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My 3 Biggest Facebook Misconceptions...Are you guilty of any of these mistaken notions?



by Jannice Almansur -

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It is always surprising to me how many smaller brands and individuals using Facebook, still do not really get the point or perhaps just flat out miss some of the more nuanced impacts of this terrific tool. In the past few weeks alone, I have read posts from several of my Facebook friends stating that they were limiting their networks on Facebook. This struck me as ironic, because recently I have been working diligently to do just the opposite; broadening my network and moving from multiple "Sybil like" personalities by blending my various personalities on Facebook into just me . So here are my lessons learned from a failed approach.

Now for those of you who don't get the "Sybil" reference... Sybil is a 1976 drama film that originally aired as a made-for-television miniseries. It was based on the book of the same name. (just Google it) If you have not seen it, I highly suggest you rent this title for your next movie night. It is old but really well acted, or you may consider reading the book.

In the movie, the main character, Sybil Dorsett was suffering from dissociative identity disorder as a result of the psychological trauma she suffered as a child. In my case, it was just what seemed to be a reasonable assumption and tactic based on my professional corporate background and upbringing from parents who were small business owners in a small close-knit community. Sybil, with the help of her psychiatrist, gradually recalls the severe child abuse that led to the development of 16 different personalities. While I only segmented my Facebook personalities into three pages; equally as non-dramatic, my realization came the old fashioned way... Here is to trial and error...when you find something does not work, don't be afraid to try something else.

My Facebook Personalities:

  1. Jannice Boyd Almansur is Managing Director of Redberry Atlanta Website DesignProfessional Jannice: Holds my corporate identity. This page showcases my past professional roles, current technical abilities, plays the intellectual and helps me pursue a corporate professional relationship with current clients, prospective clients, and past co-workers. Professional Jannice has a set avatar, and plays a part in branding my marketing company, it entertains with a whole host of other strangers that look good in cyberspace, but lack substance, they as well are basically using the same technique. Over time I discovered that they are all about what I call "me, me, me, marketing" because they have no real connection and only need each other to make an impression. They are lost in a sea of "it is all about me" messages.

  2. Redberry Services offers Brand Identity Consulting as part of their Bundled Website Design PackageFriends and Family Jannice: Casual, filled with the most real interactions, a place to really connect with family members many of whom I have not seen in years. Speaks in friendly voice, a very strong, sophisticated and mature personality who knows the people connected on the page, but is not interacting regularly because of having to spend so much time posting on the professional page to build up my start-up company. The real irony here is that this where the potential for the most support for both emotional and professional goals will come from.

  3. Redberry Services is an agency specializing in Online Marketing Solutions, Brand Identity Consulting and Website Design and Hosting for Small BusinessesNeighborhood Jannice: Connected to all of her neighbors and some folks that she has met at neighborhood parties. But like the friends and family page they are being neglected for the corporate page. Which is really too sad.

While I finally see that the benefits of having a single persona on Facebook truly out weigh the con's, it still does not negate all my original reasons for the segmenting in the first place. So I have decided that the superior approach is educating myself as well as those around me. Here is my attempt at just that. “What are the three biggest mistakes that I made in relation to my Facebook strategy? I am in the process of correcting mine... Are you willing to learn from my mistakes and re-think yours?”

Big misconception #1: Believing that your online conversational "posts" can be as candid as those in face to face one-on-one interactions.

Ok, so I admit that I did not actually make this mistake. In fact, I may have been on the other extreme of not sharing enough however part of my reasoning for my initial "Sybil Strategy", was that many of my family, friends and even some of my neighbors make this mistake often in their posts on Facebook. Let's face it, five years ago many of you had never even heard of Facebook as it was only launched in 2004. I would suggest that those who make this mistake are missing the point and more importantly the power of Facebook. It is not the equivalent of your personal inner circle, quite the opposite it is the one place where you can engage with all of your connections from your many different social communities. Everyone from your local minister, your child's school teacher, old classmates, new friends and even business prospects and clients.

