Allen Voivod

Ahh, Twitter. So pervasive, yet so misunderstood.

The social networking and discovery platform allows users to report earthquakes before others feel them, becomes a communication platform during political upheavals and natural disasters, and helps network television broadcasts become relevant again. These are all very, very BIG things.

Twitter is also shockingly powerful for small businesses, too. My personal favorite story centers on how nearly two million tweets helped Rock Art Brewery, a Vermont microbrewer, keep the brand name of its signature beer from being bullied off the market by a conglomerate lawsuit.

The More Things Change…

In 2009, when we held our first “A-Ha!” Social Business Summit, we asked how many attendees had Twitter accounts. Maybe 5% raised their hands. At this year’s 4th annual conference, about 80% did. What a difference three years makes!

And yet some people still need convincing about Twitter. Specifically, that Twitter is great for LOCAL businesses. Turns out the poster child for blowing any doubts out of the water debuted in Chicago a long time ago, in social media years.

In a town famous for its love and mastery of pizza, you wouldn’t expect Domino’s Pizza to enter the culinary conversation. Yet that’s exactly what happened in 2009 – and not at the corporate level. Enter Ramon de Leon, the marketing man behind six Chicago-area Domino’s franchise locations. Ramon used Twitter to engage and strike up conversations with anyone in the delivery radius talking about pizza in real-time, to drive pizza sales. Sales have increased every year at those six locations, and the CEO of the company that owns the franchises attributes the growth to Ramon.

Ramon de Leon’s Twitter success made so much of a splash that he’s since become a global keynote speaker on social media topics. And if you’re saying to yourself, “Yeah, but it’s Domino’s, a known brand,” remember: It’s not corporate, it’s a guy trying to drive business to the pizza joint on the corner. AND Ramon had the additional burden of working on behalf of a franchise – generally speaking, they’ll have more restrictions about how they can and can’t market themselves, compared to non-franchise businesses.

Since then, you can swing a stick on Google and smack a whole bunch of local Twitter success stories – some of which are linked at the end of this article. So why are we still talking about this? Why is the value of Twitter still in doubt?

The Cult of the Customer

The main argument I hear against Twitter is that “my customers aren’t on Twitter.” As the era of social business pushes us all to be more customer-focused than ever before, it’s an understandable consideration, but it neglects four key ideas:

1. Customers are not the only target audience of a given business. Check out the “Audience” section below for specific examples of who those folks are.

2. Even if customers aren’t looking for you on Twitter, your Twitter presence will help you get in front of your customers where they ARE looking.

3. At 140 characters or less, Twitter is one of the fastest and easiest ways to grow your local business’ online equity. Your “Content Kingdom,” as we like to call it, which makes it easier for customers past, present, and future to find you online.

4. Mobile search is driving local action. Take note of these stats from StartApp: 40% of mobile searches are for local results, compared to 20% of desktop/laptop searches. 70% of visitors act on those search results, and for mobile, that action happens within ONE HOUR on average.

So without further ado, grouped into a few categories, are the 21 reasons your local business should be on Twitter, even if your customers aren’t.

Search Engine Optimization

1. Universal search placement. When someone searches for your business on Google, the more page 1 results you can land, the better. To do that, you have to give Google more sites to index and relate back to your business. Controlling that first page is the goal of universal search placement, and if you have a Twitter presence, it WILL come up on that first page.

2. Relevancy. Google’s goal is to return “relevant” search results. Twitter is the #10 most trafficked website in the world. Twitter’s popularity matters to  local businesses because Google gives Twitter additional weight in the all-powerful algorithm. Which means if you’re posting on Twitter, you have the potential to benefit from that additional weight when people are searching for the products and services you provide.

3. “No follow” no more. This is a bit more technical, but to put it simply: It used to be that links posted on Twitter (i.e., that go to your local biz website) had a “no follow” attribute that wouldn’t give you any SEO value. Now, Google and Bing both report that they’re paying attention to those links. So now, links on Twitter that go back to your website give you an SEO boost. Ta-da!

4. Author authority. Related to the above: As you build your following on Twitter, you also build your authority in the eyes of Google, which means you’re more relevant for search results.

5. Social authority. This has to do with the quality of the network you build – the network that shares (via retweets) your tweets. Better authority, better Google juice.

