Updating your Fan Page – Sucks! Or does it?

Written by on August 8th, 2010

My little secret will make updating your Fan page effortless and fun

I’ve talked to hundreds of organizations and businesses who are cautiously adding a Facebook Fan page. But beyond the fear and trepidation of setting it up, there is an enormous anxiety about “ what’s next?.”

  1. What do we say in our News Feed?
  2. How do we get people to Fan us?
  3. What if someone says something we don’t approve?
  4. Worse, what if they bash us?

And most importantly they say, “How am I to find the time to do this?” And it’s not just that, most people are not sure how to organize the process of becoming an editor and publisher of their Fan page.

So I’m going to share with you a little secret.

The good news is this secret is free and it works.

In fact it’s the simplest technique I could find to create a process to organize this so you don’t have to fret about it. This process will enable you to spend 10 – 20 minutes a week updating your Fan page with content that will keep people commenting which will get the attention of their friends and increase your fan base.

You only need one piece of software to make this work. It’s your gmail or Outlook calendar. So here’s the secret.

Create a reoccurring event in your outlook and let it run for say, 90 days. I set mine up to occur at 7 am Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And I call the calendar event, Facebook Fan Page Update. So now that I have 36+ on my calendar I can sit back and let Outlook remind me to update the Fan page.

But wait, wait, there’s more to this secret!

So your next step is to set aside 20 minutes to find content on others websites that your audience would be interested in, and that validates your message, product or theme. It might be videos from YouTube, serious research, a blog article, an article in a major news source or something fun and interesting from Wikipedia. In 20 minutes you should be able to find 3 interesting, relevant pieces of content that you can copy the link and write a short intro to for your News Feed.

The next thing to do is simply copy the link and the content into the day of the week you want to share it. Then on that day, drop it in and it’s posted. I know what you are thinking! Wouldn’t it be great if there was software that would let you post content for an entire month and walk away from it? There is, but, for the moment – you don’t want to pay for it!

So that’s it. It’s simple fast and it provides you a framework to fit this additional responsibility into your daily life, but more importantly change your behavior so you actually do it!

Now, that you have mastered updating content, we’ll need to circle back around and evaluate how people are responding to the content with Insights. You my friend are just getting started on a process that is going to suck more and more of your time, but research is suggesting it’s worth it.

Check out some of the latest posts that confirm this at:

www.facebook.com/internetstrategiesgroup

Fans not only will BUY MORE from you, they will more likely RECOMMEND YOU!

Army of tweeting students, alumni and staff to increase enrollment

Written by on January 9th, 2010

H&R Block provides example college admissions can adopt!

 The headline of this blog today was inspired by an article in Advertising Age written by Beth Snyder Bulik.

H&R Block as you know, prepares tax statements for millions of customers.  It’s a very seasonal business – but its big business!  There are nearly 13,000 retail shops around the country and the company has 100,000 employees.

H&R started to notice that behaviors of consumers were changing last year when they recognized that out of the 95 million tax returns that were filed electronically, nearly 1/3 of them were from home computers.  They realized they needed to offer a home computer tax program to not only build their brand, but offer a bridge to their retail shops.

To market their program they decided to incorporate both traditional advertising and social media marketing.  Their goal was to use social media to educate customers, answer questions, build brand awareness and leverage the conversations that develop into visits to their corporate page where the visitor could select a retail shop to help them prepare their taxes or purchase their software.

To accomplish that, H&R built a 1,000 employees social media army!   They provided this team an overview of their strategy, what they wanted to accomplish, outlined their goals and offered basic training on social media.  According to Bulik:

The social-media strategy includes a Twitter account, widgets, blogs, a YouTube channel and a Facebook fan page and apps — a recent one in the form of a quiz asks, “How deductible are you?”

Why did they do that?

