How To Add Facebook Connect To Your Blog

The Easy Way To Integrate The Viral Power Of Facebook Into Your Blog

This blog post will show you how you can integrate the viral power of Facebook Connect  with your  wordpress blog without touching a single bit of code. Its done by using a neat plugin created by Spanish blogger Javier Reyes

Most people get put off by mentions of API keys and messing with the code on their webpages. Luckily I stumbled upon this cool plugin that does all the work for you. If you follow each step carefully you will be up and running in no time

Even if you don’t have a wordpress blog, make sure you scroll to the bottom of this post where I will be explaining exactly how I will be using Facebook connect to initiate social activity and get immense viral exposure.

Click here to download the Facebook Connect WordPress plugin

http://www.sociable.es/facebook-connect/

socialble

Take a few minutes to watch the tutorial video that explains the features of this plugin

The next video gives an explanation of how to install this plugin and set up your API code

After you have downloaded the plugin to your computer you need to go to your blog and upload the file into your wp-content/plugins/ folder, you can do this by FTP or by going into the backend of your website if you have CPanel hosting.

Now login to the admin panel of your wordpress blog, I am using Wordpess 2.7  in this example, your screen might look slightly different if you are using earlier versions. Go to your plugins and activate the Facebook connector plugin

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Now in your settings menu open Facebook connector you should have this screen visible

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Get Your Facebook API Code

This plugin is an easy way for you to create your own Facebook application unique to your  blog. In order for it to function you will need a Facebook developers account and obtain your Facebbook API key and Facebook API secret. These are just codes so Facebook can give you access to the user data that will be transferred to your blog. In a new browser window login to your Facebook account and scroll down to the very bottom of your profile page.

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Now enter the name of your new application, agree  to the terms of service and click save.

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Now you have been given your API Key and API Secret, you need to copy and paste these numbers into your wordpress plugin settings

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Now open the Connect tab and enter the URL of your blog.

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Scroll to the bottom of the page and click save

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In another browser window,  copy and paste your API key and API secret into your Facebook Connector Options; check the boxes to allow full functionality on your blog

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Scroll down to create the message template; if you want to customize the messages you can  edit the text in the boxes

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After you have clicked create template the plugin should have two yellow boxes at the top indicating that everything is now functioning

You can now place a widget on your sidebar so your blog visitors can login and interact with your blog. Any comments they make will be posted directly to their Facebook profile

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drag and drop the widget to your required position and adjust its settings

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Your Facebook connect plugin should now be fully functioning. Go to your blogs homepage and check everything is working

The sidebar widget  should look something like this

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Click on the Connect with Facebook  button and start interacting

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Now you can invite all your friends to come and visit your blog and more importantly all your visitors can  invite all their friends too

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Social Interaction Goes Viral

What does all this social activity mean,  and how is it going to help you? As an example I am going to see how much activity I can generate from this blog post using a variety of means.  Immediately after I publish this post I am going to go to go and invite 16 of my friends to come and visit my blog post using the friend connect widget.

I am going to ask those 16 people to  invite 16 of their friends to come and see this post too. I hope to start a viral chain reaction that will impact into Facebooks newsfeed.

Syndication

My blog is syndicated to my Twitter account and to my Facebook profile so as soon as it gets published a tweet will get sent and the full RSS feed will be imported as a Facebook note. The next day I am going to go to my Facebook note and tag a further 30 people in this note. I am going to ask people to give it a thumbs up or to press the share button

It’s a fine balance when doing this kind of thing, Only people who have wordpress blogs will be  really interested in this post, but I hope other people will want to see the real viral power of Friend Connect in action

Using Groups

Once  I have some impact in Facebooks newsfeed I am going to send a message to my Facebooks groups, inviting them to learn about Facebook Connect. I hope that some of my other friends who have big groups will do same.

Become An Early Adopter

There is a huge advantage to becoming an early adopter of the community building tools like Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect. You have the potential to take your friends with you wherever you go on the web. So if you see a great blog post you can leave a comment  and it will go straight into your newsfeed for your friends to see. Bloggers can expect more traffic to be circulating back and forth from social sites like Facebook opening up a huge potential of viral social interaction.

How Viral Is Facebook?

With your help we can find out; only by testing new strategies can we discover what their limitations are and how much exposure they bring. I will be tracking the results and monitoring the newsfeed and comments on this blog. Of course I am taking a big risk because I might end up  annoying some people,  I am willing to do this because I see there is a huge potential available and I love sharing with my online community

What  You Can Do Now

1.    If you are on my blog http://www.iandavidchapman.com you can sign in to Facebook Connect and leave a comment
2.    If you are on Facebook reading this you can leave a comment either in the newsfeed or at the bottom of this note. If you like the post click the share button at the top. or give it a thumbs up.  You can visit my blog to see the plugin in action by
clicking on this link http://www.iandavidchapman.com

3.    If you have a wordpress blog you can follow this tutorial and get started right away. For those who are technically challenged and don’t know how to add new plugins  get your webmaster to do all this for you. Implementation is the key.  Come back and leave a comment in this thread so other people reading this post can visit your blog and share it with their friends.

4.    If you have any friends who have a wordpress blog  or might be interested in Facebook Connect you can invite them to come and see this post, by clicking on the Invite Your Friends button on the Connect Widget

5.    If you are Google Friend Connect user why not join my site at the same time. Feel free to leave a comment in the social bar at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article, I hope you got some benefit from it and choose to help me in my experiment to prove that Facebook Connect is worth taking seriously. If you experience any problems with this plugin please contact the developers and read all the comment threads carefully,  making sure you have completed all the requires steps.

Ian David Chapman

Facebook Pages Change The Face Of Business

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The Facebook Bombshell

Yesterday Facebook rolled out their new look Facebook pages; They’ve made business pages become  more like personal profiles allowing more  interactivity and are set to open a doorway for  businesses and brands to gain deep penetration into the mainstream market of  Facebook users.  The people who understand these implications are rubbing their hands with glee at this new announcement.

Are Pages Hard To Find?

Facebook still make pages difficult to find, I have no idea why this is but in order to create a page you have to scroll down to the bottom of your facebook profile and click on the advertising tab, then click on pages and then click on create a page.

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Public Profiles

What used to be termed Fan Pages are now being called Public Profiles. From what I have read it seems that Facebook are intent on introducing Public Profiles into the news feed. Facebook explain it like this

By leveraging the real connections between friends on Facebook, a public profile lets users connect to the entities they care about and allows you to join the conversation. Posts by the public profile will soon start to appear in News Feed, giving you a more dynamic relationship with the public figures and organizations you are interested in.

Become Viral And Interactive

What this means from a business perspective is that your Public Profile activities can now be seen by many more people as friends of friends interact with these pages. This means they are truly becoming viral in the same way Facebook groups have been for a long time.

Whether this also reflects Googles recent algorithm change that also favors known brands is debatable but it now places companies much more in the public eye than ever before, and gives them penetration into markets that were previously restricted.

Positive And Negative Response

Its difficult to asses the public reaction, from reading the comments on the Facebook blog the majority were somewhat negative, mainly from the fact that they hadn’t taken the time to discover how the new look Facebook Pages can be configured, I suspect that given time most people will begin to appreciate the changes. Personally I think it is a move in the right direction

Reputation Management

Reputation management will have to be taken more seriously with this added user interaction. But don’t get too worried because Facebook have installed a feature that allows you to control who can post to your page. In a crisis you can kill your comments and limit the viral word of mouth damage until you are ready to face the public and present your side of the story. This of course also works in your favor when you want your evangelists to tell the world how great you are.

Application Development

The new design also creates huge potential for 3rd party application developers as Fan page apps can now be placed front and center for the world to see. The best apps will spread virally  in the same way they used to before the new profile was rolled out.

