The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


Attention Facebook Users: The Countdown Has Begun

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, March 01, 2012

Hey folks - remember the timeline switch for personal profiles in Facebook? Yeah. I know. Most of you probably didn't really notice. That's fine.

What you need to take notice of now is the switchover on March 30th to Timeline for Business Profiles in Facebook. There are some important changes happening and they will likely affect you. Here are some considerations.

Bigger Graphics!!!

As with the personal profile timeline, your business Page can now have a huge graphic at the top. There are a few things Facebook says can NOT be displayed:

  • Pricing or purchase information
  • Contact information
  • References to "Liking" your Page
  • Calls to action like "Tell your friends!"

So, what does that leave you with? The ability to post an image that showcases the benefits of your business, that conveys your personality, or just has a nice, friendly welcome message.

Just remember - the switch happens on the 30th so if you're not prepared, there will be NOTHING at the top of the page when the change happens.

No Default Landing Tabs?!

Nope. They're gone. All custom application tabs (apps) are now lined up under the header image. There are four spaces for apps but one is taken automatically by "Photos" so in reality you only have three.

This lack of default landing tabs means EVERYONE - fan or non-fan - hits your page and sees your timeline first and foremost. You can still create custom pages and direct people to them. It's just a little more difficult.

Apparently Facebook just wants us to become more creative in how we do things. Thanks. Grrr....

Build Audience (Share Is Back!!)

Okay - this is a good thing. Remember how you used to be allowed to share your business page with your friends? That got taken away a couple of years ago. The new Timeline has an "Invite Friends" in the new administration panel.

You can also invite people by email, share the page on your own personal profile or create an ad.

A Couple of Gripes

While I like some things about the update, there are a few other oddities that hopefully are getting worked out in the background.

  • When you highlight a post, it looks great when you're logged in as the administrator. The post is the full width of the page. Lovely. Only problem - it doesn't look like that when you're a visitor to the page. A highlighted post displays as a regular post - at the moment. Hopefully this is something they're working on.

  • If you set up your page as a "local business", your contact information is automatically set to show your address (with a link to a map), your business hours and your phone number. I'd prefer it to show my website and no business hours. To do that, I had to shut off the "business hours" function and check "no phone number" in my business profile settings.

I'm sure there will be more to discover about the new Timeline update. However, business owners who have business pages really need to be aware of the changes and perhaps revisit or re-think their Facebook marketing strategies.

What's New for YOU in 2012?

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Welcome to 2012. I'm glad you've made it this far. What's going to be new for you in 2012?

Here are my predictions about the changes most small business owners will make in 2012 to their online marketing efforts.

  •  
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If you don't see anything listed above, well, I hope you get my point.

It is my prediction that MOST small business owners will continue to market themselves online more or less the same as they've been doing.

I think there are many reasons for this, and they're remarkably similar to the reasons most other new years resolutions fail.

  • It's too much work.
  • I don't have time.
  • It won't make a big difference.
  • I don't know how I can do things better.
  • I don't have time to learn how to do things better.
  • I don't want to learn something new.

And so forth.

Most want results without the investment required to achieve them. That's nothing new.

What I'm hoping is new this year is for more people to choose to prove my predictions wrong.

I wish you peace, health, happiness and prosperity in 2012.

With my Best Regards,

Mark Kawabe

If you're going to write...what's it going to be about?

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, October 13, 2011

Writing - whether it's every day or once a week - is daunting for people.

"I have nothing to write about" is the common reason.

News Flash: You have more to write about than you think (Slogan shamelessly adapted from Scotiabank...)

The last time I checked, you were an expert in your field.

Your clients probably aren't experts in YOUR field, so pretty much anything you say will be new to them. I'm generalizing, but you get the point. Things that are MUNDANE to you are FRESH to them.

