Larry BraunerI launched my own LinkedIn group, Larry Brauner and Friends, as an experiment early last year. The group has since grown to over 800 members. We’ve explored a wide range of subjects and have hopefully demonstrated the feasibility of using a LinkedIn group for personal branding.

From the outset, I had in mind that when the time was ripe, I would begin conducting live interviews in the group with individuals who were thought leaders in their respective fields. Readers would be able to pose questions regarding a particular response or relevant to the overall conversation, simply by adding a comment. That time has finally come. :-D

Debugging Your Information Technology Job SearchI shall be interviewing over a number of weeks Janice Weinberg, a Westport, Connecticut career consultant and author of career books for IT professionals and managers. Her latest book, Debugging Your Information Technology Job Search, contains many innovative ideas for IT managers and executives through the CIO and CTO level who are seeking new jobs. The book also guides readers in identifying and correcting problems that are preventing them from generating interviews or — if they are obtaining interviews — impeding their ability to receive offers.

My questions to Janice will cover resume-writing, guidance in identifying employers likely to have suitable openings, and techniques for presenting oneself as a strong candidate in interviews. In providing her responses, Janice will draw upon her experience assisting IT managers* in obtaining computer operations, network operations center (NOC), service delivery, helpdesk, application development, program management, technology risk, and IT marketing/sales positions, as well as CTO and CIO jobs.

If you’d like to help your friends who are seeking management jobs, you may want to direct them to the interview: Advice for Managerial Job Seekers From Career Book Author

*Please note that although the emphasis in this author interview will be on providing guidance to IT managers, managers who are not seeking computer-related jobs can also expect to learn novel ideas to help them find more rewarding employment, since some topics I plan to cover will relate to general search strategies applicable to all managers.

Before you go, subscribe to Online Social Networking and “like” Larry Brauner on Facebook. :-)

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Larry BraunerYour social media and web strategy necessarily starts from your website, the one place on the the web that you own and control.

Social networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, are very useful and will likely figure in your online plans. However, the possibility that any given networking site will become unpopular, change its rules, cancel your membership, or even shut down entirely, renders such a website unsuitable as a hub and foundation for your web presence.

GevrilYour website doesn’t need to be intricate, although it can be. I tend to prefer simple websites. The Gevril Group website, for example, which I developed in concert with Ivo Jackson and John Sealander, uses the WordPress content management system, a very basic 3-column theme, an opt-in form and a Facebook widget.

Launched this past December, the Gevril Group website now receives in excess of 8,500 visits per month.

Purple UmpkinOur latest creation, the new Purple Umpkin children’s book website, is even simpler in design and implementation. You can compare it to the original Purple Umpkin website. In my opinion, the new version is easier to use, and it looks and feels more like a venue for a children’s book. What do you think?

Work on a Children’s Books umbrella website is underway employing equally simple design principles.

Every web presence needs a website that attracts and speaks to its visitors. Online, your website is your brand. That website must be secure, and the content on that website must be nothing less than superb.

Your thoughts are welcome.

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Larry BraunerI love to experiment with SEO and social media strategies for small businesses. I’m ready to admit that many of my experiments are flops, but there’s no need to discuss those right now. ;-)

One of my successes, however, is with Facebook page events. These aren’t merely events created by Facebook pages, as you might think. Rather, they’re virtual events that take place entirely on the walls and in the discussion areas of Facebook pages. The objective of Facebook page events is to increase page membership and engagement.

My First Facebook Page Event

FacebookMy first such event, the 4+ Day Blog and Website Promotion Event and Social Media Party, took place January 2010 on my Facebook page in celebration of my 58th birthday. This Facebook event went viral and attracted well over 300 participants. As a result, I added many new fans and generated a momentum for my Facebook page that has continued even until today.

I have since organized other networking events on Facebook pages, including Books I’m Reading on the Purple Umpkin page and What I’m Grateful For on my Facebook page, that were modestly successful.

International Watch Fair on Facebook

POLICE Most Arresting Exhibit at BaselworldYou may recall that I wrote in My Social Media Mission Abroad about attending Baselworld 2011 in Switzerland earlier in the year. The Baselworld Watch and Jewelry Fair was the most marvelous business experience I have ever had, and I dare say for most other people in the trade, as well.