You can use HTML on your page and also FBML (facebook markup language)

You control what page a user lands on and also what page a Fan lands on by adjusting the settings on your wall page. I am hoping that Facebook will extend this same privilege to normal users in the future, it is clear that they have all the coding in place, its just a matter of flicking the switch.

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I am still exploring the new look pages but one of the coolest new features is the ability to demographically target your updates and messages. So if you want to test a marketing campaign in a certain city before you roll it out to the rest of the country you can select a certain test group and see their response. This is huge for any major organization or brand who want to do market research

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From an SEO perspective Facebook pages are a great way to get indexed and ranked by google and this latest development only emphasizes this importance.

Find Out More From Ed Dale

Ed Dale was so excited about this new development that he will be hosting a live Ustream Broadcast this evening to discuss these momentous changes. Be sure to tune in or at least go and watch the replay on the 30 day challenge tv

I am sure that those who already understand how Facebook works can see the future potential and are already positioning themselves to take advantage of it.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I look forward to your comments, either on Facebook or on my blog

http://www.iandavidchapman.com.

For more updates and links to cutting edge information make sure you follow me on twitter – @iandavidchapman

How To Manage Your Personal Friends And Business Contacts On Facebook

If Your Facebook Friends Are In A Mess What Should You Do?

Two weeks ago  top Internet Marketer Ed Dale decided to Boot all of his Facebook friends by deleting his Facebook account and starting again from scratch. He raised the question in many people’s minds of whether they should do the same. Ed is kicking out the dead weight from his Facebook profile but its a laborious task.

One of Ed Dales buddies Ryan Deiss has asked the question Should I “Unfriend” All My Facebook Friends Like Ed Dale?

I would like to offer some alternative solutions that can help you manage your Personal and Business profiles under a single Facebook account.

The Root Of The Problem

The root of Ed Dale’s problem lies in the fact that he is not a normal Facebook user. Facebook will only let you operate a single account that has to be in your own name.This means that your personal and business life has to be all lumped together.

Being a famous Internet Marketing Guru means that you get a lot of people wanting to be your friend. John Reese maxed out his Facebook profile in under a week last April reaching the 5000 friend limit.

A Sticky Mess

If your network grows so rapidly it’s next to impossible to organize it in any structured way so that it can benefit you. For those who are using Facebook for business purposes there are some lessons to be learned here. Without quality control, structuring and proper organization your network could turn into a sticky mess.

Facebook are considering raising this limit but the question is, how can you manage a huge network of friends and still be able to use Facebook like a normal user?

Dealing With Background Noise

It’s understandable that if you have 5000 people who you don’t really know add you as a friend and then spam the hell out of your Facebook wall in a bid to attract your attention or to hijack the viral power of your network you might get a bit upset. And by closing down your Facebook wall you kill one of the most popular features and your profile just becomes a one-way interaction

Ed has been missing out on the way most normal people use Facebook and because the intensity of the background noise gets too much to cope with he opted for the drastic approach….Starting Again!!

Getting Used To The New Design

The new look Facebook is still a mystery to many people, even though we have now had 6 months to get used to it. Most people never fully benefit from its real power.  It’s obvious to me that Ed never took the time to learn all its subtleties when they rolled out the new design, preferring to focus on the aspects of Facebook that actually make you money like Facebook Ads and Pages

It’s hardly surprising really when they keep adding new functions and moving things around. I am often amazed when I discover some of the treasures that lie buried in the Facebook Maze

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

One thing you can do to manage your profile is to adjust your privacy settings effectively, Nick O Neil shows exactly how to do this in his excellent post “10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know

There are also several things you can do to ensure that you don’t end up like Ed and have to start over again

Segregate Your Friends Into Lists

This is one of the most powerful and under used functions on Facebook that you need to get into the habit of using. By creating segregated lists you can keep track of specific groups of friends and keep all your business contacts in one place. The best way to implement this strategy is to build it into your regular routine when you send or receive friend requests.

Go to the FRIENDS tab on your Facebook profile

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Choose Logical Categories For Your Friend Lists

If you scroll down  will see a button that allows you to create a new list.  Think carefully how you want to group your friends, you can segregate them however you like

Choosing logical categories will help you find them later and make you more likely to use this function on a regular basis.   Your friends can  belong to multiple lists but don’t add too many categories as it defeats the purpose of the exercise.

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Speed Things Up By Selecting Multiple Friends

You now get the option to start typing in the names of the friends that you want to include in your list. Often its difficult to remember everyone’s name and its very easy to forget people once they become buried in your contacts list.  You have a second option and that is to click on SELECT MULTIPLE FRIENDS, this will pull in the photographs of your friends. If you have a big network this might take a while to load so be patient.

Filter Friends By Region

Another very powerful option is to filter your friends by region, when the MULTIPLE FRIENDS option is open, just click on the FILTER FRIENDS tab and select who you want to include. Of course you will only be able to find your friends who have entered all their details correctly.

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Don’t Forget To Save Your List

After you have selected everyone to include on your list make sure you don’t forget to save it, scroll to the bottom of the page and click SAVE LIST

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Get Into Good Organizational Habits

Now when you make a friend request or add a new friend you will have the option to place that person into one or several of your chosen categories, Just click on the small triangle in the corner and your lists will be shown in a drop down menu.  Get into the habit of doing this and you will build a much more powerful and easy to manage contacts list than the jumbled mess you might find yourself in otherwise. It becomes more important the larger your network grows; once you get over 500 friends it starts to become an issue and the job of segregation becomes harder and harder. It’s never too late to start, so take my advice and keep organized.

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Messaging Your Lists

If you are planning on sending messages to a list you need to keep it below 19 members. Remember to warn people that if they respond, their reply will be sent to everyone in the group. This type of messaging is best done with the permission of your friends, as it can be very annoying if a recipient isn’t interested in the message and they get bombarded with all your personal replies in their email inbox.

Form A Secret Group

If you want to message more than 19 people at a time consider making multiple lists or try starting your own Facebook group. For personal friends you can keep this group secret and it will be invisible to other Facebook users. You can adjust a group’s privacy settings when you create the group.

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To View A Segregated List Newsfeed

Facebook give you the option of viewing each of your friend’s lists as a separate newsfeed. It would be a useful function to be able to choose which newsfeed gets show as default. I am sure that at a future date this kind of customization will become available. For now to get to a specific newsfeed you will have to go to the   hassle of clicking a few times

Facebook-homepage

First click on the HOME tab on your profile page this will take you to your usual newsfeed page, there are 6 tabs for you to select what type of news you want to see.

To view the newsfeed of one of your segregated friend lists click on the TRIANGLE tab that says MORE FEEDS and scroll down the drop down menu and select the one you want.

Spy On Your Competition Or Keep Track Of Your Family

For those of you who like to spy on your competition this is a great way to track other peoples Facebook activities and see what they are up to. If like Ed dale you want to keep track of your friends and family then this would be the best way to go about it.

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Adding People Quickly To Your Lists

Another way you can add people to your lists is by clicking on the EDIT button in the MORE FEEDS tab and then entering names in the box provided. When you  click BROWSE  you have a rapidly scrolling list of your friends. You don’t get any photos when you do it this way so it loads a lot faster than the other options that you can use. You can populate a list quickly and easily if you know who you are looking for, the list is presented in alphabetical order.

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Adjusting Your Newsfeed Settings

For those people who want to choose who they hear news about  you also have the option of customizing your newsfeed. This is another of those hidden functions that most users rarely find. To get to it you have to scroll down to the very bottom of your HOME page and click on OPTIONS FOR NEWS FEED

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You are then faced with a set of sliders, much like you would find on a graphic equalizer. Just adjust them to the type of news you want to receive and add the names of all the people you would like to hear more about. If there is a particular person who shows up constantly in your newsfeed with news that doesn’t interest you and you don’t want to remove them as a friend you can place their name in the second box on the right and hopefully they will become less visible in your newsfeed.

