How do you sign up for Facebook? Facebook 101 Social Media Training

First, what is Facebook and why would you care to use it?

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking website – it connects over 1 billion people (1.26 billion October 2013). In the US, the numbers are smaller but daily active users are at 128 million people or 36.5% of the US.

Facebook makes it easy for you to connect with family and friends as well as your customers. You don’t need to know how to code to put up photos and videos or just tell everyone what you are doing or how you are feeling.

Facebook is another way to be found online as people search for you and your business. Having an active profile (your digital representative online) can keep you connected, feed you the news that you think is important as well as what your friends think is important, and let you learn what others think about farming, agriculture, your business and their food.

There are other great features like joining topic groups, chatting with friends, emailing with customers and playing games or using applications.

So are you ready to set up a profile for yourself?

facebook-sign-up

0. Sign Up Page

You can create an account for free. All you need is your email address and a digital photo or two of yourself. It’s going to take a few minutes to do but it’s really easy.

Step-1-facebook-profile-info

1. Fill Out Info

This is pretty self-explanatory. Facebook would like you to fill in your schooling. Why do they do this? This helps them find people that you may know already.

So if you say you went to school like me at St. Vincent High School from 1984-88 then they will find people in Facebook already that have that on their profile. Same with college or the Armed Forces.

Step-2-facebook-choose-interests

2. Choose Interests

This is how you can begin to build your newsfeed. Now I would recommend skipping this step. Why? Because these Facebook Pages will definitely fill your newsfeed up fast.

I would rather skip this and then go back and add Facebook Pages (after I teach you how to set up Interest Lists for these pages vs. your Newsfeed). So skip it. Or not. Your choice.

Step-3-facebook-add-profile-pic

3. Add Your Profile Pic

I always recommend using your face to start off with. Now there’s no reason you can’t have fun with your profile picture down the road but to start off with it, it should be you and you should be able to be recognizable.

You’ll be able to crop the picture if need be using Facebook’s tool. The size is 180 by 180 pixels but it will shrink up quite a bit in the comment section of the newsfeed – I believe that it will be around 25 by 25.

If you would like to manipulate your photo, there are several free photo tools like picmonkey.com or autreplanete’s social media image maker.

facebook-newsfeed-account

4. The Welcome Screen

This is not what you’ll see when you come back into Facebook. Essentially they are just trying to show you how to find friends, privacy settings (which will we go over in detail in another part of Facebook 101, how to update your profile, etc…

1. Facebook Logo – this will get you back to the newsfeed.

2. Search Box – this will help you find Facebook friends (people), Pages (places or things), Groups (people hanging together on topics) or Events (events you may have signed up for or want to sign up for). This is also a Search Graph which allows you to search for multiple things at once like “People who like” etc…

3. Friend Notification – this will have a number by it if you have Friend Request.

4. Email Notification – this will have a number by it if you have emails waiting that you need to read.

5. Newsfeed Notification – this will have a number by it if you have newsfeed notifications. A newsfeed notification is if you posted something and someone commented on it or if you have tagged people to be notified if they have posted on their wall or if you’ve been tagged in another person’s post. Notification try to keep you aware of activity within Facebook.

6. Home button – same as the Facebook logo on the left side.

7. Find Friends – this is available only in newer profiles. Once you add friends, this will disappear over time.

8. Your Name – This will take you to your profile page.

9. Privacy Shortcuts – this will take you to a quick FAQ drop down of privacy and security issues.

10. Gear – This will drop down will allow you to do several things like change from your profile to a Facebook page (if you control one). You can see how to create and manage advertising on Facebook. This will allow you to create and manage applications (if you have that set up). Then it gets you to your Account and Privacy Settings. We will go through those in detail in another post. You can also Log Out, get Help or Report a Problem.

11. Profile Pic, Name – this will take you to your Profile Page. Edit Profile link will allow you to edit your profile page.

12. Navigation Bar – This navigation will allow you to do many things in Facebook.
This bar will change over time as you start to use different application and products within Facebook.

Under Favorites

Facebook Tip – if you want to add or remove a navigation link under the favorites section – just roll over the link and you’ll see a little pencil pop up to the left. Click on the pencil and it will ask you if you want to remove from Favorites or just Rearrange the Order.

