Next week is going to be busy: a class and a webinar!

Linkedin Centipedes at 2010 Bay to Breakers.

I have two things coming up next week and decided to share them here!

On Tuesday, I’ll teach a class on LinkedIn for business.

On Thursday, I’ll lead Lunch & Learn Teleseminar: Social Media 101 With Regina Walton – Sponsored by FCN & NAGC.

I’m just excited for both. Check them out!

Now I have to get some lesson and presentation planning in.

Photo courtesy of smi23le on Flickr.

Repost: How to Engage your Facebook Fans

It’s been over a month. I know! Over a month.

My apologies, but I’ve been busy working, and that’s an excellent reason to be busy 😉

Part of the work I do is social media management, I thought this was an interesting enough presentation to share. There are a few small grammatical errors in it, but the basics of what they’re discussing is good enough to overlook the small kinks.

Check it out:

Facebook becoming big friend of small businesses

I thought this was an interesting article. I’ve been running on both cylinders, so I saved the link so I could post it here. The title captures it. Facebook is a friend to small businesses. You really don’t need it if you’re a large brand. However, even large brands see the value of having Facebook fan pages. If you’re a small business and you’ve got to realize that Facebook now has not just college students. Facebook now has your friends, your parent’s friends and, much to the dismay of many, your parents. The bottom line is your customers are on Facebook and they actually join Facebook fan pages.

Facebook is a virtual gathering place where people can catch up and talk. A lot of that time is spent sharing links and talking about their favorite things. If they know a business they like is on Facebook, it’s very likely they’re support it as a fan.

Here is a story from the LA Times about how this is working for one business.

Facebook becoming big friend of small businesses

 

Firms are building fan bases on the social networking website and using it to connect with customers.

FacebookCharles Nelson, president of Sprinkles Cupcakes, manages the Beverly Hills company’s pages on Facebook and other social media websites. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times / October 14, 2009)

 

Charles Nelson, president of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the Beverly Hills baker to the stars, doesn’t have a Facebook profile. Nelson, who works seven days a week, has no time for chatting online with Facebook friends.

But Nelson is logged on to Facebook all the time. That’s because more than 70,000 people have declared themselves fans of Sprinkles’ Facebook page, which has its own “vanity URL” at www.facebook.com /sprinkles.

Each day on the website, Sprinkles announces a secret word, such as “ganache,” or “bunny,” or “tropical,” or “love,” and the first 25 or 50 people to show up at any of its five stores and whisper that word get a free cupcake.

“On Facebook, we can ask our customers what’s the next location they want,” Nelson said. “What do they think of our next flavor? It’s an amazing way to communicate with our fans.”

Facebook is not just for friends anymore. The free social networking site — blocked in many workplaces as a potential time-waster — is increasingly becoming an inexpensive marketing tool for small businesses.

Sprinkles is among a growing number of mom-and-pop businesses taking advantage of a relatively new program on Facebook, one that allows them to claim their name, become visible even to folks who aren’t on the site, and stay in close contact with their customers. The business, in effect, can act like any other person on Facebook, posting status updates and seeing what its fans are doing.

Facebook doesn’t break out figures for small businesses but says it has 1.4 million business “pages,” with an average of 100 fans per page. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a speech in New York last month that every day, 10 million people become fans of pages. (Many of those pages are for random concepts, such as the beach, or laughter, or even one called “I don’t sleep enough because I stay up late for no reason,” which has 3.5 million fans.)

Businesses need to go where their customers are, and increasingly these days, that’s on Facebook and other social media sites, analysts say. More than 300 million people have signed up for Facebook, and half of them visit the site every day.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen this increasing uptick in businesses realizing that their customers are on Facebook,” said Tim Kendall, Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing. “If they can create a presence in Facebook that allows customers to connect with them, it can be a way to strengthen that connection and also to find new customers.”

Plenty of other sites are also wooing small local businesses. The review site Yelp, Citysearch and a host of Yellow Pages sites are all making a push.

And typically, businesses don’t stick to one site such as Facebook. Instead, they spread their presence across the social media landscape, including MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn. Increasingly, these sites connect with one another so that a status update on Facebook becomes a tweet on Twitter, or a blog post could be pushed out to several sites.

“Companies don’t have a lot of resources to create their own website,” said Jeremiah Owyang, a social media analyst at Altimeter Group. “Using these sites where the customers already are in their communities makes a lot of sense.”

Janet Rothstein, who runs a jewelry shop in Beverly Hills, used a company called MerchantCircle as her gateway to the online world, and she has since obtained a Facebook vanity URL for her page, where she has 63 fans. Having an online presence in so many places increases the odds that when someone searches on Google, they will find her.