Adjust Your Newsfeed Settings

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White Listing Who You Allow To See Your Wall

Facebook have a function, hidden deep in the privacy settings that allows you to choose who  has access to your wall and who you will allow to see what others have posted. By using your friends lists you can keep your personal friends or business contacts in their own little bubble depending on which way you choose to adjust your settings.

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From your profile page, first click on SETTINGS and then click on PROFILE, this will take you to the privacy>profile settings, scroll down and select the box that allows friends to post to your wall. If you are suffering from a lot of wall spam or you don’t feel comfortable with others posting on your wall keep it turned off.

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If you want to customize who can interact with your wall then you can use your lists and only allow certain groups of friends access. click on the triangle and select CUSTOMIZE from the drop down menu. A new pop up screen will now appear.

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Select SOME FRIENDS

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And now click on the small FRIENDS LIST icon to the right of the box

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You can now select which friends you want to include on your white list by selecting the appropriate groups

Now you need to select which networks you want to be able to see your wall. If you select NONE OF MY NETWORKS then only those on your white list will be able to see your wall.

Get A Friend To Check Your Settings

It’s a good idea when experimenting with these settings to have a friend on another computer check how your settings affect them.

Another way to organize your friends would be to exclude certain people,
You might not want your boss or work colleagues seeing every aspect of your social and family life.

Deciding whether to White list or Black list is entirely up to you it depends on which types of Friends are in the majority

After you have made your selections and clicked OK make sure your REMEMBER TO SAVE YOUR SETTINGS when you return to the PROFILE SETTINGS page
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Further Assistance

The bottom line whether you are using  Facebook for personal or  professional  interactions is the more you understand how the platform works and the more organized and disciplined you are regarding how you separate your personal and private life. The more pleasure you will gain from using it. In my opinion it’s the most powerfull social networking platform ever created, if you have any further suggestions or ideas about how to integrate your personal and business contacts please feel free to leave a comment.

You can also follow me on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/iandavidchapman

Facebook Stategies Guide

For a free 60 page guide that will help you get started on Facebook the right way and explains the Unwritten Rules of Facebook.  just  sign up to my mailing list http://www.iandavidchapman.com (you can unsubscribe at any time)

Bad Customer Service

Do You Actually Like Your Customers?

This is a blog post I wrote while traveling in southern India and describes a real situation I encountered in an internet cafe,   it comes in two parts and luckily finishes with a happy ending

A Heated Argument

There was shouting and curses coming from the internet cafe. The owner was in the middle of a heated argument with a customer over the charges for a telephone call.  I wanted to use the wireless internet service and had obviously arrived just at the wrong moment. With a final curse the owner ended the battle with his latest enemy and turned to me.

“What do you want?” he said in an aggressive tone,  continuing  to curse under his breath about the foreigners who were exploiting his country.

Can I Use Your Service?

“Do you have wireless Internet?” I asked; The man nodded and pointed to a plastic garden chair that was sitting in the entrance lobby. I began to set up my computer and plugged into the electricity. The owner grabbed my plug and pulled it out.

“There’s a power cut he said so there is no electricity”, I turned and looked into the room full of computers buzzing quietly in the background  and asked how they could possibly  be running if there was no electricity.

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What Is Your Priority?

“I have batteries” he replied, (a lot of places in India have banks of batteries that are used when the normal power fails) “but the power is only for my computers, not for your computer. My business is most important and without electricity how do you think I can make money. My computers have first priority”

I asked if I could pay him for the electricity I was going to use, I thought this was a bit strange since  I was already paying for the use of his Internet facilities.

How Do You Treat Your Customers?

At this point the guy lost it and started screaming at me and repeating  his curses about foreigners, that we all want something for nothing. That all we do is come here and ruin his country and make business. He pointed aggressively to the notice board  full of colorful  posters where Westerners were advertising  their  services.

I listened patiently to his tirade of abuse and then,  asked him if he was having a difficult day?

He continued cursing and shouting but with slightly less vehemence,  my question had struck him somewhere deeply, I wasn’t playing the game that he had intended me  to play.

I  told him it was Ok, I just wanted to use the internet and promised not to  use any of his electricity.

Who Is Being Exploited?

He calmed down even more and his voice was now only slightly raised, as he started listing all the grievances he had about Western spiritual seekers coming to his town, how they are all crazy and have holes in their hearts and how many of them are exploiting his people and making money.

I apologized for any westerners who might have treated him badly in the past and explained how  sorry I was that he feels this way about all the foreign visitors.  I agreed that  he was correct, his town had turned into a spiritual supermarket, but getting angry and upset about it wasn’t really going to help anybody. His town had been a pilgrimage place a long time before all the westerners started showing up

Who Are You Really Dependent On?

I kept silent about the fact that his whole livelihood depended on these foreigners using his internet Cafe. It was obvious he hated all his customers with a passion so I didn’t want to upset him any further.

When it became time to pay I realized that my words had obviously had some impact, without me knowing he had secretly plugged me in and smiled broadly telling me  that he had given  me the electricity for free.

I had  previously decided that I would never return here but this last gesture made me change my mind.

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Do You Love Or Hate Your Customers?

This man is unconsciously ruining his business because of the way he treats his customers, He is caught in a catch 22 situation, he hates the people who he is serving but at the same time is dependent on them for his livelihood.  His anger is damaging his reputation and if he could just learn some way  to come to terms with this he would be a much happier man.

Its a good question to ask yourself whatever business you find yourself in.

If You Hate Your Customers You Only Have A Few Options

1. Get rid of them and find customers that you like

2. Change your attitude towards them

3. Change the business that you are in

4. Be miserable, suffer every day and potentially damage your health and all your relationships

Take Action And Take Responsibility

Personally I think the first three options are better than number four. If you ever feel like you are stuck always know that there are other options.  Of course  you must be  prepared to take action and shoulder the consequences. Most people only  find themselves stuck in number four because they are scared of change.

This is a post I wrote while I was traveling in India, it comes in two parts, you can read part two when I publish it in a few days

If you enjoyed this post please come and visit my blog, http://www.iandavidchapman.com

I have just installed the new Google Friend Connect bar so you can join if you have a google gmail account. Otherwise follow my updates on Twitter so you never miss a post; http://www.twitter.com/iandavidchapman

Facebook Spam – The Human Face Behind The Menace

Raising The Bar

Spamming seems to becoming a hot topic again. Not the type
of Spam you get in your inbox asking you to buy Viagra or
letters from an African Lawyer who wants you to share the
inheritance of a milionare client. What I want to talk
about today concerns ordinary well meaning people who
though ignorance or lack of awareness end up becoming
perpetrators of this social menace and end up damaging
their reputation at the same time

I Don’t Like Spam

[youtube]http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=anwy2MPT5RE[/youtube]

Most people don’t like to eat Spam all the time so make
sure this isn’t what you are serving to all your friends.

Do You Want To Make The Right Impression?

Part of this blog post was written in the summer but I
thought I would re-edit it and include some recent
conversations and share it with a whole new audience.

My latest book, The Facebook Strategies Guide addresses
these sames issues and from my own observation. 95% of the
people using Facebook for Business are needlessly making
themselves look like spammers.

Attention Grabbers

If a complete stranger came and knocked on your front door
and demanded that you go with them to look at their new
car or dragged you out of your house and forced you to go
inside their new shop, don’t you think you might get a bit
upset. Why is it then that so many people act that way on
Facebook

Why Should I Give You My Attention?

How many times have you had someone send you a friend
request on Facebook and then straight away before you’ve
had time to take a second breath they have asked you for
something, demanding your attention, whether its to check
out their group, look at their website, join their MLM
program or Get Rich Quick scheme.

