Archives for facebook features

Blogging is Doing

Search engines are used by billions of people every day, helping them find products to buy, stores to buy them from, information on anything imaginable or the directions to their grandmother’s house. Because search engines are such a huge part of consumers’ lives, they have become a huge part of how companies do business. Users are often unaware of the existence of businesses because they don’t show up on the first page of search results, creating the need for business to employ search engine optimization (SEO) in order to gain a wider audience and generate profitable conversions.

Having an official blog is an effective method of gaining rank in various search engines, particularly since Google’s Panda update was rolled out, favoring pages with high quality content over weak, shallow pages. As part of both a social media marketing campaign and a service being provided to customers, a well-maintained, attractive blog featuring informative, useful content can provide tremendous support for a business.

By emphasizing valuable content and displaying the knowledge of the company’s employees in their field, a corporate blog can build relationships with customers while gaining the positive attention of Google and Bing. Integrating the blog into social networking initiatives and making it part of a cohesive brand will increase the likelihood of being ranked highly in search results and of increasing customer retention and brand awareness.

Content is King

Google’s Panda update made it clear that the search engine values quality content over anything else, particularly the overuse of keywords. While websites could formerly get away with having long pages of machine-generated, mostly incoherent text that included repetitive uses of the same keywords, the method for gaining ground in the post-Panda world revolves around well-written pieces that match the context of the site. By writing content with customers and potential customers in mind, businesses can satisfy both their intended audience and search engine bots.

Show What You Know

In addition to providing well-written, pertinent information on their blogs, companies should provide useful information for consumers. Blogs should not be used to advertise a company’s products (though a short post announcing a new product is okay) but should instead educate customers on frequently misunderstood aspects of their business or field. For example, a heating and air conditioning repair company could feature blog posts concerning tips for homeowners to keep their HVAC systems running efficiently or posts describing the various heating and cooling options available to homeowners, along with their strengths and weaknesses. By providing valuable information to consumers, businesses have an easier time maintaining brand awareness with potential customers and being seen as leaders in their field.

Get the Word Out

Every blog post should be accompanied by social buttons that will allow readers to share the post with their friends and colleagues on the most popular social networks, such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Integrating the company blog with other social platforms can increase the visibility of each post–and the blog as a whole–to both consumers and search engines. By keeping the user experience integrated and as seamless as possible among the various social platforms and the company’s website, users will be able to recognize the company and its brand more readily and search engines will notice the uniformity and rank the site more highly.

iCloud OS: Good for Business?

Apple has finally released their new operating system, iOS5, complete with the highly anticipated iCloud. Drawing on principles of cloud computing, iCloud gives you access to all of your information but doesn’t rely on any one machine, whether it be a computer or dedicated server, to store or access information.

With documents, information, calendar dates, contacts and automatic backups now stored in the cloud, how we can we expect to see businesses utilize and thrive with these new resources? Or, can we expect a change at all?

 Paperless? Or Close To It?

 Whether to cut down on cost or become more eco-friendly, many businesses have been taking steps towards becoming paperless for a while. Though it’s difficult to completely leave paper behind, iCloud eliminates much of the need for paper.

With documents stored in the cloud, there’s no need to print. And, as you continue to re-draft your business model, there’s no need to print updates or make changes in every document. Any changes you make in sixth draft will be applied all across the cloud. All of your iOS devices will be kept up-to-date with changes.

Faster Pace?

 With many apps designed for iCloud and mobile use, the loading time will be significantly less. Not only will your apps and documents load faster, but the ability to work on the go and around the clock could mean people will do so. While we once had to stop working for the thirty minutes we rode the subway, or drove to a meeting or the hour we spent eating lunch, we could soon work straight through all that down time.

 

Sharing in the cloud means instant access to information, which means faster responses, which adds up to more business at the end of the day.

Will We Ever Have An Excuse Not to Work?

 iCloud allows you to access any document in the cloud from any iCloud enabled device. It boils down to you needing to find a new excuse for “I’m out of the office” or “I don’t have my computer.” With iCloud, your office, computer and information follow you wherever you go. As long as you have an iCloud-enabled device, you have access to your material. Start searching for new cop-outs.

