… And Facebook for All — Company Pages

… And Facebook for All — Company Pages

Company pages have become spots you put together on Facebook to support a business (not the same as a fan page).

... And Facebook for All -- Company Pages
Neuron Robotics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, like everything else on Facebook, these pages and their settings do evolve, and they’ve gotten simpler these days. Currently, the following features are available:

  • Change Background Image/Avatar
  • Edit Page
  • Promote with an Ad
  • Add to my Page’s Favorites
  • Suggest to Friends
  • Information
  • Insights
  • Friends Who Like the Page
  • People Who Like the Page
  • Favorite Pages
  • Photos
  • Links
  • Events
  • Wall
  • Info
  • Photos
  • This Week
  • Notes
  • Videos
  • Post Scheduling
  • Various Apps

Change Background Image/Avatar

This one is rather self-explanatory. Furthermore, a good, bright background image is good, as it shows up when you share the page. In addition, you might want to change these on occasion as that generates an update.

Edit Page

Manage permissions, add an address or business hours, etc. here.

Promote with an Ad

This is fairly self-explanatory. Note that Buffer has said that Facebook ads are a mixed bag.

Add to my Page’s Favorites

So here’s where another company you can link your page to your event pages.

Suggest to Friends

Fairly self-explanatory.

Information

This is basic information such as the company’s location.

Insights

First of all, this provides basic click information, including the number of Likes and Views. In addition, you can also see information on age and gender demographics and, most importantly, when people are online.

Friends Who Like the Page

Fairly self-explanatory.

People Who Like the Page

Fairly self-explanatory, except this includes people you are not, personally, friends with.

Favorite Pages

This goes back to adding a page as a favorite. And it shows which company pages your company has favorited.

Photos

Fairly self-explanatory.

Links

Fairly self-explanatory.

Events

I’ve found adding events to be hit or miss. First of all, not everyone RSVPs, and not everyone shows up even if they’ve said yes. However, it provides more exposure and it will bring your page up to people as the event date rolls around. Because even people who are clicking “No” are still looking, at least a little bit. So use with discretion and don’t overdo this. Because not every activity is an event, and not everyone should be invited to everything. Since that’s just plain annoying.

Wall

Fairly self-explanatory. In addtion, you can control who can add to your wall. However, keep in mind that if you are free and easy with this, you’ll get more posts but you might also get spam. Although if you shut this down, you end up with Posts to Page. And it’s easy to miss these!

Info

Here you add more detailed information. Hence this includes the company’s address and its business hours.

Photos

Fairly self-explanatory. Posts with images nearly always do better than those without, so upload an image if the link you’re sharing doesn’t have one. Make sure you have permission to use the image!

This Week

For administrators, you can see what’s going on at a glance. However, this no longer seems to exist on Facebook.

Notes

Fairly self-explanatory. Hence add notes like you would on your own personal page. E. g. these are almost discussions. However, the responses are relegated to subordinate comments versus the kind of back and forth that comes from the wall or the discussions page. And this is, admittedly, a nitpicky distinction without much of a real difference. I would, though, suggest that you not use the Notes section for blogging. Instead, get a blog through WordPress (yay!) or the like and do it that way. Because the Notes section ends up a rather poor substitute for that.

Videos

Fairly self-explanatory. Hence if you’ve got videos uploaded, they can show up here. However, this is not the same as linking to a video hosted online elsewhere.

Post Scheduling

Fairly self-explanatory. So just post to your wall but pull down on the post button and select Schedule Post. In addition, if you’ve been looking at your Insights, you should know when people are online. And of course you want to try to post when people will see your posts.

Various Apps

Finally, go to Edit Profile and there is an option for Applications. However, these days, the only ones are Notes and Events.

Next: Offsite Sharing

The Deal Behind Online Community and Social Media Job Descriptions

The Deal Behind Online Community and Social Media Job Descriptions

Social Media Job Descriptions! This is a shout-out to Blaise Grimes-Viort, Community Manager extraordinaire. His older blog post still rings true today.

