Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Facebook Strategy: Friend or Fan?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

When you “are the business” (i.e. artist, author or consultant), it’s challenging to figure out where you end as a person and where you begin as a “brand.” It’s crucial that you think though this boundary and are aware of it when using Facebook. Far too often individuals who are the business simply set up a Facebook profile and start Friending anybody and everybody.

I have worked with many business owners who have come to regret not thinking through their Facebook strategy before jumping in. This blog post is the result of hard lessons learned.

Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Fan Page

Before I explain the different between a Friend and a Fan, you need to understand the difference between a personal profile and a Fan page. Facebook’s primary purpose is as a personal networking site. They want real people to connect and share information with other real people. That is why you start by setting up a personal profile.

The Facebook terms of service clearly states in several places that you cannot have more than one account. For example, I cannot set up an account as myself, Elgé Premeau, and then set up another account as my business, eMarketing Strategist. If I do this and Facebook finds out, they will shut down both accounts. So, how do I create both a personal and professional presence on Facebook?

This is where Fan pages come in. I start by creating a personal account as Elgé Premeau. From that account, I set up an eMarketing Strategist Fan page. My personal account is the parent account and my Fan page is a sub-account. While you can only have one personal profile, you can have as many Fan pages as you want.


Here is a screen shot of the home page of my personal account


Keep in mind my feed – the updates from my Friends in the center column – is constantly changing as my Friends post updates.





Here is a screen shot of my eMarketing Strategist Fan Page.


It’s easy to manage my Fan page from my personal account. All I have to do is go here:


Friend vs. Fan




Now let’s get into the distinction between a Friend and a Fan. The people you connect with via your personal account are called Friends and the people you connect with via your Fan page are Fans. In general, you have a two way conversation with Friends and a one way conversation with Fans. Here are some important distinctions between Friends and Fans:





Why Set Up a Fan Page?




So why take the extra effort to set up and learn how to use a Fan page? Let me elaborate on the problem with some of the distinctions above:

  1. Privacy – I don’t Friend people I don’t know now in real life largely for privacy concerns. If you don’t know people, you don’t know what they’re doing with your personal profile information.
  2. Number of Connections – If you’re using Facebook to build a platform, you want to have tens or hundreds of thousands of people reading your updates. But if you only have a personal account, you’re limited to 5,000 connections.
  3. Fun and Enjoyment – Friending strangers takes all the fun out of Facebook. If you’ve got hundreds or thousands of “friends” you don’t actually know, your feed is cluttered with updates from people you don’t care about. Also, you can’t be yourself. You’ve got worry about offending somebody or sounding unprofessional. Boring!





And the Biggest Problem of All???

You cannot change someone’s status from Friend to Fan.





If you blithely Friend everybody who will accept your invitation, there WILL come a day when you decide to do something about it. Many times I’ve had to explain to a frustrated business owner that you cannot change someone from a Friend to a Fan.




And frankly, I have not found a nice way to say,
“I don’t want to be your Friend anymore but you could be my Fan!”





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How to Alienate Potential Customers on Facebook: A Cautionary Tale

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

The following post is a cautionary tale about the importance of knowing how to use a social network. It includes lessons you need to learn to build your business via Facebook.

I like jewelry. I’m not a big fan of diamonds and gem stones but I love Venetian glass jewelry. Kind of like the dahlias I grow in my garden, Venetian beads come in an amazing array of colors and complexities. Each bead is its own little world you can get lost in. That’s why when an ad for Marco Polo Designs*, popped up in Facebook, I checked out their page and became a Fan. For those of you not well versed in Facebook, this means I clicked on the “Like” button on their Facebook Fan page. Now their updates show up on my Facebook home page.

MPD’s Facebook updates have largely consisted of promos for a series of contests where you can win a piece of jewelry. Cool! I’d love to win a piece of their beautiful jewelry so I was ready to enter the contest. Keep in mind, I rarely enter contests. I closely guard my privacy online and it’s more important to me to stay off of mailing lists than get free stuff but this sounded good. All I had to do to enter the contest was…

1. Have a profile as a person not a business…  Check
2. Be a Fan… Check
3. Friend Marco Polo Designs… Whaaaat?

Problem #1: Understand the Privacy Difference Between Friend & Fan

You’re probably wondering what the big deal is about “Friending” MPD in order to enter the contest. The issue comes down to privacy. Depending on how you format your privacy settings, you give Friends access to a lot more information about you than you do the owners of pages you Like. For example, Friends typically have access to your Friend list, your birth date and other sensitive information that could be used to steal your identity. But when you “Like” a page, the owner of that page only has access to information you make available to anyone on Facebook. Long story short, owners of Fan pages have a lot less access to your information than your Friends do.

