Social Media Tips for Small Biz: Should You Be On Google+?

As a social media pro, I’m constantly asked about that “newfangled” Google-powered networking platform: should I be on it? what’s the point? how do I use it? I don’t get it. And, as a former Google+ Local community manager who directly worked on the product tweaks and best practices, I know who should be using Google+, how best to utilize it and who shouldn’t bother.

If you’re looking for a social media network that works similarly to Facebook where you can post stuff to get immediate gratification, lots of followers and loads of attention, then you’re in the wrong place. Google+ is great for managing your personal network and customer interaction, and maintaining your business information in Google; but a “social networking” tool, in the traditional sense, it’s not.

Google+ is more of a personal hub for your interests and your contacts; down to what restaurants you and your friends have rated highly, and even communicating via Gmail to new people you’ve connected with (without even exchanging email addresses). Most importantly, it manages your small business or brand presence over the entire Google universe.

So should you be on Google+? Here are some reasons to consider.

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Social Media for Creatives: 5 Tips for Promoting on Facebook

It’s that elusive juggernaut of social networking called Facebook – a mystery to some, a second home to others (ahem, me) – but equally, ultimately, a fantastic platform for promotion.

Continued from my last Social Media for Comics article, 5 Tips for Promoting Your Comics on Twitter, here are a few tips on how best to use Facebook to promote your work and nurture your online relationships for biz betterment. Keep in mind that this is assuming you understand the bare bones of the site and how it works, but don’t really know some of the etiquette that comes along with using it for promotional endeavors.

5 Tips for Promoting on Facebook

1. Have a personal profile and a fan page – NOT a fan group.

“Groups” on Facebook used to be OK, way back in the good ol’ days before people couldn’t just add you into them at their whim, without your permission. They were invite-only. For me personally, it’s a huge source of contention and I immediately delete myself from those groups with a sudden distaste for whoever placed me in it. I shake my fist at you, groups!

This is in addition to your personal profile. I recommend keeping a public personal profile (you can always have another private page for just your close friends and family). This will allow you to accumulate fans and friends to invite to your fan page – notice how on the fan page it gives you the option to “Suggest to Friends” – this makes it easier to invite people with the click of a button. One personal page and one fan page will allow you to cover all the bases: a friendly face for your fans AND a place to promote your business.

I also recommend having at least one actual photo of yourself in your profile photos – people who only have artwork as their photos kind of creep me out, and minimizes the feeling of comfortable, personal interaction online (which is, in fact, possible!).

Here’s a fantastic step-by-step guide on “How to Build the Perfect Facebook Fan Page” on Techipedia.com.
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Updated (again)! Social Media for Creatives: 7 Tips for Promoting Your Comics on Twitter

As a former publicist AND a blogger, I’ve been lucky enough to see several slices of the promotional spectrum. Some may even say a publicist and a writer are polar opposites – I prefer to see it as a beneficial partnership: we hook you up with content and news ideas, you hook us up by writing about it if it interests you.

The important thing is to actually provide news that’s interesting, which, sadly, many publicists can’t claim. I feel fortunate that I’ve had the chance to promote cool books and interesting stories that actually pique the interests of most reporters. But the key for me – and the mantra I stick to – is to remain transparent. Everyone knows I do PR, and they know it because I tell them. Nobody likes to be “tricked,” manipulated or sold into a story.

I don’t spin or use sellsellsell jargon – I like to say, “Hey, I’m promoting this. We both know that. Here are the details of what I’m pitching, and here’s why I think you’d like this. If not, cool,” and I can leave the discussion knowing that that person won’t feel negatively “sold” to, and perhaps be open to more of my ideas in the future.

And after years of learning and utilizing different methods of promotion, I wanted to share these little tidbits of knowledge with you comics creators whose strengths are in doing what you do best: illustration and writing. Public relations is not necessarily intuitive, especially in the digital age, and it helps to have a guideline to show you the way.

This is the first in a series of articles that will focus on social media for comics and webcomics, which I’ll continue to do throughout the next few months. For now, I want to focus on Twitter, with 7 tips to help you either get started or get better.

7 Tips for Promoting Your Comics on Twitter

First of all, you’ll need a good Twitter handle. Make sure it’s as short as possible, while still making sense for you. If you’re a comics creator, writer or illustrator, make it your name and use initials if it’s horribly long — since Twitter limits your characters, you want to allow people to Tweet at you without it swallowing up their writing space. Your brand is going to be YOU as a creator, not your product.

1. Build an Audience & Get Organized.
Easier said than done. Want to know how? Time. Repetition. Patience. The goal is to have more followers than the number of people you’re following. Although it’s generally frowned upon, you’ll need to Follow, Follow, Follow at first, everybody in the comics world – then, eventually, weed out the people that aren’t necessary to be following. There are four important tools I recommend to help you on this incredibly tedious task:

  • Goo.gl and Bit.ly – Not necessarily for gaining followers, but to make your life easier – this is a service that shortens your links so that you’ll use up less characters in your Tweet. Make sure to actually sign up for the free Bit.ly account – it will provide you with valuable tools to track who’s clicked on your link.
  • HootSuite – Huzzah! You don’t have to sit at your Twitter page all day — you can schedule those Tweets using this magical free tool.
  • ManageFlitter – Filter out people who haven’t updated in awhile or who haven’t followed you back within two weeks of following them (my recommended time period you give before saying YOU HAVE BEEN DELETED – unless a celebrity or prominent figure, who most likely won’t follow you back anyway).
  • SproutSocial Check out the trial period of this. Allows you to search for people by subject, check out stats, etc.
  • TweetReach – Plug in a keyword, and this program tells you how many people Tweeted/Re-Tweeted the search term and how many actual people had the chance to view it.

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