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On Social Media Automation Fails

I’m the first to admit that automating your social media is not always the best idea. Where I think it comes in handy is in automating those tedious tasks, such as sharing articles that I like to all my social media networks. I use Buffer as part of a strategy for doing just that. It helps a lot, but I wanted a system that could help me save even more time and energy…

Recently, I decided to create a custom automated workflow for curating and sharing content to my social media accounts. What follows is an account of how that social media automation failed, and what I learned from it.

The Path to Social Media Automation

A while ago I was inspired by this article from Jamie Todd Rubin. I have been using pocket in roughly this manner for a while: as a catch-all for web items that I want to “look at later”. For a while, I used it to read, and then share items to my Buffer (an awesome social media sharing app). That worked fine, until it became tedious to remember to do this every time I got done reading an article. Also, sometimes, I would get interrupted and forget to do this step.

My next improvement was to just bulk-read posts, and tag the ones that I wanted to share with a “buffer” tag. Later, I would go in and add these posts one by one to my buffer account. Again, this worked for a while. It wasn’t really any less tedious, but it was less annoying (at least for me). I tend to be one of those people that works well when I cluster tasks together.

But I wanted something better. A system that was much more automated.

Enter the Bright Idea…

I’ve been obsessed for a while with the idea of automation workflows. In fact I’ve used them via Zapier and IFTTT for years to automate other tasks. So, I did a little research. My first stop, as usual, was IFTTT. It is a simpler version of automation that I use before Zapier. Mostly because it’s free. After a while you have to pay for Zapier. I have paid for Zapier in the past, but at the moment I’m trying to save money anywhere I can.

IFTTTs solution worked except for one issue, you can’t share to multiple accounts within buffer. Since I would use the service in this way, that meant it was out.

Next came Zapier. It had been a while since I used Zapier for anything very complicated. Imagine my surprise when I logged in to my account and found out that I could create “multi-step” Zaps. Effectively, this would allow me to do what IFTTT wouldn’t!  Note: I did end up paying for Zapier at this point, because multi-step zaps are not included in the free version, but I was happy to pay for these extra features.

So, I got to work creating a Zap that would take the items in pocket with a specific tag and auto-share them through Buffer. It took me roughly 15 minutes to set up and turn on. Of course, I tested it to make sure I was good with the way it worked.

It had been running for a few weeks, and I loved it! I was saving time, and I didn’t have to worry about remembering to share content to Buffer, because it was apart of my everyday todos to read articles and tag them in Pocket.

That’s when this happened:

Social Media Automation Fail

D’oh!

That section outlined in red in the image above is the excerpt that was pulled from the article.

The first problem is that I definitely don’t make that much money blogging. That would be nice, though, right? The excerpt that was pulled in from Pocket made it look like these were my own words. Not really a big deal in the large scheme of things, but it’s not true. I try very hard to avoid that.

Also, pulling the excerpt as a separate item was unnecessary for Facebook. I temporarily forgot that Facebook pulls it’s own excerpt out of the page and puts it into that nice little “preview” window. So, adding the excerpt, in this case, is not only unnecessary, it’s also confusing.

I only found out about this issue when one of my friends congratulated me. At first, I was confused, then I looked at the post and realized what she was seeing.

Needless to say, I went in and manually deleted that excess excerpt, and then edited my Zap to take it out of future buffers.

So, What’s the Problem?

Now I have a new problem, though. Any links I share will consist of just the image, title, and excerpt preview. For me, this feels unfinished. I like to add my own two cents and explain something I found interesting or insightful about what I’m sharing. It’s not really a big deal, but now I’m less excited about the social media automation that I tried to set up.

What I want is a step in the automation where I can add my own observations or notes into the post before it goes out. Sadly, you can’t attach notes to pocketed items, and even if you could, that’s not information that you can harvest in Zapier. I know, I looked. You also can’t create drafts in Buffer, which would be another nice work-around.

I thought of maybe adding the article information into a Google Sheet, or, possibly, Evernote. Then make a separate Zap where it will pull out that information (once I’ve added my note) and insert it into Buffer, but I’d like something with less steps.

So, I’m on the hunt. I’ve already come across several options that may work. I won’t know without testing and tweaking, though. Once I get a better system down, I fully intend to reveal it so that other people can save time curating and sharing content to their social media accounts.

Now, over to you. What do you use to save time curating and sharing content? Do you have any social media automation tips? Or do you have your own automation fail story that we could learn from?

 

Get More Likes On Facebook by Adding your Facebook Page Username to your Business Card

This post is a part of the “Get More Facebook Likes” series. Each one of these articles will detail a single tactic for growing your Facebook Likes. Not all tactics are created equal, but each will contribute to your success. Find more ways of growing your Facebook Likes by viewing all the posts in the series here.

