Last week participated in a live chat as a guest expert on Social Media Ireland’s Facebook Page.  After a lot of nail biting I really enjoyed the session.  Thanks to all who asked questions and contributed on the night.

Before it disappears from view on the Social Media Ireland timeline I’ve collated some of the questions and answers to share with any of you that were unable to attend on the night.

My reply: That’s a great question. I think people often make the mistake of diving into all social media at the same time. The best policy is to do some research, find out where your customers are and tackle those first. Spend some time learning one network at a time or it will get confusing.

Niall Devitt from Social Media Ireland also recommended the Social Media Examiner blog as a bible, it’s one of my favorites too along with Hubspot.

My reply: Hi Jenny, I think you need to sit down and plan out your social media. Each case is different. You need to decide how much time you have to dedicate to it, and which medias are best suited to you.

Putting together a content calender is a great way to make sure you are being productive but not over productive.

Different people have different ideas about what is too much. I read a report recently that said posting on Facebook 3 times a day was detrimental to your fan base but I know that many successful pages post at least this much. As a rule of thumb I would recommend keeping updates on Facebook to one a day or two max, twitter is very different you can almost post as much as you want there as long as it’s relevant and good content.

Elaine Rogers from Seefin Coaching added: I would add about twitter tho – some people schedule their posts, and don’t take the time to space them out, then my timeline is full of 20 tweets by one person – I usually unfollow :(

Me: Great point Elaine. I hate that myself, I don’t want to log onto Twitter and have my whole feed full of one person. I also think if you are going to schedule tweets you still need to go into Twitter and communicate as much as you can. Twitter is a conversation and broadcasting alone will limit it’s effectiveness

And Frank Bradly suggested:  It’s always a good idea to check how many times a person replies in the stream. An absence of @ replies means they don’t engage much.

My response: Good question! With social media it is even more important to not copy your competitors. I think you should look at what they are doing and then attempt something completely different.

Personality is the number one thing that will set you apart from them. Be yourself because no one else can be. Provide great content and content specifically for Facebook and prove that you are an expert.

Niall Devitt said: as part of the standing out theme, I’d recommend customizing your FB page :)

My response:

Hi Sarah And Brian :)

I have a quote I got from BT’s social media policy yesterday that I think is the best possible way to respond:

“Keep calm: don’t pick fights by escalating heated discussions but be conciliatory, respectful and quote facts to lower the temperature and correct misrepresentations. Never contribute to a discussion if you are angry … leave it, calm down, and return to it at a later date when you can contribute in a calm and rational manner.”
Their full policy is online here: http://richarddennison.wordpress.com/bts-social-media-guidelines/

These are just a few of the questions that came up on the night. I’ll be revisiting some of the other issues raised in future posts.  Don’t forget to keep an eye on Social Media Ireland’s Facebook Page to find out when the next Live Chat is on.

I’d love to hear your input on these discussions, do you have anything to add? If you do leave a comment below.


Today’s post is a guest post from Alan Coleman from OnlineAdvertising.ie.  Alan is the founder & CEO on OnlineAdvertising.ie, they are specialists in the areas of Google Adwords & SEO. OnlineAdvertising.ie have had numerous campaigns published by Google as Case Studies and are finalists in the upcoming DMA’s in the “Best Digital Marketing Agency” category.

Last year we asked you to submit your social media questions for us to answer,

SM Receivables asked ”what is the difference between tags and meta tags?”

We’ll hand you over to Alan for the answer:

I’m not 100% what the tweeter meant by “tags”, so I will give a give explanations for a few of the possibilities. Websites have 2 audiences, their users and the search engines. I will detail the relevance of each type of “tag” to both parties.

Title Tags

The “title tag” of your webpage is very important for SEO. It helps the search engine understand what your webpage is about. It is also generally the headline of your webpages’ listing on the Google search results so it will influence whether users visit your site or not.

Your “title tag” is also visible to your websites users at the very top of their screen. So it may influence conversions.

Meta Tags

A meta tag (which can be meta description or meta keywords among other things) is not visible to website users and has less (if any) value in SEO. Meta descriptions are important however, because the search engine will generally display the “meta description” in it’s search results. So well written copy in the “meta description” can increase clicks & conversions on your websites.

Alt Tags

An “alt tag” is the labelling of an image on a website. If you hover your icon over the image on a website it’s alt tag will appear. Search engines can’t see pictures so unless you tag them they will not know what the picture is of, and won’t be able to display them to people searching for such images, or attribute the keywords to your web page. So “alt tags” are important for SEO.

Tags

“Tags” also appear on blogs. You can tag words in a blog so if the user clicks on the tagged word they can see a list of all your posts which include this tagged word. This is great for SEO as it tells search engines you have plenty of content on this word(s) and will therefore increase your website’s value for this word(s). It is also great for users as they can easily find all your posts on their subject of choice.

If you have a social media question you would like answered leave a comment below.

Back in October we asked you to share your social media questions with us.  Dan from Tradesmen.ie asked:

“When you don’t have content to post to Facebook are there any other resources to use to keep Fans entertained/interested?”

