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Category — Social Media

Saturday Social: What is Twitter and How to Work it?

 
I have always thought of Twitter as a cocktail networking event, only online. It’s a place filled with lots of varied people and diverse conversations. Just about anything under the sun is discussed on Twitter, from traveling to teleporting.

Imagine a room full of on-going conversations, the place filled with chatter so indistinct, it’s noise and noisy when you first walk in. It’s also overwhelming and disconcerting like a a real room full of people you don’t know.

But if you squared your shoulders, took a deep breath, smiled and stepped up to the bar, things would start to change. Take a sip of that cocktail and look around, listen to talk around you.

As you listen the indistinct babble will start to pop words. Some may be interesting to you and you’ll gravitate towards the conversation that most catches your ear. After hanging around on the fringes slowly you’ve venture an opinion and before you know it you are a part of the conversation.

Soon another word in another part of the room catches your attention and you move on to the new conversation. And so on the evening goes, talking and meeting new people.

Working a networking event takes time and patience. It also requires listening skills as no one wants to only listen. These rules apply to Twitter too.

When trying to figure out how you can use twitter personally or for your business, the best way to start is to sign-up and then sit back and listen. Let the conversations come to you, get a feel of the pulse of the space, and then say what you’d like to say.

Follow people because you genuinely want to follow them, not because they are celebrities. Interact with those you follow. Be genuine in your conversations. Be yourself.

P.S. – I’m going to be talking more about Twitter as the weeks go by. I’m taking this on my chin, so please let me know what you think of this post. Did it help you? And leave me questions you have in comments and I’ll try to answer them. :)

 
P.S. – Day Nineteen of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

May 23, 2015   1 Comment

Saturday Social: Does Your Small Business Need Twitter?

 

Twitter is one of the networks that should be in your top 5 when you think social media, however it’s placement on that list is based on your type of business.

If you run a small business, managing your own social media makes sense financially and for branding. But when you are doing everything yourself, you have to choose carefully what you spend your time on.

So, how do you know if Twitter is for you? Before you decide to launch your company on twitter you should sit back and figure a few things out.

 

Objective

Evaluate what is your objective is to use Twitter for your company/product and what you would like to achieve from it. Being clear at the start makes it easier to decide what you will do on Twitter and how much of it. You’ll be able figure out whether you need a company profile or a personal profile. It will also help to measure ROI.

 

Audience

Twitter is quite a popular network in India but not everyone is on it. For example you may not find a lot of retired folk on it but you will find a lot of celebrities and young people. So gauge your audience carefully and see if they hang out on Twitter. Twitter is the network for you if it’s users are your audience.

 

Relevance

A good place to start is with some searching and reading. Look up keywords that are important to your business and assess how much people talk about it. For Example, if you are into a herbal products business, search for words like hair, shampoo, herbal, etc. and see how many people are talking about the topic. If you find enough chatter, Twitter is worth getting into as you can make relevant conversations.

 

Activity

Look for others doing similar business to you on Twitter and study the activities they do on their news stream. Make note of the things that have worked for them and the mistakes they have made. These learning will help you chose your activities well and make them a success.

 

Time

Remember that your time is limited. Also remember that becoming successful on Twitter takes time. With all the information you have gathered you can now figure out how much time managing your twitter profile will take. Can dedicate that much time consistently?

 

With all this in mind, now look at Twitter and see where it fits in your Top 5. For that matter you could use this same yardstick to measure any other network too.

After all this assessment if you know for sure that Twitter is the next network to add to your social profile, go to Twitter.com and click Register. All the Best!! :)

P.S. – If you are wondering what to do next, I’ll be covering that and more as the weeks roll by. Leave me any questions you have in comments and I’ll try and answer it. :)

 
P.S. – Day Twelve of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

May 16, 2015   No Comments

The Saturday Tirade: Why should You DIY on Social Media

I had intended to write on another topic this week but over the week I have spoken to a few entrepreneurs who called for social media gyan and they left me steaming at the ears, so here goes…

Everybody seems to be wanting success, they want to be ‘the’ brand online, they want tons of followers, an abundance of likes, loads of comments, uncountable leads, and of course an epidemic of guaranteed conversions. BUT, but they do NOT want to do the work.

