I had the pleasure of speaking at uWestFest in March and have since created a video version of my talk, below. I hope you enjoy it.

Frontend Fundamentals: Working in an Umbraco development team

Backend-focused developers love Umbraco for its structured flexibility, but frontend developers unfamiliar with the framework might need a little support to work most effectively with Umbraco. Heather has been leading development teams on Umbraco projects for 3 years and will share:

  • “Umbraco 101 for Frontend Developers” – What they need to know to get up to-speed quickly.
  • Tips for site architecture which will make blending frontend and backend work easier and more efficient.
  • Strategies for setting up workflows and shared server environments so everyone can use familiar and favorite development tools.

Backend developers and team leaders will leave with concrete ideas about how best to manage Umbraco projects with diverse teams, and frontend developers will gain insight into the Umbraco mindset of the backend developers they work with.

Video Resources:

SmartGit – GUI Git client (Mac OS X, Windows and Linux) http://www.syntevo.com/smartgithg

VS Express for Web - http://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/downloads/download-visual-studio-vs#DownloadFamilies_2

Stop right now – in the middle of whatever marketing or advertising project you are painstakingly planning. And don’t do anything else until you are crystal clear about how , exactly, you plan to follow-up.

Now, what do I mean by “Follow-up Strategy”? I am talking about the whole sales process you have in place – a system of moving people from first-contact through some qualifying activities, and, once they are sufficiently warmed-up – into a sales conversation.

Here is an example follow-up strategy I recently shared with a man who is in the business of helping people leave corporate jobs to start their own businesses.

He is planning on doing talks for small groups – a great marketing idea. My suggestion to him was that he should develop a multiple-choice “quiz” for his participants to take home. The topic would cover questions to determine whether someone is really ready to give up paycheck security and head out on their own. His expertise will easily provide the appropriate questions and answer choices.

The key, however, is not to make it a self-scoring quiz, like in Teen magazines, but one which the participant would need to submit to him, via fax or email, for instance, or with an online-version of the form. This would give him the opportunity to have a preliminary sales conversation via a brief “consultation” about their results.

The great thing about this is that he will know upfront how qualified the prospect is, and will be able to deliver just the right information to help them decide to work with him, and if it seems to him that they really might not be ready to strike out on their own, he can provide that honest assessment to them – and promise to follow-up with them in 3 to 6 months to see if they are now ready.

Plus, now that he has made initial contact with these prospects, even if they aren’t ready to sign up for his services yet, he can put them into some drip-marketing system, such as a mailing list, and set a reminder to check back-in in-person at an appropriate time in the future.

So, can you use this example as inspiration for your own Follow-up strategy?

Digging Outlook 2010…

March 18, 2011

So, I finally upgraded from Office 2003, which I have been using since, probably, 2003, to Office 2010.

At first I was worried that I would immediately be less efficient because I knew that the UI changed dramatically. Also, I have some Add-ins I rely on, and I knew I would likely need to upgrade those.  Upgrading the Add-ins in Outlook was a little bumpy, but now that it’s all finished, I can safely say that I see Outlook 2010 as an improvement.

One thing which I just learned about today is the “Conversation Clean Up” feature, which I ran on my “reference” folders and immediately deleted 628 redundant messages. Woo hoo! THAT’s going to make my backup file a bit smaller!

I also like the “Social Connectors” which automatically pulls up people’s profile photos and status updates from Facebook or Linked-In when you read an email message or look at a contact. Very cool!

The implementation of the RSS Feeds folder is also convenient (though I wish you could delete and edit feed details by right-clicking the feed folder, whereas you need to go to File > Accounts > RSS Feeds to do that.

So, I came across two tidbits in the latest issue of the New York Enterprise Report about recent surveys done about Social Media usage among different demographics.

1 – “Female entrepreneurs are three times more likely to engage in social networking than their male counterparts” NYER-March 2011 (p.14) 

2 – For business owners in any age group, Facebook is the most-used social networking platform, followed by Twitter and Linked-In. NYER-March 2011 (p. 14) (Sadly, the online version doesn’t have the useful graphs that the print edition has for this.)

So, what does this mean for your social media marketing? Well, first of all, if you are marketing to business people – especially women, you should definitely be using Facebook to share information about your business and engage with your prospects. Secondly, if you have the resources, keeping up on Twitter and Linked-In will also be beneficial.

The good news from Facebook is the re-design of the “Pages” functionality. If you have previously set up a page for your business, there are some great new options that you can see via the “Take a Tour” button under the “Welcome to your upgraded page!” announcement at the top.

