Larry BraunerIn October 2010, I wrote New Facebook Groups Wreak Havoc. The “new” Facebook groups were brand new, and they were ruffling quite a few feathers. People added their friends en masse causing them to receive unwanted notification emails. You can imagine the chaos.

Facebook Tones Down Group Notifications

FacebookFortunately, Facebook replaced email notifications by onsite notifications as the default, and that greatly decreased the sting of being added to a group without having to opt-in.

Over time, Facebook members came to expect that they would be added involuntarily to groups and adjusted accordingly.

Facebook Onsite Notification


I belong to scores of groups, and most of them I’ve been added to without my request. If I don’t like a group, I leave it. Sometimes, I adjust my group notification settings  based both on my interest level and the quantity of posts and comments.

Helping Your Favorite Facebook Groups Thrive

The success of a Facebook group depends upon adding new members, just as much as it depends upon member engagement and the quality of posts and content.

Add Facebook Friends to Group


If you like a Facebook group, participate, contribute relevant posts and comments, and add friends to that group whom you think might be interested. Let each person choose whether to leave or to remain in the group.

My Favorite Facebook Groups

Two of my favorite Facebook groups are:

  1. Watch Enthusiasts - Discuss watches and share information about your favorite models, brands and events with fellow members. Good group for learning and seeing what’s out there. (Sponsored by high-end watchmaker, watch distributor and online publisher, Gevril Group.)
  2. Larry Brauner - Is any explanation required? ;-)

What Are Your Favorite Facebook Groups?

Respond in a comment with a link to your favorite Facebook group and a description of the group.  Also, please don’t forget to subscribe to Online Social Networking and to “like” me 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 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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A Facebook friend inquired about my top website traffic sources for 2010. I looked, and my sources for website traffic haven’t really changed much since I published My Top 10+ Blog and Website Traffic Sources in January.

My list of traffic sources is a good start for most web marketing endeavors, but it’s only that — a good start.

Hitting the Right Mix of Website Traffic Sources

Get More Web Site TrafficEach marketing initiative is different and needs its own mix of resources. Exploration is necessary to determine an appropriate mix of traffic sources for each project.

For example, StumbleUpon sent this blog 281 visitors in the past 30 days, but in the past 17 days alone, it sent the new Gevril Group web domain I’m building 991 visitors!

So far it appears that StumbleUpon may be more responsive to my luxury watches and watch brands content than it has been to my social media and web marketing content, an observation I would not have gleaned had I written off StumbleUpon based on past disappointing results.

Lists of traffic sources are easy enough to find, so too few traffic sources can’t be the cause for not hitting the right mix of traffic sources. A lack of proper experimentation, adequate traffic diversification and perseverance is a more likely cause for disappointing website traffic.

Too Little for Too Short a Time

Most new marketers do too little for too short a time to hit their mix of website traffic sources, especially with regard to SEO, a major website traffic source that requires substantial time to grow.

Check out my increase website traffic articles for many more tips and, by the way, in case you’re new, this is a good time for you to subscribe and leave a comment. ;-)

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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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