Larry BraunerI recently discussed Facebook Groups as Alternatives to Ning Sites from a group creator’s vantage point. Here I look at ways you can get the most out of your Facebook Groups from a general member’s point of view.

Facebook groups are great for meeting new people and sharing your ideas and content. Facebook groups can also help you brand yourself if you use them right.

Facebook

Following are 10 tips for maximizing your Facebook groups participation:

  1. Join Facebook groups with the intention of gaining the maximum possible benefit from each group. Do not just click “Join” merely to display interest in a subject or cause.
  2. Be prepared to give at least as much to the group as you receive, and in the end you’ll probably receive more than you gave.
  3. Abide by each group’s preferences. Look to see whether discussion is taking place on a group’s Wall or on its Discussion Tab.
  4. Visit your Facebook groups frequently, as your groups’ updates don’t appear in your news feed and may have insufficient EdgeRank to be appear if and when Facebook allows group content to show up in news feeds.
  5. Comment on your groups’ updates and join the conversation. You may disagree with another member’s content or opinion, but please, exercise restraint and comment with respect for that person and the group. Sometimes it may be better to send a private message rather than discuss a delicate or personal matter in public.
  6. Add new content to your Facebook groups that will interest other members and stimulate conversation. Include your personal take on the content.
  7. Post your own content if it’s relevant, but don’t post your content exclusively, and be very careful not to spam the group.
  8. Invite your friends to join the Facebook groups you belong to. Use your Wall, a group’s “Invite People to Join” link or private messages. However, only extend appropriate direct invitations. I’ve been extra careful when inviting people to join the Fabulous Baby Boomers Facebook group, because I don’t want to insult them in case they’re too young to be boomers.
  9. Invite group members to be Facebook friends if and when it seems like a good idea. In the invite message, remind them how you know them.
  10. Expect to receive bulletins from your Facebook groups. If your groups hold a Facebook Event or even an off-site event, do your best to participate.

These are Facebook groups I’ve created:

  • Fabulous Baby Boomers - I’m a Baby Boomer. I admit it. This Facebook group is recommended for people who were born between 1943 and 1964 — or who wish they had been. Join us for a good mixture of fun and business.
  • Enterprising Business Leaders - This Facebook group is for entrepreneurs and business leaders from all business sectors including not-for-profit.
  • Social Media Enthusiasts - This Facebook group is for social media evangelists and enthusiasts at all levels of experience and skill.

Once again, if you have or will have a Facebook group, tell us about it in a comment below. You can also share whatever else you desire. ;-)

Oh, and before I forget, my new blog, Optimize Your Web Presence, is already up and running. :-D

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Larry BraunerNing sites aren’t disappearing. Granted, many Ning sites will close when the new Ning plans and pricing go into effect on July 20. However, many other Ning sites will remain open. Roughly 15,000 Ning network creators have already demonstrated their interest by joining the new Ning Creators social network.

If your favorite Ning sites survive, continue to use them without hesitation. Chances are these Ning sites will offer greater functionality than they did in the past.

Ning Social NetworkIf, on the other hand, you’re a network creator seeking Ning alternatives, many alternative to Ning sites  exist. I intend to examine a variety of Ning alternatives over the weeks and months to come.

Facebook Groups as Alternatives to Ning Sites

FacebookLast week I launched Fabulous Baby Boomers, a new Facebook group. I considered starting it on Ning or another social network hosting platform, but I chose to start my group on Facebook for four principal reasons:

  1. I wanted to test how well Facebook groups, a free alternative to Ning sites, might help me achieve my networking objectives.
  2. I believed that it would be easier to promote group membership and for that membership to spread virally on Facebook than elsewhere, since Facebook is the most active social web site.
  3. A Facebook group keeps my options open, since it doesn’t preclude the possibility of building a network on another social platform in the future. Rather, a Facebook group could help drive people to a new site.
  4. Growing Facebook groups could support other projects I have going or will initiate in the future on the Facebook social networking site.

Of course there are trade-offs, such as:

  • no subgroups within a Facebook group
  • no blogs as on Ning sites
  • very limited opportunities for Facebook group customization
  • you haven’t used Facebook much in the past, so you’ll have a learning curve and will need to develop influence on that site

Here are some important features of Facebook groups. You can:

  • broadcast newsletters directly to your members’ inboxes provided you don’t have 5,000 members or more, so limit your membership size if this feature is important to you
  • use “Invite People to Join” with discretion and encourage your members to do the same in order to bring new members into the group
  • create group events to liven things up, promote an event, build your brand or increase membership
  • use the discussion tab as you would use a forum

You can’t choose a vanity name for a Facebook group like you can for a Facebook profile or a Facebook page. I suggest that you buy a domain name and forward it to your Facebook group. I purchased the domain FabulousBabyBoomers.com for my Facebook group. If you know any Baby Boomers, please tell them about this group.

Optimize Your Web PresenceI’m also launching a new blog site in a few days, Optimize Your Web Presence. The site is already up, and I hope you’ll stop by and check in.

