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, 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:

10271536_782849471734901_861342722509102714_n

How to drive more traffic from Google to your website.

How did your website do in 2013? I am stunned to discover that even though I mostly ignored mine, my Alexa rank soared by 15,966,175%! – this personal blog,Visibility Shift, is now in the top 3 million sites in the world!

How did this happen? In this post, I dissect and analyze everything I did — there are lessons here for you too, if you are building a Personal Brand, Thought Leadership or platform for your workshops, speaking and books.

For anyone looking to build Thought Leadership and their personal brand, a WordPress blog or website should be the hub of your personal marketing strategy.  Your social media feeds into this blog — and out of it. I call this “social media syndication.”  In future posts, I’ll reveal my secrets about how to do this, and how to gain similar spectacular results and traffic for your brand. 

Here’s a frank and blunt review of my website, www.VisibilityShift.com, in 2013, and where I can improve it in 2014. Take note of my advice to myself — there are tips for you here too!

By the way, I was sick for almost a month in January-February 2013, and spent that time at home, tediously working on my SEO, updating my blog, and building up my social media. I think this focused time, boring and unpaid, generated huge payoffs for my personal visibility in 2013 — results that paid off in higher profile clients, celebrities, and inquiries from big brands.  Remember, there are no rules in social marketing–everything is new and we’re all learning this as we go along.

My 2013 highlights:

New business: In 2013, my website (and social media) brought me so many fantastic new consulting clients “the shoemaker’s children went barefoot” and I barely had time to update my own blog.  This is my second year as a blogger, and to watch my site soar to the top 3 million in Alexa in this short time is really quite remarkable considering how little I posted. Much of my traffic came from old posts — which means my writing has “staying power” in the search engines.

More traffic: Even so, traffic increased dramatically and my page rank zoomed up  — I’d gather this is by using a syndication service (Networked Blogs) to drive more traffic to my posts, and by promoting and reblogging them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — which is where half of my traffic came from.  Also by tagging my posts, WordPress automatically syndicated them where they were picked up by other blogs. More about how to “social syndicate” your blog in a future post.

New template: I updated to a fresh new template and designed my own banner, with photos of events I’ve built online communities for (to illustrate that social media is about people — not “content”.)

Better SEO: I also spent two solid days entering my site in directories (like Yahoo, DMOZ, Yellow Pages, CitySearch, etc.) to boost the Search Rank.  This also helps business find you.

My Alexa rank increased by 15,966,175%! It is now an impressive 3,230,007 — meaning it is ranked in the top 3 million of all the billions of websites on the planet.  This made my site a desirable target for advertisers. Or a potential buyout target for a blog syndicate. (A URL with traffic and page rank is worth money — sometimes thousands of dollars at auction.)

Klout rank increased: My Klout rank soared to a pretty impressive 66 in the competitive Social Media category — this is mainly from using the iPad to post photos of networking events and client events to Instagram, tagging my posts and building a following there. I call this “Digital Red Carpet” service — kind of like being an instant paparazzi. It’s fantastic for building traffic.

Started Visibility Shift Fan Page on Facebook: I also started my own Fan page on Facebook, finally. (Ahem – too busy posting for clients to maintain my own page.) I put a feed from my Fan page into my blog — which brings traffic fro the blog to the Fan page and vice versa. Remember — your fan page and LinkedIn profiles show up first when people Google you.

My URL went out on Press Releases — a lot of them: I do PR for clients, and my URL and the name “Visibility Shift” went out on PR Web press releases. This generated inbound links and more traffic to my own page — and higher page rank. I recommend that you also send an occasional press release on PR Web, even though it costs more than other services, because it is highly keyword optimized and your story shows up in Google and Yahoo news for an entire month. Free press releases can also be very effective. More about how to integrate PR with your social media (Social PR) in future posts.

Press coverage with my name in it: While managing PR for some high profile events (like the Synthesis festival in Chichen Itza, Mexico) I was a spokesperson in quite a few stories and interviewed by German television.  This put my own name in stories — driving more credibility and traffic back to my blog.

