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 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 BraunerHave you seen the notice on Facebook yet? Facebook is getting ready to remove all application tabs from your Profile page, including the NetworkedBlogs application Blog tab.

I speculated when Facebook removed applications from the sidebar that they’d use the freed-up space for something else.

FacebookPerhaps, Facebook does want to free up the sidebar and tabs for other uses.

However, I’ve observed a trend recently that’s more far reaching and more fundamental to Facebook’s success.

Facebook Aiming to Increase Member Engagement

Engagement, i.e., member activity and interaction, is the lifeblood of social media sites. Engagement keeps a social media site humming, and it creates revenue from advertising and other fees. The Facebook changes are being orchestrated to increase member engagement on their site.

How so? Could removing applications from Facebook Profile page actually help rather than hurt member engagement?

Yup. It could.

Your Facebook Home Page

Facebook is removing applications from your Profile page but adding them to the sidebar of your Home page. They’re already listed there, right below the list of your new Facebook groups. Facebook is turning your Home page sidebar into your Facebook navigation pane.

Why go to the trouble of rearranging the Facebook interface? I can think of two good reasons:

  1. It’s simpler - From your Facebook Home page you can navigate to many of the other pages you care about.
  2. Greater engagement - More importantly, we’re too focused on our Profile and business pages. Therefore, Facebook is gently shepherding us to our Home pages where we’ll find our News Feeds, and we’ll view content posted by the friends and Facebook pages we follow. That will, in turn, increase our engagement.

Typically, the most important page of a social media site is its home page. The home pages of Facebook and other social sites are designed to engage you with fellow members and their content.

Facebook application tabs are going away, but not the Facebook applications themselves. They’re now on your Home page, and Facebook want you to be there too.

I’m sure you’re in a hurry to comment on my post, but before you do, please “like” my Facebook page and subscribe to my blog. ;-)

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Larry BraunerFacebook has started rolling out another round of changes. Have you noticed the new “Likes” box on the left side panel of your Facebook profile?

The latest round of changes will cause major headaches for sophisticated users who must restructure their skillfully branded Facebook landing pages, while for less sophisticated users, these changes will do little more than raise some eyebrows.

I fall into the latter group of less sophisticated users. I have an analytic and technical background. However, I opt for simple business and social media marketing solutions, as they’re easier to understand and are often more robust.

Now, About Your Left Side Pane

FacebookFacebook is phasing out application boxes that can currently appear on the left side pane of your profile, and Facebook has diminished your usable page width within your custom tabs from 720 to 520 pixels on both your Facebook profile and Facebook page.

By phasing out application boxes, Facebook gains use your left side pane for new purposes, and by decreasing usable page width, the freed-up horizontal space enables Facebook to display the new left side pane from within all tabs, not just the standard Facebook tabs.

Clearly, the left side pane will be an important aspect of the newest version of the Facebook user interface.

Say Goodbye to the Facebook Markup Language

There will be a change in the way Facebook custom tabs are programmed. FBML will be grandfathered-in but will be replaced by a newer technology. According to Inside Facebook, the change will take effect by the end of the year, so if you plan to create new FBML tabs, keep that in mind.

My parting advice: Keep everything as simple as possible and don’t put all your social media eggs into one basket.

Subscribe to my blog and “like” my Facebook page. Your comments are welcome. :-)

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Larry BraunerThis is a quick update on the Ning transition from free Ning networks to all paid networks. The deadline for upgrading free Ning networks had been set to August 20th, but Ning announced today that the deadline for choosing a price plan for your network is now extended until the 30th.

Ning Social NetworksYou might be able to use the additional time to devise a better Plan B. I plan to use the time to migrate more members from my old Ning networks to my new improved Ning network.

This my new Ning network, and I invite you to connect and network with me there:

Small Business Networking (Ning network for entrepreneurs and small businesses wherever they might be. Sign up there for the free social media marketing training.)

    You don’t need your own business to participate in my new Ning network.

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    Larry BraunerAugust 20th is here, and all free Ning networks go dark at midnight. Do you have a Ning network that’s not upgraded or belong to one? Are your Ning networks closing tonight?

    Ning network creators can, depending on quantity, archive all or part of their content from within the moderator area.

    Ning Social NetworksI’m closing a bunch of Ning networks but have recently launched a new Ning network to replace them.

    My new Ning network, for which I have ambitious and exciting plans is Small Business Networking (a Ning network serving entrepreneurs and small businesses worldwide). Sign up for the free social media marketing training to be offered on-site.

      You don’t need a business to participate in either network. You can gather business information, share ideas, search for a new job or do whatever else might make sense to you.

      If your Ning network is closing, you’re looking for better ways to brand yourself, or you simply desire to develop new skills, come to Small Business Networking.

      See you there. :)

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      Larry BraunerUpdate: Read Ning’s response in the comments.

      Ning plans to close thousands of free social networking sites this week. I believe Ning has drawn a line in the sand and do not expect Ning to grant a reprieve.

      I hope, now that Ning network creators are all paying customers, we’ll have a greater collective voice and more impact on the choices Ning makes.

