Change – Sometimes Waiting is a Good Thing…
It’s been a while since I’ve “updated” this blog with a real article. It’s not from a lack of trying. I have two drafts sitting in queue that I never published and in the light of day, don’t know if they’re worth publishing.
Part of the reason is I’ve had to make a few reassessments on strategy and because there is so much reliance on third parties (Facebook) that seem to be reversing course as quickly as a feather in a hurricane, it’s actually been worthwhile to step back and watch.
This is not to say I haven’t been active or working. Nor is the blog stagnant. Anyone who follows the Twitter feed that posts on the right side knows it keeps moving. So do the images. In real life, I’ve been speaking regularly on Fridays and had two big events I presented at in May.
Heresy! I know.
Here’s what’s changed.
1. Facebook “like” becoming ubiquitous. This is a game changing development. While it has created a privacy backlash, what it does is allow easy sharing of things like-minded (friends) people, well…like. I compare it to watching Superbowl commercials during the big game. Everybody looks forward to it. If you were only shown commercials that interested you, wouldn’t you watch more of them? That’s the like button. It’s word of mouth on steroids and I recommend everybody install the button on their website.
The average Facebook user has 130 friends, so instead of speaking to one person with your message on a website, email or blog, you can speak to more by using Facebook. On average, I see somewhere between 120 to 160 people on this blog. If I published on Facebook, with the number of “fans” I currently have, I have a reach of 13,000. It’s a multiplier effect.
Besides, pulling in the RSS feed of this blog to my Facebook page, each article is pulled into the “notes” feed which creates a separate, search engine optimized page, plus the multiplier effect. I’ll let you know how this goes, but I suspect it will go quite well.
2. Curating information is almost as important as creating information. One of the really great things I got to do last week was meet in real life one of my online mentors Pat Kitano. We both spoke at REbar Camp SLC and wound up sharing the stage all afternoon.
Pat has a great project he’s working on regarding local, breaking news. He creates blogs that are essentially completely automated that develop an audience and search engine rankings in a very short time. The site owner doesn’t have to do anything to keep it running and Pat has some great ideas on how to monetize them. Meanwhile, the site owner, typically a real estate agent, gains great credibility because the sites are so informative and relevant on a local level.
A few months ago, Pat made a prescient observation about Facebook fan pages. I’ve been playing around with FBML and really took his post to heart. He said that within a year, stores would be putting their weekly circulars on Facebook. That prediction inspired this page which I created using existing graphics or RSS feeds. With the graphics, I have to manually update, which I’ve stopped doing. I’ll soon dump those vendors or convince them to convert to RSS. For Smith’s and Fresh Market, the feeds update automatically. With Smith’s, the feed even sends an update automatically to Facebook when it updates. I don’t have to do a thing. I’m supplying great information that every local person should be interested in. We all have to eat, don’t we?
3. Automating social media in a meaningful way is actually possible. At the same time Pat was presenting his breaking news idea, I was actually testing another idea that utilizes Google alerts. By tying keyword sensitive alerts to my Twitter account, over the last 12 days, I’ve been able to automate my Twitter updates with useful information and gain new followers, i.e. build my audience.
I can actually create a second Twitter account that will update to a Facebook page with a lower frequency to match that platform. The end result is I have an automatically updated social platform that people like and value. I actually get more followers and retweets from this method than painstakingly creating and promoting my own content. Of course I mix in my foursquare updates and personal content to create my own personal and authentic “voice.”
In the mean time, I’ve been anxiously waiting, but I still get to “update” this blog through Twitter and I update my fan page on a daily basis too. You don’t have to “be everywhere,” but you need to be where the people are.
I love writing original content, but in a regular week when I’m finding content, posting it and creating in person live content, the ability to automate part of it is extremely valuable. The fact that it’s shared and increases my audience is further proof of its’ worth.
Speaking of automation, Pat shared a semi-automated way to blog that I’m going to try out. Until then, it will be slow, but steady….
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