If the average person on Twitter has 100 friends, 1,000 employees have an opportunity to reach not only 1,000,000 people but their tweets have the ability to reach the 100 people that each of the people they know are connected to.   That’s a big number!   And they don’t have to pay a marketing, PR or advertising channel to reach them.

This army could be on any of their social networks and respond when:

  • Someone mentions they have to do their taxes
  • A tax question is asked
  • Someone is interested in finding a place that provides loans based on taxes due to the person
  • Someone is looking for a person to do their tax
  • Someone shares an issue they have had with the IRS

While Social Media monitoring software catches this information, it’s people that respond.  Because even in this new online world, “people still do business with people”.

So how would your company unleash an army of Social Media?   Let’s take a look at this from the college recruitment angle.

Admissions offices could do the same thing.

Think about it, a college has thousands of students, tens of thousands of alumni (if not hundreds of thousands) and dozens of staff  that could form the core of the Social Media team.  This army of people could be create a variety of content in audio, video, text and or photographs to build the college brand, engage prospective students and maintain mindshare of prospective students.

  • Students could be sharing information about events, activities and courses.
  • Alumni could share experiences, career advice.
  • Faculty could offer min courses, answer questions.
  • Prospective students could be talking about their visits, sharing research and students, alumni and faculty they are meeting.

And of course all could be engaging prospective students in dialogue.

Why does this make sense? 

  1. It’s cheap! It’s repeatable and once you’ve built the system it runs by itself.
  2. Everyone I just mentioned has a vested interest in seeing the college succeed.
  3. This Social Media team represents authentic voices that prospective students will believe.

Experts today remind us that you no longer have control of your brand

Your brand exists in the people we’ve listed above.  Prospective students no longer pay attention to the “slogans and phrases” colleges work so hard to create and market. Students today pay just as much or more attention to what people they know say about the college.

So what are the steps to implement a social media strategy within a college admissions office?

We’ll cover that in upcoming blog articles.  ? leave a comment or call 800-805-9413.

Wedding Photographers get Disintermediated!

Written by on November 7th, 2009

Crowd sourcing spells trouble for wedding photographers

You might have noticed that I’m writing more articles on crowd sourcing lately.  It’s because I’m beginning to see how fundamentally it will change the way our businesses are structured and our society if functioning.

Web 2.0 tools like Flickr and YouTube started to teach us how we could interact and engage with each other around photos and video.   As our behaviors changed and we understood the value the technology provided us, the next stage of innovation is using Web 2.0 thought processes to develop ways where people can share ideas, concepts and effectively get work done faster with less effort.

Today I ran across a site called Kedai, “smile, snap, share”.  (Would love to know what Kedai means)  Kedai and future incarnations of it creates enormous financial pressure on wedding photographers.

Now a wedding with 100 guests can have the power of 100 cameras snapping away capturing their unique view of the day/night/week for the wedding party, friends and family.  It’s a shared experience.

Here’s how it works. (…More…)

Wisdom of the Crowds on the Street – Picks Stocks!

Written by on September 27th, 2009

Find out what others are saying about your company or product!

Daily I see more products and services that automatically search the web for people talking about products, services, issues and then aggregates this information and delivers it back to me in a variety of methods to help me make decisions.

So what do you do with that information?

Well in the case of the stock market, you can take mentions of companies, analyze the mentions as positive or negative and then graphically display for others to interpret and use to make a better decision.

Interesting way this blog started.

I wrote a blog article about the “wisdom of the crowds” and the next day a tweet showed up in my Twitter account:

@Philabaum Check outhttp://www.piqqem.com for another example of wisdom of crowds.

Wow, pretty smart!  Did the system automatically find me and post that information, or is someone sitting at a computer somewhere in the world being delivered mentions of words, concepts and ideas who then puts a human spin to them and who then sends the message off?

In my case this really worked.

Not only was I intrigued, I followed the link to the product piqqem and signed up!

