Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lessons to be Learned from the Ocean Marketing Fiasco

Now that the Ocean Marketing fiasco (OceanGate, Ocean Saga, whatever you'd like to call it) has died down, there area few lessons to be learned. I thought most of these could go without saying, but apparently some people still need the reminder. So here they are - the top three lessons that we all can learn from Paul Christoforo and the Ocean Marketing disaster:

  1. Civility: Don't swear. Don't demean. Common courtesy goes a long way. Even if someone is rude to you, treat them with respect.
  2. Humility: You may be the best thing since sliced bread, but when it comes to customer service, that is irrelevant. If you're so good at your job, you shouldn't have to prove it by name dropping. Know when to put your ego aside and always put your customer's needs first.
  3. Contrition: If you screw up, own up. Be genuine. Say you're sorry and mean it - not just because you got caught. 

Above all, practice what you preach. If you claim to specialize in social networking and reputation management, let alone "honesty, integrity and a straightforward expertise" make sure you're representing your clients and your own company in the most positive, professional manner possible.

P.S. Spell check your Twitter handles.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How & Why to Use Facebook's "Share" Feature

Facebook now includes a little blue "Share" link below status updates from pages you like and profiles you subscribe to. Next to the number of people who have liked or commented on a post, you may also see the number of shares from other fans. So what exactly is a share, and why should you share a post?

Using Facebook's share feature for a photo, link or status update posted by a page or public profile allows you to share it with your friends by posting it on your wall or theirs, with a friend via a private message, or on another page that you administrate. Instead of making a comment publicly, sharing a post allows you to comment on it privately and allow your friends to do so as well. If you'd like to promote a particular brand or cause, sharing a post on your wall, a friend's wall or your page's wall can help you spread the word.

Here's how to use the Share feature:

Beneath the post, you'll see the blue "Share" link - click on it.

Choose where you want to share the post - on your profile/timeline, on a friend's, in a private message or on a page that you administrate.

Remember to use the privacy dropdown to select whether you want the post to be Public, Friends only or a custom setting.

Write a message to go with the post (or don't - you don't have to) and then click "Share Link." If you're sharing a link or a photo and you don't want people to know where you found it, you can also click the "Remove" link.

Using "Share" on Facebook is a great way to maintain your privacy on Facebook and share new content with your friends, fans and subscribers.

Happy posting, and as usual please leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Facebook Photo Options for Pages: Pros and Cons

Facebook Page administrators have a few options and things to think about when posting photos, and they each have their pros and cons:
  1. Add a group of photos to a new album. Post will appear as "Your Page added six photos to the album Retreats." with a preview of one of the photos. PRO: This uploading method is concise and simple. CON: This method is a lost opportunity for fans to see each of the photos individually. 
  2. Add photos individually to an album over time. Post will appear as "Your Page added a photo to the album Retreats" with the photo attached. PRO: Individual exposure to each photo. CON: Each time, all of the comments and "likes" the album has received previously will show up. This can be confusing for some users, as the comments don't correspond to the images. (Because of this, the Disneyland page only uses option #1 when adding groups of photos to an album.)
  3. Post photos to the wall. The photos will be automatically added to the album "Wall Photos." The post can any desired text and the photo itself. The text will become the caption of the photo in the album. PRO: Posts can include any text you want and comments and likes are made to the individual photo, not the album. If you don't like the original text you post, you can actually change it on the wall by editing the photo caption in the album. This is the one type of Facebook post that can be edited instead of deleted and re-posted. CON: All photos go to the "Wall Photos" album and must be moved if you want them in specific albums. 

My recommendation is to use option #3: post photos to the wall and then reorganize them to different albums later (without publishing a wall post about it when prompted by Facebook.) 

Another thing to remember is that whenever you post photos, you should decide if they're worthy of being among of the top five featured photos at the top of your wall. These are always pulled from the most recently uploaded photos, but if you don't want a recently uploaded photo to appear up there, you can remove it. 

Happy posting!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Anatomy of a Facebook Birthday

Since Facebook came out with the Wall, one of the best days in the average Facebook user’s year has been her birthday. Users that list their birthdays on their profile are delighted when their friends, seeing the convenient notice in the top right corner of their news feed, post best wishes on their walls. The phenomenon has become so popular that Facebook created a special news feed post reminding people of their friends’ birthdays and telling them how many mutual friends have written on the birthday girl’s wall. These days, Facebook often combines the notice of a friend’s birthday in the news feed with her most recent wall post.