The Deal Behind Online Community and Social Media Job DescriptionsSo in 2010 (it was his most popular blog post), Blaise outlined some differences in Social Media job descriptions.

Blaise’s Theory

His thinking is: there are internal and externally-facing types of jobs. And the internally-facing ones tend to look more like Community Management, e. g. what I do for Able2know. Those tasks include pulling spam, making peace among the users, interpreting site statistics and measurements, or scrubbing graffiti tags. Furthermore, they can also include adding correct tags to topics, and working on that site’s Help Desk. Those jobs tend to be called Community Manager, Head of Online Community, etc. Content Strategist and Content Curator seem to fit into this bucket as well. However, those other jobs can be more about promoting content rather than serving those who make it.

On the other hand, externally-facing jobs are more like what I did for Neuron Robotics. Because in that role, I attended events on behalf of the company, conducted product demonstrations, did outreach and sales, communicated with potential customers, etc. Hence those jobs tend to have words like Marketing or Marketer in their titles.

Blogging seems to be either external or internal. However, it all begs the question, though: what happens when you’ve got skills in both areas? Must you choose one or the other? See, this is what’s been bothering me, all along, about the whole Social Media career-changing experience. There seems to be a requirement that a person drop themselves into one pigeonhole or another.

And I say, why can’t I be in both?

So for more information, check out Blaise’s February 8, 2010 blog entry and make please help to make it even more popular. Kudos to him!

Robot Building for Beginners by David Cook, a Book Review

Robot Building for Beginners by David Cook

Robot Building for Beginners by David Cook serves, as to be expected, as a beginner’s guide to building a small working robot. In this case, the robot’s body is mainly constructed from a sandwich container, so the robot is named Sandwich. Its intended usage is to follow a line. I purchased and read this book in an effort to understand more about my colleagues and work at my employer, Neuron Robotics. It did not disappoint.

Do It!

Robot Building
Neuron Robotics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In order to construct Sandwich, Cook walks the reader through various aspects of not only robot building and design, but also basic electrical engineering concepts. While the book is certainly no substitute for even one semester of Electrical Engineering, it does help to bring some understanding to a layman like me. In the interests of full disclosure, I majored in Philosophy in college. However, my father and father-in-law are both engineers, and my husband works as an engineering draftsman. I have heard some of these terms before. Cook explains terms like multimeter, capacitance and resistance fairly well. This is in a lively and engaging style that never talks down to the reader.

Entertaining

Cook’s good humor extends to a section showcasing equipment that he’s fried by making various mistakes. He makes it clear. Be safety-conscious and budget-conscious (he provides specifics and current pricing for most of the items used and referred to). However recognize that, sometimes, stuff is just going to happen. You’ll break or burn things, or just not get them right the first time. Shrug it off and move on – it’s all a part of the learning experience.

The book is large and difficult to digest except in small bites. It is intended as a step by step guide to Sandwich’s construction, but I think a better usage – in particular for laymen reading the book but not actually building the ‘bot – comes as a reference and resource guide.

It almost makes me want to try soldering again – but I’ll have to fight my coworkers to get to the soldering station.

Rating

Review:3/5 stars.

Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson, a Book Review

Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson is the concept of succeeding in a small business by essentially paying attention to details and doing many things yourself. Simple ideas, perhaps, but they often seem to be missed.

Some of this may be self-evident.

Adventures in Career Changing | Guerilla Marketing
Guerilla Marketing

After all, a small business, almost by definition, does not have a lot of capital just lying around. Often everything needs to be done by an impressively small cadre of workers. Yet we also live in a society where it seems more people than ever before just want to pay someone to take care of whatever needs to be done. Yet that is wrong-headed.

The Details

Levinson’s mantra is that it’s not necessary to invest a lot of money. That is, if you’re willing to instead invest time, energy, imagination and information. And, I might add, patience and attention. For a small business owner, this means having a passion about what you do. All too often, it seems, entrepreneurs get into a particular field because they cannot find a more traditional means of employment. After all, the economy has been rather sour for the past few years. Or they chucked a traditional job but without a vision or a plan. Neither method will work for long because the entrepreneur’s heart is not in it.

