These days I think it would be naive of us to believe that potential employers don’t research job candidates on social media to aid the recruitment process, just looking through my own Facebook newsfeed that shows my Facebook Friends’ posts, I can see many inappropriate images and statuses; drunken nights out, racist comments, extreme political views, it’s all there, and as many people haven’t given any thought to their privacy settings, it’s often on view to the world and his wife, oh, and potential employers. With Twitter it’s even worse as it’s all there and fully searchable!

If you’re reading this and at some point in the future you might look for a new job, then I urge you to think twice about the image you create of yourself every time you post an update or tweet. If you’re anything like me then you have lots of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, some will be people you are genuinely friends with, but others may be vague acquaintances, people you went to school with who you haven’t seen since, and some complete strangers. The only knowledge they have of you is what you tell the world; you could be interested in baking, the environment and recycling, but you often post racist rants – so how will a stranger “see” you? Just think about how you’d like people to perceive you, and moderate your posts and tweets accordingly.

If you’re an employer and you can’t resist the urge to Google your potential new employee, then you need to know that there are rules about what you can take into account and what you need to ignore. To be honest, I really think the safest bet is to ask a 3rd party to do the research for you, and make sure they only report back on what you’re allow to base your judgement on.

The CIPD have produced a handy resource called “Pre-employment checks: an employer’s guide” which includes a section on using social media to support the recruitment process. I urge you to download this and take their advice.

As ever, if I can help you with your social media for a one off project, training, on-going support or a complete done for you service, then please contact me or pick up the phone and call 01462 615821.

 

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If you have a Facebook Page for your business, you’re probably constantly trying to increase the number of people who see your Facebook updates.

There are several ways to do this.

  • Create awesome content so that people comment, like and share your posts
  • Ask lots of questions; you’ll find that people want to give you an answer
  • Make sure you post when people are most likely to be looking through their newsfeed

Today I’d like to show you how to find out when your Page Likers are actually using Facebook. You’re going to do this by utilising Facebook Insights – a tool which remains a mystery to most business owners.

First of all, go to your Page and click on Facebook Insights. You can find the “See Insights” button right at the top of your admin panel. Click on that and your Insights Dashboard will appear. This is where you can measure the impact your posts are having; what posts are most popular with your audience, which posts get the most engagement etc

I would encourage you to play around with your Facebook Insights and see what you can find to help you, but for now, you will see a row of tabs at the top, click on “Posts”.

A graph will appear – this is what mine looks like…

Screen shot of Lesley Whiteman Social Media's Facebook Page

 

Across the top you will see boxes representing each day in a recent 1 week period. If you move your cursor over the boxes, the graph will alter to show when those people were on Facebook. So I can see that my Likers use Facebook pretty much all day, but slightly more in the evenings, with a peak at around 8-9pm during the week and earlier at weekends.

So how can you use this information to your advantage? I would post just before your peak so it’s waiting in your Likers newsfeeds. If I was an early riser I might be tempted to post straight away, but I’d be better off scheduling my posts (using Facebook’s own scheduler) for mid evening. Even better, I could get in the habit of being on Facebook at the right time and posting when my potential clients are actually there. That way I could respond to people immediately and Facebook would show my posts to more of my Likers as it prefers a real time posts – I like to see it as a thankyou for spending time at Facebook.

If your audience is worldwide, then you may find you have several peaks and will need to post accordingly. You could even target your posts to the audience that you will have at that moment in time. To help you with this, go back to where you have the tabs at the top of the Page and click on people – there you can find out what countries your Likers are from. At the other end of the spectrum, if you market to a very local audience, you can also see which town your Likers are from.

I’d love to hear how you’re using Insights to help you to maximise Facebook for your business. Please comment below.

 

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dropbox-logos_dropbox-logotype-blue

If you are a current user of any social media site, you’re probably well aware that images work really well, from cute furry animals, to inspirational quotes cleverly overlaid onto beautiful scenes, not forgetting your product shots if it’s a tangible item that you’re selling.

If you’re using lots of images, then chances are they’re taking up lots of space on your hard-drive, which is one of the reasons why people store their photos on a cloud based system such as Dropbox. Another reason is that it’s really easy to share images and files with family, friends or business associates – so it does away with the need to email images and risk that really annoying bounce back because your email is too big to be accepted!

Personally, I use Dropbox as a way for clients to send images to me. It’s invaluable and also means that I can access those images at any computer so my business is fully mobile. However, does that leave me vulnerable? What would happen if Dropbox was to close, or they had an issue and the site was down for a while? If I haven’t backed up those images, then they could be lost to me. That would be a huge pain, possibly disastrous, and extremely upsetting on a personal level if I’ve lost my treasured family photos.