What these people maybe fail to realize is their approach
is getting them entirely the opposite results than they
might expect. The reason being is they fail to see the
message they are sending from the other side or think a
little bit about who they are sending to. Without having
this view you assume that the whole world will naturally
be interested in everything you are doing and you demand
that they give you attention.

Relationships First – Deals Second

Trying to sell yourself or your products without first
taking the time to build some sort of relationship is not
going to be the most effective strategy in today’s web 2.0
world. In a world where word of mouth is the new marketing
force to reckon with. Adopting this aproach is effectively
shooting yourself in the foot.

Serve Others First And You Will Be Rewarded

When you friend someone don’t ask them for something
straight away, take the time to send a personal message
and ask what you can do to help them. If you want to get
your self really noticed then you are going to have to
learn to give before you receive.

This will instantly set you apart from everyone else and
will show that you are actually interested in them and not
just in serving yourself or your business. Serving others
is one of the highest virtues you can adopt and is one of
the quickest ways to have your own needs met as well.

People will always remember you in a positive light and
that is what can influence them to open your emails,
listen to your sales messages and buy your products or
services in the future. Attention is one of the most
valuable commodities that all businesses are competing for.

Don’t Be Too Aggressive

Once you have their attention and you have started a
conversation you can decide if you want to mention what It
is you are promoting. If you are too aggressive in your
marketing or sales approach you can turn people off very
quickly.

It’s easy to spot people who are not genuine so be very
careful here and make sure you do this in a skillful way,
a casual mention of what you have to offer can be much
more powerful than the direct approach.

People hate being sold to but they do like to buy. If you
position yourself in the right way, you can be the person
they choose to go to when they are ready.

Consider Starting Your Own Group

If you want to get a targeted group of people all in one
place then consider forming your own group, you can invite
all your friends and in this way, only the people who are
interested will be subjected to your marketing messages
and they have the option of leaving the group at any time.

Selling directly to new friends via their profile, instant
messenger or wall is one of the quickest ways to start
losing friends and as spam becomes more widespread more
people are becoming less tolerant of unsolicited messages
in their inbox.

I join a lot of groups to see what they have to offer, one
thing I have noticed is the difference between how some of
the group leaders treat their members.

The Trusted Friend

Some Facebook groups send me a continual stream of
messages promoting this product or that service, I have to
admit that I tend to ignore most of them, Its like I
almost don’t see or hear anything of what they are
communicating, I filter it out and it just goes in the
noise and distraction file.

There are however a few group leaders who have adopted a
different strategy, they keep sending me useful
information and good links to things I am interested in,
and they have a totally different way of communicating.

It’s not that they never try and sell me something its
just they do it in a different way so I don’t mind because
I have placed them in a different file,that of the trusted
friend.

If you are networking, planning on using Facebook to promote
your business or you would like to start your own Facebook
group in the future,I think there is an important lesson
to learn here. Becoming the trusted friend gives you great
power and influence. It is a position that is  earned
through service and through consistency and congruency in
your message.

A Real Life Example And Lesson

Tim Somers one of the members of our Social Traffic group
talks about his own experiences in his recent blog post

“I’ve been in the promotional product business for 19 yrs.
and networking has been one of the keys to the success
I’ve had. Being fairly new to the whole Social Networking
gig I had been crossing the spam line and did not realize
it at all.

Seems I was putting the “cart before the horse” if you
will, jamming me and what I do down the throats of
everyone and anyone I’d connected with online via
Facebook, LinkedIn as various other networks.

I guess I was really excited about all the people I’d been
connecting with and lost focus on all the successful
networking I’d accomplished over the years at local
chamber events, BNI meetings and such. Where I listened,
and didn’t really give to much information on me or my
company – and focused on building a relationship first and
letting the natural transition of getting business and
referrals grow an flourish with time.

I didn’t know I was borderline spamming online because
know one was honest with me, I kept doing it until someone
finally brought it to my attention…and I “got it”.

It was Simon Ford that put me on the straight and narrow.
His words of wisdom could have been taken the wrong way,
but the message he sent me was crystal clear and I took it
to heart and have and will be working on becoming a better
Social Networker for sure.”

Simon Ford’s Message To Tim

Tim,

Please take this message as feedback, not criticism…

There are over 500 million pages indexed in Google for the
word cards, each page means nothing to me. Why do you
think your pages are any different? Is it because we are
members of the same Facebook group?

When I need a solution for cards, I will turn to my
network of people that I like and trust to find it.

Likewise, I listen to people who I like and trust. Only
they could ever convince me I may need a {offenders key
word} solution, when I didn’t otherwise know it…I could
only ever consider doing business with someone I really
liked and trusted..

That said, if the desired outcome of you introducing
yourself to me was to have me buy from you, do business
with you, or in fact collaborate with you on any level,
from where I sit, as your target, your strategy is counter
productive.

I will never listen to anyone who tells me they are
interested in building a relationship with me followed by
shoving a self serving link in my face. The approach
instills distrust in fact, making it even harder for you
to become someone I like or trust beyond such an
introduction.

This is not social networking, It’s spamming Tim.

To think that the caliber of people who have all
congregated in our social traffic group see your approach
other way is miss-guided.

I have done you a favor and deleted your wall post off the
group wall and from my personal feed so not that many
people have seen them. This provides you another
opportunity to introduce yourself with a mind set of being
“Interested”, not “interesting”.

I am confident if you make the most of the opportunity you
will be enlightened by the results. I would love to hear
about your journey of discovery when you have arrived…

That’s when I can see us building a genuine relationship
that will deliver your desired outcome and a hell of a lot
more.

I look forward to that day.

With respect,
Simon Ford

Education Is The Only Viable Long Term Solution.

As an individual you have a responsibility to your wider
network to educate all its members. If you see  a person
doing something that is damaging their reputation take the
time to let them know.

Do it in a way that encourages them to change without
being too critical, give people the benefit of the doubt,
especially those who are new to Social Media and are only
just getting started, you can point them to relevant notes
and blog posts and show them by example how you would like
to be treated as a friend and business contact.

Be Respectful

It’s clear from most discussions that talk about Spam that
each person has their own personal definition. You might
be the type who gets outraged and angry when someone
abuses your trust.

Publicly humiliating someone who transgresses your social
code might feel good momentarily, but it’s not the best
long term solution. Instead of creating an enemy why not
do what Simon did an tell them how you feel.  Treat them
in a respectful way even if you feel like you are the one
who is the victim. This kind of pro-active approach will
win you loyal friends and the respect of all those who you
communicate with.

Want To Learn More

For those who would like to learn more about using
Facebook  in the right way you can check out  my new book
The Facebook Strategies Guide. It’s a valuable resource
packed full of information that will take your social
networking to a whole new level

http://www.thefacebookguide.com

I hope you have enjoyed this post, If it’s been of some
value to you please share it with your network, send it to
your Tweeps on Twitter or press the share button on
Facebook.

you can also follow me on Twitter

http://www.twitter.com/iandavidchapman

Social Traffic – An Honest Review From A Raving Fan

The Conversation Has Already Started

This article is my personal  review of Simon U Ford’s new book Social TrafficEvent Marketing In A New Media Scape which is  launched later this week.

I was one of the first people to get to read the whole book so I will attempt to be as honest as I can.  My opinions are somewhat biased since I freely admit I have been converted to a raving fan.

A Good Introduction

I first heard about Social Traffic while  I was finishing my own book , The Facebook Strategies Guide, Simon sent me a personal invitation to join his new group in a way that made me take notice. I wrote about this in a previous blog post about how to stand out from the crowd.  We quickly became friends when we realized  that both of us  understood the essence of conversational marketing and wanted to share this with a much wider audience. Simon also had much bigger plans which soon became apparent as he revealed his visions for the future.