  • Welcome – this link will take you to the page you see here. This will disappear after you’ve been using Facebook for a while.
  • Newsfeed – this link will take you to your main newsfeed where you will see what your friends and liked pages will be posting.
  • Messages – this link will take you to your Facebook email system. There will be a number here of how many messages you have in your inbox.
  • Events – this link will take you to the Events page. It will show if you have any Invites from other Facebook Friends and also display a calendar of Events that you and your Facebook Friends are attending. It will also show you all the upcoming birthdays of your Facebook friends. A number will appear next to the link to showcase the number of invites you need to respond to.
  • Photos – this link will take you to your photo section.
  • Browse – This link will take you to search and allow you to find more friends. Mine took me to a search of friends who are from my hometown and now live near by me in Chicago.

That’s it for now.  In the next post (Part 2), I’ll go through the Privacy and Account Settings.

Did I miss anything? Do you need more explanation about a specific part?

How social media savvy are your employees? How to do a social media audit of your team.

don-schindler-klout

Have you ever measured yourself on Klout?

“How experienced is my staff at using social media?”

I get this a lot from senior marketers and communication folks. They want to know how experienced the staff is at using social media tools.

It’s tough for senior staff to gauge this because they don’t use social media as much as the younger staff. So they just have to trust the staff when they say they know how to use it.

But do they really know how to use it?

I built this questionnaire after running into an issue with a communications person (previous job a long time ago) who swore they were experienced at using Facebook. They were adamant that they knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t need any training.

So I set up a Facebook page and gave them access to the admin.

Then the first question came almost immediately:

“I accidentally put up the wrong link in a post. How do I change it?”

“I can’t post anymore because I want to keep this post at the top of our page.” – This was before Facebook had pinned posts.

“How do I friend other people with our page?”

Needless to say, that was when I really checked out the new admin’s profile. She had less than 30 friends, she was very active but didn’t even understand how to write on another person’s wall to wish them a happy birthday. So that was when I decided I’m done “trusting” people when they say they understand how to use social media.  Now I make sure to visit their digital profiles and read their posts.

I created these social media survey questions for employees. I would ask these questions in order to determine how strong an employee is at using social media and if they have any influence in the social media realm.

Now these are just base questions for generic social media. While some people may be very good and deep on one platform, they may not use or understand how another platform works.  If that is the case,  then I would not consider them to be at an advanced level.

I use these questions to also help with social media training – to see what level people are at so I can base the training by their needs. I normally drop the questions into a survey using surveymonkey.com and go through the results – one by one.

Here are some of the questions I use:

1. How comfortable are you using social media for personal use?

Very comfortable
Comfortable
OK
Not comfortable
Very uncomfortable

If they answer with “Not comfortable” or “Very uncomfortable”, I recommend that they don’t take the class. If their position requires it, (they are in communications or marketing) then they may want to think of a new career path because this social media stuff isn’t going away and if anything is becoming the way we all communicate both internal and external.

2. How comfortable would you be using social media for a business?

Very comfortable
Comfortable
OK
Not comfortable
Very uncomfortable

Any answer here is fine. You can teach people who are on the “uncomfortable” side of the equation as long as they are willing to learn (see question one). It just may take them longer. But you also need to be careful of the “very comfortable” people, because they may think they know everything and set in their ways.

3. Which social networks are you on?

Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
YouTube
Instagram
Pinterest
Quora
MySpace
Google+
Ning
Foursquare
Tumblr
Reddit
Stumbleupon
Path
GetGlue
Other…

If they check:

– All 16 – whoa.
– 10-16 – they get it.
– 5-10 – much better than the average bear.
– 2-5 – they probably have the standard networks.
– Less than two – they are probably uncomfortable about the digital lifestyle.

4. If you have Facebook, how many friends do you have?

100 or less
101-400
401-700
701-1000
1001+

The average person has about 200 or so friends on Facebook. And recently I’ve noticed many people have been deleting “friends” that were just acquaintances (instead of using friend’s lists). I would say the more savvy people have between 500-1000 friends.

5. If you have Facebook, how often do you visit the site or mobile application?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

A couple of times a week or less is a pattern of someone who is not really engaged in social media. They can be trained and right now just don’t get the benefit of using social media for business.

6. If you have Facebook, how often do you post, share, comment or like?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Again, less than once a day shows lack of engagement and that’s fine. More training will help move it along.

7. If you have Linkedin, how many connections do you have?

100 or less
101-400
401-700
701-1000
1001+

Most professionals still don’t understand the strength of a highly networked Linkedin profile so less than 400 is pretty normal. More training about the reasons to use it is needed but once they get it, they can usually add people quickly.

