The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Facebook and Twitter Updates April 28, 2010

If you’ve been on Facebook this week, you might have noticed this:

If you have a fan page, this change will affect you. Fan pages, in essence, don’t really exist any more. They’ll just be called “pages.” What’s the difference between “Becoming a fan” and “Liking” something? Facebook’s argument is that using the “like” feature makes things consistent across Facebook. If you have a personal profile, you have no doubt used the “like” function: it’s a kind of virtual thumbs-up or high-five when someone posts a status update that you like.

What’s the upshot? Well, I can be a little liberal with my “like”ing. I’m not as liberal with my “fanning.” Facebook seems to think that this change will increase users’ interaction with businesses who have pages. My feeling is, that numbers of what used to be “fans” will climb much quicker with the new system.

The other thing that is new about this system, and this part I think is pretty cool, is that it opens up Facebook to the web. You can, now, for example, but a Facebook Box in the sidebar of your website or blog, and one “Like” click will lead the user back to Facebook and make them your “Fan.” You can also install the “Like” button on every blog post you write, and if someone “Likes” your blog post, it will show up in their status updates (if they have opted in to allow FB to do this). This could really help to bring traffic to your website or blog–others may see it and click on the link.

To install the Like Box, go here to create the code: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like-box
Here’s a screen capture that shows you how to install it on your blog.

You can also install a “Like” button on your blog that will automatically be added to each blog post and page. This will add a little box to the bottom of that post saying that you “like” it. To do this, just do a search under Plugins–>Add new.

Here’s a more comprehensive explanation (thanks to @thenextstagemag)

Note that your WordPress blog MUST be self-hosted. They haven’t yet come up with a widget for WordPress hosted blogs that makes this simple. To see what this looks like, go to my website.

Twitter introduces the “ReTweet” button.

Late last year, Twitter introduced an automatic Retweet button. In the past, if you wanted to RT someone, you had to copy the tweet, then past it into your update, and precede it by RT@{person’s name that originated the tweet}. Now, you simply click the RT button, and it does it for you.

If you are following more than 200 people, you should probably not be using the Twitter interface. You should look into using another Twitter platform, like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or Seesmic.

I’m not crazy about this feature. I often like to comment on RTs, if there’s room. The other thing I don’t like about the new system is that Twitter has made away with the @ part of the RT, so it doesn’t show up in my @ replies. In order for me to know if someone RTed me, I have to log into my Twitter account via the Twitter interface and check. Which I never do, because I use Seesmic.

Now you’re up to date with the hottest news in social networking.

I’ll leave you with the latest statistics: Facebook currently is pushing 400 Million users Worldwide, and Twitter just passed 106 Million.

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Using a calendar to plan your social media April 14, 2010

Last month I wrote a post where I encouraged you to commit to a blogging schedule and I promised that it would pay off.

Today, I want to share with you how I help people to plan thier social media (I use this method myself!).

First of all, you need to decide which social media you want to participate in. For many people, this, in and of itself, is overwhelming. There are five main ones:

  • E-newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Photosharing (ie: Flickr)

You can decide based on how much time you have to commit to marketing your business with social media. But remember, there will always be a greater time commitment at the beginning, as you get everything set up and working. Blogging takes the greatest amount of time, probably 2-5 hrs/wk, depending on how often you post. Facebook and Twitter can be easily manged in 15 minutes a day. YouTube and Flickr could take more time, because of the editing process.

You can also make this decision based on what’s easiest. Many people begin their foray into social media with Facebook, because it’s the one they are most familiar with, and they are probably already on it with a personal account, and familiar with the interface. I encourage people to take things slow–to not jump into everything at once. Start with one, get comfortable with it, then move on to the next once you feel you’ve conquered it.

Next, get a calendar and create a schedule. Remember, all of your social media should feed into your other social media, and be connected to your website. The whole point is to drive traffic back to your website where people can find out more information about who you are and what you do, and to contact you if they like.

Here is an example of mine:

I set aside a couple of hours every saturday morning to write my blog posts for the week, then I schedule them in. After the post goes up, it automatically is posted to Facebook via Networked Blogs, and I also post it to Twitter (which you could also have done automatically.) On days when I don’t have a blog post going up on Facebook, I try to share a link that I’ve enjoyed on my Facebook fan page, and I like to retweet links on Twitter whenever I find something interesting.

