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25 Facebook Adds Twitterlike Tagging Feature

Tagging or bookmarking websites, images, and people is a tactic that is somewhat synonymous with social media. When you send an @reply through twitter you are effectively tagging that person and linking to them in your tweet. It’s an effective tool on twitter and allows the twitterverse to see your link to that person as well. An effective way to draw some attention to your Facebook activity is to tag people in your images. The act of tagging puts it on their wall, your wall, and sends a notice to the person being tagged. Some folks use this very effectively as an awareness activity. Hint: take pictures with well-known folks you meet at conferences and then upload and tag them and you might draw some attention from the wall of your tagee.

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This week Facebook expanded tagging in a way that I believe will be very useful for business purposes. Now, when you update your status on your personal page, business page, or on any business page where you share information, you can tag any of your followers in your update and it will automatically create a link to your follower’s page, publish the status update to that person’s wall, and send them a notice that they were tagged. Do you see how that might be useful?

A couple rules. The folks you tag must be following you and a tagged person has the option to delete the tag. Try this out, but don’t overdo it!

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The way you invoke the tag is where the twitterlike comparisons really come into play. You start typing your status update and then add the “@” and the Facebook system will drop down a list of possible people to tag as you start typing that person’s name. The @ sign does not appear in the update like on twitter but it signals Facebook that you are trying use the tagging feature.

My guess is that this functionality will be a big hit and Facebook may look to expand it to events, comments and other updating features.

29 How Social is Your Email?

I’ve noticed a really interesting phenomenon lately that I think needs some addressing.

For years people have sent out email with the little “tell a friend” or “forward to a friend” button and links – in fact, that may have actually been the first form of social media.

But here’s something else I’ve noticed. Email marketers aren’t further moving to amplify their efforts to spread the word by integrating social media into the email mix.

Personally, I think this is a great opportunity missed. Some marketers are claiming that social media will kill email, but I happen to believe neither is killing either. Integrating social media more fully into your email marketing efforts, and vice versa, is a way to make both broader and more far reaching.

The reason I think these two medium support each other so well is that they really serve different purposes in the marketer’s toolbox. Social media is not now, and may never be, a very good way to sell directly to a prospect, but email has a long history of very effective conversion, promotion and direct selling.

So, rather than dumping email for social media why not use your current lists and email marketing efforts to make social media a better tool for you.

Here are few ways to get started enhancing your social media presence through your email efforts while making your email efforts reach further using social media. (This post assumes that you have already established basic social media activities such as blogging, twitter, facebook and LinkedIn – even if they are not yet robust)

Email signature – this one is silly basic, but why not use the space – add your social network profiles to your every day email signature – some people may prefer connecting with you there.

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Make your mail tweetable – add a tweetmeme button to your email newsletter archive and make your stories easy to share via twitter,

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Subscribe and archive on Facebook – add an email newsletter archive to your Facebook fan page and don’t forget to add a newsletter sign-up form there too (I wrote about how to add a custom form to a Facebook page here)

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in your email newsletters

Add links to all your social profiles

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Want to hear more about this and other ways to get more from your email? Join me for the Evolution of Email, a webinar sponsored by Verizon, Wednesday September 9th at 12:30 EDT

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29 5 Tips for Getting More From Social Media Marketing

listeningIn a further continuation of my series of quick social media tips (check out 5 Tips for Getting More from LinkedIn, 5 Tips for Getting More from Facebook, and 5 tips for Getting More from Twitter), I’m covering some overarching advice today as I believe small business owners and marketers need to think strategically about social media use, perhaps before they ever start to discuss tactical use.

1) Integrate – Don’t treat your social media activity as something separate from your other marketing initiatives. Feature links to your social media profiles in your email signature, on your business cards, in your ads, and as a standard block of copy in your weekly HTML email newsletter. In addition, make sure that links to your educational content are featured prominently in your social media profiles and that Facebook fan page visitors and blog subscribers are offered the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter and attend your online and offline events. Make your social media profiles a part of your address copy block and you will soon see adding them to all that you do as an automatic action.

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58 5 Tips For Getting More from Facebook

Duct Tape Marketing on FacebookIn continuing with my series of quick social media tips (check out 5 tips for LinkedIn) I’m covering some tips for business use of Facebook here. I’ve actually written about some of these tips in great detail before, but this can act as a quick primer for folks who like their info snack sized like this.