Today I’d like to share with you how to back-up your Dropbox folders. It’s incredibly quick and simple and I urge you to make a note in your diary to do this on a regular basis.

To back up everything from your Dropbox account, log in to your account via the Dropbox Web site, then hit Ctrl+A to highlight all your files and folders. Click on the Download button which appears at the top. Your folders will then download a Dropbox.zip file to your computer. That’s it. Now you’ve got all your Dropbox files in a single zipped file for just in case a spanner gets stuck in the works or you decide to change providers.

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Win call to action buttonFacebook has updated its Pages Terms to make it easier for businesses to create and manage promotions on Facebook.

The biggest change is that they’ve removed the rule that promotions on Facebook can only be administered through third party apps.

You can now administer them directly from your Facebook Page as well as apps, so, you can…

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Ask for likes as a voting mechanism

So what do we have missing from this list? You should note that asking people to share your Page as a condition of entry is still forbidden – presumably as this would mean lost revenue for Facebook in terms of paying to promote your competition. Potential lost revenue is going to be close to Facebook’s heart, so be sure not to break that rule or you’re in danger of having your Page closed without warning!

As before, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal timelines, so if you’re running your business as a personal profile (and, frustratingly, many are!) that’s another reason to convert to a Page.

You also can’t ask people to tag themselves in a picture if they’re not actually featured in it, so…

  • It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product as a condition of entry
  • It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

If you need more information, Facebook have some Promotion Guidelines, which include FAQs and best practices for running promotions through Facebook.

You can also check out the updated Page Terms.

 

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Have you ever considered how burglars could be harvesting the information you post on Facebook? This is relevant to both Personal Profiles as well as Business Pages, particularly if you work from home. Your Facebook Page is public and if you announce that you’re going on holiday for 2 weeks, how difficult would it be for a burglar to find out where you live?

How Burglars Are Using Social Media

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

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hands tiedHow many Facebook Page admins do you have for your Facebook Business Page? Chances are it’s just you. I’ve always made sure I had two for each and every one of the Pages I manage, but I’m now upgrading that to three.

This week, one of my social media colleagues was banned from her personal Facebook account for 24 hours, for nothing. Someone reported one of her comments as offensive and Facebook acted immediately and closed her down. Luckily she wasn’t the only Admin for her pages, so she could still access them, but what if the same thing happened to you? And what if it was for longer than 24 hours? One of my friends had her account closed for good for “illegal activity”- luckily she was just a personal user, with no Pages attached to her profile, so her livelihood wasn’t affected – would yours be?

So, what to do next…

  • Who do you trust enough to give admin status for your Facebook Page – it will need to be at manager level - Remember that you’re giving them all the rights that you have, and theoretically they could take away YOUR admin status, so do make sure you trust them implicitly
  • Ask them to Like your Page
  • Go to Edit Page> Manage Admin Roles
  • Key in the email address they use to sign in to Facebook
  • They should appear as an admin, then click on save

If you’d like to read about what happened to my colleague in her own words, click here. Don’t assume that she did anything really bad – she didn’t! This is a wake-up call for us all…

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Today we’re looking at Facebook competitions.  I know that many businesses aren’t aware of the rules that are in Facebook’s T&C’s, but some are. I can say this with conviction as I’ve made several companies aware they’re breaking the rules and I’ve even informed them of the consequences, but still they persist.

When running a “legal” competition, you need to use the services of a 3rd party app, or host it elsewhere, such as your website. Simply saying “Like this post to be entered into a competition to win this prize” isn’t allowed. You also can’t ask people to share a post and when you reach 500 likes you’ll pick a winner at random. In short, you can’t use a function of Facebook as entry – post Likes, shares and comments are all classed as functions of Facebook.

Running an “illegal” competition could result in you having your Page shutdown with no warning and no chance of appeal. Having said this, many companies seem to get away with it – but is it worth the risk?

