Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

I’ve been around the interwebs a long time. And I’ve seen my fair share of behaviour. I’ve been caught up in the rantings of internet trolls, excited by extreme uses of social sites, overwhelmed by trying to keep up with as much as I can… and I’ve come out the other end with sanity restored. If you’re still trying to get there, here are some tips that might help:

1. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. This is the most important for maintaining sanity. Internet trolls just seem to like to provoke people. How do you recognize them? Easy. They complain. You try and make them happy. They complain more. The cycle continues and you end up nowhere. Break the cycle. Respond once in the same forum they have. Move on.

2. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Make a social media editorial schedule (a tip I picked up from Matt Clark, @itstrue). Follow it as consistently as you can. If it takes you more than an hour to fill it out, you’re taking too much time. Schedule less tweets until you become more proficient. Speaking of scheduling, auto-schedule your tweets and updates (I use Hootsuite)! Just fill the in-between with real conversation.

3. Use the social media rule of thirds. Post one-third content from other people, one-third that’s on topic for you and one-third that’s personal.

4. Lists are your friends. Make topical lists on Twitter wherever you can. Check in on the important ones once a week and comment to people you’d like to connect more with. Don’t worry about everyone else.

5. Be selective about your interactions. Don’t worry about being everyone’s best friend. They don’t want or need you to be. Keep your focus on what you think is relevant and chances are you’ll attract similar minded people.. thus making you relevant either way. Nay-sayers? See point number 1.

6. Quality over quantity, my friend. Always. Don’t have time to spend a quality 10 minutes getting the most out of your time online? Don’t. I’m an advocate about doing as much as you can yourself, but if you must, hire somebody else to get you started. Social media and online marketing are supportive mediums. They’re also amplifiers. Positive word of mouth gets around online. So does the negative. Make sure you’ve got a solid foundation and processes to work from. Then dive in to telling everyone about it.

7. Take a day off, or a week. The interwebs will still be there when you get back. I promise. And it really won’t take you as long as you think to get back in the swing of things. Double promise.

8. Stay realistic about your expectations, whether of online results or of people. Be clear. Be direct. Be confident enough to ask for what you want. If we don’t see your one update about something, it’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we’re busy people too.

9. Set loose goals. Yep, loose. And change them often to suit your needs. The goal is progress, not perfection. Can’t keep up with 10 updates a day? Bring it down to 5. Not sure what your goals should be? Don’t let that stop you, if you’ve got the time, experiment. Sure you’ll make mistakes, but if people stop talking about social media catastrophes like BP (not to make light of the actual environmental catastrophe preceding it), surely they won’t remember yours.

10. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. Right, I said that one already, but it’s the most important point! For real, that’ll save you hours.

You’re welcome!

Bonus: When writing blog posts, never publish your first draft without rereading several hours later, or even better, the next day. (Caveat: Unless you’re at least halfway through a bottle of wine).

When I was in university, my international business courses equipped me with the skills I’d need to market a product or service across countries. There can be so many ins and outs, laws, rules, regulations and the likes that it can take time to build up your lay of the land before being ready to engage in commerce in another country. By far the most interesting, and most important aspect, that I found came in terms of a country’s culture. If a word was translated incorrectly or a cultural reference not picked up, it could embarrass a company trying to break into a new market. If you weren’t familiar with cultural customs and norms, deals were likely to not go your way.

Many of today’s social networks have been likened to some of the world’s largest countries. If, for example, Facebook were a country, it would have ranked 3rd highest in terms of population in 2010. When it comes to a social network, it’s not just the company that created it that you are engaging, it’s the community that’s built itself around it. And beyond the Terms of Service, the community has made its own unwritten code of conduct. There are nuances in every culture that you just won’t find unless you immerse yourself in it. You’ll find the same with social networks.

So do yourself a favour. If there’s a social network you’re aiming to target, take the time to investigate it. Talk to the locals (members). Find out what flies and what doesn’t. They’ll appreciate the time you took and you’ll save yourself from making any obvious blunders.