Think about how you could use Twitter to watch for mentions of terms and keywords that might identify who you are, what your customers like, attitudes and or locations.    You too could have a business process that would deliver frightenly  fast and relevant information to people who are out there talking about services they like or need.

I’m just starting to get a handle on this.  Would love to know your take!

Millsap College Uses “Wisdom of the Crowds” to Select President

Written by on September 25th, 2009

Life is too complicated. No one person or group has the answers!

You know how-  from time to time – you get a song stuck in your head, and it just keeps playing over and over and over!  I’ve never looked at it too seriously, occasionally I have wondered if the content of the song was something my psyche or soul needed to help it adjust to a situation or to get an “attitude” adjustment.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve noticed that I’m stuck in a rut writing more and more about the “wisdom of the crowds” or as some refer to as “crowd sourcing”.

I’ve been greatly influenced by Don Tapscott’s book, Wikinomics, (not just because he’s also named Don) because it really awakened the reality of how the Internet has changed the way we run our lives, businesses and organizations.

In the past, the person at the top of the organization had a phone to the outside world, a very small group of advisors and his or her gut to make decisions.  Today, that same person at the top has a Twitter account,  Facebook account, etc,  which provides them a million points of view on a subject or feedback on a proposed idea or new product. (…More…)

Wisdom of the Crowds – Concept will Change Your Business

Written by on June 28th, 2009

The first business I started while in college, I called Aardvark Studios.

I’ve never been very creative when it comes to naming a business so after days of searching for the right name, Aardvark stuck.   We took pictures of graduates when they received their diplomas on graduation day, and then mailed a free proof to each graduate, giving them an opportunity to order enlargements.  By the time I sold the business, 25 years later, we were photographing about 200,000 graduates each year.

So I had to laugh when I saw a story in the New York Times about a company founded in 2007 called Aardvark.    The firm was jumping into the online advice business, the same business that Microsoft’s new Bing has entered, Hunch and Yahoo’s Answers.  Aardvark’s twist however is it’s among the first that provides an intelligent way to reach out to authorities on subjects within your circle of friends.

The second thing that makes Aardvark different from others is the answers are created real time and specific to your question only.   When you pose a question like:

  1. What wine goes good with chicken?
  2. What’s the best grad school for someone interested in marketing?
  3. What’s the best computer for my 15 year old daughter?
  4. Where do I go when I visit Italy this year?
  5. Which mower should I get to mow an acre of fairly flat land?
  6. What do I have to look out for when I buy a new car?

Aardvark fires out the question through your Facebook friends and their friends and then delivers the response to you through your IM.

What it tries to do is target those with the best chance of answering the question.   Instead of blasting the question to everyone you know, it sends a limited number at a time so not to over burden the entire system.   It also utilizes information from other social networking profiles to match interests, demographics characteristics and other factors.

If no one answers a question, Aardvark continues to broaden the group of people until it gets an answer for you.  If you are like me a response usually invokes additional questions so Aardvark enables the person asking the question to respond to the person who answered it with additional questions.

Like any other tool, the more people that use it the more powerful it will become.  When you sign up,  you will be asked to share 3 areas you are knowledgeable  on.  This helps the system know which type of questions to send to you.

So how will this change your business?

This kind of tool will affect how your products and services are sold.  Consumers will still be influenced by advertising but they will learn to go to their network for advice on which product to buy.  It will help your staff find quick answers from others within your company.   The world is getting increasingly more complex.  A tool like this will help your staff reach out to others in and outside your business to gain quick answers to problems they are facing.

And if you are looking for a job, it will instantly put you in touch with the right people who can help you!

The end result is, decisions will be made faster, based on more experience.

So I have one question to ask Aardvark.   When I owned my photography business, nearly every week, someone asked me, “Why did you name your company Aardvark?”

So Aardvark, “Why did you name your business Aardvark?”

Is Video Advertising Right for YOUR Business?