I remember talking with a restauranteur about developments at their business when they mentioned they opened their patio two weekends earlier. "Did you mention it on Facebook or to your customer email list" I asked. "Nope - we never thought of it" was the reply. They missed a golden opportunity to pack their patio by letting their customers know it was open. Why? Because opening the patio wasn't "special" to the restaurant staff or owner.

Take note of "special" things inside your business. Pay attention to industry news that might be relevant to your audience. Make it a habit to write about these things. Once you're used to the habit, you'll find it becomes easier. Probably inside one month.

If you're looking for something that sets you apart from your competition, it'll be the fact that you write and share knowledge all the time. You'll be creating value, building relationships and enhancing trust instead of just spewing advertising.

Read this - and act on it! - before your next Facebook post!

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

If you're in business, here's a question for you to ponder before your next Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter post:

In what way will your post build relationships, enhance trust and create value in your readers' lives?

The litmus test: If it won't, don't post. Think of something that will. Then post.

Repeat every time you post : )

Have a happy Tuesday!

Community Pages in Facebook - Indestructable but Avoidable

Mark Kawabe - Monday, June 06, 2011

So if you've tried to update your personal Facebook profile with your employer, chances are the business you work for doesn't have a Facebook profile (also known as a business page). This is often true if you have your own business and are just getting started on Facebook.

Lucky for you - Facebook will automatically create a page for your business!

Now's about the time I wish there was a "sarcasm" font - because Facebook's auto-generated pages are generally useless for business owners.

You get none of the many benefits of having a business page. (See my previous post.)

More importantly, people may be fooled into thinking that this auto-generated cr@p is your actually Facebook business page when really, you have bigger aspirations.

What can you do?

A couple of suggestions.

  1. If you're reading this article and you don't have a personal profile on Facebook yet, don't add your employer until you've created a proper business profile for your company.

  2. If you're already saddled with an auto-generated page for your business, quickly create a proper business profile and then change your employer information to link to the right page.

  3. If you're stuck with an auto-generated page that people actually like, then set up a proper page and then message the people who like the wrong page and give them the address of the page they SHOULD like. They'll probably switch.

There. That ought to be enough work for a Monday : )

Why I'm Not Friends With Your Business

Mark Kawabe - Friday, June 03, 2011

I've probably said this before, but since I keep seeing people making this mistake, I'll say it again.

Your business should not have a personal profile on Facebook. It should have a business profile - more commonly referred to as a "page".

How can you tell?

If you get a request to be a "friend" of a business, then that business has a personal profile.

If you get a request to "like" a business, then the business has a page.

Why should you care?

Here are the benefits of business page vs. a personal profile:

  1. Pages can be accessed by anyone online. You have to be logged into Facebook to see a personal profile.
  2. Pages are indexed by search engines. Personal profiles may not be depending on privacy settings.
  3. Pages allow administrators to invite people to "like" them in bulk.
  4. Pages have discussion boards.
  5. Pages can be promoted through Facebook ads.
  6. Pages can have multiple administrators.
  7. Pages can use Facebook Applications.
  8. Pages can have customized with HTML landing pages that better showcase the brand.
  9. Pages have metrics to help you measure how effective your marketing campaign is.

And just in case that wasn't enough...

  1. Using a personal profile for a business violates Facebook's Terms of Service (TOS). Why would you want the potential risk of having all your hard work building relationships thrown out?
  2. You can't integrate your Facebook personal profile with your website. Want a like button? Get a page.

It's so easy to create a page and there are so many advantages to doing so that it's hard to understand why business owners don't think to do it.

I guess it comes down to the old DK or DE again - Deficiency of Knowledge or Deficiency of Execution.

So, now that you know, there's no excuse for YOUR business. Wishing you success online!

Tea Time and Common Knowledge

Mark Kawabe - Monday, May 23, 2011

If there's one thing I enjoy, it's finding out that "common knowledge" is often wrong.

I made green tea for some dinner guests the other day. I'm 3rd generation Japanese Canadian. One of my guests is 1st generation. Her observations on the deficiencies in my tea making skills were eye-opening.

