Power up your Facebook page with these five tips

If you’re like most small businesses, word-of-mouth is still the most effective way for you to reach new customers. This word of mouth can happen in person or online.When someone recommends a business to you, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like a lot of people, you pull out your smartphone or jump on your computer and search for the business online. You may visit the business’s website, but you may also review sites to see what other people are saying. You may also turn to your friends on Facebook to see what type of information you can find there. This is the new word-of-mouth.

Here’s a list of ten things every Facebook page should have, from contact information (you’d be surprised at how few pages include that) to a strong call to action.

Make sure you are setting it up as a business page and NOT a personal profile. How can you tell the difference? A business page has a “like” button at the top. A personal profile has an “add friend” button. Per Facebook’s terms of service, you cannot have a personal profile page serving as your business page.

Once you’re on Facebook, how are you engaging with fans? Have you been disappointed with your organic reach? Here are five quick and easy ideas to power up your Facebook engagement:

  1. Run a sweepstakes or design a coupon offer to engage and grow your fan base.
  2. Use Power Editor to run a Facebook Page ad.
  3. Focus on providing content that’s interesting and relevant to your audience.
  4. Use Facebook insights to see how different types of content are performing. Keep doing what works; tweak what doesn’t.
  5. Enable social sharing by adding share buttons to your website or blog, email newsletters and announcements so people can share your content to their social profiles.

A soapbox, please. Just for a moment.

I’m not sure anybody really knows where it all started. People just started changing their Facebook profile pics to cartoon characters with a message about ending child abuse.

I found this Facebook page. And then this description which helped put it in a little more perspective for me.

But I think we can all admit that while posting our new Facebook profiles of cartoon characters is loads of fun, it’s not going to put an end to child abuse. And the concept of taking us back to our childhood “happy place” isn’t a way to do it either.

But this is a question of social media that perplexes me often enough. How do we move from feeling comfortable enough just spreading the message to action…

My friend Sean Wood had a good idea…volunteer for an advocate organization like CASA.

I have another idea. Find a family and give them a helping hand. Child abuse often happens because families have no support system in place to help when stress levels rise to unbelievable levels and coping strategies fail.

In fact, a study from the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) found that children with special needs are maltreated at 1.7 times the rate of other children.

How do you find these families? Start with the special needs population — families in your neighborhood with a special needs child that presents unique challenges to the family dynamics. These are parents who never get a break, never get the chance for their cortisol to return to normal levels. Many of these families have strong support systems in place that provide the buffers that protect them from going over the edge…but others don’t. You may be the one that can help.

  • Take a meal by.
  • Babysit the children.
  • Take the dog for a walk.
  • Take the sibling of the special needs child out for a special day.
  • Make mom go out for a cup of coffee with you and listen. Just listen.
  • Be encouraging, not judgmental.
  • Ask “how are you?” and really listen to the answer…the full answer.

It’s up to us. We can isolate these families and contribute to their loneliness in our society, or we can embrace them and build bridges to them. We can help them find those resources and support networks that will help them survive the daily stresses they face in healthy, successful ways. And we can change our profile pics as a reminder that we will do something today and every day to reach out and make a difference.

Building Community

It was so much fun sharing my thoughts at the Summer Institute for Leadership program today. What an amazing group – they really pushed me to clarify my thoughts on why I think social media requires an entirely new paradigm of thinking.

So, for those of you who weren’t there…or were there and want to review the Prezi…here’s the link.

http://prezi.com/ktbbyfonecxq/building-community/

Not sure if it will make sense without the wonderful conversation, but feel free to leave a comment or send me a question. I love talking about this stuff!

And for those of you who asked, the wonderful YouTube video and link, Social Media Revolution 2.


Logical conclusions. Or not.

Well…I started writing an entirely different post today when I got distracted (no surprises there) by a tweet pointing me to this new post from social media thought leader Robert Scoble.

