Sunday, October 30, 2011

Social Media Spammer

Social Media is an amazing space. Here you will find folks who promise a huge Fan Following for you. No doubt there are people who can do this however there are people who merely are scamming around and / or having bots. The result is that your Page / Blog Site has an overnight fame and then it eventually vanishes. The whole idea of Social Media is to grow slowly and chronologically and then to sustain this. The rush to achieve more people in a short span of time is understandable however keep a lookout for people who can give you false promises.

Here are some people that you may want to check in a little more detail before you give your project to them:
  • You could be promised that they will get you a great following. One of the most simple method for you is to check their own Social Media Page and see the following that they have. If they can get you 5000 people then why do they on their own Page have very few following? You need to get a clarity here.
  • It would be great if you could request references and know what people have to say. Today with LinkedIn and such other platform it is easy to request for references the question is why has your expert not got any.
  • Social Media requires a strategy. This is part of the whole strategy. Strategy depends on individual case. Strategy comes from understanding Mindset of Target Audience, Competitors, the Product Category and the Brand.  Hence being sold on a package does not really hold good. If there are ready made packages then how do you say that there is strategy in this.
  • Beware of people who at the first instinct say that you need to be present on many Social Media platform. Ask them what is important to spread thinly or to go deep.
  • It is always a good feeling to have lots of Followers and Fans. The question here is how many are your core real target is important. The question here is quantity or quality?
  • If they claim that they will get you your Competitor Community Members in a month's time you need to perhaps be afraid. You could get banned.
  • Being active on Social Media is different from generating leads and Business.
  • If you are being promised of viral spread be very careful. Id it a 20 minute of fame only that you are being promised?
  • Social Media is an extension of your Brand Personality. If people do not take time out to understand your Brand and its environment then how will they Post / Behave as per your Brand Personality?
  • If you are being told that more the number of Fans and Followers - this will create more sales. You need to re-think did this person understand your Business?
  • If your person has not asked on who your Target Audience is and what is your Market then you need to re-think; is this the right person to handle your Social Media?
  • If they are starting without having a mutual agreement on how will they tackle negative comments then you need to know that you are not in safe hands.
  • If your person has no clue on how to monitor your Social Media then you need ask the person for a format they follow.
  • It is important that your Social Media personnel has had a good discussion with you on Keywords and SEO.
What are you pointers - share them here.

Good to read:

My Business Page is on Facebook at: Do join me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Makes Your Facebook Page Get Banned - Social Media

Do you work a lot on Facebook to sell your Brand / Business? This is well appreciated since this is strong platform to get into Community Engagement mode. Add to this most people seem to be on Facebook. What's more is that Search Engines do like Facebook.

Facebook has its own rules and guidelines on what you are allowed to do and what will get your Brand / Business Page banned. The rules are not too difficult to understand however they end up making you ask what then can you do. Banning of your Page can be a little troublesome for you, reason being that you may find it difficult to get your Page back.

There are Five audiences that can flag you and get you banned:

  • Facebook algorithms recognizing your footprints on Facebook as going against their rules
  • By Community Members of your Page
  • By your Personal Profile Page Network
  • By Other Pages where you join
  • By Members of the other Pages where you have joined
Below is what you should avoid and what you could do on your Facebook Brand / Business Page:
  • On and From your Brand / Business and Profile Page:
    • As much you may be tempted do not send out unnecessary and too many newsletters. This is a space where even if Facebook does not ban you - your Community Members will flag you and unsubscribe from your Page.
    • Posting too many marketing Links will get you flagged by Facebook. This is done so that Brand and Business Pages do not turn out to be a nuisance to people. Your Community Members have joined you for various reasons - 99% of the time they have not joined you to be bombarded with sales messages.
    • Posting too often the same Link will immediate tell the algorithms at Facebook that here is spammer.
    • Sending out requests to join via 'Invite Friends' button leaves you very much in the hate list of your Network and Facebook as well.
    • Copy and pasting the same information around.
    • Your Page for the Brand or Business should be created from your Personal Profile Page not from a pseudo name or corporate name. This Profile Page should be real and not fictitious. In other words you should be traced in the real world if required. Naturally this does not mean you give out too much Personal information that can cause crime.
    • You can have multiple Pages for your different Brands and Business all of them should be from that one original real Personal Profile Page.
    • You cannot have multiple Profile Pages.
    • Do no go on making friends spree from your Personal Profile Page.
    • Do not Post Copy-write matter. If you do the give the credit line. Do not claim it as your own in any manner whatsoever. This means that - your not claiming and not giving it a credit line either can be misunderstood as your matter / content is also wrong.
    • Your Brand and Business Page name should be real and not general qualifiers like for instance Pizzas. Your campaign name and/or regional or demographic qualifiers are acceptable
  • Using your Page as the 'Use Facebook as Page':
    • This is great function that Facebook has brought in. However use this wisely.
    • Posting your link all over gets you not only on the hit list of Facebook but also by other Pages and Community Members of other Pages.
    • Giving unnecessary comment and not adding value to the other Pages that you seem to be trampling on will make your own page get flagged. You will be recognized as spammer by the other Pages and their Community Members as well.
    • Copy and Pasting the same information around all Pages that you have joined.
  • Running Promotions / Contests / Sweepstakes / Discounts / Offers etc on your Facebook Page:
    • Promotions that are leading people to take action on your or their Facebook Page calls for Facebook to cut you out. Examples are:
      • Click like and join us and get / win ....
      • Post a comment and get / win ....
      • Tag the photos and get / win ....
      • Get members and get / win .....
      • Click like on this Post and get / win ....
      • Upload a photo on our Wall and get / win ....
      • The 100th Fan will get / win ....
      • Mention this Page on your Wall and get / win ....
      • Etc
    • Promotions should have a open disclosure that in no way Facebook is responsible for the same - its logic, deliverables, content and so on.
    • You cannot use any of the Facebook functionality as a voting mechanism
      • For instance like and vote your voice
    • You cannot notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook Messages, Chat, or Posts on Profiles (timelines) or Pages.
    • If you wish to interact / collect any information then you need to have an application for this. The application developed needs to comply to Facebook rules for applications and developers. This means that judging entries, notifying winners, collecting entries, conducting a competition etc all need an application.
    • You can randomly select a Community Member - this means that there was no contest or competition etc.
    • For third party applications you can get them ready made online or create your own. Both ways the application and the developer needs to comply with the general and special rules of Facebook. Special rules are made for developers to adhere to.
    • A simple way to go about is have your contest, competition or discounts and offers run on your Blog or Site. You are allowed to give the Link as a Post. Announce that this is in no way is endorsed, sponsored, administered or associated with or by Facebook.
  • If you do collect information from users, then you need to take their consent, and make it very clear that it is you and not Facebook who is collecting their information, and post a privacy policy explaining what information you wish to collect and how you plan to use it.
  • Use applications wherein the developers have met with the Facebook terms and conditions meant for developers.
  • Any Third party advertisements on Pages are very strictly prohibited. Ads or commercial content on Pages must comply with Facebook Advertising Guideline.
  • And finally: Facebook has the right to amend / change the rules anytime.
The rules are simple. Are they not? Still need more information?
Bottom line is that Facebook should not be involved directly or indirectly in whatever you do. It is your liability. Simply put if there is winner involved, if there is give away monetary non-monetary then you need to follow the rules tightly.

My Business Page is on Facebook at: Do join me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is Social Media Still A Riddle?

If you are still wondering if your Business and Brand should be on the Social Media scenario then the answer is yes if your Customers and Clients are online and on the Social Media Platform then you too should be.

Social Media gives you the flexibility of doing things on the spot and changing them if you do not receive the relevant feedback that you may desire. This flexibility is due to the internet wherein you can do changes online in the real time. Knowing this increases your responsibility even more. You cannot work in a haphazard manner and bank on changing things. Remember what you Post and what you may upload will remain for a long time. It is like footprints which cannot be erased.