Made “friends” with influential people: This also gave me a chance to “friend” the celebrities and CEOs I was promoting–after all, I needed to be friends with them in order to “tag” them in posts I made on their behalf. All of this leads to higher Klout and credibility. You can also simply follow famous people and engage with them — you’ll be surprised who follows you back. One retweet from a big name and your traffic will surge.

I followed a very high profile CEO on Twitter at midnight on a Saturday in 2013 — and retweeted his post with a compliment. He immediately responded!  We became friends on Facebook. This lead to an immediate job interview with his high profile business. He then invited me to be a VIP guest at his personal party — which was cohosted by Google. This is how you, too, will win friends and influence people with social media in 2014!

My 2014 personal branding strategy:

Advertising – I think it’s time to start generating passive revenue from my page, so I’m planning to get some banners or use AdWords.  Why not at least try?

Passive revenue - The best way to do this is an Ebook. Yes, it’s time to write an ebook! The other way to generate revenue is use affiliate programs — such as selling Amazon.com products and books related to your blog topic.

More frequent posting – I’m going to stick to a regular posting schedule. Yes, you should too — even if it’s just a paragraph. Force yourself to post regularly on your blog instead of Facebook. Your posts last seconds on Twitter and merely 45 minutes on Facebook — they live forever on your blog in Google! I vow to blog more, Tweet less in 2014 and make my posts shorter, more frequent and more sharable.

Pithy headlines – The rise of Upworthy and ViralNova taught us that mysterious, evocative headlines are viral and shareable. Quite often people will retweet or share your post without reading it at all — simply because the headline is so engaging. Also, remember to write your headlines for Twitter — add @ and #hashtags and keep them short.

A splash screen with a “call to action” – I’m seeing other consultants “ask” for clients with a pop up screen that offers consulting services for an hourly fee–it’s time for me to do this too and “walk my talk.”

Capture your audience–their email that is: I will add a pop up screen that asks my visitors to give me their email address — or like my Fan page.

Better branding – Gosh, I do this for clients all the time and my own branding sucks. It’s time to brand my own website too and hire a graphic designer to update the banner and customize my template.

New template - I recommend updating to the latest template every year so your look stays current and fresh.

Guest blogging - It’s time to guest blog on Huffington Post, or Social Media Examiner,  to bring more credibility to my blog.

Speaking engagements - By ramping up my own image, I got a few offers to speak in 2013, and it’s time to be proactive, pitch myself the way I pitch clients, and speak once a month or more. I’m speaking about “Mindful Marketing” at the Mystic Island Festival, Maui, HI, January 30-February 2, 2014, and I will be part of the Wisdom 2.0 Unconference at Google, February 8, 2014. (These are both clients I have advised on social media, content marketing and PR this year.) I was also offered a speaking engagement and “sponsor status” (link back to their website and logo on marketing materials) at a high profile tech conference as part of the deal I negotiated with them as their social marketing strategist.

Press releases I always ask my clients to use PR Web or free press release services to drive up their traffic. That’s a good idea for me too.  A press release every month will keep you in Google News and Yahoo news adding tons of traffic to your site — sometimes 50,000 visits with one release.

Press coverage – Don’t be shy about talking to the press. I am so busy pitching my clients to the media I forget to pitch myself. It’s time to be a spokesperson about social media and PR issues and get a little limelight shining on myself too.

How about speaking at my local TEDx? Yes, join a TEDx in a small town — this makes it easier to get a speaking engagement and it’s a high profile and prestigious perk to have your TED video in YouTube.

Add logos to my bio - I’ve worked with a lot of big names over the past 30 years — this year I added Google, Twitter, Facebook, Steve Wozniak, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Alanis Morissette, Iggy Pop, David Starfire, Daniel Pinchbeck and some other heavy hitters to my client list by promoting conferences and music festivals with these speakers on the bill. It’s time to play that up more and add their names and logos to my bio, some “Rave Reviews” and testimonials and toot my own horn a little louder.  These names on your website also drive more traffic to your site in random searches.

