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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As Facebook Graph Search is gradually being rolled out, now is probably a good time to have a look at your privacy settings and ensure you’re comfortable with who can see your posts, pictures and personal information.

This infographic, courtesy of Marketo, shows how to customize your privacy settings in order to control who sees the content you post.

Please share this post with your friends and family as they could be among the 13 million Facebook users who have never touched their privacy settings.

 

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OK, this is my blog and I reserve the right to go “off subject” whenever I feel the urge! Today, I’m feeling it…

Let me start by wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Now, for some of you, this may come as a shock. I don’t know why, unlike Easter, Valentine’s Day is on the same date every year, but some people seem incapable of remembering it – am I talking to just Men? Probably not. Am I talking to the un-romantics amongst you? Possibly… or maybe you’re just too darn busy to remember everything! I can relate to that.

If you have forgotten, I have an idea here that will save the day, and possibly your relationship! I can’t claim to have thought of it (I found it on eco empire), I’m just passing it on as I absolutely love it – what’s more it doesn’t cost a penny (well, not today!)

Did you ever make one of those origami fortune tellers at school? I know I did and my daughter brought one home from school recently, so they’ve obviously stood the test of time. Well that’s what you need to make, but instead of it telling your fortune, it’s going to plan future dates for you. You fill it with mix and match activities and let it plan your date night. What I really love is that it can be a symbol of your commitment to spend regular quality time together. So once a month, out comes your fortune teller and you let it decide how you get to spend your date night – don’t you love it? You can find all the instructions here

Just a thought, you might like to present your gift over a candle-lit dinner that you’ve lovingly prepared for your sweetheart.

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I like this new development from Facebook! Rolling out in the US as I write, is the Facebook Card, which is a gift card, but, as we’ve come to expect from Facebook it has a little extra pizazz.

Through Facebook, you’ll be able to decide on the retailer and the value and then complete the transaction. Your friend will get an instant notification of your gift and the Facebook Card will arrive in the post within a few days. Your friend can then use it in the normal way, but they need to hold onto the card as it’s re-usable. Next time they’re lucky enough to be the recipient of a Facebook Card, they won’t even have to wait for Mr Postie as the credit will  be added to their card instantly.

What I really like is that one card can hold multiple gift balances, which might just reduce the number of cards we all carry around with us. So within your Facebook Card, you might have £20 to spend at one store and £50 to spend at another, more if you’re lucky! What’s more you can view your balances online or even from your phone via your account settings, and Facebook will notify you of any changes to your balance by sending a notification to your phone.

I hope this rolls out in the UK too! What are your thoughts?

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What do you think of the latest Twitter updates? I use Hootsuitelatest updates copy for most of my Twitter activities, so I only noticed these today…

If when typing a tweet you exceed the 140 character limit, Twitter now hi-lite this text in red. This is a bit more obvious that the character countdown, so I likey.

Also, if you include a link in your tweet, Twitter now change this text to blue, so again, it’s more obvious.

What do you think? Do you like? Does it improve your Twitter experience?

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Are they faking it copyIf they have oodles more than you, but you’re quite happy with the job you’re doing, then maybe their followers aren’t quite the Holy Grail you’ve assumed…

Websites such as www.fiverr.com can be great for getting the odd job done at a great price – $5, since you asked so nicely – but they also offer things like 1,000 Twitter followers for $5. If you go for deals like this, make no mistake, these followers WILL NOT be interested in you, they’re unlikely to even be real people!

Once you buy these fake followers, it  becomes difficult to determine your numbers. For example, if you want to track what percentage of your followers retweet your tweets or reply to direct messages, your fake followers really throw a spanner in the works.

Also, what’s the point? If you re-visit your objectives for your social media campaign, does it say something along the lines of “Maximise Twitter Followers even if there is zero chance of them ever buying my product” ? If it does, then please accept my apology and pop along to Fiverr immediately. If it doesn’t then stay strong and continue as you were, or maybe enlist the help of a social media trainer to see if you can learn some new strategies for building your followers.

I’m based in Bedfordshire and offer one to one training sessions, but if you’re too far away from me, I belong to a network of social media managers and may well be able to recommend someone, so please ask.

By the way, if you’re curious about the number of Twitter followers your competitors have, go and check them out on Social Baker’s Fake Followers tool. It’s an eye opener!

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Lesley Whiteman Social Media is proud to announce that we are now a HootSuite Pro Solution Partner.

HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. Key social network integrations include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, plus a suite of social content apps for YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Yammer, Tumblr and more.

In late 2012 HootSuite hit 5 million users, including 79 of the Fortune 100 companies. Along with HootSuite’s web platform, 20% of users access the dashboard through their mobiles including iPhone, Android, Blackberry and iPad. HootSuite also offers localized versions of their dashboard in 12 languages – English, French, Italian, Japanese, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, Dutch, Polish, and Indonesian.

There are many benefits to HootSuite Pro

Engage: Optimize your audience engagement by creating search streams, scheduling messages and monitoring all of your social network profiles from one customizable web and mobile dashboard.