What the entrepreneur needs – beyond the details of how to work a crowd or give a talk – is enthusiasm and passion about what he or she is doing or selling. Going through the motions is simply not going to cut it. Since the entrepreneur is one of the only faces of the company (and, perhaps, its only face), the entrepreneur must be jazzed. This is for everything – presenting, talking, handing out business cards, performing demonstrations, writing copy, etc.

Upshot

If the entrepreneur is excited, the prospects can be as well. All in all, an interesting read, and good for the detailed tips, but a more current version would have been a better choice.

Rating

Review: 1/5 stars.

The Five Elements of Hip-Hop Content Strategy

The Five Elements of Hip-Hop Content Strategy

On June 2nd, 2010, I got to attend The Five Elements of Hip-Hop Content Strategy. The speaker was Ian Alexander. Ian is down to earth, informative and fun. The meeting was hosted by Content Strategy New England. A special shout-out must go to the tireless Rick Allen.

Ian led us through a history of both hip-hop and content strategy as a discipline. Neither one sprang up overnight; the roots are in the 1970s or so, perhaps earlier.

Then it was down to business — an outline of the Five Elements.

#1. DJ’ing – on the Content Strategy side of things, this is the technical expertise. It’s being able to understand and apply semantic categories. It is being able to interpret analytics. A Content Strategist cannot be a Luddite. She cannot fear spreadsheets.

#2. MC’ing – on the CS end, this is the editorial expertise. Often, this is what people think of when they think of Content Strategy. It is acting as a copywriter, a librarian, a research analyst and something of an artist. The Content Strategist finds and tells the story. He selects the format and helps to promote the brand.

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...
English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is where Ian introduced the concept of the Content Triangle.

(a) The first type of content is Trustbuilding. This is where a company establishes its expertise and provides value to its clients and potential customers. Here is where the company is informative about internal and industry trends. For a product-based company, this area should encompass approximately 30% of all of the content. For a service-oriented company, this area should be about 70% of all of the content.

(b) The second type of content is Informational. This is basic internal site information, such as the Contact Us page and the FAQ. This is for users to understand how to, for example, return a defective product. For a product-oriented company, this area needs to be around 30+% of all content. For a service company, that figure should be around 20+%. In either instance, start here.

(c) The third and final type of content is Sales/Call to Action. Somewhat self-explanatory, here’s where you close the deal. The deal need not be a commercial one; your call to action may very well be for your reader to sign up for a newsletter. For the product-based company, this area will have to be around about 40+% of all of the content. In the case of the service company, it’s less than 10%. Either way, this should be A/B tested.

In all instances, analytics must drive the percentages and the content.

#3. Graffiti – for the Content Strategist, this equates to design expertise. Infographics are, according to Ian, only going to continue to become more and more popular.

#4. Breaking – to the Content Strategist, this element represents Information Architecture expertise. The two are related but not identical — cousins, not twins. The gist of it is the concept of movement through a site. What are the funnels? What kind of an experience do you want your users to have? What’s your preferred destination for them?

#5. Knowledge – this final piece of the puzzle speaks to the Content Strategist’s Project Managerment/Change Management expertise. Change concepts are disposable, iterative and proposed. It is the idea of moving from a concept to a solution. The best solution is not the best solution, per se — it’s the best solution that you can implement for, without a consensus (and a budget and a signed contract!), the so-called best solution is no solution at all.

Content Strategy is different from Content Marketing. The first must drive the second. One of the best ways to help the discipline to get more respect is to branch out the network. Get to know people in vastly different disciplines (say, Robotics, for instance).

And helping the client? Think differently. Generate a 404 error and see what happens. Sign up for something: what kind of message does the user get? Is the message consistent with the remainder of the site’s look and feel and philosophy? Is the footer out of date?

Check sites like Compete and Tweetvolume for more information about how a company is really doing. Consider CMS Watch as well. Know the company’s baseline strengths and weaknesses and understand related practices and disciplines.

The Content Strategist often wears a millinery’s worth of hats, not just during a particular project but in any given day. For the CS to excel, he or she needs to have an understanding of fundamentals in a lot of areas, and be able to speak knowledgeably.

