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Happy New Years Eve!

A vintage black and white picture of the times square new years eve ball

Light up the night on New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

My 2010 was filled with lots of changes.

I settled in New Mexico. Bought a house. Got married.

I brought my social media consulting to a new level and a new commitment.

I made some wonderful new friends and reconnected with old friends. I have joined and partnered with some wonderful online communities.

I hope some wonderful things  happened during your 2010, and that 2011 brings even more!

Have a fun and safe New Year Celebration!

The Panic of Rebranding

Vintage black and white photo of a woman screaming?

How do you feel when you think about rebranding?

Are you thinking about rebranding?  Can you feel the panic welling in your chest? What about my followers? My readers? My subscribers?   That sense of panic when you realize that you are going to rebrand can be paralyzing. But rebranding is a serious issue.  For many of us, when we get started online we think we have our thumb on the pulse of our niche. We think we have found a  terrific topic and a great name and are creating a super brand.  Well, maybe you have and maybe you haven’t.  Really, the only way to tell is to give it time.

I have found that our initial efforts are not necessarily wrong, but what ends up being the goal of those efforts changes over time. Maybe you thought that your blog was just going to be a good source of information on your site. But over time you realize that you have started focusing on your blog and want to use that to be your primary traffic driver. Maybe it is time to spin off your blog and rebrand it to work in tandem with your site.

Maybe you thought that videos were going to be your cash cow but your unique brand of photography is pulling in more people.  Is it time to change your focus and use video to support your photography rather than the other way around?

One of the biggest shifts people make is from company branding to personal branding.  Many times we start off branding ourselves with our company or studio.  We are one piece of the whole.  If your popularity grows, then personal branding might be the shift you need.

Since we are talking about rebranding, lets talk about this blog. I am about to rebrand the blog cubed.  I guess the cat is out of the bag!  I realized that the blog would be better served if I separated it from the consultancy. Matt Mansfield had some great tips on creating a blog, but also about rebranding and embracing change. His post helped give me some tools to quell the panic of rebranding.  Sometimes you have to bite the bullet, grab the bull by the horns, and consider many other cliches too!

Over time you will see the reality of what is working for you, what is driving traffic, what is driving sales, what is most popular and what you want your focus to be.  This is often divergent from what you started with.  Don’t be afraid to shift gears. Rebranding is not easy, but the payoff can be more than worth the effort.

New Facebook Profile brings YOU to the forefront

Lauren MacEwens' Facebook Profile Screenshot

Facebook is bringing YOU to the forefront. The new profile layout is already being criticized, of course, but like every Facebook change we will all adjust and then wonder why we ever liked it the other way.

The most noticeable shift is that your tagged pictures are right at the top of your profile.  This makes it easy for your friends to see the newest pictures of you.

Directly above that is your info, which was previously on the info tab. Now where you work, your school, where you live, where you are from, your birthday and your relationship listing is right at the very top of your profile like an elevator pitch summary of who you are.

Don’t worry, your privacy settings have not been affected. Whatever they were before, they are now.

The nav bar on the left is easier and more straightforward. It is simply Wall, Info, Photos, Notes and Friends.  This nav bar is replacing the tabs.

Oh yeah…no tabs!  I personally think eliminating them is a good idea.  Many people do not like them, and more often than not they get ignored.  Unless a photo or a piece of information is on your wall, people won’t click the tab and therefore don’t see it.

The Wall

The wall hasn’t changed much.  The status update interface is a little different. It is not as obvious as it was before, but it is actually a cleaner interface.

Info

The info tab is much more graphically oriented.  Every piece of information has a picture or a placeholder photo.

Your contact information is still on the very bottom.  Unfortunately, if you are trying to drive traffic to your website from your info area, that has not been made any easier. FB did not give prominent placement to web addresses.

Photos

I like the change in this interface. It is cleaner and seems to load faster.  Your albums are prominently featured on top and then photos of you are like an endless sea flowing beneath the albums.

One thing I don’t like is that it is not immediately clear about how to add new photos. But once I oriented myself to the new layout I saw the “upload photos” button in the upper right corner.

Friends

Friends never had an info tab.  I have spoken with many people who did not know how to find their friends, unless it was from the news feed.  The addition of a friends category on the nav bar is a big improvement.

