I think I must be turning into a curmudgeon…or I need another cup of coffee, because once again I am disappointed with a Facebook feature rollout (and I’m usually a VERY postiive person!). Facebook has caused PREMATURE EXCITEMENT several times this month for more than just me. From their IPO causing quite the stir to the new PAGES MANAGER APP for the iPhone (and iPad) and now the announcement that a community manager can now SCHEDULE posts on their Facebook pages for a later time or date.
Many who threw money at the Facebook IPO are finding themselves filled with regret only a couple weeks later. I was one who was thrilled to hear there was finally a mobile app that would free community managers around the world from their desks and allow us to rise up, post content and manage our client pages from our iPads. Okay, so you CAN do many things, but you still cannot access photos that aren’t loaded on the iPad (such as those saved in Dropbox or other cloud storage file) or narrow your post to a specific location and more. Okay so maybe I’m being a bit pessimistic.
The big news that is spreading this week, is the fact that Facebook recently rolled out their scheduler. WOW, Facebook is trying to bring some of the critical features that are offered from third-party apps such as Hootsuite, and FINALLY getting the picture of what we need to use their platform for business. Now THIS is big news! I was thrilled! I immediately went and tested it scheduling a post to drop on our Gettin’ Geeky page 4 hours into the future. WOW this is going to be HUGE! Call everyone on our team! Send out tweets! But wait…… Not…so…fast.
Sure you can schedule a post TODAY, to drop next Monday and Tuesday mornings when you will be on a beach in Tahiti, but if you need to make a change or edit something, you cannot go in and make changes easily. When you manage a lot of content for a brand, there are still many features, that a third-party app brings, that for some reason Facebook teams have not figured out how to deliver.
Hootsuite Scheduler-Week At A Glance
On Hootsuite I can view what is scheduled for the month, the week or see the list for a specific day, allowing me to see the posts each person on our team has scheduled for which client. We have some clients that go through a review process and have to be laid out well in advance, while others can be scheduled for the day. Facebook has placed the schedule viewer under the MANAGE link in the top bar and then you select USE ACTIVITY LOG. Now I discovered that you cannot access this activity log if you are logged in AS YOUR PAGE. You must be using Facebook as yourself and then be on your business page (not sure if this is a bug or if there is some logic to this).
Perhaps it is only you and you want to schedule a few posts reminding people of an upcoming event you are promoting. Perhaps you only want to schedule your blog posts to drop on your Facebook page earlier than you want to get out of bed. Or perhaps you are not as cranky and picky as I am and want to check out the Facebook SCHEDULE feature. Here are the steps:
Write your post as you would normally.
Click on the small clock in the bottom left to set the YEAR-MONTH-DATE-HOUR-MINUTE
Click schedule and go back to bed.
Schedule Your Facebook Page Post
For some reason I could not get it to schedule on a personal profile, only a business page, which I guess makes sense since this is primarily a business feature. I also found on one of the pages we manage, if you do not have the YEAR your business was started or established, it would not let you schedule a post. We had to first add the founding year before it worked. Could have been a bug, but perhaps it is a safeguard in case Marty McFly came BACK TO THE FUTURE and tried to schedule a post for a business that had not been established yet!
I’m going for more coffee–you have fun scheduling!
I love opening Twitter to find direct messages from people I have recently followed. These warm and welcoming messages make me feel so…..so loved. Some tell me they appreciate my following them so much that they have GIFTS for me…free ebooks, written by them, teaching me the secrets of the universe, while others just say things like, “You’re cool for connecting.”
These auto direct messages are LIES (I’m sorry to burst your bubble if you thought any of them were genuinely crafted and sent by the person you connected with in Twitter Town. It’s like that day you learned there was no REAL bunny brining you candy on Easter morning!). They are lies because the person usually isn’t even aware that you have followed or connected with them. An auto-generated message is sent out as soon as you hit FOLLOW.