8. If you have Linkedin, how often do you update your profile/resume?

Once a month
Once in a while
Once a year
I don’t remember the last time I visited

Updating your profile once a month is someone that really gets the benefits of Linkedin. Most people are not like this. The answer “I don’t remember the last time I visited” means I’m going to have to work harder to convince them of the benefits – and see if it matches to the “uncomfortable” position from the first survey question.

9. If you have Twitter, how often do you visit the site or a mobile application for Twitter?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Twitter really requires you to be engaged at a high level to get the most out of it so anything less shows me that they are beginners.

10. If you have Twitter, how often do you tweet?

Multiple times a day
Once a day
A couple of times a week
Once or twice a month

Again, less than once a day shows lack of engagement and that’s fine. More training will help move it along.

11. Are you a blogger?

Yes
No
I have a blog but I haven’t posted to it in a while.

If you answered yes, then please put in your website URL.

If you ask someone if they are a blogger and they say “yes” then I’m pretty certain they blog. Most bloggers are happy to let you know they blog and will give you their URL at the drop of a hat.  That’s a good thing.

12. Have you read the social media policy that your company has in place? Do you understand what it says?

Yes
No
I did but I don’t remember the specifics.

This just lets me know if they even know about their being a social media policy with the company. Part of training should be going over the current social media policy.

If you don’t want to ask any questions, you can just level your employees yourself if you have access to their profiles.

With each person in training, check their digital profile or footprint for the following stats.

Social Media Beginner:
– 300 or less friends on Facebook
– 1000 or less tweets on Twitter
– 200 or less connections on Linkedin

Beginners might be on the network a lot but if you haven’t built a large network then you are probably not using it like an Intermediate and definitely not like a professional.

Intermediate:
– Have a blog or at least set one up at one time
– Manages at least one facebook page (not just a profile)
– More than 300 friends on Facebook (more like 800-1200 range)
– 500+ connections on Linkedin
– 1001-5000 tweets / 1000-5000 followers
– Google+ profile
– Is on other networks like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc…

Intermediates are usually pretty social savvy but aren’t fully engaged all the time in social media. They are off and on the networks and don’t need a lot of assistance in setting up profiles or pages. They need more help when it comes to managing their professional brand and how to link the networks together.  I would also use other tools like Klout and Peerindex to see if where they fall on the influence scale.

Professional:
– Weekly blogger
– Advanced applications to manage multiple social profiles
– Manages a community / comments regularly
– More than 1500 friends and probably have many subscribers
– More than 5000 tweets and 5000 followers
– Manages company pages and profiles on different networks
– Is hyper connected 24/7

So what questions do you ask your staff when it comes to understanding how well they know social media and how they use it?

What should you be posting on Facebook Farm Page? Top ten tips on what you should post to Facebook.

dairygood-2-percent-farmers

What does the other 98% think about farming?

So if you know that most of today’s U.S. population is disconnected from farming, then giving them an inside view is important. Notice, I didn’t say “educate” them on farming – it’s not what they want and definitely not how they want to hear it.

They want to be insiders on how farming works and they want to know farmers (farmers are still one of the most respected industries in the nation – check out the latest Gallup Poll) so they can ask questions directly.

When you look at it from their point of view, what do you think they would like to know?

How cows are milked? How hay is cut? What do dairy cows eat? Where do they sleep? How long after the milk leaves the farm does it take to get to my house? Are dairy cows treated well?

You can answer these types of questions easily. But instead of just answering, think of showing them and telling them a story around the answer.

If you’ve got your smartphone with you, then think of how you would answer questions on farm life using photos and videos.

Here’s a top ten list of things to post on your Facebook Farm page…

1. Post photos of farm life

Photos are half of all posts on Facebook and are the top shared posts. If you want your status update to be shared a lot, your best shot is with a photo.  Table Rock Farm and Hahn-Way Holsteins does a great job of showcasing a photo with insider information.

table-rock-defacer

Top Tip – use a photo program like picmonkey.com or Over app for your phone to put text or your farm’s logo on the picture. This keeps it from being misused or stolen and it helps your brand.

hahn-way-holsteins-text-photo

2. Post videos of farm life

Videos are the next best thing to a photo and you can get more of the story of what you are doing. The only problem with video is that it takes more effort from the user to actually get the story. YouTube is the most shared website on Facebook so if you can put together a short video (2 min) then you’ve got a good shot at getting your message across.  Dairygood posted several videos on sustainability and dairy farming.

dairygood-sustainability-video

3. Answer questions without them asking

If you ever want to know what people are searching for answers, simply use the Facebook search or a Google search and read the autocompletes. These are the top searches in your region.

google-search-autocomplete

Type in your search and see what Google displays for you – make sure you log out of Google.

