August 27, 2013

Facebook Changes Contest and Promotions Guidelines!

Shocking News!! Some thoughts on this change.....
1) Never expected this... 

2) This has to be related to the recent algorithm change. We wondered why Facebook would suddenly focus on punishing brand posts that ask for comments, likes and shares. Really easy to connect the dots here.

3) It may be within the rules, but we will see a lot MORE spammy, poorly done contests floating around FB . See #2.

4) While it makes a lot of sense to now run some small contests this way, keep in mind the benefits of third party app contests that collect email addresses. Third party apps still have their place. 

5) And, no, this doesn't kill third party apps. Third party apps will continue to thrive, even third party contest apps. And other apps are still necessary/helpful for creating tabs that aren't contest related (landing tabs for ads, product features, ebook, newsletter signup, etc.).

6) It's all about selling more ads

7) FB also gave up on trying to enforce "rogue" contests (when they realized they didn't have enough man power to police it AND they figured out they could make more money on ads this way. 

8) Third party apps will adapt to provide timeline post contest apps that collect emails and function much the way their app/tabs do now...

9) This will actually open up some new creative and effective ways to run contests

June 19, 2013

How To See What YOU Want in YOUR Facebook Newsfeed!

Are you seeing all updates from the Pages you've Liked? Chances are you don't have the settings correct.

By default, when you Like a Page, Facebook sets the amount of updates you'll see in your News to "Most Updates". You need to manually change it to "All Updates" if you want to see the majority of posts from that Page. You still won't see 100% of their updates, but you'll definitely see more of them if you select "All Updates".

Step 1: Mouse over the "Liked" button for the Page and make sure, "Show in News Feed" is checked. You may also want to turn on "Get Notifications" so you'll get a notification every time that Page posts an update.

Step 2: If "Show in News Feed" is checked you'll also see a "Settings..." option. Click on "Settings..." and if "Most Updates" is checked, change it to "All Updates".

BTW, this applies to your friends profiles as well.

Please share this post with your friends or fans. I know many of you are savvy about Facebook settings, but most of your friends probably aren't.

June 17, 2013

Image sizes for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube

Thanks to the folks at Tent Social 
for this great infographic! 

Social Media Design Dimensions - An infographic by the team at Social Media Design Dimensions

April 9, 2013

How To Shorten Your URL Links

It has become very popular to shorten long URLs (or web addresses), for a variety of reasons. When the URL you are sharing is a long string of letters and numbers, it can easily get broken, is difficult to remember and can’t be pronounced. It’s not easy to share that long link with others. At times, using a link shortener service that takes a web address and translates it into a much shorter length is the right thing to do.

Here’s a quick rundown of a few of the best services: is the most widely used service. It shortens links and also allows you to track and analyze how many people have clicked each link and where they came from. The custom links feature allows you to choose keywords to make the shortened link memorable.

Tiny.url is another service that has been around a long time and is used by many people. 

Google has a public system, called that shortens your links as well, but all tracking and information about your links is available to everyone.

Bud.url, is not free, but has additional analytics and customer service features that make it worth the $8 monthly price.

If you are considering shortening your links simply for posting on Twitter, you needn’t bother. Twitter automatically shortens every link posted using their own shortener. The advantage to this is that placing your cursor over a link will show you the longer link so that you can avoid links that look like spam.  

Links from Facebook also automatically shorten into one of 3 formats:, and; so links from Facebook can be taken care of without the use of a shortening service.

January 26, 2013

Ezine or Blog? Making the Right Choice For Your Business..

Clients often ask me whether you should have just a blog or just an ezine...

My answer… you need both!

And here’s why:
Creating a blog post is much easier to do than going down the whole ezine publication route; however, as you do not know who is reading your blog you cannot begin to build a relationship with the reader in the same way you can when publishing an ezine.  Therefore you are missing out on building the like, know, and trust factor that is so important for a business owner.  That said, a blog is also an essential online communication tool simply because there are some people who do not wish to subscribe to a regular newsletter, but will subscribe to a blog’s RSS Feed.

RSS Feed?  Put simply, anyone can come along to your blog, and subscribe to your RSS feed thereby receiving any blog posts that you submit as soon as you submit them.  By not publishing a blog you are missing out on this whole other target market reach.

My preferred tool for blogging is WordPress.  Each time you post to your blog, you're creating fresh content for your website, which the search engines love, and all of this goes towards improving your search engine rankings.

A blog allows you to interact with your target market as readers can leave comments.  However, as it’s not directly delivered to your target market’s inbox, it can be much harder to develop a relationship.

So let’s just take a look at some of the pros/cons of a blog vs. a newsletter:
  • You can really show off your expertise by posting on a regular basis.
  • Blog posts don’t need to be very long – approx. 200-350 words.
  • If you have some important information to share, you can instantly create a post – no waiting for your next newsletter to make your announcement!
  • If you use a blogging platform such as WordPress, this is hosted on your website.  Each time you post to your blog you are creating fresh content for your website, which the search engines love!
  • You need to post regularly – at least once a week, or a bare minimum of once a month – in order for this to be an effective marketing strategy.
  • You need to have a strategy that will help you write fresh content regularly.
  • It can be difficult to build a direct relationship with your blog reader.
When And How Often To Post
Now, this can be a dilemma.  It’s important that you post to your blog regularly in order to provide fresh content to the search engines; some experts say you should be posting at least two to three times a week!
Now that’s a big commitment if you’re not really a writer, so here’s what I advise to get your blog going…

Each time you publish your newsletter and write a fresh article for it, post that article on your blog.
And then try and make other posts throughout the month so you’re keeping your blog content continually updated.  Posting to a blog is not as rigid as publishing an ezine so it can be difficult to create an editorial calendar or some other system.  You want your blog posts to be spontaneous wherever possible.  You also want to have in place a sign-up box to your ezine on your blog either in the sidebar or at the bottom of every post.
Some possible topics for your blog posts:
  • Links to other blog posts of interest to your target audience
  • Any new products or services that you’ve launched
  • Any places where you’ll be speaking
  • Events that are taking place within your industry
  • An opinion that you have about something that is happening within your industry
  • Links to resources that you’ve found to be invaluable
Conclusion:  A blog + an ezine = more targeted traffic to your website, more subscribers to your list, and positions you as an expert within your niche!

