Monthly Archives: September 2011

Custom pages on Facebook

Despite the imminent arrival of Facebook’s Timeline, there has been no clear communicate to indicate how Facebook Business Pages will be influenced by the changes. In the meantime, let’s ignore Timeline and work with what we’ve got.

Facebook business pages give businesses (individuals, SMME’s and even multi-faceted corporates) a platform from where they communicate directly with a captive, active audience. These platforms are typically not positioned as selling tools, but rather as brand-voice tools. Think of it as an opportunity for you business / brand to have an energetic conversation with an individual that actually wants to hear more about you, interesting tales that create a picture of the who, what, where and why & let’s not forget – they want competitions, polls and current, reliable information. So let’s give it to them!

But how should we package this? You basically have 2 options.

Option 1:

Creating a Business Page and populate the page with all your information.

Local business page.

No funny business. There is no custom development and nothing out of the ordinary. In terms of functionality, it is similar to many other pages on Facebook. But it could offer so much more!

Option 2:

Use custom development AND unique creative concepts that portray your brand favourably.

International example

Skittles business page with custom developmentLocal Business page with custom development, content and interactivity.


Creating a business page that is infused with your business personality and ethos means that your captive audience will have a better sense of who you are and what you stand for.

Facebook users are looking for fun and interactivity. They don’t want to be “sold to” directly but they don’t mind engaging with their brands of choice.

Custom development combined with targeted, creative campaigns create:

  • more “likes”
  • more page interactions
  • better search engine indexing
  • a more definitive & visually appealing social brand presence

Creating your custom landing page

Some points to consider when creating your custom landing page:

  • Avoid unprofessional imagery and visuals. There is a reason why the good designers are qualified designers
  • Keywords / copy that form part of your overall online strategy. Consistency consistency consistency
  • One concept at a time
  • Text that is readable rather than flat images
  • Buttons / links (use this functionality to introduce external information from your website for instance)
  • Media combinations (photos, video)

And of course a clear call to action!

Conclusion:

There is no logical reason for your brand to be stagnate, stale or mediocre. By combining clever design, great copy and focussed campaigning you can make your effort spent on social media lucrative and worthwhile.

If you have suggestions for great or not-so-great pages, feel free to share.


Facebook Timeline

F8 Developer Conference News

Facebook announces Timeline!

Marc Zuckerberg, launches Timeline at F8 Developer Conference

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg just announced (22 September 11) the release of Timeline.

Timeline is a concise, visual, interactive new release of the Facebook profile. Timeline is a rethink of the Facebook platform from the ground up. According to Zuckerberg, it’s the new way to really express who you are.

Timeline combines old elements with new aesthetic. For instance; you get to keep your Profile Picture but but you can now add a bigger, cover-picture that could highlight a personal interest, a special moment – whatever.

Timeline also allows you to add your travel destinations to a map, you can document highlights from every (yes, HONESTLY) year of your life. You combine pictures with posts.

 The story of your life – your apps, your stories on one single page.

On screen it appears to be almost too good to be true – easy to update, easy to populate, easy to navigate. I can’t wait!

Double yay for Marc & the team.

What gets me excited?

  • The potential the new layout holds for business pages. Can you imagine the possibilities?
  • The new class of Facebook apps that will be surfacing
  • Lightweight streaming of activities to Open Graph
  • Building lightweight interactions
  • More robust social and lifestyle apps that offer seamless interaction,
  • The seamless layout on mobile devices

Suffice to say, this Diva is blown away.


Google+ and the social tendencies of today

The biggest challenge we still face with Social Media (as South African SMME’s) is the fact that it is, well, so social. Clients and colleagues alike complain (time-and-time again) that their Social Media Networking strategies are too time consuming. I believe we need to cultivate a culture of focused activity. We need to find create a plan that will empower us to implement social networking activities without the risk of getting lost in the rabbit holes.

According to Mashable Google+ is now open and available to everyone. No invitation required! Yay? Well, not really. For us local folk, this adds just another online networking platform that needs to be maintained, managed and fed with current, relevant and up to date information. Even more time needed.

