Monthly Archives: October 2011

You’re Only as Interesting as Your Bookmarks

I know better than to click “Open All Bookmarks” on any of my regularly used Bookmark Folders.  That would unleash a flood of sites that would probably slow my computer to a grinding halt.  If I had unlimited time every morning, I’d love nothing more than to visit all 70+ News websites that I’ve carefully curated, but in reality, I get my news and discover interesting things in three minute spurts in between work and projects using the following sites (none of which require an app or mobile device). 

Guzzle.it for Customization

Guzzle.it gives just enough customization to search multiple topics without complicating things.  You can add and save as many topics as you want, but better yet, you can organize them by category.  Because it saves your topics, every time you visit the site it’s like opening a newspaper created just for you.

The downside is that while it’s great at searching multiple sites, it is limited in some topics.  For example, if you’re searching “Social Media” you might as well just read Mashable because the majority of stories will be from there.

NowRelevant for Timeliness

You type in a keyword or topic and NowRelevant.com delivers only articles and blogs posted in the last 14 days, so you know the findings are current.  It features a “Trending Topics” section on its Home Page, but I generally skip that and go directly to the Search Bar.

Unfortunately, you cannot save your searches.  Every visit means you need to type each and every topic that you’re interested in, one at a time.  Because of this flaw, it’s better suited for occasional research than as a daily news source.

Digg for Popularity

Who doesn’t love Digg.com?  It posts the most popular content on the web by subject.  You can customize Digg to your own preferences.  The only downside is that it takes a little time to “train” the site on what you like by burying and saving stories.  If you’re in a hurry, I recommend skipping straight to the “Top News” page.  Every time I click click on Business or Technology, I’m bound to find something interesting.

StumbleUpon for Leisure

StumbleUpon.com is the place to visit when you have some time to kill.  Spend 5 minutes on the site and I promise you’ll find something worth posting or forwarding.  They let you choose from an array of  topics and then combs the Internet looking for content related to them.  You teach the site your preferences by clicking “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down for each page it recommends.  The more items you rate, the better it can gauge what you like.

You will find some seriously interesting and entertaining stuff here, but this is not the site to get caught up on the news or to do any targeted research.   This is where I go when I have a couple minutes to kill, not when I’m trying to cram the day’s news or some research into 5 minutes of free time.

Ironically, my bookmark overload was probably caused by sites like these that recommended articles from sites I hadn’t heard of, but wanted to revisit.  In reality, you don’t need a lot of time to find interesting and newsworthy content on the web, you just need to know where to go to get it.  

It’s Time to Hire a Facebook Person When…

Entrepreneurs are exceptionally driven individuals, which often translates into a “Why would I hire someone to do something that I know I could figure out for myself” attitude.  Why would their Facebook Page be any different?  Facebook is free afterall!  As a business owner, when does it make sense to pay someone to manage your Facebook Page?  If you answer NO to any of these Facebook frustrations, it’s time to invest in some Social Media help.

Do you know how to gain followers?

You’ve created your Facebook Page and sent out the obligatory announcement to everyone you know.  Twenty or so of your friends and family members have “Liked” your Page…  Now what?  It doesn’t matter how great your posts are if no one is reading them.  Your Page will only be as successful as your ability to find and entice your ideal demographic.  

Do you have a specific Facebook goal?

Contrary to popular belief, amassing thousands of followers is not a goal.  It is the result of an effective Facebook strategy.  You have to ask yourself, “Why do I want people following me?”  Or better yet, “What would I do with them if I did get them to follow me?”  You must clearly define what you’re trying to accomplish with your Facebook Page, who you want to attract, and what you want them to do when they find you.  

Do you know who’s following you?

A large following is fantastic… but only if it’s made up of people who will actually buy your product or service.  When is the best time for you to post? Where are your fans located?  What percentages are male or female and from what age bracket?  Analysis removes doubt.  It confirms which parts of your strategy are working, and reveals which aspects need to be altered.

Do you know what to post?

Difficulty in this area usually manifests itself in two ways:  1) You go weeks or even months without posting anything or 2) your posts are primarily focused on new products, services or sales.  Stale or inconsistent posting may be doing your Page more harm than good.  Breathing new life into your Facebook Page could be as simple as learning what type of content will attract your specific audience.

Do you have better things to do?

You didn’t start a business because you wanted to devote all your time to marketing it.  You probably started a business because you had an idea, a product, or a service that you wanted to cultivate.  Facebook can be time consuming.  To be valuable, you need to determine which times are best to post and how to attract your ideal demographic.  Ultimately, most business owners agree that their time is better spent fine tuning their services or products than burying themselves in their Facebook Page.  

Business owners struggle with a combination of these Facebook frustrations.  Hiring someone to help with your Facebook Page can be as simple as a one-time consultation to point you in the right direction.  Others enlist a professional to manage everything from the Strategy and Analysis to the day-to-day (and often hour-to-hour) monitoring, content creation, and posting.  The question is not whether you could learn the ins and outs of Facebook Marketing.  The question is how much time you want to commit to your Facebook Strategy.