A few highlights:

imageThe ability to change the “Category” of your page. (Edit Page > Basic Information) When you first set up your page you got a limited selection of “page types” to chose from, but once you had picked one (without any information except the name of the category), you were stuck with it – even if you later realized that you might have not made the best choice.

Specifically, the Category determines which “Info” fields are displayed on your page, so, for instance, if you are a “local business” you could put in your address and business hours. You can see how useful it is to select the right category for your page. Not only can you now change an erroneous selection at any time, but there are many more choices so you get a better fit.

imageAn option to get notifications for activity on your page – and the ability to turn off notifications for certain pages you are an admin on. (Edit Page > Your Settings >View all email settings for your pages > Change email settings for individual Pages) This is handy if you want to be more responsive to activity on your page, but you can avoid getting email about pages you might have helped a friend set up, etc.

imageBeing able to do things on Facebook as yourself, or as your page. (Account > Use Facebook as Page) This is good especially for organizations that want to have a voice when commenting on other pages, etc.

You can switch your Facebook identity back-and-forth between “you” and “your page”.

You can read more about all the changes here: An Upgrade for Pages - Facebook.com.

On the Media Talks About SEO

February 28, 2011

This past Sunday’s On the Media NPR program featured several stories about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you have always wanted a clear and simple explanation of this mysterious field, check out these excellent audio segments (transcripts also available):

How to Cheat Google

Companies who find their websites on the top of Google's search results get a huge traffic boost, a traffic boost that can translate into millions of dollars in sales. Not surprisingly, this has led some companies to look for ways to game the system. New York Times reporter David Segal explains how one company, JCPenney, did just that.

Matt Cutts, Head of Google's Web Spam Team

When most companies try to improve their search engine optimization the search engine they're optimizing is Google. But the ease of a Google search belies the hard work that Google engineers like Matt Cutts do behind the scenes to assure that search isn't gamed or unfairly manipulated. Cutts explains how Google must set the search rules, over and over again.

How Search Engines are Changing Journalism

As online news outlets vie for search engine supremacy, journalists are learning to write their stories so that they appear on top of search results. Perhaps no outfit does this better than The Huffington Post. The site was just bought by AOL for a whopping 315 million dollars. Slate's Farhad Manjoo says that the driving force behind The Huffington Post's web traffic is their SEO-savvy style.

Steven Rosenbaum and the Curation Nation

What if instead of relying on search engines to get our information, we relied on each other - friends, experts, journalists - to deliver us information by way of carefully curated websites? Steven Rosenbaum, CEO of Magnify.net and author of Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators tells Bob that our curated content future may have already arrived.

The Formula for a Most-Emailed Story

What motivates people to want to share a newspaper article with a friend, co-worker or grandma? What makes some stories climb to the top of the "most e-mailed list"? Professors Katherine Milkman and Jonah Berger studied The New York Times' most e-mailed list for months, combing through thousands of articles. They discovered a surprising characteristic of most “most e-mailed” stories. Professor Milkman explains.

FUN BONUS:

A music video of the “Page Rank” song by SEO Rapper played at the end of the episode.

7

So, now that you’ve gotten a bit familiar with the mechanics of posting on Twitter (from Part 1 and Part 2 in this series), it’s time to learn about a few additional “Twitter Terms.” If you’ve ever wondered what “retweeting” and “hash tags” are, or how to reply to someone else’s tweet, this article is for you.

Replying and Direct Messaging

There is some built-in Twitter functionality that allows you to talk more directly to another Twitter user. The basic is “@reply”, which refers to the way you can respond directly to something someone else has tweeted, or give a public “shout out” to someone specific. The way you can use this is to type in your tweet the “@” symbol directly followed by the twitter username of the person you want to talk to (or about). Here are some different examples of how you could use this.

  • Respond to a question or comment posed by someone else:
    hfloyd tweets: What is your favorite color?
    You tweet: @hfloyd : My favorite color is teal.
  • Direct a tweet to someone directly.
    You tweet: @hfloyd, what is your website URL?
    hfloyd tweets: @YOU – It’s www.WholeWebImpact.com. Thanks for asking!
  • Mention someone in a tweet:
    You tweet: I just read a great article about Twitter by @hfloyd

You can reply to anyone, even if you aren’t following them or they aren’t following you. Anyone who is following them, or following you, will see the tweet in their home feed.

Replying is a public conversation. Anyone could read the tweet that you send out. If you want to send a private message to someone, which is visible only to them, you can use a “direct message”.

