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Should You Be Facebook Friends with Your Clients?

  
  
  
  
  

To friend or not to friend—a perpetual social media question. If you work in client service, or have clients in some capacity, you’ve probably run into this particular dilemma of becoming friends with your clients on Facebook. So, what’s appropriate? If you work for a social media agency or in a social media-based role, might it be expected that you become friends with all of your contacts? Or is it better to keep your business all business and your personal, well, personal?

That depends. A better question may be, “Is Facebook really the best way to connect with your clients in the first place?” While Facebook is best for sharing among people you already know, Twitter and LinkedIn encourage you to share information, articles and other thoughts in a public space. These two platforms are natural places where you’d want to conduct conversations with professional contacts and new leads. Since your tweets can reveal as much or as little personal info as you’d like, you can intersperse your content with personal tidbits like photos without also giving access to your Spring Break photo albums from college. 

As opposed to a few years ago, most people now are on LinkedIn and check it more often (i.e., not only when they’re on the job hunt). More frequent use is even broadening the type of content shared. Rather than always posting industry shop talk, more and more users are occasionally sharing content of personal interest to appear like a real person who’s more than his or her career. Like Twitter, LinkedIn allows you to develop your professional image while you conscientiously share certain types of content that convey the real you.

It’s also easier and less intimidating to follow clients (or have them follow you) on Twitter and LinkedIn. My Facebook public profile may seem innocuous enough because most of my info is friends-only, but if you’re a new friend, I honestly don’t know what you might find if you dig deep enough in my profile—that thing is almost 10 years old! I’d rather take our relationship online via Twitter, where my content is fairly ephemeral, or LinkedIn, which started out as my “professional” channel, and then I’ll share bits of my personal life with you there.

Being a client services person in the social media world doesn’t mean being an open book, but rather using the right networks to connect with your clients and contacts in a meaningful, yet appropriate way. And what do you do if a client friends you? Dawn Mentzer, aka the Insatiable Solopreneur, advises establishing a consistent “Facebook friend policy” for clients—you’ll either accept client friend requests, or kindly inform them that while you use Facebook to keep up with family and college friends, you’d love to connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn (and follow through by connecting with them on these networks). 

I’m sure a lot of you have thoughts on connecting with clients on social media, and I’d love to hear them! On what networks do you connect with your clients? Has connecting with clients on social media led to any success stories or cautionary tales? 

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As you might have guessed, Melissa Komadina works in Account Service at Renegade. Feel free to tweet her or find her on LinkedIn.

How to Get Your Friends to Join Social Networks - Pt. 3

  
  
  
  
  

This is part three of a three-part series about getting your friends, colleagues, family or associates to join social networks and find their value.

Now that you’ve got your friend to join multiple social networks and find a community for them to embrace, let’s talk about how they can create value for their audience.

Before we get into the tips for each network, let’s first define what social media value actually is.

If you’ve ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, you would know that he places people that force cultural change into three distinct groups: Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen. To quickly sum up the roles of each, Mavens have vast knowledge about a particular subject and are able to talk about it eloquently; Connectors are people who know individuals in a particular field; and Salesman have the ability to make individuals adopt ideas that they were previously unsure of.

In real life, you’re lucky if you become one of these archetypes, but in social media, the ones who are adding value to their connections are all three.  Value comes from being knowledgeable when commenting on relevant topics, interacting with people and letting others see it, and being convincingly opinionated so that you are sometimes at the point of being controversial. Doing all three of these things consistently plays a major factor in determining your value on social media. Think about your favorite blog site—would you visit it if they didn’t update it on a consistent basis? I don’t think so.  Would you follow your friends if they didn’t contribute to a conversation on Twitter? I didn’t think so either.

Creating Value on Twitter

Participate

Having a strong, consistent and opinionated voice on Twitter can attract an audience to a specific account.  This is where you can take the reins of being a Maven on Twitter.

Don’t hesitate to jump in conversations that surround a topic you’re interested in. If one of your followers is talking about a subject that interests you, or one that you can formulate an opinion on, just hit the reply button and put in your two cents.

Your fashion friend can set up lists of industry bloggers and search terms using Tweetdeck to monitor hot hashtags or and reply to their tweets.  Here are examples of tweets containing the hashtag “#fashion”:

Listorious resized 600

A response that can be written in reply to @CuriousYam that adds value would be something like “@CuriousYam I really like the #Floral #Circleskirt. I bought a similar one from @Target but it’s a print pic.twitter.com/adsuha”

Another example is answering questions that users post. For instance, if a person is looking for a specific product and you know where it can be acquired, you become a Connector by replying with the answer.  