4. Get fans to engage and participate

You can ask people to help name calves, give them insight into how does modern farm equipment works, or just let them know what happened today on the farm.

This post by Dairy Carrie does a great job at getting people involved with naming a calf and showing how calves look when they are born.

dairycarrie-calf-naming

5. Give farm tours virtually

LeCows Dairy gives insight into silage, what it is and why they use it along with photos to engage people.  This takes time but the engagement is high and people love it.

lecows-dairy-silage

thefarmerslife-tractor

The Farmer’s Life also gets a question in this picture asking about what these tractors are used for.  It’s a great way to answer a question and engage someone not familiar with farming.

6. Ask them what they want to know.

Sometimes all you have to do is ask and people will let you know what they want to know.  Now you will always have people that will be distractors.  The main thing here is to engage when people really want to know vs. people just trying to get you to fight.  If that happens, you can check out this post on arguments and what to do.

americas-farmers-facebook-questions

7. Share the best photos, videos, status updates from other farm pages.

When Redhead Creamery started its kickstarter campaign, they needed help from everyone – including other farm pages to spread the word.  Dairy Carrie stepped up to help and got the word out.  I’m sure Redhead Creamery will return the favor.  This should be the Golden Rule for all farmers on facebook.  Help spread the word and it will come back to you.

dairycarrie-redhead-creamery

8. Treat other pages like your page – post comments and share on their walls.

When Al Roker of the Today Show visited the Hatcher Family Dairy,  DairyGood tagged them in the post to let them know that they were talking about them on Facebook.  This also encourages the other pages to comment, like or share the post.

dairygood-at-post-hatcher-family-dairy

Tagging other pages lets them know that you are talking about them.

9. Be active at least once a day

It’s hard to argue when you are getting information directly from the source.

facebook-best-practices

If you can post more than that, it’s ok. Just don’t go too crazy.

10. When you share on your page, make sure to share on your profile as well.

So should be a no-brainer, but many people fail to do it.  You can easily switch to your page and then back to your profile via the desktop version of facebook.  With the Facebook Page Application, you can do it on your phone as well.

Ray Prock of Ray-Lin Dairy is very good at pushing his blog posts through Twitter, his Facebook Page and his personal Facebook profile right after a post.

raylin-dairy-where-do-cows-sleep

BONUS TIP – Use hashtags to reach new people

Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy uses the hashtag #dairy to reach people who may be using Facebook’s hashtag search to find out more about what people are talking about when they talk about dairy.  Don’t use more than three hashtags per post.

gilmer-dairy-hashtags

So what are your best practices for posting on your family farm page?  I would love to add them here.

How do you set up your Facebook Page for your family farm?

So why in the world do you need a Facebook page for your farm? You probably already have a website. Isn’t that good enough?

Well, a website is still very important. The most important thing in my book because it’s your home on the internet but a Facebook page for your farm is an easy way to get in front of people who might not even know your farm exists.

Millions of people are logging into Facebook all the time – just to see what is going on – and if your farm is there then they have a better chance to see it, maybe even pass along your great photos and videos of farm life (which they probably don’t know much about).

But if you’ve never set up a Facebook page before you might be worried that it’s a lot more complicated than setting up a profile. Actually, it’s not. If you’ve got your own profile page, then you’ll be very familiar with setting up a page.

So let’s begin.

1. Log into Facebook with your profile

Dairy MAX Facebook Page

Go to any Facebook Page in Search

I don’t recommend setting up a Facebook page without having a profile. You can do it, but I’m not a fan. I don’t think you’ll use it if you don’t have a profile, too. Plus you are probably going to need more than one administrator so you’ll need Facebook “friends” (wife, kids, husband, etc…) to control it.

Search for any Page on Facebook and then in the top right hand corner you’ll see, “Create A Page“.  Click it.

facebook-create-a-farm-page

Select either Local Business (regional) or Company.

