Tackling Facebook – Part 2

Facebook Initial Setup

I have learnt that it doesn’t matter how prepared you are when you join something like a social media network, it is better just to save time and dive in.

Key point: Don’t put it off, the sooner you start the sooner you learn

Axl-Rose-SomeecardsPhoto credit – Someecards.com

Just as a reminder…

This is part of an ongoing series based on a neglect of my Facebook PR channel to this very blog. I’m trying to cement a better foundation for Facebook that I can interact with more effectively in future because at present Facebook is a broken part of my publishing chain. Facebook is my primary “tackle” because it is valuable in terms of potential user engagement and keeping a following sustained and cheerful.

 

I have decided to plough on and setup a business profile. I’ll still be using my old Facebook profile but for friends and family only as I always have.

I’m not straying from my own name. I feel that a lot of businesses that use their business name on Facebook come off looking rather “impersonal” and “desperate“. I’m just going to insert my middle name.

Facebook Pages are what business names were made for so it is better to stick with that in my honest opinion. Otherwise you look like a door to door salesman.

I do plan to restart the page for Blog Prefect on my new Facebook profile and take-up the vanity URL associated with it.

What is a vanity URL?

The social media sites decided some time back to reward active members. They would award them a shorter, more direct, URL. Shorter URLs are very useful in places such as Twitter where character count is at a premium. They also just generally look better than the convoluted path that you are given by default. In user terms, shorter is easier to remember so you are much more likely to get an out of the blue visit by somebody manually typing in that vanity URL.

 

Who runs an individual Facebook profile for business (separate to their personal profile)?

Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com

Why?

Due to the sheer number of people who are conversing with Pat, he would have no way to co-ordinate any kind of overall response to the sheer mass (he might be able to nibble at it). His eyes would go square. In my opinion his business persona is managed by Facebook capable assistants. He probably dips in every now and then to keep it rolling and flex his social muscles but underneath he is having someone run strategic objectives for him.This is true with many bigger companies due to volume. In forums moderators were the deputies when volume of input outstripped a single owner’s capability.

“No man is an island” – John Donne, 1624

Pat’s business Facebook profile displays LLC. limited Liability Company.

 

The new profile setup

It is interesting to revisit this stage. I forgot just how long ago I did this the first time around. Breaking that virgin soil again is an interesting experience.

Setting up a new Facebook Account

Setting up a new Facebook account

There is always something that kinda bugs me with Social media signups nowadays. They are always after grabbing as much possible information about your contacts as possible. Every face is a score. I know that sounds cynical and often I can be very cynical but in every scenario (whether Google+, Twitter or Facebook) I have been forced to try to part with my friends. I suppose my issue with that is that I don’t have many and they are rather precious to me. I’m not one of these guys who has many real life friends and that has possibly been a bit prohibitive to my start in the blogosphere.

I guess my gripe is that Facebook, Twitter and Google+ assume it is okay to grab. They assume that getting you to hand over your friends for the good of the system and yourself is important. I personally value choice. Now Facebook offer to skip the step. You can see that as a small option at the bottom right. It’s quite easy to miss, you are not actively guided to that option, which spells out that they don’t really want you to do it.

I pressed it (long story short).

 

Conclusion

I wrote a particular article about blogging and being social in December and this may be a good point to refer you. In this article I talk about the difference between being social and being introverted and what that really means. I have to  balance up being social with being introverted because as a person I sway more to the introvert side. This is why getting Facebook right for the future is important.

As I said at the start, sometimes it is just better to dive in. That’s how I started with Google+ and now, many months on, I have amassed over 1,600 followers.

Questions

  • How’s my driving? Are there things you would have done differently?
  • Do you think having a separate business profile is a good idea? Would you prefer not to muddle your gran’s picture of a kidney stone with a conversation about YouTube marketing?
  • How many bullets would you leave in Mark Zuckerberg’s personal firearm in the event of a zombie apocalypse? (okay that’s not a serious question, I just threw that one in there to see if you were awake.)

 

Related articles:

 

Tackling Facebook – Part 1

Prepare to get slammed when tackling facebook

Facebroke

This is a Case Study in which I aim to capture everything I do in Facebook to illicit a warmer outcome than I currently have.

In all honesty, my Facebook is Facebroke!

 So technically I’m saying that “Facebook is broken” although often its the operator that’s at fault and not the tool. It is just easier to blame the tool. Tennis players know this all too well because they get fined for throwing their racket.

Key Point: Often the blame rests with the operator

 

What is the issue?

The key issue is that my Facebook Page is driving no traffic to my site.

  • It is not attracting new followers.
  • I stopped maintaining it.
  • It is dead.
The height of sadness!!

The height of sadness!!

 Image Credit – Someecards.com

 

Why fix it?

