Is your Facebook fan page a cocktail party, a barbecue, a conference or a drum circle?

Social media is a virtual party.  Is your fan page a backyard barbecue, a formal cocktail party, a corporate conference or a drum circle?
Social media is a virtual party.  Is your fan page a backyard barbecue, a formal cocktail party, a corporate conference or a drum circle?
Social media is a virtual party. Is your fan page a backyard barbecue, a formal cocktail party, a corporate conference, a yoga class or a drum circle?

The funny thing about social networking is…we often forget that it’s just a virtual party. It’s not about amassing tons of “fans” so you can have the biggest party — it’s about inviting the right people and serving tasty snacks and drinks.

It’s about playful banter, music and laughter.

You know what happens when you talk sex or politics at a party — dead silence.

A cocktail party is NOT the place to pull out a gigantic billboard and say HEY BUY MY PRODUCT! (Unless you are a paid sponsor with a table or booth.)  And imagine if you pulled up your shirt and showed off your appendix scar?

But people do this all the time on Facebook! They forget it’s a party.

A great Fan page is an authentically engaged community where you have a conversation — even better if your tribe cares about what you have to say and shares it with their communities. At a party this is called gossip and word of mouth. On Facebook it’s called sharing and viral marketing.

Remember — a great party is not about QUANTITY it’s about QUALITY. Be selective. Invite the right people. Dress to impress — or stand out in the crowd. Serve good spirits and keep the music upbeat and the conversation as bubbly as champagne.

We are not collecting fans or contacts for Ego — we are collecting real human beings and we should care about them as much as we hope they will care about us.

Think about the real world equivalent of your Fan page. How would you interact in these different real world parties or events?

50 friends or less = backyard barbecue, workshop,  a drum circle.
150 friends or less = a tribe, a retreat, a big party, wedding, etc.
1000 friends or more = a conference
2000 friends or more = industry trade show, music festival
10000 fans or more = sporting event or concert
100,000 fans or more = gigantic stadium event
1 million fans or more = broadcast on television

And here’s a great metaphor for Fan pages from #socialmediamixology:

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Is your LinkedIn profile embarrassing?

Is your LinkedIn photo stuck in the Nineties?

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Here are some ridiculous profiles and titles of people who did not make the cut and get to be one of my 2,200 connections on LinkedIn:

Anyone who still hasn’t paid me yet.

Your title and every word in your profile is written in lower case.

Passport photo or driver’s license photo used as your LinkedIn profile photo. (No kidding.)

Scary, mug shot-style LinkedIn photo. (Against a wall, all black and white.)

Anyone not wearing a shirt.  One woman PR consultant in my network is wearing a bikini top in her LinkedIn photo Seriously. Bikini top? Unless you’re a character on Baywatch, swimwear is not appropriate for business.

Someone who says she is an “orgasmic liaison”.

No photo. No description of what you do. (Who is this mysterious character with no shared connections? Why are you on LinkedIn?  Why do you want to be my connection? How did you find me? Why? I’m scared. Help…)

Someone who calls themselves a “bliss expert.”  (Maybe they’re connected to the “orgasmic liaison” but not me.)

Real estate agents. (Unless they are my boyfriend.)

Executive recruiters who are going to pelt me with requests for access to software developers. (Go away.)

Substitute teachers.  (I don’t think in a million years a substitute teacher is ever going to hire me.)

A guy in a Scottish tam o’ shanter and ruffled shirt. (On LinkedIn? Are you lost?)

Insurance agents. (Yikes. Go away. I already have insurance.)

Anyone who is a “Career and Life Coach.” Unless you teach football, you’re not a coach around here.

Anyone who is an “Executive Coach.” Unless you coached Bill Gates, you’re not an executive coach in Silicon Valley.

Anyone with both the words “coach” and “cannabis” in their title.  (I said “green business.” Not that kind.)