      Ning Customer Service Issues

      Ning Social NetworksHowever, I saw complaints about Ning customer service on Twitter and Facebook, and with my Ning Sign-Up Glitch help ticket (00D8cCLt.5004BTxme) open since August 6, it seems to me that we’re off to an inauspicious start. Even though network creators have found a temporary work around, it does nevertheless behoove Ning to respond to us and address this type of problem.

      I assume that Ning is coping with a record number of inquiries due to its transition to new pricing, and that Ning’s customer service is backed up. Still, this situation doesn’t bode well, since an email to network creators explaining the situation would’ve demonstrated Ning’s transparency and bolstered our confidence in the company’s management.

      I myself recently launched a new Ning social networking site, and I stand behind Ning’s latest initiative. However, I ask you, isn’t it only fair that Ning should match the greater financial commitment of its network creators with a corresponding service commitment on its side?

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      Larry BraunerI entered the Perkett PR social media marketing competition while attending the Social Convergence and the Enterprise symposium.

      I ended up finishing 2nd in the competition and creating lots of buzz. Thanks to everyone who helped, and a special thank you to Perkett PR for the contest.

      Facebook Fan Page Event

      I started an event somewhat similar to the last Facebook fan page event to keep the excitement going.

      Please join me at my Thank-You and Tell-Us-About-Yourself Party taking place on my Facebook page. You can meet new people and promote yourself or your cause. It will be a blast.

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      Larry BraunerIn Facebook Fumble Draws Broad Rebuke, I stated that the possibility of further Facebook backlash didn’t concern me very much, and that you shouldn’t let Facebook’s speed bump become your speed bump.

      I compared the woes of Facebook to those of Microsoft and recommended that you move forward with your Facebook plans.

      My approach drew criticism from an online friend I respect, so I reached out to members of my Facebook page to hear their thoughts. The responses I received strengthened my belief that the reaction to Facebook’s misstep would dissipate.

      FacebookMany articles were very critical of Facebook’s apparent lack of concern for user privacy and the social networking behemoth’s sharp departure from its previous policies.

      One such article was Why Facebook Can’t Be Trusted: Let’s Recognize the Dangers Before Praising It as Web’s Default Marketing Platform posted by Craig Daitch on Ad Age’s Digital Next.

      At the same time, Christopher Heine posted No Major Privacy Backlash From Facebook’s 425M Base on ClickZ, a rather moderate reaction to the Facebook episode.

      However, a bold article, Ignore The Screams–Facebook’s Aggressive Approach Is Why It Will Soon Become The Most Popular Site In The World by Henry Blodget of Business Insider, confronted the negative press head on and resonated with me like nothing else I read.

      Facebook’s aggressiveness on the privacy front is a big reason for the site’s success. The company will survive the latest PR flap, just as it has survived all the other PR flaps. And unless the latest blow-up scares it into changing its ways (let’s hope not), Facebook will continuing growing like a weed until it is by far the most popular web site in the world (and note what “most popular” means: It means that, despite the howling of a tiny minority, more people choose to spend more time on Facebook than any other site in the world).

      From a business perspective, in other words, Facebook’s approach to innovation is smart. It’s not always popular, but it works. And if Facebook wants to maintain its competitive edge, it will do what it has to do to smooth over the latest blow-up, and then go forth with the same approach and attitude it has had all along.

      Digest the articles referenced above. Then decide for yourself: Facebook backlash — fact, fiction or inconsequential?

      Please subscribe and leave a comment. Don’t hesitate to disagree with me. My kids usually do. :-P

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      Larry Brauner“You’ve got to hand it to Facebook. They certainly know how to do security — not,” wrote Steve O’Hear in Video: Major Facebook security hole lets you view your friends’ live chats on TechCrunch Europe last week.

      Security flaws that exposed private chats and other private information to so-called “friends” have enraged many Facebook members and critics.

      FacebookIn Facebook needs to face the music, InfoWorld links this misstep and previous Facebook transgressions to the social networking giant’s plans to control the web.

      More Facebook backlash is likely, but this possibility really doesn’t concern me very much.

      My Key Facebook Concern

      I am very concerned whether or not this incident will deter you from using Facebook for your social media marketing and digital public relations.

      While many will use the Facebook blunder to justify their hesitation to market on Facebook, don’t you join their ranks. Don’t you let Facebook’s speed bump become your speed bump.

      A Little Company Called Microsoft

      How often has Microsoft released software that contained bugs and security glitches? Although their aggressive marketing has been held in check by anti-trust suits and fierce competition from Google and Apple, Microsoft continues to make billions and still dominates the PC niche despite a long history of computer software problems.

      Please Ignore the Naysayers

      My advice to you:

      • ignore all naysayers, there will always be plenty of them
      • get your Facebook page going and growing as quickly as possible
      • attract lots of targeted followers to your Facebook page
      • start your Facebook conversation and share your content
      • build your brand on Facebook and all over the social web

      Come join my Facebook conversation too! ;-)

      Have any comments? The floor is yours. :-)

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