Google Hangouts, Conference Calls and Video Seminars – Yes, it’s time to get on camera and create my own webinar. I helped a client promote his webinar this year.  My turn.

Newsletter – Again, the shoemaker’s kids are barefoot. Where’s my newsletter and mail list? (Slap slap.)  Where’s my “call to action” on my website? And how come I haven’t done a “fan page squeeze” to export the 100,000+ fans I have access to on 20+ fan pages and turn that into an email database?

Add a Blogtalk radio podcast – How about an “Ask Giselle” Q&A show where people call in and ask for advice? I have clients with radio shows that have generated so many followers this year they were offered TV shows. Yes, podcasting builds your platform and following and you can do it with a mic you can buy at Radio Shack that snaps on your smart phone.

Or add a vlog (video blog) or YouTube show - Tape a video with your smartphone and host it on YouTube and post it to your blog. No skills in video? Appear at a conference and speak for free — they usually have professionals taping these conferences. Ask for a copy of the video and repost on your blog, social media and YouTube channel.

It’s time for all of us to make beautiful shoes to wear in 2014! Make yours a pair of Manolo Blahnik stiletttos. Reach for the stars in 2014 — you deserve a visibility shift too.

This year, the WordPress.com “stats helper” even prepared an automatic summary of the year’s posts .

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Why I’m not excited about the #Twitter IPO. (I’ll wait for @Pinterest.)

English: Red Pinterest logo
Twitter IPO hysteria? No thanks. I’ll wait for Pinterest.

Unless you’ve been under a rock you know the @Twitter IPO is soaring into the stratosphere right now — “from the Moon to Mars” says the Mercury News.

Yes, Twitter has triple digit growth — but no profit. Just like the good old days of the 1990s dot com boom.

It is very exciting for to watch the Twitter IPO soar to over $75 (now it’s settled down to $60).

But I’ll wait for the #Pinterest IPO–and the apps that will capitalize on that. Because Pinterest is the future of social media. Twitter is the past.

Watching the construction cranes and the building frenzy in San Francisco next to Twitter HQ and Silicon Valley where a boring little 3 bedroom house in Palo Alto just sold for $3.3 million  — we are officially seeing the beginning of “Web 3.0 — the next Internet boom.

Web 3.0 is going to be the combination of mobile devices, touch screens, social media, big data, cloud applications and wearable computing. Some call this the “Internet of things.” It’s really the Internet of everything — music, commerce, shopping, maps, flight and hotel reservations, coupons, banking, film, literature, news — it’s all been replaced with a little device you can fit in your hand.

The new computer is a telephone — a touchscreen device built for two way communication with both voice and video with a GPS built into it.

And what is built from the ground up to take advantage of the mobile touch screen device with a video camera in it? Pinterest.

1. Pinterest is tactile. The other social networks all require a keyboard. Pinterest is made for touch screen devices. Facebook and Twitter are both stunted on a touchscreen interface and LinkedIn is almost impossible to use on a phone.

2. Pinterest is elegant, simple and MUCH easier to use–which is why women in particular love it. One third of all women in the US are on Pinterest now. That is a stunning statistic. And women do two things more than men — communicating and shopping.

3. Pinterest respects your privacy. (Facebook totally disrespects the privacy needs of its customers.) Twitter is somewhat more respectful, but it knows your phone number, and that’s not very private.

4. Pinterest encourages commerce. (It is still impossible to directly sell anything on Facebook–a huge missed revenue opportunity. Who sells stuff on Twitter?)

5. Pinterest is visual. When Facebook and Twitter started, the Internet and devices could not handle the rich media content they now are capable of. Twitter required special apps to use photos and just recently got photos that show up in the feeds.

6. Pinterest encourages ubiquitous sharing and search beyond your friend list. You can only share content to people you know in Facebook. You can only communicate with people who follow you on Twitter. LinkedIn is a totally closed network.