6. Indexed bios. That’s right, Google indexes your Twitter bio. Another good way to get found!

7. Indexed hashtags. Hashtags are the way conversations get tagged for ease of search in Twitter – and as it turns out, in Google too. Participate in relevant biz conversations, and you become part of the results.

8. Your first 18 characters. Don’t forget, every single tweet has its own webpage. Yes, really – every single one of the billions of tweets is its own webpage. And Google indexes the first 18 characters of tweets. Can you say prime keyword space?

Business Value

9. Brand protection. Just like you secured the website domain for your business name, and the vanity URL for your Facebook Page, lock up the Twitter username for your products and services – before someone else does.

10. Market research. Did you know that Twitter is the #3 search engine in the world, behind Google and YouTube? Use search.twitter.com to learn how people are talking about the kinds of products and services you offer. That will help YOU talk to your customers more effectively, wherever you talk to them. You can even use advanced search settings to narrow down by location, making Twitter search even more of a local-business-boosting powerhouse.

11. Competitive intelligence. Is your competition on Twitter? Check out what they’re up to. Remember, even any bad examples they may be setting have good things to teach you.

12. Industry news and analysis. Trade publications, pundits, celebrities and other recognized experts in your field – start following them, and reply and retweet to start conversations with these VIPs. You can even create lists of them in Twitter to make tracking, responding to, and sharing news and resources much easier.

13. Associations. Your business may have memberships in various trade groups related to your industry. Chances are, they’re publishing information you want to know on Twitter, too.

14. Support organizations. Everyone from chambers of commerce to business incubators, small business development centers and venture capital firms, even the national SBA is on Twitter. You should be connected with them, to take timely advantage of the opportunities and connections they offer!

Content

15. Track hot trends. What’s catching people’s attention? Can you tie an aspect of your business into it? Use Twitter to identify trends you can use for Facebook updates and blog posts, which you can then feed back into Twitter to ride the trend waves.

16. Get new ideas. How do people talk on Twitter? What kinds of content do they share? What makes people pay attention and retweet? Look across industries for inspiration that can cross over into other marketing channels.

17. Cross-promote content. Speaking of crossing channels, if you make YouTube videos, why wouldn’t you get them additional visibility on Twitter? Or have your Facebook Page automatically feed new posts to Twitter? Instant amplification. It’s a no brainer!

18. Unparalleled access. The little-known secret about Twitter is that you have the ability to get responses and create a dialogue with people on Twitter you could NEVER cold call or email your way to reaching. And even if they don’t always respond, your Tweetstream includes those conversation starters. Sometimes, who you appear to know has as much of a value as who you actually know.

Audience

19. Media outlets. Newspapers, magazines, radio, TV – they’re all on Twitter. Build connections and get your business noticed for coverage in other outlets – locally and beyond.

20. Strategic partners and collaborators. Might you find someone to create mutually profitable opportunities with on Twitter? We have, and we know you can, too.

21. B2B contacts. Who are your suppliers and vendors? Keeping up with them on Twitter is a great way to quickly touch base and help relationships flower.

22. Your target audience in 5 years. We just guest lectured at Southern New Hampshire University (12th Most Innovative Company in the World!), and here’s the kicker: 100% of the students in the two classes we spoke to were on Twitter, and way more than half called it their preferred social network. And these kids are going to be your business’ target audience in a few years. When they come looking for you, what will they find? A business with a well-established reputation, or one that looks like it’s just barely jumped on the bandwagon?

23. Be human! Business has always, ALWAYS been about people and relationships, especially at the local level. When you share on Twitter the things that you’re thinking about, the conversations you want to start and be a part of, the business issues that matter to you, even the occasional whimsical ideas and insights you have, you create the opportunity for an emotional connection. That’s how relationships get built, and that’s how local business gets done.

The Tip of the Iceberg

The truth is, the above list came out of a 15-minute brainstorming session. The value in Twitter for local businesses is real – and half a billion users can’t be wrong!

Sometimes, people have to decide that there’s a value to be seen, before they’re actually able to see the value. Hopefully this post helps open the door for you to walk through, and join the conversation on Twitter for the growth and success of your local business!

Got another great reason Twitter is good for local businesses, even if clients and customers aren’t on Twitter? Share it in the comments!