Why your business card?

There are many ways to get more Facebook Likes, but most of them aren’t quite as simple as putting your Facebook Page username (or Page link) on your business card. It’s a super low-level way to generate more likes (especially if you do a lot of networking). It’s also a tactic that’s often overlooked.

So, why is it effective?

When someone takes your business card at a networking event or even picks one up from a visit to your office, it makes them curious. They want to know more about your business and more about you. Often times they will visit your website. This is also a great opportunity to point them towards your social media accounts.

Someone who wants to know more about you will also check you out on social media, because this is the place where most businesses “let loose” and show their personality. Seeing what a business posts on social media is often a deciding factor in whether or not they want to do business with you.

So, how do you get your Facebook Page username on your business card, so people will follow you? Can’t you just slap the link on the next print run of your business cards? Sure you could, but there are a few things you want to keep in mind before you do.

How to Setup Your Facebook Username, Vanity URL, etc.

First, you want to make sure that your Facebook Page username is setup correctly. In this past, this was called a “vanity url”. Some people (myself included) also refer to it as a Facebook Page link, because that’s ultimately what it accomplishes. Just for clarification, though, your Facebook username is the text that appears at the end of the link (once you setup your username). That’s the “YourBusinessName” part of this link: Facebook.com/YourBusinessName. Your Facebook Page username is also the part after the “@” symbol that someone can use to tag your business when they post something. Your Facebook Page link is the entire link that someone would need to type into a search engine to find your Page.

First, let’s take a look at what a Facebook Page link looks like before you claim your Facebook username. You can see an example below.

http://facebook.com/Your-Business-Name/1234567

Just between you and me, this is an ugly link! Could you imagine trying to tell someone to type this in? They would probably quit right away.

Now I know that most people would just go to Facebook and use the search bar to find your business. And that can work. The problem comes in when there are multiple businesses with the same name. How will someone know which Page to actually like? Better yet, why would you give them the opportunity to Like the wrong page.

The simple answer to this problem is to go claim your Facebook Page username and start advertising it, so this doesn’t happen. Also, if you claim your Facebook username, people will now be able to tag your business in photos or any other posts. This can give your business a larger reach on Facebook than it had before.

So, back to that ugly link…

http://facebook.com/Your-Business-Name/1234567

Not only is this link not as good for search engine optimization (seo). It’s also not very readable on a business card. Below is an example of a good Facebook Page link.

http://www.facebook.com/Team3Media/

The name is easy to read and wouldn’t be too hard for someone to type in.

Now that you know what a good Facebook Page link looks like, it’s time to go claim your Facebook Page username, so you can have a nice one, too. 🙂

But first, let’s go over some helpful tips and guidelines so you can choose the best username possible.

Use Capitalization to make it more readable.

The capital letters aren’t actually necessary. If someone were to type in the link without them, it would still work. However, it makes it infinitely more readable on a business card or any other print material.

Choose the shortest version of your business name or brand possible.

You don’t want people to be typing for-eh-ver in order to get to your Facebook Page. So, make it easy for them. Use a number instead of spelling it out. And use the shortened version of a word where possible, as long as it’s not confusing. The name you choose may be in direct conflict with the name used for SEO. In this case, you may want to use the original version. However, it’s up to you.

Follow the Facebook Page Username guidelines.

Below is an excerpt from their help article on creating custom usernames.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you create a custom username:

  • You can’t claim a username someone else is already using.
  • Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”).
  • Periods (“.”) and capitalization don’t count as a part of a username. For example, johnsmith55, John.Smith55 and john.smith.55 are all considered the same username.
  • Usernames must be at least 5 characters long and can’t contain generic terms or extensions (ex: .com, .net).
  • You must be an admin to create or change the username for a Page.
  • Your username must adhere to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Check this link for an always updated version of this help article.

NOTE: One last thing. You used to be able to only change your Facebook Page username twice before you had to get Facebook involved in the process. There is not anything in their guidelines to suggest that this is the case anymore. However, I would still caution against changing it too many times. Remember, your username is tied to your Facebook Page link, so if you change it (after it’s already been set) then any old links to your Page will no longer work!

Now, Go Claim Your Facebook Page Username!

Claiming your username is actually a fairly easy process. In fact, it’s much easier to create than it used to be. Before you had to go through a handful of screens to get to the place where you could actually change your Facebook Page username. Now, a couple of clicks and you’re there.

Step 1: Go To Your Page

The first step is to go to your Facebok Page and make sure that you are logged in to the account which is an admin of the page.

Step 2: Edit Page Info

Now just put your cursor over the “More” button and click on “Edit Page Info” from the dropdown.

Claim Your Facebook Page Username - Edit Page Info

Step 3: Add or Change Your Username

In the “Username” field, either add or edit your Facebook Page username. Then click “save changes” when you’re done.