As much as I loathe the system, lots of people use it. There is a lot of data that points towards Facebook as a place where the “magic” happens. There are a lot of registered users throughout the world, it has a big coverage, therefore it has scope.

Key Point: Scope

It should help balance out the quiet points of the week that I suffer. Currently my posting schedule is very tight due to my commitments. I want a system that will produce some drive back to my site (no matter how small) that I can deploy within a short time frame. Facebook is that point of entry.

Key Point: Pacing

So on the surface I might sound cynical and I believe there is a growing feeling that Facebook doesn’t deliver quite what it promises. In the absence of good numbers for traffic I need to embrace it. I shall be covering the problems that people are facing with Facebook in a separate article soon.

 

How will I fix it?

I’m going to be putting my best foot forward for the next couple of weeks to try to propel this new outlook on Facebook. I’ve had a bad relationship with the platform but I need to come to grips with that.

I’ve had more success with Google+ I need to translate some of my findings there to make this more of a cross-platform effort.

In truth I don’t know the best ways to go about this. I’ve never been a star in Facebook and my personal account is rather on the weak side when it comes to numbers.

  • The fix will entail launching a business persona, rather than a page. This way I can build a better following for all future ventures even if they happen not to be Blog Prefect.

 

Where will I concentrate efforts?

  • Followers as a forefront.
  • Community discussion as a running theme.
  • Exploits where I can make them.
  • Cross platform activity where possible.

 

When will it be fixed by?

It’s hard to put a date on the when. Looking at Google+, it took me 6 months to get well established to a point where I was receiving followers on a regular basis.

Any good project is driven by a deadline so I have aimed to have something more substantial by 31st May 2014.

 

Who can I draw inspiration from?

There are many experts out there but I’m going to look closer to those who push out the same sort of content I do.

The three big players in terms of where I’m aiming for are:

  • Neil Patel of QuickSprout
  • Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome
  • Tom Ewer of LeavingWorkBehind

I know these 3 guys have formidable social media outlets.

Not to leave the ladies out of the equation I will be taking a look at:

  • Ana Hoffman of TrafficGenerationCafe

 

Question Time

  • What would your priorities be?
  • How would you tackle the same issue?
  • What are your general thoughts on Facebook?

 

Related Article:

 

Those things we neglect

Starting out this article I’m sure that everyone struggles with a lack of time at some point in their life. There is a point where you just can’t juggle any more chainsaws without ending up in a bloody heap of bone and sinew. Neglect is the word for those things we can’t dedicate more love to.

 

Often neglect is not through choice but necessity

That which we neglect

That which we neglect

In my view, humanity will economise to get the job done. You will prioritise that which is most important (in your eyes) and let everything else fall by the way side at some point in your life.

You perform a “workman like job”, finishing everything that you need to satisfy the basics but not excelling in any area. That’s the best way to economise. It’s the best way to get something out on time. It is also the best way of doing something half-cut. Eventually you start running into deficiencies in what you produce and your audience can see that neglect.

I liken it to cleaning a kitchen. A good kitchen has clean worktops, and is tidy. When you look in the fridge all of the food is still in date and there is no horrific pong emanating from within. All the plates and cutlery are clean, you could make a meal in the knowledge that you are unlikely to succumb to food poisoning.

In a neglected kitchen it may take you 3 hours to get it clean enough to begin the task at hand. Any visitor would see that kitchen and not wish to have a meal from it.

 

What has Blog Prefect neglected and why?

I admit to a number of neglected zones:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+ Blog Prefect Page
  • Information Product

Looking in further depth at these zones:

 

Facebook

Facebook is the most neglected of all of my zones. There are a number of reasons.

The first major reason is that I don’t have a great relationship with Facebook. I don’t actually rate it as highly as I would rate Google+.

The second reason is that I don’t use my personal account to go on the hunt of followers or contribute to healthy groups. I prefer people who are my friends, family and others not to know everything that I’m up to.

I have recently learnt that Facebook is also rather stingy on what it wants to share to your “friends”. There have been many reports that Facebook takes steps to reduce the overall promulgation (that is to say the amount of filtering down) to the audience. In other words, not every member of your audience will see what you posted, and that is a problem. Even with paid ads, there is still an amount of filtering that Facebook impose.

Facebook for me is more of an exclusive area. The majority of my friends are family, and on from that, the rest are colleagues and former colleagues I’ve worked with. I don’t want to publicise to my friends and family even though it might seem an obvious place to get views.

 

Twitter

I initially started out enthusiastically for Twitter. It is openly simple, tweeting is quick and easy and there isn’t any real way you can go wrong.

Unfortunately I didn’t see the results I expected straight away and I also found it hard to get any value from other tweeters.

My Twitter account went quiet for a long time.

Unlike Facebook I came back to Twitter later after losing 4 of my 11 followers. (yes, you saw that right). For a small time I kept up the positive energy but once again Twitter slipped into neglect. I automated all of my tweets through the WordPress Dashboard so that each time I posted something new it would be tweeted.