1. Fan page – Facebook had personal profiles and groups from the start, but a few months ago they added to the function called fan pages and made them more business friendly. Any business on Facebook should create a fan page for their business and start optimizing additional content there. The cool thing about fan pages is that it’s now a lot like having another web site. You can add applications, newsletter sign-up pages and events and promote them to your friends on Facebook. When someone becomes a fan of your page, your updates on the page show up on their wall giving additional exposure. I wrote a pretty comprehensive post on the subject of Facebook Fan Pages here. Also, check out the Duct Tape Marketing Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/ducttapemarketing – note the brand optimized URL – that’s pretty new and something you should take advantage of.

2. Custom HTML – this one’s a little more technical but when you create a fan page you will see that your page comes with tabs for various categories of content you create (each tab has it’s own URL so you can promote each section on your fan page around the web). Using the Facebook Mark-up Language (FBML) you can create custom boxes of HTML content, like newsletter sign-up pages, blog RSS feeds, and white paper downloads just like you might on your web site. FBML is a Facebook application you can get here. I’ve also done a quick little video showing you how to add FBML custom HTML here.

3. Special content – Give your Facebook fans a little something extra they might not find on your blog or web site. Upload images from your PowerPoint presentations, articles from the local publication you contribute to, or on the fly videos created using the Facebook video application. You’re bound to find some crossover from other social networks like twitter, so give the Facebook users something unique. I know some people caution about reposting twitter here, but I think it’s perfectly fine. I get lots of comments from people who just happen to like to use Facebook more than twitter and this way they still get updates.

4. Events, videos and apps – Use the heck out of all of the Facebook applications. (Here’s a post I did some time ago about some of the best Facebook business applications, many of which are now compatible with pages.) Promote events, upload or record video, hold contests and polls. All of this extra engagement is so easy to do using pre-built tools. And don’t forget to integrate your Facebook activity back to your web site and blog using a Facebook Fan Box – I wrote about the Facebook FanBox tool here.

5. Ads for awareness – I think that Facebook has built one of the better ad targeting tools going. You can target ads to Facebook members on all kinds of criteria and run pretty low cost campaigns. The trick though is to run campaigns that are compelling and promote your FaceBook Fan Page instead of trying to sell something. Promote your white paper, events, and educational content – create awareness about your great content and your will get the chance to earn the trust it takes to actually sell something to someone. Here’s where you go to find more info about Facebook Ads. And, I wrote about using Facebook ads to create awareness here.

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18 5 Tips for Getting More from LinkedIn

A pretty common question these days is “which social network is the best?” – And to that I usually say – “the one that helps you meet your marketing objectives” – and in that regard, many are great, but for different reasons.

LinkedInI really like some things about LinkedIn. It has always tended towards the service oriented professional, in my opinion, but it has plenty to like in the brand asset optimization world that all businesses live in as well. My advice for most business owners is to find a social network or platform that seems most suited to your business objectives and dive in pretty deep, focusing more casual attention on the others, at least initially. Going hard and deep into one network, like LinkedIn, is the only way to gain the momentum delivered by consistent work and engagement.

So, when it comes to LinkedIn – here are 5 tips to get more

1) Your Profile

This is a great brand asset so don’t waste it. Make it informative and optimized for search.

  • Add a photo – nothing says nobody’s home faster than the default icon
  • Get the branded URL – something like this is what you want http://www.linkedin.com/in/ducttapemarketing – it’s something you pick during editing
  • Links with Anchor text – link to your blog, products, workshops, etc. through the “other” tab and you can add anchor text for the link
  • Be descriptive – use the “Summary” to tell your story in a compelling way and add lots of keywords in the “specialty” section
  • Keep it active – LinkedIn has a status update feature, much like Facebook and twitter, that you should update routinely
  • Link to it – put links to your profile in your email signature and other online pages. Optimization is a two way street.

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The image above shows the links on my profile with carefully selected anchor text that links to pages on my site. LinkedIn is one of the few social profiles sites that allows this.

2) Give to Get

When people view profiles one of the top features is something called recommendations. While these may feel a little fluffy when you read them, lack of them can be a competitive issue. You should acquire some recommendations and I find the best way to get them is to give them. Choose people in your network that you’ve worked with and write an honest statement of recommendation. Don’t be surprised if you receive some in return.

