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15 Social Media Mistakes that are Strangling Your Success

While it’s not new, I’m often surprised by the way bloggers use—and mis-use—social media.

Each of us has our own blogging journey, and we use different tools in our own unique ways. Yet there are still quite a few very common errors that I continue to see bloggers making as they work with social media.

Norwegian_viper

Image by stock.xchng user

These mistakes have the potential to make your social media experience a struggle—if not put you off it completely. But if you persist with them over time, they have the potential to do significant harm to your brand and your blog.

Think about it: social media is a very public space, perhaps even more public than your blog. Although we might not be conscious of it, every time we make a status update on a social network, we have the potential to reach a huge audience of people we don’t know through others sharing our messages.

That can happen whether the messages are good or bad, for better or for worse.

Take a look at these 15 mistakes, which definitely send the wrong message. Then, let me know in the comments if you’re making any of these errors.

1. Using social media as broadcast media

We all know that social media is an engagement tool, but how many of us treat it that way?

What’s your ratio of “broadcast” updates to direct, personal updates that address other users individually? And who are those direct updates to—friends and family and people you feel “safe” with, or are you reaching out to new contacts, readers, and others in your niche?

2. Not responding to contacts

While you may not want to connect with everyone on every social network, the blogger looking to build an online presence should focus on responding to contacts from others on social media.

Avoiding one-word responses is ideal—look for ways to connect naturally and easily with every person who approaches you, and you’ll see real benefits from social media.

3. Not joining your readers on the networks they use

Where are your users congregating online? Which networks do they use? Are you on those networks, or are you holding off because you think you don’t have enough time or energy to tackle a new network?

Not long ago, I started developing the dPS presence on Pinterest, and I’ve never looked back. While there’s no perfect time for anything, leaving yourself out of a social network where your audience is active could mean you’re leaving money on the tqble—or readers out of the loop!

4. Not offering follow and share buttons on your content

On your post pages, do you offer readers the option to share the post on social networks and the opportunity to follow you on those networks?

Offering one or the other is better than nothing, but it’s important to offer both. Of course, your follow buttons might appear in a location that’s globally available throughout your blog—like in the header or sidebar. But do make sure users have both options.

5. Not following or friending your readers

If a reader contacts you on social media, do you follow them?

While following massive numbers of people can be overwhelming, if you’re just starting out on a new network, connecting with those who contact you is a great way to make the most of the medium and get a feel for what your readers are doing on that network.

6. Not following or friending industry contacts

Connecting with people from your broader niche is an excellent way to stay abreast of news and get on the radars of others you haven’t met, but whose work you admire.

Who knows? They might follow you back—and share your updates with their followers. But even if they don’t, you have the potential to get a sound perspective of the players in your niche, and their work, on social media.

7. Not presenting your brand consistently on a network

Every blogger and blog brand has a range of facets, but these need to be carefully managed—even curated—if you want to give your followers a clear idea of who you are and what you’re about.

Chop and change in the way you approach a given network or your followers, or present your brand, and you might do more harm than good.

8. Not presenting your brand consistently across different networks

Following on from the previous point, you will have readers who follow you on multiple networks, so it’s important to present yourself and behave consistently in all your dealings, whatever the network.

Your blog’s Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts should share brand characteristics, even if you target the information you share with each network individually.

9. Only doing the basics on each network

Social networks have come a long way since they were first launched. Even the more recent arrivals to this industry are evolving new features all the time. Yet many of us ignore these developments, and just keep posting the same stuff, day in, day out.

Are you aware of the features of each of the networks you’re using? Are you up-to-date with what each network offers your blog? If you’re not, you could be missing valuable opportunities to promote your blog, to meet potential readers, and eventually, to make sales.

10. Not tracking social media traffic

At the most basic level, it’s worth knowing what portion of your blog’s traffic comes from social media, and from which networks.

This knowledge can help you focus your efforts, prioritize your work, and manage your time to best effect. It can also help you to respond to one-off traffic events arising from particular networks.

11. Not tracking how much your content is shared

On the other side of the coin, it’s also important to keep an eye on how much your content is shared. I’ve found this particularly useful when I’ve joined a new network, as it helps me to understand what works in that space and what doesn’t.

Looking at what’s shared—in terms of blog content and my own social media updates—is an essential step in making the most of a social network.

12. Not listening to discussions about your brand and niche

Similarly, it’s important to track not just what people on a given social network are saying about your blog and brand, but also about your niche itself. Social listening is the answer.

This can give you post ideas, opportunities to connect with readers on topical issues that they care about—even ideas for updating your blog’s layout or post categorisation. Social media listening is a great way to get to know what your audience is thinking and feeling.

13. Not listening to your main competitors

The listening doesn’t stop there, though. you can also set up searches for social media discussions of your main competitors, or key players in your niche, and find out what the audience has to say about them.

This can help you find gaps in your market for information and commentary, give you prodict ideas, and a lot more.

14. Not posting at high-sharing, high-visibility times of day

This is a big one. Even if your social media followers are in your timezone, there are going to be better and worse times to share on social media.

If you’re listening to find out the way your niche works on social media, you should have an idea of when its players—organizations and audience members—are most active. By tying that information to the traffic and sharing tracking mentioned above, you should be able to piece together a picture of the best times to get traction from social media among your target readership.

15. Not realising that promotion doesn’t stop with social media

Social media has its place, but it’s only one way to reach the people you want to read your blog. It’s one piece in a big promotional puzzle, and it’s one that’s actually independent of a digital presence that you own.

