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Category — Social Media

Facebook Timeline for Pages goes Live Today

The new Facebook Timeline for Pages goes live and becomes mandatory today. The New Timeline not only makes your business page on Facebook look different but also changes some of the ways you were using your page for marketing.

There is so much that has been shared across blogs about Facebook Timeline for Pages that writing on the topic seems to cover nothing new. Here are a few blog posts you should check out for you Facebook Page.

Learn About Facebook Pages

Facebook Cheat Sheet: Sizes and Dimensions

Facebook Timeline for Business Pages – 21 Key Points To Know by Mari Smith

Facebook Timeline for Pages – Frequently Asked Questions by Tim Ware on the HyperArts Blog

7 New Facebook Changes Impacting Businesses by Andrea Vahl on Social Media Examiner

The Impact of Facebook Timeline for Brands [Study] by Simply Measured

Eleven Ways Facebook Page Timelines Change Your Content Strategy by John Haydon on Social Media Today

Did Facebook’s Timeline take you by surprise? Was you page updated and ready for Timeline? Are you using all the new features? And most importantly do you like the timeline for Pages?

March 30, 2012   No Comments

Using Pinterest for Your Business

Everyone seems to be talking about Pinterest, it’s the new hot thing and it is pretty cool! I’ve been holding off on it for a while to see how it would go but the talk is non-stop so, I thought I’d take a look.

What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual pin up board. You can pin an article or page that you found interesting here. Pinterest lets you have multiple boards based on the topic of your pins. So you can create boards about redecorating your home, your favourite recipe’s, etc.

Exploring on Pinterest
You can see what people are pinning most based on category. Pinterest offers 16 categories along with videos, popular and gifts! I’m not sure yet how the gifts category pins are selected but my guess is any pin with a price in it, goes into the gifts category.

With the amount of colour images throw up on Pinterest, it would be fun to explore popular articles based on interests here.

Pinning on Pinterest
A lot of different ways are offered to pin on your boards. You can use the pin-it button, you can pin on the iPhone and you can even add a button to your blog or website.

Initial Thoughts
I like Pinterest, it definitely looks interesting and I look forward to using it more to find recommendations and share great stuff I come across. Thinking of creating boards about Travel, Books I’ve Reviewed, Craft and Social Media. Any others I should have?

But how can you use Pinterest for Marketing your Business
Unless you are selling physical items in variety, posting just what you have to sell would be detrimental to your business. At the least you’ll get no returns from using Pinterest. Frankly, even if you are selling physical items its best to vary what you share so you don’t come across salesy. So then what can you share –

Pinterest is a great place for curators and we need that. People can read only so much in a day, that’s where curators come in. They find the quality stuff and all you have to do is follow them. So how can you use this for your business you ask?

Become a curator in your field. Don’t just share your articles and websites on the board, share what others are doing, what you recommend, what you think people should see.

Pinterest works best when you have images or video. Text would look quite boring, so keep that in mind when pinning posts. That said if you have a website or blog, make sure it has images too, else it’s not going to look great on Pinterest when its pinned by someone.

For example if you are a book marketer, a book coach, a book publicist or in the publishing industry, you can share blog posts you recommend authors and publishing folk should read on your board. That way you don’t come across as salesy and yet set yourself up well as an expert on your subject.

Or if you get affiliate sales on books, don’t just share links to your reviews. Pin others reviews of books you found interesting too. It’s about setting yourself up as someone who makes great book recommendations and is not a sales engine. People will follow your recommendations and the more they value it the more sales you’ll get over time.

If you are a vampire fiction author you should consider creating a board about vampires. I’d love to find a place where I can read all about them and stay updated rather than do a search on Google.

(The examples are all about books, sorry. But I just love them.)

So the idea is to give people a good reason to follow you and your board without selling. Set yourself up as an expert or the must follow person on a topic and the deals will come. Give and you shall receive.

Are you using Pinterest? What do you think of the idea of virtual pin boards? How would you use it for your business?

March 7, 2012   1 Comment

Review: Feedly – Make Reading Blogs Fun


I stumbled on to Feedly after seeing FlipBoard on the iPad. I was looking for something that would make reading my Google Reader feeds fun and Feedly does a good job of it – on the iPad.

Oh yes, Feedly works well on the iPad but that left me with a problem – the iPad belongs to Che so its not available to me all the time. That got me wondering if it would just as well on the Mac. So off I went to the Feedly site.

Other than the iOS and Android, Feedly also has add-ons for Chrome, Safari and Firefox. I got Feedly for Chrome and took it for a test drive.