Edit Facebook Page username

You may have to try a couple of times before you find a username that Facebook will accept. Once you’re done, now it’s time to move on to the big finish.

How to Add Your Facebook Page Link to Your Business Card

Now that you have a nice readable Faceook Page link or username, you can add it to your business card. If you design your own business cards, check out these tips to keep your design clean and make it more likely that someone visits your Facebook Page.

Avoid “busyness” or “clutter”

Try to keep your business card from being cluttered by only providing the information that someone need to either contact you and find out more about you. You don’t have to add every point of contact. Just make sure your business card has the most important information on it. Also, you  want to make sure that adding the Facebook Page link to your card doesn’t make it appear more cluttered. You may need to move things around, take something off, or reduce the fonts in places.

Keep it legible

Another good piece of advice is not to use a really fancy font for your Facebook Page link. Remember, you want the link to be easily readable so you will get more Likes!

Add a Call to Action

When adding your link to your card, you may want to make it more “visible” by adding a “Call to Action”. For instance, most business cards list contact information in a list-like format with very little difference. If you really want to build your likes, you can do something as simple as adding the words “Like” or “Follow Me on Facebook” above or to the left of the Facebook Page link. This will make your link stand out, because it will look different than all the other contact information. You can also add a little more spacing around the link in order to draw attention to it.

Shorten it.

Always, always make sure that your link is the shortest version possible. For instance, you can leave out the “http://”, the “https://”, and even the www. This will not only make the link look cleaner, but it will also take up less space on the business card. Also, a little known fact is that someone doesn’t actually have to type out the full address to get your Page to show up. Modern browsers will “auto-add” the http:// to your link.

If you want to make it the shortest version possible just use your username and add the “@” symbol to the front of it. Be warned, using just the Facebook Page username may confuse the less tech-savvy of your peeps, though.

QR Codes…

Using a QR Code (quick response code) is a way to put your Facebook Page username on your business card which will allow someone to visit your page from their smartphone (once they scan it). We’ll cover QR codes in another blog post. For now, just know that they are dead useful in getting people to take an action from any printed advertisement.

Most Useful Social Media Posts for 2015

I thought I’d put together a round-up of the best posts from 2015, in case you missed them.  These are posts that got the most traffic, but also were found useful by people based on feedback. I hope you find them useful, too.

#1: Optimize Your Facebook Page Description (an excerpt from 31 Days to an Awesome Facebook Page) — NEED TO REVAMP

I wrote this post to jumpstart the writing of an ebook I wanted to publish called 31 Days to an Awesome Facebook Page. Though that project has been tabled for a little while, it was still a post that was not only popular, but that was fun to write.

The reason for this post was not only to jumpstart the book, but to also help people write better Facebook Page descriptions (found in your “About”) section. Did you know that your Facebook Page description is important to boost your Facebook Page in Google’s rankings? That’s because it’s one of the pieces of text that “stays put”. In other words, it’s not a post, that will be replaced by another one, so the text is always accessible by the search engines. That means this section is the perfect place to tell people what your all about and work in some of those keywords (without stuffing, of course)! If you want to see what I’m talking about you can see how to improve your Facebook Page description text here.

#2: Pinterest Will Sell Your Products for Free?!

selling on pinterest

I got an email from Pinterest about a book I had pinned which sparked the idea for this blog post. The email told me that a book I had pinned was now “on sale”. I was not only delighted by this news, but I also realized how useful it could be to people who sell online.

The basic idea works like this. If you have installed and setup “rich pins” for products on your site, when you put something on sale, it will not only show up on the pin, but Pinterest will actually email people who have pinned it to tell them about the sale! How awesome is that?! This is my favorite kind of automation. It does take some coding know-how to install the pinterest rich pin setup.  You are welcome to read more on how to do that here.

#3: Tutorial: Website Facebook Like Button

Facebook Like Button Address

The Facebook Like button is an often-overlooked way to get more likes on your Page, because it’s dead simple. Sure, you could add a follow bottom to your header or footer, but it doesn’t allow someone to automatically Like your Facebook Page. That’s the real magic of the Like button. Find out how to get this little magic button by going here.

#4: Buying Facebook Likes Doesn’t Buy Engagement or Sales

Buying Facebook Likes Doesn't Buy Engagement Or Sales

Another popular post dealt with buying Facebook Likes. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that I’ve seen a lot of small business owners make. At first, it seems like a great idea: get more likes (without the work) and your Facebook Page looks more legitimate and your posts will now show up in people’s newsfeeds. The problem is that these Likes are rarely “quality” likes as they usually come from countries outside the U.S. If you’re running a local business this is especially detrimental to your Facebook strategy, because the people who have Liked your page (and presumably will engage with it) have nothing to do with your local customers. This means that your Page content actually has an even smaller chance of showing up in newsfeeds than if you had a low number of “local” Likes. Check out this blog post to read more about the problem.