With Redberry Atlanta Website Design  Build a Winning Web PresenceIt should be no secret that the majority of deep meaningful conversations still happen offline. I can't think of even one person that I have ever met that would get the family dressed and go to church on Sunday morning. Then shortly after the sermon starts or the choir starts singing would scream across the church horrible obscenities and accusations to their deadbeat ex. Or who would commence to berating their teenage child in the middle of the church. I can't even imagine a teenager that would have an open fight with their boyfriend or girlfriend in the middle of church. Not even one man or woman married or single that would pull out their wallets and begin sharing pictures of barely clothed women or men to everyone in the congregation. Well, wake up people! if you would not do in in front of your minister, mother, grandparents, children, boss, or anyone else, then don't do it on Facebook. After all it is just a giant interconnected database that stores your posts and updates forever and that if your privacy settings are not high enough, shares instantly every, word, picture, comment, like, connection or post that you make with everyone that knows you as well as everyone that is connected to your friends friends...Get it?

So, this is not intended to scare you away from Facebook, but to remind you that just like any powerful technology or tool we must learn to use it effectively for what it was intended to be used for.

Keep in mind that true personal and professional benefits can be achieved through the positive interactions that we make with our online connections on Facebook. Here are a few "must dos" when using Facebook to connect with your social communities:

  • Use the Facebook chat, messages and private video chats if you have to have a complex communication with someone. Remember that if the conversation is not appropriate for all audiences try to wait until you can meet the target face to face.
  • For those of you using your Facebook page for both personal and professional purposes, create a business page for your business and invite your friends to "like" your business page. On your personal Facebook page be considerate when posting topics that are promotional in nature, to make sure that the content can be enjoyed by all. One way to achieve this is to ask for input through polls or questions that allow everyone to share their opinion on the topic. On your business page consider using social media campaigns that interact directly with your friends to humanize your brand in ways that were never possible before.
  • When you invite new people to your page, try to stop by and make a personal post or message with them right away. Keep in mind that if you want people to interact with you, you must also interact with them.
  • Release post on a regular basis to develop a cohesive personality, and try to keep it positive or allow for and encourage conflicting view points.
  • If you must segment your friends on your page into categories, use the great tools available on the platform. Like "Lists", which allows you to create list such as co-workers, neighbors, clients, family etc. Once you create a list you have the power to choose who will see certain post on your wall. But I still advocate for an open policy of self moderation. In my opinion the best policy is that if you can't say it to everyone then you should not be saying in on Facebook.

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Big misconception #2: Failing to think about what not to post on your Facebook page holistically

Another mistake many of us make is to view our content and posts through blinders (you know, those black things put on the sides of a horse’s eyes so they only look straight ahead). You need to think about your posts in terms of how it relates to and impacts all other aspects of your relationships, as well as your safety and that of your family.

According to Facebook, the company's unofficial mission is to make "the world more open and connected." But there are limits to how open you should be on Facebook and while you might enjoy sharing photos and status updates, there are some pieces of information you would do well never to share.

What NOT To Post On Facebook: 13 Things You Shouldn't Tell Your Facebook Friends

SOURCE: The Huffington Post Catharine Smith and Bianca Bosker First Posted: 11/1/10 10:14 AM ET Updated: 5/25/11 06:05 PM ET

  • Your Birth Date And Place: We all want to hear the many kind comments from Facebook well-wishers on your birthday, you should think twice before posting your full birthday. In revealing your exact birthday and your place of birth it is like handing over your financial security to thieves. as well researchers recently discovered that someone that is resourceful enough could reconstruct social security numbers using an individual's birthday and place of birth.

    Suggestion: Rather than remove your birthday entirely, you could enter a date that's just a few days off from your real birthday.
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  • Your Mother's Maiden Name: "Your mother’s maiden name is an especially valuable bit of information, not least since it’s often the answer to security questions on many sites," writes the New York Times. Credit card companies, your wireless service provider, and numerous other firms frequently rely on this tidbit to protect your personal information.