Well Written And Easy To Read

I want to begin this review by stating that his book is very well written,  any of you who have been exposed to his writing style will  know he is a master wordsmith. Its 139 pages long so you can read it all in an afternoon. If  you are anything like me you will be busy clicking all the links and discovering  a whole new arena of useful resources and possibilities.

Social Media Strategy

After Simon sets the stage with an overview of  the rapid changes in our media landscape and where he believes it  is heading, he introduces event marketing and places it in a modern online context.  He emphasizes the importance of  Facebook, Twitter and Online Video. and gives a thorough introduction to the basic elements of each platform and their respective potentials.   Simon’s book overlaps very nicely with my own book  the  Facebook Strategies Guide for space reasons he omited much of the practical strategies and technical details but still shows an expert  understanding of how these platforms need to be used in combination all linking into each other and creating an integrated syndicated network.

Article Marketing

Simon then shares his own article marketing techniques,  explaining the linking structures he uses to build his web presence to dominate a broad range of keywords that then circulate link juice and traffic to his blogs and website.

Email Marketing

For me the best part of the book is the way Simon focuses on the importance of building relationships with your customers. He explains in a simple and conscise way  how you can automate this process and segment your email lists and structure your marketing campaigns.  Simon is one of those people who loves to test and track so you can be guaranteed that his results are based on hard facts  not conjecture. He reveals his  expertise at email marketing and  managing multiple auto responder  lists and gives you models you can replicate. Holding the right conversation with the right people at the right time is the key to his success and the beauty of it all is once everything is set up  it can run on autopilot sending targeted people into yoru sales funnel.

Launching An Event

In the final part of he book examines the steps you need to take to launch an event, while Simon focuses on physical events like parties and social gatherings,  the same principles can be applied to launching any product or service. He explains how to get your customers to become the evangelist for your product so all the selling gets done by your fans and loyal supporters. He gives a step by step sequence that you can use to build revolving door marketing campaigns so you can maximise your returns.

Do You Get Value For Money?

Most marketing gurus who launch a low priced info product  or ebook only  give  incomplete and  partial information, their products are little more than  thinly disguised sales pitches for  a higher priced product.

A Generous Helping

This book is different, Simon shares all his resources and information  generously,   explaining  the services he uses to build and maintain his organization and how you can replicate the same systems in your own business. You will probably not get past the first 10 pages before you are off clicking the links and visiting some of these little know websites  he recommends.  Like 5 different types of mind mapping software you can get on the internet or the services you need to subscribe to enabling you to  link and syndicate all your social networking profiles together so with one email you can send information to a whole range of platforms. At $47 this book is a steal. I already know  Simon has deliberately undervalued it and will almost certainly be raising the price  in the future.

Gems and Golden Nuggets

The later sections are as packed with valuable gems and gold nuggets as the beginning.  Put aside several hours to do it full  justice, I guarantee it will be time well spent. Don’t make the mistake of getting it and then letting it gather dust on your hard disc

Community Benefits

What is also important is the community that is gathering around the Social Traffic group on Facebook .  Having all our members read the whole book allow us to take the conversation to the next level. It creates a solid foundation for us all to build on and ensures that everyone is working from the same common understanding.

Birth Of A New Revolution
When you are there at the start of a new revolution do you actually know it is taking place or is it only years later that you can look back and see that definite point in time where a cultural shift happened  and that you were an active participant in shaping history

A Global Party
I have a friend  who told me what it was like to be at  Woodstock. He was there back in 1969,  he knew all the organisers and  was an active part of the social movement that grew from that muddy field.   I always love to hear him  give his  first hand account  of what happened and the people involved, its the personal stories that are much more fascinating than all the media hype that has grown around this mythical event .   I feel like we are  being invited to another Woodstock but this time the party is Global and anyone who buys a ticket can attend.

To get your copy of the book go to

http://tinyurl.com/socialtrafficnow

Act Soon Or You Will Miss Out
The doors open at 8.00 am on Tuesday EST. The book has been limited to 1000 copies. This is  not to create a false sense of scarcity  but to allow a real community to grow around it. A larger number or readers would become unmanageable as  they would not be able to get the same support and personal participation that is being offered in  our  Social Traffic group.  Make sure you are on the train and not left behind at the station. I know there are some people who will ignore my advice and will end up missing out but then that’s part of life isn’t it, as the old saying goes, “The early bird catches the worm”

So here is the link again just so you don’t forget,

http://tinyurl.com/socialtrafficnow

If you have enjoyed this post you can  follow me on Twitter and get my latest updates.
http://www.twitter.com/iandavidchapman

Its Time For Collective Action – Web 3.0 Is Transforming Our Planet

If you are reading this post on Facebook  and would like to watch the video please visit my blog

http://www.iandavidchapman.com/

Clay Shirky – Here Comes Everybody

[youtube]http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=A_0FgRKsqqU[/youtube]

Group Network Theory

If you want to begin to understand the direction that the internet is moving and if you want to harness the power of groups in your own business then spending 42 minutes watching Clay Shirky is time well spent

Clay Shirky explains group network theory in a simple and easy to understand way  and I have begun applying his models to various situations and circumstances which I will explore in later blog posts. His basic premise is that groups go through 4 stages of development

1.  Sharing

2.  Conversation

3. Collaboration

4. Collective action

Tools To Change The World

Social Media has given us the tools to move rapidly through each of these stages and its now up to us as global internet citizens  to decide what type of future  we would like to create. The groups and networks you create today will be shaping the course of future history.  We have never had such an opportunity or such freedom for collective creative expression as we do today.

We Have A Dream

So I would like to invite you to share your own vision for our collective future. How would you like to  start this conversation , to be open to the possibility that no one person can dream it all on their own, that  it has to be a collaborative effort.  Can we look for ways to bring our collective force to bear fruit and manifest into this world, for each individual to be empowered to take actions that are coordinated towards our joint vision.

Out On The Edge

This is what I am passionate about and this is the main reason  why I got involved in Social Media in the first place. Its an exciting time to be alive to witness this moment in history and I feel we are much  further out on the edge than any of us really imagine. Those of you who I have spoken to personally will understand where I am coming from when I say this.

Circle Of Trust

Another friend Simon U Ford has been asking us to start recognizing the groups that we belong to and to begin to deepen those relationships. To think about building our circles of trust with those who we most resonate with.  Without the need for any rulebook,  allowing these natural structures to coalesce and begin forming on their own. Freely  giving our energy and attention to these people and these groups.

Sharing

Sharing with a friend is free.  Sharing with a friend adds value, Sharing with a friend shows that you care.

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Facebook Groups – 10 Steps To Make Your Facebook Group Go Viral

Are You A Lion Or A Sheep?
A Facebook group needs strong leadership and clear direction if you want it to succeed. If you act like a sheep, the herd might follow you for a moment  and then lose interest or move in a different  direction.

Launching a successful Facebook group is a definite art. If you are thinking of starting a new group or already have an existing group, here are a few essential pointers to get you going viral and  effortlessly  attract new members.


1) Choose a Killer Title For Your Group Name

Without a memorable name that is both colorful and sticky your group will fail right from the beginning. It has to be compelling and dynamic and press peoples emotional hot buttons. For Ideas look at the groups that have grown to over 1000 members and compare the names  to those that that are still stuck  at around 150 members.  If your name is boring  most people automatically assume your group will be too.

2) Pick  A Graphic That Captures The Essence Of  Your Group
A picture speaks a thousand words, does the image you choose convey the essence of your group. Get a striking image and then use photo shop to add some text on top of the picture. Make sure it can still be read when it is reduced in size. Many groups make their Logo much  longer than its wide it then becomes a full banner advertisement and   takes up more space when its listed on the group page giving it more prominence.