#5: Want to Know How Often You Should Post to Facebook?

FacebookPostingFrequency

The last popular post is about how often you should post to Facebook. Unfortunately, there is no easy or correct answer to this. However, the Buffer team ran a case study and has come up with an answer you can use to start testing out your own optimal number of posting. Read on to learn what their findings were and how you can apply it to your own posting strategy.

All of these posts offered advice or were “how-to” type posts, which tells me that there was a definite need for this. Quite a bit of my content strategy for 2016 will also focus on these types of posts.

Did you find any of these articles useful? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

My 3 Words for 2016

My3WordFor2016

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions any more. I’ve never been good at them. I do, however, choose “areas of focus” for my next year. The idea is called “3 Words for (insert year here)”. I borrowed this idea from Chris Brogan, who’s been doing it for 10 years now.

The concept is simple. Take a moment to think of three things you’d like to work on this year. Then come up with three words that remind you of those three things. Write them down. Look at them everyday and try to make your reality match those words. At least this is how I think of the process. Chris Brogan describes it a little more elegantly here.

I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years, but I really like the practice. The first year, I was not very successful at fulfilling those words. But last year I made progress. This year I’m hoping to make even more progress. So, without further ado…

My three words for 2016 are Brave, Writer, and Finish.

Brave

Lately, I’ve been feeling the pull, again, to do more.

It’s always followed, by being afraid, though. Every time I venture out of the little cubby hole that is my life and try new things, I feel afraid.

Who am I to try this? I haven’t been doing it long enough. I don’t know enough about it. I can’t possibly think I’d be any good at it.

These are the thoughts that run through my head.

It doesn’t happen right away, though. Oh no, it waits until I’m in the middle of a project. It waits until I’ve become firmly entrenched in the thing I want to do. Until, I’m actually getting excited about it.

Steven Pressfield calls this resistance in his book “The War of Art”. I call it the naysayer. It’s that kid on the playground who always thinks your idea of a game is stupid. It’s the person who tells you how hard something is going to be when you declare that you want to do something new with your life. It’s all the crabs who pull the one crab (desperately reaching for freedom) back into the bucket.

And the real ugly truth is, that it doesn’t have to be that way.

I love my son. I know, I’m a Mother, I have to say that. But it’s true. I love him, but not just because he came from me or that he’s changed my life (literally and figuratively). I love him, because he is fearless. He’s not afraid to be himself.

Actually, that’s not true. It’s not that he’s not afraid. He doesn’t even know that he can be afraid (or ashamed) of who he is. He hasn’t learned that yet. And I hope he never learns it. But I have a feeling that he will. In fact, he’s recently learned that some other kids think he’s “weird”, and that they have this incessant need to mock him for it.

It’s sad, because being weird and unique is one of the greatest things about living this life.

But for now, he’s still at that point in his life where he’s oblivious. It’s a glorious thing to behold.

I remember being like that once. Freer, happier, and completely oblivious to anything but my own joy. The joy of living.

There’s this really great quote that Eddard Stark tells his son Bran in “A Game of Thrones” about being brave. Bran asks, “can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?” His father answers, “That is the only time a man can be brave”.

And it’s true. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t feel like you need to brave your way through something without being scared. It’s impossible.

So, Brave is one of the words I choose.

Some of the best times in my life happened when I was being brave. Finishing writing my first story, when I was in 7th grade, and then telling everyone about it. Telling my husband (my then boyfriend) that I loved him for the first time. Getting married. Giving birth to my son. Climbing the rock wall in high school for the first time, even though I was afraid of heights. Doing my first debate. Acting in my first play. Singing on stage for the first time in 5th grade. Giving my first presentation on social media. Winning my first consulting client. Giving my first social media workshop. Leaving my job of three years to take a job with a place that really wanted me. Declaring that I was going to freelance full-time when I was laid off from that job. Joining BNI to bring in more clients to my fledgling business. Taking a job full-time with the business that was helping me get most of my work. Visiting a location of a client in Urbandale, Iowa to do a “Marketing Walkthrough” of their store. Starting my own blog. Moving to California from Missouri (which I had lived in for pretty much my whole life) in less than 2 weeks. Sitting at the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking over the edge (and I’m still afraid of heights). Every single time I have to get up in front of people and talk about something (especially if I’m the “so-called” expert). Every time I send a newsletter to my list. Every time I publish a blog post. I’m scared writing this now, because it’s deeply revealing. I’ll be scared in a couple of weeks when I take my first beginner salsa class. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being scared.

But that’s kind of the point. You’re not going to stop being scared. Life is scary, especially when it’s new and untamed.