What I liked about it –
1. It has a nice newpaper like layout that makes for more colourful reading.
2. You can change the way the articles are laid out with the layout button at the top. So photos could be a mosaic and text blogs tiled.
3. Ties up with twitter and facebook to show newsfeed though am not sure yet just how useful this would be.
4. Based on you feeds, Feedly recommends more feeds you might like.
5. Also based on your feeds its makes recommendations from Amazon, YouTube, Flickr.
6. It offers 13 colours as themes but I like Classic Grey most.
7. Offers tagging – In preferences you can add a comma delimited list of tags you would like to be able to assign to articles for collection. Haven’t used this feature yet and since my feeds are categorised already not sure if I will need it. But I think I will try tags like read later, research, and share.
8. Allows you to tracks stock –wow! I don’t need it but wow!

What I don’t like –
1. On the iPad you flip pages to read further, here on Chrome you have to scroll down and it’s a lot of scrolling.
2. In preferences Feedly offers 5 different types of view settings – magazine, condensed, mosaic, cards and full articles. But when I tried switching between them I saw no change in how my feeds were displayed.
3. On the iPad I had an essentials list of feeds based on category. Here I find it missing and just can’t find a way to get it to show.

Feedly also sync’s with all gadgets so I can read on Che’s iPad, or my Android phone and then come back to the Mac and my feeds and saved articles are synced.

On the whole this is neat… Feedly definitely makes reading blogs more fun than Google Reader. I swear by GR since without it, having my feeds on the cloud would be painful but reading in GR isn’t much fun. Feedly syncs well with GR and lays out all the posts well. Feedly as an RSS reader is a must try!

March 6, 2012   No Comments

Three Ways to Get With The Blogging Program

I’ve been on a break from the blog in the last few weeks. What started with missing one blog post rolled on into missing many posts. Everyday I thought of writing and then told myself ‘Not right now, later’ and later never happened.

I felt guilty but it’s usually easy to convince yourself and let things slip. But blogging regularly is important. Every time you miss a post you lose readers and traffic – you lose a bit of your voice. I should have known better and I plead guilty.

So what am I going to do about it and how am I going to make sure I get with the program – here’s what I plan to do.

The Buddy System
This works and this post vouches for it. Find a friend to make yourself accountable to, tell him/her what you plan to do and give them the right to question you. Evading yourself is easy but it’s difficult to escape another’s queries. Being accountant helps you stick with the program.

Plan a Schedule
Plan the week out and decide what you will be posting each day. That will help you plan ahead. I think, thinking of what to write is one of the most difficult parts of blogging and a plan helps in this. When you know what you are going to write about, half the job is done. After that all you have to do is sit down and write.

Schedule Ahead
Publishing a post everyday does not mean writing it everyday. Yes, you want to write some posts on that day so you can share what is happening in your life. But if you are writing on a topic or doing a review, you can do this earlier and schedule it for publication. Then if you want to on the day you can add a paragraph of the latest news.

These are three things I intend to do to stay on track and blog regularly. What do you do to make sure your blog posts go out on time? Do you have any recommendations that will help me stick with the program?

March 3, 2012   No Comments

Why Authors Should Ask Readers for Reviews

A day after I wrote a post about asking people for what you want on Social Media, I finished reading Ginny Baird’s ‘The Sometime Bride’. Ginny’s was the first ebook in 22 ebooks I’ve read until now to ask me to engage with her explicitly.

Here’s what Ginny wrote –

A Note From the Author

Thanks for reading The Sometime Bride! I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please help other people find this book.

1. This book is lendable, so send it to a friend who you think might like it so that she (or he) can discover me, too.

2. Help other people find this book: write a review.

3. Sign up for my newsletter, so that that you can learn about the next book as soon as it’s available. Write to GinnyBairdRomance@gmail.com, with “newsletter” in the subject heading.

4. Come like my Facebook page.

Watch for my upcoming release, Real Romance, due out in May 2012!

Here’s why I think more authors should do this.

Unlike most authors Ginny told me to share her book. Most authors tell you that the book you are reading is not lendable/shareable. This makes no sense as if I bought a paper book I would share it with friends, so why can’t I do that with an ebook as freely. As an author would you consider the number of people who have read your book or would you just focus on how many people have paid for your book? Isn’t the reason we write, to be read?