The next part of the evening the consisted of re-making the tea using her method. The result? Better tasting tea. No bitterness. I learned something about my tea cups, my tea pot and even my pouring method. In short, I am now a better green tea maker.

Of course, the "common knowledge" about how to make green tea in Canada rates about a 0 out of 10 compared to the average Japanese person's knowledge. I suppose this makes sense, but it certainly boggles the mind that despite this knowledge deficiency, green tea is very popular in Canada.

A parallel in my work life is the application of social media for the average business owner. There is a significant deficiency of knowledge about social media marketing. Despite this, it's been widely adopted under the pretense that the "common knowledge" says you absolutely HAVE TO have a social media presence.

So, millions of business owners and entrepreneurs post and tweet and blog while drinking their sub-par green tea. Fascinating stuff, this common knowledge. I'll be introducing a new seminar to help raise people's social media marketing skill levels.

How Wrong Can You AFFORD to Be?

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, May 19, 2011

As usual, another inspiration based on Seth Godin.

Seth talks about "the privilege of being wrong". Most of us can be wrong. We're not in life and death struggles that are going to kill us TODAY.


In business, you're in a life and death struggle that will kill you EVENTUALLY if you don't "do the right things".


Of course, whatever you're doing today is "the right thing", isn't it? What makes it right? Is it because it's comfortable? Free / inexpensive? Easy?


This probably isn't a revelation to anyone, but if it's easy, free or comfortable, then it's probably not the "right thing" to be doing, unless you have the systems in place in your business so that things that USED TO  be uncomfortable, expensive or difficult are now the opposite.


Take writing. It's hard work - initially. Over time, you will improve. Sure, there will be peaks and valleys, but over time your writing ability will increase and it will become easier.


The "common knowledge" is that content is king online (another post on that later...) so "the right thing" to be doing is to create content - and that usually means writing. MOST people have a hard time with this, so MOST people don't do it - because their business won't fail TODAY if they put off writing until tomorrow.


My point (and Seth's) is that you have the luxury of failing. One day though, if your business is close to going down the tubes, it will be too late or inappropriate to experiment with your online marketing. You might as well start now, while you have the luxury of getting it wrong. Experiment. Get it right - and you'll never have to worry about your business failing in the first place.

Social Media Marketing 101 - Seminar New Date Announced

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, March 01, 2011

If you missed our first seminar of the year because of the bad snow, fear not - round 2 is coming soon!

Announcing the 2nd Social Media Marketing 101 Seminar, scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2011 from 1~4 at Keith's Restaurant in Fonthill (Corner of Pelham St. and Hwy. 20).

If you can make it, please R.S.V.P. as there are limited seats available.

We're also in the planning stages for Social Media Marketing 201 so stay tuned for more details about that!

If You Can't Market Yourself, Who Will Market You?

Mark Kawabe - Friday, December 17, 2010

I suppose the answer depends on you.

Being online means you have access to all sorts of technology to better represent yourself. The internet allows you to "level the playing field", doesn't it? Well, sort of.

All the technology in the world won't make up for your lack of ability to communicate to the world your uniqueness.

Don't think you're a good writer? That eliminates a lot of opportunities for you. Content is still king online.

Afraid to be in front of a camera? I guess video's out for you as well.

Hate your voice? Podcasting's gone too.

So what's left?

Facebook and other social media tools require you to communicate in writing, video or pictures your special-ness. If you can't do it, I guess you're stuck.

Hmm.

Oh wait - there's another option.

Hopefully, there's at least one person who can market you, and do it in a credible way.

Who's this person?

The customer you have delighted with your incredible product, service or kindness.

Perhaps there's more than one of them. The best thing about them is they can make up for any deficiencies you may have in your ability to communicate - as long as you can communicate your need to them. They can help you get your message out powerfully, credibly, personally and honestly. Why? Because you've helped them and you've done it wonderfully.

Got one of those people in your corner? I sure hope so, because they're your best salesperson.