I’ve seen many ways to grow followers on Twitter but all of them look dodgy. Even some of the more legitimate ways can get you suspended. That implies that Twitter is boom market for hackers but also a bit flawed in terms of making new friends and influencing people.

The other thing that bugs me about Twitter is how you can get hit with tons of crap. At least with Facebook they go to some end to reduce the overall hit. With Twitter you are subject to all the worst fart jokes over and over again. After a few initial weeks of Twitter, I was rather underwhelmed, and was duly washed out to sea as a result.

 

Google+ Blog Prefect Page

Google+ has been one of my favourite places to hangout for a long time since I started blogging. It has been such a rewarding social media outlet that I persevered. I got picked up by a keen observer and my circles began expanding healthily in a very short space of time. I’m happy to announce follower numbers well over 1,500. Whilst I could have grown even larger in a year, at least I know that a small core of those 1,500 is engaged with what I’m talking about.

My page on Google+ met with trouble. I didn’t generate any following because I made the mistake of just pumping out the material that I’d been creating instead of engaging the community.

I don’t believe that pages generate the views that people need. I’ve actually stopped following pages now because I get no real payback from doing so. Communities are where it’s at on Google+.

Google+ is newer than Facebook and Twitter but in the same vein it has some serious growing up to do in terms of how it implements certain functions within the Google+ system. Commenting in a what’s hot share is the quickest way to get a flood from Mr Jingle (the notification bell) as an example. It is a small mercy that they decided to limit the comments to a total of 500.

The Page was not updated further. It suffered the same problem that Facebook has witnessed. I couldn’t keep up the manual updates because I wasn’t getting the feedback. I wasn’t getting the feedback because A, my stuff isn’t social proven, B, I didn’t involve my audience enough and C, I didn’t keep the pressure up and remain consistent. I’ve observed that other peeps don’t just general funnel what they write about but interject their writings to add some flavour and some conversation. That is what I’m lacking.

 

Information Product

As yet I still have no IP or Information Product. These can be used as bait. What better way to show off your prowess of a given subject than to write an informative downloadable .pdf that someone can take away. That sounds like an advert doesn’t it. Did you feel like I was selling you the dream.

I digress…

It is an observation that many bloggers who are serious in turning their site into a profit stream like to use Information Products as bait. Rather than sell them they make them a free enticement for a mailing list signup. Looking at my paltry numbers for my “list” I really need to do something further.

The problem with IPs are that they take time to create. They can take more time than a large post and need careful structuring.

I started a guide for Google Analytics but it fell by the wayside. The problem with Google Analytics is that it changes quite frequently. Many of the screenshots of interface I took have changed. Such a guide has to be produced quickly and I’m in competition with guides far superior than my own. These sites might employ professionals to put their product together at considerable cost. Something that Neil Patel from Quicksprout might approve of and applaud.

Forget Neil for a moment…

I need to refocus on something smaller and more achievable within my short time frame.

 

All things are not born equal

Of the four items I’ve listed, two I can remedy in good time.

The Good

The Google+ Page can be brought up to speed or just deleted because I receive more traction out of my personal zone of Google+. As I get very little in the way of views for my Google+ Page I may seek to delete it. Easy.

The information product can be scaled back from the original 10,000 words I was thinking of to 10 pages. If I specify 10 pages then it doesn’t matter what word count I achieve as long as I have a good 10 page guide at the end of my effort. 10 pages helps with my planning and narrows my focus. Thumbs up.

The Bad

Twitter is a dead bluebird. Whilst my site pumps automated tweets to it when I have a new post it is no longer fit for purpose. I need to perform a brand refresh to make it match my site. I then need to take a serious thought on how to improve the Twitter output. How to tweet smarter. How to engage with twits. This requires me to go back to school on Twitter and tweet more. Twonderful!

The Ugly

Facebook is deader than Twitter. If you can see the maggots on my Twitter profile, you can see a skeleton on the Facebook Blog Prefect Page. The page was unproductive since the day I launched. It has amassed three total clicks since 14th June 2013. I have a major strategy to remedy this but it will take a considerable length of time to embed and is going to be time consuming.

Plans are for me to create a brand new Facebook profile and use this instead of a page, to engage. I can then publicise more than Just BlogPrefect. I don’t then have the issue of my friends and family crossing into my business associations and I will be much happier for it.

 

Conclusion

As you can see by my examples there is plenty that can become neglected over a period of time. My advice from my own personal experience of blogging thus far is:

  • Keep it simple stupid – KISS.
  • Do small amounts of spring cleaning frequently over major recoveries infrequently.
  • Be regimented in certain boring but essential tasks. Set a reminder. Do it. Don’t put it off.
  • Be selective in your social media choices and stick to a nexus you can control. If you are a business, outsource the management of those areas that you can’t run effectively yourself.
  • Don’t try to run too many competing projects at once. Startups on any new area require more attention than those already established and familiar so make sure you have time to get it right. Certain social media has no quick path to victory. You will have to put on the tin hat and wade in the trenches.