To send a “DM”, put the letter “d” then a space, the username you want to send the message to. Example:

You tweet: d hfloyd : Can you email me at me@x.com to talk about my website?

Keep in mind you can only send a direct message to someone who is already following you.

ReTweeting

A retweet is like an email forward. It is a way to pass along someone else’s tweet to your own network. It is like an endorsement of their tweet.

To retweet something, just copy the message and put an “RT” and the “@username” in front. Example:

hfloyd tweets: New Twitter article up on my website:www.WholeWebImpact.com/articles

You tweet: RT @hfloyd : New Twitter article up on my website:www.WholeWebImpact.com/articles

You can add your own comments to anything you retweet as well.

You don’t need to memorize the different keystrokes for these things, though, since when you are using a twitter interface (whether it’s Twitter.com, TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or any other, there are usually little “Reply, DM, Retweet” buttons associated with each tweet in your stream, and you can just click one of these buttons and the proper data will be copied into the edit box for you to customize and send out.

Hashtags

Adding one or more hashtags to a tweet is a way to categorize the tweet. You can make up hastags on the fly, or use popular ones that others have already created. To add a hashtag, just prefix the keyword with the “#” sign. Example:

You tweet: I just love using #twitter for my business!

There are tons of hashtags in current use. Some are general and others are specific to a certain brand, event, or idea. You can use search.twitter.com to see all the posts for a certain hashtag, and you could even get an RSS feed for a specific hashtag if you wanted to display it on your website, for instance. If you’d like to see an example of a popular hashtag, check out #haiku.

Learn more about hashtags here: http://support.twitter.com/entries/49309-what-are-hashtags-symbols

Web Action Steps

  • Step up your twitter participation by experimenting with these features.
  • Consider creating a hashtag for your business, event, or product. Tag your tweets appropriately.

Becoming familiar with the lingo and usage of the built-in twitter features will help you get more out of your tweeting. If you need help setting up your social media and linking it together appropriately, I am now offering a “Social Media Setup & Integration” service. As always, feel free to tweet questions to me @hfloyd.

Nifty follow-up to my e-zine article last week. This goes a bit in-depth about the value of retweeting for your business/brand.

Read it: SiteProNews: Retweets and Viral Marketing

1In Part 1 we covered the basics of setting up an account and starting to follow conversations. This article will discuss content syndication/reuse.

First, some basic techno-info…

To understand how “syndication” works, I need to delve briefly into some slightly technical territory. Bear with me here, since it will make understanding what comes after a bit easier…

I’m sure you are familiar with viewing content online, take, for instance, a post on someone’s blog. Generally there will be a title and date for the post, as well as the content, which will be made up of text, images, and/or video. There might be some other info too, like categories or tags, related links, comments, etc. You will also see the design of their blog – the header graphic, maybe a sidebar or two, possibly a footer with more graphics or information. They might have some advertisements on their site as well as a navigation menu.

Most likely they will offer an “RSS Feed” for their blog. (This might be a link called “subscribe” or something similar, or it might be a version of the standard RSS icon, which is often an orange box with a dot in the bottom-left corner surrounded by two concentric quarter-circle curves.)

If you were to view the RSS feed, you would see that it is very “bare-bones” and missing most of that extra stuff that you see on the blog itself. This is done so that the content (aka the actual title and post information) can be displayed in a different context, without the additional graphics and formatting interfering.

Now, the great thing about this “RSS Feed” format is that it is very simple and standardized, so most feeds, no matter what website they come from, behave similarly. Because of this standardization, other websites and tools can “read” these feeds in the same way.

What this means for you

So, if you have a blog, or a website which offers an RSS feed version of your content, you can use that feed to automatically display the same content on different websites, for instance, your Linked-in profile, Facebook page, or in your Twitter feed.

Whenever you update your blog, your RSS feed is automatically updated to match, so those different websites that are “subscribed” to your feed, will see the changes also, without you having to update those different websites individually.

I hope you can see how useful this is.

How to link your RSS feed to your twitter account

So, fist, you need to have an RSS feed. If you have a blog, most likely you have a feed, you just need to locate it on your website (ask your web developer for help if you can’t find it).

Next, you need to use a tool to make the linkage – www.HootSuite.com has a built-in capability (under Settings > Rss/atom), if you want to use that. You can also get a free account at http://twitterfeed.com which has the advantage of tracking clicks to the links back to your blog post (since you can’t post the whole article on twitter).