Another change is that your friends no longer come up in a pop-up window, now they are listed on the page with a prominent search box at the top. This makes finding friends much easier and seemingly more accessible.

No more boxes!

All those little boxes that ran down the left side bar of your profile are gone!  FB has been threatening to remove them for a long time and has been phasing them out for quite a while.  But in this new profile they are gone.  The side bar is now reserved for your nav bar and a listing of your friends and family.

I actually prefer this to the boxes.  They always seemed clumsy to me.  Now your nav bar is easy to find; if you have a relationship listed, your status and their profile link and thumbnail are prominent, and then your friends and family stream down in a big column.  It is as though the sidebar has changed its focus to your relationships.

Here is the promo video from Facebook.

If you don’t have the new Facebook profile yet, you can get it by going to www.facebook.com/about/profile/

What do you think about the new profile layout?

Is your community page stealing your network?

sillouette of two men having lunch

As I am sure many of you have noticed, Facebook has community pages. These are pages that have been created because the Facebook bot has noticed that your page, website or company name has been mentioned repeatedly in people’s posts. When I first discovered the community page for SM Cubed, I was pretty excited. I felt like it was a nod from Facebook. Since then I have changed my mind. Now it often seems like a community page is stealing the network from your actual fan page.

Think of Facebook’s community page for your business as a duplicate page.  Now when someone searches for you, they will see your page and another page. Your page may have your logo, but so might the other one. The other one will also have “company” written underneath it as a subheading that seemingly gives it authority.  The problem is that it is not the page created by you, it is the page created by Facebook.

Sometimes this will cause enough confusion that people interested in fanning your page will actually fan the community page.  This means that your custom landing page and communications are not being seen by any of the people who “liked” the other page instead.

JCPenny Community Page in Facebook search

The social path gives some great examples of community pages and search suggestions with auto-populating causing huge confusion. They focus on  JC Penney, which also has some variations if the spelling. If you look at the above image, note that none of these suggested pages are the real JCPenney Fan Page.

Some primary pages aren’t even showing up in searches, only the community page. This means that when people search for your page they may only be presented with the option of going to the community page.  If this is happening to your page you can remedy this situation by making sure you have claimed the vanity URL for your page and that you have done some SEO to help your Facebook search results.

The best thing to do is to claim your community page.  This is a process that will allow you to establish yourself as the “owner” of the page and it will be merged with your Facebook fan page. This puts the control back in your hands.

Do you have a community page? If so, what have you done about it?

Social One-Stop-Shop: Skype on Facebook?

Facebook Video ChatRumors abound saying that Facebook might be integrating video chat into their chat platform. Last year a programmer detected coding on Facebook that indicated they were possibly getting ready to introduce video functionality into their chat application. Though Facebook denied the report, it does seem likely that they are preparing for the next level of communication tech integration.

Video chat has been more of a “when” rather than an “if” for a long time.

With one-third of the U.S. population on Facebook, there is a better chance that your friends are on Facebook chat rather than an email oriented platform like AOL, MSN or Google. And of course integrating FB chat into outside platforms like iChat and AIM just increase the reach and usability. This makes FB a prospective and powerful platform for chat.

The integration of group chat into the new FB groups, and being able to have email announcements stream into your chat box, has just increased the attractiveness and probable development of the chat function.

If Facebook were to integrate video into their chat windows, they would be an even bigger powerhouse in social media.  Video chat integration could secure Facebook as the social one-stop-shop.

Will Facebook integrate with Skype? Or might they just create Skype-type functionality?

Happy Thanksgiving!

cooked turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with wonderful food,

and great times with friends and family!

10 Reasons you might want to change the name of your Facebook Page

Girl fromt the 1950's typing on a typewriter and the paper says Facebook

One of the biggest frustrations that people have with Facebook Pages is that Facebook has the name of your page set in stone. When you are creating a new page it will tell you to be careful with your name choice, because once it is set you cannot change it.

Most of us think this is fine at the time. But many people experience frustration down the road, when they realize they might wish to or need to change the name.

Here are 10 reasons why you might want to change the name of your Facebook Page.