What have you neglected?

Content to those who want it

Blogging is more of a service than just plain old run of the mill writing.

When a journalist writes a newspaper article they don’t have the issue that us bloggers do. They don’t have to worry so much about the audience because they already have one, the person who buys that paper, the guy or gal who has it delivered to their door, the one with the fluffy slippers and the pipe (well maybe not the pipe).

Our mission is to provide:

Content to those who want it

As part of this information delivery we are trying to find the best way to direct it to the right audience.

 

At the Right Time

Our audience want to receive certain topics at certain times. If we are writing about business, as an example, people want to read about that at the start of the week or on a sunday when they have time. We can expect that most people may wish to view this between 9 – 11 am and 2 – 3 pm on a Monday. Therefore when sending out and publicising our articles we want them to appear within this time frame.

A weekend activity might be different. Say we are playing a game and need a hint on a Friday, we want to find a site there and then. As a creator we might be surprised to see views coming in quite late in the evening. When is a good day to talk about a new game launch if not on the day? On a Friday when we’ve ripped off the sellophane wrapper or downloaded the digitals.

Timing is crucial.

 

In the Right Way

The data needs to be presented in an appropriate fashion. If we are producing a useful list, numbered headings and bullet points and going further, a table, may be required. If providing a tutorial a video may suit better but with a step by step list to accompany it.

Appropriate delivery is crucial.

 

Content is not just there to fill the void

Filling the voidEverything you write should have some entertainment value. Ultimately you should think about telling an interesting story. If your story is not interesting, people will get bored.

Think of how you might read a book to a child, a book like war and peace, how would you make that interesting? You might use different voices, you might use your body language to try and inflect some action, you might interject some drama.

Of course, if you were sensible you wouldn’t take on War and Peace, and you definitely might think twice about reading it to a child. If you had no choice, you’d have to make it interesting. As a blogger sometimes we are faced with certain black and white facts that aren’t interesting but it is the way we spin the story that is important.

Making content exciting means using different techniques effectively:

Adding images. As humans we respond well to visual images. This is why traffic warning signs are displayed as images rather than words. Our brains can process visual images quicker than words, those with dyslexia can interpret images better than words and they help brighten what would otherwise be black and white. This is why comic books are popular because there is less on the reading and more on the images.

Adding some blank space. It might seem odd to put space into an article because you might think that people blaze through so need it all up front. The truth is, a bit of punctuated white space makes the reading easier. Blog writing needs to be punctuated more frequently with white space than a novel. The writing rules are different.

Adding some accents. Not that quirky Belgian relaxed jazz player accent! Accenting the writing with some quotes, bold, underline and italic text can make the paragraphs more interesting. If you can help your audience steer through an article more effectively they will come back for more. I have picked up the habit of my teal important points. I choose the teal colour because it stands out from the black and white but I also tend to bold and italicise that text.

You end up with an important point without screaming, like this.

 

Asking the Right Questions

Question MarkSorry that it sounds a little scientologist in thought. I’m not personally a scientologist but I know that one of their fundamental teachings is about asking the right questions. You may also know this phrase if you’ve watch I, robot as many times as I have. Spooner [Will Smith] has to converse with a holographic image of a dead man. The recording can only answer if Spooner asks the right question and then it only confirms that he has asked it.

What am I getting at? Every article should try to ask a question at the end. Why? Because by leaving the post open to a question you are asking that reader to take an action to get involved. Why is that important? For the small percentage of those who are likely to leave a message this may tip them over. Social signals of any degree are like gold dust so you should embrace the opportunity.

You can ask questions throughout your article especially if it is an exploration on a bigger subject. There are a few examples where a question is inappropriate such as tutorials but even then you can ask whether the article was of help or not. It’s all about how you can leave that article open ended.

Ask a question!

 

Does it Add Value?

A very simple question to ask of your article is whether it has any lasting value to your audience.

Does it burn like an ember in their mind?

You don’t have to be disparaging of your own work because the likelihood is that most things you produce in your early life of blogging will have incredibly short half lives by default. Eventually you’ll be able to craft works that people will remember for longer because you’ve had enough social support behind you.

The important thing is whether you are creating items of value, or more offal for the pyre. As long as what you produce provides some aid to someone, you are on the right track.

 

Questions

  • Do you only produce one type of content (tutorial, conversational, list based, short, long, video enriched, image enriched, infographic enriched, slide enriched) and does that work for your niche?
  • How long do you spend writing each article?
  • How long do you spend finding images?
  • How long do you spend publicizing and do you think what you do is enough?