After reading Ginny’s message i stopped to think about the story and characters of her book. I gave the idea of a review a definite consideration. I don’t review all the books I read so asking definitely put ‘The Sometime Bride’ on my review list. My way of paying back an author for taking the time to write a book that I enjoyed is to review the book. Reviews help authors reach out to more readers and they work as great testimonials too. If you love books help authors reach out by reviewing their book.

I considered joining her newsletter and Facebook page. But what Ginny could have done better was check for typos and add a link to her Facebook page. I would have to search for her page on Facebook and thats a deterrent; giving me a link or way to find her page would have made me take action immediately.

I wish more authors would do this, it makes authors more approachable and human compared to that vague image I have of a person bend over a typewriter as I read a book. It gets me to like the author more, want to know more about the author and her books. Most importantly it builds a community of readers for an author for future books!

February 7, 2012   No Comments

Is Amazon trying to monopolise the book readers market?

Amazon seems to be getting very restrictive recently both towards authors and readers. It seems Amazon is trying to increase sales and monopolise the market by forcing authors and sites such as GoodReads to link only to them.

Amazon is forcing authors to restrict their books to only Amazon and I’ll talk about how they’re doing that in a few days.

With readers Amazon seems to be playing a different game. Its targeting sites like GoodReads that use the Amazon API for book data. The new terms of the Amazon API licensing agreement are very restrictive. Amazon requires that books on GoodReads link for sales only to Amazon.com. No other book sites are allowed. The other requirement is that the API data not be used on mobile sites and apps.

This may not impact GoodReads but it impacts us readers. Amazon in simple words is saying we can buy only for them and no one else. That is an infringement on our freedom to choose. GoodReads has chosen to not give in to Amazon and instead move away to other data sources. This means we can continue to compare prices across bookstores. This also means that we can continue to use GoodReads both as a website and an app on the mobile.

Good work GoodReads!

GoodReads has sent out emails to users telling them about moving away from Amazon and asking for help with book details. Here the email I received.

“Dear Freya,

We want to let you know about a change on our site that is impacting some of the books on your shelves. It’s important that you read this and take action by Monday, January 30.

For years, we’ve used Amazon’s data for information such as the book title, author, and publication date. Unfortunately, the terms required by Amazon have now become so restrictive that we decided it makes better sense to work with other data sources. However, the deadline to make the transition is Amazon’s, and they have told us that we must stop using their data by January 30. We have to meet this deadline.

We’ve been adding data from other sources and now know which books still need help. You are receiving this email because we need new sources for 2 of the book on your shelves.

First, please be assured that none of your reviews or ratings are in danger. Not a single review, comment, shelving, or rating will be lost in this transition. We have a system in place to preserve your reviews and comments for any books at risk until we can find new sources. That’s the most important thing—your data is 100 percent safe.

What can you do? The good news is you can rescue your books. Saving a book is easy. Just click the “Rescue Me!” button next to each book edition that needs help, and fill in the information on the following page. A few keystrokes can help preserve these books for millions of future readers.

It takes only a few clicks, and you will be doing your part to make sure these books remain available for other readers like you. We appreciate the passion you bring to Goodreads, and we apologize for the short notice. If we could have prevented this inconvenience in any way, we would have done it. Ultimately, this change will be better for the members of Goodreads and long-term success of the site.

If you don’t want to rescue your books, you can also export your books to a spreadsheet so you have a record of them.

All the best,
Otis & Elizabeth
Goodreads Founders”

I rescued two books and am happy and proud to be a part of GoodReads. Amazon monopolizing the book market seems so like what publishers have done for ages; it should be stopped.

What do you think? Should Amazon be allowed to monopolise the book market? Have you help out with books on GoodReads? Do you support GoodReads?

January 30, 2012   No Comments

Why Do Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Need a Social Media Strategy?

The last few years have seen a rise in the use of online networks in India. More and more people are going online now and Facebook has become a common word. A year ago my Mom got herself a Facebook account and today my Granny asks us to login (to the “Diary” ask she calls it or Facebook as we know it) so she can check on her Grandchildren’s updates and photos. My Granny is 85 years old and that says a lot about the use of social media in India.

The age of children using the internet is dropping and more adults are getting comfortable with the internet every day. Facebook and Twitter are now used to share more than photos and life updates – they are a place to share successes, failures and most importantly voice opinions. This is why if you do not get on this bandwagon now, you may lose the race.

Here are a few reasons why you need to take notice of Social Media and Plan a Strategy –

The Way People Buy Has Changed
The way people buy products and what influences them has changed. Today people don’t get swayed as much by ads; that’s where the process starts. An average Joe would see an ad and like what he sees. He then goes online and does a bit of research. He reads about the product and checks reviews. He posts his desire for a product and asks his friends for their opinion on a social site like Facebook or Twitter.