As a Facebook aficionado (ok fine, addict), I enjoy analyzing the pattern of Facebook wall posts on my wall and my friends’. Birthday wall posts are generated a few ways:
Upcoming Events/Birthday Box Reminder
News Feed Reminder

Mutual Friend Wall Post Reminder
Belated (Seeing a Birthday Girl's Thank You Post and Commenting or Posting)
I celebrated a birthday last week, and decided to analyze the date and time I received wall posts, to determine how many posts were randomly generated (#1) and how many were generated because they saw friends’ wall posts or news feed reminders. 

The chart below shows the birthday wall posts I received organized by my various friend groups. There were only a few wall post groupings by mutual friends (shown in yellow). The analysis also demonstrated the more active times among my friends, which were especially interesting in relation to the friend groups. One grouping in particular highlighted in red, consisted of friends who were members of the same group (high school friends) but actually were not friends with each other. 

Most of the birthday wall posts I received appear to be randomly generated. I have noticed, however, that Facebook gives additional weight to birthday posts in the news feed, displaying the new special birthday notices in non-synchronous order even in "most recent" view. Therefore, the Birthday wall is a perfect demonstration of the power of edgerank, Facebook's ability to manipulate data for maximum engagement and the weight of the top right corner birthday event reminders. 

Happy Birthday everyone!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How Social Media Can Save Your Business

Social media can save your business by bringing the conversation about it into a place where you can monitor and manage the discussion. Imagine the following scenario. You're a local restaurant in a medium-size community. A guest comes in and, for whatever reason, has a bad experience. The next day, she's out shopping with a friend and discussing lunch options. "Have you ever been to (your restaurant)?" the friend asks. Your disappointed guest then gives an account of her bad experience. The next time the friend's husband asks where they should go out to dinner and suggests your restaurant, his wife says quickly, "Oh no, I heard that place was terrible."

Now imagine if that conversation happened online instead. The guest has a bad experience and rants about it on Yelp. You and your staff notice the review and quickly post a response to apologize and explain. The friend, looking for a place to eat, reads the review, but then reads the other four- and five-star reviews your restaurant has received, as well as your response. She and her husband decide to go there for dinner and see what all the fuss is about and to judge for themselves.

Instead of negative reviews, mostly based on hearsay, saturating the community before you can do anything about it, social media helps everyone weigh in through a more public forum. People are forced to go "on the record" with their complaints, and are held accountable by their peers. If word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing methods, social media takes word-of-mouth to the next level by allowing you as the business owner to be involved in the conversation.

Monday, July 11, 2011

How and Why Clubs and Fraternal Organizations Should Use Social Media

Facebook and Twitter (and eventually Google+?) are perfect tools for for clubs and fraternal organizations such as the Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis, and even exclusive Yacht, Golf and Tennis clubs. Faced with aging populations, low membership enrollment and a seemingly stagnant business model, social media can help give these groups the boost they need to appeal to their next generation of members and better fulfill their missions.

Although, and perhaps because, most clubs and fraternal organizations are invitation-only, recruitment of new members is becoming a struggle. Many clubs with a financial requirement (Yacht Clubs for example) are reducing their initiation and/or membership fees for younger members in the hopes of boosting enrollment. The increasing age of their membership bases is a concern both in terms of the longevity of their organization and their attractiveness to new and younger potential members. Developing active social media profiles will help clubs and fraternal organizations reach younger people where they hang out most and demonstrate to them that these groups can be relevant in today's world. However, clubs must develop a sustainable social media strategy before launching their profiles. Nothing is less attractive than a social media profile managed badly or abandoned after only a few posts.

Once they are on Facebook, Twitter, etc., clubs and fraternal organizations can use it to achieve their missions, especially if those missions involve community support and outreach. Internally, social media can be used to advertise activities and improve attendance, and help members stay in touch with each other and with the club. New members who are not used to the club structure may be more comfortable interacting online before introducing themselves and getting more involved in person. Social media can also be used for fundraising both internally and externally. The codes of conduct that often govern these groups, such as the Rotary's "Four Way Test," can be easily extended to govern members' conduct online to ensure that the image and reputation of the club are maintained.

Clubs and organizations of this type often engage in community outreach and partnerships with other organizations to recruit members, maintain their standing in the community and fulfill their missions. Social media can help them take these interactions online. Partnerships can be acknowledged and developed by "liking" and "following" and interacting with each other's profiles. When a Rotary Club gives a grant to a nonprofit in the community, for example, both the Rotary and the nonprofit will benefit by acknowledging each other online. Engaging in community involvement online through social media strengthens the connections between groups and increases exposure to everyone involved, from the members to the general public.

So how can clubs and fraternal organizations get started with social media?

