Mastering social media one bite at a time the past few years was an effective strategy for me, as the needs of my small number of clients were modest enough.

That’s changing, as I’ve been engaged as social media and web strategist by the Gevril Group in Valley Cottage, NY, luxury watch distributor, a forward-thinking business with ambitious marketing goals.

A one-bite-at-a-time social media marketing approach for Gevril would be way too laid-back and totally unrealistic.

Gevril’s Social Media and Web Marketing Plan

Gevril Group Luxury WatchesI’ve crafted for Gevril a multi-faceted web marketing plan that matches the company’s far-reaching objectives.

All parts of my plan are to be managed and executed concurrently:

  • Community and List Building - Developing a community and building a subscriber base are impacted by nearly all social media and web marketing functions.
  • Content Creation - The story of each Gevril Group brand needs to be told, and articles, newsletters and press releases need to be written, as well.
  • Web Sites - Ivo Jackson and I are designing GevrilGroup.com. The Gevril Group website will be the hub of the Gevril web presence and a key resource for contact list building.
  • Blogging - Blogs will be used to post fresh content, such as news and product information. We’ve launched several Gevril Group blogs: Watch Brands and Luxury Watches and Men’s Watches.
  • Search Engine Optimization - SEO and social media complement each other very nicely. About 50% of my blog’s traffic comes from searches. Whenever new content is created, SEO needs to be applied. The free Google Keyword Tool is my favorite SEO resource.
  • Email Marketing - We’ll email press releases, and news about products and events to our email marketing lists.
  • Facebook - I’ve set up a facebook.com/GevrilGroup on Facebook, a social networking site I’m quite comfortable with. I hope to build an active community of watch enthusiasts around Gevril’s Facebook page.
  • Twitter - I’ve set up @GevrilGroup on Twitter and will use Tweet Adder to manage the Gevril account and build a targeted following.
  • LinkedIn - While still working on a strategy for LinkedIn, I’ve already joined many relevant LinkedIn groups. I will next create a Gevril company page.
  • Social Bookmarking Sites - I’ve lately received a lot of quality blog traffic from Business Exchange, so I created a Business Exchange topic for the watch industry. I’ll also use Digg, StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking sites.
  • Niche Social Networks - Social networking sites and forums catering to watches or luxury will help Gevril connect with watch enthusiasts.
  • Group Buying - I’ve ruled out Groupon and similar sites as potential marketing channels, but very much like GroupGain, a new website with a new group buying concept that has yet to launch.

Gevril Men's 5101 Rose Gold Avenue of Americas Automatic Date WatchThe ultimate goal of Gevril’s marketing initiatives is to increase sales by enlisting vendors and by creating more consumer demand.

Therefore, every aspect of Gevril’s social media and web marketing plan must contribute directly or indirectly to an increase in Gevril’s sales.

Please visit and follow the Gevril Group on Facebook and Twitter. I hope to see you there. ;-)

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Larry BraunerI was surprised to learn from the Google Keyword Tool that a large number of people are searching on Google for free web sites, despite the ease of buying low-cost domain names and web hosting that can avert the shortcomings associated with free web sites.

Disadvantages of Free Web Sites

The three main shortcomings of free websites are:

  1. Lack of Control - You have less control of both the feature set and the security of free web sites than those hosted on paid web hosting services. For example, few free website providers will permit you to use your own domain name or obtain a dedicated IP address. On top of that, free web site hosts can delete your web site capriciously and without notice, leaving you with little recourse.
  2. Service Limitations - Free web sites may overly restrict allotted storage capacity, bandwidth, number of pages, etc.
  3. Host Advertising - In many cases, free web sites contain the host’s ads, making free web sites look cheap and unprofessional.

Valid Uses for Free Web Sites

Despite my reservations about free web sites, there are free web sites and free web pages I consider quite valuable.

At the hub of your web presence and social media, you ought to have web sites or blog sites that you control, as I asserted in Not Ready for Social Media Marketing.

However, extending out from your hub can be many outposts on free web sites that extend your marketing reach. Here are types of free web sites that enable you to extend your web presence far beyond your core web sites:

  • Social Networking Sites - Your member profiles on Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are free web pages on free web sites that help you connect with people.
  • Micro-Blogging Sites - Tumblr, Posterous and Amplify are free micro-blogging web sites for adding text, photo and video content that’s search engine friendly and accessible to users who follow you.
  • Social Bookmarking Sites - Many social bookmarking sites, such as StumbleUpon and Business Exchange, let you create profiles that are free web pages on free web sites and that tend to rank well in search engines.
  • Content Sites - Free content sites like Squidoo and Hubpages are communities of free web pages that behave somewhat like free web sites.