Engage With Influencers 

By finding and following the major influencers in a specific industry, it’s easier for a user to be “in-the-know” of breaking news to form an opinion and share it with their followers. When it comes to social media, like in real life, the faster your access to information, the more influence you can have. Most individuals have to build this influence organically by constantly updating their social feeds, unless they have a pre-established reputation.

To find interesting influencers, you can run a quick search of “fashion” on Listorious.com, a site that lists reputable accounts by topic. You can quickly see a few of each account’s most recent tweets and reply to them from inside the website. Have patience in building relationships with these influencers. Sometimes they won’t respond, but if you reply to one of their tweets with something insightful you may be rewarded with a retweet or a mention. When influencers start taking notice of your ideas or thoughts and start to engage in conversation with you, it raises your status as a Salesman. 

Creating Value on Instagram

Images hold a lot of weight in the online and mobile space because, besides videos, they capture a person’s attention the longest (after all, a picture is worth a 1,000 words). We might as well make every one count. 

Mix Images With Descriptions That Resonate With Your Audience

Along with pictures that showcase a brand’s work, telling a story or putting a description with relevant keywords will resonate with your audience.

 sethbrundle

In the picture above @sethbrundle is able to showcase his new partnership while using relevant keywords. You can see that he received a bunch of likes and comments on his post.

Let’s say for instance that your friend, who has a huge following in New York City, posts photos of a new shop and their products to her Instagram account (and tweets them). She becomes a Maven by showing her followers where it is and the things she bought, and she becomes a Connector and a Salesman for that brand once she mentions them on her picture. By doing this, your friend helps to create value for those interested in fashion and even people who are interested in new shops that open in their neighborhood.

Creating Value On LinkedIn

People go to LinkedIn to find news, get valuable insights from experts in their particular industry, and to also have access to them.  Being consistent in posting relevant articles, statuses or questions in groups and on your homepage can create interaction and lead to discussions.

Let’s go back to your friend, the fashion designer. For him or her to create value, they will have to be on the forefront of news that relates to their industry in order to share it on their timeline.  If your friend has a fashion blog, sharing new posts on their timeline can create views and showcase their expertise. Even if they’re not creating original content, providing commentary on articles from the LinkedIn Today – Fashion & Apparel section, for example, will generate positive activity on their timeline. 

Interaction within groups can raise your friend’s value as well. Many people, particularly in fashion, are looking for manufacturers, as evidenced in the Textile, Apparel, Footwear and Fashion group. 

Suppose your friend is an experienced designer with connections to models and raw materials. Answering questions on these topics in LinkedIn groups allows them to become a Maven, Connector and a Salesman in the group. Asking questions about relevant subjects also can potentially create leads that eliminate the middleman, which would strengthen your friend’s reputation as a Connector..

Last, but not least, your friend can connect people to others. LinkedIn offers the ability to “introduce” two individuals who are not yet connected to each other. You can call it e-networking. Most users do this when they'd like to talk to people who are offering jobs on LinkedIn.  

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There you have it, three steps on how to get your friends to join social networks, find value for themselves and create value for others. I hope this works for you.  Now go out there and make some new friends, followers, and connections! Don't forget to read part one and part two

How To Get Your Friends To Join Social Networks - Pt. 2

  
  
  
  
  

This is part two of a three-part series about getting your friends, colleagues, family or associates to join social networks and find their value.

Part II: Helping your friend find their community

The biggest step is now over—you got your friend to sign up for Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn. Let’s move on to the next step: how does your friend find the people who share the same interests and passions?

I firmly believe that social media becomes worthwhile when a person finds a niche community that they interact with on a regular basis. Going back to our example in my previous post, your clothing designer friend will value social media only if they can use it to meet the designers, big fashion houses and trendsetters that matter to them. Fortunately, there are a number of tools and techniques within each network that can help guide your friend’s search and unlock the power of social networking.

The first group of people your friend should immediately follow is their real-life friends. These folks are a good place to start because they probably share some of the same interests as your friend, and they’ll be willing to divulge information from within a particular online community. Advise your friend to look through their friends’ followers and connections for interesting accounts to follow.

A big purpose and where the power of social media resides is being able to go outside your reach and connect with people who you wouldn’t have access to in real life.  The following tools exemplify this and heighten a user’s experience in a way that can benefit them.  

Twitter

Follower Wonk: This tool allows you to search Twitter bios for particular keywords and compare followers or following of up to three separate users. For instance, if your friend is looking for other fashion designers to collaborate with or get advice from, a search for the terms such as “fashion,” “fashiondesign” and “couture”  reveals hundreds of results. From there, your friend can compare three users to see who they mutually follow in order to grow their network even further. Go ahead and give it a try. 