  1. Make a plan - determine what social media channels you want to pursue, what you will post and who will be responsible for managing them
  2. Set up your accounts - create a look and feel that is consistent with your overall brand
  3. Follow through with a consistent schedule of posts and interaction with fans and partner organizations

Monday, June 27, 2011

Use Facebook as Your Fan Page (Instead of Your Personal Profile)

Based on a comment on one of my earlier posts, I wanted to provide a simple walk through of how to use Facebook as your Fan Page instead of your Personal Profile. This will increase allow you to "like" other pages, see a news feed of their content and comment on and like their posts as your Page instead of yourself, and in doing so, increase exposure for your Page. Here's how:

From your Page, click "Use Facebook as (Page Name)"


At the top of any page within Facebook, click "Account" then click "Use Facebook as Page" then click "Switch" next to the name of the Page you want to operate from.

You can then click on the Facebook Home button to view a news feed of content from the other Pages that your Page "likes", or you can find new Pages to "like" using Facebook Search.

You can also visit other Pages and write on their walls, and like and leave comments on their posts or posts by their fans.

When you're done using Facebook as your Page and want to switch back to your personal Profile, click "Account" then click "Switch Back to (Your Name)"

As always, if you have any questions please leave a comment or email me. Good luck taking advantage of this opportunity to increase exposure for your Page!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can Facebook Page Administrators See My Profile Information?

As a Facebook user, you might be concerned about the amount of information you're sharing with the world, and rightly so! But do you need to worry about what the corporate big brother behind your favorite brand's Facebook page can see? That depends on your privacy settings. 

Most Facebook page administrators manage their pages from behind a regular Facebook account. That means that they can see the same information about you that other Facebook users see. How much they can see depends on what you allow the following groups to see: Friends, Friends of Friends, Networks and Everyone.

Facebook allows you to customize your profile info to show or not show to these groups. As I've mentioned before, you can further break this down to hide info and activity from certain groups of people. To do this, click Account>Privacy Settings>Custom>Customize Settings.

While you're at it, go ahead and customize the information that appears when users search for your name. 

Click Privacy Settings>View Settings and change the dropdown on each profile section that will show when a user looks you up in a search, depending on the category they fall in. Since I belong to fairly wide networks, I limit visibility of detailed information such as my friend list, hometown and activities to Friends Only. Since I want people outside of my Friends and Networks to be able to find me, I allow Everyone to search for me and send me direct messages and friend requests. People I have connections with may have an easier time recognizing me if they are able to see my education and work info, so I share that with Networks and Friends.

Customizing your privacy settings, especially since they usually default to "Everyone", will ensure that Facebook page administrators can only see the information you are willing to share with the general public.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Facebook Creates Landing Page for Administrators of Multiple Pages

Logging on to Facebook this evening, I noticed a little popup window in the middle of my wall:

Facebook has created a landing page for administrators of multiple pages to see their page notifications, total likes and weekly activities all in one place. The page also includes links to switch to using Facebook as each page, and to the insights for each page. Pretty handy stuff, and no doubt a bid for competition with services like Hootsuite that allow users to see info on multiple accounts in one place.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is Facebook the Next Floppy Disk?

I came across this floppy disk today, broken and discarded in a dirt parking lot and symbolic of the fate of irrelevant technology. I remember purchasing and using whole sleeves of them in fun, perky colors. Now I wonder how to dispose of them, while others turn them into art or put them to use in creative ways. Seeing this disk reminded me how far and fast technology has progressed and made me wonder - will Facebook soon share the floppy's fate, doomed to irrelevance by the next big thing? Or has it permeated our culture so thoroughly that it will be with us for a while?

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Keeping it Clean: What to Do About Swearing and Undesirable Content on Your Facebook Page

Allowing fans to contribute wall posts and comments creates dialog, but fans are unpredictable creatures. Here are some simple steps for page administrators to keep their pages clean:
  1. Profanity Filter - Facebook's profanity filter can be set to Medium or Strong to automatically disallow use of "the most commonly reported words and phrases marked as offensive by the broader community."
  2. Moderation Blocklist - Additional undesirable words can be blocked through the moderation blocklist text box, separated by commas. 
  3. Posting Policy - Page administrators can use a posting policy (in a Note or on the Info tab) to show fans and others that they are moderating content on the page. Policies should clearly state what type of content is discouraged (ie positive discussion) and what will be removed or reported (harassment). Such as policy can be as simple as City University of Seattle's: "City University of Seattle welcomes active participation on the CityU Facebook Page. However, we reserve the right to remove Spam or inappropriate posts."
  4. Watchful Eye - Admins should keep an eye on the page to monitor uer posts and comments and respond accordingly. This is a good practice in general, but when it comes to moderating inflammatory or inappropriate posts or comments, it is essential. Such vigilance is especially important because users can get around the Moderation and Profanity Blocklists by tagging pages using the @ symbol.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review of SharkEye Case for iPhone 4

I got a brand new case for my iPhone 4 from the very personable, customer-service oriented folks at SharkEye. So far, so good. Being my clumsy self, I've dropped my phone from standing a few times already (in the day and a half I've had it) and it has held up beautifully. The trickiest bits so far have been learning how to get the case on and off and remembering to slide the SharkEye screen protector back across when I'm done looking at my phone. That's the main difference between the OtterBox Defender I had before and the SharkEye. While the OtterBox had a built-in screen guard, the SharkEye's protector retracts. Both cases include a hard shell and a soft silicone. On the SharkEye, the silicone layer is beneath the hard layer, preventing the gapping and ripping that I experienced with the OtterBox.