If you have ever contemplated signing up for these Auto DM services, here are 2 things to keep in mind:
1. If your intent is to stand out, in a positive way, to those who have followed you or your business, you have done the opposite. You are now categorized as a spammer and most will know that you are not in Twitter Town for REAL conversations. Why not send a real message pointing out something you like in their bio or something you have in common. I know…. it takes time. It’s better to just be silent until you have something helpful or interesting to say to them.
2. Clarify your purpose in sending these auto messages. If you feel you need to give the person some information about you that they didn’t get in your bio or tweets when they connected with you, perhaps you should write a better bio. If your intent is to give them a GIFT, then let me help you with the definition of the word gift. A gift is shiny and comes in a small box, or at least comes wrapped in pretty paper. Your eBook is a marketing piece. While it might provide helpful information, telling people you have a gift for them and then they open a 38 page white paper on how you met a guru and now have the secret to certain wealth and fame, leaves most with the same feelings an eight-year-old has when they get underwear for a Christmas “gift.”
So what should you send out to welcome those who have just connected with you in Twitter Town? Here are 3 tips:
Unless you are Lady Gaga or Justin Beiber, you probably are not getting more than a handful of new followers each day. Even if you are getting 20-30 new followers each day, it is manageable.
1. Take 10-15 each day and go through your new followers and determine which ones you want to follow back. If you are a business using Twitter, be careful not to appear unapproachable or snobbish by not following people back. Unless it is a porn or obvious spam account, follow them. For individuals on Twitter, you need to follow those who will add value to your Twitter stream. (To find your new followers, go to your Twitter profile and select FOLLOWERS. The newest are the ones on the top and they usually have not been followed by you yet.)
2. Send a brief (I guess on Twitter, everything is brief) note thanking them for connecting and letting the, know you are looking forward to interacting. Try and mention something unique about their bio or recent tweets. This shows that, like Pinnochio, you are a real boy! Perhaps you copy and paste part of a message and add on a unique closing line, or simply send, “Happy Tuesday-great to connect.”
3. If you really want to stand out and start the relationship off on a high note, go to their Twitter profile and scan one page of tweets to find one of their recent posts that you can RT or reply to. By the way, this is the way to get the attention of someone you want to follow you back. Jump in and start conversing with them. They will see you are genuine and want to connect. If not, maybe they aren’t real! :))
So the next time you get that generic message after following someone, simply send a reply alerting them that their pants are on fire! And them send them this post ….as a GIFT!
Liar Liar Pants on Fire
If you find all of this overwhelming for your business, we can help. We help you grow and manage your brand’s online community. Send me a REAL direct message…I’d love to connect. Gina on Twitter
Go to many websites and your eyes glaze over. They are on-line brochures loaded with boring text and phrases like “Best-in-Class” “Mission-Critical” and “Synergistic”. They have become meaningless to consumers.
Blah, Blah, Blah ~Who Is Reading All Of This?
Not only do we not have time to read the copy you spent weeks crafting with every word and phrase meant to impress possible buyers, but our brains hate words. We want pictures and videos of REAL people having a conversation with us. Get that over-produced video with the actor walking out on your homepage off your website! We want to hear a short message from YOU. From the owner, or the team we will be working with. And the photos of perfectly diverse team members smiling in front of a poster-board, is the same stock image used on thousands of other sites–we are no longer fooled. They don’t really work at your location! Show us the people we will speak with when we call your place of business (yes you may have turnover, but photos can be changed out!).
Look At Our Cool Poster Board
Facebook helped consumers realize that brand statements could be shortened AND encourage feedback at the same time. We took all of our website copy and broke it into bite-sized pieces and asked for our consumers to interact with us. Some brands have even added photos to go along with those statements.
Twitter taught us that brevity is king and if we can’t say it in 140 characters, people won’t take the time to read it. It has started affecting the attention span of the world. Our brains can’t even process more than 140 characters at a time without needing a break. (You’ve probably taken 18 breaks just to get through this much text (hopefully the photos have helped!) Even reading email messages have become weary–we just don’t have the time (or the attention span) to read all of those…WORDS! Twitter also taught brands to have conversations beyond promoting their own products or services. They could be helpful…in 140 characters!