 Never Lose Documents Again?

 iCloud automatically backs up all of the priceless information on your iGadget. Your music, TV shows, applications, books, photos, app data, organization, messages and ringtones will be backed up daily. When disaster strikes, your business plan or entertainment items won’t be casualties.

Could Staying Connected Be Any Easier?

 Your calendars, appointments and contacts will be with you all times now thanks to iCloud. If you wish you could remember Jeff’s email address, now you won’t have to. If you saved it on your computer, it’s now on your phone too. The iOS5 notification center will remind you of any date set in your calendar, any alarms set on your phone or upcoming deadlines.

More fun at Work?

 Lastly, with the ease of sharing photos, videos, sites and documents could we maybe all have a little fun too? If you stumbled across a great comic during work, why not share it? Businesses can certainly change with iCloud, so why not for the better?


 

 

 

Facebook Helping Fan Pages…No, Really!

Social Media Strategist Lauren MacEwen holding Facebook recommendationsThere have been a lot of updates on Facebook fan pages over the past year. Some of these helped us out and some did not.  One feature that was removed was the ability to suggest your page.  But that is now changing, well kind of. Just like anything Facebook does, the update is not putting things back the way they were, rather it is improving on the original idea. Or at least trying to.

Recommendations

It use to be that you could suggest your page to your friends. It was a button at the bottom of your left nav menu. You clicked “suggest page” and you could send suggestions to all your friends. At one point this was a great way to spread the word very quickly about your page. If you were able to get someone who was influential on Twitter to suggest your page you could get literally hundreds of new fans over night! But then Facebook changed their notification system. So instead of seeing your page suggestions, they were buried in the Facebook matrix. This essentially left page suggestions completely impotent.

From that point the only way you could suggest a page was to post on your fan page and ask your friends to spread the word about you. Does this work? Yes, well sometimes. A lot of people don’t know how to “share” a post, or they are just not interested in doing PR for your fan page.  Though the suggest a page is not being brought back, Facebook mainframe is now going to actually help fan pages network with each other.

When you use facebook as your page you will now see 2 rows of recommended pages. The first row are generally recommended pages, based off of other pages you like. Then below that is another set of recommendations. These show pages that your fans like. Giving you the opportunity for your page to like pages that your fans like. This can be a big boost for engagement. By helping you find other pages that your fans like you can then like that page. It is safe to assume that if a lot of your fans like the same page that there might be other fans of that page that have not discovered you. So if you go on there and engage with posts, you might be able to capture some of their targeted audience.

Are You Ready to Subscribe to Your Friend Facebook?

Facebook Subscriber ButtonFacebook has made a big change in profiles. They have offered a solution to public figures, people using Facebook for business, and people who just don’t like to friend people. They have released the subscribe button. At this moment you might be asking what this is. The subscribe button essentially makes your profile into a fan page.

People can subscribe to your profile. They will then get your public updates to their newsfeed. When someone subscribes to your feed they are not your friend. They are not added to your friend list.

Why subscribe?

  • You can follow someones updates without having to add them as a friend
  • You can control the information that comes through your newsfeed.
  • You can subscribe to someone but they do not have to approve you

Why allow subscriptions?

  • You don’t have to worry about the 5000 friend limit
  • You can control what information goes out to your subscribers
  • You can control comments

Benefits of Subscribing

  • When you subscribe to a profile you can control what information filters through your newsfeed. You can choose if you want to receive all updates, only photos, only links, only important items. And important is decided by Facebook, which includes change in relationship status, though it is currently unclear what else is considered important.
  • The information is not reciprocal. Traditionally when you friend someone, you see their updates and they see yours. The social relationship is reciprocal. However, with subscribing, you see theirs but unless they subscribe to your profile they will not see yours.

Benefits of subscriptions

  • Profiles are limited to 5000 friends. If you want more than that you have to switch to a fan page. With subscriptions that is not the case. You are still limited to 5000 friends, but there is no limit to subscribers.
  • Controlling information. If you only want your friends to see an update you can mark it as private and it will not go out to your subscribers. If you leave the update as public then it will go out to your friends and subscribers.
  • You can control comments from subscribers. When you set up subscribers you have a choice on if you want to allow comments on your posts. If you turn off comments, none of your subscribers will be able to comment on any of your public post. Only friends will be able to comment.