Here are my thoughts on the Pros and Cons of the SharkEye:


  • Slick Surface- The hard outer shell of the case is a bit slick, meaning accident-prone folks like me may have a hard time holding on to it occasionally
  • Hard Edges - When the screen protector is retracted, the edge around the screen is a bit harsh. When it is engaged, the small gap on the back side of the phone where you push it across is exposed, and those edges are a bit harsh as well.
  • Screen Area - The hard shell encroaches on touch screen area, sometimes making it hard to type on the keyboard or click on things near the edges of the screen.
  • Water - Because the case is not an enclosed piece, like the OtterBox was, the SharkEye seems a bit less water resistant. While all of the ports except for the speakers were covered on the OtterBox, the SharkEye exposes the lock button. The places where you'd worry about water damage, however, (headphone and line-out jacks) are covered very tightly and better than the OtterBox, since the silicone caps actually go into the jacks.
  • Noise Factor - Since the case is a hard shell, it is a little noisier than the stealthy OtterBox. There's also a noise when you retract the screen protector (but it is a satisfying noise, akin to doing up a zipper.)
  • Wiggly Piece - The separate plastic ring around the camera lens on the back of the phone (at least on the case I received) is a little wiggly.


  • Slick Surface - The slick outer shell means that the case is a lot easier to get in and out of bags, pockets, etc.
  • Rugged - This is sure one tough case! From the videos the company has produced to my own experience dropping the phone a few times already, this case is definitely going to hold up.
  • Buttons - With the defender, I was starting to experience button lag, perhaps because the silicone layer wasn't snug enough. The SharkEye buttons work great.
  • Glare - The anti-glare screen protector sticker is great, especially after being used to tilting the phone to see in the right light with the old OtterBox.
  • Design - I got the black and pink model and I love the peek-through pink. The design is less sleek than the OtterBox, with its rounded edges, but I like the rugged, chunky look.
  • Weight - Something about the way the SharkEye is put together makes the full package of case plus phone feel lighter in the hand. I weighed the two cases for compairson's sake, and the SharkEye is 57grams compared to the OtterBox at 58grams, so the difference is mainly in perception. But when you have such a big case, it makes a big difference

Here are some photos of the two cases side by side, for comparison's sake.
For more information, visit the SharkEye website:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How to Tag People, Pages and Events on Facebook Using the @ Symbol

On Facebook, you can tag people, places and events when writing status updates, posting on other pages and even when commenting on existing posts. Here's how it works:

Write your message as you usually would.. (for example:)

Come see me perform in

Here's where it gets fun - if you want to reference a specific event to which you have RSVPd on Facebook, type the @ symbol followed by the name of the event - you will see a drop down menu with choices - click the one you want and presto! a link appears! (It won't in here, but it will in your wall post, I promise.)

@The Sound of Music

(After your link appears you can keep typing and finish your message)

at Kitsap Forest Theater. The show opens Sunday - see you there!

Things to remember:
  • Facebook is not Twitter - if you want to say "at" something, remember to type the word, since the @ symbol won't show up.
  • You must be a fan of a page, have RSVPd to an event or be friends of a person for the @ process to work.
  • When you use the @ symbol, your message will show up on the wall of the person, page or event in addition to whatever wall you are writing your message on, depending on its privacy settings. Sometimes the person or page moderator might delete this reference on their page, but it will still be on your wall and in the news feed, so your friends will see it.
  • You can mention multiple people/pages/events in one wall post.

(Special P.S. for Facebook page administrators - be on the lookout for users tagging your page in their posts. If you use the Profanity Blocklist, users can get around it by tagging the page.)

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Social Media After Death (Five Steps to Plan Your Digital Afterlife)

    As the population of social media users increases (and ages), the topic of what happens to your social networks after you die is bound to come up. The recent death of one of my young coworkers, who was active on Facebook, brought the issue to mind for me when I overheard one coworker say to another "What? But I didn't see anything about it on Facebook!" As someone with Facebook and Twitter friends in many states and countries, I've often thought that for the news of my death to reach my entire circle of friends, it would have to be posted on my social networks. But these things don't happen automatically, and social media may not be a priority for a grieving family. It's up to users, therefore, to make their wishes known in terms of if and how they would like their social profiles handled in the event of their death.