Collaborate: Invite clients and colleagues to participate in your social media management. Assign messages for follow up and share streams, helping you increase efficiency.

Analyze: Measure your efforts using over 40 social analytics modules to build and share custom reports. Or select from one of our pre-made templates for quick and easy reporting.

Secure: Share access with team members without compromising security. The team permission levels and advanced sharing options ensure you remain in control of your valuable social profiles and accounts.

Sign up for a 30-day free trial of HootSuite Pro now.

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You know that Facebook business page that you’ve created – the one that you’ve spent hours creating interesting content for and have spent good money on Facebook Ads to build your following? Well earlier this year Facebook let slip that most users only see about 16% of updates from business pages like yours.

It’s a shocking statistic, isn’t it? The reason for this is Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. This comes from Facebook’s desire to present you with the most relevant and valuable updates from your network and it isn’t something that marketers can afford to ignore.

So what is EdgeRank?

EdgeRank determines which posts you see and which ones you don’t from the value of your social objects — statuses, links, photos, videos.

Facebook views all of these inputs as “edges” and gives them a value based on the following factors:

1. Affinity score between viewing user and edge creator

2. Weight for this edge type (like, comment, tag, etc.)

3. Time decay is a factor based on how long ago the edge was created

What Does this Mean to You?

Affinity — How close are you to the user? Do they interact with you regularly on Facebook? If they do, that’s great! EdgeRank will probably show your content to that user more often. Unfortunately, affinity is only one way, so Liking everything your fans say will not improve your EdgeRank.

Weight — This relates to the level of engagement your Page has. Photos and videos usually create more engagement so Facebook may give more weight to these types of posts. It might be worth experimenting to find out if creating this type of content means it reaches more of your fans.

Time Decay — A great title, but all it really means is that the older your post is, the less chance it has of being in your fan’s home feed. What’s that saying about yesterday’s news being tomorrow’s fish & chip wrapper? This is why it’s important to post regularly on Facebook.

How Can You Optimize Facebook now you’re in the Know?

If you’re looking for engagement, remember to ask questions — instead  “Hope you had a great weekend” try “What did you do over the weekend?”

Facebook gives you the option of targeting your page updates demographically, so if it’s appropriate, segment your posts to increase relevance and foster engagement.

We’d love to hear how experimenting with your content affects the number of people who see your posts, so do leave a comment below, and don’t forget to comment regularly on our Facebook Page if you want to see our posts in your newsfeed!

 

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If you thought once you’d Liked a Facebook Page you’d be seeing all its status updates, think again…

Facebook determines what to send to your newsfeed based on how often you visit a particular page and how often you interact with it – so if you don’t visit a page often, and when you do, you’re a passive visitor, Facebook may decide that you’re not really interested in them, and stop posting their updates to your newsfeed.

If you’d like to receive all status updates from your favourite pages, here’s what you need to do…

  • Hover your mouse over the “Liked” button, or click on it – I’m afraid Facebook is far from consistent! One of those ways should work…
  • Once you get the drop down menu, Make sure that “Show in News Feed” is checked.

In theory, this should solve the problem of Facebook second guessing what you want to see and getting it wrong! However, to be sure, go back to your favourite pages regularly and don’t rely on Facebook to send what you want to see, to your newsfeed.

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If you’re selling to the general public, Twitter can be a great way to connect with your target audience. First of all, you need to know who your target market is and also give some thought as to how they phrase their tweets

So, if you’re a catering company and you want to increase the number weddings you cater for, then searching out newly engaged couples would probably be a good idea. A common tweet for this kind of life event would be “Congratulations to Sandra and Bob on their engagement”. For a search to work effectively you need to use just 2 or 3 words – fewer than this and your results will be too general, many more than this and you won’t get much of a result.

So from my example tweet, take out the words that are unnecessary or could be changed. For instance, I often type congrats and not congratulations, so I would leave that word out. Also take out the small insignificant words and the names (unless you only want to work with people called Sandra & Bob!) What you’re left with is “their engagement”.

You can translate this into whatever your target market is. If you’re a plumber, you could look for people complaining about a dripping tap, if you’re a hypnotherapist wanting to work with people who would like to lose weight, maybe you could search for people tweeting about having a fat day?

When you’ve followed people that are in your target market, how you proceed will depend on how they’ve phrased their tweet. Do they have an immediate need? You could jump right in there, or maybe you could ask a friend to recommend you? Recommendations by someone else are so much more powerful than us selling ourselves, don’t you think?

Going back to the engagement scenario, I would create a Twitter list of people to keep in touch with, by clicking on the head and shoulders icon next to the blue following button, and then clicking on add or remove from lists and following the instructions. I’d then engage with them, comment on their tweets, answer their questions, and, when the time is right, when their need becomes more pressing, you can offer your services, or, as I suggested before, get a friend to recommend you.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on…

If all of this sounds like too much effort, I often do just the background work for clients. So I do the searches and create the lists and my clients do the engaging, or, I also take on the engaging and take it right up to the point where there is a potential sale. At this point, I would hand over to my client for the negotiations to take place. Maybe we could help you?

 

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