When You Should Disconnect Your Facebook Account from Twitter

When I jumped into Social Media in earnest a few years ago I went the easy route and connected both my Twitter & LinkedIn accounts to my Facebook account, ensuring that everything I put on Facebook fed to the other 2. There was something inherently wrong with doing this – and I was intuitive enough to know what it was:

Social Media is about being HUMAN, even when ‘doing business;’ I learned that early on from reading Trust Agents. This being real or human in marketing is exactly why I understood how powerful Social Media Marketing could be.

There was one reason I connected the 3 platforms despite knowing this: I was overwhelmed by how much I had to learn and I knew I couldn’t master all 3 platforms at once.

So I opted to learn the ins and outs of Facebook first, primarily because it was so visual, I already had a fairly large network of friends, and I felt a resonance with its marketing capabilities. My thought process for Twitter & LinkedIn were that at least I would be putting SOME content up there for now.

What happened is that Facebook became THE marketing tool for my business – so much so that it was the source for 60% of my workload. My LinkedIn connections grew as my network grew, and I kept tabs on my contacts’ careers on that platform. Twitter sort of languished; I followed my favorite marketers & business people: Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Jack Welch and Richard Branson but I didn’t really use it. With less than 100 followers I was a little overwhelmed each time I visited the site; there were just so many people talking AT one another.

Over time as I learned about the powers of Social Media as a collaborative, many headed tool I realized that it was time to dedicate myself in earnest to Twitter. In the beginning I simply listened and learned from the smart people I followed. Then I realized how fantastic Twitter was as a tool for learning and exploring, and I actually found and hired a WordPress freelancer by connecting on Twitter.

Like any platform, the more I used it, the more comfortable I became until suddenly I was having conversations with new and interesting people regularly, learning about new products/services I could sell to my clients, and building an actual following. I realized that the Facebook connect had to go because now that I was having real conversations with real Tweeps, the Facebook re-post was a lazy insult. Facebook and Twitter are inherently different; as I’ve dedicated myself to really getting the most out of Twitter I realize it’s time to cut that apron string and have an authentic Twitter voice. No, I don’t tweet 50 times a day, but I do use Hootsuite to make sure that I have a regular voice by pre-scheduling some of my tweets.

I’m not a hypocrite. If you’re new to the Social Media world I’d encourage you to do it the same way I did; until you can digest and understand one platform, it’s ok to connect them all. But once you get your sea legs make sure you cut the cord so that you can effectively build a following & communicate on each platform authentically.

Why Use Facebook As Your Business Page?

If you’re Administering a Business Page on Facebook I’m sure you’ve noticed a lot of visual changes. Most people don’t like change, so each time Facebook switches it up on us there is usually a moan heard across the internet as everyone settles down and gets used to the new look and feel of it.

This time there is one change the businesses should be elated about: The ability to use Facebook AS your business. If you haven’t done it yet, here’s how:

Right under your Administrator Image in the Top Right Corner is “Use Facebook As Your Page” This allows you to roam Facebook as your business making helpful comments or suggestions to Fans AND other Businesses. I have a collaborator, Frank Deom of VidYourBiz.com, and when I saw the following blog about how powerful online video is I wanted to share it not only with Frank, but with his fans on his page so I posted this:

Hopefully his fans like the information, it helps strengthen Frank’s fan’s belief in online video, and perhaps they’ll come and check out Ariel Marketing Group’s page as well.

Like all great tools I would caution you only to use this one sparingly, as the great benefit of Social Media is allowing companies to BE HUMAN, and your customers want to see and know you as a real person.

Facbook Business Page Posting: How Much is Too Much?

I’ve been delving into Infusionsoft this past couple of weeks and I’m really impressed with its capabilities for lead follow ups and interacting with prospects. While taking their Social Media tutorial I am told by Mark Bast that on Facebook you don’t want to overwhelm your clients so beware of posting too often, and on Twitter you should only post once per day. We break these rules, with intent, everyday. That’s because I totally disagree with the frequency of posting they suggest.

Think about this: if your fans have 300 – 500 friends they’ll have a lot of activity on their wall. If you post at 8:30am you may get a quarter of them seeing your post on their feed if you’re lucky – their other ‘friends’ and pages will quickly push your post down and off of their wall; the only way they’ll see your post is if they actually seek it out on your page.

This is where understanding WHO your target prospect is becomes vitally important – when are they likely be be on Facebook? If they’re business people it is likely that they check it first thing in the morning – say 8 – 9am, surf a little at lunchtime, and then check it at the end of the day. If your target is a woman with children often they don’t get a chance to go on Facebook until after the kids are bathed and ready for bed, so evening hours are critical. Sunday afternoons are prime time for all demographics.