    Here are five steps to plan your social media afterlife:
    1. Make a plan (aka follow these steps). Yes, it's uncomfortable to think about. But if the worst happens, you and your loved ones will be prepared. (I'm starting to sound like a funeral home...)
    2. Make it safe. Just emailing your usernames and passwords to your mom doesn't cut it. Either keep a hard copy in a safe, secure place or find an online resource to safeguard your privacy. Check out Mashable for a few resources (some free, others paid) that provide everything from username and password transfers to emails from the afterlife:
    3. Think about what information you want out there after you're gone and what can be taken down (photos, posts, profile information, etc)
    4. Consider how you'd like people to be able to interact with your profiles after your death. It can help in the grieving process, for example, for friends to be able to leave messages on the Facebook wall of a deceased person or access their photos. When a person is reported as deceased on Facebook, their account is "memorialized" and privacy settings are enhanced to allow only friends to see the profile or locate it in search.
    5. Share your wishes with your loved ones. Having a plan is great, but only effective if someone knows what that plan is.
    There are a lot of resources out there on this topic, but I hope this post has provided a basic framework to help you begin your own plan.

    For those of you who have unfortunately experienced the loss of a loved one without this type of plan in place, Facebook provides a form to report a deceased person. Filling out this form will prompt Facebook to memorialize the person's account. On Twitter, loved ones can contact the company via mail or email and provide verification of the death to deactive the account and/or save a backup of the user's public Tweets. Check the policies or help sections of other social networks to find information on their process for handling profiles after death.

    UPDATE: Here are some very thorough and useful articles on this topic from an Australian life insurance copmany.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    How to Hire Someone to Manage Your Facebook Page

    So you want to hire someone to manage your Facebook page. Here's how to do it:
    • Decide why you want a Facebook page - remember that social media should be more about building relationships than selling products or services. A strong, supportive and engaged Facebook following will drive more sales than a group of people who have hidden you from their news feed or "unliked" your page because you spammed them with sales pitches.
    • Determine how much you can spend - be realistic!
    • Research online and find a social media consultant like me (another fun term for us is "community manager") and review their social media profiles - Facebook, Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Hint: If they're not managing their profiles well, they will probably do the same (or worse!) for yours. See if they have a portfolio of past or current Facebook work.
    • Choose a few contenders and reach out to them. Describe your needs and ask for their approach to helping you meet those needs. Make sure they have a firm foundation in basic content (status updates) as well as familiarity with extras (apps and tabs).
    • Pick one and sit down with him or her in person, online or on the phone. Discuss your working relationship, payment plan and Facebook strategy. They should leave with a clear vision of your brand, the voice you want your Facebook postings to be in, an idea of where they will get content from (you, online, etc) and a strategy for managing your page. Some consultants will formalize this in a contract, or you can create one yourself. Make sure it is flexible enough to allow for changes in the needs and interests of your Facebook community (a.ka. don't specify postings every Tuesday and Thursday at noon, since your fans might not be as active then.)
    • Let the social media consultant do their job. If you are also an admin on your page, great, but it's best to leave the posting to the professional most of the time. You can use your admin privileges to keep an eye on your Insights page and see who your audience is (Users) and how they are interacting with your page (Interactions). Keeping an eye on these statistics will show you if your consultant is doing a good job.
    If you are looking for a social media consultant, I'd be happy to talk with you. You can email me at

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Confirm Your Facebook Page Category

    Heads up Facebook page admins - your page's category is now featured at the top of your business page, beneath the name of the page. This will help Facebook users better identify at first glance what type of page they are seeing. Now's your chance to confirm and/or change that category. You may see a message that asks you to "Confirm Your Page Category" next time you view your page:

    You can use the two dropdown menus to edit the group (general) and category (specific) that classifies your page. Then click "Update Category." If the group and category shown are what you want, you can click "Update Category" without making a change. When Facebook switched to the new pages format, many page categories changed to an incorrect or generic type, so this is a good opportunity to make sure your page is listed correctly. The type of group and category that you choose affects the type of information on your Info tab, so if you do decide to change your group and category, be sure to check on the Info tab and make sure that the information displayed there is accurate and everything looks OK. If you'd like to update the categories in the future, click "Edit Page," "Basic Information" and then you'll see the same dropdown menus.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    How to Deal with Spam and Malware on Facebook

    Looking back on it, that link your friend supposedly "liked" on Facebook probably did look pretty bogus. But you couldn't help it - you just had to see the video of the fatal April fools joke or the top 10 public proposals gone wrong. Or you got a message from a friend saying "OMG I can't believe this video of you" and just had to see what she was talking about. And now there's an automatic post on your page and in your friends' news feeds and an app buried in your account broadcasting your info to who knows where. Or worse yet, your account has been hacked and your friends are filling your wall with complaints that you're spamming them. So now what?