The good part about Social Media is that you can actually reach out to your Target Audience. You can contact them, you can connect and have a conversation with them. You can get to understand and know what makes them have a positive feel towards your Business and Brand. You can get to know what makes them negative towards your Brand and Business. It is essential to track the conversations taking place. Only then you will be able to weave your way into their heart.

You cannot afford to not be on Social Media. Your Customer and Clients are talking, you may acknowledge this fact or not.

There are a couple of Social Media Platforms that you may want to use so that you can have a healthy Social media environment for your Business and Brand:
Additionally join the industry based forums and sites where you can connect with people from the same category and similar mindset. Have healthy discussions here. Please do not go spamming around.

When you do plan the Platforms that you may want to use you need to keep in mind your Brand and Business Personality, Keywords, SEO, Consumer Mindset and so on.

What is your experience with Social Media -  do share it here.

My Business Page is on Facebook at: Do join me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Websites, Emails, Chats, Forums, Social Media, Clouds, QR Codes

Twenty years back having your Business and Brand in the virtual world was not a very digestible thought. Being on Social Media was not even thought of. People had started with the dot com [.com]. Unfortunately a lot of mishaps took place and the online world was seen with a lot of suspicion. This was not a wrong perception, there were many people who went all out and scammed on the net. People had made investments. There were people who trusted with a lot of money. Unfortunately they were taken for a ride and no one was able to track the criminals and the fraudulent party.

Along with all this, emails as a communication tool had grown wide and strong. We all depend on them today as well. They are great for personal and professional communication. The world was loosing boundaries.

In this era came the chat sessions. We had the famous Yahoo and MSN Chat. A simple peer to peer encoding and decoding. This was when the world become small. Distances minimized. People were chatting in real time with their near and dear ones.

After this episode came the certification era when people would look out for
VeriSign Authentication SSL Certificate and similar encrypting gateway systems. Having the VeriSign Authentication SSL told people that they could engage in communications and e-commerce online with confidence as the required safety concerns were taken care of. This initiated the era of online payment gateway system. You could do safe shopping online.

Simultaneously the Forum Platforms were getting strong. There were Forums for practically everything. You have them from how to do various things, to medicine, to aunt agony and so on.

Slowly but steadily online transactions were getting stronger. The Banks also joined this and online banking was the progress that we as a society made.

While all this was going on the mobile industry was well into a developed stage. Games were anyway an addiction on cell phones. Along with this people started to think of having mobile as a means of shopping and online banking as well.

When all teething problems were addressed in came the Network scenario. This is in today's time called Social Networking. Networking started in a small but definite way. It had started long back. Emails are part of it. Chat is also a part of it. The websites that had people logging in and having an Online Community is also a part of Social scenario. Forums are also a part of this.

Approximately six years back Facebook came. It started off as just a teenage Networking site. No one then would have imagined that this would make and break Brands and Business. No one imagined that money would be made from here. No one thought that CEO would look at it. No one imagined that an industry was about to start off and perhaps will remain for many decades to comes.

Social Media platforms like ORKUT was already in existence and many people were looking at this. Somehow Facebook got the better deal and became more promising. Since then every year many Networking Platforms come and close down. Facebook has remained and has grown bigger and stronger.

We have now reached a stage where it is simple to estimate if your Brand and Business should be on Social Media. If your Clients and Customers are online then you too need to be online. If they are active on Social Media Platforms then you too need to have Page there.

While this is going great we have Cloud Computing. A single space to put all your data so that you no longer need to have huge servers with heavy infrastructure.

We have QR codes as well now wherein a single image leads us to the site and information. You simply have to scan the image with your cell phone and you will land on the desired site. This could be a Website, Blog or a Social Media Page as well.