I take my online privacy very seriously. So I only Friend people on Facebook I am friends with in real life. I doubt the owners of MPD understood what they were asking when they required contest entrants to Friend their business which is why I did the following.

Problem #2: How NOT to Handle Customer Inquiries

I really wanted to enter this contest so I posted a question on MPD’s Wall asking, “Why do you require people to Friend your business in order to enter the contest?” Here’s the reply I got.

“Hello, Eldge! As a business, Marco Polo Designs has a studio in Portland, Oregon, over 100 retail and gallery outlets, and a solid website.  We’ve recently begun to establish our presence in the social networking arena. The giveaway sweeps is our fun and friendly way of building a friend and fan base of folks who might have an interest in our beautiful designs. We have been so excited to put our creations into the hands of our sweepstakes winners! A camera can only do so much … the play of light through our beads is constantly changing – colors morph, sparkle  and play before the eyes but not through the lens! It is our pleasure to put “live” jewels into the hands of people who have an interest and desire to truly appreciate them! We hope that you’ll consider joining us. With warm regards ~ Penny and Claude”

I don’t really care that MPD misspelled my name. That happens all the time. But, they didn’t even answer my question! To make matters worse, when I went back to ask for clarification, MPD had deleted my question from their Wall! Maybe the didn’t realize the automated email I got from Facebook with their reply included a link to reply back. So, when I clicked on the reply link, it took me to a post that no longer existed. A post that I’d created and had obviously been deleted by someone else!

I can only guess MPD deleted my Wall post because they didn’t want other people to see my question. Part of why I draw this conclusion is because prior to writing this blog post, I searched out the rules for the contest and the rules have changed. MPD no longer requires people to Friend them. That’s a smart decision.  Having more Friends won’t help them sell jewelry. Having more Fans won’t help them sell jewelry. Promoting a quality product to interested buyers will help them sell more jewelry.

Personally, I’m a lifelong fan of learning from other people’s mistakes. I hope you are too and will keep the following lessons in mind in you adventures on Facebook. I can only infer what the owners of MPD were thinking but I think they did 3 things wrong.

Lessons to Learn from MPD’s Mistakes:

1. Friends + Fans DON’T = Sales. – I’m pretty sure the owners of MPD were just trying to run up their numbers. They figured “The more Friends and Fans we have, the better we’re doing!” Wrong.
Your lesson: Making money via social networking is not about how many Friends and Fans you have. Making money via social networking is about the quality of your Friends and Fans. 100 rabid Fans will lead to more sales than 5000 disengaged Friends.

2. Treat Fans as People. Because they are! – Instead of answering my question, Marco Polo Designs sent me PR copy. That’s annoying.
Your lesson: When you do social networking, you connect with real people not anonymous masses. Handle inquires as if you are talking to A PERSON because you are.

3. Feedback Is an Opportunity. – Instead of taking the opportunity to send Fans an update about how their contest rules have changed, Marco Polo Designs swept my question under the carpet, changed their rules and acted like it never happened.
Your lesson: There’s an old marketing axiom, “Turn liabilities into features.” I know it sounds cynical but it’s more helpful than you think. With a little re-framing What MPD could have done, was change their rules and tell people that the rules just got easier. Then they could have responded to my question thanking me for pointing out this problem and describing what they did based on my feedback.

*In this post, I will refer to Mar Polo Designs as MPD so this post does not show up in search results for their business name. I don’t want to negatively impact their business. They seem like nice people and I’m still a Fan.

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Posted in Cautionary Tales | 4 Comments »

How to Find Your Customers Online: A Case Study

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Mommy Bloggers

The hardest part of building an online audience is getting in front of new people.  Tapping the existing audiences of websites, bloggers and experts is probably the easiest way to get in front of new people. That’s why I’m constantly telling prospects and clients “You need to figure out where your target markets hang out online and be there.”  People quickly see the wisdom of this approach.  But, the hard part is figuring out exactly where people are hanging out online.