    Here's what to do if you accidentally click on a spam or malware Facebook link:
    • If you see a popup asking for access to your account, it's not too late! Click "Don't Allow" and get the heck out of there.
    • If you do indeed go all the way, navigate your way out of whatever application page the link has redirected you to, go to your wall and delete the post that will inevitably appear there. It will look exactly like the link you clicked on in your news feed. You can also report it as spam at that point as well.
    • On the bottom right corner of your Privacy Settings landing page, click "Edit your settings" under Apps and Websites

    • Click "Edit Settings" on the next page to see the full list of Apps you have installed 
    • Click the X on the right side to remove any suspicious apps that you don't recognize (while you're at it, this is a good time to do some app spring cleaning - apps can automatically access and distribute your information at any time, so get rid of it if you're not using it!)
    • OR - click "Edit Settings" next to individual apps to change the way they are able to interact with you

    (Don't believe that apps actually do access your info? Check out the "Last data access" line and click "See details" to see what info the app accessed and when. You'll be shocked.) 
    • If you realize your account has been compromised, Facebook can help. Click here: to fight back.
    • If you think your account has been hacked, but you are still able to log in, change your password as soon as possible.
    I know at this point you might be thinking, "but what if I've been a good little boy/girl and I haven't been infected by Facebook spam or malware?" Here's how to avoid it and what to do if you see it:
    • Spam links are fairly easy to spot based on the URL and the teaser-style preview - if you really want to see Miley's latest scandalous photos, run a search in your favorite engine instead.
    • Check out the text of the URL - spam pages usually have very short, generic URLs designed to look innocuous.
    • If you click the link and are asked for permission for an app to access your account for you to be able to see it, it's malware. Click "Don't Allow" and get out of there.
    • If you see a link in your news feed or on a friends' page that you know is spam or malware, report it! (If you have a good relationship with your friend, you can also politely mention to him or her that the link is spam and explain how to remove it and avoid such junk in the future.)
    I hope this post has helped you learn a little bit more about spam and malware on Facebook, what to do when you interact with it and how to recognize and avoid it.We don't all have to be the spam police, but a cleaner news feed and a safe account makes everyone happy.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    The Power of Profreading

    Did you notice something wrong with the headline of this post? Congratulations! You can proofread! Now rinse and repeat with your own social media posts. Just because social media is a casual, informal marketing format doesn't mean your messages shouldn't be as carefully crafted as any other type of marketing. Proper editing and proofreading will keep you looking professional in the eyes of your fans and followers, and prevent the dreaded "hide," "unlike" or "unfollow."

    Here's why:
    • Typos, mistakes and grammatical errors are easy to make, but hard for fans and followers to forgive and forget. They simply look sloppy and unprofessional.
    • While errors in blog posts can be edited, Twitter and Facebook don't let you edit posts. It's either delete it, or live with it.
    • If a fickle follower or fan sees a post twice because you have to delete and re-post it due to an error,  they might hide your posts or unlike/unfollow you. In Facebook, fans can hide your posts and unlike you right from your news feed by clicking the "X" next to the offending post.
    • If (on Facebook) fans "like" or comment on the erroneous post, you won't want to delete it and it will be immortalized on your wall.
    • On Twitter, people might RT your erroneous tweet, making your mistake visible to their followers as well as yours.
    The good news is that these errors are easy to avoid by thoroughly editing and proofreading your posts. So take your time, use spell-check, read it aloud or share it with a friend/coworker to keep your accounts looking professional.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Is Social Media Right for Every Brand?

    A friend of mine asked recently if I foresee a future where every organization has a social media presence. I said yes, but the question is if they'll all be effective. So when is social media not right for a brand, or what brands aren't right for social media?

    Launching a social media strategy or campaign might not be right for a brand if:
    • There is no clear or consistent business plan or marketing strategy. It's all well and good to start a Facebook page, but your new fans aren't going to stay with you for long if you're not clear about your products or messages or your plan for the future.
    • The brand's managers don't have the time/knowhow to devote to social media or the ability to hire someone who does. As any social media addict or parent of a socially adept teen can tell you - social media is a time suck. If you don't have the time to devote to your social media strategy (monitoring your channels on a daily basis, interacting with fans and other pages, posting, etc) and you can't (or don't want to) hire someone who does, your brand won't survive or pull much weight in the social arena.
    The issue of what brands may or may not be right for social media is contentious. You might think that businesses people don't want to talk about or engage with wouldn't do well, but just type "Funeral Home" into Facebook search and you'd be surprised. (822 people like Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, Michigan) Even brands people traditionally shy away from admitting they like or don't usually want to interact with can do just fine. I would argue instead that brands that can't consistently provide engaging, meaningful content are the only type that aren't right for social media, and that can be changed.