Here’s our 5 top tips for keeping your page populated and your community interested:

1. Don’t panic!

You don’t have to post to your Facebook page everyday or several times a day, if you have nothing to share it’s fine to leave it for a day, your community won’t disappear.  In fact recent research has shown that pages that post more than three times a day have less ‘Likes’ than pages who post less frequently. (Thanks to Krishna De for the info).

2. Create a content calendar

Creating a content calender allows you to spread your content out and ensures that you are consistent in your updates.  Plan out your month, when are you going to post and what are you going to post on those days.  Consistency will keep people coming back to your page.  Think about creating a weekly feature just for your Facebook page, whether it be a recipe or in Tradesmen.ie’s case a DIY tip.

3. Be generous

Social media is all about sharing.  You don’t need to produce all the content for your Facebook page yourself.  Find content from others that would be of interest to your target market.  You can post links, videos and quirky news stories that your community might find appealing.  To find links use Google Alerts and subscribe to RSS feeds from your favorite blogs.

4. Ask for feedback

Ask questions or run polls to encourage your community to interact.  ’What DIY job have you been putting on the long finger?’ or ‘What’s your favorite makeover show?’ for example.  Ask your community to ask their own DIY questions and get some of your experts to answer them for them.

5. Be personal

People often think that just because they are running a business page they should keep it strictly about business but people like to know there is a real human being behind the page.  There is no harm in sharing what is happening in the office today, Hairy Baby kept us entertained last year with stories of Seamus the bird stuck in their factory, we were all delighted when he finally found his way out.  Cafe Paradiso in Cork shared photographs and stories about their refit after being hit by the floods last year.  I even noticed today that Simply Zesty were talking about what bar of chocolate they would bring into the office for ‘Chocolate Wednesdays’!

Have we left anything out?  What tricks do you use to keep your page populated?  Let us know by commenting below.

SMWF 2011 London

Facebook can be a fantastic tool for business but can it work for businesses whose target market is other businesses?

This is one of the questions we were asked as part of our ‘What Don’t You Know Yet?‘ series.  Conor from ERS asked us:

Facebook isn’t the perfect fit for all business although there can be advantages for all.  If you are a blogger, feeding your blog into your Facebook page is good for SEO, each time you blog you will get one more inbound link to your website adding legitimacy to your site in a search engines eyes.

If you have time and you are creative there is no reason why you can’t use Facebook for marketing.  If your customers on a management aren’t on Facebook what about the end users of your product?  In ERS’s case I imagine the end user would be the staff who use the software.  Using your Facebook presence to attract these people could help create a buzz around what you do.  Perhaps design an online test and run a contest based on that test that employees using your solutions can join in with representing their own companies.  The more they embrace the technology the more buzz will be created about your brand and the buzz will reach the higher level executives.

This is something Scania has succesfully captured with their Young European Truck Driver.

As a smaller company the resources(time) for something this complicated may not be available but it is worth brainstorming around the idea of attracting the end user of your products and services.

Do you have another idea or example of how Facebook can be used for B2B?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

What is puzzling you about Facebook?  What confuses you about Twitter?  Do Linkedin, Youtube, Flickr or foursquare bewilder you?

Last year we asked you to send us your social media questions however small or large and it was so successful that we thought we’d offer you the opportunity to ask us again.

So tell us what you would like to know, for example:

  • What size can my profile pic be for my business page in Facebook?
  • I created a Facebook page but can’t find it – help!
  • How do I upload a video to YouTube?
  • How can I get more comments on my Facebook page?
  • How do I register as a business on foursquare?

Simply leave a question as a comment below, or tweet us @spiderworking.  We’ll then answer your questions here on the blog and include links to your website when we do.  So what’s keeping you?  Ask away :)

geek_girl

This is the last of our series of blog posts answering your social media questions from the recent contest.

Our first question comes from @marketingelves their website is here.

@marketingelves @Spiderworking are there any tools that would allow you to track what’s been said on twitter on a local (Ireland) basis #smq

Twitter have recently introduced geotweeting although not everyone is using it and it’s not 100% accurate.  It does mean that you can use Twitter’s in house ‘advanced search‘ to find local users. You can search by town or country.

Not as accurate but still useful is Tweepsearch, enter: location:”your town” into the search box and it will throw up results based on the information users have added to their profile.

Our last question is from @360Dvirtualtour their website is here.

@360Dvirtualtour @spiderworking can fb adverts target specific locations in ireland or must it be ‘ireland’?

Although Facebook does allow you to target by town in other parts of the world it has yet to introduce this for Ireland.  The official reason from the Facebook site is:

Unfortunately, our targeting capability internationally is still somewhat limited. Cities may not be available in certain countries due to the small number of users in these locations. Cities will be made available as Facebook traffic in the area increases.

If you have a social media question you would like us to answer leave a comment below or tweet it at us (@spiderworking) including ‘#smq’ in the post.

UPDATE 13th May 2010

Facebook now allows you to target individual towns and cities within Ireland with your ads.

geek_girl

This is the second in our series of blog posts answering your twitter questions from the recent contest.

