social media for business

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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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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One of the things that I still don’t like about Facebook Timelines for Business is the way posts by others are grouped in a box, instead of featuring as your own post would.

There is a way of overcoming this, although Facebook has hidden it well! It’s a manual solution, but at least you get to choose which comments to feature in your Facebook Timeline.

Go to your “recent posts by others” box. Hover over a message and a cross will appear in the top right corner. Click on it (go on, be brave – you won’t delete it!) and then click on “allowed on page”.

When you refresh your Page, this update will have magically moved to the left so that any visitors to your page will be able to see it, just as they would one of your own posts.

Go on, try it as soon as you get a new comment!

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I think there are many companies who have got to this point, and it’s probably the worst reason to get involved with Facebook, Twitter and social media in general.

Let’s press the pause button and consider …

-          Your business goals

-          How will social media help you achieve them?

-          What does success look like?

-          What’s your strategy to get there?

If you’re struggling to answer any of these questions, then do give us a call and we can help through the process.

Once you’ve answered these questions then it’s time to implement, but do keep referring back to keep yourself on track with your strategy.

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I’m often asked by industrial manufacturing businesses if there is any benefit to them using social media. The short answer is yes, the longer answer is…

Well, for a start – are you sure? It’s still early days for social media in the industrial manufacturing sector, so your customers may not have a Business Page yet, although many do, but are you sure they don’t use Facebook or Twitter on a personal basis?

In the UK there are 30 million people on Facebook, around 12 million on Twitter, with 8 million using LinkedIn and I find it hard to believe that your customers don’t account for some of these huge numbers …

However, if I’m wrong, does it really matter? Every post on social media is indexed by search engines, so as long as you use your keywords, you have a chance of a search engine finding that tweet or update when a potential customer is searching for a product. Isn’t that reason enough?

 

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Twitter icon
I’ve just been doing some research for a talk I’m giving in a couple of weeks time, and I came accross a blog post dating back to 2008 from Chris Brogan. I was surprised at how relevant it still is, so, bar a few points that I think we’ve moved on from now, I’m going to share it with you…

First Steps

  1. Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
  2. Add a picture. We want to see you.
  3. Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
  4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
  5. Share links to neat things in your community.
  6. Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead.
  7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  8. Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories.
  9. Throw in a few humans to interact with.
  10. Talk about non-business too.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  1. Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  2. Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  3. When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  4. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  5. Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
  6. Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy”
  7. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  8. Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  9. Don’t toot your own horn too much.
  10. Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  1. You don’t have to read every tweet.
  2. You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  3. Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation.
  4. Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  5. 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  6. If you tweet all day while your co-workers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  7. If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
  8. Use the URL shortening tool that Hootsuite offers, or one like bit.ly. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  9. If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  10. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  1. Twitter takes up time.
  2. Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
  3. Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  4. There are other ways to do this.
  5. Twitter doesn’t replace customer service, but it can complement it.
  6. Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
  7. Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  8. Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  1. Twitter works well as an opinion poll. Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  2. Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
  3. Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  4. Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  5. Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  6. Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online.
  7. Twitter can augment customer service.

 

You can check out the original article here.

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I’m talking about closing the sale of course. No smut on my blog!

If you have then well done you, but I imagine on most occasions it’s taken some to-ing and fro-ing. In fact there’s a generally accepted rule in marketing that says it takes seven points of contact before someone will buy from you.

What that means is your potential customer needs to see or hear your name seven times before they’ll be comfortable doing business with you. Sounds like hard work right? Or maybe not …

  •          Start  blogging
  •          Set your company up on appropriate social networking sites, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+
  •          Build a targeted, relevant following
  •          Drive potential customers to your blog
  •          Make sure your blog advertises all your social media pages

Bounce potential customers from Twitter to your blog, onto Facebook, then to your website, back to your blog – you get the idea? Before you know it a handful or more of your seven points of contact are covered, so when you do speak to them, they are a much warmer lead, and may already be well on the way to having decided to do business with you.