Using either tool, you just click “New feed”, and input the feed url (from your blog), tell it which social networking profiles to post to, and set some other simple options. That’s it!

There will likely be a bit of a delay between the posting of your new blog entry, and it getting copied to twitter or your other social networks, but within several hours, it should appear automatically.

Web Action Steps

  • Determine your RSS Feed (ask your blog or website developer for help)
  • Set up an account with HootSuite or TwitterFeed, connect your twitter account and any other social networking profiles to it.
  • Add your blog feed to your HootSuite or TwitterFeed account and set the appropriate options.
  • Continue to blog away!

Syndicating content you are already writing is a great way to get more mileage out of it. If you need help getting these pieces connected, I am now offering a “Social Media Setup & Integration” service. As always, feel free to tweet questions to me @hfloyd.

This is a great post by Guy Kawasaki about why he decided to create a FB Fan page for his new book launch, rather than a separate custom website. I think “speed of implementation” is a great motivation for going this route. However, I might argue his point that a website would cost significantly more than a custom souped-up Fanpage.

I have been aware of the “opt-in” content reveal possibilities for FB pages, and only my lack of time to mess around with FBML coding has prevented me from further experiments with it (that and the rumor that FBML is going out and everything will be implemented as iFrames soon… [sorry for the geeky aside…]).

Anyway, it’s very difficult to do real SALES on an FB page, so you will need something online that can handle sales and link to it from any FB pages you create. (For example, Guy includes links to Amazon, BN.com, Borders, and Indie Bound bookstores.) If what you are promoting is not being sold by a third-party, you’re still going to need a “sales page” outside the realm of Facebook. In those cases, I say – Do both.

Read it all: Ask the Wise Guy: Facebook Fan Page or Website? : The World :: American Express OPEN Forum

2 Whether you like it or not, Twitter is becoming a marketing force to be reckoned with… Even if you aren’t yet sure about how Twitter will fit into your marketing mix, I suggest that you get yourself set up with an account and start becoming comfortable with the tools.

Select Your Twitter Name

The first thing to do is create an account on twitter.com. You will need to choose a name to represent you on twitter. My suggestion to people is that you select a name that represents you personally, even if you will mainly be tweeting for your business. The reason is that twitter is not really a “broadcast media”, even if you can send out “mass messages” on it. It is really a relationship building interface. Recently I heard twitter referred to as a “cocktail party” with lots of people in the room and you circulate around talking directly to individuals in the room.

If you are concerned about your business identity being poached on twitter, go ahead and register an account for your business name also, but I do suggest that you do your main tweeting from your personally identifiable twitter name.

Another tip for selecting your twitter name is to make it as short as possible. This might mean using some of your initials, or a nickname. Play around with variations until you find one that is available to use.

Get Some Productivity Tools

There are many different tools you can use to manage your social media conversations and postings. One you should definitely get an account with is HootSuite, which will help you get a handle on the different information you want to see, as well as provide ways for you to schedule future tweets and delegate some of your tweeting to your team.

If you have a smartphone, you might want to look into what twitter apps are available for it, so you can manage your social media while on the go.

Start Watching Conversations

Next, compile a short list of key phrases that connect with your expertise. For instance, if you are a financial planner, you might include “401(k)”, “disability insurance”, and “financial planner”.

Do a search on those terms. You can use search.twitter.com, or if you have HootSuite, set up separate “streams” for each of those phrased so you can continue to watch them.

You might notice that there are some “authority” people who turn up frequently in your searches. You can add these people to your “Follow” list to stay abreast of what the general conversation in your industry is.

If someone asks a question, feel free to reply to them with some tips. The idea is not to hit them over the head with your sales pitch, but to give something of value without expecting a return. You should also reach out and ASK questions, even if it’s just to get an idea about what sort of help people are looking for. You might even start to pick up on HOW people talk about your industry, which can be very useful when you do start putting marketing messages out there, even if via your website, blog, or articles.

This period of beginning engagement and listening can last as long as you feel is necessary to become comfortable with learning the tone of conversations around your topics.

Web Action Steps

  • Brainstorm several potential Twitter names
  • Register an account on twitter
  • Sign up for an account at HootSuite
  • Brainstorm a list of search phrases
  • Set up search streams in HootSuite for your phrases and start looking at the conversations going on around those topics
  • Reply to interesting posts with questions or free advice, not a sales pitch

Next, we will discuss putting your messages out there and automating some of your tweeting, but it is important you become comfortable with the way conversations happen before you start sending out mass messages. Feel free to send any questions to me @hfloyd.