2. Choose “Farming/Agriculture” from the drop down

facebook-business-category-farming

Select Farming/Agriculture from the dropdown

You need to make sure you do this, because it will help with Graph Search. Then put in the company name – Schindler Farms – for me.

3. Add Your About Information

facebook-business-about-page1

Fill in the description and add your website. Then select your easy to remember URL.

The About Page allows you to add great information about your farm. This description is crucial for their graph search and will help the page rank in search. Use keywords that will help your farm be found like “dairy farm producing milk from dairy cows”. Seems silly but these keywords are what people type into search to find you. Make sure you add your farm website. The Facebook web address is very important and it will be what you putting on all your flyers and business cards so choose wisely. Once it is set, it can’t be changed. If you don’t have the name you want, really review the different options.

After you set your name, they will ask you questions about your farm being a real organization, school or government? You can say “Yes” and then it will ask you about being authorized and official representation of this organization, school or government on Facebook? This is legally binding statement regarding the authenticity and representation of this Page. Click “Yes” on this as well.

4. Add a profile picture

facebook-business-profile-pic-selection

Add your profile pic – this doesn’t have to be your logo but it will show up very small in everyone else’s newsfeed

Images help people to see what the business is that they are visiting. Having good photos helps a ton but you don’t need to wait until you have only perfect photos. What people are looking for with farms is authenticity and scenery. Remember that their lives are probably well removed from the farming lifestyle so animals and landscapes are normal for you but not for them. Good photos get shared a lot and you’ll be wanting to add and change them out all the time.

Also this photo is going to be very, very small on many other people’s feeds.  It can get as small as 25 x 25 so if it’s your logo – be prepared that people might not even see it.  It might be better to use cows or faces.

5. Add your Farm Page to your Favorites

facebook-favorites-add

Add to your favorite’s so you don’t have to hunt for the page later

This way it’s easy to access via the Facebook navigation. You don’t want to have to be constantly scrolling down the page and looking under the Pages tab to find your farm page.

6. Don’t add a Payment Method

You don’t need to do this right now – maybe down the road – but you can “Skip” this for now.

7. This is your Farm Page

It looks a little scary with the Admin Panel showing right now but you don’t need to concern yourself here. The main thing is understanding what you are looking at.

facebook-business-page-insights

Facebook page with Admin Panel Open

  1. Notifications on top left – this is what you’ll be paying attention to once the page is running and you are getting shares, comments and likes.
  2. Messages is top right – these are from people reaching out to the farm via Facebook. Other people will not be able to see these messages – just you and the people on the message.
  3. Get More likes in the bottom left – just advertising. No worries there right now.
  4. Insights in the center – these are your analytics for how the page is performing. How many people are seeing what you are posting and the demographics of the people who “liked” your page.
  5. Invite Friends in the bottom right – this is to get you to invite the people you are already connected to on Facebook to “like” your page.

With all this open, it’s kinda hard to see what is going on, so let’s close this panel by click the “Hide” button on the top right.

8. Add a cover photo

Facebook Cover Photo

Add a large photo. You can also have text here.

Again, like I said before, photos are very important in Facebook. Over half of all posts are photos. So let’s change out the cover photo with a large horizontal photo of the farm – get some cows in there or something along those lines.

9. Edit Page – Update Page Info

schindler-farm-about-page

Add in as much information as you can as this will help you in search.

This will get all of your pertinent farm information on the page. Even though it’s a long page, you’ve already gotten a lot of information filled out.

10. Change the Settings

facebook-business-settings

You can change your settings and notifications.

If you want to unpublished the page until you are ready to display, you can do that here. Things that I would bring to your attention are the Profanity Filter (you should turn that on to at least medium) and you turn off other people’s posts but that would limit your reach if people can’t talk on your page.

11. Add one more than admin

facebook-business-admin-roles

Add another admin besides yourself.

While it’s great that you are committing to doing this, you’ll want a back-up.  The only people you can add are people you are friends with and make sure you trust them – this is a highly visible communication vehicle.

12. Now you can start adding content!

I would keep the page unpublished until you have a couple of posts in and are really ready to add this page to your daily marketing.  In a future post, I’ll talk about the different things you’ll want to be posting on and then how to handle comments from fans and others.  Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

Top Reasons Why You Should Be Using Hootsuite For Your Farm

Hootsuite Logo

Getting Your Owl On

Are you tired of jumping from website to application to mobile to keep up with all your social media networks?  Well, Hootsuite may be the answer you are looking for to integrate all your networks.

