Social Media Account & Online Marketing Management

It seems that more and more businesses are happy to outsource management of their Social Media activities these days. I’ve always wondered how you might do that as a business, ie – how would a company outsider know what to write in posts and what to say in reply to queries etc. In short, how can someone outside your business know best how to represent it publicly?

Having talked to a few businesses who are doing it already I’ve realised it might be possible if the contracted company is briefed properly,  provided with the right content and the setup is regularly reviewed. Also, at times there can be a bit more to social networking than the average person can handle, for example, a lot of social media content these days is graphical or video based so those will need to be created or edited by a professional.

To that end if any of my clients feel they need help managing their Online Marketing/Social Media activities, I can help in the following areas:

  • Facebook, Twitter, youTube, Linkedin, etc account setup,
  • Copy Writing for the web (Re-write client content with SEO in mind),
  • Graphic Design (Facebook Logos, Cover Photos, Post Photos, etc..),
  • Video Screen Tutorials Recorded,
  • Facebook Ad Campaigns,
  • New Facebook Tabs,
  • Facebook Photo Albums,
  • Social Media mentoring.

Get in touch if you’d like to chat about any of this.

Leon

Do I Still Need a Website?

This was the question asked of me at the Leitrim Business Network ‘IT expert Q & A’ this week. I’d like to expand on my answer here.

It’s a valid and pretty common question and to be honest, not one I knew how to answer when people first started asking me. After all, you can probably reach a hell of a lot more people on the likes of Facebook, Linkedin & Twitter than your own freshly made website.

My simple answer is that you should have BOTH your own website and a presence on all the major social networking sites. The bigger footprint you have online the better. The only valid reason I can think of for not having your own site is if you have absolutely no budget, but many people still don’t realise the cost of web design has come right down these days.

What I would try to avoid is that old problem of having people think that you’re a business that can only afford a free web presence. It’s like having a fancy business card and a big ugly hotmail or yahoo email address on it. Nothing spells success and professionalism than a nice modern website. It can be just as much a mark of quality as a marketing tool.

Website?

Here’s a  breakdown:

Facebook Pages & Twitter profiles are pretty basic

All that’s on anyone’s Facebook Business page (unless they spend serious money on having Facebook apps developed) is a small ‘About’ section, a news feed and maybe some photos. Same with Twitter. A small bio section then just a list of posts. Is that really the only business presence you want people to see!?

With your own site, you can lay it out how you like and have content presented more logically. I like to think of Facebook & Twitter as a teaser for your company, like a fish hook that you dangle in the stream of people. You give them the basics of your company and have them click through to your proper website where you present them with your full, properly branded business information.

Control

Facebook in particular are forever changing things around, whether it’s the size of banner images, logos or just the general rules on what you can and cannot do. With your own site you don’t have to be at their mercy, you control everything and always will.

The Future

Facebook wasn’t always popular and may not always be. What if you spend serious time and money cultivating followers and likers only for Mark Zuckerberg to get bored and sell the site to move onto something new? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Conclusion

My blueprint for a modern online business precence is as follows:

  • Create a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and any other Social Networking site that may be particularly relevant for your business, ie – if you sell visual products, maybe a youTube account too to show them off properly,
  • Make sure to properly fill out each site profile with your business info, service list, location and web address link,
  • Build an audience by spending some time connecting to new people on each site. Most of them make this pretty easy by suggesting friends based on your email contacts or location,
  • Build a standalone website with a modern web publishing system like WordPress,
  • Concentrate most of your efforts on your own website by regularly writing relevant news content/blogs,
  • Integrate your website with all your social networking sites to automatically send news posts through to them. Dlvr.it is good for this and FREE. This way you can be active on a pile of sites at once, from one location without really having to be on them.
If you’re like me and sit in front of a computer all day, you’ll have that extra bit of time to go in an be active on the networking sites too. Interaction gets you noticed remembered and liked. Reading other peoples news also keeps you in the loop as to what’s going on and what the prevailing mood is which can be helpful.

Leon

 

Ireland IT Capital of the World with Twitter Move?

I write this on a day when it was announced that massively popular Social Networking site Twitter will be setting up an international base in Ireland. There had been murmurings that it might happen from months back but there was stiff competition from a number of other cities including London but Dublin has won out in the end probably because of it’s low corporation tax rate and possibly because of the existing presence of a number of very high profile companies here.

Ireland pretty much has a clean sweep of the top IT companies in the world now including Facebook, Google, Paypal, eBay, Linkedin, Microsoft, Intel, Yahoo, Zynga, IBM, Apple and HP – an incredible list and surely one that puts us firmly on the international business map.

Here’s hoping the government will now throw everything it has at IT support in Ireland from Education to Broadband infrastructure and guarantee we lose the twee image of Ireland and replace it with one of innovation, modernity, hi-tech and progression, leading us out of recession and showing the world how it’s done.