7. Pinterest is very searchable. (Even with Graph search, search still sucks in Facebook. It only works with #hashtags in Twitter)

8. Pinterest lets your content be shared to other social networks, blogs, websites. You can only do that in Facebook if you use an app. Twitter is somewhat more sharable, but really, it’s primitive compared to Pinterest.

9. Pinterest is creative, inspiring, positive and uplifting. Facebook … people get clinically depressed when they use it. Twitter…um, does it ever inspire you, emotionally? LinkedIn? Zzzzzzzz.

10. Pinterest recognizes and respects that your content is yours and ties it back to your website url. Forever, as a Pin is repinned, it virally drives people back to your site. Brilliant!  Facebook tries to “own” your content. Twitter can only point back at a url if you add the @ symbol as a courtesy. LinkedIn: Content? What content? We’re pretending to be professional here and afraid of anything creative or expressive.

11. Pinterest is built from the ground up to handle rich content and video–this is the future of social media.

The future of social media is television. As investor and film angel Sheridan Tatsuno of the Silicon Valley Global Network group on Facebook says:

“All social media bloggers and group admins are like TV network producers since social media already incorporates audio, video, photos, etc. Remember the million-channel Interactive Television that people talked about? We now have it. Soon, the advertisers and marketers will cherrypick the top social media producers and turn them into full-service Amazon-like lifestyle e-commerce sites. User attention is the scarcest resource so top social media creatives will be worth a fortune, sort of like rock stars and top athletes.”

I am already seeing the most engaged folks on my Facebook friend list getting TV shows and book deals. They are the ones who know how to get a conversation started and moderate it, kind of like a talk show host with a live, interactive audience. They know how to create moving content that gets shared. And they know how to monetize this audience with conferences, events, festivals. ebooks, products, consulting services or seminars that bring in revenue.

As we move into this next wave, it will be obvious why Pinterest is the future of social media.

I predict that someday, not far away, interacting in social media is going to be a lot more social — like talking at the front of a room, to an audience. We will do this with a device, like an iPhone, that recognizes speech. It will be mobile, and it will both send and receive video.

Basically, you will be live streaming, in two way conversation, to millions of people, who participate on their devices — kind of like a talk radio show, but it’s television, and it’s interactive. This will be the future of everything — music, learning, seminars, sermons, conferences, communication, film, theatre.

I know is sounds a little scary now — but it will not replace the live experience which will only become more valuable and prestigious.

It will continue to accelerate the information sharing and consciousness raising enabled by the Internet and free, ubiquitous shared social media.

We will still have live events, but these will be more like the live audiences that watch the Academy Awards or the the Tonight Show — much smaller than the televised audiences.

Which social network is most poised for the future of interactive media, at least today? Pinterest.

PS — there are rumors on the street that #Yahoo will buy Pinterest. It certainly fits in with Yahoo’s role as a content provider and media empire, rather than search engine.

Social media marketing isn’t free — you get what you pay for

0fe856038a37ce3f84af53823c5afb99I get at least one inquiry per day from someone begging me to help launch their product, their festival, their conference, fix their online reputation or get them better SEO results for their site.

But 9 times out of 10 people somehow think that because Facebook is free, getting someone to post for you is free. Everyone wants it. Nobody wants to pay for it.

If you want quality social media, expect to shell out as much as you’d pay for a web designer, graphic designer, publicist, branding agency or writer. If you’re paying $150-500 to go out on a mail list to reach 10K+ people, well, you should pay the same to reach 10K people on Social Media. It’s more valuable.

We’re getting you customers — customers you can see, know the names of, know every possible demographic detail about. It’s exponentially more valuable than buying an email list. We’re giving you a way to interact with people — that’s so much richer than a one-way ad.

Social media has tipped — everyone realizes they need it. They just still have a trouble grasping the concept that it’s they need to pay for it.

