3 Must Dos when setting up a Facebook Business Page

Feb 18th, 20111 Comment

So you’ve decided to set up a Facebook Business page? Great! One thing Facebook won’t tell you is that having a “welcome” page that tells people what your business is all about, ideally visually, will double the “like” rate of visitors (thanks to Jay Baer for this statistic).  Here are 3 items I believe are “Must Dos” when setting up your business page:

1. Set up a “Welcome” page
Here are a couple of my favorite examples. Redbull, Coke and for a small business, Cosmetology Educators. They’re fun, visual and give you a feel for what the business is all about. You can create this “welcome” page or any specialized tab with Facebook’s iFrame which allows more sophistication in the Facebook pages using it, but also adds more complexity. Paul Kortman does a good job describing in detail how to do this. Here is his link.

2. Delete the “Discussions” tab
The main reason to set up a business page is to get more visibility for your business. The best way to do this is to use the postings on your wall to go into your fans’ news feeds. Leaving the “Discussion” tab that automatically appears on each business page will dilute your newsfeed optimization efforts. Why? Because people may post there and start discussions there which would otherwise occur on your wall. Delete the “Discussions” tab, so that people post to your wall instead!

3. Drop the Marketing speak
Just below your avatar on the left, there is room for a description of your business. Please do not write in traditional marketing speak that uses the same buzz words that everyone uses and nobody knows what they really mean (Industry Leader, best-in-class, revolutionary, unique, etc.). Click here to see the most overused buzz words.  Choose words that you would use when explaining your business to your best friend’s mother. Tell her what you really do and why it matters in a conversational tone that people can understand.

You’ve done all the work and set up a beautiful Facebook business page! Congratulations, now what?  Soon we will go into how to get people to interact with your new business page.

Rhonda Dirvin (I don’t write as well as Suzanne)

Just Starting on Twitter? Get Rid of the Egg.

Jan 24th, 20113 Comments

You’re ready to get started with Twitter.  Maybe all the media buzz piqued your interest or an article like 80 Ways to Use Twitter As a SMB Owner sparked some fresh ideas for your business.

How do you get started?

First, claim your Twitter username or “handle”.  It’s important to choose a good name that represents you or your business.   Once you do that, your Twitter account will display the default Twitter avatar picture, which is an egg.

Default Twitter avatarYou’ll want to “hatch” this egg by substituting your own profile picture.  You should also include a bio and web link.  HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella  notes that Twitter users with a profile picture have 10 times more followers and those with a Twitter bio have 8 times more followers.

Your Profile Picture – First Impressions Count

Should your profile picture be your photo or your company’s logo?  At the risk of over-simplifying the logo-vs-photo debate:  Use whatever your customers – and potential customers – are most familiar with.   (For more debate, see Michael Martin’s ProBlogDesign.)

Whole Foods, the Austin-American Statesman and South by Southwest use their logos:

Whole Foods twitter avatarAustin American Statesman twitter avatarSXSW twitter avatar

If you, not your logo, best represent your products or services, then use your own photo. Professional service providers such as financial planners, dentists, consultants, real estate agents, etc, should use their own photo, as should “power networkers” and Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople. Austinites Vicki Flaugher and Elijah May and of course, Lance Armstrong, use their photos as Twitter avatars:

Vicki Flaugher of smartwomanguides.comElijah MayLance Armstrong

Whatever you decide, edit or crop your image to be square, preferably 200 pixels by 200 pixels or larger, so that 1) if someone clicks on it, they can see the larger image, and 2) you can use it on other social media sites.   For the full scoop on profile pic details, See Mashable’s article on 5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Profile Pic

Your Twitter Bio – 160 Characters to Explain Yourself and Entice Others

Who are you and why should others care?  Unless you ARE Lance Armstrong or a well-known brand like Whole Foods, your Twitter bio should answer these questions.  SmartWoman’s bio is good, as is The Soup Peddler’s.  I love Alamo Drafthouse, but their bio could use some personality.

  • SmartWoman bio:  B2B social media & online marketing implementation specialist by day, karaoke singing joy freak by night. Enjoy travel, creativity & those crazy interwebs.
  • Soup Peddler bio:  The dude that started a business in Austin delivering soup by a bicycle.
  • Alamo Drafthouse bio:   This feed is for news about the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Ritz, Village, Lake Creek and Lamar
  • My bio:  Email marketing and social media for small businesses, in constant learning mode, I usually tweet in spurts during cool webinars & events.

