Larry BraunerI’m not at all thinking about quitting Twitter or stopping to recommend it. Twitter is a valuable social media tool that I wouldn’t want to be without.

There are, however, many reasons I prefer Facebook over Twitter, and have switched my primary social media site from Twitter to Facebook.

Facebook vs. Twitter

Here are 16 reasons I like Facebook more than I like Twitter:

  1. Easier for Group Discussion - Facebook discussions and neatly threaded and hashtags are unnecessary.
  2. Rich Functionality - Facebook supports applications, events and instant messaging. Facebook also enables photo, video, link, page and event sharing.
  3. More Powerful Lists - Create as many Facebook lists as you like and use them to manage both communication and privacy.
  4. Better Private Messaging - No automated direct messaging on Facebook. Therefore, your private messages and updates are more manageable.
  5. Less Spam Abuse - Facebook fights spam more effectively than Twitter.
  6. News Feed Optimized for Relevance - Facebook uses edgerank to prioritize our Top News feeds. Optionally, we can choose to view Twitter-like Most Recent News, as well.
  7. True Networking Site - We can create deep online connections with our friends, and we also discover friends-of-friends. Facebook messaging  is a good alternative to email, too.
  8. Website Traffic - In 2009 when I focused on Twitter, I  received 7,834 visits from Twitter with average time on site of 2:10 minutes. Not bad. However, in 2010 when I turned my focus to Facebook, I received 5,134 visits with average time on site of 3:07 minutes and a larger number of blog comments. Facebook visitors tend to engage more than do Twitter visitors. That’s better website traffic.
  9. Less Incentivization - Twitter has become very much about follower counts. People typically follow with the expectation of being followed back and unfollow if that doesn’t happen. Fans and friends on Facebook are much more authentic.
  10. Real People - Facebook is mostly used by real people, while Twitter is mostly operated by robotic software called bots.
  11. No 140 Limit - Facebook allows more than 140 characters per status update,  more than a 160 per bio, and more than one website link per account.
  12. Much Greater Membership - I’m more able to find the people with whom I want to connect on Facebook than on Twitter.
  13. Members Visit More Often - Facebook members are said to log into Facebook more often than Twitter members into Twitter.
  14. Easily Manage Multiple Business Accounts - I can manage multiple Facebook business pages without logging out and back in, and without using third-party desktop clients.
  15. Business Pages are Mini-Websites - Facebook business pages are mini-websites with a landing page and additional pages.
  16. Off-site Integration - Like buttons and like boxes extend the reach of Facebook to blogs and other websites outside the Facebook domain.

FacebookI could list many ways in which I find Twitter more useful than Facebook, but I’ll save that comparison for a different occasion.

Please take a second or two to “like” my Facebook page, and a few more to leave a a brief comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerI wrote back in November that I was launching a website and building a web presence for a small business that makes luxury watches and that also handles distribution for other upscale watch brands.

Generating website traffic is a key aspect of any online initiative, and I devised a four-part plan for attracting website visitors:

  1. Company Contact Lists - Mailing to existing lists of company business contacts.
  2. SEO - Posting search optimized web content six or more times per week on the company blogs.
  3. Social Media Sites - Reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, Small Business Network, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Amplify, Business Exchange, Posterous, etc.
  4. Community Building - Using website widgets and TweetAdder to grow a following on Facebook and Twitter, as well as an RSS and email subscriber base.

After 13 weeks of effort, I’m pretty satisfied with the growth of website traffic. However, I am very subjective, so I welcome your feedback.

Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources

Website traffic started to explode around week 9 or 10, and reached 1,741 website visits in the 13th week.

Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources
Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from StumbleUpon

Website traffic from StumbleUpon has been fairly flat all along, averaging around 400 visits per week. I don’t know how to quantify the benefit from StumbleUpon traffic, but I’m hoping that such traffic, weak as it is, still contributes something to added awareness of the company’s watches and their brands.

Weekly Website Traffic from Stumble Upon
Weekly Website Traffic from Stumble Upon
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from Search Engines

Targeted website traffic from search engines is, according to my thinking, the most important form of web traffic. The effect of search engine optimized content can be both far reaching and long lasting.

Weekly website traffic from search engines to the company domain has been growing all along, but it really took off in the 9th week and exceeded 500 visits in week 13.

Weekly Search Traffic from Search Engines
Weekly Search Traffic from Search Engines
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources

Website traffic from other sources including direct traffic and email traffic was substantial.