That presence is on your blog itself. But if you only ever use social media to try to get people to your site, you’ll soon kill off any goodwill you’d established. This is why social media really should be used as part of a broader promotional toolkit that lets you attract some of the other kinds of readers we mentioned late last week.

Are you making any of these 15 mistakes? They could be slowly strangling your blog’s authority, brand, and ability to attract new readers! Share your thoughts—and tips for social media success—with us in the comments.

Stop Socializing! Auto-Share Social Media Updates and Get Back to Blogging

This guest post is by Fred Perrotta of Tortuga Backpacks.

As a blogger, you should be spending at least 80% of your time creating killer content.

The problem is that that leaves just 20% of your time to split between time-intensive (but important) activities like social networking, ad sales, new product creation, and marketing.

In this post, you’ll learn how to automatically share your blog posts to your social networks.

You’ll set up your system once and then never worry about manually sharing your posts again.

Now you can spend your time connecting with likeminded bloggers, responding to comments, and making money instead of copying and pasting the same update all over the web.

Your new best friend: IFTTT

Your auto-sharing system will use online connections service IFTTT (If This, Then That).

You may have heard of IFTTT from previous stories on Problogger, which showed how to use it for content curation and posting to WordPress by email.

IFTTT (pronounced like “lift” without the “l”) is a service that creates connections between your social networks, RSS feeds, and even email.

With IFTTT, you connect a “trigger” (like a new post in your RSS feed) with an “action” (like posting to Twitter) to create a “recipe”. IFTTT feed trigger

Read on to learn how to use existing IFTTT recipes to automate your social sharing.

Automatically share on Twitter

Use this RSS to Twitter recipe to automatically tweet new blog posts.

Note that you’ll need to customize this template to use your RSS feed.

You can also customize the tweet itself using plain text and “ingredients” like the post title and URL.

IFTT action tweet

Automatically share on Tumblr

IFTTT is even customizable enough to handle Tumblr’s multiple post types.

Use this feed to Tumblr link recipe to share a link to your latest blog post on Tumblr.

Sharing a link, rather than the full post, is good for your SEO and will prevent duplicate content issues.

Run an image-heavy photo blog? Use this RSS to Tumblr photo recipe to create a photo post.

Using the templates linked above, you’ll be able to customize the body of your Tumblr post, the source URL, and the tags. Even though you’re not posting directly from Tumblr, you can still utilize all of its functionality.

Automatically share on LinkedIn

LinkedIn sharing works much the same way as Twitter and Tumblr.

Use this RSS to LinkedIn recipe to share your next blog post on your LinkedIn profile.

Sharing on LinkedIn is highly recommended for B2B bloggers.

Why you can’t auto-share on Google+ or Pinterest (yet)

Unfortunately, neither Google+ nor Pinterest have a public write API, so IFTTT doesn’t have recipes for posting to either site.

For now, you can post updates manually or skip them altogether. Make your own decision based on the importance of these networks to your business and the relevance of their audiences to your blog.

The problem with Facebook…

Facebook is the hardest network to automate because its EdgeRank algorithm demotes posts made from third-party sites like IFTTT.

That’s right: if you’re not creating your posts on Facebook, your fans probably aren’t seeing them.

Even when you’re posting on Facebook, only 16% of fans see a given post. Don’t let this number slip even lower!

For Facebook, you have two options:

  1. Use Facebook’s new WordPress plugin to create a Facebook link post from within WordPress. You can even tag people and pages from within the widget, which is shown in your sidebar when you’re writing a new post. Since this is an official Facebook plugin, you don’t have to worry about your posts being penalized.
  2. Post to Facebook manually. Yes, this seems to go against the point of this post, but you can set up the rest of your sharing so that this is the only manual post you’ll have to make.

If Facebook drives a significant amount of traffic to your blog, manual posting is worthwhile.

The other advantage is that you can post a picture (with a link in the text) rather than just a link. Pictures are prioritized over links (which the plugin above would create), so more of your fans will see a picture post than a link post.

Darren himself had 18x better results from posting a picture rather than just a link.

Problogger Facebook image post

Have you automated your social sharing yet?

Using the strategies in this post, you can free up most of the time you used to spend sharing every post you published. Even for low-volume blogs, this is huge.

Have you automated your social sharing yet? If so, how are you spending your new free time?

Fred Perrotta is the co-founder of Tortuga Backpacks and a freelance marketing consultant.

How to Build a Dominant Google+ Presence

This guest post is by Ryan Howard of Complete Web Resources.

Google+ is the hottest game in town when it comes search engine placement gains—at least for the time being.

We’ve run multiple tests and so have a few other agencies we know, almost with unanimous consent that preferring Google+ for the hours you dedicate to social media offers the greatest ranking benefit.

In this post we’ll discuss the top 5 ways to make Google+ work for you.

When we talk about Google+ (Google Plus) there are a few different areas we need to address. That is to say, there are a few different ways that you can eke out some positive signals to aid in your search engine optimization promotion program, build your trust with Google, and move you up in SERPs. They are:

  1. Google+ shares
  2. Google +1 counter
  3. Google Circles ads
  4. Google+ company page
  5. Google authorship.

Google+ shares

This is the best way to get Google’s attention. At least, we’ve seen the greatest gains from this effort in particular.

A share means that someone shares your link on their Google+ profile by posting to their wall. Good quality content that you post to your Google circles or on your blog will do the trick.

One thing that we’ve been doing lately is to host funny images on our site and then share them on Google+. When people +1 the posts, or reshare them, we get credit, since the image is hosted on our site. In addition, if people navigate to the image itself, we’ll get more site visits.