Today this is a crucial point of sale. What his friends say can make or break the sale. Their opinion is an important part of his decision making. So it’s not enough to just sell to him, it’s important to make sure that his friends feel good about your product and promote it.

People Will Talk Even If You’re Not There
My husband recently bought an iPad. He thinks it’s the best tablet device available today but since it comes from Apple – a proprietary company it has its drawbacks. Last week he updated the software and in the process a lot of things stopped working. He has been very vocal about just how upset he is with the iPad and Apple on Facebook.

Consumers today may not always talk about how great a product is but they definitely will tell the world if it doesn’t work. It’s an old sales adage – a happy customer may tell one person or two but an unsatisfied customer will tell TEN.

Customers are talking about your product online – they may say good things or bad, but they are definitely talking about it even if you are not listening.

It’s Not Just The Sale!
It’s no longer about a sale. In this day and age of active participation on Social Networks, you need to win over a customer before, at and after the sale if you want a successful business. Your sales approach, how you conduct the sale and your follow-up will be talked about.

If you have won over a customer on all three counts you can be assured that he/she will evangelise your product and bring in more customers.

Online Communities
Facebook and Twitter are just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of niche communities and groups have sprung up around topics lately. You can start a group on just about anything on Facebook or networks like Ning – from your favourite washing machine brand to your views on Gandhi.

These communities share views and opinions among themselves but a lot of it is also public. They post reviews on sites, comment on blog posts and voice their opinions in conversations online. Their views can make or break your sale.

Today to reach out to your customer you need to move from the traditional ‘push’ marketing method to a ‘pull’ strategy. You need to listen to them, understand their needs, plan your social media strategy and make your information available to them when they want it.

January 27, 2012   1 Comment

Ask and You Shall Receive

In recent conversations I’ve come across this question often, “people come to my website, check it out but do not return”. This is a problem a lot of small entrepreneurs and businesses have when they start out. You create a website/product based on what you think people need (if you had researched this before creation, great!) and then you go out and tell them about it. People come and check it out, maybe use it and then leave. But a high percentage does not return to your site repeatedly.

If you want people to come to your website you’re going to have to give them what they want. Understand that you may have researched what they want earlier but this has changed with time or what you offer isn’t enough. The best way to find out is to ask them what they want.

You may have a feedback button on your site but people don’t always use this or tell you what they want upfront. It’s kind of like when you go to a restaurant. The restaurant may have a table or stand with forms asking for your feedback. But how likely are you to fill one? If you had an exceptional meal then you just might but not otherwise. On the other hand if I gave you a form and a pen at your table I am more likely to get feedback and suggestions from you.

So ask your audience, question them in your newsletter. The size of your mailing list does not matter, even if its just 50, ASK. We humans like to suggest and have our suggestions implemented. So ask your audience what they would like to see on your site or in your product.

Don’t limit yourself to your newsletter, go out and ask questions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks like Quora too. All feedback is valuable.

And most importantly act on the feedback and suggestions you’ve received. That’s what you went through all this trouble for :)

January 26, 2012   1 Comment

BlogRoll 2012: Blogs I’ve Followed Until Now

Over the last two years I’ve collected (that’s a good word :D) 490 blog subscriptions but haven’t managed to read even 1/10 of them. So, this year one of my resolutions is to clean up my RSS reader on Google.

And how am I doing this? Well, I’m starting from zilch, scratch. Since I don’t want to lose all I have yet, I decided to ignore all that was before and create a few new folders based on my interests. Now I’m going to add blogs slowly through the year making sure to stick to the habit of reading all that I subscribe to 😀 and removing feeds that I don’t read over time.

Here are blogs that I’ve founded until now categorized by interest. If you have a blog recommendation in these areas, do let me know. I’m looking out for some interesting blogs. :)

Travel
BreathDreamGo by Mariellen

Craft (Fully DIY)
All Things Paper by Ann Martin

Crafting Queen by Karuna

Book Blogs (Reviews and more)
Chrisbookarama by Chris

Reading Romances by Nat

Of Books and Reading

Behind the Book (All about writing, publishing and marketing books)
A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath

No Publisher Needed by Jim. F. Kukral

The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn

The Book Designer by Joel Friedlander

Have any recommendations? Please leave them in comments :)

January 20, 2012   No Comments