    So what do you think? Can you envision a future where every brand, business and organization  has an effective social media presence?

    Thanks to @tomheg for the photo:

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    How To Friend Your Mom (Aunt, Coworker, Ex-Boyfriend) on Facebook

    So you've received a friend request from your mom. (Or your aunt, coworker, boss, ex-boyfriend - you get the idea.) If you click "ignore", they might be offended. Chances are they probably won't notice, but it could get awkward. If you click "accept", they'll have access to all of your Facebook content. They'll be able to see what pages you've "liked", those slightly scandalous photos from your college toga party and your often sarcastic wall posts. Or will they...

    Facebook gives you the tools you need to accept friend requests willy-nilly. All you need to do is set up friend lists and then customize your privacy settings to deny access to these lists. When you receive a friend request, you can create a new friend list right there and then by clicking the "add to list" button and creating a new list. Easy as that. Here's how to add existing friends to a new friends list and then modify your privacy settings to change what those folks see:

    On your home page, click "Friends" 
    Click the "Edit Friends" button
    Click "Create a List"

    Give your list a name using the box at the top left, and then select the friends you want to add to the list by clicking on their profile photos. Then click "Create List."
    To change your privacy settings for your friends list, click "Account" at the top right of any Facebook page, then click "Privacy Settings." Select "Custom" and then click "Customize settings."

    On the next screen, you can change individual settings and deny access to specific content to certain friend lists. For example, while I can limit access on individual posts to certain friends, my friends might be less discreet when posting on my wall, so I'm going to limit the visibility of posts by my friends. Click the dropdown button next to the content you want to limit access to, then click "edit" next to the word custom.

    Then type in the name of the friend list you don't want to see that content in the box next to "These people:"

    That's it! You can go on down the line and restrict access to all types of content on your page. It may seem time consuming, but once you have your privacy settings set and a few generic friend lists created (I categorize my friends into regular friends, "Limited Profile" and "Super Limited Profile") it will go a lot faster, since all you'll have to do is add new friends to your existing lists. Doing so will save a lot of awkward explanations in the future.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    News Feed Settings - Top Friends vs. All Friends

    You may have seen friends posting status updates lately telling you to change your news feed settings because you're not seeing updates from all of your friends (or if you haven't seen such a message, this might be why.) In addition to giving you the ability to see "Top News" or "Most Recent" posts in your news feed, Facebook provides the ability to customize the "Most Recent" feed. The feed can show posts from all of your friends and the pages you like, or only the friends and pages you interact with most.

    Many users are crying out in outrage that Facebook would hide posts from them. Personally, I like this feature because it ensures that I will see the updates that I'd be most interested in. I also customize my news feed by hiding posts from apps like Farmville, or posts from acquaintances good enough to call Facebook friends but distant enough that I don't need constant updates on their lives. It only makes sense to me, therefore, to trust Facebook's algorithms enough to show me posts from the users I interact with most. I like noticing when I have visited a friend's profile or interacted with a page more often and I see their posts begin to show up in my news feed. The difference is most obvious to me when I use the Facebook for iPhone app, where the news feed shows me posts from all of my friends and pages and I have to slog through to find posts that I'm interested in.

    Since there has been interest in how to change this setting though, here's how:
    1. In the news feed, click on the "Most Recent" dropdown. (Notice here that you can also customize your news feed to show separate categories of posts - Status Updates, Photos, Links and updates from Pages. You can also show posts only from friends lists - I have two lists created for people who have limited access to my profile information.
    2. Click "Edit Options"
    3. On the "Show posts from:" dropdown, you can select either "Friends and pages you interact with most" or "All of your friends and pages"
    4. Select the option you want and click "Save" at the bottom of the box
    In a way, opting to see posts from all of the friends and pages you follow makes your Facebook news feed more like a Twitter feed. It also means that depending on when your friends post and when you log on, it might become more expedient to visit their profile pages to see their posts. Remember that if you do opt to see posts from "All of your friends and pages," you can always customize your feed by hiding individual posts, posts from apps and posts from friends or pages you are no longer interested in. That's something that Twitter unfortunately can't offer.