A few weeks ago, I did a seminar about the basics of internet marketing.  In it, I asked the attendees to define their target markets.  One target market that emerged was stay at home Moms and it was news to most of the group that “Mommy Bloggers” are a serious force to be reckoned with online.  Just a week later, the New York Times had an article “Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand” about a Mommy Blogger boot camp.

Frankly, if I were trying to reach stay at home moms and new moms, I could build a marketing campaign off this article alone.  By doing some data mining, I was able to collect a couple of good statistics, a bunch of blogs and some marketing ideas.

What Should You Look For?

Before I tell you what I learned, I’ll start with a list of questions I keep in mind as I do data mining for a client.

Questions to ask as you mine blogs for data:

–         Can I follow them on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube?

–         Who follows them? Should I follow their followers?

–         Are the ads on their blog a good source of info?

–         Could I advertise on their site?

–         What products do they review?

–         Would they let me interview them for my blog?

–         What do I have to offer or share that might make them want to interview me?

–         Are there any individual blog posts I should comment on?

This particular article was a gold mine.  It’s rare to come across a single article this helpful but it does happen.  Here’s what I gathered and why it’s helpful.

Juicy Statistics:

One of the hardest parts of writing memorable copy is gathering statistics.  I keep an eye out for them when I’m reading the paper, watching the news or toodling around on the internet. I keep them in a Word doc for future use.  Here are a couple I pulled form this article.

“According to a 2009 study by BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners, 23 million women read, write or comment on blogs weekly.”

“According to eMarketer, advertising on blogs will top $746 million by 2012, more than twice the figure for 2007.”

Blogs with Readers:

It’s not hard to find blogs. The hard part is finding blogs your customers actually read.  That’s where an article like this is helpful. You know the writer did some research and in some cases includes helpful facts about the blogs.  The following is a list of the blogs I culled from the article and some helpful tidbits about them.

Written by Jill Smokler whose blog helped her get a full time job with Nickelodeon’s social-networking site.  Her blog gets about 36,000 page views a month. When you go the blog you see that it accepts advertising and the ads are a good source of info too.

Her About page has a list of blogs she follows which is a good source of other blogs.

She sank some serious change into her blog template! This tells me she’s no amateur. She has 326 Friend Connect followers. Could be worthwhile to check them out.

This blog and a few others link to the site which has over 1500 Friend Connect Followers. The number of Friend Connect Followers and the content tells me it’s a hub site that will be another good source of information.

This blog looks like a news hub and could be a good source of ideas for topics stay at home moms are interested in beyond the usual.

Run by Amy Lupold who spoke a the Boot Camp. If you can find a resourceful angle to what you’re offering, you could have an “in” on this site.

Now What Do You Do?

Before you get all excited and start firing off emails to blog owners about what a great opportunity you have for them, just stop.  Doing so could quite possibly be fatal to your marketing efforts. Bloggers with a good readership GET PITCHED ALL THE TIME and just about all of them have horror stories.  If you are tempted to ignore this advice and email them any way, spend a few minutes reading The Bad Pitch blog.  If professional screw up this badly and often, imagine how easy it is for newbies to do.

Plenty has been written about how to pitch to bloggers. I won’t go into detail about it here but PRoBlogger has some helpful advice here:
How to Pitch to Bloggers – 21 Tips.

But, before you’re even ready to contact bloggers you have homework to do.

  • Read the blog for a while. Get a sense of the tone and the comments.
  • Make a list of the topics they write about and “angles” they take.
  • Take an inventory of your existing content (articles, white papers, videos, etc.) that might be of interest to them.
  • Make a list of existing content you could tweak or new content you could create that would be of interest to their audience.
  • Then, make or teak that content. You’ve got to have your ducks lined up before you contact bloggers.

I know this sounds like a lot of work and it is but it gets easier once you’ve got a solid toolkit of content to pull from.  Keep in mind that it only takes a few well placed mentions of your business or product to become the next overnight sensation.

I could easily spend another 10 or 20 hours mining the sites in this article but why deny you the fun?