People who sell anything multi-level. Especially water filter distributors. (Oh, that’s impressive.)

Anything pyramid schemey. Especially if it involves something you blend in a smoothie.

Anyone who is a “meditator” in their profile title. (Or was that “Mediator” spelled wrong?)

Your NAME IS IN ALL CAPS you run a “HEALING MASSAGE SERVICE” and you live in another country.

Anyone with a creepy dark photo with a crooked smile.

Men who are not wearing shirts.

Men wearing Hawaiian shirts and a baseball hat that obscures their eyes. (This isn’t a virtual barbecue — it’s a virtual business cocktail party.)

Spells CEOs “ceo’s.” (Yeah, right. I’ll bet you are an “executive coach” too.)

Your LinkedIn photo is kind of dusty and it was taken at Burning Man.  (Ok if you are Larry Harvey, a founder of Burning Man.) All others, “delete.”)

People who call themselves a “CEO” but run a home-based MLM business and have nobody reporting to them but their cat.

7 lazy ways to shamelessly promote your blog and social media posts to get more traffic

Put your social media on autopilot - reach thousands of influencers, worldwide while you're still asleep or drinking your first cup of coffee.

 

1. Use “Share This” widgets to shamelessly self promote.

Whether you’re using WordPress or any other blogging or web development tool, you can use the “Share This” widget on your website to quickly promote your posts .  Just install the widget on your site and right after you file your post share it shamelessly! Take an hour and share your story with every possible site out there–especially Digg and StumbleUpon. The more you share, the more links you are generating back to your site — and the more traffic you’ll get.

2. Use the “Publicize This” feature in Wordpress.

Yesterday WordPress announced some improvements to make their Publicize This feature more friendly.  Follow the instructions and watch your traffic soar.

3. Time your posts strategically.

In the world of old school journalism and PR, we have learned to strategically project which times and days will generate the most pick up for a news announcement. Tuesday at 8 am EST is when I’ve found press releases get the most pickup.

Why? Because on Monday at 8 am, everyone’s still groggy and drinking coffee (or they’re rolling in late to the office, or sitting in meetings.)

Tuesday is when business gets rolling. And it’s the day when publications traditionally have their story meetings.

Wednesday is the day the weeklies traditionally file their stories.

Thursday is still ok, but your story might get forgotten by the following Monday when reporters are writing again.

To bury bad news, you use reverse psychology. To bury bad news, announce on Friday afternoon, or right before a holiday weekend when everyone’s jetting out of town early. (This is the day for announcing the departure of a CEO or dismal profits that you don’t want to influence the market with.)

Well, I’ve discovered the same theory works with blogging, Tweeting and Facebook:

Tuesday at 9 am EST is the perfect time for a Tweet or post you want to get noticed because:

- It’s 9 am on the East Coast and everyone’s drinking coffee and checking their email, Twitter and Facebook.

- It’s 12 noon on the West Coast and everyone’s checking their social media profiles while on lunch break.

- It’s 6 pm in London, and everyone’s finished their work day and are checking their PCs.

There are lots of tools that help you write your Twitter posts in advance and time them. WordPress also let’s you schedule a post in advance so it blasts out just at the right time.  Marketing consultant Gary McCaffree has this great chart that helps you predict the “sweet spot” for a Tweet — he says the best time is between 9 am and 3 pm.

4. Have everything connected so your WordPress updates your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, automatically.

This is so easy and so potent. (And you can even rig it so that it’s on autopilot while you’re still asleep — tricking your clients and colleagues into thinking you are a hard working early riser!)

- Set up the Wordbook plug in to post your WordPress to your Facebook wall.

- Now set up the WordPress to Twitter plug in so that your WordPress post automatically goes out to your Twitter subscribers.

- And use the Twitter to Linked in widget to set things up so your Tweet automatically updates your LinkedIn status.

Wow! You just got out the word to thousands of professional connections while you were still asleep!