Here’s a video I made to show exactly how to host images on your site to get traffic.

Google+ counter

This is the little widget that you add to your site so that visitors can +1 your content when they are there.

Adding this widget will let people vote your site up with +1s. When they do so, Google will give them the option to post their vote on their individual Google+ profiles, which gets you a link on their profile and also exposes your site to all of their followers. Plus 1 votes are also a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.

The addition of the +1 counter widget is very simple and excellent documentation on it can be found at the Google Developers site. You can alter how the button looks, change its width and annotation, and try some advanced options as well.

Pro tip: Under the Advanced options dropdown, be sure to enter your website’s URL in the “URL to +1″ box. This will make doubly sure Google properly counts all of you +1s.

Once you have the +1 tag and script written into your code, the counter widget will display on your site wherever you decide to place it. It’ll look like this:

Google plus counter

It shouldn’t be too difficult to get your friends to help you get started with +1′s. Don’t overdo it, though. Going from 0 to 100 in a day will surely send up a red flag in the Google Search algorithm.

Google circles adds

In addition to shares and +1s, you also want your personal profile to link to your website, and having a more powerful profile gives you more clout (or Klout).

You’ll want to add excellent content to your profile to keep people engaged and interested, commenting on your posts, and so on. But you’ll also need an audience to reach. Here’s how to get started.

First, add all of your gmail contacts to your circles—hopefully they’ll follow you back. That’s a great start.

After that, we want to add more shared circles, which will cause people to add you back. Here are a few recommended searches to help you find more shared circles:

  1. +CircleCount
  2. Public Shared Circles
  3. In the Google+ search bar, type “shared a circle with you” (leave the quotes) which will bring up circle that have already been shared publicly.

Having a built-out profile with a good profile image will help you get more people to add you back. No one wants to add a profile that looks empty or spammy.

Google+ company page

As a Google+ user, you can also create and manage a company page tied to your site.

From your profile, click your small profile image at top-right. The dropdown that appears will allow you to add a page. Otherwise, you’ll see the link to “View all of my pages”. Click that to go to the Page add screen.

Here are a couple screenshots of the initial setup process:

Google plus company page

Google plus company page 2

Setting up a Google+ page is very similar to setting up a personal profile. You’ll want to be sure to include your URL so that the page links back to your site. Also, you’ll want to add an icon on your website that links back to the Google+ page.

The main difference between a page and a personal profile is that you can’t follow individuals as a page unless they follow you first. You can, however, follow other pages. This will make getting page followers a bit more difficult, but the solution is quality content and regular posts. Keep the content that you post relevant to your business. We like to add snippets from our website blog, funny internet-related images, and so on.

Google authorship

Google authorship ties all of these elements together and really connects your Google profile with your website. Search results that have an individual’s image next to their blog, post, or website are all utilizing Google authorship. Google even lets you sort results by only selecting things from that author.

The technical integration of Google authorship requires an entire post of its own, and the best and most easily followed guide we’ve found is How to Set Up Rel=author.

Are you making the most of Google+?

That concludes our survey of the ways Google+ can help your site earn additional trust signals in the eyes of Google’s search algorithm, and improve your site’s visibility. We covered the following methods for promoting your Google+ presence.

  1. Google+ shares
  2. Google +1 counter
  3. Google Circles ads
  4. Google+ company page
  5. Google authorship.

These really are the top five. You should have each of them working for your Google profile, and linked to your website where possible. Following these steps will not only increase your reach into additional markets, it will also give your website a nice boost in the SERPs.

Ryan Howard is Head of Search for Complete Web Resources a WordPress digital refinery and search strategy firm.

Why People Share … and How You Can Get Them to Share Your Work

This guest post is by Jonathan Goodman of www.viralnomics.com.

It’s Friday night. You just pulled your new shirt over your head and sprayed on some cologne. One look in the mirror is enough to remind you how awesome you look. Time to roll out.

The party doesn’t disappoint. 50 of your closest friends are here and you see the object of your affection in the corner. She’s a natural beauty, brunette and curvy with a smile that lights up the room. Feeling a little sub conscious and emotionally unstable you grab the box next to you and step on top of it. Taking in a deep gulp of air you yell, “Everbody! Stop what you’re doing. Tell me how good I look. Like me and tell your friends how good I look.”

Sounds silly doesn’t it? But this is what happens every day online.

In this post, I’m going to use research to explain this phenomenon of selective self-representation. Once you understand it, I’ll show you how to take advantage and make people want to share your blog posts material as a way of boasting.

Facebook narcissism

Research from Jonah Berger at the Wharton School of Business showed that that people with low emotional stability update their Facebook statuses more. [Reference - Eva Buechel, Jonah Berger (Under Review), Facebook Therapy? Why Do People Share Self-Relevant Content Online?] As a result, they are over-represented online. The status updates act as a form of therapy and both Likes and “atta boy” comments are medicine.

If you go back to my party example above, a person’s social network online is their trust circle. The user’s perception of how their trust circle views them is immensely important to their well-being. In fact, perceived social support has been shown to be more effective than actual received social support. [Reference – Wethington, E. and Kessler, C. (1986), “Perceived Support, Received Support, and Adjustment to Stressful Life Events,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 27 (March) 78-89.]

It boils down to four things. Everybody wants to show off to their network that they are intelligent, intellectual, attractive, and funny. Communication channels online are asynchronous. This means that the user has time to think both about what they are going to say and how that will make them look.

