Meshwork Consulting

16 Tips for Gaining More Fans on Facebook

I spent some time today reading a great article from Greg Elwell on how to gain more fans on Facebook. It’s a common-sense approach to engaging your fans and pushing your results up on the News Feed feature. I especially appreciate his No. 1 item focused on engagement. The bottom line: if you’re not on your fans News Feed you’re nowhere.

Lessons Learned From Being Ignored

I’m fickle. I’m particular. Or maybe,  I’m just smart. At least I thought I was.

Four weeks ago, I came across three, long-term opportunities. Some had elements that were out of my area of expertise. I needed a partner. The opportunities weren’t huge, but I wanted to test the waters with a new partner before bringing him bigger projects. I had several choices at my disposal and decided to go local and support one of Boise’s best. We met, talked and I was assured that I’d get a proposal in three days. Excited, I wrote a follow-up note to thank him for his time. Three days passed and the proposal didn’t show. I sent an e-mail inquiry — maybe he was running behind. Nothing. The following Monday I called and was sent to voicemail. I left a message. No response. Where did I go wrong? Was I getting the blowoff? Or is he too busy to respond (impossible since he’s posting Tweets and updating his Facebook)?

I’ve learned three lessons here and I’m smarter for it — partnering requires trust; hire hard to manage easy; and never ignore your customers. As for trust, my failed partner-to-be clearly demonstrated how he’d treat my valued clients in the future. Partnering’s a lot like hiring — interview hard to manage easy. My new partner is getting more questions than he expected. And no matter how successful you are, you do not ignore new or existing customers. You never know how those relationships will blossom into something great for all.

How would you have handle a situation like this?

Managing Your Social Life

No, this isn’t Meshwork Marketing getting into the life coach field. This is about managing your social media life. Depending on your goals, you may need to set boundaries between your professional and personal lives.

Let’s talk work. As working professionals, most of us may use LinkedIn for our professional activities (B2B lead generation, job search and more). We use the tools here to learn more about other companies, tweak our resume or search for job candidates. Naturally, we have to keep a professional face on all activities here.

Now, let’s get personal. We then segregate our personal social network activity to tools like FacebookMySpace and Twitter. To state the obvious, whether you’re trying to make new friends, connect with old friends, or are looking for a job, discretion is a priority. You can have fun, but be sensible because your digital footprint can come back to haunt you.

Thank you to Emile Loza, founding attorney of the Technology Law Group for the inspiration for this post.

Heading To Vietnam Today

I’m heading off to Hanoi, Vietnam today. Most of my preparation over the last couple of weeks, besides packing, has been lots of reading and posting my pre-trip impressions/plans here: Boise State University eMBA blog. While our mission is strictly tourist- and education-oriented, I’m anxious to ask those I meet about what community marketing means to them.

In the U.S. and other countries, social or community networking is growing. But in a country whose culture is based on decision-making around what’s best for the family, does social media have the same significance? What are the business challenges of Vietnam-based business face when it comes to customer or channel marketing? Or is community marketing important just from a B2B play for professional growth and enrichment?

Initial searches have turned up TechLang by Jason, which was started earlier this year to cover tech startups, but it’s dead. ZingMe, a rival to Facebook, has membership growing close to 1 million users. And then there’s vnSpoke, a LinkedIn-like, professional networking site. However, it too, appears to be dead. My work’s cut out for me!

If you know of any more Vietnamese social networking tools, let me know. Thoughts? Comments?

Triple-play Efforts Supporting Local Non-profits

Are you looking for a new ways to reach new customers with immediate ROI? Forget the Yellow Pages or the newspaper. Look around your community. Do your services support community groups like families? If so, tie your advertising efforts and personal energies into triple-play revenues by supporting non-profit groups dedicated to supporting at-risk teens, families or education. Don’t think of your efforts in terms of profits, but enjoying the reputation of being socially responsible and contributing to the well-being of your community.