Not wanting to do the hard work of networking, building a community and a presence online is all fine for a company or business with a lot of money. These rich guys can hire an agency to do the work. But it’s not about the money, because it’s more about hiring the right agency who will do the right job, and that does take money. After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

But what happens when you are a start-up, a one man show or a small team with very little funds, how then do you find the funds for these agencies? How do you succeed online? How do you become ‘the’ brand?

I keep saying this to every business owner and entrepreneur I speak to
– only you know your business best, only you know the pulse of your product or service, only you know your customers heart, only you can be the best voice of your brand – and I haven’t changed this stance in the 5 years I have been a social media consultant. This is my top reason for why you should manage your own social media. Especially when you are starting out.

Yes, I agree it’s a fair bit of work but then so was your idea when you first started out in your business. Making the idea a reality took hard work, you wouldn’t just have outsourced it and got someone else to do it, would you? Well, it’s the same here, you’re going to have to do the work to reap rewards.

And you don’t have to do everything, be everywhere and all that. You can choose how much you want to do and where you want to do it. Choosing your networks well and managing your time on it efficiently will lead to great results over time – connections, relationships, and community. And these are real, and you know that for sure because you created them.

Where are the leads and money you say? These connections and relationships that you build slowly over time will create a community for you. And communities are great because over time they become your voice, they make the leads and sales happen.

Startup owners that I have spoken to are always looking to see how they can increase sales, but I don’t find a lot of them doing things to build goodwill, connect and interact with people (notice I didn’t say customers), or be themselves online. They are parts of groups but more of them have to do with entrepreneurship than their service or product.

Online marketing isn’t very different from traditional marketing. It’s just word-of-mouth and relationship marketing taken into the virtual world. The same old school rules apply. Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done to you. Build for the future, not for tomorrow and you’ll be in a beautiful place.

Don’t outsource. It isn’t impossible to manage your own social media, just start small and be yourself. Also be consistent. And then just give it a little time. The magic will happen. And when it does I promise it will be worth it, and best of all you’ll be enjoying yourself while doing it. Social is fun you know! 😉

September 29, 2014   No Comments

Blatant Plagarism on Facebook and What To Do About It

I had intended to write a review yesterday but I was really upset. My day started with seeing a message from a friend about Chenthil’s photos being plagiarised.

There’s this guy Ajit Degaonkar who has stolen photos from Chenthil’s Photography page and posted it on his page claiming they are his. He hasn’t limited himself to Chenthil’s photos but copied from other photographers like Audi Photography too. So, I did the obvious thing – reported his page, profile and even the photos. Then since Facebook is so slow on response, I enlisted help. I made a post on my profile about what had happened and asked my friends to report him too. I was hoping that the large number of reports would cause Facebook to take action.  However  Facebook did nothing. Here’s their response (my friends got similar responses) –

Since Facebook is Facebook and nothing is simple with them I did some reading on what I can do about this blatant plagiarism. I didn’t find anything online about what I can do. No one seems to have written on this topic so I went to look at what Facebook would allow me to do.

Facebook allows the creator of the content to report the plagiarised content to them as their intellectual property. This means that if you see someone’s work being misused you can’t do anything much about it, only the creator can. This sucks but it is so. Since this was Chenthil’s work and I have access to his account here is how I reported it.

1. Click on the little X at the right top corner of the post. Then click on the Report/Mark as Spam option.

2. You will now see the below message. Now click on the Report link.

3. This will cause the below pop-up. Click on the link at the bottom that reads “Is this your intellectual property?”.

4. You will be taken to this page.

5. You can read about Intellectual Property here. You can also read more about Copyright and access the reporting form here.

6. If the photo is of you or of a minor below 13 you can report the privacy violation here. Read more about Image Privacy Rights.

I have reported the photos on the copyright form for now. Lets see what Facebook does about it. Will keep you posted.