5. Use a press release to dramatically boost your story’s pick up.

There are hundreds of free press release sites that will help you blast out your story to the planet, or you can use a professional press release wire service for a fee.  You can time your news in advance to go out at a strategic time, and you can load up your press release with key words that will make it stand out in the search engines. Plus, if you use a paid newswire, your news will automatically go out into Yahoo News and Google News where it’s picked up like an AP or Reuter’s newswire story.

With one well written article or news release, I have consistently generated from 50,000 to 100,000 links back to a client’s website. (That’s not a typo.)  And your traffic will only increase as spiders and bots pick up your news, reprint it on RSS feeds and blogs throughout the web, and yes, generate more links back to your blog which in turn permanently increase traffic and search rank.

But the key word here is “well written.” You can’t get this kind of pick up for self serving fluff — your content has to be genuinely newsworthy, interesting, engaging, funny, controversial, keyword-rich or relevant. If you’re not a wordsmith, hire a professional.  Ultimately it’s a juicy headline and great content that gets noticed, reprinted, passed along virally and linked to.

6. Time your email newsletter to go out at the same time.

Start a news virus! Put your blog post in your email newsletter and time it to go out simultaneously to your customers, internal company employees, investors, partners, influencers and your press/blogger list.  With everyone hearing about your news announcement at the same time, it has more psychic impact and feels more important.  Also it’s courteous to give the news to your most valued contacts just as it goes out to the blogosphere.

7. Spin it and send it out again.

Tweet your story several times in one day or week by simply spinning your Tweet slightly and changing the headline to focus on a different aspect of the story. For example, my headline here is: “7 lazy ways to shamelessly promote your blog posts.” My next headline could be: “7 lazy ways to get more traffic on your website,” and then “7 shamelessly lazy ways to get more Twitter traffic,” and then, “Get more web traffic while you’re still asleep,” and so on… and yes, you can even set them up in advance so they go out on autopilot.

Well, (gloat, gloat) just wanted to let you know that this post went out to thousands of friends and influencers, all over the planet, boosted my search rank and increased my credibility while I was lounging around doing my morning yoga and drinking my first cup of coffee.

That’s why I love social media!

6 ways to determine which social sites are best for your business.

Today there are at least 350 social networks. And thousands of smaller, focused and specialized social networks that have been built on Ning — like Etsy, which is now essential for craftspersons, and Architects of a New Dawn, a new age network of “positive and uplifting content” created by musician Carlos Santana.

How do you make your way through this mountain of potential sites and decide where to focus your precious time and marketing dollars?

1. Decide what your market niche is and choose the top 3 networks in that niche.

For example, if you’re a Yoga business, you might want to join the three largest, fastest-growing, or most heavily visited networks in the New Age and Yoga market — Yogamates, Architects of a New Dawn and Gaia. If you are a yoga non profit organization, perhaps you’d also add Wiser Earth. Keep an eye open for all new social nets in your industry and create a basic page on all of them if possible–you really never know where a new customer is going to come from.

The best and most active groups will soon become apparent and then you can start unsubscribing from the less popular ones. (It’s better to have an active page you’re paying attention to than a dead one that could be collecting negative comments or will make your business look stale and outdated.) But in this day of emerging media, it’s difficult to predict in advance who is going to be hot and who’s going to fizzle out. (Once upon a time, only two years ago, Facebook was just a niche network for Ivy league college graduates).

2. Add the Yahoo groups and Meetups in your marketing niche.

Do a search for Yahoo groups relevant to your market, and join the largest ones. These lists become valuable places to announce and promote your events and services. For example, as a Yoga business, we would join all of the Yoga and Vegetarian Yahoo groups, Google Groups and Meetups in our region. Your profile should always list all of your Facebook, Linked In and Twitter profiles, your website, blog and any other urls that relate to your business. This generates links and traffic back to your website.