Each of those times, I was able to walk through the fear and get through the other side. I still don’t exactly understand why I was able to. In some instances I can point to the fact that I “had to do it”, but in others, I just did. Maybe by trying to be more brave I will learn what gets me through, and I’ll be able to replicate it more.

Last year, I found that just looking at the words everyday to remind myself was not enough. I had to tie specific actions to those words, or nothing was going to be done.

Brave is hard to tie an action to. Sure, it can be an action word. But how the heck do you define brave as an action?

Even since I started writing this post, I’ve felt more aware of when I’m not being brave, and that’s a good thing. It’s given me some ideas on how I can take brave from just a word to something I can actually implement.

The first part of that is to try more stuff. Signing up for my first beginner salsa class is a great example of trying something new. I also have my eye on some writer’s meetups, which I’ll try to schedule in during the next couple of months.

The second way for me to be brave is to finish more things that I start. I’ll talk more about this later with my third word.

Writer

This is one of the things that I’ve always wanted to do with my life. In fact, it’s the thing I’ve wanted to do longest. Despite all my false starts and stops, I know it’s a thing I want to continue to do. So, why should I stop hiding it?

Again, though, you can’t have results without action. So, i’m tieing this word to a daily goal. I’m going to pledge to write at least 250 words a day of fiction. I just did the math, and a 90,000 word book will take me just under a year to write at 250 words per day.

On the other side of the coin, I also love to write blog posts, especially when they teach something. So, “writer”, is also to remind myself to do that as much as possible. I have another action for this. It is to finish 52 blog posts this year. I used to scoff at any goal I tried to set where I would publish 1 blog post per week. My mind would immediately counter with “that’s not nearly enough”, and then I would decide to do 2 per week. The problem with this goal was that I wrote even less because of it. Just the thought of writing a ton more than I was already outputting seemed to cripple me. So, I’m sticking with a more realistic goal this year.

Finish

Hi, my name is Cassie, and I’m a chronic “starter”. I rarely finish things. Even small projects like cleaning up my desk tend to get derailed. I know part of the problem is being in the middle of a project, and suddenly, finding myself scared to finish (for whatever reason). However, I also tend to get distracted by new ideas a lot. This has caused me to start a lot more projects than I could ever hope to finish.

So, the question that I will endeavor to ask myself the next time something shiny comes along is, “will I finish this?” I have to try to answer this in the most brutally honest way possible. Because my track record speaks for itself.

Again, though, I have finished things in the past. But just like the word “Brave”, I don’t understand why some things got finished and others didn’t. This year will be just as much about learning what motivates me to finish as it does actually finishing things.  

I’m going to also start documenting those projects which I do start, so that I can see what gets finished and what doesn’t. I’ve learned from running social media campaigns that if you need to have the data to back up whatever you are declaring as true. You can’t fake data. You can misinterpret it, or it can be skewed, but pure data only gives you numbers. Numbers just are.

Finish is also a reminder that I already have projects or irons in the fire that either need to be finished, redefined as something other than a project, or dropped completely. One of the most important things i’ve learned in the last couple of years is that it’s okay to not finish something. In fact, not finishing a project has taught me more about myself than anything else.

I’m still going to shoot for finishing more projects than not, but sometimes a project just isn’t meant to be finished.

How am I going to put finish into action? I’ve thought about this a lot, because starting and not finishing things is a major problem I want to overcome this year. It took me a while to hit on a plan that I think will work. I won’t know, though, until I work the system.

Here’s my plan. I have a list of the current projects that I am working on and want to work on in the next month. This is sort-of a high-level to do list, or a goals list. Then I have a second list. I call it my “queue”. These are all the things that I want to accomplish after my current projects are done. Everything that comes into my head, will need to go on the queue list until there’s room for it to move to the current projects list. I will schedule time to work on the things on my current projects list, and try to resist the urge to work on anything that is not on my current list. At the end of the month, I’ll assess my current list and see if there’s room to move anything from my queue. This will also be a good time to see how much progress I’ve made on a project. It’s not a perfect system, but I think it will work well.

So those are my 3 words for 2016, the reasons why I’m choosing them, and the plans I have in place to actually work on them.

How about you? Do you set New Year’s Resolutions, or do you focus on areas you want to improve? Would you like to join me in the 3 words for 2016? Drop me a line in the comments and let me know your plans.

Tutorial Infographic: How to Add An Admin to a Facebook Page

One of the most common questions I hear about Facebook, is how someone can add an admin to a Facebook Page. I put together a tutorial I use to send to my own clients and thought I would share it. This has been updated for the latest changes to the Facebook Page admin area. It’s setup as a one-page downloadable image. You are welcome to save it to your desktop, pin it, or share it with your own audience.  As always, if this was helpful to you, drop me a line in the comments below.