Facebook is increasingly finding itself a rival of Google. It believes it can offer more relevant search results because the content is coming from people you know and trust, especially in the hotly contested field of local advertising.

“We are naturally really well-positioned to create a lot of value for local businesses,” Facebook’s Kendall said. “When you think about how you learn in the off-line world about local businesses and services, which cafe, which dentist, you learn a lot of that from the people you trust and are friends with. Facebook is able to streamline that process a bit.”

Yet Google remains the king of search, and Facebook says its pages frequently turn up in the Google search results.

That’s important, said Avichal Garg, a former Google employee who now owns PrepMe, a Palo Alto company that offers online test preparation.

His Facebook page drives traffic and sales because “it ranks well in search and people use search for companies they haven’t done business with before,” Garg said in an e-mail, noting how Facebook has brought in about 5% of his new business. “Facebook is a trusted domain so people click on it and when they see the faces behind the company name, they know we’re legitimate.”

“Having the vanity URL and presence on Facebook and Twitter really help,” Garg said.

Social media help companies take control of “the Google resume,” said Adrian Lurssen, a vice president at JD Supra, an online legal site based in Marshall, Calif. When people search for your company — or for what your company sells — you want your site to turn up in the first 10 results, or the first page Google delivers.

Nelson of Sprinkles agrees. Fans of his cupcakes (actually, his wife, Candace, is the pastry chef) shower Sprinkles with praise — and word-of-mouth buzz. Their Facebook friends all see when they comment on Sprinkles’ page. “You’re looking for customers but you’re really looking for advocates,” Nelson said. “We’ve never had paid advertising in five years of being open.”

business@latimes.com

IBM Study: The end of advertising as we know it

This is a great study on where advertising is going.

It’s not my work. I’m just helping spread the news.

So, again, a partial quote with a link over to the original post.

Enjoy!

IBM Study: The end of advertising as we know it

madmen1

The next 5 years will hold more change for the advertising industry than the previous 50 did.

The information for this post is from an IBM global surveys of more than 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising experts … the report is titled, The end of advertising as we know it.”

Imagine an advertising world where ... spending on interactive, one-to-one advertising formats surpasses traditional, one-to-many advertising vehicles, and a significant share of ad space is sold through auctions and exchanges. Advertisers know who viewed and acted on an ad, and pay based on real impact rather than estimated “impressions.” Consumers self-select which ads they watch and share preferred ads with peers. User-generated advertising is as prevalent (and appealing) as agency-created spots.

As bait for you to click over, IBM has a report and you can download it from the Social Media Today page.

So get to clicking!

Corporate Twittering – Best Practices

After having great Labor Day weekend and, upon my return, a great afternoon nap, I’m up late and reading.  I found an interesting blog post on Tom Humbarger’s blog, Social Media Musings, titled Best Practices for Corporate Twittering.

I had an unexpected amount of comments when I simply reposted Grant Criddle’s “Twitter Works for ANY Business – Seven Reasons Why”.  Now the topic of Twitter and enterprise (aka business) catches my attention.  I was surprised that it got sent around Twitter and that people stopped by to comment.  It made me realize that people are curious about how Twitter and social media relates to business.  It’s a hot topic.  It’s still a very new twist on business and it’s something that people are talking about now.  For most, Twitter is new.  In an economic climate where money is still tight, people are trying to figure out how to use this free but influential resource.

Humbarger breaks it down into three simple sections.

  • Getting started
  • Getting your message out
  • Following people

Nothing he says is controversial. It’s just a simple guide to help businesses get started.

He ends with a link to The guide to corporate Twittering.  It’s laid out in a nice table, so you visually inclined folks might like it better.

So do you agree?

Now that I’m Twittering for a business, I have to say I do use tools like Hootlet, which I started off using just to help me improve how I use my personal Twitter stream. I try to make sure to spread news about what the business is up to, but I’m careful to try to balance it with other things people might find interesting. Why not just broadcast? I hate it when  business just promotes itself.  I think of it this way, it’s like being at a party and talking to someone who is self-absorbed. That conversation isn’t going to last very long before I excuse myself and move on.

Also, is there anything you’d like to add?

Facebook Marketing, Part 1 and 2

A good pair of videos on Facebook Marketing.

Social Media and Return on Investment (ROI)

A great new slideshow about social media and how to measure return on investment by Oliver Blanchard who writes The Brand Builder blog.

Check out his post too:  Social Fresh, good friends, and the definitive Social Media ROI presentation

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