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:


You’re not just building a fan page — you’re building a community.


I just designed a new banner for my Facebook, Google + and WordPress blog today — it’s a collage of photos of some of the conferences, festivals and events I’ve promoted with social media marketing.

The audiences are now the real world manifestation of the online communities we create to promote an event. The social media and the event are the same thing!

When you bring an audience together today, you are creating a community of customers and you need to maintain communication with them year round. It’s a huge commitment.

In other words, your fan page represents exactly what your product or event is — a community of real people. It can tell you their demographics, age, sex, education, where they live and even what time they are online. You can dig deeper and learn just about everything about them, personally and professionally.

This is a lot deeper than email. Think about it. “”  is about all you know a about someone on your email list. But on social media we know intimate personal details about each customer and what they look like.

With this unprecedented access to our customers comes a commitment to treat them with respect, humility and to pay attention to them. It’s not a one way message anymore, it’s a conversation.

Is your LinkedIn profile embarrassing?


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 Career and Life 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 ceo 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.

What makes you influential on social media? (It’s not what you think.)


What makes you influential on social media?

Just as in mainstream journalism, great content is key. Great headlines grab the reader. Posting frequently and regularly and being the first to break the news is key.

And just as magazines have long known, pass along readership is key to great circulation.

But the main thing that sets social media influencers apart (and sets social media apart from traditional “journalism”) is that they are followed by people who they themselves have strong networks.

An influencer might reach only 1000 people — but those 1000 people also reach 1000 highly connected and active people and so on and so on…which means within seconds, they can reach millions. Which is how revolutions like the Occupy movement and #Egypt managed to spread like viral wildfire.  And why your boring: “I just announced a new product” or “Please like my business” plea is often ignored.

As Haydn Shaughnessy wrote yesterday in Forbes:

“What behaviors make the key difference for people who want to elevate their status online?”  He breaks it down to:

  • Being active in a sufficient number of channels
  • Creating and maintaining a high quality network
  • Frequency of participation
But there’s more.

Social Media is interactive. To have real influence you need to be “social” — and that’s where 99.7% of businesses go wrong.

Social media not a press release or an advertisement — it’s an interactive conversation.  If your content is so engaging and interesting that followers feel compelled to repeat it–you will be retweeted and shared, and quickly reach tens of thousands or even millions of people.

Seven ways to get people to “like” your Facebook Fan Page. (It ain’t easy!)


It’s a dirty little secret that Facebook doesn’t want you to know — you need to have Friends in a personal page first before you can invite them into a Fan page. Therefore, a Fan page is useless unless you have hundreds of Friends First. Or you’re willing to shell out the big bucks for a Facebook ad campaign.

And that’s the plan. it’s intentionally difficult to get friends to Fan your page. Fan pages are more restrictive in features and “share a bility” than regular old friend pages because it’s to Facebook’s benefit to shut you out of this “walled garden”. Your only way “in” is to buy an ad. Brilliant, right?

I figured out how to work around this limitation by creating a “human being page” first before I make a Fan page.

For example, I built a page for a “person” named “Eco Artopia” for my business “Ecoartopia” instead of a fan page. It has virally grown to more than 1,200 friends because my posts as Eco Artopia go out into the stream just like any other person, and the page can have all of the widgets, games and personality of a real person.  There are many more benefits on Facebook as a “person” than you get as a “business.”

For another client, Mystic Garden Party Music Festivals, I built a fake person page as “Mystic Garden.” This grew to 4,800 friends in one year, and is now in danger of tipping the limit of 5,000. We migrated the friends into a new fan page, but people have been reluctant to move to the Fan Page. The fan page still has only 494 fans — 1/10 that of a person page. Given that lots of people abuse their Fan pages and send constant spam to their fans, a lot of people are reluctant to join them.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you entice people to “like” your Fan page:

1. Ask all of the members of your company to invite their personal Facebook friends into the fan page.

Send an email requiring that your employees/coworkers invite their personal friends to the company fan page. Maybe 20% will join, but that will help you get it started.

2. Ask all of your best friends if you can log into their Facebook page and invite their friends into your Fan page (as appropriate.)

It’s tedious work and involves clicking hundreds or thousands of times unless you use this tip:

Separate your Friend list into Subcategories first.

Click on the category to highlight all the friends in that category, and then “select all” and you can email the whole group at once. For example, I split my list into geographic zones whenever I add a new friend. My friends are also divided into professions (ie: sales and marketing, green business), and interests (ie: vegetarians, New Agers) that might benefit specific clients that I’m using the list for when I do a targeted promotional campaign.

3. Hire a Social Media consultant with a big list so they can invite their friends into your Fan page.

I manage and administer about 15 profiles and Fan pages, giving me access to more than 20,000 potential friends that are meticulously categorized across overlapping social circles. This way, whenever I have a new client with a Fan page I want to populate or seed with new potential fans, I can draw from one of these pages for potential friends.

4. Familiarize yourself with your friend’s interests.

One of the magical things about Facebook is that if you don’t know someone, you can guess a lot about them from seeing who their friends are, where their friends overlap your friends, and their listed interests.  Get to know your list well, read all the profiles, and develop a sense of who will and won’t be interested in a potential Fan page or event before you click “send”. Otherwise you are just creating annoying spam for your friends and they might ditch you.

5. Advertise your Fan page everywhere.

On your business card, promo postcards, in your email signature line, Twitter, other social media profiles, print media ads, and with an “Add This” button on your blog entries and web pages. (WordPress now has new templates with built in “Share This” features that make this super easy.)

6. Whenever you meet a new business contact, ask them if they’re on Facebook.

Jot their page names down on their card. When you get back to the office, immediately add them to your Friend page so you can invite them to your Fan page. all, just separate your “real” friends from the “virtual” and “networking” friends and message them separately.

7. Your network is your net worth!  Don’t limit your friend list to actual friends.

Every person you meet is the key to your future! You never know when a contact will be valuable. I am constantly surprised and have often found that total strangers on my Facebook page who offer to “friend” me often become my most valuable business connections, or develop into true, real world friends.

Developing a Fan page following on Facebook takes time and patience, but you’ll be rewarded again and again with the connections and customers you’ll gain. Remember that what your fan page looks like and the quantity of people is no where near as important as the quality of people who follow it, and keeping them engaged with intriguing daily updates. But more about that in a future article.

The SOBcon…the think tank of the social web. (Could use a name change.)

Here’s a real branding blunder…the SOBcon. It means Successful and Outstanding Blogger. But I am reminded of a Sob Story or a Son of a B____.

It’s coming up April 30 in Chicago, and you can get $250 off (not free?) if you blog about it.