Screen shot 2012 10 01 at 4.02.38 PM 

Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck is a desktop or browser add-on that lets you monitor and engage various users; the platform also provides insight on certain keywords and allows you to create lists for certain followers and search terms. Your friend can monitor words like “fashion AND NYC” to see who is talking about certain fashion events in New York City. The strength of the keywords and lists can help your friend see who is actively engaged in the topic of their choosing. This is a great way to be more specific in a search for users that are considered influential within a certain community.

A search for #fashionmodel produces these results on Tweetdeck

Instagram

Search: Probably the most powerful tool for Instagram is already located within the app itself. The search feature allows you to look up hash tags found in the picture’s description and comments. Searching for the tag “#fashion” brings up close to 13 million images. Once your friend sees a user who consistently posts high-quality images that are constantly receiving plenty of interaction, they should tap the follow button because that person is viewed as an influencer. Monitoring several tags at once can help your friend target their niche market.  

Statigram: Statigram is an online Instagram viewer that allows users to view more pictures at once in a web browser instead of scrolling through their mobile app. It also gives you a great breakdown of the metrics within your account. The only feature that it doesn’t have is the ability to post pictures to an Instagram account. 

Here's a snapshot of my Instagram account from Smtatigram

Linkedin

Like Instagram, LinkedIn’s search bar can be used to access all of their users, groups, and companies. Their advanced search feature allows a user to be more thorough in their search. This can be helpful if your friend is having trouble finding a person’s name but remembers their title and company.

To find big guns, joining groups would be the best place to start. Members in groups are typically employees within a certain field that are trying to gain benefits from the content and discussions that are posted. Within each group page, on the right column, LinkedIn lists the top influencers for each week. Since these individuals are leading a lot of the group’s discussions and managing the group, interacting with them could offer more insights. All your friend has to do is make their acquaintance within the group and then request to connect with them.

A group's influencers list from Linkedin

Now that your friend has found influential people to follow and started interacting with people who have the same interests as they, it’s time to move onto the final step: creating value to gain a loyal following. 

-- Sean Clark

How to Get Your Friends to Join Social Networks - Pt. 1

  
  
  
  
  

“I just don’t get it – what’s so great about Twitter?”

This is the typical response I receive when my friends notice how much of my time is dedicated to my phone screen, reading tweets from my 500+ followers. What ensues shortly afterwards is back-and-forth dialogue where I argue for the advantages of social networks and then notice I have a new follower a few days later with my friend’s name attached to the account.

Convincing your friends to join a social network that you’ve already fully embraced can be an arduous task; fortunately, I’m battle-tested and willing to share my tactics for making them social media believers as well.

In this three-part series, I will help you to win your friends over and open them up to the world of social media.  In part one, I will explain the advantages of the three main networks I believe each individual should join: Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Part two will have advice on finding and engaging an audience that shares your friend’s same interests. Finally, the last part in the series will be how your friend can create content that will add value and attract a following.

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Most of the confusion that stops my friends from embracing social networking is that they really don’t know what each network is. I don’t blame them for stopping there - I wouldn’t try to go in the kitchen and try to make my grandma’s mac-n-cheese if I didn’t know how a cheese grater worked. Rather than trying to explain to them how each network works, I instead try to show them the purpose of each. Here is an excellent example using donuts:

SMexplained

However, if they’re still confused after seeing this, I’ve broken down the uses of each the social networks I mentioned earlier.

 

TWITTER

Twitter gives real-time updates of situations happening in real life. Your friend still doesn’t believe you? Go to Twitter and search for “DNC2012” to view the thousands of tweets that inform you who was at the DNC podium and what line from their speech resonated with the audience. If there’s anything happening with more 500 people in attendance, there are probably at least a few tweets about it.

But the best part about Twitter that makes it stand out from other social networks is the access. Because it’s a public forum, viewable even if you don’t have an account, it grants a ton of transparency to thoughts, ideas, whereabouts, and announcements from people you would never meet in real life – and for free.

Let’s say that your friend is a fashion designer. They’re about to launch a new line but they don’t have any exposure within the fashion industry. By tweeting often about the developments of their upcoming line and using the right hashtags, such as #fashion, #fabric and #design, your friend can introduce their products to a relevant audience and possibly even create a demand for them before they’ve premiered.

You can also consider Twitter’s search option a powerful, real-time engine for updates on current events and trends. This helps if your friend likes to research different topics or find out what’s happening in a certain area.

