Tag Archives: Facebook

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!

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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.


Facebook for the South African SMME

Facebook is a hot hot hot potato. Looking at the potential impact your Facebook Business Page can have on the South African (SMME) market, I have established the following:

SMME business’s are keen to dip their toes into the Facebook pool but they appear to be unsure of how to manage the soapbox once the get on it.

The reality is that as a SMME, you probably don’t have the resources allow one person (whether an employee or yourself) to commit 100% of their time to manage your online communication strategy. That is of course assuming that you actually HAVE a communication strategy in place….

My 5 top tips to optimise your time (and effort) spent on Facebook are:

  • DON’T use a personal page as a business page. Even if you are a Sole Proprietor or a Consultant, make use of the Business Page facility. It appears unprofessional when a “business” suddenly declares that it has a degree in Business Administration from this-or-that University. Business Page also allow you to promote events and add custom fields and pages which creates a more meaningful impression with your fans.
  • Make an effort to create a unique page for your business. Consider developing a landing page that encourages visitors to “Like” your page or that simply presents your HOOK in a fun, creative fashion.
  • Remember at all times, that Facebook doesn’t work effectively when used as a selling platform. Your visitors are desperate for good, worthwhile content that adds value to their business or personal lives. If your content doesn’t fit the bill, they will simply not return.
  • Have a plan. Work towards a goal. A structured under-current in your messaging helps your fans / readers to easily identify with the online personality you are creating. Haphazard comments that don’t ever draw a sensible conclusion, leave your visitors confused an unsatisfied.
  • Daily activity. Think of it as talking with your best friend – sharing an essential piece of news every day. You can’t only resort to using Social Media platforms when you suddenly need more sales. You have to maintain the “friendship”. Trust takes time – invest in your online relationships. It is important to note that different Social Media Networking platforms require different levels of input and frequency.

If you plan your online activity and focus on using one or two suitable platforms efficiently and effectively, you will soon develop a routine. I have found with most of my clients that 15 to 30 minutes a day is mostly all that is needed to maintain a productive online communication strategy.

Happy writing!


What to write on the www

So, the topic has been talked, written, discussed, blogged and case-studied to death but I still want to put some thoughts down on paper (well in pixels if you want to nit-pick).

Writing for the web is a broad concept these days. We no longer think only of our business websites when we talk about the www – we have to consider social media platforms, blogs, the websites, video sites and news sites. We have to write well and make relevant contributions whether we have 140 characters on Twitter or unlimited paragraphs on WordPress. Writing for the world-wide-web has become an increasingly difficult task but there is hope.

Let’s put some sound building blocks in place and then see if we can build a strategy from there.

1. Tell people the why, what, how, when and where of your company BUT don’t overburden your website or Facebook page with flowery language, endless bits of history, or your personal pedigree. If WHAT you offer is extraordinary and worthwhile, it doesn’t really matter whether you started your company in your garage 6 years ago or with only 1 client…. I have to categorically state that I love reading about the history of companies on their site. I adore clever copy and I relish creative communication strategies that poke their tongue at you. BUT, let’s be sensible, your website / blog / micro-blog / social media platform has a point to make, BEST you make it.

2. Decide what your point is. Do you want to make a creative statement, add visual appeal, stand apart from the crowd, grow your bottom-line etc. When I consult, the answer to these questions determine what type of strategy we create for our clients. Every strategy will be unique, simply because every client’s focus is different.

3. Have you done your research? More specifically – have you bothered with KEYWORD research?? Many of our clients come to us with online content that never introduces any of the keywords that will attract more virtual feet. Using the right keywords, sensibly (please)  will make it much easier for your content to create an interest.

4. Take your platform into consideration. Blogs are different from Social Media / Networking sites etc etc etc. I always recommend that you use one or two platforms well rather than trying to use all of them in the same way.

Let’s sum it up this way. Write politely but make your point. Don’t underestimate the value of keywords. Make sure you decide what exactly the underlying tone and message of your content will be and then get on to the big w and write. What’s the worst that could happen? Someone might actually read what you have to say ;)

Diva, over and out.