The subscription option is a great medium ground solution for people who don’t want to have a fan page, but have been frustrated with the limitations of a profile. This is great for public figures, people who use their profile for business and personal. For maintaining professional distances, like teachers and students or bosses and employees. This allows for the Facebook social relationship without feeling like you have to censor your posts because your boss or teacher might see it.

The big question is will it catch on?

Learn more about subscriptions from the Facebook FAQ.

Facebook Harness the Power of Nostalgia: New Profile

Article first published as Facebook Harness the Power of Nostalgia: New Profile on Technorati.

Facebook Timeline Profile

 

 

The Facebook timeline profile is coming out. Soon it will be rolled out to everyone on Facebook. With all the recent changes many people are screaming their dislikes to the world. The new profile might change that.

I was honestly concerned when I heard about the new layout for profiles. I was worried that Facebook was making themselves more like the ousted MySpace.

Originally one of the big differentiators between MySpace and Facebook was how your information was presented. MySpace was all about you. Your profile featured pictures and diatribes about you. Your graphics, your music, you likes and interests. Then there was a tiny space that showed your online relationships and interactions. Facebook had always been about your relationships. Your profile featured your interactions with your friends first and then your personal information second. The new “timeline” profile is more about you.

The concern lay in the shift from a friend relationship focus to a “you” focus. Would the value of relationships be lost in a narcissistic profile? Simply, the answer is no. Facebook has managed to harness the power of nostalgia in creating a profile that is you-centric without losing its focus on your relationships.

The new profile is simply beautiful. It is a chronicling of your life, even before your started on Facebook. The timeline features photos and life events starting at birth. You can add information, photos, videos and posts into any time period. Have a prom photo from 20 years ago, add it in to the year 1976.

The beautiful layout, featuring photos and comments from your friends, has a deep emotional resonance. You are able to go throw the years and see your pictures. The things your friends wrote on your wall. The posts you shared and were shared with you. You not only get a glimpse of your history on Facebook, but a glimpse of your life history. It is like watching an old home movie on an old reel-to-reel.

Reminiscing has always been a social activity. Facebook has found a way to harness that.

Here is a wonderful video Eric Leist that really captures the emotional impact of the new profile with the flair of Mad Men.

Facebook Updates Become Nodates

Though most of you won’t ever notice, but Facebook is removing yet another feature from Fan Pages. You will no longer have the ability to update your fans via email. I am sure many of you are saying, wait! I had the ability to email my fans? Well, yes you did.  It was possible to send an email updating all of your fans about events or happenings on the page.  You could even target these updates based on location or gender.

But you are probably asking yourself why you have never received one of these updates? Well, it is likely that you have and did not know it. When Facebook updated their email service, they created their version of a spam box. It is a file on your email called “Other” this is where Facebook puts any email that it thinks is likely spam or unwanted. Of course this means any email from a fan page. They only way around emails not being filtered into this other box was to go into your email, open up a message and then move it to your “messages” box. Of course non of us ever did that. In fact, most of us never even go into the other box.  Writing this post promoted me to go into it for the first time in over 6 months.

Since all fan page emails get shoved into other as soon as it is sent, Facebook has decided to remove the option entirely. Often times when a big update goes through, like Facebook email, certain things don’t function the way they were anticipated. Though Facebook wants people to use their network as a primary email address, most people are not. Very few people look at Facebook as a way to communicate with people not on the social network, and they definitely do not view it as a replacement for their primary email address. So the spam filter is under utilized and generally ignored.

They will be removing the update fan option on September 30th. So there is still time to send emails that no one will see.

Chronicling Your Life on Facebook: The New Timeline Profile

If you are on Facebook you have a new profile, or you will be getting it soon. The new profile design is being rolled out and is currently a voluntary update. Though like all Facebook updates, the volunteer will be turned to voluntold quickly. So what is the breakdown of the new profile? Well it is called the “timeline profile” because it now allows you to see what you have been doing since you started on Facebook. You can see pictures, comments, and significant event since the dawn of your Facebook account grouped according to when it happened. Sounds confusing, well, it is. But it is visually appealing. Here is a breakdown of your new profile:

1. The Cover

This is a giant picture at the top of your profile. It can be anything you want as kind of sets the theme to your profile. In essence this photo is supposed to be a personal expression of you. This is the first thing people see when they come to your “timeline”.