WeeblyAnd yes, there are free web sites that you fashion more or less as you like. Hosts for these free web sites include Build Free, Google Sites, Weebly, Webs and Yola, as well as a long list of others.

WebsFree web sites make sense if used in the right context. They should only be used as part of your marketing hub if you can’t afford to pay about US$100 per year to host web sites that you own, and you control.

What are your experience with free web sites?

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Larry BraunerI assert in Why Should I Like Your Facebook Page? that until you determine “what’s in it” for your Facebook page’s fans, you’re not ready to launch your Facebook page. You’ll only succeed by accident, if at all.

I’m ready to assume that your Facebook page already offers a lot of useful information, a way to subscribe to your web content, online customer service, news about events, contests, juicy gossip, entertainment or other perceived benefits that make it worthwhile for people to follow.

How Do I Get Fans for My Facebook Page?

FacebookNow, you’re looking to get fans for your Facebook page.

Perhaps you don’t yet have a strong web presence, and you’re trying to grow your Facebook fan base from scratch.  Your Facebook page deserves fans, and you’re asking yourself, “How can I attract people who’ll ‘like’ my page and become my page’s fans?”

There are lots of ways to get Facebook page fans, including Facebook ads, which I do not like. I’m sharing with you methods that can help you easily grow your small business or solo entrepreneur Facebook page fan base, in the hope that you can succeed without making the Facebook page building process more difficult or complex than it needs to be.

My Top Ways to Get Facebook Page Fans

These are the top ten ways that I’ve grown my Facebook page fans:

  1. Feather Your Nest - Ask 25 close friends or family members to help you reach the 25 Facebook page fans you need to obtain your custom Facebook page name, helping your page appeal to prospective fans.
  2. Your Facebook Friends - If you have few Facebook friends, ask each individually to “like” your Facebook fan page. Tell them that you’d love for them to join you there. If you have hundreds or thousands of friends, you can use the “Suggest to Friends” option to invite them. Be sure to add a personal message in the invite. Many people ignore Facebook page invites, so don’t expect more than 5% to 10% rate of acceptance.
  3. Your Email Lists - If you have email lists, invite contacts to visit and “like” your Facebook fan page. Be personal and friendly in your message. Use Edit Page >> Marketing >> Tell Your Fans. Don’t spam.
  4. Everyone You Meet - Tell everybody. Put your Facebook page link and Twitter handle on your business cards and in the signature of your emails.
  5. Link to Your Page - Link to your Facebook page rather than your Facebook profile from all the social networking sites you join and from your blog site or other website.
  6. Blogging About Your Page - Use your Facebook fan page to promote your blog, but make sure that you also use your blog to promote your Facebook page. At the end of posts, ask readers to subscribe to your blog and to “like” your Facebook page.
  7. Ask Your Friends to Help - I’ve asked some of my Facebook friends to suggest my Facebook page to their Facebook friends along with a message of recommendation. If you try this approach, you may find it to be highly effective, just as I have.
  8. Fan Page Events - I’ve added hundreds of Facebook page fans by holding events on my Facebook page. 4+ Day Blog and Website Promotion Event and Social Media Party and Facebook Fan Page Event Going Viral and Attracting Hundreds Already describe my most successful Facebook event.
  9. Facebook Widgets - I have a Facebook fan page widget on each of my websites, making it easy for site visitors to “like” my Facebook page and stay in touch.
  10. Engage Your Facebook Fans - Your posts must be made visible to your Facebook page fans. Read How Facebook EdgeRank Affects Your Visibility. Engage your fans, primarily by asking questions. When your fans comment on your status or “like” it, they’re sharing it with their Facebook friends.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, Nor Was My Facebook Page

Accept reality. It will take time to get a large number of Facebook page fans, but if you add just three new Facebook page fans per day, you’ll have 1,000 fans in less than a year. By adding five to six Facebook page fans per day on average, I was able to add 2,000 new fans in the past year. You can do it too!

New blog subscribers and Facebook fans are welcome — and if you think that others might benefit from advice for getting Facebook page fans, please share this article with them. ;-)

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Larry BraunerI once heard the following joke:

Q - How do you get rich online?
A - First you get rich; then you go online.

Now, I’ll re-purpose this joke for Facebook.

Q - How do you get lots of fans for your Facebook page?
A - First you get lots of fans; then you get your fans to “like” your Facebook page.

FacebookUnfortunately, these silly jokes are only partially jest. There’s truth in both of them. Getting rich online or creating a Facebook fan base from scratch are both very difficult objectives to accomplish.