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If you want to dig more deeply into the SEO side of things, check out these articles and videos:

Twitter’s Little Known SEO Value – SitePoint

Owl.li Is Ranking Above My Own Page! What To Do? Whooo To Blame? – SEOmoz

Do Links From Social Media Sites Really Hold Any SEO Value? – Memeburn

How to Improve the SEO Value of Your Twitter Account – MarketingProfs

Twitter SEO Tips From the Experts – Social Times

Twitter Stepping Up SEO Factors – Customer Paradigm

Google Confirms Twitter Reputation Affects SEO Value of Links – Kim Castleberry

TweetLevel: Making Sense of Twitter Influence Beyond SEO – Search Engine Journal

Is There SEO Value in Twitter and Facebook? The Search Engines Say Yes – Joerg Weishaupt

And for more Twitter-related local business articles, check out:

Local Business Success Stories – Twitter Business

How to Use Twitter for Local Business – Sprout Social

Twitter’s One-Page Starter Guide for Local Businesses (PDF) – Twitter

Local Tweets: 9 Ways to Find Twitter Users in Your Town – Mashable

How Tweet It Is: Local Businesses Use Twitter to Connect With Customers – MLive

Twitter for Local Business – Whizbang

Twitter Proves Its Worth As a Killer App for Local Businesses – Ad Age

 

There’s college, and there’s the Chamber of Commerce, and somewhere in between, the next generation’s workforce has to find its place in the world.

Here in New Hampshire, organizations like Stay Work Play are leading the charge. Born out of an initiative to keep young professionals here in NH to help the state’s economy continue to grow, Stay Work Play helps to coordinate the efforts of the 11 young professionals networks (YPNs) throughout the state.

Their mission, in their own words:

“To work collaboratively across New Hampshire to support ongoing economic, workforce, and community development by promoting the state as a favorable place for young workers and recent college graduates to stay, work and play, when considering employment and lifestyle opportunities.”

Last week, Stay Work Play invited steering committee members from all 11 YPN organizations to join them at the NH Institute of Art for a day of learning, collaboration, information sharing, and inspiration. We were honored to be invited to this, the 1st Annual NH Young Professionals Network Summit, and to speak about topics beyond the functional aspects of social media.

Namely, PASSION. Also, emotion, archetypes, social branding, visual storytelling, and more. A guy in a moose suit dropped in to surprise everyone, too. As a great fan of mascots, I literally jumped on the opportunity, as the photo will attest.

Afterward, I recorded an audio track for the slide presentation, which you’ll find below. The ideas of storytelling and brand archetypes have been around for quite a while now. It’s time for all of us to get back to exploring these forms, reconnect with our passion, and share it with audiences far and wide.

Connect With Passion – New Hampshire Young Professionals Network (YPN) Summit from Epiphanies, Inc.

A couple of years ago, we put into writing what we’d been thinking internally here at Epiphanies, Inc. for some time:

Email RIP: The Slow and Clumsy Death of Email Marketing in a Web 3.0 World

The case we made started with a parallel to the decline of railroads in America…

The [railroad] barons thought they were in the railroad industry. Turned out, they were in the transportation industry, and cars ran them off the rails.

It’s the same idea with email. We’re not talking about an email industry. We’re talking about the communications industry. Specifically for businesses, we’re talking about the permission-based marketing industry. And though email may be alive today, in reality it’s a dead man walking and doesn’t know it yet.

Cut to two years later…

It’s 9/14/2012, at the Agents of Change Conference in Portland, Maine. Billed as being about “search, social, and mobile” (which it was, and it was spectacular!), the content of the sessions eventually caused one attendee to tweet this:

Judi had a point. In the keynote from Human Business Works’ Chris Brogan: “Email marketing isn’t dead, bad email marketing is.”

In the mobile presentation, Flyte New Media’s Rich Brooks advised the audience to make sure their emails were either formatted for mobile, or had a large and easily thumb-clickable link to view the email as a webpage.

During How to Build a Thriving Audience of Readers and Customers with Social Triggers, Derek Halpern compared the response rate percentage of his email list to his Twitter followers (email won flat out), told attendees to get rid of the laundry list of social media icons on their sites, and illustrated the placement of multiple email opt-in boxes, with building subscribers as the goal of your blogging activity and creation of “constructive controversy.”

Even Amy Porterfield, who says that discovering Facebook “was a total love affair,” talked in her presentation not only about boosting your Facebook numbers, but about using Facebook to – you guessed it – grow your email list, in her case through the promotion of her webinars. (Check out her latest webinar on Facebook – it’s bound to be fabulous.)

