Category Archives for Social Media

Should I Create a Google+ Business Page?

Google+If you have a business, the short answer is yes. However a less clear decision is how much you should invest into a Google+ Business page. Businesses struggling with the demands of Twitter and Facebook, may not relish the idea of engaging with yet another social network. However Google+ has some clear SEO benefits that you shouldn’t ignore.

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Adding an opt-in box to your Facebook page

FacebookUPDATED POST. A while back I wrote about adding an opt-in box to Facebook. It makes a lot of sense for most businesses. Most likely you have more activity and conversation on your Facebook fan page than on your website, so it’s a great place to have people opt into your list.

In the post I walked you step-by-step in creating a FBML page and placing the opt-in code on the page. It worked great, until Facebook did a major upgrade and deprecated FBML. You can no longer use FBML as of March 11, 2011. If you already have FBML pages they will work for “a while”. But that meant my post was out of date. So here’s the new version of the post.

So what’s the new way to do this? Let’s understand what Facebook did first. Facebook did away with FBML which you used to code directly on Facebook pages, but instead greatly expanded the ability to pull in functionality via the apps concept. Essentially you can run code that is hosted on your own servers and use Facebook to present your own tailored pages via iframes. It’s a nice concept and much more flexible than what was available before. This is a huge boon for businesses that have web development resources. They build cool stuff, deploy it on their servers and then pull it into their Facebook pages by registering it as an app.

But where does that leave the small business who struggles just to keep their basic business website updated? Kind of in the cold.

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Using Pagemodo to Build a Facebook Page

You’ve probably (or maybe seen their Facebook ads) heard of pagemodo, a service to help you build your Facebook page. Today I decided to take it for a test drive.

First a clarification, a Facebook Fan page is actually a number of pages (or tabs), the most familiar being your Wall, so what pagemodo will build for you is a new “tab” for your Facebook page. For example you might want to create a landing page to welcome new fans to your Facebook page, this is a good candidate for a pagemodo created page. You will still need to create your actual page in Facebook before pagemodo installs the “page” you built, however pagemodo detects this and directs you over to Facebook to do this prior to installation.

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Facebook Fan Pages Changes, a Massive Update

facebookLast week Facebook rolled out another major change, but this time it was to Facebook Fan Pages. It’s a massive change. What page admins noticed first, was that posts to the wall are no longer organized chronologically but by “popularity”. This change was intended to serve the interests of the page visitors by putting the most “interesting” posts first, but to me at least it gives the page a squirmy kind of feel as the posts keep jumping around and scrolling down to find a post you saw before is not always fruitful.

But this is just the Tip of the Iceberg:

There is a lot in this Facebook Fan Page update. Here are some of the highlights:

  • New look and feel that is aligned with personal pages – photos on top, and tabs converted to links on the left
  • Split personality – You can now interact with Facebook either as a human OR YOUR PAGE. This is pretty interesting. So when you comment on sometime else’s wall you can do it as your page, which means they get to your fan page not your personal profile when they click on the link.
  • Fan page “opt in” – You can set up your pages (what used to be tabs) to “reveal” themselves when a visitor likes your Fan page.
  • No more FBML, instead for custom pages you have to use iFrames. What happens with existing FBML, I don’t know, I guess we will find out on March 11, 2011 when all fan pages are upgraded.
  • Your profile picture can be bigger: 180 pixels by 540 pixels. Many Facebooks Fashionistas are using the larger space to have a more of a “branded” graphic on their fan page

With the reveal functionality (and the continued support of changing the default landing tab) I expect to see Facebook Fan Pages start looking more like landing pages. The call to action will be to “opt in” either with the like button or an via email opt-in.

Want more info? Here’s the official Facebook announcement.

Block Facebook ads?

Today on a facebook event invite page, I saw complaints about “creepy flat tummy ads” on the invite page. Another peep complained about a “holistic wellness” ad. On the same page, I saw four (yes 4) ads: 1) A business opportunity called “Own Your Own ATM”, 2) an ad offering college students as “IT interns”, 3) “Soothing music selected by Eckhart Tolle” and ummm, this is embarrassing: 4) “60% off a Brazilian Wax”. Well you now know what gender I am.

And that’s the point, Facebook ads are targeted to your profile, your interests, the links you post, the stuff you like. If you haven’t already, take a look at the Facebook ad interface, you can customize it quite a bit, age ranges, geography etc. Facebook is betting that access to these sorts of demographics will make it the advertiser of choice. However the jury is still out. Some people report great success with Facebook ads, some don’t. It’s very niche dependent.

And yes, you can remove / block Facebook ads. There are a number of solutions available as the blocking code has to be installed into your browser. So it depends on what browser you use.

Here are a few to check out:

Note with the current major Facebook update rolling out, these might not work with the “new facebook”. You might need to wait until the authors catch up.

Let me know how it works out. I haven’t installed any of them yet.

AddThis simple way to share your blog

There are far too many ways to add social media links and icons to your blog. However, if you are playing the social media PR game, it’s a necessary part of your web presence plumbing, those share, tweet this, facebook icons on your site and your blog.

Up to now, I had been happy with my socialable plugin, resisting the siren call of adding bolder and bigger social media icons to my sidebar. Then I looked at AddThis.

AddThis widget ready code is dead simple

AddThis button bar is simple to add to your blog

It’s so dead simple, you can’t help but to just do it. As long as your wordpress theme is widget aware, all you have to do is cut and paste HTML code into a Text Widget that you drag and drop to your sidebar. The step by step instructions are right there on the AddThis web page. The simplicity of the user experience is something that should be strived for by all webdesigners.

You can see it in my sidebar to the right. I still have sociable but I updated the settings to show it only on individual blog posts so I didn’t have dueling social media button bars on my home page.

AddThis also generates cut and paste code for your website, and myspace for four different types of buttons.