Category Archives: Facebook

Why Facebook is Where You Need to Be

A bunch of data on the Internet in recent days confirms it:  Facebook is where you need to be if you want people to know about you and what you’re doing.  Facebook is surpassing Yahoo! on a number usage measures and is slowly gaining on Google.

Consider the following:

  • Americans spend more time on Facebook. The Nielson Company reports that the average American spent just under 6 1/2 hours on Facebook in February, 2010, compared to approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes on Yahoo!, which came in second.
  • Americans get a growing amount of information from Facebook. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle underscores how Americans are doing less navigating of the Internet on their own and more navigating and making choices based on recommendations from friends.  Facebook is a big part of this.  For example, Techcrunch reports that 44% of the items shared on the web in the past month were shared on Facebook.  (The next closest was Twitter at 29%.)
  • Facebook is starting to challenge Google as the most visited website.  According to Experian Hitwise, Facebook received 7.07% of all Internet visits during the week ending March 13th—more than Google, which received only 7.03%.  This happened once before, during the Holidays in 2009, and experts expect that it will continue to happen.
  • Facebook is a constant in the lives of many Americans. Consider the recent study , for example, that reported that 30% of social media users say they check for new posts during the night!

Facebook is where people are looking for information and finding it.  If you’re not there, you should be.

13 Etiquette Rules for Scheduling a Post

It’s easy to schedule social media posts so that they appear automatically when you’re busy or traveling.  WordPress lets you schedule posts to appear in the future, Twitter lets you automate direct messages, and applications like Sendible and Ping.fm let you pre-post to just about any social media site you belong to.

But just because something is technically possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. The ability to automate your posts can be a huge convenience for busy professionals, but used in the wrong way, it can be a nuisance, an insult to friends and followers, or even unethical.

If you plan to schedule your posts, keep these considerations in mind:

  1. Don’t send an automated Direct Message to everyone who follows you on Twitter, especially one that says something like “check out my website” or “buy my product.”  It’s inauthentic and many people on Twitter hate those automatic DMs.
  2. Don’t autopost every Twitter message to Facebook or LinkedInTwitter followers expect frequent posts all day long, but constant posting can be annoying on Facebook or LinkedIn.
  3. Honor the application.  If you must post to several sites at once, make sure your post is relevant.  A message that’s perfectly OK on Facebook, for example, may be highly inappropriate on Linkedin.   Likewise, lengthy blog posts sent to Twitter are silly.
  4. Don’t repeat the same Twitter message over and over again.  It turns you into a pest.  Repeating Twitter messages to impact the workday in other time zones is OK, but limit your repeats to 3 or 4 spaced 8-10 hours apart.
  5. Don’t schedule automatic posts so that they come one after another.  Instead, space them throughout the day.
  6. Never use automatic posting to fake, deceive, or pretend you’re something or somewhere that you’re not.
  7. Beware of autoposting schemes that will use your account to spam friends and followers.
  8. Avoid autoposting schemes that scrape or steal content from other people and post it as yours.  If an autoposting service is offering some spectacular result that seems too good to be true—it’s probably not true.
  9. Don’t use autoposting exclusively.  Use it from time to time when your schedule keeps you from posting when you want to, but be sure to also post live so you can interact with others.
  10. Don’t autofollow everyone on Twitter who follows you.  Instead, interact in a personal way with as many new followers as you can.  Remember, its called social networking for a reason.
  11. Don’t just set it and forget it.  Monitor your autoposts to be sure they’re presenting you in the way you intended.
  12. By default, autoposting is about me (what I’m reading, what I’ve written, what I’m doing), but social networking should really be about others.  This is one more reason to limit your autoposting and to interact live.
  13. It’s OK to use automatic birthday reminders, but be caring and real enough to send a live birthday message to friends instead of one you schedule in advance.

What else should be included?

What Bloggers Can Learn from “Facebook Lite”

blogNot long ago Facebook rolled out a lite version created for users in countries where connections are slow and bandwidth is small. But during testing, they discovered that the lite version was quite popular with American users, too.

Facebook Lite (www.lite.facebook.com), which is currently only available in the U.S. and India, features smaller type, fewer ads, and no applications, pages, or groups.  It lets you quickly and easily see what’s happening with your friends without having to take in lots of other information, and I for one love it.  Facebook Lite might even make me a regular Facebook user.

As Mike Elgan at Computeworld points out, Facebook Lite is growing in popularity for the same reason Google trumps Yahoo and Twitter is a wild success:  simplicity.  Simplicity works every time.  We like cool stuff, but we like it even better when it has a clean design, a straightforward approach, and it’s easy to use.

The same concept applies to your blog and your website.   Too much stuff flashing, waving, blinking, or talking will drive your readers crazy.  Too many choices will confound them.  It’s OK if it’s fun, or unique, or different as long as it’s easy to use. People want information without having to fight for it.  If your site is too much trouble, they’ll find another one.

So, today, make an honest assessment of your website.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it simple to navigate?
  • Can people find what they’re looking for?
  • Does it have the features you would want?
  • Is it loaded up with too much stuff?
  • Does it have a unique perspective?  That is, is there a reason to visit your site rather than someone else’s?
  • Does it give visitors a reason to bookmark it or to come back again?
  • If you stumbled across your website, would you stop and look, or would you just keep going?

Grab Your Vanity URL

URLDid you get your vanity URL on Facebook?  If you didn’t, you may still be able to get the one you want.  It’s at least worth a try.  But before we discuss how to do that, let’s talk about what a vanity URL is and why you might want one.

If you use the Internet, you use URLs all the time.  The URL (short for Uniform Resource Locator) is the global address for documents and resources on the World Wide Web.  For example, www.google.com is the URL for the Google website.

The URL for LinkedIn’s homepage is www.linkedin.com and LinkedIn automatically assigns a unique URL to each user’s profile.  The URL it assigns, however, is full of random characters and is difficult to remember and not so appealing on a business card.  Here’s an example of a URL that was automatically assigned to one agent’s profile.

Longer_URL

Longest_URL

But who’s going to type all that in when they want to see the agent’s online résumé on LinkedIn?  So LinkedIn gives users the option of changing their URL to something like:
www.LinkedIn.com/in/saundrawashington

How to Get Your URL

To get your vanity URL in LinkedIn (assuming you already have a profile on LinkedIn):

  1. Log on to LinkedIn
  2. Click on “Accounts & Settings”near the top of the screen
  3. Scroll down to “Public Profile” and click
  4. Choose one of the suggestions offered by LinkedIn or create one of your own (Your custom-created URL must be 5-30 characters—letters and numbers but no spaces, symbols, or special characters.)
  5. Click the “Set Address” button to save your selection

To get your vanity URL in Facebook (assuming you already have an account)

  1. Navigate to www.facebook.com/username
  2. Select the username Facebook recommends or create one of your own (click “Check Availability” to see if the one you want is available).
  3. Click “Confirm” to save your selection

Now that you have your vanity URL, add it to your business card, your e-mail signature, and anywhere else you show your contact information so friends and clients will be able to find your profiles easily.