How to automatically post from Facebook to Twitter

I’m all about simplifying and multitasking.  And when it comes to social media, you have to have a few tricks up your sleeve to help you to multitask your content across several platforms. There are a few third-party programs out there to do this, but I want to share one of the easiest ways to ensure that the content you write for Facebook – you know, those really great posts on your business page – can be automatically shared directly to your Twitter account.  No extra buttons, no copy-paste-repeat.  Just 60 seconds of setup time.  Love it!

Here’s how you do it:
  1. Login to Facebook
  2. Open a second browser or window tab and login to your Twitter account
  3. Click on the link and make sure that Facebook is connecting to the account that you intend to connect.
  4. Edit any settings that you wish to change like Status Updates, Photos, Video Links, Notes and Events.
  5. Click on the Link to Twitter button.
That’s it! Your Facebook will now automatically post to your Twitter account whenever you post on your connected Facebook profile.

January 9, 2013

Facebook Rolls Out Single-Column Timeline For Personal Profiles!

The new single-column Facebook Timeline is here for personal profiles... do you have it yet?  See marked-up screenshot for all the changes. They're mostly subtle changes, not hugely major... but, no more "eyeball ping-pong" reading down the two-column timeline. 

There is a lot of speculation that this will also soon apply to Facebook Business pages...

January 8, 2013

11 Key Points About Timeline for Business Pages

1. Cover Image
Dimensions for the large cover image is 851 x 315 pixels. If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size.

2. Image rules
Do not put contact info, calls to action, or arrows pointing to the Like or Share button on your cover image. Contact info should go in your about section. Text can only amount to 20% or less of your image.

3. Profile picture
Your profile picture is always a square and is displayed at 125 x 125 pixels or 150 x 150 pixels, depending on the size of someone’s screen. The photo you upload must be at least 180 x 180 pixels.

4. App URLs
Custom apps all still function, including the fan-gating feature. Each tab/app still has a unique URL so you can drive traffic from inside or outside Facebook to any ‘landing page’ you wish.

5. Showcase apps
Just below your cover image, your ‘tabs’ are now displayed as apps or views. Only the first four are always on display. The very first one is always Photos and cannot be moved.

6. Custom thumbnail
You can add a custom thumbnail image to all your apps. These are great areas to get creative and add seamless branding, calls to action, and specials.

7. Milestones
You can go back in time to add business milestones on your Timeline. When you do, these will post at the right date, and go out into the news feed of your fans and create more visibility and engagement.

8. Pin posts
Any post made by the Page can be pinned the top of the wall for up to 7 days.

9. Highlight posts
You can choose to display any post made by the Page or by others as ‘double wide’ – meaning the post spreads across both columns of the Timeline. Hover over a post and click the star icon to highlight.

10. Posts by others
Posts made by others (fans and non-fans) are in a small box at the top right called Recent Posts by Others. You can scroll in this field without leaving your wall: first click ‘More Posts’ on the lower left of the box and use your mouse wheel or the vertical scroll bar. Or click ‘See All’ for a popup box.

11. Video’s, Pictures, Questions get the most views and engagement.

Engage!!  Engage!!  Engage!!

January 2, 2013

How to Find New Blog Topics

Keeping your website content fresh is a critical component to achieving good search engine results.  The search engines prefer websites that add new content regularly.   The easiest way to do this is with your blog.

Of course, sometimes that is easier said than done.  Even the best writers suffer from writer’s block and the pressure of knowing you need to write something often makes it worse.

Here are just a few of the tricks I use to keep fresh blog ideas coming.

  • Keep a notebook where you write down potential blog topics as they you think of them.   Sometimes the best ideas come to you when you are out shopping or watching your favorite tv show but when you try to write a blog post these great ideas are forgotten.  I like to keep a notepad where write down my ideas to use later.  When ideas come to me when I'm out and about, I sometimes leave myself a voice message on my phone, or text or email myself a note. When it is time to write a post you can flip through your brilliant ideas and find a new topic to write about.  
  • Look at common customer questions about your products or services.
    Do customers seem to always ask the same questions about your products and services?  Can you answer these common questions in the form of a blog post? 
  • Look at competitor’s blogs or websites.  What information are they sharing?  Don’t be afraid of looking for ideas on other websites.  Of course you can’t copy their ideas exactly but you can use them to develop your own ideas.   
  • Look at the articles you receive in your email.  Find ideas and inspiration there, and then rewrite or write newly your view of the subject matter.
  • Look for seasonal inspiration.  Are there topics or issues that come up seasonally for your readers?
  • Ask your readers to submit questions or topics of interest.
    Quite simply, ask your readers to tell you what topics they want  you to write about.   Ask on your website, or in your newsletter. 
  • Review your analytics and find your most popular posts.
    Look at your analytics and see what posts get the most traffic or review your blog to see what posts get the most comments.  Can you expand further on the topics or write about similar type posts?
  • If all else fails, don’t be afraid to hire a copywriter.
    Let us write, edit and publish your blog posts for you.