1. You need a strategic plan or it’s a waste of time. 9 out of ten clients who approach me do not even remember what social pages they have, or the passwords. Having a ton of neglected, half-baked You Tube channels and un-tweeted Twitter pages does not impress anyone. Do it right or don’t do it at all.

2. You need to support it with great branding. logo, website, name, packaging, video and advertising. Get your act together on all fronts before you start blasting it out to the public.

3. It’s not free and it’s not cheap. A good Facebook post that gets engagement can take 30-60 minutes to research, write, tag and post — longer if there’s original content like photography, video or an infographic.  You need to post 3-5 times a day. That can take someone a full 8 hour day on all of your channels–more if you want to approve all the content they produce.

4. You’ll need to supplement it with a Facebook ad campaign, video, good banner design and online branding, contests, apps and services that cost money. If you can’t afford these things, maybe you need more funding for your business before you decide to do a social media campaign.

5. It takes writing skills, wit and good taste. I find that journalists, photographers and other content creators are the best at social media, because it’s about storytelling. Talented creative is rare — and costs money.

6. It has to be proofread, spell checked, high resolution and not look junky. That means it takes time and care, and you’ll need to hire educated, thoughtful, creative people.

7. It takes technical skill. Building a Facebook page takes more knowledge than using WordPress or building a website. By far. Just because billions of people use it, lamely, does not mean that using it intelligently is going to be easy.

8. It’s a specialty. You really need to specialize in this and do it all the time to stay on top of the technology. It changes every day.

9. There is still this myth you can farm social media out to interns or outsource it.  Or worse, just by a bunch of fake followers for $5 on Fiverr. This is the front line of your brand and you’re going to trust it to someone entry level?

10. If you want to reach consumers under 40, you need to be online. Period. Statistics and marketing research have consistently shown that younger people, especially Millenials, don’t watch much TV, listen to broadcast radio, read print media or read email anymore. They’re glued to smart phones — and social media.

So if you paid for email campaigns and lists, TV ads, print ads, Google ad words, and PR — expect to pay for qualified, experienced and competent social media too.

With social media, you’re making the news, and telling your own story

folded-newspaper1

folded-newspaper1

Everyone loves it when they make the “news” and the local paper writes about their business.

Now, with Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and other online communities, or your blog, you’re making the news  and telling your own story.

And your fans and customers respond in a conversation.

I call it “Social PR.”

Instead of filtering your message through reporters and “experts” — you’re communicating directly to a community.

It’s like PR in warp speed.

Instead of a cycle of a days or weeks — your news gets spread in seconds. It’s like sending out a press release five times a day, each one just 140 characters.

This massive, global, two-way conversation is called Social Media. It’s here to stay, my friend. And it’s turning the world upside down.

Facebook now reaches 1 billion of the most influential, affluent and connected people on Earth — in 70 languages. And 70% of Facebook users are outside the US. (Today it’s estimated that 2 billion people, more or less 1/3 of the planet, have access to the Internet.)

Now the numbers are so massive that social media can no longer be ignored.

Hey, social media is the media.

Social media is now also the best way to reach and influence the “mainstream” media.

Social media now gives you unprecedented, direct and immediate access to celebrities, Venture Capitalists, investors, reporters, CEOs, politicians and influential people of all kinds.

If you’re not using Social Media to promote your business, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to find new customers, fans and relationships.

Social media is the most effective marketing and web traffic building tool – ever. It is increasingly the most important, customer facing marketing tool in your arsenal.

WHO READS THE NEWSPAPER?

Today, with the rapid disappearance and shrinking of “mainstream” media, (like newspapers and magazines) you can’t rely on press coverage and ad campaigns to announce your product or ideas anymore.  Most millennials do not read newspapers — the audience for print is not just aging, it’s dying. The new generation cut it’s teeth on cellphones and computers.

WHO WATCHES TV?

Nobody under 70 it seems to me–they watch shows on social media, like YouTube, Vimeo or pay per view like Netflix.  And they discover what to watch from friends on social media.