Let me be clear. This problem is not a Google creation – it is of our own design and making. We need to manage our time more effeciently if we hope to create sustainable online strategies. So the million-dollar (or rand in our case) question – can it be done?

Yes.

Here’s how:

  1. Plan ahead. If you know where you are going, you can (pre)-create some of your input and use an automated publishing tool (i.e. HootSuite) to make your life a whole lot easier! The added advantage of using an automated publishing tool, means that you hardly ever run the risk of getting caught up in the online intrigues of loves lost and found or the latest company gossip.
  2. Dedicated time. First thing in the morning or in the afternoons before you get ready to punch out, put time aside to interact with your online communities.
  3. Pick and stick. As tempting as it is to create a profile on every new social networking platform that springs up, it is impossible (and unnecessary) to maintain this level of engagement. Review the platforms that you are most interested in (this typically should be driven by where your preferred market congregates) and focus your energy here. Quality versus quantity as the saying goes.

So, despite having a blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube profile – will I create a Google+ account. Probably. But I have always been more curious than is good for me ;)

Diva, done and dusted!


How webby is your website?

When last have you REALLY looked at your website? Have you recently tried to navigate the menu, find information or send a ‘contact us’ e-mail? Having a website with inappropriate content, outdated information, broken links /menu options or stale humour just does not cut it anymore.

Maintaining your website must be a crucial part of your online strategy. Here’s a suggested to-d0 list to update and zhoosh-up your site and make it all the more alluring for your visitors:

  • Make a list of your top keywords.

Top words or phrases that describe what you do. Specifically if possible. If you understand how to categorize your business, it will be much easier to group and explain it to others. Here’s some help if you’re interested (post is a somewhat older but offers good content).

  • Read through all the pages.

Does the content still make sense? Is it relevant (i.e. has it been updated recently to reflect current industry news, your own product and service improvements etc.)?

Do you use your keywords to describe your business and your service  / product? Try to steer clear of flowery descriptions that never use your keywords. How on earth will Google now to look for you if you don’t at least give it a hint?

Are the pages interesting, engaging and appealing? Will readers enjoy the time they spend on your site? It is always a good idea to spend time planning the content of your site. Repeating the same stale information over-and-over again from page-to-page and year-to-year will encourage your would-be visitors to look for other websites!

  • Look at the pictures.

Do they make sense? Do you use pictures of your products or your staff members? Will people now more about your business, your values or your brand personality by looking at the pictures on your site? If you answered Yes – good for you! If No – it’s probably time to dig through the photo libraries and pictures folder!

It is also a good idea to rename the pictures on your site to reflect it’s content. Numbers (from a SEO and content perspective) aren’t great. Use descriptive titles AND make sure that you add descriptions (image ALT Tags) to all the images on the site. Good for search engines. Good for you.

  • Links to other sites

I have written an entire post on back links before if you want to know more. Suffice to say that you should probably think of:

  1. Adding your social media feeds or icons to your site
  2. Linking your blog to your business site
  3. Linking your website to your social media profiles
  4. Mention your website whenever (appropriately!) possible

It is also an excellent idea to get other people to review your site. Ask them to comment specifically on user-friendliness, enjoyment, appeal and of course value-of-content. Now, it’s time for you to start making some changes to your website.

Diva, over and out.


Complaints on Facebook

A recent query from a colleague alerted me to just how overly sensitive we still are to seeing complaint appear in our social media streams. Granted, it does sort of get your gut twisted and your blood draining when you open your stream and there it is for the whole world to see. My colleague’s reaction was to want to hit the “Remove this Post” button but is that the right way to go about it?

John Beale shared his experiences when dealing with online complaints in the post entitled Ten types of social media complaints on BizCommunity. He lists ten types of complaints and how to deal with them.  Valuable insight and a concise summary of complaint-type consumer engagements we can expect in our various streams.

