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 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 BraunerFacebook is starting to look like other social networking sites. The once popular minimalist Facebook user interface has morphed into a collage of random images, notifications and advertisements.

Introducing the new In-Your-Facebook. The new Facebook could merge with MySpace, and we might not even notice. :-P

Facebook Personal Profiles not Great for Business

FacebookI listed 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook. Let me add another issue to my list: Facebook personal profiles aren’t professional looking any longer.

If you’re using your personal Facebook profile for business, my advice is to diversify your online social networking, so that you will be able to get along well enough without it.

Don’t abandon your personal profile yet, and certainly don’t stop building up your Facebook business or fan page. Facebook fan pages are still cool.

Facebook Networking Alternatives

LinkedIn, niche Ning networks and Twitter are all viable business networking alternatives to Facebook. I invite you to connect with me on each these platforms:

What do you think of the direction in which Facebook personal profiles are headed?

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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 BraunerI’m writing about social bookmarking sites because of comments on my Facebook page indicating that people could still be unfamiliar with social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking sites are meta resources that help us to catalog and organize the vast amount of resources that can be found on the web from web pages to pictures to videos and more.

Social Bookmarking Sites Defined

My broad definition of social bookmarking sites is this:

Social bookmarking sites are websites that people use to save, categorize, share and search bookmarks, i.e., links and descriptive data, that refer to resources, such as web pages and other types of web media.

It’s important to note that the resources themselves aren’t being shared on social bookmarking sites, but rather bookmarks referring to the resources. Bookmarks themselves are the content on social bookmarking sites.

My definition of social bookmarking sites includes not only sites explicitly created for bookmark sharing, but multipurpose social networking sites, as well.

Reasons for Social Bookmarking Sites

There are a variety reasons for employing social bookmarking sites, such as saving links, sharing links with others, conducting research and generating traffic.

When generating traffic, it’s essential to share one’s own links sparingly, in order to appear neither as a social bookmarking abuser nor as a spammer.

Popular Social Bookmarking Sites

Social Bookmarking SitesI suggest to you a recent list of popular social bookmarking sites to check out. Let me append Facebook and LinkedIn to that list, which already includes Twitter, since Facebook-page and LinkedIn updates are much like Twitter tweets in that you can explain your links, and your bookmarks are indexed by and available through search engines.

Neither Twitter, Facebook nor LinkedIn are pure social bookmarking sites, as they weren’t created explicitly for social bookmarking.

While Twitter does enable some categorization using hashtags, Facebook and LinkedIn do not, which may have been the reason for excluding them from the eBizMBA list of social bookmarking sites cited.

I personally use a number of the social bookmarking sites in the eBizMBA list including Digg, but I especially like StumbleUpon and plan to use it more and more over time.

My favorite social bookmarking sites that don’t yet receive sufficient traffic to qualify for the eBizMBA list are Business Exchange and Amplify.

Exploring Social Bookmarking Sites

Preferences for social bookmarking sites are different for each individual and project. If you’re new to social bookmarking, explore, experiment and discover the social bookmarking sites that fit your objectives and style.

Karin Boode has started a social bookmarking group on the Small Business Networking site to help us learn from and share our findings with each other. You’re invited to join.

Let’s hear about your experiences with social bookmarking and social bookmarking sites.

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Larry BraunerThis is a quick heads up about a content sharing error that’s easy to avoid.

When you share content on Facebook, LinkedIn or Digg, the site looks for thumbnail pictures it can show with your link and suggests one to you.

I’ve noticed people accepting whatever thumbnail Facebook, LinkedIn or Digg suggests. This isn’t a good practice, because that thumbnail may be irrelevant or even worse, an ad picked up from the linked page.

It’s important to show a thumbnail picture that’s relevant and if possible, one that can pique people’s interest. Therefore, you should go through all thumbnail choices to find the best one. If none are suitable, choose not to display a thumbnail at all. Having no thumbnail picture is much better than having an unsuitable one.

FacebookOn Facebook, you should also write a sentence or short paragraph to introduce the content and consider tagging the author if you follow that person or it’s a friend.

Packaging content and retweets is also a good practice on Twitter, even though Twitter doesn’t use thumbnails in the same way as Facebook, LinkedIn and Digg.

How you package content can be just as important as the content itself.

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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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Larry BraunerCan social aggregation and syndication websites make life online easier?

I wrote in Hubze is a New Business Site for Personal Branding and Social Media Aggregation that “the aggregation of social websites will be a major focus of 2010, as enabling technologies like semantic web come to the forefront.”

Social Networking SitesSocial media enthusiasts who regularly cross post on multiple social platforms use aggregation and syndication sites and tools to simplify simultaneous cross posting across those platforms.

For example, I often want to share a link, an idea or content on all of the most popular social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Ning sites, such as inSocialMedia).

Since I don’t want to work through a complicated or tedious process each time I do that, I rely on syndication sites such as Amplify, Ping.fm and Posterous to help, depending upon the type of information I’m sharing.