    From the standpoint of Facebook for businesses, business pages would probably prefer that users show posts from all of their friends and pages, because it increases the likelihood that the business's posts will be seen. If users opt for all friends and pages, businesses must time their posts ever more carefully to maximize impressions. If users opt to see only posts from the pages they interact with most, it becomes even more important that business make the posts on their Facebook pages relevant and interesting to their users.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Obtaining a Vanity URL for Your Facebook Page

    Since most Facebook page URLs are long and cumbersome, it's a good idea to obtain a username and, thereby, a shorter "vanity" URL for your page. Here's how:
    • To get a username for a business page, you first need 25 fans (This helps prevent people from "squatting" on usernames by just creating a page and naming it with very few fans.) Regular users can set a username for your profile page at any time.
    • Go to
    • Select the name of your page from the dropdown menu
    • In the text box that appears, type in the username you want, then click "Check Availability"

    • If the username isn't available, you'll get a message below the text box saying so. If you think someone is infringing on your trademark by taking the username you want, contact Facebook at They are pretty good about responding to infringement inquiries.
    • If the username is available, the box below will pop up - read these guidelines carefully and then click "Confirm"

    • Once you click "Confirm" you'll get another popup telling you that you have been successful in naming your page, and you can now direct your fans to username). Congrats! 
    • If you have any questions about setting your username, visit or send me an email.
    And as you may have guessed, my Facebook page is up and you can now visit The Social Stage at!

    You can also change your username and vanity URL for your personal Facebook page by visiting your "Account Settings" page. Business pages can't change their usernames, but personal profile usernames can be changed. Be careful though - you can only change your username once!

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Back to Basics: Posting a YouTube Clip on Facebook

    It's easy for social media mavens to forget how tasks like posting video links can be difficult for others. For the not-so-tech-savvy Facebook user, here are the steps to post a YouTube (or other video clip or web link in general) to your business page. To share a YouTube video on your personal page, you can use the "Share" button beneath the video. This is the process for sharing videos on your business page:
    1. Copy the URL from the website - you can find a shorter URL on YouTube by clicking "share" below the video. Additional options will drop down, including a shorter, simpler URL.
    2. On your business page, click "Link" next to the word "Share"
    3. Paste the YouTube link into the box that appears and click "Attach"
    4. The thumbnail for the video will show up - you can scroll through and choose the thumbnail that you like. You can also click the "No Thumbnail" box to post the video without a thumbnail appearing. However, this will prevent users from viewing the video from within your Facebook page. They will have to click on the link and go to YouTube to view it.
    5. You can also change the title of the video and the summary that appears by clicking on the text and editing it. Sometimes the text is too long or, as shown below, an additional URL will appear in the summary. Just click on the text to edit it or delete it entirely.
    6. Click inside the box that says "Say something about this link" to write a comment about the video, then click "Share" and it will be posted to your page.
    That's it! This same process applies for posting links to other websites as well. Happy posting, Facebook page admins, and feel free to email me with any questions.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    New Facebook Page Settings - Email Notifications

    If you're a Facebook page administrator, you may have noticed that you're receiving email notices when your fans interact with your page. For some of you, that may be helpful. For others, it may be overwhelming. When Facebook transitioned pages to the new layout, the default was to email page admins with every fan interaction. To stop receiving these emails:
    • Go to your page and click "Edit Page" at the top right corner
    • Click "Your Settings" at the top left column
    • Uncheck the second box next to "Send notifications to (your name) when people post or comment on your page (see the photo below - the box is checked)
    • Click "Save Changes"
    And if Facebook is working properly, the emails will stop. Facebook hasn't ironed this setting out completely, however, so don't be surprised if you still have to delete the occasional email. (I have this week.)

    Instead of relying on emails to tell you what your fans have been up to, try using Facebook as your page (as described in my previous post) and clicking on the "Notifications" icon.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Using Your Personal Profile to Post Comments on Your Facebook Business Page

    Some of my clients have asked if they can post comments on their business pages from their personal profiles instead of from their business pages. In the past, my answer was unfortunately no. With the new updates to Facebook pages, the answer is now yes! Here's how:

    • Visit your business page on Facebook
    • In the top right corner, click "Manage" then click "Edit Page" in the dropdown menu
    • In the left top area, click "Your Settings"
    • Make sure there is no check in the box next to "Always comment and post on your page as (Page Name) even when using Facebook as (Your Name).
    • Click "Save Changes"
    • Go back to your business page.
    • Comment on or "like" existing posts by the page or its fans and it will appear to come from your personal profile.
    You will need to repeat this process to switch back if you want to leave comments as the business page. The new changes mean you can now also leave comments and "like" posts on other Facebook pages as your business page, but that's another story for another day.

    Happy posting!


    UPDATE: This setting does not apply to Facebook's mobile application. Your likes, comments and wall posts will always appear to come from your Page, not your Personal Profile.