The key to having a social media strategy is to plan out some things you want to post, but to also be flexible about posting things that you discover during your day that you like, and might be interesting to other people.

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Free Beginner’s Guide to Twitter March 12, 2010

I was watching the news this morning, and caught two interesting pieces. First, there was the story about this gal, Sarah Killen, whom Conan O’Brian chose at random to be the one person he follows. Overnight, this 19-year-old from Michigan has become famous. She started with 3 followers,  now has more than 24,000, and has been donated a brand-new mac for her to twitter on, and someone is making her a wedding dress, because her and her fiance are going through a bit of a tough time.

This was followed by a banter segment between the hosts, one of which was a regular twitterer, the other of which was clearly not. Perhaps the second host could benefit from Dave Charest’s new free Twitter Guide.

Dave is a guy like me, only he’s a guy and he lives in the states. We have kids the same age, we both have been actors, and we are both interested in helping artists to become better business people.

Dave comes from a copywriting background, so he’s pretty serious about making things as dead simple and easy to understand as possible. And this guide does exaclty that. It breaks things down into managable chunks, and  there’s lots of white space and screenshots, so it’s easy to read. Even though it is a guide for beginners,  it goes beyond the basics into things like how to set up a twitter search to monitor your brand.

Oh, and it’s free. Hello!

If you’re already on Twitter, and have gotten the hang of it, Dave is working on something for you a bit down the road. But if you are still trying to figure out the whole crazy ‘Twitter Cocktail Party,’ then this guide will help you along.

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Are You Connected? Pt 2 February 8, 2010

Last week I wrote a post on how important it is to make sure that your website and all your social media are connected to each other.

I had a few questions after I posted it, mostly along the lines of, “How?”, so today’s post is dedicated to showing you how.

Website: If you have a website, you probably have a contact page. Make sure that your Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media are on that page. Even if you import your Twitter feed to your website, make sure there is some way that people can easily click on a button and go to your Twitter page so they can follow you. A “Follow Me on Twitter” badge works nicely.

Blog: If you are using WordPress, as I am, you can put your contact info in your sidebar. You need to know a bit of HTML code for this, but it’s not too complicated.
You use a simple Anchor tag, which looks like this:

<A HREF="this is the URL of the page you want to link to">the name of the page</A>

So, for example, if I want people to email me, the code would look like this:

<A HREF="mailto:rebecca@rebeccacoleman.ca">Email Me</A>

It would show up on the page as this:

Email Me

One more example, directing folks to my website:

<A HREF="http://www.rebeccacoleman.ca">My Website</A>

And it would look like this:

My Website

You do all of this via a text widget in your sidebar. Here’s a screen capture of how to do it–including directions to how to use click-able icons instead of text to direct people.

Facebook: Go to your profile and click on the Info tab. If you scroll down, you’ll see “Contact Information.” You can add as many of your websites as you wish. Some social media have widgets that can create buttons that link back to that platform. For example, you can use this widget to create a Linkedin badge for your Facebook profile.

Twitter: If you haven’t yet created a custom background for your Twitter page, a great reason to do so is so that you can post your websites on it. The drawback of Twitter is that you are only allowed to post one hyperlink to your profile, so that should be your main page that you want to funnel people to. You can, however, put your URLs for your blog, website, Facebook, and email on your custom Twitter background. People will have to physically type your address into their browser, but at least the information is there. Creating a custom Twitter Background is the subject of an upcoming future post, but in the mean time, you can use a free service like this.

Aggregators: Because we all have at least half-a-dozen URLs or more, Aggregators are gaining in popularity. What they allow you to do is to post all of your contact information on one page, that has an easy URL, which acts kind of like a digital business card. Some examples of aggregators are Netvibes, Flavors.Me, and one I’ve been using with my BB: Dub.

Create a map of your online presence like I did, and see if you have any gaps, then have some fun with it!

