexible, and heavily dependent on what your business does.
  • Custom social media graphics – At least 2 per week
  • Consistent PR – Our clients have been featured on the Today show, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, TechCrunch, Fox Business…the list goes on and on. Not a month goes by that one of our clients doesn’t get major national press coverage, and it’s a huge addition to social media work.
  • One press release per quarter – We’ll help you make news to make the news.
  • Helping you write articles, then pitching to major publications – One per month. Our clients have written articles that have been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, The Huffington Post and a variety of other influential publications.
  • Contest creation/management as needed. We’re big fans of contests, because they can draw all kinds of people to the site who would’ve never found it otherwise. Plus, they’re great for website traffic.
  • Social bookmarking submissions like woah. We submit to sites that nobody thinks of, but they certainly drive traffic. We also submit links to Quora, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc.

To help make sure we’re always on the same page, every month we send our clients a monthly update with the following information:

  • New Twitter followers and interesting interactions
  • New FB fans and interesting interactions
  • Google Analytics traffic reports
  • Number of blogs/articles written (with stats to match)
  • Feedback quotes from social networking sites
  • Links to media coverage we’ve gotten you/your company, social shares
  • Whatever other info/stats you want us to keep track of
  • Goals/milestones achieved
  • Tasks slated for the following month

So, that’s what we do and how much we do it for – you can click here for a much more thorough rundown of everything that’s included in our packages. In the interest of full disclosure: our rates are significantly less than the industry average, and it’s entirely possible that larger online PR agencies have more contacts and resources than we currently have access to.

Unfortunately, for a typical small or localized nonprofit a budget of $8000 a month exists only in the realm of fantasy. However, if your organization can justify and afford that amount, the Content Factory actually offers a heck of a lot of service for that amount of money.

So What Can a Nonprofit do?

There are a couple of options open to organizations on tighter budgets.

  • Look for volunteers
  • Hire a student
  • Hire a recent graduate
  • Hire a professional social media manager
  • or…

CONTACT ME

We can talk about an affordable solution that offers the best of both worlds. Professional guidance, informed decision making, appropriate account setup, initial training, and customized ongoing support options to fit every budget.