FB-HowToAddAnAdminToAFacebookPage

 

 

A Brief Hiatus…

I just wanted to let you know that I’m taking a break for the rest of December on the website and content. That includes blog posts, emails, ebooks, videos, etc. I might post something to social media when I find something interesting, but this will also be fairly non-existent for the rest of the month.
Why the change?
Honestly, I need some time to get my plans for 2015 figured out and I don’t want to deal with the stress of needing to write content during the holiday season. I want to spend some more time with my family, get my house in order, and really plan out the direction I want to take Team 3 Media next year. I haven’t really had the chance to catch my breath since I started the business, and it’s about time I did that.
So, I’m taking a brief hiatus. I plan to be back in January stronger and better than ever. I have some exciting things planned, including an upcoming online course. I’m gearing up for a big 2015, and I hope you are too!
Talk to ya in the new year!

Team 3 Media’s New Direction

Recently, I’ve been struggling with my business and making it grow. The problems I was having stem mostly from the model of business I had. I was basically one woman trying to act as an agency who managed the online marketing for my clients. Obviously, this was not working well. Not only was it unmanageable from a time and money stand-point, it was also slowly driving me insane. I’ve had plans to change this for a while, but I haven’t had the time or the cushion of money needed to take the business in a different direction. Now I do.

The Offer

The company that sends me most of my social media and email business, Online Marketing Giant, called me out of the blue a couple weeks ago. Chris, the President of the company has long been a friend and business colleague. He even used to be my boss at my old evil Corporate job. So, it’s safe to say that we know each other pretty well.

Still, it was a bit unexpected when he called and said that they’d like to meet about bringing me onto their team full-time. We’ve had a pretty good partnership up to this point, and I wasn’t looking to change it.

Their offer was to bring me on as a full-time project manager over their social media department. We had a meeting last week and I accepted. I’m actually pretty excited about this change for a couple of reasons.

  1. It gives me a much better steady pay base.
  2. I will be able to help more clients by focusing on planning the campaigns and using the resources of the company to fulfill those plans.

What Does This Mean for Team 3 Media?

It certainly doesn’t mean that I’m done with it. However, it does mean that I can now safely ditch the old model of businesss I had. I can, also, focus on the model of business that I’ve been dreaming about having, but haven’t had enough time to work on. That model is the “content-based business”.

Team 3 Media: A Content-Based Business

A Content-Based Business is a model of business that creates content at its core. Some of these business types rely on their traffic and ads to fuel them with money. Or they use their traffic to sell affiliate products. Or they use their traffic to sell their own content. It is the last version of this business model which I’m shooting for.

I don’t expect that I will be able to make a full-time living off this business model for a while. And that was part of my motivation in accepting this new job. It will give me time to develop this business without needing to worry about my bills being paid.

The Content

Among other things that I have planned is a series of ebooks (free and paid). If you’ve read about my “31 Days to An Awesome Facebook Page” then you’ll know what I’m talking about. That book is still definitely a part of the plan. Though, I’m delaying the launch to make sure that I get it right.

So, when can you expect to see the new content? I’m planning on launching my first free ebook in January: “7 Steps to a Successful Facebook Contest”. Until then, I’ll be working on that and some blog posts, so I can kick off 2014 right.

To My Clients

If you are or were a client of mine, you’ll be hearing this from me personally. And to any future clients, I am still available for work. You can now find me at Online Marketing Giantcassie@onlinemarketinggiant.com.

Optimize Your Facebook Business Page Description: An Excerpt from “31 Days to An Awesome Facebook Page”

Some of you may know that I am working on a book “31 Days to An Awesome Facebook Page”. I’ve been making progress, although it’s been slow. Last week I completely rewrote a page of the book because of an email conversation I was having. I won’t show you the old version, since I think it’s pretty terrible. But I will show you what I rewrote. I think it does a much better job of explaining the importance of the Facebook Page description and what you should accomplish with it. I’d like to get your opinion, though. If you think something should be added or taken out, let me know in the comments at the end of this blog post.

None of the text below has been edited. I wrote it on the fly, so please excuse any typos, misspellings, etc. Also, please note that this may not be the final version which will appear in the book. 

How important is your Facebook Page description? While I can’t tell you how many people will read it, I can tell you that it might be the deciding factor in whether someone Likes your page or even decides to do business with your company. A description of your company will not only tell your customers why they should Like your Page (don’t forget your compelling reason here) but it will also answer the question “Why should I care?” Your Facebook Page description can also aid you in being found when customers search for your services. So, optimizing it for this is a good idea.

Action for Today: Rewrite Your Facebook Page Description According To The Steps Below.

 So how do you write a Facebook Page description? The first thing you need to do is grab any “about” language you already have. This can usually be found on your home or about us page on your website.