3) Leverage Your Friends
You can’t grow a group huge without the help of other people. Groups go viral because people invite their friends to join. If your initial network hasn’t reach 500 people you will have a hard time getting enough momentum for your group to take off. In that case find another friend and launch together. Make them a group admin too. Its much more fun launching a group with several people than having to do all the work on your own.

4) Target Your Initial Members
Having  powerful  and influential friends as core members of the group is vital. Hand select the people who you want to be there and send them personal invitations. Make them feel special.  You need to choose people who are dynamic on Facebook or Twitter, people who are famous, people who have huge followings,  people who have large networks and people who are already experts and leaders  within your niche.  Having these people as initial members instantly gives your group credibility.   Honor those who first join by making them officers and ask  them what  title they would like under their name.

5) Create A Whisper Campaign
Tell your friends about the group in an indirect way long before you are going to launch, hint about it in blog posts, in teleseminars and in  wall posts and in all your communications with your potential core members. Get them excited and they will start to talk about your new group even before you open the doors. Get your favorite bloggers to write an article about your group. Start a discussion using Facebook Notes  and make your group the logical solution to a problem that people might face. Create  the content for your group before you launch and tell people what you are doing.

6) Turn Your Group Launch Into An Event
By  turning your group launch into an event you automatically stand out and get noticed. Plan it the same way you would a big party,  You want all your guests to arrive at the same time so that the dance floor is packed. People won’t join if they turn up to your group page and find a cold empty room with no music and no  refreshments.

Use Facebook Events and hold a teleseminar to publicize it and/or write  Facebook notes and tag all your initial members, get them interacting with each other and keep sending them back to the group page to post on the wall and participate  in the discussions.

Groups are not just confined to  a single location, they spill out all over the place. Like a crowded house party that ends up  with  lots of people milling about on the front lawn. Anyone who drives down the street will always know which house to go to.

7) Include An Irresistible Offer
Offer an incentive for people to join,  give away a free ebook, mp3 recording or video straight away.

Promise to supply more exclusive content in the future for those who join the group early and become active participants. Identify those special  members by signing them  up to your optin list or joining your Fan page.

Focus on adding value and encourage your group members to share their own talents.   Your group will become  a valuable resource instead of  a derelict notice board for spammers

8)Aim For Viral Visibility
The more activity you generate the bigger your viral foot print will be in Facebook’s newsfeed.

You want to get your group to 500 members as quickly as possible so that it maintains its growth  velocity.  After this point it will hit critical mass and continue to grow on its own.

Stimulate activity on the group wall and discussion board, ask questions and continue to  supply fresh content on a regular basis. You want you members to keep returning and posting within the group.

9)Advertise Your Group
If you are holding a party you need to put up some posters and give out flyers. Use your status updates wisely; be creative, use humor,  and learn about  link baiting.   Attract members  from a whole range of social media  platforms, like Twitter, YouTube, Ustream, Friend Feed, Ning. Advertise in other similar groups and online forums. Get your group members to help you and  reward those who put in the most effort by helping them to promote themselves using your group as a platform. Self promotion before contributing value should be discouraged.

10) Launch Strategically  And In Several Stages
Have a clearly defined and mapped out strategy.  Create a revolving door  Pre launch, launch, post launch,  relaunch. Sequence.  After initial  activity your group may need restimulating. By holding regular events you keep your group in the public eye and your members will continue to feel connected. Get your active members to participate in your relaunch process, and make it  a win win situation for all involved

 

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Email Persuasion – 7 Reasons Why You Need To Put Your Email Messages On A Slimming Diet

In my previous post I explored why many
of the top Internet Marketing Gurus
craft their emails in a certain style

Skinny People Make More Money Online, Fat People  Get Ignored !!

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Following on from that I wrote a quick 7 point list
showing the reasons why writing narrow email messages
will increase you response rate and make your communication
more effective

1)  Narrow Messages Are Easier To Read

A narrow  message  allows you to scan through it  quickly.  Your message can be absorbed in a single glance. The foveal vision in our eyes can only see detail in a small  area of the screen; Everything on the periphery is ignored. Peripheral vision is designed to detect movement.  Always be  respectful of human physiology.

2) We Are  Conditioned  To  Read Newspaper Columns And Magazine Print

Our  brains are already trained to read things in this format so make your messages feel  familiar, Observe the style of your favourite print newspaper or magazine and replicate it in your messages

3) People Have A Limited amount Of Time And  Attention

By making your message brief and to the point you are respecting peoples time. If you don’t grab peoples attention in the first 3 seconds you will lose them so summarize your whole email in the first sentence so busy people can decide if they want to read further

4) Mobile Devices Will Be The New Way People Consume Information On The Internet

Ipod,  Iphone, Nokia N95,  Amazon Kindle;  A whole new generation of technology is awaiting  adoption by the mainstream, look ahead and make sure you can communicate across the platforms of choice

5) As People Get  Older Their Eyesight Can Degenerate

The number of older people using the internet is increasing.  Don’t alienate a huge potential audience. Use large sans serif fonts  and  choose 14 or 16 point text. For someone with poor eyesight a well formatted email made up of short sentences is much easier to read than a huge block of text

6) You Can Take Total Control Of Your Formatting.

Using hard carriage returns ensures your message will be read exactly  as you intended it to be on any browser and in any device.  If you are using embedded hypnotic commands and emotional triggers this can be crucial to their effect and overall impact

7) You Want People To Take Action

You want people to read your  message  and know  what you want them to do next. Top marketers usually  convey the essence of their entire message in the opening sentence followed by an immediate call to action. they include several links at different places and  they use services like tinyurl.com to make their links shorter and more attractive.

Share With Your Friends
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Follow Me
Be sure to check out the rest of my blog
http://www.iandavidchapman.com
And follow me on Twitter
http://www.twitter.com/iandavidchapman

This post was inspired by a Marketing Online Live Podcast  from Paul Colligan and Alex Mandossian. I Love Ed Dale in case you were wondering and hope he has a good sense of humour


Skinny People Make More Money Online, Fat People Get Ignored??

This article explores why
The width of  your
Email messages is so important
And will explain why
Changes in technology are
Forcing marketers to  change
The way they communicate,

The Gurus Style
Have you ever noticed that the
Top  Internet Marketing
Gurus  format their emails
In a  similar way?

Do you understand
Their  Reasons for  doing this
Or do you just think they
Like writing in short sentences?

Have you ever wondered?

Why they are making their messages
Briefer and more direct?

Why Skinny is Better Than Wide?

As you start to  change
the way you communicate
your  messages will

Have More IMPACT,
Get opened more often
And your readers will listen
To what you have to say

Some experts like Alex Mandosian
Claim that 25-40 characters is the ideal
Width and that you need to end each
Line with a hard carriage return. If
Someone sends him a message that isn’t
Formatted in the style that he expects
It just goes straight in the trash

Others like Ed Dale don’t bother so much and  go for up to 70 Characters. Anyone who has ever watched any of Ed’s videos will know that he likes to ramble on a bit, So I guess the people who follow him have got used to his style of presentation and enjoy his  emails.

Just How wide is 25 Characters?

Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Ttttttttttttttttttttttttt
Bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

And How Wide is 40 Characters?

Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt
Bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

As you can see it varies so choose
A width that is equivalent to
25-40 repetitions of the letter “a”

What Happens If  You Are Too Wide?
If you choose to write long sentences with really  wide paragraphs and not include any formatting  and just continue  without any regard for the fact that people will find it more difficult to read what you’ve written and if you are one of the few people who actually read a paragraph that is so long and doesn’t even pause for any breath  by the time you get to end you have forgotten what the author was talking about because you are concentrating so hard to read all the words that they’ve written that you can’t actually understand anything and by the time you get to this far  in the paragraph you are already so bored because the author hasn’t been able to get to the point and express what they meant to say  and ended up  repeating themselves . If they don’t  get to the point and express what they meant to say  and end up  repeating themselves you might even decide to press the back button on your browser and go and give your attention to something that is a little easier and doesn’t make you work so hard and if you have managed to stay this long then you must either be a die hard fan or just one of those people who doesn’t like to miss any details,  I would guess that maybe only 20% of my readers  actually made it this far down the paragraph and the rest skipped to the next bit

Did You Skip That Last Paragraph?
If you did then you are like most normal people,
When you see a big mass of text you tend to ignore it
And skip on to the next bit, you probably read the
first two sentences and maybe the last

Write In A Way That Is Easy To Digest
Its easy to lose interest  and
decide that its time to leave
If you want to engage people you have to
Write in away that makes it easy  to digest
Write in  small chunks and
Make sure  that it’s well formatted
and includes bolded subheadings

Change Your Habits Now
Where will the Internet be in 5 years time?
Things are changing so rapidly that you
Need to start adopting the right habits
Now and not sometime in the future

Technology Is Leading The Way

There is a whole new generation who will consume
The internet via  handheld devices like the iphone,
Ipod, nokia N95, Amazon Kindle etc.

You only have to notice the increased use
Of micro blogging platforms and video sites
to understand the way thing are moving

Will  your message and content translate to this
New medium or will you just become part of
The background noise?

Size Limitations
These devices tend to have small, narrow screens
so you don’t want to force people to scroll
across to be able to read your message.

The Essence Of Your Message
If you have a call to action and include a link,
place it where it can be easily seen  straight after
The opening sentences. You can grab more
people this way. Those who want to read more
can scroll down.  Those who don’t can still get the
Essence of your message in a quick glance.

My next blog post in this series will be released very soon

Are You Overweight?  –  7 Reasons Why You Need To Put Your Email Messages On A Slimming Diet

Share With Your Friends
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Follow Me
Be sure to check out the rest of my blog
http://www.iandavidchapman.com
And follow me on Twitter
http://www.twitter.com/iandavidchapman

This post was inspired by a Marketing Online Live Podcast  from Paul Colligan and Alex Mandossian


Conversational Marketing – How To Stand Out From The Crowd

Stand Out From The Crowd

Every now and the I meet someone who really stands out from the crowd, someone who is thinking outside of the box and is interested in pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

I get really creative when I meet people like this, their enthusiasm is infectious and makes me realise what potentials I am capable of achieving.

Understanding Facebook Strategy

While I was completing the Facebook Groups section of my Facebook Strategies Guide I got a message from a new friend asking me to join his group. I get these kind of messages every day and usually I just ignore them. The reason I paid attention to this person was because he had adopted the exact strategy I had just been writing about and had followed it to the letter.

A Select Group Of People

I was interested because I pay attention to synchronicity like this, and when I checked out his group I could see he had done his preparations very well. There were only a few members but already it had a lot of good content and some interesting discussions. He wasn’t just inviting anyone he was inviting a select group of people who would appreciate what he was trying to teach

Promoting An Event Launch

His group was set up to promote his new book that teaches event launch strategies, I clicked through to his website and that was where I got the biggest shock. It was right on the cutting edge with a very  informative  video,  stunning flash graphics and  a cool contact/follow  widget. I  decided I had to find out a bit more about who was behind  all this so I opted in to his list and then sent him a few personal message and we started  building a relationship

Pay Close Attention

I would advise all of my friends to pay attention to what this guy is going to do in the next month. He’s already started to make some waves and get himself noticed with some great Facebook Notes on a wide range of topics.  I am now one of the privileged few who gets to see this launch from the inside and I will be paying very close attention and assessing the results. I could probably  write  3 killer blog posts just from the half hour conversation I had with him on Skype yesterday.

Invitation Only

If you want to find out more and get an invitation to the group please message me on Facebook and I’ll send you a link. Or you can go to my profile and you’ll probably find it hidden on my wall somewhere.

This group is really only for those who are serious about learning how to use Social Media to build viral synergistic networks. Synergistic networks are built from personal connections and solid relationships.

Unwritten Rules

This type of network responds when you ask it to do something and its one of the most valuable assets you can ever become a part of. Its not something you can ever own. If you abuse it’s power and break any of the  unwritten rules  you will find yourself excluded and left out in the cold. On the periphery and away from the place where the main action is taking place.

Laser Targeted

This isn’t going to be a typical launch where you send out generalised impersonal messages and spam all your contacts  using a shotgun splatter approach. That sort of thing can be left to the lazy affiliate marketers and amateur MLM newbies. Being laser targeted and selective means that you expend less energy and get much better results.

Come Along For The Ride

Regardless of your particular niche there is definitely going to be  something that you can learn.You can watch from the sidelines or you can join the party, it’s your choice

Understanding  the principles and adopting a strategic approach is whats  most important in any launch, as well as learning the right ways to engage people in conversations.

Follow Me

If you want to know what I am up to and ensure you get to observe things as they happen be sure to follow me on Twitter if you haven’t done  so  already

http://www.twitter.com/iandavidchapman

Follow me and I’ll follow you.

Membership Websites – 10 Questions You Should Ask Before You Join

This is the second article in my series about membership websites, to view the first article click here

Membership Websites – Who Do You Spend Your Time With?

Which  Membership Site Is Right For You?

Determining which membership site to join can be a difficult decision. There are so many to choose from and there is no point in joining so many that you never have time to digest the content, interact with other members and  gain any real benefits  from  the community. This blog post will explore the 10 questions you need to ask before you join a membership website or group coaching program to help you make a more informed choice.

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1) What Will You Get In Return For Your Investment?

When you look at the price you need to calculate just what you are going to get in return. If your membership site has a high initial cost and a recurring monthly fee  calculate how much it will cost you in total over the following year and assess whether you are going to see a return on your investment. You need to assess the quality and quantity of content on your membership site and the tools and resources that are available to members. Can you get the same thing elsewhere and what are other similar sites offering and what subscription fees are they charging.

Those that charge an exorbitant initial  entry fee might be the type that will close down in six months and not be looking for the long term customers on a continuity payment scheme.

If its new, look at the people behind it. Do they have a track record you can trust. Spend time looking at their websites and  doing some research before you part with your money.

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2) What Are The Other Members Like And Will You Fit In?

Look at who else is a member and talk to them about their experiences. Ask yourself   what types of people you want to associate with and how much is it worth to you and your business to rub shoulders and interact closely with these people

Will  you feel comfortable in this membership site or are you going to have to pretend to be something that you are not. You need to choose a membership site that allows you to be  yourself and not feel like you are constantly putting on an act. The memebrship cultures differs greatly from site to site. This is why having a free trial period is so important. Any site that doesn’t include  some type of risk reversal  should be avoided or questioned further.

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3) Is The Membership Site Aimed At Short Term Profits Or Long Term Growth?

Is your membership site aimed at making the site owners  the maximum amount of money upfront with a high non returnable joining fee or do they have a long term continuity program where you pay in monthly instalments.  You may well find that they have both. A high joining fee acts as an entry barrier and a low or non existent joining fee can make it a no-brainer, especially for the first month. It totally depends on if the site wants to attract quality or quantity and at what stage they are in their own internal growth cycle.

With so many fly by night membership sites and the relative ease of setting them  up using automated software scripts,  many  site owners primary  concern is to get as much money from their customers up front while their product or service is hot and has a high perceived value.

Respectable sites  quite rightly charge a high initial fee because of  the energy they expended creating the content and  getting  the members to join.  They know that many  people will quit after a couple of months and the prospect of a long term recurring commission will be lost.   Their content is also at risk from plagiarism as there is nothing to stop any existing members stealing their content and selling it somewhere else.