Fortunately, acquiring and applying that kind of knowledge makes and keeps this discipline fresh and exciting. Ian clearly has fun every day. And who wouldn’t want a piece of that?

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They used to call me Robot Girl

They used to call me Robot Girl

I haven’t blogged for a while. Yeah, I know.

I was uninspired, and didn’t want to just subject all two of my readers to my ramblings. Plus, I was looking for an actual day job.

Well, I found one. It’s a temping gig for a large financial services company which shall remain nameless. I am a Financial Analyst, preparing and running database reports. The job is rather similar to several other gigs I’ve held. And then I will be back in Social Media full time.

In the meantime, the Bot Boys are not forgotten, and I actually blog more for them that I had been. The need for Social Media exposure does not diminish just because I’ve got a new gig.

But I wanted to reach out, on this blog, for the first time in quite a while, to offer up some of the things I’ve learned along the way. So gather ’round, and hopefully I can help someone else to navigate the wild world of startups.

  1. The best gift that anyone can offer startups is money. Advice and expertise are great, and they are helpful, but it all pales in the face of do-re-mi. And while startup competitions may not want (or, truly, be able) to part with too much of it, it is money that is most needed because, to truly succeed, someone has to quit their day job. You know, the thing I just got a few weeks ago? Yeah. Someone has to take a flying leap into outer space – but that person still needs to be able to afford ramen and a futon.
  2. Speaking of ramen and futons, the startup game is, often, played by the young. This is not to say that those of us who were born during the Kennedy Administration have naught to offer. Rather, it is that we have mortgages. We may have children. We have lives that often require more than minimal Connector-style health insurance. We may have aging parents, credit card debt or any number of things that make living off ramen, on a futon, nigh impossible.
  3. However, this does not mean that the not-so-young do not have a place in the land of startups. But that place is often a different one. The enthusiastic feel of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney
    Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland and Mickey ...
    Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney from the trailer for the film Love Finds Andy Hardy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    (now I’m really dating myself) yelling, “Hey, kids! Let’s put on a show! We can get the barn!” is replaced with “Let’s see if we can get this thing to work before defaulting on the mortgage/Junior needs braces/gall bladder surgery is required/etc.” Our needs are different, and we may be more patient with setbacks. This does not necessarily spell being less hungry but, perhaps, less able to truly go for broke. The not-so-young person’s role in a startup is often more advisory. We are the ones who can’t quit day jobs until the salaries are decent. And that day may never come.

  4. Startup events are best when they have a focus. Mass Innovation Nights, I feel, is something of a Gold Standard. There is a coherent beginning, middle and end to each event. It’s not just a lot of business card trading. The participants and the audience get good conversational hooks. Making contacts is vital – I hooked up with the Bot Boys at an event like that – but it can’t just be “Hey, let’s get a bunch of startups together, eat pizza and trade business cards!” The startups that are succeeding are too busy for such activities. And those that aren’t ….
  5. Cloud computing, apps and software companies are everywhere in the startup space. With the Bot Boys, we can stand out a bit as we are a hardware company. Having a product that people can see and feel is valuable amidst a sea of virtual stuff.
  6. The downside to that is that hardware companies have spinup problems that cloud computing companies just don’t have – app companies do not have to worry about shipping and packaging. They do not have to perform quality control checks on shipments. They do not have to work on product safety.
  7. No one wants to talk to the job seeker, but everyone wants to talk to the entrepreneur – and those are often the same person! Human nature is a bit odd in this area, but I have seen people who are barely past the “I’ve got this great idea I’ve sketched on the back of a napkin” stage where there is a flock of interested people swarming around, whereas a person honest about looking for work is often overlooked.
  8. Charisma counts. While one founder is going to be the inventor or the developer (the idea person), the other pretty much must be the socializer. Otherwise, even the best ideas are all too often buried. Someone must be willing and able to do public speaking, elevator pitching and sales. This need not be an experienced sales person, but that person has got to be a lot friendlier and a lot more fearless than most.
  9. Most startups and most entrepreneur groupings will fail, morph, coalesce or break apart before succeeding. And perhaps that is as it should be, for being nimble is one of the characteristics of a successful startup. If the product sells when it’s colored blue, but not when it’s colored green, dip it in dye, fer chrissakes!
  10. We all work for startups, or former startups. Even the large financial services firm was, once, a gleam in someone’s eye. Every invention started off as an idea. Even day jobs were, at one time, in places where the founders were living off that generation’s equivalent of ramen and sleeping in that era’s analogue to a futon. Yet somehow, against the odds, they made it.