  1. You notice a grammatical error
  2. You thought you were being clever and realize later that you weren’t
  3. Your company changed its name
  4. You named your page after your motto and you changed your motto
  5. Your name is location based and you move
  6. You think that you have to have a location in your name, and then figure out that you don’t
  7. You have a date in the name and it expired, but your page didn’t
  8. You realized that you used a foreign swear word
  9. You realize that having F*$% in the title of your page is not the best idea ever
  10. The name of your page is a paragraph long

If you recognize something on this list, or have some other reason, you may be able to breathe easier. Facebook is testing a new interface for admins of pages that will allow you to change the name of your page.  Right now it is in beta mode and has not been released to all users.  The catch is that you can only change if you are a relatively new page. So if you have thousands of likes, then you are still out of luck for now.  But if you were really excited to get your page up and then realized that your name is not exactly how you want it to be, you’ll be able to fix it.

What isn’t clear yet is what will be the “cut-off” before you are not allowed to edit your name.

Social Media Halloween Costumes!

Yesterday we carved our pumpkins like our favorite social media.  Today we dress like our favorite social media.

Great social media costumes from around the world!  Happy Halloween!

A couple dressed as the firefox logo

Fire foxy as this couple dresses like their favorite browser

A man sitting at a computer wearing a hat that looks like the Twitter Fail Whale

How can you not want a fail whale hat?

Man dressed in a whale costume

Why wear a hat when you can be the whale!

woman dressed up as the twitter bird

Do you tweet?

Baby dressed in a owl costume, like the hootsuite owl

Its the hootsuite baby!

People dressed as the facebook poke sign

Have you been poked? Old school Facebook!

Man dressed as his facebook profile

Want to write on my wall?

man wearing a sign that says costume fail

or is your costume a #fail?

Spooky Social Media: Have you subscribed to my pumpkin?

We social media types might be techy but we are also creative!  …sometimes we are even creative in ways that extend beyond the computer.

Did you do a social media pumpkin?  If so send us the pic! We want to see!

Happy Halloween!

Pumpking carved with the RSS symbol

Have you subscribed to my pumpkin?

Pumpkin carved with the Twitter Fail Whale

Even my pumpin can't tweet

Laser cut pumpkin with a face and Digg carved into it.

How many Diggs does your pumpkin have?

Pumpkin carved with the Reddit alien

Did your pumpkin make the news feed?

Wordpress logo carved into a pumpkin

Not only did WordPress host my blog, they are hosting my pumpkin

Pumpkins carved with the firefox and internet explorer, IE, logos

How do you browse your pumpkins?

Plaxo logo carved into a pumpkin

Does your pumpkin know your address?

My RSS Feed is Gone!!

cartoon man sitting on a bench reading an oversized magazine with an RSS symbol on the coverI was doing some basic maintenance on my blogsite and suddenly realized that my RSS feed subscribers dropped down to zero.  You can imagine my “WHAT THE F*%$!!!!” reaction.  Once I got a grip, I decided to leave it for a day to see if maybe it was just some horrible dream.  So I came back and checked and nope, it was real.  All of my subscribers were gone.

I checked my RSS address and it was no longer registering my RSS feed, which was totally confusing and frustrating.  I actually had to go into my wordpress site and eliminate my custom feed.  Then I deleted my feed on Feedburner and reclaimed it. THEN I had to assign a new feed url and redirect my wordpress to the new feed address! Thankfully I did not have many subscribers…

Ok, wait, not really -  I am thankful for every subscriber!  What I mean is that I just offered a subscription box on this site, so I hadn’t yet gathered many subscribers.  But for people who have been managing subscribers for a long time, having your feed url get tanked could be devastating!

I hope that by fixing the RSS feed the subscribers I had will find me again.

Of course after I did all this I started doing some research on feedburner, specifically for this post.  I originally wanted to talk about what feedburner counted and what they didn’t, and why it is not always the most accurate form of traffic stats for blogs.  I found out that Google has been doing some algorithm adjustments and my RSS tanking was most likely because of this.  A post was written talking about feedburner possibly being one of the sources to people having RSS issues. Apparantly Techcrunch and Mashable both had issues with their feeds because of this update.

If it can happen to Mashable, it can happen to me! and you!

So go out and check your feed and make sure that all is well in your blogoverse.