On the other hand, with the exception of StumbleUpon, none of the social media sites are yet providing large numbers of visitors, although several are providing high quality inbound links that help off-page search engine optimization.

Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources
Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Additional Website Traffic Strategies and Techniques

Phase two, which begins tomorrow, will feature additional website traffic strategies and techniques that will accelerate website traffic growth and increase website stickiness. I look forward to presenting the results of this phase three months from now.

Please subscribe to my blog, “like” my Facebook page, and leave me a comment or feedback. :-)

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Larry BraunerSadly, very many potentially useful web sites languish in obscurity like proverbial trees falling in forests with no one around to hear them. While these web sites have excellent content, they have few readers to use or enjoy that content.

Good content needs to be consumed. I would rather publish marginally good material that is highly consumed than top-notch content that merely gathers dust.

Generating Ample Website Traffic to Your Content

More Website TrafficIf you are a blogger or webmaster, what you do before and what you do after you publish to create website traffic to your content are no less important than the creativity and effort that shaped your content.

Yet, most of us do too little of the preparation and follow-through that our content requires to succeed, as I explained in How to Hit the Right Mix of Website Traffic Sources.

Preparation can include website infrastructure design, SEO and community building. Your follow-through might include email, social bookmarking sites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ning and other social networking sites. These types of activities are mandatory, not optional.

Bad things happen to good content when preparation and follow-through are inadequate. However, the right steps taken both before and after publishing your content will enable your website traffic and content consumption to soar. I know this from personal experience.

We’ve now reached the place in the article where people usually subscribe and leave a comment. ;-)

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Larry BraunerAt times, Facebook users create multiple personal profiles for business purposes in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service that clearly state:

“You will not create more than one personal profile.”

These Facebook users usually create one personal profile for family, friends and acquaintances, and another personal profile for business associates and prospects.

The word personal in “personal profile” is easily misunderstood and deserves clarification.

Personal Profile vs. Business Page

FacebookWith a Facebook “personal profile” you network and acquire friends. It doesn’t matter whether these friends are personal friends or business contacts.

A Facebook personal profile is a friend page, and Facebook prohibits creating more than one friend page for yourself.

With a Facebook business page you brand your business and attract people who “like” your page.

A Facebook business page is a fan page, and Facebook permits creating more than one fan page for your business, although that might not be practical.

If You Have More Than One Facebook Personal Profile

If you find yourself in the predicament of having more than one Facebook personal profile, my recommendation here in six steps is very similar to my advice in last week’s OMG! I Can’t Use My Facebook Personal Profile for Business:

  1. Create a Facebook business page as soon as possible. Either How to Create a Facebook Fan Page or How To Set Up a Facebook Fan Page can help you to get started. Let me know if you need my help.
  2. If you have no more than a few hundred business friends on the Facebook personal profile you’re using for business, send each of them a private message explaining your 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.
  3. To avoid raising red flags with Facebook, don’t send more than 20 to 30 messages per day, don’t fire off messages rapidly and don’t merely cut and paste an identical script.
  4. 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. Be courteous and professional.
  5. 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.
  6. When most of your business friends have migrated to your new fan page, delete the extra Facebook personal profile you were using for business and breathe a sigh of relief.

6/14/11 Update: Facebook now provides a tool to convert a Facebook profile to a Facebook business page.

Before you hurry off, please subscribe to my blog, “like” my Facebook page and leave me a comment.

Best of luck with your Facebook business page! :-)

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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.

Please subscribe and leave me a comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerNing seems to be gaining popularity since restructuring in 2010, and since smoothing some of its rough edges.

Many Ning social networking sites are easier to navigate and operate than those of Facebook or LinkedIn. However, while mastering Ning’s features isn’t difficult, using Ning to network effectively can be.

I’ve been developing my network on Ning, writing about Ning and watching Ning go through changes for several years. Small Business Network is the Ning site I created and run.