So, let’s revisit…is email really (and still) a dead man walking?

Derek’s take is that everyone looks at all their email, even if they just decide to delete it without opening it. But can you tell me, or anyone else, whose emails you deleted in the last week? For the hyper efficient, do you have inbox rules that forward marketing emails into folders, emails that ultimately get deleted without being read? Or just marked as junk and blocked, squirreled away or otherwise ignored?

Meanwhile, Amy notes that only 16% of your Facebook Likers even see your posts on average, unless you’re goosing those numbers with Promoted Posts or you’re a savvy engagement creator. And that 16% average is probably, organically, lower than we all think, because the News Feed renders 50 items at a time. If yours is #49 down the long scroll, what are the chances it’s been seen? Honestly?

I think we’re all asking the wrong question.

This whole socialnomic/Web X.0/digital revolution/paradigm change thing has shifted the balance of power to the consumer, and away from the producer. If consumers – specifically, YOUR consumers – still want to receive emails, then send emails. And keep an eye on the people who aren’t your target audience now, but will be in 1, 3, and 5 years. Are they all about email? (The New York Times, citing a comScore study back in 2010, says they won’t be.) If not, don’t wait until it’s too late to get your channels in order. Build strategies to boost ALL your channel audiences, separately and cross-promotionally.

Chris Brogan earnestly asked the audience to write down the answer to this question: “What do you want?”

When it comes to your marketing, write down the answer to this question: What does your audience want?

If it’s email, then so be it. Email’s not dead yet. It’s the prime connector for millions of professionals, and when done well, delivers enviable results.

But things are changing really fast. A few years from now, we’ll look back at the ways we used to communicate and find them laughable, even prehistoric. Or, as the bit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail which inspired this post suggests, email marketing is at the mercy of societal forces beyond its control. You won’t have to do it forever. Probably just a few years more.

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Ever been asked to Google yourself?

It’s a fairly common tip these days, especially now that recruiters, headhunters and human resources types use Google and social media channels as a means of screening job candidates. For businesses, Googling yourself is all about discovering the results of your SEO, universal search placement, and getting onto the first page of results for your most important keyword terms.

"Not Clear on the Concept," by WoodleyWonderWorks (CC BY 2.0)So let’s take that Googling idea a little further. Rather than discovering what Google thinks about your business, let’s get into what YOU’RE telling Google about your business, shall we?

Take a deep breath – this is an in-depth post. At the end you’ll find recommendations for how you can put this into action!

Walking Into the SEO Forest

SEO is impacted by both technical aspects (your website code, inbound link building from quality sources, et cetera) and your organic content creation. We’ve learned enough about SEO over the years to have constructive conversations about it – we’re not ninjas at it, but we do well in minding the 80/20 rule and getting the most important few things as right as possible, with an awareness that SEO is al part of a bigger online picture of success.

Thinking in terms of the 80/20 rule for SEO, the top four on-page factors for improving your website’s keyword-focused SEO are:

  1. Title tags
  2. Meta descriptions
  3. URL structure (the words in your “http://” link)
  4. H1 HTML header text (what tend to be the headlines on your page)

We were asked earlier this year to help a company overcome a bit of nervousness and take the dive into social media that they said was overdue. As a tune-up/prep exercise (because social is just one part of the larger picture), we looked at their website and found a number of areas where they could improve. Their identifying information has been removed to preserve their anonymity.

We’re sharing this with you, dear Reader, because this is something you can do with your own website, to tune it up and keep it running well for years to come as you add more and more content to it.

1. The title tag for their homepage was only an acronym of their business name, which is not a commonly known brand. They should have had 1-2 of their most important keyword search phrases in that space, on every single title tag for each page of their site.

The good news is that they had a blog which was set up to create title tags and the URL structure of the HTML links correctly. The static pages of their site hadn’t, for the most part. Not only do properly created title tags help Google decide what results to serve for a given search, it also provides a visual prompt for the searcher, telling him or her which results are more relevant to the search term he or she used.