Need further help explaining? Instruction AE put together this video to explain Twitter:

 

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INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a photo-sharing community that has exploded onto the scene within the past year and a half. With membership reaching close to 100 million members, Instagram has yet to show any signs of slowing down. Even though you can attach a photo to a tweet on Twitter, Instagram fosters interaction around a photo by allowing users to like and comment on a picture like they would on Facebook. Instagram also allows users to share their pictures across other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and through email. Idea Channel even thinks Instagram is the best thing to happen to photography:  

 

Let’s go back to your friend, the clothing designer. They have tons of designs but aren’t getting exposure for them. Imagine they take a picture of a shirt they’ve made and instantly someone asks how they can buy it. How did that user find it? Simple: our friend added a hashtag such as ‘#shirt’ or ‘#fashion’ to their picture, which allowed other users searching those hashtags to come across that photo. If the picture is aesthetically pleasing, more than likely it will receive a decent amount of attention. Since Instagram has not yet allowed pictures to be shared, a lot of users screenshot the image and post it on their account while giving credit to the original photographer. That’s the end result of exposure via Instagram: a possible sale for your friend.

 

LINKEDIN

With 60-80% of jobs coming through personal connections and networking, why not have a social network to lend a helping hand? Voila! Enter LinkedIn to serve that purpose. LinkedIn’s power is in connecting people in various professions so that they may collaborate on ideas, projects, and find new positions. A profile on LinkedIn closely resembles a resume, which is advantageous for recruiters who are searching for the person that best fits their needs. Linkedin is different from Facebook because it is viewed as being a strictly professional network.

Your designer friend has experienced some success selling their items and wants to now become an in-house designer for a major fashion label. Using LinkedIn, your friend can search for a label, view any open positions and clearly see if any of their connections work at that company or if someone they know is connected to an employee and asked to be introduced through a simple message. If your friend fears networking events, LinkedIn offers a new way to make connections.

LinkedIn Groups is also a powerful feature for job seekers and professionals who want to network and keep up with their industry. Mostly dedicated to different types of professions, Groups offer insights and resources on their particular industry. 

If looking for a job on Linkedin is on your friend's mind, this little tutorial could be useful:

 

Hopefully by this point your friend has created an account on each of these networks and is ready to learn what they can do to find out where their audience is and how to engage them. I’ll discuss how to teach them these next steps in my next post.

-- Sean Clark

LinkedIn’s new “Apply with LinkedIn” Button and it’s potential

  
  
  
  
  

I first set up my LinkedIn account because a family relative who worked as an HR hiring manager kept stressing the importance and relevance the networking site held for job seekers.

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I didn’t understand it. I still have questions about its effectiveness. It could be my fault. I may be too hesitant in asking people to recommend me. I do update my profile so hiring managers have something nice to see about me, but I know I am not using the site to its full potential.

LinkedIn seems to have recognized its flaws. The addition of the “Apply with LinkedIn” button sets LinkedIn up to revolutionize the way the site works. 

Now, with the click of a button, users can apply for jobs listed on LinkedIn. No cover letter. No filling in boxes asking for the same information over and over again.

Perhaps the best feature of this application process is the ability to fully utilize your contacts. If users apply for a job and have a connection at that company, they can click a button asking for that contact to refer them.

If LinkedIn can get more companies to use their employment listing, they have the potential to make job searching much more convenient. I am quickly becoming less of a LinkedIn skeptic and more or a LinkedIn advocate.

-- Niko DeMordaunt

The Social Influence Score

  
  
  
  
  

kloutimage

This week, Klout announced that the location based application Foursquare would now factor into their scores. Klout, the “Standard for Influence”, measures a user’s online influence based on connections and activity across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Foursquare is a growing social network, and they recently made a deal with American Express to reward card holders when they check-in. Corporate partnerships aren’t the only measure of progress for Foursquare, however, as they just reached 10 million users, raised an additional $50 million, and implemented a new daily deals feature into their application.

It seems natural for Klout to include this network as a measurement of influence. The only problem: they have not figured out how. Accurately measuring the ripple effect of the check-in system and other features of the application are not easy to implement into the algorithm. Still, the company believes they will have a tested and perfected algorithm within the next few weeks. Klout has made it very clear that the inclusion of this network into scores is completely voluntary. Only when a user has added their Foursquare account to their Klout profile will any information be collected.

Foursquare integration is most likely the first of many networks to be included in the Klout algorithm. With the growth of social networks on the web, Klout should stay busy integrating the next big thing into their system.

-Laura Burns

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