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Best Facebook Group Names According to Non Required Reading

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

I ferverently wait for “The Best American Series” each year. For the last several years I’ve bought “The Best American Short Stories” and “The Best American Non Required Reading”. They’re kind of like magazines you can buy once a year and are pertinent for the next twelve months. I just got my 2008 copies at Wordstock this past weekend.
Since 2002, Dave Eggers (author of “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”) has been the Chief Editor of Non Require Reading. As far as I can tell the series started with him. And that’s fine. He does a great job of pulling together all kinds of fun stuff. I mean this with all due respect; this is a book you should keep in the loo for prolonged transactions.

My Favorite segment of Non Required Reading is the lists. One of this year’s lists, Best American Facebook Groups, seemed especially pertinent to the internet audience.

Here are my favorite’s from the Best American Facebook Groups list. (Please note, I just think they’re funny. I don’t necessarily agree with them.):

I Thought You Were Hot Until I Clicked on “View More Pictures”
I Feel Bad When I See Kids on a Leash
If This Group Reaches 15k, Kevin and I Will have a Pine Cone Eat Off
Catholic School Screwed Me Up, but I’m Still Sending My Kids There
I Beat George W. Bush on the SAT’s
Disney Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations about Love
When I Was Your Age, Pluto Was a Planet
I Wish My Homework Was Asexual So It Would Do Itself
I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar
Every Time I Walk into Math Class a Little Part of Me Dies
Legalize Dueling
Automatic Doors Make Me Feel Like a Jedi
I Have to Sing the ABCs to Know Which Letter Comes Before the Other
It Wasn’t Awkward Until You Said “Well, This Is Awkward.” Now It’s Awkward.
I Refer to People by Nicknames They Will Never Know
Friends Don’t Let Friends Invade Russia with Winter Approaching
I’m Asian, You’re Asian, Let’s Compare Grades!
I Stay Up Late and I Don’t Do Anything Productive
Mr. Miyagi Taught Me How to Fight
…So Apparently I’m Going to Hell
If You’re OCD and You Know It Clap Your Hands!
I Had a Leash When I Was Little
Being Bilingual Obviously Makes You a Better Person
I Love How We Are Friends on Facebook, but We Don’t Actually Talk in Person
When I’m Super Bored, I Go on Facebook and Join Tons of Pointless Groups

Intrigued? Buy the book and support the cause! We need more people to do Non Required Reading.

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Maybe There Is a Use for Twitter After All…

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

The media has a steady stream of stories about how the younger generation seems to be obsessed with staying in touch via cell phone and computer these days. You hear stories about kids sending 10,000 text messages a month, checking their MySpace or Facebook page several times and day and using micro-blogging services like Twitter to inform all their friends about what they’ve had for lunch. Virtually anyone over the age of 30 is left thinking “These kids need to get a job!”

But the September 7th New York Times Sunday Magazine had an interesting article by Clive Davis titled “I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You: How News Feed, Twitter and Other Forms of Incessant Online Contact Have Created a Brave New World of Intimacy” that helped me understand that maybe there are benefits to this level of contact. While any individual communication via Facebook, Twitter or news feed appears to be insignificant, in aggregate they create an “ambient awareness” which is similar to being in physical proximity to someone and picking up on what’s going on with them by their physical cues. This awareness makes us feel like we are close to people with out actually communicating with them one on one. The common reaction to this faux-connection is one of horror and lament about the decline of western civilization but it’s not all bad.

The author describes a phenomenon called the “Dunbar number” in which research has confirmed that human groupings tend to tail off at about 150 people. These social websites and apps don’t necessarily help increase our number of close connections but they do help expand and stay connected to our larger informal network. This has real benefits for anyone trying to network professionally.

If you’re going to use these social tools for professional networking, I wouldn’t recommend you update people on what you had for lunch. But I would recommend that you use them to share information and resources you think might help your network in their business. When done properly, it’s a fairly easy way to stay in front of people and build the perception of expertise. For example, I follow Robin Good on Twitter and he “tweets” several times a day with links to interesting web applications. Sometimes I feel like he tweets too much but unlike email they’re pretty easy to ignore so I’m less likely to unsubscribe from his feed.

If you’ve wondered what the appeal of these social technologies is, I suggest you read this article. It does a good job of describing how they work and why anyone would spend their precious time using them.

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