Ole, ole, ole..

Leon

How Do YOU Come Across Online?

Several online acquaintances were kind enough recently (I didn’t ask them!)  to offer me some super critical feedback on how they saw my Social Networking and Branding efforts online. From their ‘comfortable distances’ they pointed out the flaws in some of the things I say in my Twitter and Facebook feeds and advised me to desist from certain activities. Having relatively recently ‘found my voice’ and style so to speak through things like Twitter and Facebook among others, and feeling fairly confident that what I was saying on these sites was generally interesting, enlightening, funny or useful to my audience in some small way at least, I wasn’t too happy with this criticism and it came as a bit of a shock..

I can’t say for one second that it’s going to make me censor myself online and I hope to continue saying it like it is, calling people out, alerting people to good and bad service from companies, occasionally cursing when needed and calling a spade a spade but it at least made me aware that I should try imagine how I sound to others. With just a little ‘out of body’ thought, you might realise that the largely IT/Techy crowd on Twitter don’t necessarily want to hear about your cat or that family and friends on Facebook don’t want to be bombarded with businesses stuff. ‘Know your audience’ and tell them what they want or need to hear seems like apt advice.

My moral is basically this – think before you speak, brand yourself and your business as honestly and effectively as you can but if you feel something needs to be said, say it. And if you are being honest to yourself and your gut instinct then you should eventually gain the majority’s respect. The rest can fuck off!!

Leon

Fix Your Facebook Like & Recommend Buttons

I’ve rewritten this article after ‘proper’ researching and realising how Facebook Like and Recommend buttons ACTUALLY work! The original article was prompted by Channelship pointing out that there seemed to be a difference between clicking Like V’s Recommend, ie – clicking Like only posted a tiny link to your profile page whereas clicking Recommend seemed to publish the link to your wall resulting in way more exposure.

Some background:

As some of you may know, Facebook have relatively recently rolled out an external “Like” system whereby content outside of the Facebook site itself can have Like buttons. Straight away tons of sites (this one included) added the Like functionality through embedding code manually or using plugins. I have personally used the FB Like WordPress plugin for this blog and find it works well but here’s the manual code for your self-hosted WordPress blog if you prefer. It should be pasted in your “single.php” theme file ideally:

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=?phpechourlencode(get_permalink($post-ID));?&layout=standard&show_faces=false&width=450&action=like&colorscheme=light

Facebook Like

Check your code:

What I realised is that it makes no difference whether you use the Like or Recommend verb for your button. The important thing is to make sure that you either use the XFBML version of the button code or if using the IFRAME version, make sure to use the “Standard” layout with at least 450px width. Doing it either of these ways ensures that people will be given the option of leaving a comment and it’s this comment that ensures the article link goes on your wall. All is explained in this paragraph from the Facebook manual code link below:

When will users have the option to add a comment to the like?

If you are using the XFBML version of the Like button, user’s will always have the option to add an optional comment to the like. If you are using the Iframe version, users will have the option to add a comment only if you are using the ‘standard’ layout with a width of at least 450 px. If users do add a comment, the story published back to Facebook is given more prominence.

Get manual code:

Here’s the link to get Recommend/Like button code for your site or static page. The link also has some important information about the distinction between Like and Recommend and leaving comments:

http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like

Here’s the manual code again for your self-hosted WordPress site:

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=?phpechourlencode(get_permalink($post-ID));?&layout=standard&show_faces=false&width=450&action=like&colorscheme=light

Since Liking/Recommending in this way is akin to ‘Sharing’ and to avoid the ambiguity between Like & Recommend, here’s a link to a decent WordPress Facebook Share plugin:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/share-on-facebook/

Conclusion:

It has already been proven via stats that bloggers have started to get a lot more traffic after installing Like buttons so make sure you have yours!

PS – Please “Like” this article if for no other reason than to see how it works!

Leon.

My Social Media Routes

I’m not sure I’m doing a great job lately answering the often asked question of how exactly to go about EASILY ‘publishing’ content on Social Media Networks so I’ve decided to try to visualise here how I personally do it and make it easier for others as well as myself to understand!

Essentialy I have 2 main sources of content, this Blog and Twitter. It’s rare that I would post content directly in any other network. From my blog, posts go out to all the other networks and indeed Twitter but I also microblog from Twitter directly. Doing things this way, ie – only creating content in 1 or 2 places max but routing that content to multiple different places, is a fantastic and efficient method of having an active precence on the main social networking sites without the hassle of manually going in and creating content on them all individually.

I find using Dlvr.it a great help in routing my content but it relies on your main source having an RSS feed.

I believe these methods or routes are fairly common for most active networkers right now:

Social Media Routes