Posterous vs. Amplify vs. Ping.fm

I prefer syndication sites over desktop tools, since I can access those sites from any computer wherever I happen to be, and they also help build my web presence. These are my current favorites:

  • Amplify - A social bookmarking site . You add links (along with article snippets if you like) using a browser bookmarklet, and your entries are posted to all the social networks you’ve specified. Amplify also has a strong social element and is a useful online social networking resource.
  • Ping.fm - A micro blogging site (a little like Twitter). Your posts can have pics attached, and can be distributed to a large variety of pre-specified social websites. You can conveniently submit your posts to Ping.fm by email.
  • Posterous - A blogging community to which you can post pics, video and text. Your Posterous posts are shared on a variety of pre-specified social websites. Posterous, like Amplify, has a strong social element. As with Ping.fm, you can submit your posts to Posterous by email, and as with Amplify you can create posts using a browser bookmarklet.

Hubze, now in testing, may be another important aggregation and syndication site in the future.

However, there are many syndication sites and tools that are already being used successfully. Which social aggregation and syndication websites and tools do you like to use — and why?

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Larry BraunerHave you ever been slapped by Google or by one of the major business networking sites?

I have — more than once.

I recently received a Twitter slap, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. If you’ve never received a slap yourself, perhaps your approach is overly cautious.

Clarification

Slapped by GoogleOf course, one wouldn’t actively choose to be penalized by a major business site. Yet, with so many gray and fuzzy areas, this particular hazard is very difficult to skirt.

Fortunately, a slap isn’t as bad as a total ban. A ban can have major long-term consequences. However, even a slap by Google or by an ISP could cause considerable loss. Most slaps result from black hat SEO techniques or some other form of spam.

Twitter Slap

Twitter SlapOutright spam on Twitter risks account cancellation.  More subtle types of spam typically incur the exclusion of tweets from search results, thereby making one invisible to all except his or her followers.

Here are four situations that invite Twitter slap:

  1. Duplicate content - Repeatedly tweeting the same tweets or links
  2. Duplicate accounts - Creating multiple Twitter accounts with the same bio text or linking to the same site
  3. Aggressive use of #hashtags - Using #hashtags haphazardly or maliciously
  4. Following vs. follower ratio - For example, an account following 2,000 with only 10 followers.

In the past, I had several Twitter accounts linking to this blog and tended to append #hashtags to my tweets much too generously. I may also have tweeted some duplicate content. Now tweets from my main Twitter account are excluded from search results.

Sending lots of @ messages to non-followers is outright spam and ought to be reported using the “report for spam” link. I would never consider doing such a thing.

Coping with Twitter Slap

While not disastrous, Twitter slap is troublesome. My #hashtags do no good, unless a follower (in good standing with Twitter) retweets my posts with all my #hashtags intact.

The best way to work around this kind of Twitter slap is to create another account with different bio text and a different bio link. Then, that account can be used to retweet all the important tweets and those with #hashtags from a slapped account.

Have your own stories or comments? Please share them below. :-)

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Larry BraunerYou want to market on the web and take advantage of the vast potential of social media. You start your blog, create your Twitter account, launch your Facebook fan page, and you’re ready to go.

Or are you? Have you missed any crucial first steps?

Sandy Abrams, begins her new book, Your Idea, Inc., with words that have been attributed to Mark Twain:

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

This quotation presents three problems, which I believe ought to have troubled Samuel Clemens:

  1. Isn’t “breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks” itself a step in the process?
  2. Aren’t understanding your needs and clearly defining your objectives vital preparatory steps as well?
  3. How do we determine the optimal sequence in which to execute all the small manageable tasks?

Neglected Stepchild of Social Media MarketingThese are three aspects of planning.

Planning is not popular, which explains the all too common lack of direction and focus in social media work.

Lack of direction and focus impedes progress and can cause frustration.

Your Social Media Plan

Before you jump into social media, devise your social media marketing and PR plan. Here are 16 key areas that might factor into your social media plan:

  1. Understand your business and objectives.
  2. Think about your products and services, what makes each special and their respective market segments.
  3. Develop positioning strategies for each market or program.
  4. Compile a list of your online competitors for each market.
  5. Identify suitable social media, such as social networking sites and social bookmarking sites, for both your vertical and horizontal campaigns.
  6. Identify desirable directories and other sites that might link to your content.
  7. Research and evaluate the extent and quality of industry-specific online content.
  8. Devise strategies and techniques for developing and promoting your content.
  9. Define a policy for governing your employees’ interactions with the public through social media.
  10. Study the online methodology of competitors and identify their search engine keywords.
  11. Analyze and critique your existing web presence.
  12. Gauge your competitors’ online success based upon their standing in search engines, the number and quality of links to their site, and estimated traffic.
  13. Identify opportunities to outmaneuver your competitors.
  14. Use a process called keyword discovery to develop a potentially useful vocabulary that will attract targeted search engine traffic to your content through SEO.
  15. Analyze keywords to determine which ones ought to be emphasized, based on the frequency of search and the amount of competition for each keyword phrase.
  16. Create a lexicon as an output of your keyword research and as an aid to your content development.

Action is Everything

You need not be concerned about every one of these areas. Use your judgment, since these are more suggestions than requirements. Certainly, do not use the length of my list as an excuse not to take action.

Action is everything. However, action begins with planning.

What are your thoughts?

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