What I dislike most about companies breaking the rules is that it makes it so much harder for us who choose to follow the rules we agreed to when we signed up. You see, Liking a page to enter a competition is really easy – it’s quick and I don’t need to give you my email address, so no risk of the dreaded spam. If I enter a Facebook competition that’s being run correctly, I may need to answer a questions and I’ll definitely need to give you my contact details – otherwise how will you tell me I’ve won? Many entrants don’t understand the rules – and why would they – seriously, who reads the T&C’s? So when they’re asked for their email address, instead of just clicking on Like, it can put people off. Wouldn’t it be better if we all stuck to the rules and then everyone in Facebook Land would know what to expect

So, what do we do about it? Well we could ignore it and let Facebook find out in their own sweet time, or we could be a little more pro-active…  How about this? Next time you see an “illegal” Facebook competition, why not tell the Page owner that it’s against Facebook rules? It’s polite, and it’s helpful – I think. If they persist – and you often see the same companies running competition after competition, why not consider reporting it? The quicker everyone plays by the rules, the quicker we will have a level playing field. I know it’s controversial, so I’m going to leave you to make up your own mind, but I do think it needs your consideration. If you choose to report them, this is where you need to go to Facebook Help Centre

If you’d like to run your own Facebook competition, here are a couple of 3rd party apps you could take alook at

Offerpop

Shortstack

What are your thoughts on this? Please share them below…

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I wonder if I could have just a minute of your time? I’m planning on running a series of workshops later in the year, and maybe some other training systems and I’d really value your feedback on how you prefer to learn, what subjects to cover and how to price them. I’ve set up a VERY short survey and I’d really appreciate you taking a minute to give me your views.

 

Please click here to go directly to my survey.

 

If you have any comments that you weren’t able to express in my survey, please tell me below.

 

Thanks so much :)

 

Click here to take my short survey

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ALL CHANGE! Facebook have now removed the 20% text rule for cover images. Knowing how frequently Facebook make changes (!?!) I’m leaving this post here in anticipation of the rule changing again!

There are two areas where businesses continually flout Facebook rules – we’re talking about Facebook cover images and competitions. Today we’re going to look at cover images and I’ll be blogging later in the week about competitions, so do pop back!

Your cover image is the big image which appears at the top of your Page – the one that your profile pic sits on top of. A recent rule change states that images may not contain more than 20% text. So if your image is covered in text telling your customers all about you, then you need to change it and fast! If Facebook catch you, they’ll close you down with no warning, which could be devastating for your business if this is the only way you communicate with you customers.

If you only have a little text on your cover image, you can check if it’s under 20% right here:

 

Just pop in your Page URL where it asks for your fanpage ID in the bottom left corner and then count how many squares you can see text in. If it’s more than 5, then you’re breaching current rules and you need to make some changes. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple as text in product shots doesn’t count in the 20%, so take a few minutes to check out the latest image guidelines.

Facebook do close Pages down regularly for not following the rules they agreed to when they first joined – let’s face it, who actually reads those T&C’s?

Please share this post on your Facebook Page to let other business owners know, and if this rule was news to you, let me know by leaving a comment.

 

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Man walking through a maze

Is there a quicker way?

 

Over the years I’ve helped many sole traders establish how to make social media marketing work for them. What they need is a strategy that will be effective, but also won’t take too much time. After all, they wear many hats; service provider/manufacturer, book keeper, cleaner, tea maker, sales person and more!

As part of my training, I make them aware of social media shortcuts they can take. The trouble with these shortcuts is that they’re not ideal – they have consequences. I don’t see it as my role to tell people which ones to take, just to inform them they exist, and also to point out the down-side and then people can make their own decisions. We’re all adults, and we all have our own ideas on what is and isn’t good business practise.

What I’d like to do is conduct a little research here and find out from you what shortcuts you use, and which ones really put you off. I don’t expect to reach a definitive answer, although it would be great if I could report back in a future blog what the majority prefer.

Linking Facebook to Twitter – This means that everything you post to Facebook gets tweeted. The downside is that often tweets are partial sentences and you have to click on the link to read the whole post on Facebook. It can also be perceived by you Twitter followers that you don’t really care about them.

Linking Twitter to Facebook – This means that all your Tweets will be posted on your Facebook Page. Unfortunately Twitter has a language of its own so retweeting, hash-tagging and follow Friday makes no sense to Facebook users who don’t use Twitter. Again, does it also show a lack of appreciation for your Facebook Fans?

Using Hootsuite or similar  - Hootsuite has lots of benefits that have no negative implications, such as scheduling to twitter and following twitter lists, but when it’s used to schedule posts to Facebook you’ll often find that Facebook will penalise you by not showing the post to as many of your Fans than if you’d posted it directly on Facebook.

Personally I don’t use any of these shortcuts for my fully managed clients, although I do use Hootsuite for its many positive aspects, and encourage my training clients to do this too, but it’s my business, whereas your business is probably something entirely different and social media can only take up a small fraction of your working day.

I would really appreciate some feedback on this, so if you could comment on…

Which shortcuts do you use – any of the above or something different?

Are there any that really irritate you and shouldn’t be used?

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