My Baselworld experience is the inspiration for my latest Facebook page event, the 4-Day International Watch Fair, taking place next week on the Gevril Group page. 76 people have already RSVP-ed “I’m Attending” as of this writing, and I wouldn’t be at all  surprised if attendance at this first of its kind event reached several hundred Facebook members.

You can create Facebook page events too but to achieve favorable results, I recommend that you or your client build a solid web presence — on and off Facebook — before giving this approach a try. Your web presence will help to fuel your Facebook page event.

Please subscribe and like my Facebook page.

Comments are welcome. :-)

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Larry BraunerI stated in How to Benefit from the New Facebook Groups that “you don’t need to lead a group in order to benefit from it.” In other words, there is value in joining other people’s Facebook groups. That value can be enormous, as I’ll explain.

Facebook Group Members Become Followers

FacebookEvery new Facebook group has members who follow that group and all of its conversations by means of the Facebook notification system. Not every member will monitor or engage in discussions, but some will. Therefore, each time you become a member of one of the new Facebook groups, you acquire potential new followers.

For each subject that interests you, join as many relevant new Facebook groups as you can find using the Facebook search function. Once you’ve joined the group and can browse its discussions, if you find that they’re in a language you don’t understand, or that the group is overrun by spammers, leave the group.

Examine the list of new Facebook groups to which I belong. You’ll find that they fall into a many categories, and that most categories contain more than one group. I suggest that you follow a similar approach, and if you wish to join some of the same groups as I, don’t hesitate.

Here are three very important points:

  1. Don’t use the new Facebook groups merely to push out your own content, since that’s spam. Group members will see through your approach and ignore you. Not only that, the group moderator might even reprimand you or expel you from the group.
  2. Share content with each Facebook group that’s relevant to that group. Group members will appreciate you, enjoy your participation and become genuine followers.
  3. Don’t just post. “Like” other people’s posts too and comment on them when appropriate.

As I browse the web, I keep my eyes open for content worth sharing. I then share it in a variety of places including the relevant  new Facebook groups to which I belong. When the time comes to share my own content, I follow the exact same procedure, but because I’ve played fair, my posts aren’t viewed at all as spam. Consequently, I receive lots of traffic from Facebook and other social websites.

Go now and acquire some Facebook followers. The relationships you build in the new Facebook groups can easily grow into meaningful social or business friendships.

Before you go, however, please do subscribe and leave a comment. ;-)

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Larry BraunerIn New Facebook Groups for Better or Worse, I shared my reservations about the new Facebook groups and their potential to annoy Facebook users.

However, after ample testing and observation, I’m no longer worried about negative effects and have come to view the new Facebook groups as a viable business networking and content syndication tool.

The  on-site and email notifications generated by the new Facebook groups can become irritating, but it’s from these in-your-face notifications that the new groups derive their power. They tend to stimulate member activity. On the other hand, the notifications from the old groups had come to be viewed as total spam and were no longer the least bit effective.

Customize Your New Facebook Group Notifications

FacebookThe customizable settings of the new Facebook groups help regulate the volume of notifications, add once you learn how to manage them, the new Facebook groups become beneficial and enjoyable.

New Facebook groups provide four notification settings that you can adjust:

  1. Notify me when - “A member posts or comments” or “a member posts” are good settings for your favorite Facebook groups or groups you moderate. For other groups, you should choose “a friend posts” or “only posts I am subscribed to.” (I myself prefer the latter option, “only posts I am subscribed to.”)
  2. Also send an email to - Unless you’re off Facebook a lot, you probably should uncheck this box.
  3. Show this group in home navigation - This setting isn’t as critical as the others, since it doesn’t affect notifications. I myself set my favorite Facebook groups to “Always” and the rest of the groups to “Never.”  
  4. Send me group chat messages - Unless you enjoy group chatting or you moderate that group, you should uncheck this box.