Using your website “about us” or home page blurb is a good place to start for your Facebook Page description. However, most of these are filled with stiff, formal writing and take way too long to tell what your services actually are. They also, might not include all your services. If you have some text you can work with, then grab that and put it in your favorite word processing program. Read through it, speaking it out loud. Put yourself in your customer’s or potential customer’s shoes. Does it sound like something that would explain clearly, and in a conversational tone what you do? If not, then your job is to make it sound that way. This could take a while, so strap in.

Stiff Formal Language to Look For

  • Using the name of your business instead of “we” or “us”. It’s okay to use it a couple of times. After all, this helps with search engines. Just don’t always refer to yourself in the third person er…business.

  • Using big fancy words, industry language, or lengthy explanations to explain what you do. Just tell them what you do in the quickest and most concise way possible. Bad example: Team 3 Media uses superior tools and state-of-the-art technology to build innovative websites that position you as an industry leader. The only good that can be rescued from this sentence is that we build websites. However, we could have used less and better words to describe what we do. Good example: Want a website that fits your brand personality and moves you closer to your marketing goals? We can help you with that. Check out some of the work we’ve done… Also don’t use words like innovative or industry-leader. Although, there’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn, it’s bad form to say that about yourself. If someone else has said it and posted it online, then link to it. A description like this always sounds better if it comes from someone else, and it’s more believeable.

  • Don’t tell, show. Another thing that can be learned from the bad example above is that it tells you what we do, but doesn’t really show you. Adding pictures to your Facebook description is out of the question. However, you can add links back to your website, or even a custom Facebook tab to show examples. Let the quality of your work speak for itself.

What Your Description Should Do

 Answer these questions for your customers.

  • Who are you? What makes you unique?

  • Where are you? Do you only do business locally, or are you available to work remotely?

  • What do you do?

  • How are you doing it? Do you use any tools to make you more efficient? Do you have knowledge that could make a difference in the service you provide? Do you look at a problem in a different way from others in your industry?

  • When did you start? Have you been working in this area for a while, and if not what sets you apart from your more experienced competition?

You get bonus points if you can answer these questions in story-form, especially if you’ve got a good one. Did your frustration with badly written web copy drive you to create a course to teach people to write better web copy? Then tell your customers that. It’s way more intimate and enlightening than just saying “I write good. Come take my ecourse on writing.”

 You can also provide an answer for the pain point you sooth, or the need you fill. What do they get out of it? Will their new website provide them with more traffic, make it easier for their customers to find the answers they need, and generate more sales for their company? Then make sure that goes in your description.

 Use Bullet Points, Headlines, and Lots of Paraghaphs

Don’t be afraid to use bullets, headlines, and lots of paragraphs to break the description up. This makes your description easier to read.

NOTE: the headlines will not come across as being bigger (or underlined or bolded) in your Facebook description but it will create some much-needed space that makes your description easier to read.

If you use Word to write your description, your bullet points will come across just fine. Though you may need to go back in and add an extra line between the paragraph before the bullet points. For some reason, copying and pasting from Word removes this.

Play Friendly With the Search Engines

If you are working towards search engine optimization, you have a unique opportunity to add in those keywords to your description. Be careful how many places you insert your keywords. You don’t want to stuff your description full of them. Not only is it bad for search engine optimization, but it’s also makes your description sound terrible!

While we’re on that subject, make sure that your description does not start to sound overly-formal or awkward when you add in the keywords. There’s a delicate balance between making your description readable and making sure the search engines like it.

Put Your Website Link Or Other Important Contact Info Within the First Couple of Lines

Do this only if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location or you do most of your business from your website. By inserting a link or email address into the first part of your description, you’ll ensure that it appears (and is clickable) just below the cover photo on your Facebook Page.

Tips To Design Your Facebook Call To Action Cover Photo

Update: Facebook has done away with the 20% text rule for Cover Photos. You do still have to be careful if you’re running ads in the newsfeed though. If you are, then you’ll still want to be within the 20% text rule, as it might still apply.


 

Facebook has once again made a change to the guidelines for cover photos on your Facebook Page. When Facebook first launched the “Timeline” design for Pages, they decided to make it against the rules to put a “Call to Action” on the cover photo. This was a huge disappointment for a lot of businesses, because a cover photo is prime real estate that can be used to guide your followers to take an action on your Page, such as clicking on a custom tab, Facebook contest, or even getting them to call you. Marketers and businesses were forced to get clever with their “call to action” designs or they designed cover photos for branding purposes only. Now, Facebook has changed the rules again. You can not only put a call to action (such as an arrow with the words “click below to enter our contest”) but you can also add your contact information. Not allowing contact information on a cover photo was also a rule Facebook had.

Awesome! What Kind of Call to Action is Good for a Facebook Cover Photo?