3) Show What You’ve Got

An overlooked feature on LinkedIn, in my opinion, is the Question and Answer function. By jumping in and answering questions thoughtfully you can demonstrate a given expertise while potentially engaging contacts that are drawn to your knowledge. The key phrase is thoughtfully answering. LinkedIn even has a rating system to reward people who give the best answers with some added exposure.

The flip side of this tip is to ask thoughtful questions. This can be a great way to get useful information, but it’s equally powerful as a tool to create conversations, discussion and engagement with like minded connections.

4) Lead a Group

Anyone can launch a group on LinkedIn and lead discussions and networking on a specific topic of interest. If you take this tip to heart and put some effort into a niche group you can gain added influence with your network, but groups are also open to the LinkedIn universe as a whole and some folks find that this is one of the strongest ways to build their network. Building a group around an established brand is also a great way to bring users or customers together.

5) Repurpose Content

Since members of your network, and those of the larger LinkedIn community, may only experience your brand on the LinkedIn platform, it’s a great idea to enhance your profile with educational information. This is best done using some of the 3rd party applications that LinkedIn has collected for this purpose.

  • BlogLink – displays your latest blog posts on your profile
  • Box.net – allows you to create links to files such as resumes and marketing kits
  • Slideshare – embeds slideshow presentations and demos
  • Company Buzz – scrapes twitter for mentions of your brand or other topics you assign

Bonus Tip

Some organizations, particularly those searching for employees, might really benefit from the new Customer Company Profile offerings. Using Custom Company Profiles, a company can provide a rich, multimedia overview of careers offered, through a variety of modules including recruitment messaging, employee/recruiter spotlights, jobs, polls and videos.

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85 The ROI of Social Networking

meetupOne of the most common reason stated by small businesses for not embracing social networking is that they can’t measure or, worse yet, don’t believe there is any solid return on the investment of participation. I get emails almost daily from frustrated marketers who want to dive more fully into social networking, but can’t convince the boss that it’s worth it.

My response to the ROI roadblock is this – How does your boss measure the ROI of attending Chamber mixers, participating in Associations, and dropping in on networking luncheons? Done correctly, social networking on sites like Facebook is really no different – you don’t measure participation based on direct sales, you measure success based on identifying one potential strategic partner, acquiring one actionable bit of advice, or striking up a conversation or two that may eventually lead to developing a new customer. That kind of sounds like a set of solid networking objectives doesn’t it?

Of course this line of thinking assumes that you have identified a set of objectives for your offline networking, which often is not the case. But, the primary point here is to align digital networking with face to face networking and then create a set of objectives and subsequent strategies and tactics to get the most from both. But, job one is to wrap your head around social networking as, just that, networking.

Now, with job one out of the way, you’ve also got to tackle something I alluded to earlier – “done correctly, social networking on sites like Facebook is really no different” – this is where the boss is really coming from when they say there’s no ROI. So many people see social networking as a 24/7, hang out all day excuse for a job – and it can easily become that if you don’t identify and state objectives. You could also quite easily hang out at every at every networking event or meetup, join unrelated trade groups, and sponsor the local knitting club. (which would only be good if you sell yarn)

By identifying and clearly stating your objectives for social network participation (objectives not unlike those of participating in your local Chamber) you can more easily identify the networks that make sense, the type of engagement you need to create, and, most importantly, how much time and energy you can afford to invest to reach your objectives.

When you think strategically about all forms of networking the ROI picture becomes much clearer.

Image credit: AurelioZen

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26 Content Creates Engagement

social networksEngagement is the buzzword of choice when social media experts get together to pontificate. And while I agree that engagement, and ultimately action, is the payoff of social media, few social media experts talk about how it’s really created. Engagement is not really created by being a nice, genuine, caring and attentive sort of chap on twitter. It’s hard to create much momentum in any kind of social network without some of those qualities, but true engagement, engagement that leads to customers and partners, is created with content. Or, perhaps more accurately, engagement is created with engaging content.

I know you’re likely sick of me talking about the need to create lots of education rich content, but there’s just very few ways around it as a typical small business. Some exceptions, marry into lots of money and buy super bowl ads, get Miley Cyrus to wear your product on stage, or get Michael Arrington and Robert Scoble to argue publicly about the merits of your feature set – baring these, think content creation.