3. Create a Facebook personal page AND a Facebook fan page. Then create Facebook Event pages for all of your events.

Why multiple Facebook pages? Because you will eventually want to separate your personal life from your busines. Also, fan pages offer the potential to send out news to your whole list with one click — whereas an Event page created from your personal identity requires tediously clicking on every single name in order to invite people. Trust me, you need both.

Again, link back to all of your other social profiles and URLs from your Facebook profiles. More about how to create a kick-butt Facebook fan page in a future article. There are both free and paid Facebook fan pages, depending on the number of friends you have and the features you want.

4. Decide if Twitter, Linked In, Myspace or Flickr are for you. They’re not for everybody.

Twitter is more impersonal than Facebook — I think of Twitter as where I can blast out news to the entire planet in my professional niche. But Facebook where I reach my closest community circle–real people I actually know. If your business does not need to reach the whole world, Twitter is overkill. For example, a local pet store probably won’t need Twitter, but a distributor of pet products would use it to communicate with stores, pet magazines, customers and fans.

Myspace is in decline, but is still one of the world’s largest social networks, and because it has music player features that Facebook lacks, it’s still essential for musicians, authors, festivals, nightclubs and entertainment venues. Myspace is not trafficked much anymore for other businesses. More about music promotion, which is a world unto itself, in a future article.

Linked In is essential if you’re a high tech executive and want to link up with your peers and business development contacts — but it’s fairly useless for a massage therapist.

Flickr or Photobucket are great if you’re a professional photographer, or if your collection of photos is somehow relevant to your business, and it will drive traffic to your other sites because these photos are tagged and will show up in web searches.

5. If you’re a local business, you absolutely need to be on Yelp!

Yelp is essential for all local businesses — whether you are a dentist, offer professional services or run a restaurant. You need to actively encourage your friends, family and best customers to write positive reviews on Yelp — because positive reviews will crowd out the negative ones. More about Yelp and review services like Epinions later in a specific article. One of my clients, a mover, says the majority of his business referrals now come from Yelp so he offers a discount to encourage happy customers to write a Yelp review.

6. Local businesses also need to consider local listing services, specific to their niche.

Proactively seek out the free listings first. The ones that are selling ads will seek you out and beg you to spend. Personally, I would hire a competent social media/marketing consultant first and foremost before I paid for any online advertising. For example, if you’re sending out invitations to events, you’ll want to pay for email lists that reach your geographic and business niche, and you may find value in highly targeted Google Ad Words or Facebook ads. For a local restaurant, for example, you’d want to get listed on Bing.com, Restaurants.com, Yelp, Urban spoon, Fodors, Zagat, Dine.com, Citysearch, Boorah and Gayot, plus you’ll need to pay careful attention to Yahoo and Google to make sure you show up on the local search maps.

More about restaurant-specific social media in a future article, as I start to work for a restaurant client and give you some real world examples.

7. Join video listing services, photo sites and podcasting communities, if relevant to your business.

Video communities like You Tube, veoh, Metacafe, Google Video and Current.TV let you host small video clips for free to promote your business or brand. I have a client who is a yoga teacher, for example, who has clips from several of her Yoga DVDs and cooking videos online and considers that an important part of her promotion strategy. Another client, with an Astrology website, uses podcasting networks to promote his online radio show.

7. Listing sites like Digg.com are important too…but you can deal with those later.

I’m going to save this for a separate tutorial, because listing sites like Digg and Delicio.us are a whole other social animal. These sites, which tend to appeal mostly to a younger audience, are where the community “votes” on the importance or relevance of a topic or article. Your blog is like the center of the wheel that is your social promotion strategy. Get started building your fan base on social sites and the listing services relevant to your business first, and develop a blog that links all of these sites together – before you worry about the listing sites.

The bottom line is — if you’re customers, peers, pundits and fans are there, you need to be on a social network. If they’re not, I’m sure you have better things to do with your time.