Hootsuite will take most of your main social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, etc…) and linking these networks together so you can become a super engaged farmer and social media influencer.  You can monitor, listen, engage, follow, like, love and link yourself to others digitally through the platform.

While this takes some time, the integration allows you to only have to login to one website or application and quickly navigate conversations and keep abreast of what important conversations are happening in both your network and the digital world.

You may think, that’s great. I don’t have time to learn something new.  Well, it’s not that hard and I’m here to show you what it can do and how you can do it yourself pretty quickly.

1. Monitor Multiple Networks via Tabs – Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and WeSEE: Search (Pinterest, Cinemagram, TheFancy, Weheartit).

With tabs, you can easily jump across multiple networks and applications.

Within these tabs, you can set up separate streams for each tab.  I’ll show you how to do this a little later in this post.

Here’s a sample of the networks you can add tabs for.

Engage in Multiple Networks –
– Twitter
– Facebook
– Facebook Pages
– Google+ Pages
– Linkedin
– Foursquare
– WordPress
– MySpace
– instagram
– youtube
– salesforce

Not only can you monitor what’s going on through these networks but you can also listen and engage – this allows you to keep track and respond with speed without having to go through multiple networks.

Here’s a video from Hootsuite (all the videos on are on this page are from Hootsuite University on YouTube and I recommend you check them out) on how to set up and connect your networks and tabs.

Adding Social Network

You can also add Facebook groups so you can watch their conversations as well.

How to add groups

2. Monitor Multiple Streams – Lists, searches, links and groups

If you are using twitter.com, then you might find it hard to keep up with all the conversations from the people you are following.

As we went over in the Twitter 101 class, I discussed the importance of setting up separate lists for the people that you follow – so you can discern the different conversations going on on twitter.

Without it, you’ll just have everyone grouped together and if you are following many people (say over 100, it might be impossible to keep up.

So I use hootsuite’s separate streams to view these different lists in real time. You can also rearrange these lists so you see some lists right away on your dashboard. You just have to drag the list to where you want it on the page.

I also set up streams for searches. I have keyword searches going on for terms and hashtags that are important to me. You just add your keyword terms like “dairy cow” and that search will start.

And I can set up a search on our websites so I can see when people link to our websites – this way I can thank them. You can do this just by adding the website in the search field like “http://dairygood.org” and it will come back with searches of people linking to the website.

Setting up lists, keyword searches and links

TIP: If you need more than 10 streams for your lists or groups, then just set up another tab.

They just added this video about setting up lists on your web dashboard.

TIP: You can search for keywords inside of your streams.

3. You can engage through a single platform instead of using multiple websites/applications.

With me, I engage mostly with others on Twitter via Hootsuite. But that’s because that is where most of my engagement is but you can go through almost all platforms and hootsuite.

Here’s a video on how to post in Hootsuite.

How to post in Hootsuite

BTW, if you want Hootsuite to stay current, I recommend that automatic refresh every two minutes. You can find this feature on the top right just below your first tab. You have to change the setting on each individual tab – there is no universal changing of the refresh time.

Refresh manually or time your auto refresh

Refresh manually or time your auto refresh

Twitter
With Twitter you can “Reply”, “Retweet” and “Direct Message or DM” then under the little drop down you can also “Reply All”, “Favorite”, “Send to Email” and “Send to Conversation”. Let me break those down.

“Reply” and “Reply All” – You can converse with others on twitter.
“Retweet” – You are passing along another’s info to your followers.
“Direct Message or DM” – You can privately tweet (like email) to another. But you must be following the other person and they must be following you.
“Favorite” – Saves a tweet to your favorite section so you can keep track of the tweet.
“Send to Email” – Email tweet and it’s information to another.
“Send to Conversation” – This is if are part of an organization that is using Hootsuite collectively (connected accounts). More about that under the Pro/Enterprise in this post.

Facebook
With Facebook, you can like or comment but you can’t share.

I’ve added Most Recent (which isn’t your lists and it is unfortunately not allowed yet but they say they are working on it), Photos and my Wall Posts (this also shows when people tag you).

TIP: If you added your page and are updating it through Hootsuite, it is rumored that your posts will be downgraded because you are using a third party app. I would test this with your page (post through the Facebook site then post via Hootsuite and monitor reach through insights.