My Business Page is on Facebook at: Do join me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Acquisition, Retention, And Building Loyalty In Social Media

There are three important criteria while working on Social Media:
  • Acquisition
  • Retention
  • Building Loyalty
This is the process of getting new people on-board. This is the phase where you bring in new Customers and Clients.
In order to get people on-board you will need to make a Business decision if you want to do aggressive marketing or have a subtle chronological effort. There are a couple of ways in which you could look at Acquisition:

  • Forums: Join the industry / category based Forums. Forums have a good format of automatic giving your links in your signature. These are really good platforms if used properly. Do not spam.
  • Competitors: Many a times joining competitors is good. You know what the industry is doing. Please be extremely careful here. The idea is not to steal / pinch their Community Members. The idea is to give constructive discussions and add to the value that they are trying to give. You could join their Community on their Sites, join their Blogs, Join and add to their Facebook content, be on their Twitter and  LinkedIn.
  • Online Advertisements: The other way is to recommend to your Clients on giving out online advertisements. Facebook has an amazing concept of Sponsored Advertising and so on. Use these constructively. There is not much of money involved in the initial stages. What you need to know and do is target the advertisements in a correct manner by way of selecting the right Target Audience and their Target Market / Geography along with a message that will generate a desirable response. You can also look at online banner advertising and so on. These also can create new Customers and Clients. Online advertising can be have various formats to it. There are various sites offering various banner sizes and platforms. For instance you can have floating banners and so on.
  • Commenting: Commenting on various Blogs, Articles, Posts etc is a great way to encourage people into looking at you and your Links.
  • Offline Spread: Offline methods are also great to get you Clients and Customers. Advice your Clients to have your online Links on every document sent out. This could be envelopes, bills, invoices, advertisements, hoardings, tv, radio, visiting cards, letter heads and so on.
  • Software Templates: Have templates created for Emails and other software like Microsoft Word documents and so on containing the Online Links.
  • Reference And Endorsement: There is another method to get new Clients and Customers: This is the referral and endorsement system. If you have done satisfactory work with your ongoing Customers and Clients then there is a huge chance of them recommending you to their Network. If this takes place there is nothing better. However when you do get new Business from your existing Business sources you have a greater responsibility. People recommending others are putting their reputation to test as well. If you fail then they will be displeased as well. So be careful here.
  • More From Existing Clients And Customers: Additionally if your existing Clients and Customers are happy then they in turn will give you more business, your scope of work will be increased.
  • QR Codes: With the help of QR Codes you can make a long URL printed in the offline world easy to connect with your Social Media Page.
These are few of the ways in which you could look at Acquisition.

This is the process of maintaining the existing Clients and Customers. After you get Clients and Customers you need to deliver to them the desired results. There is a lot that goes into delivering the right results at the right time and at the right price. There are a couple of tips that you could use so that you can retain your Social Media Community:

  • Privileged Feeling: You need to give your Clients and Customers a feeling of being privileged.
    • This could be done by giving them great discounts and sales information.
    • You could let them have the first peek at new launches.
    • Let them be the first to know what is taking place behind the scenes.
    • If you are managing Celebrity then let them have a chance to connect with your Celebrity.
    • If there is a new announcement that you will coming out with let your Community know first.
  • Belonging Feeling: Let your Customers and Clients get the feeling of belonging to your Inner Circle.
    • Encourage them to speak and to share.
    • Let them know that they are a part of your Family.
    • Let them share their experience with your product.
    • Appreciate a good comment. Make it a point to address a negative remark.
  • Share information that can help them. See when and on what do they re-act.
  • Monitor and check on feedback.
  • Listen in to what they are talking. Add if you can deliver value.
These are few of the ways in which you could look at Retention.

Building Loyalty: 
If you have managed to retain your Clients and Customers well then getting them to be a little more attached and loyal to you / your Brand or Business should not be a far away dream. Building Loyalty is a life long process. It is a feeling that people have towards your Brand or Business. Loyalty is not a destination; in the sense you cannot really say that you have attained Loyal Clients and Customers so there is nothing else to be done. Anything going down on the Retention graph directly hampers your Loyalty graph.