Ning Social NetworksHere are 16 tips to help you better understand Ning social networking sites and to use Ning sites to help build your network:

  1. There are Ning social and business networks that cater to nearly every niche. Search the Ning home page and Google to find Ning networks that match your interests.
  2. Join all relevant Ning networks and create a profile on each. Be careful to bookmark the Ning sites you join, so that you can easily find your way back to them.
  3. Don’t worry about joining too many Ning sites. You won’t be active on all of them. All these sites will, however, contribute to your web presence.
  4. In 10 Tips for LinkedIn Social Networking, I stated that “your LinkedIn profile is your resume. Put at least as much effort into creating and perfecting your profile as you would your resume.” I also suggest that you also invest substantial effort to create and perfect your Ning profile.
  5. Save your Ning profile is a text file on your computer desktop, so that you don’t have to recreate it from scratch each time you join a Ning site. You’ll just have to customize it a bit.
  6. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Ning is an open networking platform. You’re free to reach out to any member with whom you wish to connect, even if you don’t know him or her. However, make sure that your approach is transparent and congenial.
  7. Ning groups tend to have a narrower focus than the overall site, and browsing group membership is a good way to locate the people you most want to meet. Creating your own Ning group is a great idea for networking and branding yourself, but follow-through is essential.
  8. Before inviting a member to connect, greet them and ask a friendly question in a comment on their profile wall to determine if they’re active. Most members of Ning sites are inactive, so don’t waste one of you limited invitations on them. Asking questions also helps establish relationships, and profile commenting also helps create internal links back to your profile, improving your profile’s standing with search engines.
  9. If you run out of invitations, delete pending invitations. Start with the oldest first, and only delete as many as needed at that moment.
  10. Accept invitations from others. Don’t be too fussy. You can’t have too many friends on Ning. I don’t know of any upper limit. Correct me if you know otherwise.
  11. The friends you make on one Ning site will be friends on all the Ning sites you have in common. You often join a Ning site and discover that you already have friends there.
  12. You can broadcast messages to up to 200 Ning friends at one time, but I myself very rarely use this feature. I like to write a blog post or start a discussion and then  share it with all my friends on a site. I personalize the notification with a few additional words using the optional message area. Blog posts and discussions also link internally back to your profile and help with search engines.
  13. Before sharing content with your Ning friends, ask yourself whether the content is truly valuable or whether it just another form of spam. Avoid spamming or face undesirable consequences. Spamming — or even pasting the exact same comment on many members’ profiles — can get you banned from all Ning sites.
  14. Invite your friends to connect with you on other social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Your friendship will survive even if the Ning site disappears or one of you become inactive on the site.
  15. One you’ve formed a relationship with another Ning member, use private messages rather than profile comments to communicate with each other, unless of course, you want your conversation to be displayed to the public.
  16. Invite outside contacts to join your favorite Ning sites, but don’t use Ning invites. Most Ning invites are ignored or end up in your friends’ spam folders. Instead, share good content from Ning on Facebook and other social sites. When people come to view the content, they’ll be presented with the option of joining.

Please join me on my Ning site, Small Business Network.

What Ning networks have you created or do you belong to? What Ning social networking tips can you share with us?

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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 BraunerGenerally speaking, a business entity on Facebook needs a Facebook business page, one Facebook business page, no more, no fewer.

Many businesses are trying to reach out on Facebook using only a Facebook personal profile and no Facebook business page, while at the same time, many other businesses are trying to cultivate multiple Facebook business pages. Let’s consider both of these strategies to understand why either is problematic.

No Facebook Business Page

FacebookI presented several reasons for not using a Facebook personal profile in the place of a Facebook business page in 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook.

Here are 10 reasons to use a Facebook business page for business instead of a Facebook personal profile:

  1. Facebook members who wish to follow your business will typically feel less comfortable adding you as friend and opening their private lives to you than merely connecting with your Facebook business page by “liking” it.
  2. In addition, Facebook has created barriers to adding strangers as friends, as I explained in 3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011: Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking.
  3. Mixing business and pleasure on Facebook personal profiles is often complicated.
  4. Because of these limitations, Facebook personal profiles will not grow virally, but Facebook business pages might.
  5. Facebook personal profile friends are limited to 5,000, but there is no limit on the number of Facebook business page fans.
  6. Facebook business-page content can be indexed by the search engines, but Facebook personal-profile content cannot. Facebook business pages can make use of search engines and SEO.
  7. There can be multiple Facebook business page administrators, and their identities will be shielded from visitors and fans. This feature offers Facebook business page administrators flexibility and some degree of privacy.
  8. Facebook business pages support applications and tabs. Personal page application tabs have gone away.
  9. Facebook business page administrators can send updates to fans. Some, not all, of the fans will actually read them, but this feature still has value.
  10. Facebook business pages come equipped by Facebook with a set of analytic tools called Facebook Insights.

Multiple Facebook Business Pages

Want more than one Facebook business page for your business? Build and grow your first Facebook business page successfully. Then, if you still want, we can discuss having multiple Facebook business pages together. ;-)

Now please, “like” my Facebook business page, subscribe to my blog and leave me a comment.