How to SEO Your WordPress Blog, by SEOPlanter (CC BY 2.0)2. Speaking of the URL structure, WordPress by default creates new links for posts based on a number system (i.e. www.yourdomain.com/?p=1234). You have to change that setting when you (or your web person) sets WordPress up for the first time. The best way to go is to base those new links on the titles of your posts – which should include a relevant keyword/phrase you want to rank for. The folks we reviewed in this case were doing this well for their blog posts, but not for their pages – the static sections of their site that talk about who they are and what they do. A “www.yourdomain.com/what-we-do” link is much less useful for SEO than a “www.yourdomain.com/[insert keyword]-services-for-[insert target audience]” link.

3. The only content on their website that used an H1 header – which flags what the on-page headline is for search engines – was the phrase “Bringing Consumers and Producers” up in the top banner of the pages. That text was the first part of a mission statement – and not related to their keywords.

Their H2 tags, which are like subheadlines, would be next in order of importance. Looking at one specific page of theirs, this is what their H1 and H2 lines were saying to Google:

  • Bringing Consumers and Producers
  • What We Offer at [acronym]
  • Professional Help
  • Top Value
  • Discretion
  • Targeted Marketing

Some of these phrases reflect important qualities that are important to a lot of people in a business-to-business climate. But these certainly aren’t the words prospects are using when they fire up Google to search for this particular service.

4. None of their site’s pages had meta descriptions. When Google isn’t exactly sure how to serve and rank your pages by looking at title tags, H1 and H2 headers, and on-page copy, it looks to the meta description tag in the header of a webpage’s HTML. But their site had nothing there. What’s more, meta descriptions are often what Google displays along with the link to your website on its search engine results pages (“SERPs,” in the lingo).

Think of the person sitting in front of their computer who has to decide, from a page full of results, which link to click. A link with a description beats one without it. A description which also includes the keywords the person used in his/her search is even better, since those words are bolded on the SERP, giving a visual clue to the searcher that a given result is even more relevant.

Wrapping Up With Action Steps

If you’re like us, chances are you’ll be asking someone for help with this. Like I said before, we know enough about SEO to have constructive conversations about it, and we hope this post helps you to do the same. So make time to talk with your website manager and cover these topics:

1. Keyword analysis. Have you done one for your site? If not, is your web person qualified to do this? And if not, does your web person have recommendations for someone he/she has worked with who knows their way around SEO?

2. URL review. Do you use a relevant keyword or phrase in the links for all the pages on your website? If not, this will be an area that needs to be upgraded by your web person and/or an SEO consultant. Please check out this awesome, in-plain-language article about changing links to help educate yourself before you have this conversation with your web/SEO peeps.

3. Source code. Looking at your own website code is not as fearful as it sounds – it’s just not always easy to find the option. If you don’t want to do this yourself, just ask your web/SEO peeps what’s in your title tags, meta descriptions, and H1/H2 tags.

If you’re the DIY type, or just want to see it yourself before you have the SEO conversation, Here’s how. Go to any page on your website. Then use the source code viewing option for your browser. In Firefox, it’s under Tools > Web Developer > Page Source. In Chrome, it’s View > Developer > View Source. In Safari, it’s easier: View > View Source. That’s how you’ll be able to see the source code for that particular page. (Different browser versions may vary – search the help section of your browser for “view source” or “page source” to find yours if you’re having trouble.)

Once you do, you can use the Edit > Find option to search for “title,” “description,” “H1,” and “H2″ to see what appears there. Don’t find them? Well, it’s possible that they’re not there…and they need to be.

Again, we know this is a lot to absorb, but this will help you get found online for the reasons you want to be found. It’s a finite project for your website that you’ll only undertake every year or two, and it will change your thinking as you add new content to your site in the interim, improving your organic SEO over time.

Thanks for reading this! If you have more 80/20-rule-type easy SEO tips that you love, please share them in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!

The Hypnosis Continues, by Lachlan Hardy (CC BY 2.0)You know you have to be somewhere on social media. And you are!

Sooooo…..now what?

Now, you build your “Know, Like, and Trust” goodwill, just like you do in person. Or, as it’s spun in the social media realm, you build your influence.

There’s nothing daunting about doing this. In fact, social media makes it much easier to build influence and credibility than you might think. Stay consistent with the three social media influence tips in this video, and you too can develop influence within your industry, niche, or profession.

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How about you? What’s been the key for you in developing your influence? Add your tips in the comments!