Some sites often have a limited number of places available and then close their doors. There are  several reasons for this. From a marketing perspective it engineers scarcity and a higher price can be justified and on the practical level  there is an optimum size for any community and too many members makes itimpersonal.

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4) Is The content On The Membership Site Time Sensitive And Is It Updated Regularly?

One of the reasons to join membership sites is to have access to cutting edge information and resources. The problem with this especially in a social media environment is that things go out of date very quickly. If you are paying to have access to home study materials make sure you know that the content is still relevant and regularly updated.  Some membership sites offer free access to outdated content as a way to attract more customers. If the quality is good you will want to have access to the latest more up to date  material and be willing to pay for it.

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5) Does This Site Have An Existing Track Record And Can You Trust Who Is Running This Site To Fulfil Their Promises

A membership site that has been running for over a year can probably be expected to continue to run for another year as they now have a solid track record and a core of committed members.

Joining a new membership site with no track record is risky, especially if they are asking for a high up front fee. Proper research into the backgrounds of the site owners should be done.  You are investing  your hard earned money into something that should bring you a significant return on your  investment.

Do your research carefully, Google the names of the owners of the site along with words like “Scam”  and talk to some of the existing members about their experiences.  It is your own personal responsibility to make these checks. Treat the membership site the same way you would a potential employee, or person renting your house, you are entering into a long term relationship,  its not a one night stand.

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6) Can You Contact The Site Owners On The Telephone

Site owners who are not approachable or difficult to contact should be treated with  suspicion.   If you can’t ring their office and speak with a real person how do you think you are going to get a refund should you decide to change your mind at a later date.

Many unscrupulous site owners even advise their telephone support staff to ignore refund  requests as Sylvie Fortin revealed in her Internet marketing sins letter. This is common practice even amongst many of the top Gurus so always check your credit card details to make sure your billing is correct even after you think you have cancelled.

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7)  Can You  Believe The Testimonials From  Existing Members?

Why is it when there are a  multitude of places  to eat there will always be one or two restaurants that are packed and all the rest are relatively empty.  Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising.  Make sure your restaurant isn’t full of dummies to make it appear to be busy.

When I visit  India each year I have a simple way to choose where I am going to eat. I find a restaurant that has a healthy mix of Indian locals and seasoned western travellers.  Social proof shows me exactly where I can find quality food and get the best value for my money.

A well marketed site will use the testimonials of its  existing members in order to  get people to join. Success stories are compelling to listen to but are they all actually  believable.

There are three questions you need to ask yourself when listening to these testimonials.

a) Has the person been bribed in some way to make this statement.  Many site owners will offer freebies or upgrades in exchange for testimonials . If the person who makes the testimonial is not in your circle of acquaintances and you can’t ask them personally  you can only rely on intuition to protect you.  What they say and the way they say it is vitally important. If your hear the warning bells and have any reservations keep your credit card firmly in your wallet or purse, No matter how attractive it may seem on the surface

b) Are they affiliates and  are  they going to benefit in some way if you join. Testimonials from  affiliates always need to be taken with a pinch of salt. They want to recruit you because they want to get a portion of the recurring commissions themselves. Sites that are transparent and clearly explain their affiliate program can be trusted more than those who keep it secret.  For pyramid and MLM type schemes this is the basic business model with several tiers of affiliates  all  chasing to get members underneath them. These types of schemes tend to focus on the money you can earn rather than the benefits and training you will receive by joining  the site and play on peoples greed to hook them in.

A good membership site will sell itself  by word of mouth,  If you are going to join  sign up under the existing member  who you would most  like to benefit from your  commissions. Top Affiliates will often be the most active members of any membership website because they have the most to gain from its continued success.

c) Does this person have a track record for honesty and  for promoting quality products and services.  Some  people will promote products or services, claiming they have used them just because they want  the commissions.  Others are more ethical and will only recommend a product or service to their network  if they have personally used and tested it themselves. This is where knowing who to follow is important.  As an existing  member promoting  your own membership site  you are putting your reputation on the line,  so make sure whatever  you stand behind can deliver the goods.

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8)  Will I Be Constantly Pressured To Upgrade To  The Premium  Membership Levels

Many  paid membership sites have tiered  levels of involvement, they have an entry level membership which is either free or  under $50 per month  which gives you access to most of the sites resources and then there are higher level memberships that will offer more interaction such as group coaching  or one on one mentorship  programmes.  Read the small print carefully,  you might only be receiving full access for the first month and then have to upgrade to continue to benefit. Many sites give you a free 30 day trial this can be a good way to see if you are actually getting value for money.

The Real Money Is On The Backend

Most membership programmes make their real money on the backend.   A membership site that costs $40 per month  to join will cost you $480 per year. If their top Membership  level  costs  $800 per month that is  going to cost you  $9600 per year

So for the site owners  there is a huge incentive to get you to upgrade because they stand to make 20 times what they will earn from your regular membership.  So in any tiered system expect some form of promotion and leveraged sales process

Take Away Tactics

They will always frame it in ways that will make it enticing by creating hypothetical situations showing what you might earn as a member which would easily cover your membership fees and then apply a take away  i.e.  Showing  what you will lose by not joining, the potential profits that  you won’t make. Don’t be swayed by these type of tactics. And don’t ever lose sight of where you are actually at in your business.

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9)  What Is The Real Cost To My Business

Always remember that in most  businesses your gross  profit margin is between 10%-%20  (It  may be higher if you are in the information product business as you have less overhead expenses)  This means that if you spend $100 you need to create between $500 and $1000 of sales to replace that capital in your business. Add that up over the coming y ear and calculate  if  you expect to see that kind of return on your investment.  For an $800 coaching programme at a %20 profit margin the real cost to your business is   $48,000 in sales

What Stage Is Your Business At And Are You Actually Ready To Expand?

I am not knocking any of the high end membership sites, I am sure they provide great value to their customers and have the success stories to prove it I just want people to be more aware of the real costs and be sure their business is at the right stage to reap the benefits that are promised.  I believe the high drop out rate of many of the membership sites is that people want to run before they can even walk. They get seduced by the flashy videos and mesmerising sales copy and think that by joining, their business is suddenly going to explode with little or no work on their part. What they usually  find is that they are either overloaded with information and don’t have enough time to integrate it or they commit one of the cardinal  sins and that is trying to serve two or three masters at the same time, joining several membership sites and  never really committing to any of them.

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10)  Are The Other Members Facing The Same Type Of Challenges  That You Are?

Sometimes joining a membership site is exactly what you need because you don’t have the contacts, knowledge or resources to take your business to the next level. This is where a good membership site is so powerful because you will be mixing with people who have gone though the exact same problems that you are facing and can share their experience. You can also meet people who have the talents and resources that you need in order to grow. I have heard from many of the top business experts that most entrepreneurs find this stage the most challenging because they are forced to let go of total  control of every aspect of  their business and start hiring,  delegating and outsourcing.

Are You  Paddling In Shallow Water Or Are You Swimming Out Of Your Depth?

If you are already experienced in Business you wouldn’t necessarily want to join a  membership site that is full of excited enthusiastic newbies.  As Bill Bartman said in The Opus Movie,

if I go into a group of 5 people I want to be the dumbest one there so there is  something I can learn from everyone

Coming from the worlds 25th richest man these are real words of wisdom.  It pays to be a little out of your depth and mixing with people who know more than you.  It’s important to find the right balance. This is where tiered memberships are very useful. People who make a similar level of financial commitment are usually at similar stages in their business development.

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Are You Still Interested?

If you have made it all the way to the end of this article  then you might want to check out a site I reccomend, it’s called the Master Business Builders Club . Please be aware that  this it is my affiliate link so I stand to benefit should you decide to Join.

Are There Any Other  Questions?

I hope you enjoyed this post and received  some benefit from my observations, please feel free to add your comments and include  any important questions that you think I might have missed.

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