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Happy New YearIt’s that time of year when I really feel the need to plan. Are you the same? I love making new year resolutions and I’m world class at failing to achieve most of them. But just that act of attempting them, brings you closer to your goal. What’s that saying “If you aim for the moon, even if you fail, you may land among the stars.” Well, reaching the stars would be pretty cool, so I’ll continue making new year resolutions, knowing that they’ll bring me closer to my goal, if not all the way there. So, just in case you haven’t yet made yours, I’ve planned for you too – social media style, naturally :-)

1.  Claim your usernames. Your brand is your identity in business. Even if you don’t plan on using all of them, you may change your mind in the future. By claiming them now, you’re saving yourself a lot of potential trouble in the future.

2.  Pick two or three social media sites where you know your audience is and focus on them. There are too many social media platforms to be everywhere, so schedule some time each and every day to be effective in your chosen arenas. Once you get the hang of these, you might choose to spread your wings and try some others. By the way, I do mean “schedule” some time. It’s important, so slot it in your diary just as you do other important tasks. If you leave to to chance and plan to slot it in when you have some spare time, it just won’t happen..

3.  Commit to Blogging more. It’s often hard to find the time, or indeed the motivation to blog, but really it’s just a habit that you need to form. Create a blogging callender – jot down subjects to co-incide with special days over the year ie National Day of the “whatever”, if the start of summer means that people need to stock up on one of your products, then schedule a blog around that, would your customers be interested in how to make the perfect pancake for Shrove Tuesday? You know your business, just be creative and (apologies for the phrase!) think outside the box. When you have your “special days” completed, fill in the blanks by brainstorming with your colleagues. Callender created? Now you need to schedule blogging time in your diary.

4.  Most Facebook Fans expect special offers or discounts for “liking” a brand on Facebook. What exclusive deals can you offer your fans? Again, be creative and leave them in no doubt as to why they “like” you.

5.   I’ve left this one to last, but it’s by no means the least important. Promote your social media accounts. It takes time and effort to get them working for you, so it makes sense to do the easy stuff and allow your clients and potential clients to find you. Put your social media links on all printed and digital media, including your website, customer receipts, newsletters, email signatures, business cards, headed paper, compliment slips etc as well as putting a sign up in your reception area. Social Media isn’t supposed to be a secret, so shout it from the rooftops (metaphorically speaking, says she anticipating lawsuits for broken bones!)

There you are, five, powerful, New Year Resolutions for your business. What do you think? Can you commit to Social Media to move your business forward, or does it all sound like too much effort?

Over the years I’ve learned that in order for a goal to be achieved, you have to want it, which is significantly different to knowing you “should” do it. I think most businesses are aware that they should be embracing social media, but many haven’t yet found the motivation to make it reality.

If you’re in the “want to do it” bracket, then great – good luck and give me a shout on Facebook or Twitter if I can be of any help.

If you’re in the “should do it” bracket, then can I suggest that we have a chat. I offer a fully managed service, which means that you get the benefits without having to make time to work out what to do and how to find time in your already busy day. Just pick up the phone and dial 01462 615821, for a no obligation chat to see if we could work together on your business.

 

 

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LinkedIn logoFollowing on from my previous LinkedIn Blog, I wanted to add a very simple strategy for making the most of every opportunity.

I often get people requesting to add me to their network, even though I don’t know them from Adam. In the interest of building my network, I usually agree. I have to admit that, for a while, this is as far as it went until I began to realise that this was a missed opportunity.

 Assuming these people weren’t randomly linking with anyone, then there had to be a reason for contacting me. It could be because several years ago I worked for a packaging company and they like packaging, but I think not. It’s more likely they’re interested in what I do now. So wouldn’t it be rude of me not to make contact and have a chat about Social Media, their needs and how we could help them? I think so!

Maybe you could adopt this strategy? I’m sure it would work for many people – how about you and your business? I’d love to know how you get on with it…

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On an aeroplane you’re told that if the oxygen masks come down, you should put your own on before your children’s. As a parent, I know I’d find that extremely difficult, but I can see why it’s the right thing to do. So why is it that I find it so hard to put my needs before anybody else’s?

It’s the same in my business. I look after my client’s social media come hell or high water, it’s always mine that suffers. It’s a bit like the builder whose house is falling down around him – although, thankfully, my natural self-discipline wouldn’t allow me to get that bad!

So when I hear businesses telling me they don’t have time to “do” social media, I really do understand, but I also know how powerful it can be and that EVERY business needs to be on the social media scene if they still want to be around and trading successfully in 5 years.

To find out how I can help with your social media give me a call on 01462 615821 or email me now.

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