When it comes to effective social media use, I personally push towards using a great deal of energy and activity to create awareness for your content. So, of course if you’re to take this advice, you’ve got to have lots of content. Many people do little more than create small talk on social networks and then wonder why they can’t get an ROI for time spent. Most small businesses will be far better off if they look at their status updates on LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter, not as a way to tell the world about what they are doing (unless it’s creating content), but as a way to shed light on valuable content housed either within the particular social network or elsewhere online.

This means uploading videos to Facebook, creating events, such as webinars and optimizing them using the Facebook Events app, uploading PowerPoint presentations to Slideshare and using the Slideshare app for LinkedIn, and creating a quick hit point out of your latest blog post and pointing to it on twitter. That’s how engagement leads to orders.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t also have to make referrals, point out other people’s great content, and provide great answers to questions posed on that network – that’s just smart networking, regardless of the platform, and it’s also an important trust building function. But, at the end of the day, if someone, looking for a solution, can’t find that you have in detailed, multi-format, education based content, then social media participation for business purposes can feel like a big fat high school mixer.

So, if you’re one of those that’s determined social media is a big fat waste of time, then I’m suggesting that what you’ve really discovered is that your sparkling personality isn’t enough to make social media pay.

Image credit: luc legay

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37 Hitting The Social Media Sweet Spot

I’m conducting a live webinar on the topic of social media, including my thoughts on where most small businesses should start (hint it may not be twitter) Wednesday, June 17th at 2pm EDT as part of a continuing series for the Verizon Small Business Center. Come join me! Register here.

sweetspotOne of the big questions that small businesses wrestle with right now is not whether they should participate in social media, but how to do it ways that make sense, show some return, and don’t drive them crazy.

I may get some debate on this point, but as far as I’m concerned the way to hit the social media sweet spot is to carefully balance three elements simultaneously: Content, Engagement and Management. It’s actually pretty hard to enjoy any measure of success long-term without all three in place.

Content – this is the systematic creation, optimization and placement of ideas, images, audio, and video in all the various outposts that can open up doors of introduction to prospects and search engines alike.

Engagement – this is the catalyst that turns that content into meaningful relationship and trust building. When your relevant wired content converges with the authentic interaction and human engagement possible in one to one social networks, you’ve got a winning combination.

Management – small business have limited resources, including time and human engagement, particularly the surface kind that is so easy to enjoy in social networks, can be a dynamic time eater.

So, you see, it’s the blend that’s crucial. Engagement without the content in place that gives you the ability to move to monitization is where many people get stuck on the idea of social media. Planned strategic use of content that creates the right kind of engagement and a set of tools to optimize time spent doing both is the only sane way for small businesses to participate.

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14 Teaching Business Behavior

business teachingThere is a well-worn truth that goes something like – if you want to learn something teach it. I think this certainly applies to many aspects of business. If you want to learn something at a much deeper level then write about it, speak about it, and create and conduct workshops and trainings on the subject. You can and should be doing all of these things as a routine part of your business growth.

However, I want to suggest that you take this concept to another level. I believe that there is a powerful layer to this teaching notion that is rarely accessed by small business. If you want your customers and partners to behave in certain ways then teach them how to do it. Now, I’m not simply talking about teaching them how or what to buy – I mean teach them a behavior that clearly has a benefit to them, but ultimately may benefit your cause.

Here’s what I mean.

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20 Using Facebook Ads for Content Awareness

facebook adsAds on Facebook have been around for a while now and based on reviews coming out from some users, results using facebook ads are mixed. I personally find them to be an effective and intriguing option for many small businesses.

Here’s why

You have a very large universe on Facebook, but you can target your ad to be shown based on the locacation, sex, age, education and keyword interests of the Facebook user, making this a potentially narrow ad buy, particularly for the local business. If you want to show your ad to business type folks only in Denver, CO, so be it.

Some detractors claim that Facebook ads don’t convert to sales, but I would suggest that is the wrong way to think about and use this tool. Think of your Facebook ads, or ads in any social media space, as content that is intended to create further awareness about more content. See, Facebook ads don’t have to link out to your sales page, they can be associated with content right there on Facebook. For instance if you use the events application to promote an event you are hosting, such as a webinar, you can associate ads with that event and drive targeted people to find out about or even directly RSVP to your event on Facebook. Same is true for the video application. Use Facebook ads to drive people to a video on Facebook that gives great content and invites them to learn more at your primary web hub.

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