WHO READS EMAIL NEWSLETTERS?

Most people are too overloaded and ignore them.  Email gets stuck in the spam filter. If you get a 2% response rate you’re lucky. Why bother? If you’re customer is over 50, I recommend email marketing. If you want to stay in touch with your existing customers, email is a good adjunct to a social media Fan page or group. Otherwise it’s a waste of time.

JUNK MAIL AKA SNAIL MAIL?

Paper is almost obsolete. The majority of our shopping and commerce now happens online. When’s the last time you learned about something new in the postal mail?

BILLBOARDS, POSTCARDS, BROCHURES?

Face to face, personal “social networking” is more effective than ever as a way to cut through the clutter. And it’s an excellent way to drive your customers to your website, Facebook fan page or sign up for your email newsletter to stay in touch. Billboards, trade shows, festivals,  speaking enagagements, events — all great ways to get photographed, video taped and then spread around on the social media.

TRENDSETTERS AND EARLY ADOPTERS ARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

In order to influence and seed consumers and “early adopters” who will be the first to sign on to a beta programs, try a new product or embrace revolutionary ideas, it’s critical to reach them through, and be seen and heard on the “emerging media” or “social media”.

This is where the trendsetters, hipsters, cutting edge early adopters and most technologically agile people have historically hung out, talk about what’s new, and spread ideas to their friends and colleagues. This isn’t new — it’s been going on since the eighties when “chat rooms” like the Well pioneered what evolved into today’s Internet and social media.

Social media is where the mainstream media get their story ideas and learn what’s new.

These social communities are now as important as newspaper, TV or radio coverage and can be highly targeted.

“Social media” includes:

- Your website (hopefully a blog loaded with “Social Share” buttons, links and automated, syndicated feeds to Twitter and Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube — and not an old, 1990s-style, static website) is the hub of this integrated social media strategy.

- social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, Google +, WhatsApp, Instagram.)

- social bookmarking sites (like Digg and StumbleUpon.)

- blogging  sites (Like Tumblr, WordPress and Blogger.)

- e commerce – Etsy, Ebay, Amazon — these are also social networks.

- group buying/discount sites (like Groupon, LivingSocial, BuyWithMe.)

- customer review sites (like Yelp, TripAdvisor.)

- video sharing sites (You Tube, Vimeo, Twitter Vine and Viddy.)

- photo sharing sites (Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram.)

- radio talk show networks (“podcasts” like Personal Life Media, Progressive News Network, Visionary Culture Radio and Blogtalk Radio.)

- Internet music and radio (Pandora, Spotify, SOMA-FM.)

- event networks (Eventful, We Know, Daily Candy, Upcoming, Zvents, Eventbrite, Craigslist, Meetup, Going., Plancast, Socializr. Evite.)

- professional networks (LinkedIn, Ryze, Thumbtack, Labor Fair, TaskRabbit, MeetUp.)

vertical, niche social networks for your market (ie for LOHAS they include: Architects of a New Dawn, Waccobb.net, Children of the Light, WiserEarth.)

- Yahoo Groups, Google Groups (these closed email lists can spread your product, workshop, event or idea to highly targeted niches. They are powerful for music festivals, conferences, events, yoga, dance and workshop promotion.)

- Facebook and LinkedIn groups – in high tech, these groups of early adopters and enthusiasts are critical to the success of a new product. For other businesses, such as Fashion, Design or Green, specific networking groups are highly influential, and often have their own social pages.Related articles

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!

Seven lame, business-killing excuses for not having a social media presence.

It's time to stop making lame excuses for not having a social media presence.
It’s time to stop making lame excuses for not having a social media presence.

This article was selected as 1 of 1 million WordPress posts to be on Freshly Pressed where it created a momentary sensation and 15 minutes of social media fame for me. It’s two years old now, and clients are still making excuses so I am running it first to remind you all that it’s about time started on this Facebook thing.