What I would like to highlight as a conclusion from this particular post is the following: In not ONE of the types of complaints does he (or I, as a matter of fact!) ever suggest that you put your head in the sand in pretend it did not happen!

Typically every type of post (and platform) has a unique approach to take, but in general terms what I suggested to my colleague (and clients in the past) is this:

  1. Acknowledge the post or comment
  2. Indicate how you will be addressing the concern (i.e. “We will investigate and report back within 24hrs etc.)
  3. Indicate specific time-frames where possible and stick to them
  4. DO NOT engage in an emotive response where you simply defend your position (SMME’s are typically prone to this type of reaction)
  5. Use this opportunity to assist the consumer to resolve their complaint OR to change your processes to prevent this from happening again (learning opportunity in other words)

I know, it’s like showing up at school and realising you didn’t prepare for the test. Fact remains, you’ve gotta do it. Avoiding confrontation leaves a bad taste in the consumer’s mouth and creates the impression that your brand / business and ultimately you (SMME’s!) don’t care. It just isn’t worth it.

Diva, done.


Writing for Facebook

Facebook is growing, evolving and constantly changing the rules. Online communicators can’t afford to become complacent or lethargic. There is more and more content being circulated via Facebook and other social networking platforms. The overall effect that we are finding (looking specifically again at examples from our South African client base) that this is creating a more discerning reader. With so much on offer, we need to constantly work at adapting and innovating when we write for Facebook.

Here are three tips I always offer to my clients:

  1. Not all readers are alike. Some think visually others like intellectual stimulation and some still look to social networking sites for diversion and escapism. When we create your content strategy, try to incorporate messaging that will appeal to a broad reader-demographic. This means that you will need to create fun, interactive posts, try to incorporate meaningful polls and of course add videos and photos when appropriate.
  2. Circulating content from other blogs and websites. Subscribe to sites and pages that you like and that could add value to your content strategy and share the stand-out posts. What is even more meaningful is to add your own opinion, thoughts, comments or polls based on this content. In other words, use it but make it your own! Please give credit where due and don’t plagiarize.
  3. Don’t sell. Teach, inform, educate, introduce your brand personality and even have fun. You should ideally be prompting readers to visit your website regularly – they can learn more about your products and services there. Don’t spoil your online networking by mistaking it for a door-to-door sales opportunity.

And of course, don’t be stale. Try new ideas. Ask different people in your company to contribute posts and encourage interactivity and dialogue whenever possible.

Our favourite page of this week (with some excellent examples of the above) is Intiem / Intimacy Magazine. Have a look at their live chat sessions and the amount of activity on the page – we give them our A-D-A (Adrinalin Diva Approval) stamp. If you have more examples, please feel free to share.

Diva, over and out.


Building your links

Search Engine Optmization or SEO, is the practice of increasing the visibility of a website without paying for the results. This is also called organic results. This is an increasingly popular activity for online content as more and more businesses are represented online and each of those need to create an online visibility for their brand. SEO use a variety of activities to influence search engine rankings. These could include:

  • Understanding search engines (you’ve probably heard your SEO partner mention something like the ‘Google Algorithm’)
  • Considering what the original search term was
  • Typical search terms used on search engines
  • Rewriting online content to include specific keywords
  • Creating a variety of back links (also called link building) 

Link building creates a strategic referring network of links that refer to your website. Simplistically stated, creating a strong network creates strong result.

Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing‘s blog (Search Engine Optimization Journal) posted the following article. According to the article, you should remember not to put all your SEO links in one basket. In other words, don’t concentrate all your efforts in one area. He uses the example of Facebook – although this one site allows you multiple opportunities to redirect virtual feet to your site, this is not the wisest practice. Use multiple departure points (online sites OR offline marketing material) to lead to one destination (i.e. your company website).

SEO is an exciting practice that is multifaceted and constantly evolving – it challenges our content and our strategies. Remember though to build honest link-networks and avoid the frowned-upon activities of deception. Happy linking!

Diva, out.