***[Update: It took almost 24 hours but the page and his profile have been pulled down by Facebook. My report saw no action from Facebook as you will see above, so I’m assuming they didn’t take action on all my friends reports either. However it seems that a copyright infringement report and privacy violation report along with over a score of complaints from different people did the trick. Thanks to everyone who helped Che and me make this happen :) ]

Finally here are screenshots of the copy cat.

On the left is the photo Chenthil took of my fractured finger in March this year. On the right is the copied photo with a photoshop job done on the date and place details.

Below is Chenthil’s album on the fire-cracker workers in Sivakasi.

This is the copied album.

Is there anything else I can do about this? Any other actions I can take against this guy? Please let me know in comments.

November 9, 2012   4 Comments

How to Set-up a Sponsored Story on Facebook

After making the post on Sponsored Stories yesterday I realized Facebook has two different types of ad screens they show users. I seem to be on the old one. So here are instructions for the second (new) screen set. (For the first set click here)

How to Set-up a Sponsored Story?

  1. Got to https://www.facebook.com/ads/create/
  2. Choose your page, app or event.


  3. Select ‘See Advanced Options’.
  4. Click on Remove to delete the ‘Your Ad’ option.


  5. In the Stories about your Page post section – Select Stories about your page posts and choose the post.
  6. Make sure all three sharing options are ticked.


  7. Choose you audience based on country, city, age, gender, interests and connections (select the ‘not connected’ option).
  8. Make sure your page shows in the Friends of Connections field.


  9. Ad your account details, campaign name, campaign budget per day or lifetime and optimise for CPC or CPM.
  10. Review your ad.
  11. Place the order.

You can monitor and manage you ad from the Ads Manager option in the left column of your Facebook Home page.

Note: Due to Facebook’s Privacy Settings only the friends of the people who are already sharing their activity ‘on your page’ with their friends on Facebook can see Sponsored Stories about you.

More about Sponsored Stories – https://www.facebook.com/help?page=154500071282557
More about Promoted Posts – https://www.facebook.com/help/promote

October 18, 2012   1 Comment

How To Use Facebook Post Promotion If You have Less Than 400 Likes


Currently one of the best ways to virally promote your business is promote posts. Promoting posts makes the post show up more times in your friends and friends of friends news streams.

Increased Viral Effect: The promotion causes more interaction and increases virality of the post. The initial boost helps kick-start the viral ball – the more people who interact through Likes and Comments the more people see the post.
Genuine Likes: The new Likes on your page are from your target audience (as they are the friends of those who already Like your page) hence they are more likely to interact in future on your page and do business with you.

    However Facebook doesn’t allow pages that have less than 400 Likes to promote posts, also promotion has to start within about 3 days after posting. So then how can you use ads to get more Likes and post promotion? One option is Sponsored Stories that Facebook offers along side regular ads.

    What are Sponsored Stories?
    Here’s how Facebook describes it –

    “A sponsored story is different from an ad because it’s a story you can already see about activity from people you’re connected to, Pages you like or apps you use. A business pays to sponsor these regular stories to increase the chances that you’ll notice it.“

    “Sponsored stories are messages coming from friends about them engaging with your Page, app or event that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance people see them.

    People are influenced by what their friends like and connect to. When someone interacts with your Page, app, or event it creates a story that their friends may see in the news feed. You can pay to sponsor these stories so more people will see it when their friends have engaged with you on Facebook.

    For example, if someone likes your Page they’re saying they’re interested in being connected to you and it can be interpreted as an endorsement of your brand or service. People may see when their friends like your Page, but because there’s a lot of activity in news feed, they may miss it. When you create sponsored stories, you’re increasing the number of people who will learn about you through the actions of their friends.”

    That means it works quite like post promotion or at least can be used until you cross that magic number of 400.

    What Do Sponsored Stories Do?
    Now unlike promoted posts that makes the post show higher in news streams of friends and friends of friends. Sponsored Stories shows activities in the news feed. You can choose what activities should be shown to friends of friends.
    E.g. If Ravi ‘Likes’ your page, his friends will see this activity higher up in their news feeds or in the right side column.