And a lot of today’s startups can, too.

See you ’round the scene.

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Shift in Twitter Trends Between 2009 and 2010

Shift in Twitter Trends Between 2009 and 2010

The above two pie charts are a compilation of the rank and duration of every single topic that pops up on Twitter’s global Trending Topics chart throughout the year. That means, by definition, that smaller topics which, if taken in aggregate might actually turn out to be significant, aren’t given their due. No matter. It’s still fascinating information.

What interests me is how hashtags have pretty much replaced entertainment (although entertainment is still rather large in the overall scheme of things) as a major player. Holidays and politics both got less important. Social Media started to show up as a player. Sports and business tech were both diminished.

What the heck does it all mean?

Well, I’d be lying if I said I absolutely, positively knew for sure. But I suspect that the trending may have to do with (a) more people “discovering” Twitter and (b) more people understanding it and engaging with it. That is, instead of people just following celebrities and reading (and potentially also just retweeting) their tweets, it appears that people may be actually — huzzah! — making their own content.

And — the content they’re making seems to be a bit more meaningful than just “Merry Christmas” or “Let’s go Patriots!” (no disparagement to the Patriots or the Christmas season intended, of course). It looks like it might actually be the promotion of offsite material (e. g. blogging hashtags), attempts to use Twitter to update other social media sites (e. g. you can set up your LinkedIn account so that, if you use the #in hashtag, it updates your LinkedIn status) or just an effort to bring certain information to the attention of other people. After all, whenever I write about robots for Neuron Robotics, I use a #robots or #robotics hashtag.

Hence people seem to be using Twitter more to its potential, as both an ad hoc type of community and a means of cross-pollinating other social media sites. Let’s see what happens this year.

For more information, see the January 12, 2011 blog post on Social Media Today.

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Mass Innovation September 15

My company, Neuron Robotics is in the running to present at Mass Innovation! If you’ll be in the Cambridge area on September 15th from 6-9pm, come on down to #MIN18. It’s at the Microsoft NERD Center. RSVP on the Mass Inno site to save a seat.

What is Mass Innovation Night like?

If you haven’t been to a Mass Innovation Nights event before, here’s how it works. You vote on this page to determine which companies get five minutes to present their story. However, everyone gets a table to demonstrate their product. On the night of the event, make some noise on their behalf! Blog, tweet, take pictures or video, post them online, mention and link to them from your LinkedIn status or Facebook, or, just tell someone. Together you can support local innovation.

Location

The event will be at the Microsoft NERD Center located at:
1 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02142


View Larger Map

See you there — but before you go, please vote for us to present at Mass Innovation in September. The race is exciting — we really need your vote. Thanks!

Mass Innovation September 2010 the Countdown Begins ….

While there is still plenty happening with Maker Faire and Mass Innovation, I would like to step out of that and go back to writing about Community Management a bit with my next blog post. It would not be true to say that I have ceased thinking about these things. In fact, they dominate my days! But I recognize that it can be a bit much.

But I also wanted to acknowledge and thank people. We have gotten a goodly number of votes to present at Mass Innovation. This is the one — we really, really want to present there. There are still, of course, several days (a little less than a month) to go before the voting closes. Nothing is guaranteed, and I am constantly nervous about it. I don’t know how calm I will be in the week before, particularly if the voting is close.

So, for the sake of my husband’s sanity, I do hope you’ll vote for Neuron Robotics to be able to present at Mass Inno. Thank you — and thank you on behalf of my incredibly patient husband.