Using Facebook and Twitter Without a Smartphone (via MoodBoardPhotography on Flickr - CC BY 2.0)Sometimes people forget that Facebook and Twitter were invented before out cell phones got smart. Crazy, right? Cue geezer voice: “Back in MY day, we didn’t have them fancy apps to tweet and post. We used SMS and email and we LIKED it!”

Even though smartphone sales are skyrocketing, a big chunk of the population still uses standard, non-”smart” cell phones – more than half of the US, in fact, according to this eMarketer report. The balance isn’t projected to shift until next year, so if you’re still working your mojo with an old-school device, here’s how you can still keep your social channels active while you’re on the road.

The video is less than 90 seconds long, and if you can’t see it here (or wherever you’re looking at this!), you can watch the Facebook and Twitter SMS/email updating video at this link!

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If you’re on YouTube, please subscribe to “A-Ha! TV to get updates when we share new videos like this. Thanks!

Let’s just cut to the chase:

What’s the point of being on Facebook if you can’t be seen?

Really Get Seen in Facebook News Feeds

For businesses and organizations with Facebook Pages, the stats say that most Likers rarely come to your Page – if they see your stuff, they’re seeing it in the News Feed (what you see at Facebook.com when you’re logged into your account). So, the question becomes, how do you get seen in the News Feed?

Here’s a quick video primer I did on EdgeRank, the algorithm that determines what Facebook puts in your News Feed, so you can understand what’s going on behind the curtain at Facebook. (Really quick – under 2 minutes.)

Gaming Facebook’s EdgeRank System

But inquiring minds want to know…how do you get MORE people to see your Facebook Page in their News Feeds?

Posts on Facebook are starting to pop up that direct people to hover over a Page’s “Like” button to see a check mark field for “Show in News Feed” (see handy-dandy screen shot), as a solution for guaranteeing that your Page gets seen in News Feeds.

Show Your Facebook Page posts in News Feed

Here’s the problem. When a person clicks a “Like” button or link for a page, the “Show in News Feed” option is automatically checked by default. So most people rolling over are already going to find that box checked, and it’s going to have zero effect on increasing the visibility of a Page’s posts in that Liker’s News Feed. So even though you may have “Show in News Feed” checked for all the Pages you like, most of those Page’s posts won’t be seen in the News Feed because of EdgeRank.

And for those who find it unchecked and do check it, it’s just going to lump that Page’s posts into the News Feed with every other person and Page to which they’re connected – which is controlled by EdgeRank.

If you have a concern that your posts are not being seen in people’s News Feeds, this is what you really need to know to optimize your chances of getting your Page, business, or organization seen on Facebook:

1. Negative feedback. It’s not as bad as it sounds. “Negative Feedback” is Facebook’s term for letting you know that people have hidden one of your posts or your Page itself from their News Feed. To see whether this is happening to you, look at your “Negative Feedback” info in Facebook Insights. You have to click the “Engaged Users” number for each of your posts on the “Overview” screen to see it, or download an Excel export of your data. Is this happening to you? And…

Engaged Users on Facebook2. Is it “really” negative?

If you see a lot of those negative feedback actions, look at the dates to see what you published and whether there’s something about it that could have rubbed your audience the wrong way. Or, you may have to consider the possibility that a post you made was so awesomely popular, it kept being shown in people’s News Feeds so often that some got sick of seeing it and chose to hide it.

3. No guarantees. Unfortunately, there’s no way for Pages to guarantee that they can be seen in people’s News Feeds. Pages don’t have the same “All Updates” option that personal Profiles get, and even that is a function of activity on Facebook – the more profiles and Pages to which you’re connected, and the more activity they generate, the less likely an individual post will be seen. To say nothing of EdgeRank, mentioned above.

4. Interest lists. The only other option is to consider recommending that your Likers use the Interest Lists feature and add you in there…but even then, that assumes a user will go to the Interest List regularly to see your updates there, and doesn’t flood the Interest List with so many other Pages that you’re back to Square #1.

5. Promoting posts. There’s a new “Promote Post” thing to give Pages more of a chance that their activity is served into News Feeds. (Here’s a PDF guide from Facebook about it.) It’s as close to a visibility guarantee as you’re going to get for the News Feed. But it’s not a guarantee that it will do any good for your business. For that, you have to go to the simple truth – share engaging content that Facebook looks at and says, “Wow, that’s getting a bunch of Likes, Comments, and Shares, so we’re going to show it in even more News Feeds” (algorithmically speaking).