There is a fine line between being invisible and overwhelming your fans with posts but my general rule of thumb on Facebook is to post 3 times a day most days AS LONG AS YOU ARE POSTING WORTHY CONTENT. Mashable posts again and again but because I am very interested in what they do and they’re a reliable source of good information I don’t mind at all. In fact, I seek their page out everyday if I haven’t had time on Facebook. If you’re just posting for the sake of BEING THERE you’ll lose fans quickly, so provide good information/content and post when your fans or prospects are more likely to be online.

As for Twitter, I’m afraid I think Infusionsoft is Wrong Again. With approximately 27 millions tweets flying out each day (@BrianSolis)) how on earth is ONE TWEET going to be seen. Just look at the people who are ‘successful’ on Twitter that make their living on Social Media: @ChrisBrogan, @GuyKawasaki and @GaryVee and you’ll see constant communication. Why? Because even more so than on Facebook the Twitter Feed moves quickly. People follow hundreds or thousands of other Twitter profiles and your message will not be heard if you say it once a day.

Using Twitter successfully is often described as “grinding out tweets” because it takes lots of work to build followers and get noticed. My advice to most small business owners is to have a Twitter profile, but if you don’t have the time to dedicate to Tweeting and building your following by multiple tweets per day, focus on Facebook first. Like everything else in business, focus and consistency are THE key elements.

There are lots of people giving advice on Social Media, and I by no means claim to be the end all ‘correct’ voice. But I’ve spent the last few years watching and learning from those who have done it successfully and Social Media Marketing is our main source of new clients so I think we’ve figured some of it out. Our advice is to create and offer good content, post at least 3 times a day AT THE TIME YOUR TARGET CUSTOMERS ARE ON Facebook, and Tweet continually if you have the time and energy. If you can only do it once a day, save yourself that time and skip it all together.

This Social Media Thing Ain’t Easy

Because it doesn’t just ‘happen.’ Anyone can throw a FaceBook connect button up on their website and create a business page, but that doesn’t mean squat if you don’t do 2 things:

1. Understand how to go about building an online following.
2. Commit to posting good, interesting content on a DAILY basis, and not just once.

That’s right, a daily basis numerous times a day. Sure it seems like a second job, and yes, you can shrug it off as ‘too much work;’ the savvy ones out there are thrilled that you might because they know how much there is to be gained and how few understand the opportunity Social Media provides.

The painstaking process of ‘Suggesting’ your Facebook Page to friends is NOT the way to build a Facebook or Twitter following – the entire point of Social Media is to get outside your circle. You don’t know the people that you want to follow you – they’re strangers. So, in order to get them to follow you have to give them the chance to “meet you.” How does that happen?

You need to be out there participating in the conversation in a meaningful way on Twitter, Blogs, Facebook and anywhere else your target customer type is hanging out. You need to enter the conversation when you have something meaningful to say. For example, Entrepreneur’s Blog is a place I find a lot of interesting, educational and inspirational information. I go there a lot because their articles or posts draw me in. I have met numerous new “friends” on there that have followed me back to Facebook and Twitter because we connected through our comments on posts. They have sometimes suggested my page or blog to their associates and thus the snowball starts to roll.

Most importantly: you had better have something interesting for them to see when they do follow you back; a page that has been quiet for days will get very few new “Likes.” Good content begets others to “SHARE” your page or repost it on theirs, and thus new followers.

YES, it’s A LOT Of hard work – but no one said success in any venue would be easy. Just like old school advertising, effective Social Media marketing takes consistency, discipline and hard work. This is just a whole lot more targeted and inexpensive.

Being “ON” Social Media isn’t Enough

Interacting with Clients & prospects, I regularly hear the comment “We do Social Media,” or “We do Facebook.” Of course I immediately look up their Facebook/Twitter/Linked in pages as soon as I’m in front of a computer; more often than not I find the following:

Do you have a Social Meida plan?

1. An account on Facebook usually set up as a personal account so the client is “friending” people instead of collecting fans – bad idea for many reasons, primarily visibility.
2. No “Join Our Newsletter” button on the Facebook page, and usually no customization of that page.
3. No Twitter Account, or one that is unused and not connected to the Facebook account.
4. No Merchant Circle Account.
5. No “Like” button on their website.
6. No Blog on their website which therefore is not being posted on Twitter/Facebook.
7. Not enough content that the visitor actually wants to read; no one wants to visit your page for the advertising.
8. No video on Facebook.
9. No one monitoring the conversation and interacting with customers.