It’s an interesting piece on malleable social graphs, and he certainly makes some good points. I love trying out new social networks like Whrrl, Foodspotting and Miso. I get great ideas about where to go and what to do from people who like the same things I do. It makes sense – birds of a feather and all that.

However, take this to its logical conclusion and I begin to have concerns. Scoble writes “I told Facebook that I’m a liberal Democrat. So why am I still seeing Republican crap in my news feed?” He goes on, “so, its newsfeed is still presenting information to me that I might not care about and, in some cases, might make me angry.”

And here is where I stumble. Are we creating a society that can no longer tolerate differing opinions? By being able to pull only that information with which we agree, are we becoming one-sided, shallow individuals?

Scoble goes so far as to define “REAL friends.” Caps all his. “You know, the ones that are like you.” Yikes. Why would I want to surround myself only with friends who are like me? Doesn’t my life become richer for knowing and enjoying people who aren’t like me? I may not agree with someone, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be his friend. More likely – I should listen even more closely. I might (gasp) learn something.

I want my kids to grow up in a world where they not only welcome differing opinions, but seek them out. And yet, we seem to be going in the opposite direction. Don’t like someone’s opinions? Just block them. Looking for validation of your own viewpoint? Google it. Want to know what shoes to buy? Instead of doing your own research into quality, just check out to see what your networks are doing and follow along.  Trust someone else’s opinion. It’s okay. They are just like you, so they are probably right.

Yikes.

Has critical thinking become a thing of the past? That scares me. How about you?

I have abandonment issues

I value relationships. Authentic friendships. True communication.

So it’s no surprise that the one thing about social media that really makes me crazy is to see companies leap into the network, develop relationships around a product or cause, only to abandon the outreach when they realize they (a) just don’t get it or (b) don’t have the time for it.

I’ve got news for you. You don’t have to be on Twitter. You don’t even have to be on Facebook.

If you feel the need to be present because that’s where your customers are living, working and talking about you, then do your legwork first.

Listen. Find some people you admire and who seem to “get it.” Follow them and see how they do it. Determine if you have something useful (and I emphasize the word useful) to contribute to the conversation. Think long and hard about the time, energy and effort you are willing to put into this venture. Focus on long-term. Will you be able to keep it up for six months, a year, three years, ten years – even as it changes and evolves? Are you willing to commit to staying up with an ever-changing, ever-evolving, albeit extremely exciting environment? Will you work it into your overall business strategy across platforms?

You wouldn’t go find a customer, befriend him for a few exciting weeks and then abandon him in person. Don’t do it online.

Don't forget the basics, You Twit Face

I’ve got some news for you. If you’ve bought into social media lock, stock and barrel, you’re not thinking out of the box. You’ve climbed right back in.

This came up today at a meeting I was at. We were discussing how to increase Facebook Fans authentically and organically. I see so many businesses and causes struggling with that. And I’m pretty sure that by the time we figure it out, there’ll be something newer and shinier to play with. But while we’re here, we really do need to find the magic formula for success.

So, I asked The Question. Do you have your Facebook info on your business cards? Your letterhead? Your website? Your brochures?

Um…no.

Look at the friend sitting next to you. Have you asked him to be your fan and to help pass the word around?

Um….no. How do I do that?

Well, you could go to your fan page, click on the left column where it says “Suggest to Friends” and send him a note.

I’m not sure how to do that. (Clearly, he didn’t realized I was messing with him.)

You don’t have to figure it out. How about you just turn your head and ask him? Right now.

Okay, so, I’ve slightly over-exaggerated to make a point. But for some reason, it seems people are jumping on the social media bandwagon and forgetting that it is not the answer to all problems. Nor does it stand alone. We can’t forget good, old fashioned, face to face networking. Or boring old brand standards for all printed materials. Or any of the traditional things we’ve always done that require a little elbow grease, sweat, even tedious work.

We also have to realize that once we get this all figured out, it’s going to change. And we’ll have to start all over. As Conan O’Brien predicted….

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X36ACwwyscY]