In my bio, I clear up confusion about my feast-or-famine tweeting, explaining that I typically tweet only during webinars when I learn something that might be useful to my followers.

A bio is also a great place for a company to list WHO is actually tweeting, because people really do want to connect with a real person.  Southwest Airlines does a great job of this:

  • SouthwestAir bio:  The LUV Airline! Planes can’t type so @christimcneill is piloting the Twitterverse! For official concerns please use the link provided.
  • Keller Williams Realty: The official Twitter page for the third largest real estate company in the United States. Tweets come from Amber P. at the HQ in Austin, TX.

Use that Web Link!

Your Twitter profile allows you one web link to promote, so take advantage of it.  Link to your company’s website, your personal website, your Facebook fan or personal page, your LinkedIn page – whatever you most want the world to see.

Want more details on fine-tuning your Twitter profile?  Take a look at Mashable’s How to Make the Most of Your Twitter Profile Page.  And before you start tweeting away, be sure to get familiar with Twitter best practices.  This HubSpot blog gives you 9 Twitter strategies to avoid.

Got some great examples of Austin Twitter profiles and bios?

-Suzanne Doughty

How to Choose a Good Twitter Name

Jan 18th, 20114 Comments

You’ve decided to sign up for Twitter and now need to choose your own Twitter username or “handle”.

But what IS a good Twitter name?

First things first:  Your username can be as long as 15 characters. Early adopters of Twitter often have short names, but you should err on the side of clarity versus brevity.  For example, local company BackupMy, Inc chose “backupmytweets“, which tells you exactly what the service does, even if the name is longer.

Several good blog posts discuss do’s and don’t of choosing a Twitter handle.  I like Hubspot’s Rebecca Corliss, Dummies.com, Jon Reid’s BlogOneAnother, and Comm’s Corner.  To sum them up:

  1. Use your real name if at all possible.
  2. Avoid underscores and numbers.  However, as the number of users on Twitter increases, more people will resort to underscores and numbers.
  3. Avoid meaningless or silly names such as CraftyGirl or YogurtFiend. Of course, if you happen to do crafts or sell yogurt, these names are great.  (If you have a yogurt store, as berryaustin does, the actual name of your store is better, or at least more searchable.)
  4. Use a variation of your name that incorporates what you do.  The popular Austin band Spoon is SpoonTheBand. Austinite Jerry Woodward, an alternative energy advocate, is Solar4Life.
  5. Use your location – just make sure you’re not planning to move anytime soon. AustinDirtyDog is a local self-service dog wash. Austin’s legendary rock club, Emo’s, is emosaustin. Entrepreneur and inspirational quotemaster Jackson Thomas is TexasJackFlash.

To find out if your desired name is available, go to Twitter’s homepage and click on the orange signup button. Ignore the Full name box for a minute and just try your desired name in the Username box. Before we got CedarSageMktg, we tried to claim CedarSage:

trying to get CedarSage as our Twitter handle

You’re out of luck if someone has already claimed your real name, or even your real business name.  For now, Twitter will act only on trademark violations.  Your best alternative is to use a variation of your name – see COMM’s Corner’s “What Your Twitter Name Says About You” for some insightful ideas on name variations. We eventually went with CedarSageMktg.

getting CedarSageMktg as our Twitter handle

So it’s available – great!  But wait – let’s talk uppercase and lowercase.  Notice that we typed CedarSageMktg instead of cedarsagemktg.  It’s more clear and less confusing – we want people to think “cedar sage”, not “cedars age”.

Take another of our favorite resources, Marketing Profs in Boston.  One of their handles is MProfsEvents, which is much clearer than mprofsevents.  Twitter handles are not case-sensitive, so the names are effectively the same, and fellow Twitter users won’t have to worry about typing the correct case.  But your chosen case does show up forevermore in all your tweets, so choose wisely.

The hard part is done.  Just a few more steps:

Enter your Full Name, as we did with Cedar Sage Marketing. This must be 20 or fewer characters, but does not have to be unique.

Choose a strong password; people have been known to hack into Twitter.

After you create the account, Twitter will send you an email request for confirmation.  Once you confirm, you’ll have a Twitter account with a great, well thought-out name.

Excitement ahead signThere are many productive (and even fun) things you can do with Twitter. Future blog posts will discuss how to set up your profile, how to search for and follow informative people in your industry, how to filter through the Twitter noise, and more.

- Suzanne Doughty