    I personally prefer sponsored stories to regular ads because

    1. The stories are genuine social proof of people interacting with your page
    2. You are targeting the right market by reaching out to friends of friends

    Sponsored Stories get created when someone

    • Likes your Page
    • Likes or comments on your Page’s post
    • RSVPs to your Page’s event
    • Votes on your Page’s question
    • Checks in to your place
    • Uses an app or plays your game
    • Likes or shares your website

    How to Set-up a Sponsored Story?
    Facebook seems to be showing different people different types of ad creation screens. If you are not seeing the same screen as below, Click Here to see instructions for the second set of screens.

    1. Got to https://www.facebook.com/ads/create/
    2. Choose your page, app or event.
    3. Click on the option to promote a specific post.
    4. Choose the post to be promoted.
    5. Select the option for people to see stories about their friends.
    6. Choose you audience based on country, city, age, gender, interests and connections (select the ‘not connected’ option).
    7. Make sure your page shows in the Friends of Connections field.
    8. In the Objective section select people who are most likely to click on my ad or sponsored story.
    9. Ad your account details, campaign name, campaign budget per day or lifetime.
    10. Review your ad.
    11. Place the order.

    You can monitor and manage you ad from the Ads Manager option in the left column of your Facebook Home page.

    Note: Due to Facebook’s Privacy Settings only the friends of the people who are already sharing their activity ‘on your page’ with their friends on Facebook can see Sponsored Stories about you.

    More about Sponsored Stories – https://www.facebook.com/help?page=154500071282557
    More about Promoted Posts – https://www.facebook.com/help/promote

    October 17, 2012   1 Comment

    Becoming a FlipKart Affiliate in India

    To complete my affiliate tie-ups for now I wanted to add FlipKart to my list. I live in India so Amazon is great for all who read my blog abroad but in India Amazon doesn’t work so well as it costs a lot to ship stuff. But FlipKart is the big book seller here so I thought it worth my while. This way I can give readers two options to buy the book.

    The FlipKart Affilate Program is very easy to join. Just click on the ‘Join Now For Free’ button and follow the instructions to fill in your details. Once you signed up you’ll see the home screen.

    I haven’t used the FlipKart links much yet but the layout seems super easy to figure out and report useful. I did go to ‘My Account’ though and add in all my information.

    The process of creating links seems very simple compared to others I’ve seen until now who generate the link. But that said its early days. I’m just starting out with it, so I’ll keep you posted on how it comes along.

    Update as of 26th December 2012 – Until now I had only used my affiliate id for books I’ve reviewed. I didn’t gets clicks in the initial months it seems but in November and December I got 76 clicks however none of them converted. Maybe people in India aren’t buying so many books after reading reviews :) I have to get more aggressive with my affiliate marketing I guess.

    June 1, 2012   3 Comments

    Using VigLink to Increase Affiliate Returns


    In my last post I was talking about trying out affiliate programs, (who can’t do with the extra money :D) and how I set-up the Amazon Associate Program for myself. But then I got thinking and reading – there are a lot of affiliate programs out there and its difficult to choose which ones I want to be a part of, especially since I’m just starting out.

    Looking around I came across two programs – VigLink and SkimLinks. Out of the two however VigLinks seems to be doing better in reviews. So VigLink it is for me.

    What is VigLink?
    An affiliate program is a set-up that pays you a percentage for every sale you bring to the site. E.g. If someone reads a review by me of a book, clicks on the link I have provided to Amazon and buys the book or some other product, I get a percentage of the sale.
    A lot of merchants offer payouts to affiliates but it would be impossible I think to join so many and keep track of it all. This is what I like about VigLink. VigLink ties up with an entire host of merchants so I just need to use VigLink and don’t have to bother with the individual merchants.

    VigLink Payouts?
    VigLink takes a 25% commission for any sales you make through them. Now that’s a lot but the way I see it, without them I wouldn’t have made anything, so something is better than nothing, eh… 😀
    However if you have already put in an affiliate link in you article VigLink leaves it alone. From the earlier example of my book review – if someone clicks on the link I have provided to Amazon; I get paid from Amazon and VigLink stays out of it (I don’t lose the 25%). But if someone clicks on any other link and buys something, VigLink tracks it and pays me.
    To me right now it definitely looks like it will increase the possibilities of earning. Also VigLink currently does not have a minimum requirement as a payout.