REALLY Getting “Seen”

It’s not just about visibility – it’s about visibility that inspires action. On Facebook, visibility without action means even less visibility over time. Visibility WITH action (Likes, Comments, Shares) means more visibility over time. That’s EdgeRank News Feed Optimization in a nutshell.

It honestly goes back to marketing basics. What does your audience like to do and see on Facebook? When are they most likely on there? What’s gotten them to take action in the past? What things outside your business resonate with them that you can leverage for your own purposes? Having the answers to those questions gets you more than halfway to gold.

The more deeply you’re able to understand your audience, and the more you do the things that will connect deeply with them, the more you’ll be “seen” on Facebook.

Really.

P.S. This post was inspired by an exchange on Facebook. We do our best to answer questions posted on our Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page, so if you have any questions, give us a “Like” and post them there. And of course, if you have any thoughts, comments, or shares of what’s worked for you, please add them in the comments below!

Do you know someone who’s used social media as part of their job search strategy? Or companies that used social media to evaluate candidates, and even recruit already-employed candidates away from their current jobs?

Allen Voivod presenting at the NH Works Conference

It’s happening on an ever-greater scale, and to help workforce development businesses and agencies get a handle on it, we put together this presentation for the annual private NH Works Conference earlier this month. 200 professionals from around the state converged on the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord for this day-long event. (That’s me setting up in a hurry – they had to move us into an auditorium because of the demand for the session!)

Not Just for Jobs Professionals

Even if you’re not in the job hunt, or you’re not looking to hire an employee, you’ll get great value out of the tips and tricks you’ll find in “Connecting Business and Clients Through Social Media,” embedded below. You’ll also get a picture of how pervasive the use of social media has become…and it might get you thinking about how the world sees YOU and your biz when they go online and get social.

You can get notified weekly when we post new and awesomely useful content like this. Because really, who can handle daily missives these days? ;) Think of it as your dose of professional development, with a spoonful of sugar to help it go down. Just use the handy-dandy little form below!

And now, the presentation. If you’re reading this in a place that won’t pull through the embedded Slideshare information, you can also get the same tips, tricks and data directly at Slideshare. (And if you have an account there already, hook up with us while you’re there!)

Allen Voivod, attending a conference and trade showMany companies are looking to cut expenditures, and with technology reducing the need for business travel in favor of web conferencing, budgets for attending conferences and trade shows are likely targets for the ax.

That said, there’s also a case to be made for the in-person networking opportunities you get at conferences and trade shows, for your business as well as your own professional career.

So if you do find yourself going to a trade show or conference – even (and especially!) if the reason you’re being sent there by your business is because of a reason along the lines of “We always go to this show” – then be sure to make the most of it. Here are three quick tips for making the most of it.

1. Produce photo and video content to be used after the event. It’s the most engaging content for social media channels, and the show/conference creates a one-of-a-kind environment to which neither you or your audience get frequent access.

2. Leverage Twitter. You can’t meet everyone in person, but you can make connections with more people through the microblogging platform. Watch for the event hashtag, start and join conversations, make lists of connections. Follow, be followed, and follow up!

3. Create a ripple effect. Not everyone who wants to go to an event or trade show actually gets to go. Give your audience (and the rest of the watching world) a look inside the event with share-worthy content. Even savvy event organizers will appreciate these actions, and share your content with their own audiences, because it helps promote their own goals of making their event more successful each year.

Know exactly what you want to get out of it, BEFORE you sent foot on the trade show floor or the conference ballroom, and make a plan to get to that result. It’s a big expense, and you want to make it worth your while. (You’d be surprised at how many businesses go to shows like these without a plan for success.)

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Social Media Business Fun with Lani Voivod, Mari Smith, and Allen VoivodShe’s a top social media influencer (Forbes), and the Pied Piper of the online world (Fast Company), and though she takes her work seriously, she also knows not to take herself that seriously.

That’s Mari Smith, our mentor and mastermind leader, and the author of The New Relationship Marketing. On the occasion of her leading a blockbuster webinar later today with Guy Kawasaki about the 7 Hottest Social Media Business Trends (it happens at 2pm Eastern – register now, recordings will be available!), here’s Mari lounging with Lani and talking about the value of having fun on your social media channels.

Are you having fun in your business or organization? What good times are leading to great results? Let us know in the comments!

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