Linkedin
With Linkedin, you can add All Updates and My Updates. You can comment on people’s updates and you can “like”, “save discussion” and “send an email”.

You can also add Instagram and Youtube but you need to add them as Apps.  Here’s how you use the App Directory.

Instagram
With Instagram’s app, you can do a lot. You can see your home stream, see what’s popular, check out your own photos, love a pic, do a search (it’s just most recent), disconnect or get help. That’s a lot of features inside of hoot suite.

YouTube
With YouTube Free, you can add subscriptions and do a search. The search is very robust and you can do keywords, location, username, category, time, sort by and language.

4. Free, Pro or Enterprise
With a free account, you get the basics and that’s all most people need. But if you are looking to make hootsuite part of your farm or state/region, then a pro account for $9 a month might be worth it.

With a pro account, you can have unlimited social profiles (instead of just five), one additional user, one enhanced report (you get several reports for free but you must use their tools to post to other networks), advanced scheduling, unlimited apps, rss feeds (with Google Reader goinåçg away, it might be worth it), Google Analytics integration, Facebook insight integration.

5. Cross-Platform – desktop, tablet, smartphone
One of the best things I like about Hootsuite is being able to use it across platforms without having to learn complete new systems. You can install the app on your phone or tablet and use it the same as the desktop. Another great thing is that they can be set up slightly different – you don’t have to follow the same lists or searches and the changes don’t effect the other platform.

6. Emailed reports
For free you can get your URL click through counts and where those people are located. You’ll also get your top referrers and most popular links.

Another free report is your profile that includes follower growth, keyword over time and your most popular links with text.

7. You can manage your lists inside of Hootsuite instead of just using Twitter.
There is actually many ways to handle people and lists within Hootsuite.

You can follow and put them into lists via the Profile Pop-up.

And you can add or remove people you follow from lists via the Contacts section through the List Section.

Keeping these lists organized will help you in the long run. Especially if you are sharing these lists in public with other people.

8. Because it rocks.
Yes, I’m biased with this. I believe that you can and probably should go check out other systems. In fact, there’s a great blog post on the top 7 reasons you shouldn’t be using Hootsuite. But I don’t think any of them are dealbreakers when it comes to helping you cross promote and protect your farm messages across multiple social platforms.

So what do you think? Do you like Hootsuite? Are you going to try it out to help control your social media networks?

Finding Consumer Insights in Social Media

So the kids and I went to check out Eagle Creek Reservoir Beach on Sunday afternoon.

I’m very proud of my oldest daughter. She has finally learned to swim (after this summer of swimming lessons). But she’s very particular about her nose. She has to have nose plugs on or she can’t go underwater. So be it. Nose plugs it is. No matter how silly she looks.

After being in the water for an hour or so, I decided to start pitching the kids in the air. They love it and it’s some exercise for me. They swim over, I count 1-2-3 then heave them in the air. There’s a big splash and a lot of laughter.

We did this for fifteen minutes or so and I was about done. So the last one is always a doozie. I threw my daughter up as far as I could and she came down with a huge splash. When she came up, her nose plugs were gone.

Aw, man. Now I’m pretty sure you all know lake water. It’s definitely not swimming pool or Hawaiian Island clear. Visibility is like six inches. And even that is questionable.

She was really upset. Now how was she going to swim?

I started feeling the rocky bottom as best as I could in the 36 inches of water. Nothing just a lot of little rocks.

After ten minutes, my brain was telling me this was a lost cause.

You are not going to find them. Just tell her you’ll buy her some more. What are they? 5 bucks or so. Is it worth it?

Maybe not? But I didn’t stop. I prayed a bit and I kept searching with my hands on the surface of the bottom.

Because of the depth of the water, it was a stretch and I couldn’t really go over a big area of the bottom. I was by inching myself along.

Finally, I thought, just go under and do a quick large scan of the immediate area.

I went under, forced myself to the bottom and reached out.

It only took three tries and I had them. I couldn’t believe how fast I found them. It was same area that I had gone across a couple of times but here they were.

My daughter was smiling and swimming again – funny-looking nose plugs and all.

So what’s the moral of this story – what did I learn?

That once I changed how I was searching, once I dove deep into that dark water – the thing I was looking for came right away.

I believe consumer insights are like those nose plugs.  Often insights are hard to come by but they are extremely important.

There’s a good book by Phil Dunsenberry, “One Great Insight is Worth A Thousand Ideas” in which he goes into why an insight is much more powerful than an idea.