Focus on what you want to promote. Are you running a Facebook or other contest? Are you having a sale? Do you have a newsletter sign up page or other custom app you would like to promote? Honestly, the options are endless here. It all comes down to making a decision and then getting the cover photo designed so that it looks great and your call to action will stand out!

But! There’s Always a But!

However, this change to the Faceboook Cover Photo guidelines also comes on the heels of their earlier change: covers may not include images with more than 20% text. This is a direct quote from their guidelines. So what does this mean? Basically, you can add your contact information and any calls to action you want, but you need to make sure that the information covers 20% or less of your image. For those of you without math or design backgrounds, that’s 1/5 of your photo or less.

What Happens If My Text Covers More Of My Cover Photo?

Good question. If you don’t run any ads on Facebook, the most that can happen, is that Facebook will remove your cover photo. At that point you can have it redesigned and reuploaded. But, if you are running ads on Facebook, you’ll want to make sure that your cover photo plays by the rules. Facebook reviews the ads that businesses make, so the chances of you getting it past the moderators is slim to none. Also, who wants to redesign something in the middle of a campaign (especially if that campaign has a time-limit on it)?

Here’s a great resource that mirrors what Facebook uses to check a cover photo against their guidelines. All you need to do is upload your photo and then click the boxes where the text appears (make sure you click a box even if there’s a tiny bit of text in it). If your text appears in 5 boxes or less, you should be in the clear. If the text appears in more than 5 boxes, you’ll need to adjust the text.

We used this free resource to check a cover photo we designed very recently for a client who wanted to promote signing up to their newsletter. As you can see (in the screenshots below) it has a nice call-to-action near the bottom promoting the newsletter signup. The first picture is a screenshot of us checking the cover photo with the tool and finding out that the text covered too much of the photo. The second picture is a screenshot of us rechecking the cover photo and finding out that it’s now in the clear.

Cover Photo Not Within Parameters

Facebook Cover Photo

Cover Photo Within Parameters

Facebook Cover Photo

And Finally!

So, for those of you who want to save a little time, I have a nice resource for you! We created a Photoshop file based on the grid that you see in the online resource. If you use Photoshop, all you need to do is open it up and hide everything except the “Facebook Guides” group. We do also have the guides setup correctly in the file, if you like to use those. Hopefully this resource will save you even more time in determining whether your Cover Photos fit within the 20% rule. You can download this resource by putting in your email address below.

Download this free Photoshop template by filling out the form to the right.

Download this free Photoshop template by filling out the form to the right.

Put in your email address to download the free resource. We hate spam too! We'll only email you if you say we can. 🙂

 

The Correct Way to Use Pictures On Your Facebook Page

using photos on facebook the right wayAre you guilty of using those “previews” of pictures from the stock photo sites on your Facebook Page? You can see an example to the right. After all, it’s easy to “save image as” and then post it. You didn’t even have to pay for it!

Stop! Before you add that picture to your Facebook photos, you need to know a few things.

You Are Stealing Artist’s Work

Yes, that’s right. Artists depend on these stock photo sites to help them distribute their work to a wider audience. Every time you use a picture that you didn’t pay for (even if it’s the preview) you are taking money away from those artists. In other words, you’re stealing.
Let’s look at it in another light. What would you do if someone came into your store and shoplifted? You’d probably call the cops, right?
Don’t be swayed by the fact that a digital download of a photo is not a “physical item”. That doesn’t matter in the least. Stealing applies to digital as well as physical products.
 

You’re In Violation Of The Sites Terms of Service

You might not know it, but using a preview of a picture for marketing purposes is against those stock photo sites terms of service. This time the problem is with digital rights. Artists “sell” the digital right to their work to stock photo sites in exchange for royalties and increased promotion. By using the photos without paying for them you are committing copyright infringement.

 

What Can Happen?

Well, other than the obvious jail time and fines, you could also lose access to your Facebook Page. If someone reports you to Facebook, they have every right to take your Page down (check out #5-Protecting Other People’s Rights). Also, if some blogger or news organization finds out, you can kiss your reputation goodbye.

 

I Don’t Give A Damn About My Bad Reputation

I’ve seen what happens when businesses’ failures are subject to the internet’s share buttons. Not only is it bad news for any future marketing efforts, but you could lose a lot of money and business over something that is easily fixed.

 

How to Fix It

Use stock photos on Facebook the right way by following these three steps.
Step 1: Delete all offending photos from your Facebook Page. Yes, you’ll lose the impact, but that could be a good thing in this case.
Step 2: Purchase or find alternate free pictures to use. I wrote a blog post recently with links to some great free photo sites.
Step 3: Thank your lucky stars that you found out about this before someone else did.
P.S. Yes, I did take a screenshot of a Facebook Page that was doing just this and I have contacted them about it. We’ll see if it makes a difference…