You get the picture – just being there isn’t enough. What all of these issues indicate is a lack of a clear Social Media Marketing Plan or strategy. If you’re making the same mistakes, that means you’re probably having a very poor return on the time you’ve invested. It’s not enough to just “be” on Social Media. You have to understand each platform and how to use them, as well as have a well thought out strategy that includes goals and how to measure your success or failure. You need a company culture or agreement on how you will ‘behave’ on Social Media, what the message will be, and when/how often you will be posting. If you’ve committed to a full scale Social Media Marketing campaign, you need a program or method for measuring the success of the campaign.

None of this is rocket science, so yes, you CAN figure it out yourself, but if you don’t have the time hire a professional. Facebook alone is an incredibly powerful tool if put to proper use, but just ‘being there’ is not enough and can actually be damaging to your company’s reputation if you sell constantly and become annoying to those who take the time to listen, or if it appears that you don’t care enough because your level of involvement is sporadic. Make sure that before you jump in you have a clear plan of action and the discipline to follow through; the rewards can be amazing.

“My Customers Aren’t on Social Media”

That’s what one of my very smart customers has said to me, repeatedly. What she means by that is the customers coming in the door aren’t on Social Media. And of course, I want to scream from my marketing soul “That’s because YOU’RE not on Social Media!” But I don’t. I listen, sincerely, to every reason she has for not investing the large amount of time and not so large amount of money to get her Social Media campaign kicked off. Like I said, she’s smart, and successful; there’s no way I’m going to dismiss her thought process and proceed trying to bulldoze her ideas.

Can Your Customers Find You?

But I won’t give up either. To this day I still haven’t got her to commit to developing a Social Media Strategy and implementing it, but I will. Because she’s smart. Eventually she is going to realize that her FUTURE customers are using Social Media. In the end, I will convince her that somewhere in the 500 million Facebook users and millions & millions of Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Merchant Circle etc. users are customers with lots of money to spend on her services.

The moral of the story: if you’re not there, we can’t find you. People with money and interest in your product are spending more and more time each day on Facebook, Twitter and their own favorite Social Media platforms. If you don’t have a campaign targeting them with the information they WANT to find, someone else that may be just a wee bit smarter and a few miles ahead of you in the marketing race can easily swoop them up before they even know you exist.

The Great Twitter Debate

Small Business Owners constantly ask me about the usefulness of Twitter. Actually, LOTS of colleagues and friends do as well. Why? Because HOW to use it is not obvious to any of them. In general terms, many small business owners are overwhelmed by how to use Social Media to market themselves; I usually have an easy time explaining to anyone serious about marketing how powerful Facebook can be. Once a business owner is committed to harnessing the power of Facebook, we develop a strategy and we’re off to the races.

Do You Tweet?

Twitter? Not so much. The questions usually focus around the point that Twitter often appears like a whole lotta people saying a whole lotta stuff – with no one really listening. Of course that’s not exactly true. When I first dove into the Social Media Marketing world I didn’t quite know what to make of Twitter either, but I stuck with it because often I learn about new technology and its capabilities only after I’ve used it repeatedly. This is what I tell my Small Business Owner Clients that I’ve learned:

1. If you have limited time but want to enter Social Media to market your business, start with Facebook and make sure you are providing content, especially visual content, that people actually care about.
2. Set up a Twitter account no matter what you think of it & link it to your Facebook account; important posts such as blogs, links & your website can resonate on Twitter and you will gain followers, even if gaining them is a very slow process.
3. No, you don’t have to tell people what you are doing every millisecond on Twitter; if it’s not interesting no one will follow you anyway. If you’ve got something important to say – Tweet it often.
4. If you don’t have the time, energy, or staff to tweet regularly (or schedule Tweets to come out regularly), and I mean hourly at least, don’t expect a lot of followers and Don’t Worry About It. Focus on Facebook, your blog, and making sure your website retains customers once they visit.
5. Use Twitter for professional development: even when I didn’t trust its usefulness I used Twitter to find lots of smart internet marketing types who have broadened and enriched my knowledge base.
6. Understand that Twitter can be very powerful for branding, which is very different than building a business. So, if your goal is to make everyone in a 1 mile radius come to your sub shop Twitter might not be for you; if your goal is to make as many people as possible aware of your new product, its priceless. Get the difference?
6. Don’t shut the door on Twitter forever. Technologies constantly change, and so do companies. Once upon a time Facebook was only for college students. Keep abreast of Twitter developments & keep your mind open.

Connectivity: Can You Ever Rest?

The idea for this post was derived from a question Chris Brogan posted on FB that asked if scheduling Tweets/Blog Posts etc. was ok, so that you were always THERE. As I said in an exchange on the comment section of that post, sure, if you’re Chris Brogan and you have a hungry army of marketing minds to feed.