To find an insight in the past, we did surveys, focus groups, product testing, and/or relied on the engineers or service people to come up ways to make things better.  Sometimes this works – sometimes it doesn’t.  And it’s amazing how many companies bet the farm on a good idea but not an insight.

But with Social Media, you can find consumer insights.  They are right there waiting to be picked like ripe fruit

If you are new to Social Media (blogs, forums, community networks), I’ll bet it looks a lot like dark lake water. There’s too much noise. You can’t spreadsheet the answers as easily as you can with organized and self-generated research.

But here’s the deal. If you dive in, dive deep and put your hands out, you going to find the answers you are looking for.

People (and this system is entirely made up of real people) will give you honest feedback if you act like a person and not a marketer.

It takes some time – but all good things do take time.

The good thing is that you can start now and catch up pretty quick.  We are at the foundation level of this digital social media thing. You can cut your social teeth along with everyone else.

For all of you that think social media is Facebook and Facebook is fad, you are sort of right. Facebook is a fad but it is a pretty darn popular fad right now.  Some other network might overtake it but it’s not going to be overnight.  And it’s going to do a lot of the same things that Facebook is going right now.

BTW, Social Media is not Facebook. If you want a list of what Social Media is not, click here.

If you are still timid about social media, stop by MediaSauce or give us a call at 317.218.0500.  We would be happy to help you.  We have presentations and clinics you can attend.  Most are free.

I believe after you’ve been swimming in social media for a while, consumer insights won’t be lost under lake water anymore.  They will be floating in the clear blue.

Inc Mag, Social Community, and Google

Here’s my two cents about Inc. Mag. And don’t get me wrong – I love the mag – but they are always a bit behind the times when it comes to new media and technology. I really miss Business 2.0 – I can’t believe they shut it down and replaced my 2.0 with Fortune – what a waste.

So with the article, “Tapping The Community Pool” in the latest issue, they basically talk about how Social Communities via forums or wikis or blogs are allowing customers to help answer each other questions about products. Wow, that’s so 2003.

The example they give is a pool company (www.poolcenter.com) that has a large forum with 5000 registered users. They have their techs online to answer any questions about their products but a lot of times other customers answer the question before an online tech can get to it.

I don’t know if any of you have a Treo, but Palm’s entire support is based in community forums and a lot of times you can’t even get a tech to answer you. They just redirect you to another customer’s post on how to solve a problem.

I’m a huge fan of Ning and they have two communities for support – both creators and developers. Both of these are filled with workarounds and tips from other customers.

I’ve always pushed for community development around any company’s service or product. Now I almost always get somebody who will tell me they don’t need a full blown social community – that there is too many already. The funny thing is that this is usually from someone that doesn’t use any social communities. There’s a cartoon out there floating around (I should have saved the link) showing a guy signing up for a social community network. Afterwards he says, “That’s it. I officially have more social networks than friends.”

That’s probably the case for me.

I’ve got Facebook, my church, my wellness doctor, my family, my company, my marketing network, linkedin, twitter, and this damn blog.

Maybe you think that is too many…but I don’t think so. I think we go in and out of social communities all day long – the net just made them virtual and gave them names.

A little future gazing here – but I believe that our social identities will become more and more important on the web to the fact that websites will change when we visit them depending on the profile we are using to visit them. I’m also into siteless web presence for companies (you don’t need a website as much as you need a presence on many, many websites) as well but I’ll talk about that in a different blog.

Wow, I’ve really gotten far away from my topic. What I wanted to say about the article is that they don’t mention how much Google loves forums, blogs and wikis. There’s a whole host of reasons that I’ll explain in the future but Google digs the relevant content, the new content, the old content, all the keywords and a whole host of other things associated with these communities and there’s a good chance your community will pop up before your website.

And if Google can see you, then the world can. They don’t even mention that in the article.

To prove my point, search for me on Google. Don Schindler. A while back this guy with my exact same name used to dominate Google because he was a Scientologist and he wrote a few articles. But not anymore.

So this blog is a little longer than I wanted.

Remember this though, maybe you don’t think a community is right for you now. Well, all I have to say is, imagine how hard it will be to start one five years from now. The web is in its infancy and you could build an established base right now.

And if you need help, MediaSauce (who I work for) can help you out. You don’t have to go this alone and you’d be surprised how inexpensive it is to set this stuff up.