Using Facebook

21 03 2013

Facebook is widely touted as the biggest thing in social media, with EVERYBODY and their cute crabby cat constantly logged in. However, using Facebook to successfully market your martial arts or self-defense school is something else.  Many of us have found that the time spent on Facebook has not led to contacts from potential students.

A local (Seattle) company, Brown Paper Tickets, published this list of 5 tips to making Facebook work for your events. My personal favorite is Tip 5, which is writing your event is a distinctive and engaging way (rather than just throwing the usual date/location info out there). My second favorite is #3, which is to post directly to Facebook.  In my experience it appears to be true:  for a short while I was scheduling posts via Hootsuite, and they consistently got fewer views/likes/clicks than did material I posted directly to Facebook.

One person who has seen success via Facebook said that it’s worked for her because she is on it constantly, and you have to be making those connections. So, for best chance of success, you should not just be posting your events, but be connecting with other similar organizations and people, and contributing intelligent and engaging comments on their posts.  Even  though it’s a new technology, the same old rules apply:  it’s all about the relationship.





Sharing Your Blog Content via Social Networks

22 03 2011

Blogging is a key way to get your message out to potential students. But not every student is inclined to seek out blogs, or even subscribe by email (some even feel that email is (GASP!) dinosaur technology). To more widely distribute your message, make sure your blog can also distribute via social media.

WordPress.com (host of SafetyNet) gives you the option to have each blog post, as it comes out, appear in both Facebook and Twitter, giving your posts a broader potential audience.

[Wordpress = WP, Facebook = FB, and Twitter = Twitter]

Facebook has several ways of distributing your info. First, every user needs their own personal profile page. People who connect with you on this page are your “friends.” FB insists that you use your real info in setting up such a page, and woe may befall those that try to get around this. From this you can create other business/organization/club pages, which instead of having “friends” has “likes” (they used to have “fans” but changed that nomenclature about a year ago). Whatever you post on your FB personal or business pages will get distributed to your friends or likers.

Some people use their personal profile page for their marketing. Others use their personal page for family and real friends, preferring to keep business and marketing on a business page.  If you are working with several concerns (such as your martial arts school, self defense school, and SafetyNet), separation is important.

[There is another type of page called a Group, which also has members. A major difference is that stuff posted to the Group wall does NOT become distributed, and you have to visit the Group page to find out what’s happening. Groups are most often for select coterie, and related to a specific interest.]

One negative about the connection between WP and FB from the WP end is that it will link to your personal FB, not a Facebook business page. If your personal page is your business page, that’s great. If you have a separate business page  not so great. If I wanted to link this blog post to FB, it would get directed to Joanne Factor’s personal FB, not the SafetyNet FB page. Not what I’m looking for!

Facebook, on the other hand, supports Social RSS (http://apps.facebook.com/social-rss/tabsettings.php?ref=bookmarks&count=0), an application that will feed your blog posts onto a business page. Much better solution!

Twitter is structured differently.  You can set up as many Twitter accounts as your brain can handle, and set WP to feed to a specific account!  You do not need to have a “personal” account at all. Wonderful way to automate feeds. From WP it is easy to feed into Twitter. When you write your post and are almost ready to hit the Publish button, select “Publicize” from that panel and specify “Twitter.” You will fill in your Twitter account name and password, and you’re done!

So far I’ve mentioned how, on the publishing end, you can distribute your material more widely.  Now you also want your readers to be able to redistribute (also known as “share” or “retweet”) to their own friends.  To add “share” buttons to the bottom of each post you can go into the Settings for your WP blog, select “Sharing,” and choose the services you’d like to be available for your readers.   That allows the reader to further distribute that post to their own network of friends and fans.

Details in this post are specific to using WordPress.com for your blog. There are other blogging platforms:  Blogger (owned by Google), Typepad, Posterous, and some website hosting companies also include a blogging feature. Though exactly how you set up feeds for each may vary, it is worthwhile to get those feeds going and your content out to a broader audience.