You Need Not Start Your Own Facebook Groups

Starting your own Facebook groups affords you some control but less than you might think. True, you make up the group rules, and while you can remove any member you wish, nobody can remove you. Nevertheless, abuse your group by spamming or otherwise, and your members will ignore your group or quit entirely.

For this reason, control of your Facebook group is illusory. Groups can be led but not controlled, and you don’t need to own or moderate a group in order to lead it. Furthermore, you don’t need to lead a group in order to benefit from it and enjoy it.

Why Start New Facebook Groups of Your Own

Here are a few valid reasons for starting your own Facebook groups:

  • Necessity - You’re unable to find any new Facebook groups that fit your particular niche.
  • Collaboration - You want to collaborate on a project with your Facebook friends or associates.
  • Segmentation - Your Facebook friends share diverse interests with you. Segmenting your friends using groups will let you explore special interests together.
  • Promotion - New Facebook groups can be used judiciously to supplement Facebook fan pages.

When you start a new Facebook group, keep the best interests of your membership in mind. Reciprocity makes the networking world go around. Be prepared to give, not just to get.

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Comments are welcome — of course. :-)

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Larry BraunerI would love to spend my entire workday blogging, social bookmarking and business networking. However, long ago I discovered that combining these activities with other outreach is both more efficient and more far reaching than relying on social media alone to build a web presence.

Not only social media but search engine optimization, press releases, email marketing — and even advertising — all figure in my web strategy.

Salvatore Ferragamo WatchesOur company represents luxury watch brand Ferragamo Timepieces in the US and Caribbean markets. Industry leader Paul Ziff was appointed US and Caribbean Ferragamo President, and I was responsible as Social Media Director for spreading the word about the appointment and about Ferragamo.

I had about a week to implement a plan and capitalize on the news before it became stale and irrelevant. Our company was ready to host numerous sales meetings in Las Vegas, and I needed to create adequate buzz before the start of the meetings.

The effort consisted of writing and publishing web content related to Paul Ziff and Ferragamo, distributing press releases about Paul’s appointment, and emailing the news to a very large list. We were able to impact several thousand people, thanks to excellent resources and superb teamwork:

  • Marketing expert, blogger and watch enthusiast, John Sealander, did a marvelous job writing all the web content. I merely added a few links and images.
  • Paul Ziff wrote the press release, which was effectively distributed by eRealeases — via PR Newswire — and through their own channels. Our story was picked up by several hundred news websites.
  • Our huge quantity of email messages were delivered and tracked by Green Wave Email Marketing, under the direction of software guru, David Alexander, my good friend of more than 40 years. I use Aweber to manage my blog subscribers, but I prefer Green Wave for my email marketing because David’s service provides greater flexibility and more personalized attention. In my opinion, Green Wave is more geared to mainstream business than Aweber.
  • I leveraged search and social strategies and techniques to drive additional traffic to John’s content on our company website and blogs.

Please subscribe to my blog and share ways in which you’re going beyond social media. :-)

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Larry BraunerIn my 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook and ONE Facebook Business Page, No More, No Fewer, I strongly advised not to use your Facebook personal profile for your business, advice that was echoed in Top 5 Things Not to Do on Facebook on HubSpot.

Feedback from some very concerned small business marketers using their Facebook profiles for their businesses led to this follow-up article to address their concerns.

FacebookSome have a Facebook personal profile for personal use and one or more Facebook personal profiles for business use, in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service, which state that “you will not create more than one personal profile.”

I shall discuss this situation next week in You Say I Can’t Have More than One Facebook Personal Profile.

Tips for Businesses Using Facebook Personal Profiles

If you’re employing one Facebook profile page for both personal and business use (or for business use only), I offer you these eight tips:

  1. Don’t panic. For most users, the choice of how to market yourself and your business on Facebook isn’t really a life or death matter. (For the small minority of Facebook business users for whom this choice is a life or death matter, your panic is understandable. Seek professional or law enforcement assistance without further delay.)
  2. If you’re comfortable enough with the many limitations I set forth in ONE Facebook Business Page, No More, No Fewer, stop reading these tips right here and continue to do as you’ve been doing up until now. If and when you see the light, return here and keep reading.
  3. Create a Facebook business page. Either How to Create a Facebook Fan Page or How To Set Up a Facebook Fan Page can help you to get started.
  4. If you have no more than a few hundred business friends on your Facebook personal profile, send each a private message explaining the situation and inviting them to “like” your new Facebook page. If you have too many business friends for this to be feasible, limit the procedure to your most important business friends.
  5. To avoid raising red flags with Facebook, don’t send more than about 20 messages per day, don’t fire off messages rapidly and don’t merely cut and paste an identical script.
  6. Don’t say or imply that you’ll be deleting friends or threaten to remove them if they don’t comply. Such an approach is likely to backfire.
  7. Read Why Should I Like Your Facebook Page? and Top 10 Ways to Get Facebook Page Fans for ideas to market and grow your new Facebook page.
  8. Don’t remove business friends from your Facebook personal profile unless you have a security or privacy issue that compels you to do so, since removing friends can not be undone.

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Larry BraunerSocial networking sites have each a unique protocol and don’t usually provide members with practical how-to advice to help use their sites effectively. They let us figure out the how-tos on our own.

I share in this article my basic LinkedIn how-tos that may shorten your learning curve and save you time and frustration. They are merely suggestions, not rigid guidelines. If you have an idea or advice you find helpful, please share it with us in a comment.

LinkedInHere are ten tips for maximizing your LinkedIn social networking success:

  1. Your LinkedIn profile is your resume. Put at least as much effort into creating and perfecting your profile as you would your resume.
  2. SEO can help you to be findable on LinkedIn, as well as other social networking sites. Employ keywords that are relevant to your work when crafting your profile, so that you and your profile can appear in search results.
  3. LinkedIn permits members to view profiles of other members within three degrees of separation from each other or who share common LinkedIn groups. Increasing your visibility increases your reach.
  4. To increase your vertical reach (in your areas of interest), join every relevant LinkedIn group. To increase your horizontal (i.e. overall) reach, increase your number of LinkedIn connections. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn!
  5. To increase your number of connections, connect directly to as many other members as you can, especially well connected members. You can send direct connections messages or emails whenever you wish.
  6. Don’t invite people to connect haphazardly, as LinkedIn will restrict you if people you invite complain that they don’t know you (as they sometimes do). Instead, join LinkedIn open networker groups, such as Top Linked, for people who welcome (but don’t necessarily accept) all connection requests. Reach out to fellow group members, and be receptive to members who reach out to you.
  7. Join discussions in groups by posting or commenting when you have something valuable to add, but don’t spam the discussion board or post anything inappropriate.
  8. Tell new connections you’re on Facebook (if you are) when thanking them for connecting. Facebook has made it hard to add friends, so this tactic is useful. (See 3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011: Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking.)
  9. Provide your Twitter handle (if you have one) where requested by LinkedIn to appear in your LinkedIn profile.
  10. Keep at it. It takes a very substantial amount of time to build a strong presence on LinkedIn or any of the other social networking sites.

Happy linking!

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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 BraunerThe Website Promotion Event on my Facebook page celebrating my birthday back in January was a successful networking event that went viral and attracted hundreds. Many people made important new connections during the January networking event.

What I’m Grateful For Networking Event

What I'm Grateful For Networking EventConsequently, I’m launching a series of themed networking events starting with What I’m Grateful For, this coming Wednesday the 13th on my Facebook page. Visit the event page to RSVP.

Books I’m Reading Networking Event

Books I'm Reading Networking EventRegistration is also open for Books I’m Reading, the following Wednesday, October 20th on the new Purple Umpkin Facebook page.

Future Networking Events

Networking Events on FacebookI’m planning additional networking events in this series, not only on my Facebook page and Purple Umpkin, but also on Business Structuring Diva, Proud Of My Mom, Real Estate Events and other Facebook pages.

Future networking events will be listed on the News tab of my Facebook business page and elsewhere.

Feel free to make suggestions for networking events by commenting on this article.

Promoting the Networking Events

The easiest ways to spread the word about these networking events if you care to are:

Join us at upcoming networking events, and if you’re new to my blog, please subscribe.

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