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Larry Brauner3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011 discussed the decline of open networking on Facebook, the revival of Ning networks and the continued relevance of websites and SEO in building your web presence.

Here are several more social media marketing ideas for the new year that can be especially helpful for small business marketers and entrepreneurs.

Bigger Long-Term SEO Objectives

GoogleOne of the most serious social media and web marketing mistakes I’ve ever made was choosing Online Social Networking as the name of this blog.

I considered naming my blog Social Networking Sites but decided not to, because social networking sites seemed too competitive a keyword phrase for the newbie that I was. Online social networking is searched for 12K times monthly compared to 250K for social networking sites. 12K per month seemed like more than enough traffic to me at that time.

Online social networking was a “reasonable” keyword term. Since it was much less popular than the often searched-for term social networking sites, I hoped to rank for it relatively quickly. However, in the long run, I believe that social networking sites would’ve brought me both greater and more profitable traffic.

My blog probably wouldn’t have yet hit the #1 spot in the search engines for the search term social networking sites as it has already for online social networking, but it would’ve ranked much higher for social networking sites than the present #32 and might have still placed close to the top for online social networking.

I should have considered long term potential and selected more ambitious keywords, just as I have for Gevril, for whom I’ve chosen tough keyword phrases, such as luxury watches and mens watches.

In month one, Gevril Group received 150 search visits. I’ll let you know what happens in month two.

Ning Network Groups

Ning Social NetworksNing groups function like Facebook groups with a few welcome exceptions:

  • Your potential emailing list is unlimited. You can broadcast to Ning group members even after their count exceeds 5,000.
  • The content of your Ning group can be indexed by Google and other search engines, and the greater your group membership, the greater your authority with the search engines will tend to be.
  • Group activity is displayed in your Ning network’s activity feed and transmitted to Ning group members who elect to follow you.

I’m ready and able to assist any group owner on my new Small Business Network who’s dedicated to building a large and influential Ning group, and the group need not necessarily be business-oriented.

Connecting One-to-One

SkypeYour personal network will be strong and prosper if you focus on networking one-to-one. Speak on the phone or over Skype even one time to each person, and you’ll surely build solid online relationships.

If you’re growing a Facebook page, a Ning group or a Twitter account, individually adding one-to-one connections can amount to a large number over time — and perhaps these connections will even help you make many more.

Hope you’ll find these social media and web marketing strategies useful.

Wishing you a successful year. :-)

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Larry BraunerThe social media and web marketing space is evolving, and we must therefore continually revise our social media and web marketing strategies and techniques.

Here are several cases in point that affect social media and web marketing practice, especially for small business.

Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking

FacebookFor years, Facebook was an open social networking site that permitted members to befriend people whom they didn’t know despite mounting privacy concerns.

However, in 2010, Facebook tightened its friending policies in order to combat phishing and spamming practices.

It appears that Facebook now evaluates friend requests based on degrees of separation and profiles users who repeatedly go out-of-bounds, restricting their friending capabilities.

Consequently, we must regard Facebook as a closed networking site going forward, despite the Facebook Freedom to Share and Connect principle, and find approaches to building our Facebook networks that don’t raise red flags.

Hello Ning Open Networking

Ning Social NetworksSince the Ning shift earlier this year from free or paid networks to paid-only networks, protest from disgruntled free-site creators has subsided and, as promised, Ning has come through with improved functionality upgraded periodically.

While Ning cannot compete with Facebook based neither on popularity nor functionality, Ning is nevertheless a great platform for creating niche social networking sites and for open networking.

I’ve dedicated the Small Business Network, my own Ning networking site, to the pursuit of open social and business networking, and I would be delighted if you would join me there.

You can still share via broadcast any of your Ning content, like blog posts or pictures, with all your Ning friends, a feature not found on the Facebook or LinkedIn social networks.

Search Engine Optimization Still Pays Big

GoogleNotwithstanding my remarks in The NEW Search Engine Optimization, search engines are still the mightiest source of website traffic, and SEO is still the most vital web marketing activity.

Social media sites send thousands of visitors per month to Online Social Networking. However, Google and other search engines send much more. Having a website or blog site and optimizing it for search engines and humans is of paramount importance if you want to market successfully on the web.

Put website development and optimization at the very top of your to-do list for 2011.

Please accept my sincere wishes for a healthy, fulfilling and peaceful New Year. I look forward to growing and sharing with you in the years to come.

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