What are your points to build on Acquisition, Retention and Loyalty.

My Business Page is on Facebook at: Do join me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Social Media Networking Is A Win - Win Situation

Networking is an integral part of Social Media. It is essential that you know what it takes to enable healthy Networking in the online world. Networking in the virtual world is almost similar to the Networking in the real world. The difference is obvious that while in the real world you are able to meet on a Face to Face basis while in the virtual world there is video conferencing and so on.

The power of your online Network can be tremendous if you are able to retain and maintain it on a day to day regular basis.

Networking can best work when you have a good win - win situation. Networking is about mutual benefit. For instance you cannot ask for favors and tell people to buy your products or sell them for you. Just asking people to do something will not work. You need to answer this: what have you given and done for your Network. Have you helped them? Without being asked many times have you got two people connected so that they could mutually benefit? Have you shared valuable information with them? How have you contributed towards the persons in your Network?

There are some good pointers when to keep in mind when you are looking at your online Social Network:
  • Having a good conversation is great on Social Networking. Please do not get too inquisitive about their personal lives. Also do not get inquisitive on what crises they are facing in their professional lives. Check what is their hobby and what work they do. Have tertiary conversations.
  • Avoid arguments. It only leads to ego clashes. Have healthy discussions. This does not mean that you become a yes man. In doing this you will loose your respect. Gently disagree if you must.
  • Check how best you can be of help to them. Here is the catch. Do not sound too helpful. Do not sound as if you are doing a huge favor. Helping people is the key to healthy relations. Help can be given in various ways: You could help by listening to them. You could help by getting two people professionally connected with each other from / via your Network. Help can be given by sharing a great article that you may think will be beneficial to them.
  • When you have done something for someone you need to check and see if it made sense to them. Did it help them? You will need to have a system of follow up. It is essential that you have a feedback. Be open to having negative replies as well. Do not shy away from negative comments. Understand what went wrong. Reply to them. If need be reply after half an hour so that you can stabilize your emotions and then reply.
Your turn - what are your Social Media Networking pointers?

My Business Page is on Facebook at: Do join me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why Do People 'Like' And 'UnLike' On Facebook? - Social Media

When people 'Like' a particular Page on Facebook they are expressing the fact that they want to 'connect'. Connecting with your Page does not always mean that you are really liked or people are passionate about you / your Brand / your Business. For instance people could have connected to voice a grievance as they may have not as yet got a suitable reply from your customer care, or from the number of emails that they may have sent to your office.

What this Post goes on to share is that there are number of reasons why people connect with
you / your Brand / your Business Page on Facebook. It is essential that you understand these reasons and behave in tandem with them.

There are a couple of reasons why people would 'Like'
and 'UnLike' you / your Brand / your Business Page on Facebook:
  • They most certainly do not wish to be bombarded with your rantings and sales messages.
  • They do not want you to interfere into their Wall on Facebook especially when they are not really active on your Page. If they are active then it is good to be occasionally conversing.
  • People join to have exclusive information. Give them the privileged of knowing things in advance and before hand. Let them be the first to know and let them feel they belong to your Community.
  • They join you to have special offers and discounts that others may not be able to avail if they are not on your Facebook Business Page.
  • If you have a celebrity Page then people join so that they can interact with the celebrity.
  • They definitely would not like you prying onto their friends and Network.
  • Please note that there are certain set of mindsets that would like to be associated and have the expression of joining a particular Page. They are not expecting discounts and other perks.
  • Some join so that your Page could be seen on their information and Profile Page. This takes place if your Page holds esteem value. If your Page is what people want to be seen with then they will join.
  • Sometimes people join so that they can share your information in their Network. They feel that the information that you Post is good and valuable for their Network.
  • If people are not aware of 'why should they join' then perhaps they do not see the reason to join and the subsequent action is that they do not join.
What are your reasons to 'Like' and 'UnLike' the Pages on Facebook?

Reading that may be of interest to you:
My Business Page is on Facebook at: Do join me.