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Image by Bramus! via Flickr

It’s not every day I see two articles representing two different views on a topic without actively seeking them out.  But today I did, and it’s got me thinking.

The first article is from Adweek entitled “Dangling Incentives on Facebook“.  Marketers use incentives like giveaways, contests and coupons to draw people to like their Facebook page (it still feels odd to refer to “like” as an action word rather than a feeling word) or to follow them on Twitter.  Many brands have seen success with attracting large amounts of people in a short period of time using one of these tactics.

On the opposite end of the spectrum sits “Rewarding New Facebook Fans: Good Business Or “Black Hat” SEO Tactic?” over on Forrester’s blog.  This article warns of the dangers of collecting likes and followers and how this can diminish the value of that Facebook fan or Twitter follower and water down the true “social search” experience that larger search engines like Bing and Google are experimenting with.

What’s a brand to do?  Those committed to being socially responsible will use a combination of the two.  New and existing consumers will be drawn into their social bases with contests and offers, but once attracted, will find other valuable reasons to stay. 

The road ahead is diverging. The quality of the brands and offers, the willingness for our friends and networks to sell their influence for special deals and giveaways and the resulting impact we allow these “recommendations” to have on our purchase decisions will all be key factors in determining where we will go next.

pink ribbon

Image via Wikipedia

Last December, I saw a Facebook status update for cancer awareness that I didn’t like.  I didn’t like it because I didn’t think it was effective.  I conducted a little experiment with my own Facebook status to see if I could improve on the idea.  You can read more about it in my blog post entitled “How I’m doing my part to find a cure” but the gist is that I encouraged people to share their cancer stories on my Facebook page.  For every story shared, I would donate $2 to the Canadian Cancer Society.  The experiment was quite successful.  I had over 40 stories shared and enough people jump in and match my donation out of their own pockets to bring the total donation up to a whopping $500.00.  All from one Facebook status and a desire to just do a little bit more.

Today, one of my Twitter mates, Michelle, took it upon herself to revive the idea on her Facebook wall.  Inspired by Breast Cancer Awareness month, Michelle has made her status update the following:

Here is my cancer awareness post: Facebook says I have 666 (yikes!) friends. Instead of telling me your bra colour or where you like to leave your purse, share a memory of someone in their lives touched by cancer by commenting on this status or leaving a note on my wall between now and November 30. For every comment I will donate $1 to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Now, if you know Michelle, please go share your story on her Facebook page.  I would love to see her make a $666 donation.

At the beginning of the month, another of the Calgary Twitterati, Jillian Walker, posted a blog post about her encounter with breast cancer.  A brave and inspiring move, she told the story in detail from discovery of an unusual lump in her breast through to surgery and recovery.

We’re not all cancer survivors, and many of us still (thankfully) haven’t been directly impacted by cancer.  But just because we may not have a personal story to tell on the matter, doesn’t mean our participation in a campaign as important as this one can’t have an impact.  Online social networks give us each a voice.  It’s easy to forget how little it takes to go a thousand steps further than we’ve ever been able to before today.

The point here is that we have a chance to be better.  Everyday, we can live our lives better, we can share and inspire others better.  It doesn’t take much, just a little creativity… and everyone’s got at least a spark of that in them.  Before you jump on the next meme, think about what’s behind it.  If it’s something silly, have at it.  Enjoy.  But if it’s something that is genuinely attempting to accomplish a goal as important as cancer awareness, please give the subject matter the respect it deserves by at least taking a second or two to think if your participation actually makes an impact, or if there’s a chance that you can make it better.  Without the effort from each of us as individuals, the whole will never get better.  Help out those you’re trying to support and just be better when it counts.

If you’d like to find ways you can help, from volunteer opportunities to making a donation in Alberta, the Canadian Cancer Society page has the resources you need.  If in another province, try visiting the homepage and navigating to your province and the “how you can help” tab from there.

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