Creating a Facebook fan base from scratch is precisely what bullet #6 was alluding to in 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook:

Facebook fan pages are more useful for marketing large businesses than small ones, since they won’t help to build your web presence unless, to some degree, you already have a web presence.”

Large businesses come to Facebook with lots of people who are already loyal to their brands and lots of traffic to their websites. Once their fans “like” their Facebook pages, critical mass is achieved, and their Facebook pages grow exponentially, virally attracting new fans.

If you’re finding it difficult to grow your Facebook fan base from scratch, become neither alarmed nor discouraged. It is difficult but achievable. In an upcoming article, I’ll provide you with a few ideas that may help you create your fan base, even out of thin air.

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Larry BraunerTwitter and LinkedIn partnered last fall enabling you to automatically tweet your LinkedIn status and to post your Twitter tweets on LinkedIn.

However, I envisioned a much more significant integration of the two social media sites than merely enabling users to cross-post with ease.

I predicted in Top 10 Reasons Why the Twitter LinkedIn Partnership is Big News that the integration of Twitter and LinkedIn would reduce an enormous amount of content by functioning more or less like a Twitter list containing members of your LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn Signal Beta

With the recent release of LinkedIn Signal Beta, unveiled at TechCrunch Disrupt, a fuller integration of Twitter and LinkedIn is already at hand.

LinkedIn users will be able to search Twitter using keywords and filter the results by degree of connection, industry, company, time posted, region, school and hashtags.

To increase its integration with Twitter, LinkedIn needed the Twitter handles of its users, in order to identify relevant tweets within Twitter’s database. LinkedIn obtained the needed Twitter handles by encouraging users to avail themselves of the initial integration and by letting them display a Twitter link on their LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn Signal New Twitter Search Engine for Business


Uses for LinkedIn Signal

LinkedIn Signal will make LinkedIn the Twitter search engine of choice for business users. At the same time, LinkedIn Signal becomes a powerful online networking tool. You’ll easily see what your connections are tweeting, and you’ll more readily find new people with whom to connect.

LinkedIn is already the business networking site of business networking sites. Now, as a powerful Twitter search engine for business too, LinkedIn is the go-to social website for all hoping to transact business on the web. You’re welcome to connect with me there: www.LinkedIn.com/in/brauner

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Larry BraunerSeven years ago in November 2003, I began my online networking exploration on Ryze, a new social web site which was, along with LinkedIn, one of the first social networking and business networking sites.

It wasn’t until 2006, after I’d already joined a number of additional social networking websites, that I learned that these sites were the precursors of a much larger social media phenomenon. I also learned about the importance of blogs, explained by Darren Rouse in his video which I embedded in Not Ready for Social Media Marketing.

Third BlogiversaryI launched this blog, Online Social Networking, in November 2007, and yes, I am celebrating my third blogiversary. :-D

In Social Media One Bite at a Time and 7 Tips for Winning the Social Media Marathon, I discuss the social media mindset and some of the social media strategies I’ve found very helpful.

Building My Social Media and Web Presence

Here is a list of my 10 top strategies for building my social media and web presence:

  1. Partnership - Building relationships though blogging, online social networking and social bookmarking sites.
  2. Content - Writing and publishing well thought-out and occasionally useful articles on my two blogs.
  3. Search Engine Optimization - Ongoing keyword research and SEO. 50% of all my web site traffic comes directly from search engines.
  4. Diversification - Creating a presence on diverse social media sites and cultivating diverse web site traffic sources.
  5. Innovation - Experimenting with many ideas, some work out and others flop, while resisting any urges to follow the crowd.
  6. Boldness - Haven’t been afraid to test the limits of social websites and social media strategies. Twitter removed @larrybrauner from their search results, Sphinn terminated my account, and Facebook sends me sweet little love messages when I become more ambitious than they like. All I can say is, “C’est la vie.” Meekness isn’t a good quality in a marketer.
  7. Planning - Always researching and frequently reevaluating and refining my web marketing and branding plan. Flexibility must accompany social media and web marketing planning.
  8. Attitude - Persevering, staying upbeat and focusing, even when I didn’t feel like it, such as when my Dad passed away last year, or when my search engine traffic dipped during this past summer.
  9. Tools - Taking advantage of a variety of social media, SEO and web analytics tools.
  10. Widgets - Integrating social media with my blogs through using website widgets.

Thank you for partnering with me and helping me all these years with my social media and web marketing efforts. :-D

Share Your Social Media Strategies

What are your most successful strategies for building your social media and web presence?

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