The people who know will tell you that Twitter only works if you are on it constantly; you won’t be seen amongst 20 billion tweets if you are not continually posting… which means programming it that way unless you want to be “on” every second of your life. So the question is, should you be “on” every second? For me, the answer is no. There is something that seems very silicone or artificial about always programming to be there. Since the success of my business is based upon developing deep relationships with my small business owner clients and becoming their marketing partners, I can shut down for a day or two and they’ll still be there, and probably even appreciate the ‘quiet” coming from my end of the web.

My experience with Social Media is that it’s only successful if it is “human;” people are so sick of being sold to that you must make every effort to be as real as you can be when marketing your company. So, if you’re a major national company being “there” all of the time is not unnatural; we all understand that you have a marketing department to make sure you are. If you’re an internet marketing guru, same rules apply. But if your focus is regional or relationship driven, I’m not so sure. Disconnecting, really stepping back from all this connectivity, may help your creativity, and give your clients a break from the constant chatter.

I Don’t Care How Many Faceboook Fans You Have

Because for once, size doesn’t matter.

I have 2 clients I am helping with Social Media. One has been accruing fans like it’s his life mission – within a few weeks he had over 2000 fans without paying a penny for Facebook Ads. He was very impressed with himself and constantly compared his “progress”to friends & competitors.

Does Size Matter?

Another client took a different approach and built her fan base from the online relationships she already had and with existing customers. It took her almost 6 months to get to the 600 mark.

Which of these customers is collecting fans the “right way?” To answer that you’d need to look at the page Insights, and there you would find that the 2000+ Fan Page had about 95 active monthly users. The smaller page? 104 active monthly users.

Years ago an old friend told me that if you die with enough true friends that you can count them on one hand you were far luckier than the person with tons of ‘friends’ who wouldn’t be there for them when it counted. Again, the world of Social Media fails or succeeds by the same rules as life: Fans who are not engaged, dedicated, or truly interested in your page but simply accepted your request to join as you trolled Facebook looking to gather a large number of them means far less than the fan you or your company has built a relationship with.

Focus not on simply accruing large numbers of followers, but on providing them with ‘remarkable content’ and giving them a reason not just to click “Like,” but to return on a regular basis because they find something of value on your page.

How to Win Friends & Influence People Online

It’s such a cliched and overused phrase I couldn’t resist paraphrasing it as the title for this blog post, although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn I’m not the first.

I’m reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith, and before I get into this I will admit that I want to be Chris Brogan when I grow up; he is THE Social Media Blogger & Internet Marketing Expert and has so many projects in the works I am sure the man never sleeps. He’s all about sharing and giving and is generally the popular guy in the room – liked by the guys, trusted and liked by the girls. I started reading the book really to get inside his head and see how he got where he’s at, and to understand the written & unwritten rules of successful brand building through Social Media Marketing.

So I get to a section on being a “Good Citizen,” – sharing knowledge and information and not selling yourself. Being a “Good Citizen” is about promoting others far more than you promote your own products & services; operating in a spirit of collaboration, not trolling the internet for customers. A few pages into this chapter I realize: “They don’t know anything about selling that I don’t know already.” That doesn’t mean I’ve lost esteem for the authors, and that they don’t know a heck of a lot more about selling & marketing ONLINE than I do. It means that I realize that what they’ve done is translate the way a great Salesperson/Business Owner/Marketer operates in Real Life onto the web. Any great career salesperson worth their salt knows that in the real world you need to be your client’s trusted advisor and friend, and I mean genuinely, to develop meaningful relationships and long term sales.

And any good salesperson realizes that a client will immediately smell disengenuousness and false friendship… and NO ONE likes the hard sell – that only works in used car dealerships, occasionally. Constant Twitter/Facebook posts all about your products means eventually even your real-time friends will tune you out. Imagine you’re at a business card exchange and there’s one guy running around collecting & giving out as many cards as he can, stopping for a few minutes to sell you hard on his company. You may find him amusing, but you’ll probably never do business with him. Then there’s the lady who speaks to maybe 3 or 4 people in that hour and a half exchange, and you are one of them. She speaks so passionately and enthusiastically about her business and, more importantly, asks a lot of questions about YOURS and actually seems to listen. You’ll remember her, and you actually make a mental note to look her up on Facebook & Twitter when you get back; you might not ever need her services, but if someone who you know does, you’ll refer them to her in a second.

So the moral of the story is: don’t be someone different online than you would be in person… would you really run around a room of people shouting out the praises of your company and hard selling ? Probably not, and if you would there’s really no hope for you in sales, either real or online. In REAL life you’re probably a genuine, sincere person who believes in what you do. Hopefully you also are a networker & collaborator already, so BE THAT online too. It is amazing what doors open up, for sales, professional development, and even real friendship when you start putting other’s ideas first.