    VigLink for WordPress?
    Setting up VigLink is quite simple. Go to VigLink and sign-up. You’ll be sent an email for verification. Verify it and you’re done.
    Then in WordPress go to the PlugIns section from the column on the left of your Dashboard. Choose the ‘Add New’ option.
    Search for the VigLink plugin and click the Install Now button. Once its installed Activate the Plugin. There isn’t much you need to do after this. VigLink will start working for all non-affiliated links on your blog.
    This is good because it would take time to add specific affiliate links to old blogs posts. So, while old posts get updated slowly I still make affiliate money on my links.

    I’ve just started out on VigLink so I’ll keep you posted on how it works out. But before you go, if you are considering VigLink and sign-up to VigLink from here they pay me 30% of their commission for the first year. So please do 😀

    Other Reviews:
    My VigLink Review – Giving Affiliates a Second Chance
    VigLink Review – from an Actual User

    May 30, 2012   6 Comments

    How to Join the Amazon Associate / Affiliate Program

    Affiliate marketing seems to be quite big and for a while now I have been playing with the idea of taking it up but how? I have a blog but its still small when it comes to traffic and I am yet to decide on one blogging category. I write posts about so many things – book reviews, recipes, product reviews, craft, rants, social media. And then there is my blogging consistency. With this much variation I wasn’t sure if an affiliate program would work for me. (If you’d like to know more about affiliate programs, there are a few links at the end.)

    But lately I’ve been posting a lot of book reviews on this blog so I thought why not start with a book affiliate program, that’s where the Amazon Affiliate Program comes in.

    Now I know that its unlikely that I’ll have a payout from them anytime soon but hey a start has to be made somewhere. Here’s the process I followed to sign-up as an affiliate/associate.

    1. Go to the Amazon Associates sign-up page. Here Affiliate and Associate seems to be the same thing.
    If you already have an Amazon ID choose the ‘Sign-in’ option. Click the ‘Join Now For Free’ button if you have to create a new ID.
    I have an Amazon ID so I just went ahead and clicked sign-in and logged in.

    2. The process of signing up is simple but tedious. There are a lot of questions to be answered. Starting with your account information – on this page you can add/remove/change the address and contact person details.

    3. On the next page you have to profile you website. There are quite a few questions asked about your bog or website. How is it monetized, what other affiliate programs are you a part of, what your blog is about… Just fill it all up :)

    4. You’re done with the form filling and now have an associate ID. Next you need to choose a payment method.

    5. Amazon offers three modes of payment – gift card, direct deposit and check. The best option if you live in the US would be direct deposit because they do amounts as small as $10 and the service is free. Amazon changes a $15 fee for checks and the minimum amount of a check is $100. However if your billing address is outside the US they will not change a fee.
    I chose the option of gift card as I don’t expect huge payments anytime soon and would rather use the affiliate money I make to buy stuff off Amazon. Ofcourse when the money starts pouring in I’ll switch to check 😀

    6. There now you’re all set-up and ready to start.

    7. The associates’ area offers a lot of different ways to promote Amazon products. You can choose from various widgets, use links and banners, build your own store and more. I’m going to be starting with the simple product link in the post.

    Setting up the Amazon Affiliate Program is quite simple but it may not be as simple to get the money from it. Amazon for one offers a very low percentage on sales but you do grow up the percentage ladder as you go along. Also I don’t intend to use only Amazon’s Affiliate Program so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted :)

    Here’s some more articles I’m reading on Amazon Affiliate Marketing – (Most of these are old posts but the content is still valid and useful.)
    How does affiliate marketing work?
    Affiliate Programs For Blogs
    10 Tips for Using Affiliate Programs on your Blog
    How to Dramatically Increase Amazon Affiliate Sales with Bestseller Lists

    May 28, 2012   2 Comments