1. You’re too busy.

I don’t think social media is optional anymore. A professional presence in social media is now a marketing necessity, like a business card or a website. You can’t afford not to have a social media presence. You’ll look like a Luddite, like you’re out of step, like you’re stuck in the Eighties — when people actually got their news from a newspaper, bought things from ads, looke for businesses in the Yellow pages, and were influenced by television.

For most businesses and professions, social media is important. Make an investment in social media, plan your strategy first, do it right, and you’ll be paid back ten-fold.

Updating your profile and sending out Twitter updates can become part of your regular routine — like brushing your teeth, answering email and checking your voice mail.

Using free tools, you can interlink all of your social profiles — so that your Twitter automatically updates Facebook, your blog and LinkedIn. You can update everything simultaneously from your mobile phone in a few minutes a day.

2. You don’t “get” this social media thing.

When you tell stories in public, not only do they have to be true (fact checked, verified, libel-free and legal), accurate, spell-checked and well written, but your story needs to be interesting, engaging and continually evolving. If you’re not naturally good at that, or you don’t have time, you’ll want to hire professional help.

Ultimately, you’ll need to be engaged on a daily basis. Celebrities, consultants, musicians, workshop leaders, public speakers and CEOs who “get” social media make it a priority and are personally involved. You can also outsource social updating to a pro. But make sure they take time to truly know and understands your business, know how to tell an engaging story, have a “voice” and “get” the culture, ethics and rules of the community you’re trying to reach.

3. You can’t afford it.

Everything you need is free. If you hire a consultant, you can get a lot of value from a few hours of his/her time setting your site up and coaching you on the unwritten secrets, tips and tricks of really using Social Media brilliantly.

4. You don’t need it.

Just like you “didn’t need” a website back in 2000. Everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, killed brick and mortar businesses, got all the cool urls and are now worth millions. Are you going to miss out on this land grab too?

500 million people worldwide are utilizing Facebook to create their personal brand. Many events are solely promoted on Facebook. You are really late to the program and totally out of the loop and out of touch if you have a stagnant, unupdated profile or none at all. These days a lot of people think you don’t exist anymore if you’re not in the social sphere because they aren’t even using email anymore and use Facebook or LinkedIn as their main way of communicating with colleagues, or Twitter as their main way to announce breaking news.

5. You’re doing fine with Google adwords.

Oh yeah? Why are you buying search results that will disappear as soon as you stop paying — when you could be using social sites and a blog to build a search ranking that will last forever. Also, you’re totally missing out on a highly targeted market if you’re not also advertising on Facebook.

6. You already hired an SEO guy.

In my opinion, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is dead in 2010. It was important in the age of static HTML websites in the 90s.

Why? Because search engines can only search text! The most important thing you can do is generate tons of text and mentions of your URL that will drive people back to your website. More about this later.

7. It’s not necessary.

If you are not on social media, your business reputation is at risk! Ignore social media at your peril–because people are probably talking about you, your competitors and your brand. They’re building relationships without you. They’re inviting people to cool events that you’re not learning about. If you’re not on social media by now, it’s as if you don’t exist.

Bad PR used to be quickly forgotten when the newspaper was tossed in the trash. Now it lasts forever in Cyberspace. Bad customer reviews can quickly destroy a new product launch, a new event or a beta program. Bad word of mouth on social networks will severely damage your personal reputation.

Negative reviews on Yelp can kill a restaurant in a few days. Don’t worry, you can now pay Yelp a monthly fee (aka bribe) to remove bad reviews. Better off to not get them in the first place.

You need to be prepared to brand yourself and position yourself wisely. And you need to pay attention to what your peers, competitors and partners are saying in the social realm.

If your business is large, you’ll also need to track the coverage and monitor feedback so you can respond to customers immediately. It’s all quickly becoming as complex as a traditional, mainstream media PR program.

Whatever you call it — Social Media, Emerging Media, New Media — it’s all just a conversation.

But it’s a conversation you can’t avoid anymore. Ignore it at your peril or it will happen without you. It’s time to lead the conversation.