Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Facebook Adventure Begins

Greetings my fellow social media gods and goddesses. The Social Networking Express is now arriving at our next destination: The World of Facebook. We are going to be visiting this world for awhile so unpack your bags for day 1 of our visit. Today’s tour takes us to the Land of Posting on Facebook so that you can be familiar with what to post or not to post there.

The World of Facebook, where there is a thin line between personal and business, is perhaps the best social networking site so far. It has so many bells and whistles that one can get overwhelmed easily with what to do with it all.

So many got into Facebook to just keep in touch with family and friends and it is understandable when it comes to personal pages you would want to keep it that way. However, when it comes to your professional life you may not want to mix the two and this is where the fine line is drawn. The rule of thumb is personal page for you, business page (aka fan page) for your business but as your business page is linked to your personal page it is easy for that line to get blurred and fuzzy. What is best to remember here is that you are your business, the face of and the person behind it. You can use your personal page as a way for not only people to get to know you but for you to reach out to others. Here are some things to remember when posting.

Keep your personal page posts personable but not personal. Do not share anything on there you would not want to read in a newspaper if your posts were to be published there. Think about what it is you are posting for you are not only sharing a piece of you but it also gives people reading it something to relate to. People do business with others they know and trust. So post things of interest to you. Do you really want to post that you and your spouse are fighting? If you are posting a picture of your dinner, then say something about it. If it is something you made then talk about that. If the picture is from your favorite dining spot, then post information about that. Remember you are talking to people when you post and not at them. Would you email a friend a picture of a dish you just made without telling them more about it? Probably not, then don’t do that on facebook. When people read your posts they are listening to you. What are you saying to them?

When posting about such things as the news, weather etc make it inevitable so as to engage in a conversation with those listening to you. Negative posts end a conversation. If you post something like “I hate the rain”, where is the conversation in that? If you were instead post….Wow look at all that rain, how is it effecting your day? That invites people to respond. While you will want to express your own personality in your post, I am sure you get the idea.

The key to successful posts is to remember that you are conversing with your readers. This also applies when posting about your business, products or services. Would you post “Lunch Special 5.99 today” or would you post something more like. “You are invited to (insert business name here) for our lunch special of the best hamburger in town with fries and choice of drink all for 5.99” and then post a picture of your special. Another way would be to post “Are you going to be in Cape Coral for lunch today? Well you are cordially invited to join us for our 5.99 lunch special of and then talk about your lunch special. Think of it as inviting a friend to lunch. You can apply this technique to just about any business you may have. Think about how you talk to your friends about what you do and then apply that to your posts.

Your posts either personal or business should have value, should be conversational and invite responses. This is a skill set that you will develop and get better at the more you do it. Have fun with it. Enjoy it as you do when you socialize with friends or network your business.

Day 2 of our tour of The World of Facebook will take us to the destination of the Land of Interaction. So till then you are free to tour The World of Facebook on your own. Enjoy your stay!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Social Networking 101

Greetings, my fellow social media gods and goddesses. Today our adventure is taking us into the world of Social Networking. So hop on board the Social Media Express as we dash towards our first destination…. Social Networking 101.

I am sure many of us have been using social networking in some form or fashion for some time now. Even if you are new to this form of marketing you might just want to have a better understanding of what this world is all about and why you are doing it and what it can do for you. Have you read all those articles that say how much money one can make using social networking? I find them rather entertaining in respect to some of the outrageous claims. The truth is this world is new to everyone using it and the waters remain uncharted but there are some principles and practices that are effective for networking purposes. 

Networking is about building relationships. The key words here are building and relationships. So often at networking events I have seen people who approach others just to share their information, take a card and dash off to the next one. I have seen people talking where one or the other is scanning the room for the next one to talk to and not paying attention to the person talking with them. I have seen people try to target market by zeroing in on somebody they think is a good connection and ignore everybody else. I am sure you have your own share of stories of your experiences in networking. The point is, how is this building relationships? How is this helping you get to know a person to build a connection? 

So why is it when using social networking for marketing we expect it to be any different than face to face traditional networking. It is not any different. It is about building relationships. The difference being you may not have even met the person or if you did it was briefly and you are furthering the connection through social networking sites. 

Social networking sites are not just for you to promote your business to others. It is a great way to get to know people that you may not have met yet and see how you can help each other, share resources, give referrals and so much more. Before any of that can happen you have to use these sites for that purpose. Certainly you want to share your content but do not stop there. You want to reach out to others in a personable and relatable manner. 

Adopt the mindset that social networking is about communication, relationship building, interactions and then using methods that reflect that mindset will do more for you than you can imagine. 

Our next stop on the Social Networking express will be about just how to do that using Facebook.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why Internet Marketing???

Greetings my fellow social media gods and goddesses. Grab your favorite beverage, adult or otherwise, sit back and enjoy your journey once again into the world of social media. 

Before we really venture into this mad cap world we call social media, one ought to have a foundation from which to take the leap from. So that is where we will be going today….exploring why we have entered this world so we can have better understanding. What an adventure awaits us today. 

In the beginning there was the internet. A whole new world of limitless possibilities exploded right before our eyes. Back then all one really needed was a website to be a part of this new world of internet marketing. Wow now we did not have to rely just on the phonebook or print ads! We can have a website for our business and people from all over the world could find us. Internet marketing was in its infancy. We also saw a whole new way of doing business…those that exist only on the internet. Look at Ebay and Amazon…would you not have liked to have gotten in on the ground floor of those businesses???

Let’s flash forward a few years and internet marketing now should be a part of every businesses marketing plan. Notice I said “a part”. So just what is “Internet Marketing”? Simply it is the marketing of products and services over the internet. Well that kinda makes sense. However it is rather broad in scope as to how to actually do this as it consists of not only website development but search engine optimization, use of media, newsletters, directories, social networking, advertising, sales and so on, all in the wonderful world we call the internet. Social Media and Social Networking are tools of your internet marketing plan.

So now what? You have a website, you search engine optimized it and then you use all these often free social media and social networking tools and placed yourself on a few directories ….What is doing all that going to do??? It is going to direct and drive people to your website. It is going to get you seen, get your heard among all the others doing the same thing. While it may seem like a daunting task just to drive people to a website there is the interaction factor that comes into play here. Ahhh the building of relationships with potential customers. This is something more traditional methods can’t do. A phonebook ad will not do that; a radio ad will not do that. Traditional networking will though. Think about what happens when you network. What is on your business card??? Hmmm your website? Your blog??? Your email address?????

So now do you see that when you use social networking and you are building your relationships with people who are either potential customers or people who will share your information. How are you going to get them to know all that you offer…ahhh! The light bulb goes off….your website and your social media content! Now is this making sense???? You are basically creating the word of mouth effect through the internet with people you may or may not have ever met. Now how exciting is that!!!!

Well my beverage is empty….coffee ok…it was just coffee…and I am sure yours is empty as well. Thanks for joining me on this adventure today. Where are we going next time???? Where would you like to go??? 

See you in twitter world !