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What the TwitCleaner can teach you about being a better Twitterer January 29, 2010

Filed under: Marketing with Twitter,social media — Rebecca Coleman @ 12:05 am
Tags: , ,

There’s been a big buzz lately about this new service, The TwitCleaner, so last week, I decided to try it for myself. Basically, it is a service that looks at the people you are following, and grades them, and puts them into categories. It then makes suggestions as to who you should unfollow. Weeding the garden, so to speak, trimming the fat, to make you a lean, mean, Twittering machine.

Enough cliches.

When I got my report, the TwitCleaner had divided my less-that-stellar followers into three categories:

Dodgy Behavior, No Activity in Over a Month, and These Accounts Ignore You. Dodgy Behaviour was further broken down into Nothing but Links, Tweeting the Same Links all the Time and Tweeting Identical Tweets all the Time.

Let’s be clear, here: TwitCleaner is a robot. It can’t judge your twitter followers in the same way you do. I have specific reasons for following people. Some, for example, that the TwitCleaner deemed sub-par, are friends of mine, who, for whatever reason, have joined Twitter, and then abandoned it, or gone off to Bali (Hi, Carla!). I will continue to follow them in the hopes that they pick it back up again. There are people that I follow that I know will never in a million years follow me back (Google, a few celebrities), and I’m totally fine with that. Some people that I follow do twitter nothing but links, but because they are a news source, I’m not going to unfollow them. In fact, that’s why I’m following them.

What is interesting to me about the TwitCleaner is the rules they use to deem someone a lousy twitterer. Twittering all links, all the time. Twittering the same link all the time. Twittering the same tweet all the time. These are all characteristics of pushy and annoying sales tactics. They may work in other worlds, but on Twitter, most people that I know who are hard-core Twitterers, will not put up with those kinds of tactics. You will get unfollowed very quickly.

TwitCleaner is free–try it out. Now, if they could come up with some way of judging your followers based on a set of criteria that you set yourself, then it would be beyond brilliant. @TwitCleaner, are you listening?

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Should you auto-post? January 22, 2010

If you’re on Facebook, you might have noticed Facebook asking if you wanted to connect your Facebook Fan Page automatically to your Twitter account. Here’s how it works: every time you post a status update on your Fan page, that same update will appear (in a shortened 140 character version, of course) on Twitter (assuming you have an account).

Hmm…. could be a useful tool, right? Think of all the time it could save….

Yes. But.

First of all, I love that all of these automatic-posting widgets are popping up. The key to getting people to share your information (ie: retweeting) is to make it really easy for them. If you have a Retweet button on your bog posts, there is a better chance that folks will use it, rather than them having to copy the URL and then link-shorten it and paste it into their Twitter update. I’d encourage you to get one of those, or, at the very least, a ShareThis widget.

And, as I’ve previously shared, I use a service called Networked Blogs to import my blog’s RSS feed onto my personal profile on Facebook. This tool also works with Fan pages. I love Networked Blogs more and more all the time, because I feel like it is introducing my blog to a new audience.

Having said that, I don’t think that it is always a good idea to have your Twitter account automatically connected to your Facebook account and your blog.

Here’s why:

  • If you share fans on both FB and Twitter (and you will), they might get sick of seeing exactly the same thing on both updates. Even if your information is basically the same (ie: a new blog post), try to think of different ways of sharing it with a different audience.
  • You may have a difference audience on Facebook than on Twitter. For me, Facebook is highly personal. Twitter is more business.
  • Automatic posting may lead to complacency: you might think “I’m covered on Twitter and Facebook because I’m auto-posting, I don’t have to do additional tweets, or check in with my Twitter stream.” Dangerous. People could be responding to your Tweets, unaware that they were automatically generated. Or, perhaps they are re-tweeting you, and it is commonly thought to be polite to acknowledge and thank people that retweet your links.

So, while I don’t use auto-posting on my own personal accounts, I do see its use. For example, if you are new to social media, and are feeling really overwhelmed by it, this could be a great way to ease your way into it. On the other end of the spectrum, if you manage a lot of social media (I have set up something like 10 or so Twitter accounts), auto-posting can be a huge time-saver. The recently redesigned Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society website, for example, automatically posts to Twitter every time I upload one of Babz’ new posts.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. And that’s part of what’s so great about social media: it is constantly growing and changing and morphing.

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