Now Pinterest is set to change our communication style again. Pretty pictures rule! Pinterest exploded on the social scene in 2010 and to join, users still need an invitation from a fellow-pinner (making it feel that much more exclusive). What is the attraction? Pretty colors…Shiny objects…IMAGES, IMAGES, IMAGES! Where are the words? They are FEW and hidden. Some companies are now loading white papers and infographics, but it is the big, bold, photos that are being REpinned by the masses (over 17 million users currently have accounts with over 80% being female).
Whether your brand chooses to create a Pinterest account or not, is one piece of the strategic marketing puzzle, but your brand should definitely make sure your website is PINNABLE (are there photos on the pages of your website that are PINNABLE?). If you are a hotel, you want people to pin gorgeous photos of your property, your food and beverage options, meeting spaces and table settings. If you sell hammers, be sure to have great pictures of tools, as well as projects that people can make with your hammers! Your name and your website be virally spread, since each PIN taken from your website links back to the page it came from.
Here are the steps to see if you have good PINNABLE items on your site and then what to do about it:
Go to http://Pinterest.com and add the PIN IT button to your browser. (You do not have to join Pinterest to do this)
Go to your website and click that PIN IT button. It will reveal any photos that are PINNABLE (only IMAGE FILES can be pinned. If all of your images are Flash, they will not be PINNABLE)
If you have created a Pinterest account, you can now add this pin to a board. (Stay with me here–it gets better!)
Create boards that include recommended books, products you love, places your business serves, and more. (When you join Pinterest, start by looking around. Search for other brands you like. See what they are doing and how they are using the service.)
If you do not have a Pinterest account, make this part of your strategic marketing plan. What do you have to offer that can be communicated through photos. How can you begin telling the story of your brand through pictures? What information do you want to get in the hands of your target audience? Are there pictures that convey that information?
If you would like an invitation to join Pinterest, simply send me an email or contact me via Twitter and you will be pinning in no time!
So the marketing take away here is to stop the text-heavy madness–no one is reading all of that copy. Take out that camera and start snapping more fabulous photos!
If you need help making sense of all of the tech and social madness, step away from the ledge and pick up your phone (we do still use that method for communication) and call us! 303.978.0887. You can also email me Gina (at) SocialKNX(dot) com
Twitter is an interesting place to meet amazing people. Sometimes the connection is obvious and strategic–you both share an interest in augmented reality and attend a tweetchat about the topic and connect. Sometimes it is more happenstance–you search for hotels in Zimbabwe and find a helpful Twitter citizen who has shared many tweets about a great spot, and you connect!
Like any place where you might meet new and wonderful people, you will also have strange and scary people in the mix. There are Twitter accounts that are called BOTS (spam accounts that follow people based on keywords used and they start sending spam messages daily). So like any situation, you have to do a bit of work to see if you have met someone worth engaging further or if you keep walking.
Now lazy people do not want to do the work. They want to sit back and make other people follow them and start the conversation or they use an automated service like TrueTwit Validation that make the person enter in a CAPTCHA (strange computer-generated characters that most cannot make out) to prove they are a real person with a real brain that can decipher computerized codes. The irony is these ridiculous services are auto bots that are making people prove they are not auto bots! I will immediately UNFOLLOW anyone who uses TrueTwit Validation service because it tells me the person was simply too lazy to look at my profile.
Here are 3 things that will tell you if you have a REAL person worth connecting with on Twitter:
They have a photo of themselves.
This is a good sign as to whether they are are just passing through Twitter Town or if they are here for awhile. When I see someone has 500 tweets or 1,200 followers but still has the egghead picture Twitter assigns, I know they have issues. It is most likely a Twitter BOT.
They have a bio posted.