Our first question comes from Jenny from @jattconsulting more info on them here. (site still under construction)

@Spiderworking How do you run a contest or a poll on facebook?

There are a number of ways of running a poll on Facebook.  Which method you use is determined by what sort of results you want.   If you are running the poll for research purposes and you want definite answers to your questions I would recommend using one of the applications that has been designed to run on Facebook Pages.  Probably the best application currently is “Polls” which is not only the best looking application but it also makes it easy for your fans to see the options.

If however your Poll is just for fun, or designed to create more interaction on your page, using phtographs or the Notes Application can attract more users.  One of my favorite Irish Facebook pages Hairy Baby runs polls using Photos on a regular basis. They load a picture or a series of pictures and use the description box to ask the question.

hairybabypoll

We recently ran a poll on our own page using the notes application and again found it a good way to encourage interaction.  Because we weren’t limiting our responses to specific answers we discovered options we hadn’t considered in the original poll.

spiderworkingpoll

@EJQ of Eilis J Quinlan & Co. asked:

@Spiderworking. How do you UN -follow someone???

Unfollowing someone is simple.

If you know the username of the twitter user you want to unfollow go to http://www.twitter.com/useryouwanttounfollow – Make sure you are logged into twitter.

On the right hand side of their page you will see a cog symbol:

unfollow

Choose “unfollow” from the drop down menu.

We’ll be answering more of your Twitter questions next week.
If you like cool social media tools don’t forget to become a fan of Spiderworking.com on Facebook where every Monday we showcase one of our favourite apps.

We’ll be answering more of your Twitter questions next week.

If you like cool social media tools don’t forget to become a fan of Spiderworking.com on Facebook where every Monday we showcase one of our favourite apps.

twitpic1twitflog

I was asked by a customer during the week if you could post pictures to twitter.  Twitter is text based but it is possible to link to a picture externally.  By using a link shortener you can post a link to the photograph on Flickr, Pix.ie, Photobucket etc.

Even simpler are the web based applications that synchronise with your twitter account allowing  you to tweet a picture and caption for you.  These services also give you an email address that automatically tweets photographs to your twitter stream.

I trialed two of the many applications available for doing this are Twitpic and Twitflog. Both work well.  Twitpic is probaby the most common twitter photo service, it’s easy to use, the upload time is short and it is simple to view comments on your photos.

On Twitflog the interface is nicer, once you have synced your accounts the home page mimics your twitter page.  I found the upload time to be slower.

Both services are very user friendly and easy to use. On upload time alone I think I prefer Twitpic so here’s a quick rundown of how it works:

  • Log into Twitpic using your Twitter username and password.

twitpic2

  • Click ‘Upload Photo’ on the top right hand side.

twitpic3

  • Click ‘Choose File’ and find the photo you wish to upload on your computer.
  • Add the tweet that you would like to accompany your picture.

twitpic4a

  • Click ‘upload’ and your message will be tweeted.

Here’s one I made earlier:

twitpic6

To email a picture from your phone or email app you will need to make a note of your unique email address. Click the ‘settings’ menu on the top right hand side of your screen to find out what it is. Attach the photograph to your email and add your tweet into the subject line.

Remember to let us know your social media questions no matter how big or small. Leave a comment below with your question.

questionmark

Another big question this week.

Bernard Goldbatch asked

When I introduce mature students to social media, they ask for health warnings. I’d like to read your thoughts on careful engagement online.

This is a good question and one we should all consider before engaging.

If you are embarking on a social media campaign to promote your business it is important to remember that this is ‘Social’ media, simply broadcasting rarely works, you must be willing to become a part of the conversation, to encourage people to actively engage with your brand.  This can be quite a scary prospect, by allowing people to participate you are to a certain extent outsourcing the building of your brand.  You cannot have complete control of how your audience promotes your business, for this reason I think it is important to spend time in advance of launching your campaign assessing your target market and deciding exactly what sort of message you want to send out via social networks. It is always worth consulting with your marketing department (if you have one) to make sure that your social media strategy fits with the overall marketing strategy for your business.  Social media should be part of your marketing mix not separate from it.

I would suggest that you ask yourself 3 questions before you start a campaign, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or any other online network.

  • Who is your target market?  Once you have considered this you can keep your posts on message.  For example, Spiderworking.com targets micro & small to medium enterprises so we tweet links and information that we believe will benefit this audience.
  • How personal do you want to be?  Although engagement and conversation is an important part of social media I believe it’s important to keep business pages business orientated.  The level of your personality that you want to allow into your Tweets and posts should be decided in advance.
  • How will you react if someone attacks your brand?  Although we all hope this will not happen to us, engagement through social media means that there is always the potential that a disgruntled customer could voice their complaints online.  This doesn’t happen because you use social media, this happens because your customers do.  The good news is that because you are already using social media you can react swiftly to rectify the situation.  Having a plan on how you will deal with complaints, even if you never need to implement it is very important.

If you have a social media question that you would like us to tackle, leave a comment below.