Therefore they selectively self-represent using status updates, and choosing material that will make them look intelligent, intellectual, attractive, and funny.

So how do we use this information?

No matter what your industry is, you’re here because you want to learn how to promote yourself using social media. It’s up to you which of the four traits you want to help your users self-represent with. What’s important is to appeal to the already converted, and to avoid being profound.

People who are already having success using your product or service will want to show it off. Those who haven’t discovered you yet aren’t interested in your product or service, so there’s no point in trying to get them to share it.

Instead, appeal to those who will share it—they are the ones who want to show off that they are intelligent for having already found it.

Perhaps the biggest blogging mistake I see is people trying to be profound. Unless you’re a leading researcher what you are writing about on your blog is nothing new. It has already been said a thousand times by others online, and for free, and will be said a thousand times more.

Because of this, phrasing becomes important. You must give people that are in the know a reason to share your materials. Make them feel special that they already know the subject of the article, and they will share it as an extension of their own thoughts. They do this because your article shows to their audience that they’re intelligent or intellectual (or funny or attractive).

Don’t believe me? Look at the wording people used when they shared an article from Darren Rowse’s Facebook page called “How to Get Overwhelming Things Done”. In his brief article Darren advocates setting aside 15 minutes a day on what you want to achieve. Good advice but nothing new. So what did people preface the article with when they shared it?

“Great advice for new bloggers and freelancers”

And

“Anyone has the time to blog. Very good tips from Darren Rowse”

Within the article itself some of the comments read as follows:

“You could not have said it better, I have taken this attitude and I do get things done. Great advice.”

And

“I agree … I think the biggest accomplishments we achieve in life depend on what we focus on each and every day on the journey towards it. Great advice… “

People are rarely interested in adding to the conversation

It’s a nice idea to think that people are going to want to read your blog and interact intelligently. It’s an even nicer idea to think that people will go to your blog to learn.

I consider myself much more realistic than that.

The goal of a blog or social media is to attract an audience to buy your high-value materials. This might be information or it could be a related product. Either way, your sole purpose is to create your message in a way that it spreads. A blog post is a tool, not your end game.

The way to do that is to allow your reader to take ownership of the material. If you write it in such a way that allows for them to self-represent, they will share. Everybody wants to be perceived as intelligent, intellectual, attractive, or funny. We all have our own version of a beautiful brunette that we want to impress.

Jonathan Goodman is a 2X author. His second book recently reached the #1 spot on Amazon in both the marketing and web marketing categories. Aside from consulting, he is currently writing Viralnomics: How to Create Directed Viral Marketing. The sections are being published for free online as they are produced. You can get up to date at http://www.viralnomics.com.

14 Ways to Promote Your Latest YouTube Video

This guest post is by Jenny Dean of Floppycats.

If you’re like me, you put a lot of time, effort, and thought into your YouTube videos.  Even if you don’t, since YouTube is the second most searched engine in the world (and owned by the #1—Google), there is good reason to make the most of each upload.

Here are the 14 tasks bloggers should do whenever you upload a YouTube video to your YouTube channel.

  1. Add an SEO-optimized title: Your YouTube video title is essential in helping your video be found, so use appropriate keywords.
  2. Add an SEO description: Include a description that isn’t keyword stuffed, but does include your main keywords.
  3. Add your website link to the description: If you have a website or blog, be sure to provide a link back to that.  You can also include links to all of your social media channels.  When posting links, be sure to include the “http” or the “https,” as that’s the only way YouTube can automatically hyperlink it.

    Adding your URL

    Also, be sure that your main link is visible above “the fold”—in other words, above where the Show More section. Most people will not click on Show More, but will click on your main link.

  4. Maximize your tags: so many people do not maximize the number of tags that they can have. Tags are your keywords, and they are critically important to being found. Include any relevant tags. Then, check back in a month or two to see how that particular video is being found—and change out some of the tags that are insignificant. For your long-tail keywords, be sure to include them within quotes, like “Business Blog Writers,” so that they’re searched as single phrases, rather than three separate words.
  5. Post on Pinterest: In August, Krizia taught us How to Add Your YouTube Videos to Pinterest. Note that Krizia also suggests branding every video that you have on your channel because Pinterest allows people to watch the video directly on Pinterest. Unless they have motivation or reason to find out more, most viewers will not click through to your YouTube channel.
  6. Like your video: The number of likes on your video helps it gain popularity, so by liking it, you’re just helping it get the attention of the audience you’re trying to target.
  7. Share it on Facebook: Whether you have a Facebook page dedicated to your blog or website, or whether you just use your personal Facebook profile, you will want to share your video there for people to see.  You never know who they will share it with—this is how many videos have gone viral. If you are posting a video that involves a company, take the time to tag them in the post with the video link.
    Share it on Facebook
  8. Share It on Twitter: As usual, you want to shoot a link to your video out to all your Twitter followers. Be sure to include relevant hash tags and, if your video features a company and its product, then you definitely want to include their Twitter handle in the tweet too. For example, when I upload a product review for Floppycats, I then send out a Tweet like this, “Ragdoll Cats Chow Down on Eden Foods Bonito Tuna Flakes—Floppycats http://ow.ly/cU6Gp @edenfoods #cat #cats”.
  9. Share it on Google+: YouTube is owned by Google and so is Google+. They like each other, so make sure they like your videos too.
  10. Share it on LinkedIn (if appropriate): If your video is business-related and will help your efforts to grow your business, then you certainly want to share it on LinkedIn.
  11. Schedule it to post on HootSuite monthly, for the next year: I like to come up with a Tweet or a Facebook posting for each new video, and reschedule them for release once a month for a year. As a blogger, it shows companies you’re promoting that you are looking to maintain your relationships with them, and also helps an old video enjoy new life every month.
  12. Create a video response: Search for a video that is similar to yours, and rather than writing a comment about it, create a video response that will attract the audience you want.
  13. Write a blog post and embed the video: More than likely you are trying to get Google to love your website and want to put it at the top of their search engine results. So make them love it more by embedding your YouTube videos into your blog posts.
  14. Add it to a playlist: Whether you have already established playlists, or need a new one for this video, add it to a playlist using a relevant keyword from the video.