Consider this example. One client is an auto repair business. They’re a family-owned affair with kids in a local school. When their kids’ school seeks contributions for their annual fundraiser, they jump at the opportunity. By offering attractive automotive service bundles (like an annual maintenance package), the school wins with the deal going to the highest bidder; the kids win with funds going to supplies, continuing teacher education and services; and the business wins by turning a fellow parent into a new customer (and getting a tax deduction). But their success doesn’t stop there. Once other parents discovered that this business regularly contributes its services to help their childrens’ education, they, too, become new customers.

Lastly, consider donating your time and expertise to community-dedicated non-profits. While this isn’t a direct line to profits, it is one way to contribute to building a strong community. For example, in Boise, Micron Technology engineers donate their time to helping high school students compete in robotics competitions. I dedicate my community marketing expertise to Life’s Kitchen, helping them get the word out about their efforts to help at-risk teens with life-skills training, in and out of a professional kitchen setting.

In what other ways can businesspeople support their communities while spreading the word about their business?

WinCo Foods – Now Is Not the Time To Suck

Dear WinCo Foods,

In today’s tough economic times, now is your time to capture market share.

Sure, your competition offers fancy, well-lit displays; clear aisles; most name brands I like to consume; cheerful employees who offer to help me out to my car (OK, I’m not that old); and someone to bag my stuff. But I pay dearly for it.

I exchange convenience/experience for savings at WinCo — the supermarket low-price leader. I accept the fact that your idea of offering low-priced goods means that I get to suffer with grumpy employees who treat me like I’m inconveniencing them; unboxed goods in the aisle; bagging my own groceries; random inventory levels and product selection; and, in general, very little service. In exchange, I get to brag that I saved $50-100.

Studies show that consumers like to patronize less-expensive stores in tough times — and companies profit. Witness Wal-Mart’s growing profitability over the last year, compared to Target’s. Can you believe that Wal-Mart’s taking share away from Target? I’m thinking that you’re doing pretty well for yourselves right now. But your short-term gain is going to be your long-term loss.

Now is the time for you to make some cheap tweaks — engage your customers to find out what you could do to improve their experience and keep saving them money. Clear up those aisles and urge your employees to be more customer-friendly. Do it now. Once the economy begins to recover, you could have more fans and customers than at the start of these tough economic times.

For now, I’ll continue to shop at your store; smile at all of the grumps; wish for a better grocery world; and after paying for my groceries, text my wife to have that Session Lager cold and ready for my frazzled nerves when I get back.

PS — the ESOP link at the bottom of your home page does not work.

Getting Facebook into the Marketing Mix

Check out some of these simple-to-execute tips for adding your company’s Facebook profile into the marketing mix from Go-To-Market Strategies. What other strategies do you use with Facebook?

Getting Facebook into the Marketing Mix

SEO Is Not Really That Complicated

Ahh, a great read on dispelling the myths of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The name is intimidating and there are lots of us who are reluctant to chase the SEO rabbit hole and get really technical. And if you pay someone to nail your SEO, who do you trust? I’ve talked about SEO tips on my blog, but here’s a quick read from Duct Tape Marketing, a small-business blogger, and his article “SEO Is Not Really That Complicated.”

The Power of Twitter and Customer Service

Yesterday I talked with a friend about her experience with Twitter. She was in a minor traffic accident and was frustrated the other person’s insurance company. While she has been trying to do the right thing, the company’s representatives were less than friendly.

She has a small Twitter following (40) and decided to share her experience. She looked up the company’s Twitter ID and posted a Tweet about the their lack of customer care and common courtesy. Two days later, a company representative called her to apologize and asked how he could help.

That’s the power of corporate listening. A smart move on their part, and hopefully a tool they use to instill change internally.

Do you have an example of how social media’s worked for you in a situation like this?

Analyzing Twitter With Excel, Part 1

Last month I shared a good article on several ways you can start listening. This article takes Twitter analytics one step further. Good stuff. Read on at Analyzing Twitter with Excel, Part 1 – Network World.