If you have or will have a Facebook group, tell us about it in a comment below. You can also share whatever else you have on your mind. ;-)

Whether you prefer Facebook groups or Ning sites, I wish you complete success!

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Larry BraunerYou post updates on your Facebook profile, page or group and want your friends, fans or group members to find them in their Facebook news feeds — and hopefully comment on them and recommend them to their friends.

Ever notice that much too often your posts don’t have the effect you desire? This result can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Few Eyeballs - The quantity of your friends, fans or members is small to begin with, and since few check their news feeds regularly, your posts go unnoticed.
  • Relevance - Your posts are irrelevant or simply fail to resonate with your audience. They don’t appeal enough for people to engage them.
  • Passivity - Many people lack the assertiveness or the focus to react to your posts or share them, even if they enjoy them.
  • Low EdgeRank - Facebook buries your posts so far down in people’s news feeds, that they’re in-effect invisible. Facebook computes and uses EdgeRank to assess the relative importance of posted content. A high Facebook Edge Rank leads to visibility, while a low Facebook EdgeRank leads to obscurity. Your posts are competing with others, and a relatively low EdgeRank keeps them from appearing.

FacebookAs Jason Kincaid explains in EdgeRank: The Secret Sauce That Makes Facebook’s News Feed Tick on Tech Crunch, three factors influence the EdgeRank of your content:

  1. Relationship, i.e., your relationship with your potential audience as perceived by Facebook. The more you interact with Facebook users, the higher the EdgeRank of your posts, and the higher your posts appear on their walls. Facebook rewards you for building personal relationships. Invest time reading, commenting on and sharing other people’s content.
  2. Engagement, the extent to which people engage with your post. A strong interaction will drive up your Facebook Edge Rank. Of course, someone has to see your post and react to it in the first place. This can lead to a Catch-22 situation. If necessary, send a message to some of your good friends in order to get the ball rolling. By the way, the most engaging posts are status updates that ask questions.
  3. Time Elapsed - Over time your post loses EdgeRank, which makes room for newer posts to appear. No one post gets to hog the news, so keep your creative juices flowing.

Facebook values relationships between its members and engagement with member content. Give Facebook what Facebook values, and your EdgeRank and visibility will benefit. Use Facebook for pushing your ads or agenda, and your EdgeRank and visibility will suffer.

Please leave a comment, subscribe, and “like” my Facebook page. :-)

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Larry BraunerI launched @WelkinCapital and a Facebook page for Welkin Capital Group, a top broker of residential and commercial mortgage loans, located in New York City.

The process is still fresh in my mind, so I thought it would be worthwhile to share a bit of my thinking about the Twitter part of it with you. I prefer to leave Facebook for another time, as I haven’t discussed Twitter with you in quite a while.

Twitter Lists
Here then are ten Twitter social media marketing ideas for you to consider when you set up a new Twitter business account:

  1. Write Your Twitter Business Bio - Write a bio that is pleasant and easy to read. Use your principal keyword phrases so people searching for them can find your Twitter business profile. Appending your own personal Twitter @username will be appreciated by your visitors. For an example of this, please see @WelkinCapital.
  2. Your Twitter Profile Link - Link to your website or blog. However, if you don’t have a website, or your website isn’t ready to receive visitors, consider using your LinkedIn profile or Facebook page instead. In any case, for best results, the page you link to should be relevant and well-designed – absolutely not a sales pitch.
  3. Your Twitter Profile Picture - It makes sense on a business profile to use your organization’s logo. If you don’t have a logo, get somebody to help you create it.
  4. Tweet Before You Follow - Add half a dozen well-thought-out tweets to your business account before you start following other users from it and before you start promoting it. Otherwise, you might look like a spammer, and that would be awful.
  5. Feather the Nest - Follow the new business profile from your own personal account and ask your colleagues to do the same. Visitors will feel more comfortable following it if a few others have led the way.
  6. Update Your Personal Twitter Bio - Since Welkin is in the real estate industry, I added “real estate” to my @larrybrauner bio. This will attract real estate oriented followers to my profile who will then learn about Welkin when I retweet Welkin updates. Use this strategy if it makes sense for you.
  7. Promote Your Twitter Business Profile - Place links or widgets on your website, blog, social networking sites, etc.
  8. Follow Targeted Twitter Users - Target Twitter users using Twitter Grader search, Twellow categories and Listorious Twitter lists, in that order. If you follow relevant people, and your Twitter profile is set up properly, most will follow you back.
  9. Follow Back Relevant Users - Many Twitter users will follow you. Follow back those who are relevant. Ignore those who aren’t. They will unfollow you before long. Block obvious spammers.
  10. Influence - Use your personal Twitter and other social media  influence whenever feasible to support your Twitter business account.

I hope you will find these Twitter tips helpful as you set up your new Twitter business account or enhance an existing account.

Please subscribe and comment. :-)

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