They’re the essential 14 steps, but are other things to do when you post a video, like adding annotations, asking people to subscribe, and adding transcripts, as Deepak covered in SEO Your YouTube Videos in 10 Steps.

What are some of the things that you do when you upload a video to YouTube?  What would you add to this list?

Jenny Dean is the Editor over at Business Blog Writers, online SEO content writers.  She also runs her own blogs and each of them has a YouTube channel:  Floppycats, Antioxidant-fruits and Guide to Couponing.  Business Blog Writers offers a YouTube enhancement service to help you execute these 14 things to do!

My Two-step Social Media Starter Plan

This guest post is by Eric Binnion of Art of Blog.

You can’t deny the power of social media. But, if you’re anything like me, then you also realize that effectively running social media accounts can take up tons of your time.

That is, if you let it. I’d like to show you my streamlined, two-step process of curating great content, posting throughout the day, and keeping in touch with the different accounts I manage.

Step 1. Who else wants to know where to find great content?

After I took over several Twitter accounts earlier this year, I quickly realized that to get interaction on Twitter I needed to do one of two things:

  1. Be interesting.
  2. Share great/interesting content (this is called curating).

For me, I knew that it would be easier to find and share great content than it would be to stay entertaining. Being interesting is a lot of work!

When I first decided to go this route, I followed a lot of people on Twitter and then reposted the same links they had (usually without giving them a mention or anything). Yes, horrible I know. But I wanted to make myself look like the authority, right? And I’m sure I’m not the only one of us here who ever did that…

This seemed very inauthentic to me, though. So, I was very excited when I heard of a tool called Prismatic. Prismatic is a free service that will deliver content to you based on the interests that you select. Below is a screenshot of the interest selection process in Prismatic.

prismatic-interests

Pretty simple, right? After you go through the interest selection process, you are presented with a feed that has tons of content in it! Your Prismatic homepage feed will reflect a mixture of all of your interests. But, if you’re like me, and you post on several blogs with different topics, you may want to narrow down to different topics. You can do that by clicking the More link by Home in the sidebar, as you can see in this image.

prismatic-feed

Once you’ve got your feed all set up, you just need to find a good way to automate the posting.

Step 2. One social posting tool to rule them all

Okay, so that headline is a bit ambitious. But I truly love Buffer, a web app that allows you to drip-feed content to your social accounts over time. With this tool, I am able to go through my Prismatic feed, find great content, click one button in Chrome or Firefox, and then it’s scheduled to go out to my social media followers!

Buffer also includes analytics that let you see how many times a link of yours was clicked, the estimated reach, and the number of mentions and retweets it got. These are fairly simple analytics, but they allow you go back through your tweets and see what resonates with your audience.

buffer-stats

Buffer also helps you build relationships on Twitter by prompting you to follow and/or thank those that retweet your tweets.

Social media made simple

This may not be the best way to manage social media. As my professors say about our programs, “there are always 1,000,000 solutions. Find the best one for you.” This is a good method to use for those that do not have much time to devote to their social media.

Combining Prismatic with Buffer will allow you to curate great content and build relationships with those who follow you. As you build up your reputation for recommending great content, you can then more successfully promote your own content.

Which tools do use to manage and build your social media presence? Share them with us in the comments.

This guest post is written by Eric Binnion of Art of Blog. He loves blogging, programming, and playing with his crazy son.

Is Your Facebook Page in Danger of Deletion? Save Your Fans in 6 Steps

This guest post is by James Dunworth of the Ashtray Blog.

On the 28th August, shortly after getting our 14,000th follower on Facebook, we received one of those emails that makes your heart not just sink, but plunge through your stomach and crash onto the floor.

Facebook had deleted our page from its network.

Facebook email

In this post, I’ll provide some hard-won tips that’ll show you:

  1. how you can avoid losing your Facebook page
  2. what to do if your page is deleted
  3. why and how to diversify your traffic sources
  4. how not to lose your Facebook page in the first place!

6 tips to save your page

First up, here are six tips that night help you avoid having your Facebook page deleted in the first place.

1. Read and re-read the Ts and Cs—and keep up with the updates!

I’ll start with this one, as I believe this was the key mistake we made!

We’d been through the network’s Terms of Use with a professional Facebook agency, and thought we were acting in accordance with their guidelines—not using Facebook ads to advertise our products, but promoting them from time to time on the page itself, for example.

A week or so before we lost our page, Facebook emailed us with some updated terms and conditions. If I had taken the time to read them, we might still have our page today.

Most people don’t bother to read terms and conditions. On Facebook, that could be a mistake! You can find Facebook’s full terms and conditions here.

2. Run your competitions through an app

Competitions are a fantastic way to gain followers, but they have to be done right:

  • You need to use a third-party app to run your competition.
  • You can’t use Facebook Likes as a voting mechanism.
  • You can’t announce Facebook winners through Facebook.