Again, if someone is here to connect with people and they have nothing to hide, there should be an interesting bio written about them. Most people put very boring facts about themselves or worse, they leave it blank or fill this area with #Hashtags of everything they are ever going to be tweeting about and you feel as if you are in a 7-11 store where they sell toilet tissue, lighters, and beef jerky–what are you there for?
Don’t be afraid to share a little glimpse of your personality. You can share some business facts letting people know what you will mainly focus on–are you a mom blogger? A car enthusiast? A cheese lover? What can we expect by connecting with you? But when you add a pinch of personality, you make it easy for people to start conversations with you and it can make you more memorable! There are a lot of beaks flappin’ in Twitter Town, find small ways to stand out.
They have few interesting and helpful tweets posted already.
No one should start inviting people to follow them without first sharing a few nuggets of goodness to let the world know that they will be providing value to the community. Even if you are brand new to Twitter Town, post 4 or 5 bits about something you are interested in or that you have expertise in. Tell the world what you are hoping to accomplish on Twitter (ie-I am looking forward to connecting with all of the Gouda Cheese lovers out there and sharing cheesy recipes) or what you have to share (I have a list of the best places to find odd zippers in Littleton, Colorado on my website ZipItUp.com). Now when I look at your profile I know I will immediately LOVE following your every tweet and will probably even add you to my list of ZIPPER KEEPERS! A Twitter BOT usually has the same one or two messages they post every day and they are obvious spam messages. Get your SPAM-GUARD aimed and ready!
It does not take hours to check these items out. I do it once a day or every other day by going to Twitter.com and clicking on my profile and then FOLLOWERS. The newest connections are at the top. You can see items #1 & #2 from this one page. This may be enough to know whether you want to follow them back or not. If you are uncertain, click on their profile to see if they have #3 covered! Also, if you are using Twitter for your business–you should be following many people back (except the whack-nut spam-bots). You never know who might want to get a hold of you via direct message and do business with you, and if you are not following them back they may not be able to send a direct message to you (DM). (This has to do with a setting you have in your account.)
What else do you do to find fabulous people to connect with or what methods do you use to filter the good peeps from the bots? Inquiring minds want to know! Leave your tips, questions and rants in the comments below. If you are a TWIRGIN (new to Twitter) I have a few more tips for you in my Letter to a Twirgin post. If you need help with managing Twitter Town activities let me know–We LOVE it here!
Find me on Twitter (I’m REAL…I promise!) and if you’re not a SPAM-bot whack-nut, I will follow you back!
Everyone wants a large social community, filled with consumers just ready to purchase your products and services. Like the movie, Field of Dreams, we think if we build it…they will surely come and get in line. We just want to post a simple statement of how great we are and have 250 comments and shares with people clamoring to work with us. Well, there is no EASY or FAST button on Facebook.
Here is the response I gave today when I got the question, “How do I build my Facebook community FAST?”
FAST? Building a community on Facebook does not happen FAST. There is lots of time invested every single day, reaching out to people on their business pages and building the relationships to then inviting them onto your page. Every day you need to provide interesting and helpful content to “feed” the community that comes over. Run promotions, offer discounts, but make sure your content is interesting and helpful. If it’s super interesting or helpful, people share it and more will come.
A couple times a week invite people from your Twitter community to join in discussions on your page and then at least once a week remind your personal Facebook connections that you have great tips and resources on your business page. Many invite their Facebook friends when they first launch their business page and think that is enough. They may have missed that invitation, or you didn’t explain WHY they should join you on this new page. Like anything that brings REAL results, there is nothing FAST and EASY about it. So roll up those sleeves, fire up the laptop and do the work.
To help jump start–put the link to your Facebook business page in the comment section here with a sentence telling us a bit about your page! If you need to START your business page, here are the steps to get you moving: Tackling the Social Beast
Gina Schreck is the president and Chief Hooligan at SocialKNX. Our community managers do the hard work for organizations that don’t have the time or resources to do it themselves. Find Gina on Twitter @GinaSchreck