Written by on December 9th, 2008

One video ad can be re purposed on many different websites

Truman Show

I spent a greater portion of my business career in the photography industry. In my letters and marketing materials I repeated the time worn phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Now that we are living in a video world, the common person has nearly as many ways to capture the moments of their lives as Jim Carrey’s Truman Bank character in The Truman Show. Today, a video is worth 10,000 words.

Online video advertising is giving marketers another opportunity to reach targeted audiences with their messages. According to Borrell Associates, streaming audio and video ads now account for 19 percent of local online revenue and will rise to 59% by 2013.

Most marketers are having hard time thinking about adding video to their marketing tool chest for one reason: because in their mind, it’s still a very expensive and time-consuming marketing tool. They also have little to no experience with it, so they avoid it.

Video Advertising is as easy as 1,2,3

However, the Internet is changing all of that. Not only can anyone with a webcam, video cell phone, or simple video camera create a video and upload it to a Web site, it can be done within a matter of an hour without a budget! Sure, you can spend a great deal more time and energy at it, but I’m trying to break down some walls here and get you thinking about keeping it simple stupid! (…More…)

Online Communities in the Pioneer Days

Written by on December 3rd, 2008

Pew Report

Life before MySpace, Facebook, YouTube

I was reading a report produced by the Pew Internet and American Life Project called, “A Portrait of Early Internet Adopters. Why People First Went Online and Whey they Stayed”.  The report by Amy Tracy Wells is  a quick read and a fun reminder of where online social networking got started.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project since 2000 have shown that the majority of people went online for personal reasons (50%), followed by work (31%) and school (19%).

Amy reminds us that the early roots of social networking started in BBSs (electronic bulletin board systems) and Usenet, chat rooms and threaded discussion software.  To access these systems one had to fire up a modem and wait!  A really fast modem in those days crawled.  When I lived in Telluride, Colorado in 1995, I remember waiting about 8 hours to download a new version of AOL’s software! (…More…)

Your Website Should Provide an EXPERIENCE!

Written by on November 22nd, 2008

Do your visitors leave your website talking?

Four Bells

Jimmy Hendrix emblazoned in the minds of nearly every Boomer who listened to FM radio in the late sixties the phrase,  “Are You Experienced”.   A generation of youth wandered the country trying to figure out what experience Jimmy, the new king of Rock and Roll was talking about.  Was he talking about drugs, love or dropping out!

Later, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore put a new definition to experience in their book,  “The Experience Economy”.  This is one of my favorite books, a must read for ANY business professional.  In their book, Joseph and James remind businesses that consumers are willing to pay MORE for an experience. They point out examples of businesses that are in commodity markets who charge a premium price simply by adding a unique “experience”.  The lessons learned from this book could position you ahead of your competitors and ahead in your bank account too!

Stay with me, I’m going to give you an experience that will make you RICH! (…More…)

Could YOUR City Better Serve YOU with by Adopting Social Media?

Written by on November 14th, 2008

6 ways your city is missing the boat by not adopting comprehensive Internet strategies

Tip O’Neill has been quoted as saying “All politics is local.”  He said that to remind politicians to pay Pot holeattention to what is happening in their back yard if they want to stay in office.  Today government leaders are starting to pay attention to how they can use the Internet to improve services and better serve citizens.

Like most institutions their focus right now is how to use the Internet to give citizens access to information they normally have to stop in offices to get. Online registrations for dog tags, to accessing information about property is becoming the norm for many communities and counties.

But what about using social media and online community tools?

Government 2.0 recently published an article that looked at how local cities are using online community and social media to communicate and engage.  A variety of ideas are being explored by city government leaders but few are taking a comprehensive look at how they could use the Internet to increase:

  • Transparency
  • Communication
  • Services

And reduce costs!

But let’s take a look at the early pioneers and what they are doing to put their toe in the water!   Denver’s CIO, Molly Rauzi created a YouTube channel and uploaded various commercials, public service announcements and other videos. (…More…)

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