An alternative to running a Facebook promotion is to post a link to a competition you’re holding off Facebook, adding the disclaimer:

“This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.”

Social Media Examiner have an excellent article which will help guide you through the minefield or running a contest on Facebook, called Facebook Promotions: What You Need to Know.

3. Don’t upload copyrighted material

These days, everyone shares images on social network. However, if someone complains about some material you have shared, you could find your post deleted. Check that anything you share is available for public reuse before you publish it to Facebook.

4. Get your cover photo right

Facebook cover pages can’t:

  • include calls to action (e.g. “Buy Now”)
  • include contact details
  • contain prices or discounts
  • contain text that encourages people to Like or share the page.

5. Get your Facebook name right

Facebook names can’t contain generic terms, use excessive capitalisation, contain character symbols, or use “superfluous” descriptions.

6. Create multiple page administrators

Two examples of lost pages I came across when I was researching this post included:

  • cases where admins accidentally deleted the page themselves
  • pages being lost because an individual admin had his or her personal Facebook account deleted.

Choose your page administrators carefully, though—these admins will also have the ability to delete you, the page creator.

What to do if your Facebook page is deleted

Those are the basics, but the Facebook terms and conditions can change at any time. What can you do if you suddenly find your Facebook page has been deleted?

1. Appeal

When you get Facebook’s email about your page’s deletion, you’ll also get a link to a form that allows you to appeal the action.

Although we didn’t get a reply to our appeal, there’s always a chance you will, and a few other Facebook admins have managed to have their pages restored.

If you work with a social media agency, you might also find that they have a contact within Facebook—see if they can use their contact to get an explanation and make an appeal. Unfortunately, to date, appealing has not worked for us.

2. Pause any advertising for your page

In our case, Facebook continued to take money for ads that pointed to our defunct page. Make sure you cancel those ads, or you’ll be wasting money!

3. Create waves

Some bloggers who have lost their Facebook pages have managed to get them back by creating a community backlash.

When Ken Envoy of SiteSell lost his Facebook page and its 16,000 members, he immediately published a blog post titled, Urgent: We Need Your Help.

He urged his readers to spread the story, and credits his Facebook page’s restoration to their efforts.

We’re trying to do the same thing, and have set up a petition to ask Facebook to warn admins and give them a chance to change their pages before deleting them.

4. Make a story out of your loss

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”—Winston Churchill

We blogged about our story, and it went viral! We were astonished to get over 2000 shares of our first blog post about our Facebook page loss.

I also contacted several bloggers about our story when we created our follow-up petition post. As a result, Aaron Wall very kindly shared the story with 68,000 followers, Amy Smarty from MyBlogGuest signed our petition and shared the story, and ProBlogger invited me to write about the story!

It doesn’t make up for the loss of our page, but we received a lot of heart-warming support, and got some good links from other blogs out of the loss.

5. Start a new Facebook page—quickly!

People joined your Facebook page for a reason: because they liked it! Some of those people will join your new Facebook page, and you might be surprised at the kind messages of support they add to your page.

It’s worth starting the page quickly, and with a similar name—then, people looking for your page will be able to find it before they have forgotten about you!

Obviously, it’s important to also try to analyse why Facebook might have deleted your page, so you can avoid making the same mistakes again.

A lesson learned: diversify your traffic sources

Another key lesson we learned from this experience was not to rely one source of traffic. Our Facebook page was important to us—too important—but luckily, we also have other sources of traffic.

If you are relying on any one source of traffic, remember it can disappear rapidly. Work hard to make sure you are diversifying your traffic sources! Here are several which work well for us:

  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • search engines
  • affiliates (only relevant if you have a product to sell)
  • advertising
  • Twitter
  • specialist forums
  • our newsletter
  • blog links
  • blog commenting
  • specialist blogger groups on Facebook (If there aren’t any in your niche, why not start one?).

Have you ever lost a Facebook page? If so, what did you do? Let me know in the comments!

James Dunworth is the author of the Ashtray Blog, where he writes about e-cigarette news and tobacco harm reduction.

Score Face Time with New People in Your Niche

This guest post is by Stanley Lee.

We all know the benefits of networking are obvious, so why are we neglecting it?

Are you scared about meeting new people in your industry? Do you spend a fortune to attend conferences and trade shows? Or do you waste a lot of time with travel and setting up your computer to work properly?

If you’re sick of making compromises, read on.

Get in touch using Airtime

Airtime allows you to talk to strangers and friends on Facebook via video chat without leaving your home office.

You can meet new people on the platform based on:

  1. where you live
  2. your interests
  3. their relationships with your friends.

The information is extracted from your Facebook profile.

The best part of all this is you don’t have to acquire strangers’ permission in advance to talk to them, which is typically common when you try accomplishing this feat with Skype or even on Google+ Hangouts. Also, you won’t find any random dudes doing weird stuff (remember Chatroulette?). I mean, who really wants to expose their Facebook identities while doing that?

If you’re concerned about Airtime’s credibility, let’s start with its leaders. Sean Parker was founding president of Facebook and co-founder of Napster, and Shawn Fanning, was co-founder of Napster. Celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Jim Carey, and Martha Stewart checked Airtime out on its launch day.

If you aren’t familiar with any of those guys and girls, how about Gary Vaynerchuk? He loved using Airtime to connect with other social media fanatics.

Now that you’re excited, let’s learn how you can use Airtime to connect with readers and others in your blog’s niche.