2. Views

Underneath your cover is your “views” this was previously your info section, or a hybrid thereof. This is where you’ll find your info, photos, likes, apps and other stuff all on one header bar.

3. Activity Log

This is a section that is only available to you. This is where you can edit the privacy settings on your posts and pictures, even ones previously posted. This will let you see all your activity on Facebook since the dawn of time.

4. Stories

This are shows your top stories. Your photos, updates, posts and shares from all time that are considered top news. You can view top stories from any period of time by clicking a time period on the timeline at the top right of your profile.

5. Star or Hide

You can star or hide any post at any time. If you click the star on a story it will expand it to full screen. If you click the pencil, you have the ability to hide or delete it off your profile.

6. Life Events Menu

Above the area for status updates is your life events menu. This is where you can add or edit you significant life events. You can even set up when they happened so they are properly archived in your timeline. For instance, never put in your marriage? Well, now you can add it in and add the date that you were married.

7. Info

Your info area is now much more extensive as far as your familial connections. You can add your entire family tree from aunts, uncles and cousins to in-laws!

New Facebook Timeline Profile

Honestly, I was a bit reticent about the new layout. There were concerns that the profile would be too much about you and not enough about your interactions. Though not all of those concerns have been put to bed. The timeline layout is beautiful. Scrolling through the years is like a trip down memory lane. Being able to read comments that friends made so many years ago gives you a nice reminder of your relationships and of times past. Though some of the remembrances are sad, lost friends, lost relationships, the new timeline is a nice chronicling of your life as shared on Facebook.

Facebook adds Circles?

Google Plus vs. Facebook

This fabulous image is from the Puffs of Genius blog

The competitive edge that Google+ had over Facebook was circles. It is a form of micro-sharing. Basically you can share updates with a subset of your friends instead of all your friends. This kind of micro-sharing is what makes people feel that Google+ has better privacy control than Facebook.  Well Facebook has decided to be competitive and has created smart lists.

Lists are not anything new in Facebook. In fact, they have been around for years, but only about 5% of Facebook users actually use lists. Most do not even know they exist and the ones that do often find it more cumbersome than helpful.

Facebook is now trying to take the cumber out of cumbersome. They are making automatic smart lists where it will group people for you based on your user information and usage habits. So if you have friends from your same college, they may get grouped into a “College” or “School” group. People you work with will be put in “Work”. You will be able to move people around in these groups to adjust them as you see fit. But Facebook is trying to make micro sharing more of a reality for its users.

Though grouping our friends for us might make it easier for us to manage our lists, it will not necessarily get people to start using the list function. Google+ was formed around the idea of circles and micro-sharing. Facebook was formed around the more general concept of social sharing. Not to mention that many of us get rather annoyed at how much Google tried to understand and anticipate our every move. So it might not be a good idea for Facebook to try to emulate that model. We already get annoyed at some of the friend suggestions, especially when not only are they people who are not friends but they are people we don’t want to see.

I am one of the 5%-ers that use lists, but will that number now increase? Do you plan to use lists now that they are automated?

This is no time to tag…on Facebook

Social Media Strategist Lauren MacEwen, in the shirt Friends don't tag friends on Facebook

Friends don't tag friends on Facebook- oh yes, it was time for some bad photoshop work 😉

Feeling that it had been a little while since Facebook made a change to how you use it? Yeah, we did too. Thankfully they did not let us down and changed something else on Facebook engagement. You can no longer tag people on your fan page.

Many of you might be saying, “Wait, I could never tag people. Pages can’t tag people.” Well, you are not entirely wrong. A page cannot tag a person. However there was a loophole. If your personal profile was “friends” with someone, then you could tag them on your fan page as long as you were posting as admin.

Many people used this loop hole to use both their fan page and profile to promote their business. They would do massive networking through their profile to meet people. Then they would post on their fan page and tag people in their posts.  This form of tag spam has not been well received. The problem of course is that people don’t generally know who owns a page, so they don’t know who tagged them.

Facebook has been trying to balance the functionality of its business sector with the privacy of it s private sector. Ultimately the private sector must come first, as it is the bread and butter of Facebook. 750 million members are a lot of people, and Facebook wants to make sure that their needs are kept priority. Though many pages ill be upset about this change, this will keep business to fan pages and personal to personal pages. Well, for the most part. At the very least it will create a clean line between the two.