The How-tos

Basic requirements

Before logging onto Airtime.com, you will need the following:

  • A compatible web browser: For simplicity, I suggest using Google Chrome.
  • A Facebook account: For obvious reasons.
  • A webcam that works with Airtime: Most laptop cameras should work without problems. Plug-in webcams may have problems. See the steps below to find out if yours does.

Step 1: Log into Airtime.com

A simple process—just visit Airtime.com and follow the launch process. You will need to press some buttons to authorize certain permission settings in Airtime’s login process. These are required in order for your camera to work properly.

authorization

Step 2: Choose your target

You will see this splash screen after successfully configuring your webcam.

Start screen

I blacked out my Facebook contacts to protect their privacy here. If you want to talk to your existing Facebook or Airtime contacts, you can click on a name on the right-hand panel and explore for yourself.

But since you’re most likely interested in discovering industry colleagues, let’s look at that. You have two ways to accomplish this goal.

The first way involves finding users with a common interest to talk to (as indicated by the blue rectangle). Then, click the Talk to Someone button.

Options

This is the easiest way because:

  • By checking the Near option, you can find people located close to you. If I live in Vancouver, Canada, I’m more likely to be connected to someone in, let’s say, New York City than New Delhi, India.
  • By checking the Common Interests option, you can specify multiple interests to find like-minded people. For example, if you read ProBlogger, your search won’t just be limited to this publication. You likely read Copyblogger, Think Traffic, Social Triggers, SEOmoz, and Blog Tyrant regularly. You may have even liked them on Facebook.
  • By checking the Friends of Friends option, you increase your chances of talking to a second-degree connection rather than the third, fourth, fifth, etc.

Let’s face it, life is already complex enough as it is. Enabling these options simplifies your Airtime experience and helps you home in on the right readers and industry contacts.

The second option involves finding users with a specific common interest. This is a great feature, but I do not recommend this method at the moment. Airtime does not have enough simultaneous users for you to find strangers with a specific common interest in a reasonable timeframe. Still, let’s take a look at how to do this just in case you want to play around.

Click on your profile, indicated here by the red box.

Interests

Move your cursor down to the Interests section, indicated by the blue box. You can click the More button at the bottom-right corner of the section to expand it.

Click on an interest

Click on an interest, then click the Find people who like this hyperlink, indicated by the blue box.

Find people who like this

Step 3: Start talking

In case if you’re a networking novice, here are some quick conversational basics before you begin talking.

Your goal should be to make new friends and make a great impression. How? By asking these simple questions in the following order, you will be able to spark deep conversations with your contacts:

  1. How did you find yourself trying out Airtime?
  2. What are you interested in these days?
  3. What challenges are you facing when you’re doing that?

Feel free to add one or two more questions specific to your industry or niche. The point is to break the ice, inquire about their hopes and challenges, and steer the conversation into the direction where you can provide—rather than extract—value. This is the key to keep the conversation going beyond this meeting.

After asking each of these questions, stop talking, and listen actively. After all, mutual exchange is a key ingredient to the art of networking.

If you really like talking to the person, you can add the contact into your Airtime list by pressing the blue button. You can also find other interests you may want to check off in your contact’s Interests panel on the right.

Adding interests

Step 4: Closing the loop

So you’ve met some new people and added the contacts you’ve bonded with particularly well. However, you’re just beginning the relationship. You’ll need to stay updated with what they’re up to, and close the loop by learning what you can help them with.

Here are some suggestions of what you can offer them:

  • Advice from your expertise: Act like a consultant giving them free advice on their problems related to your blog’s niche. Leave money off the table, as you want to keep the relationship social rather than transactional.
  • Be a connector: Doing so would not only help out your connections, but also build your reputation as a connector. Read this guide to get started if you don’t know how to be a connector.
  • Share relevant resources: This could be as simple as sending a quick email with actionable information you come across that’s helpful for them.

It takes several iterations of loop closing in order to build trust in those new relationships. If the first tries seem daunting, don’t worry. Networking is a learned skill, and you’ll improve with more practice. And Airtime is a great environment for you to practice quickly.

Let me know about your experience!

I hope you have enjoyed learning how Airtime can improve your life. Both in business and personal contexts, but particularly in terms of your blog.

Now you know how to use Airtime to build new relationships with other similar-minded people in a fail-safe manner. Or improve the quality of your relationships. Or even just conduct research for your blog that would otherwise be time-consuming and difficult to get without a large existing readership.

All within the comfort of your workspace, without the headaches of messing around with software packages.

Don’t you want to focus on big wins rather than being buried in the endless list of trivial tactics (e.g. spending all your resources tweaking SEO or honing a sales page when you don’t even know if it has its place in the marketplace)?

Have you used Airtime? How did it help you? What were the good points and bad points? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Stanley Lee blogs about systems building, marketing, and societal topics, providing in-depth commentary for the benefit of his readers.

Kodak’s Social Media Success—and What Bloggers Can Learn From It

This guest post is by Ricky of www.wickedleo.com.

With an active Facebook page, three corporate blogs, a couple of Twitter accounts, a YouTube channel, a Flickr profile and more, Kodak seems to be smiling pretty much all over the social media arena.

And no, it’s not just for the sake of social media presence alone. Kodak is, literally and figuratively, swimming and sailing in social media space—replying swiftly to users’ tweets, creating polls, seeking suggestions, organizing contests, uploading viral videos, and more.

The social media success of this company can be attributed to the fact that Kodak’s SMM is a well-thought strategy, and not a bunch of loosely tied tactics—something that anyone with a brand should seek to emulate.

As Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chief Media office and Vice President at Kodak puts it, the company has specially appointed energetic individuals all across to achieve “4 Es of Kodak”: Engage, Educate, Excite and Evangelize. I must say that I was quite surprised to read that the company has a professional Chief Listening Officer (CLO). The CLO, as Hayzlett disclosed in this interview, monitors all the social media outlets to hunt for conversations involving Kodak so that they can be addressed, assisted, and enriched by the media evangelists later on:

“In fact, we’ve just put in a chief listening officer who acts like an air traffic controller… who listens to the conversations that are going online because I can’t be online every second, every minute (although a lot of people think I am). But it gives us an opportunity to listen to the conversations and route those to sales people, route those to customer service or get them fixed or just say ‘thanks’.”

It seems that Kodak has plunged into the social sector with a no-nonsense approach. You might call Kodak’s earnest commitment to be all over the online space to be the company’s “secret to social media success.” Here’s what Tom Hoehn, Director of Interactive Marketing and Convergence Media, has to say about Kodak’s social media strategy:

“From the consumer side our products are all about enabling people’s self expression, telling the stories of their lives … On the commercial side it is about making connections to get people answers to questions they may have about our products and services. We have embraced social media for some time now. Our blog launched in September of 2006 and our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube presences followed in early 2008. We love what social media is doing for our business.”

Kodak’s personal interactivity

Another thing that separates Kodak’s social media strategy from the rest is the fact that it lets the real Kodak people talk online. Obviously, the logo does not do the talking for other brands, but with Kodak, it’s explicitly the person talking.

As mentioned above, the company runs a couple of Twitter profiles: @KodakCB, @KodakChallenge. @JeffreyHayzlett, @KodakCL, @KodakCameras, and @TomHoehn.

Here’s an example of the kind of interaction these representatives encourage on social media:
kodak tweet 1 Kodak tweet 2

Kodak’s Chief Listener’s Twitter account features her actual photo and a small Kodak logo below that. And in all the conversations, she maintains a tone that’s light and personal. Jeffrey Hayzlett also uses a rather easy tone in his feeds. This strategy helps the company in two ways:

  • The customers are assured that they are not talking to the company’s logo.
  • Using a gentle tone can help to calm down upset customers if needed.

The Ripcurl strategy

Convergence Ripcurl is the winning social media strategy at Kodak. The driving forces behind this model this have been Tom Hoehn (Interactive Marketing director) and Jenny Cisney (Social Media Manager and Chief Blogger). The duo describes Ripcurl to be their “path to participation” in the social space. Here’s what Tom Hoehn has to say about the concept officially called Kodak Convergence Media Ripcurl [PDF]:

“You will note the words, Twitter, blog, Facebook, YouTube, etc. do not appear anywhere on this graphic. It isn’t about the tools it is about connecting with our customers. This helps people within Kodak understand the opportunity at hand without getting caught up in jargon … Our proactive (speaking) activities are influenced and informed by our reactive (listening) efforts. When we do it right we will see a variety of results. When we get it wrong, well, we try again and keep moving forward.”

How do Kodak’s blogs fit?

Kodak runs three corporate blogs:

  • A Thousand Words, a lively blog on how Kodak employees think about imaging and photography in their personal lives. The stories cover a rainbow of topics, but with photography as the focus.
  • Plugged in, an instructive resource on Kodak’s products and services, announcements, reviews etc.
  • Grow your Biz, an insightful place presenting the experiences of all those who have a passion for print and communication.

In Kodak’s Social Media Guide, Jeffrey Hayzlett explains how these three corporate blogs helped the company:

“The blogs start conversations as I mentioned before, and they also have a direct positive impact on Kodak’s search engine rankings. In addition, Kodak receives more than 11,000 mentions in other authors’ blogs every month in the form of product reviews, opinions on products, rants, fan mail and more. We directly participate in many of these conversations to ensure our customers know we’re listening and to share answers and additional insights.”

As with the other social media channels used by the company, Kodak’s blogs are kept brimming with energy and enthusiasm. For instance, back in 2009, they posted a contest on the official blog which asked people to email a snapshot (theirs or their family’s) to the company. On being selected (and with the person’s consent), the snapshot appeared six times on Kodak’s screen in TS from 31st December, 2009 to 31st January, 2010. Going by the comments that appeared on the Kodak blog, it seems to have been a successful move.

This strategy isn’t just about creating a couple of social media profiles—it’s about keeping the ball rolling, and Kodak is really smart at that! The company knows precisely how to trigger interest, how to maintain that level of interest, and how to keep it growing.

Kodak has also successfully used this strategy to generate worthy ideas from its end-users. For instance, Kodak found that its customers were fuming over its latest launch named “Zi8 Pocket Video Camcorder”. With a little more research, the company found that a majority of people liked the product per se, but they didn’t quite like the name. The company immediately responded by throwing open a virtual contest that required followers to suggest a good name for the next Kodak pocket camera, which was ultimately named the Kodak Playsport.

And as Jeffrey sums it up:

“It’s all about bringing people together around shared interests and reaching them in way that’s meaningful and memorable … I strongly believe that if you get involved in social media, it will grow your brand, strengthen the connection between you and your customers and keep you grounded and aware of what people really think about your company. It’s well worth the time invested.”

So, if you are ready to take the plunge and are on the look-out for a starters’ guide to social media, take a look at Kodak’s Social Media Guide. If it has worked for this massive brand, there is no reason why it won’t for you!

Ricky is a technophile & a zealous blogger & evangelist for www.wickedleo.com. He has a strong impulse to spread bits of web tech & Internet Marketing wisdom that he picks from his own personal experiences.