  • The Layout Of Your Home: Facebook users should never to post photos that reveal the layout of an apartment or home and the valuables therein.
  • Your Long Trips Away From Home: Don't post status updates that mention when you will be on extended periods away from home. When you broadcast your vacation dates, you might be telling untrustworthy Facebook "friends" that your house is empty and unwatched for long periods of time. " You may want to be more vague about actual dates and avoid specific times.
  • Your Short Trips Away From Home: Although new features like Facebook Places encourage you to check in during outings and broadcast your location (be it at a restaurant, park, or store), you might think twice even before sharing information about shorter departures from your home. "Don’t post messages such as 'out for a run' or 'at the mall shopping for my sweetie,'" Just keep in mind that many more eyes are on your post than you many think...
  • Your Inappropriate Photos: By now, nearly everyone knows that racy, illicit, or otherwise incriminating photos posted on Facebook can cost you a job (or worse). But even deleted photos could come back to haunt you. Experts have recently discovered that Facebook's servers can store deleted photos for an unspecified amount of time. "It's possible," according to Facebook, "that someone who previously had access to a photo and saved the direct URL from our content delivery network partner could still access the photo."
  • Redberry Atlanta Website Design Real solutions for small businessesConfessionals: Flubbing on your tax returns? Can't stand your boss? Pulled a 'dine and dash?' Don't tell Facebook. The site's privacy settings allow you to control with whom you share certain information--for example, you can create a group that consists only of your closest friends--but, once posted, it can be hard to erase proof of your illicit or illegal activities, and difficult to keep it from spreading.

    There are countless examples of workers getting fired for oversharing on Facebook, as well as many instances in which people have been arrested for information they shared on the social networking site.
  • Your Phone Number: Watch where you post your phone number. Include it in your profile and, depending on your privacy settings, even your most distant Facebook "friends" (think exes, elementary school contacts, friends-of-friends) might be able to access it and give you a ring. Sharing it with Facebook Pages can also get you in trouble. Developer Tom Scott created an app called Evil that displays phone numbers published anywhere on Facebook. According to Scott, "There are uncountable numbers of groups on Facebook called 'lost my phone!!!!! need ur numbers!!!!!' Most of them are marked as 'public', and a lot of folks don't understand what that means in Facebook's context -- to Facebook, 'public' means everyone in the world, whether they're a Facebook member or not."

    Recently Facebook made all phone number listed on profiles visible in a contact/address book for each users profile. Here are the steps to remove your number so it will not be displayed. http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20090906-285/how-to-remove-your-phone-number-from-facebook/
  • Your 'Risky' Behavior: You take your classic Camaro out for street racing, soar above the hills in a hang glider, or smoke like a chimney? Insurers are increasingly turning to the web to figure out whether their applicants and customers are putting their lives or property at risk, according to Insure.com.

    There have been additional reports that insurance companies may adjust users' premiums based what they post to Facebook. Given that criminals are turning to high-tech tools like Google Street View and Facebook to target victims, some say that they wouldn't be surprised if, as social media grow in popularity and more location-based applications come to fore, insurance providers consider these in their pricing of an individual's risk.
  • Your Profile On Public Search: Do you want your Facebook profile--even bare-bones information like your gender, name, and profile picture--appearing in a Google search? If not, you should should block your profile from appearing in search engine results. Consumer Reports advises that doing so will "help prevent strangers from accessing your page." To change this privacy setting, go to Privacy Settings under Account, then Sharing on Facebook.

Earlier last year my business partner published a really great article on how to manage your personal online image. In the industry we call it identity management. Read More >>Do You Need To Clean Up Your Act?

Bottom line: I want to think about safety on Facebook.


The Bad Communication Monster...by Doug Haslam

Redberry Website Design's Pro Bundled website design, marketing and hosting package

Big misconception #3: Trying to be a business brand before you can be a friend on Facebook.

This is a big one. It is the most significant lesson that I learned from trying to manage the many personalities of Jannice. By separating the many aspects of me, I could not truly be me, and because of that no one could truly get the opportunity to know me. Therefore, the only real way to connect on Facebook is to connect as you.

But what that does not mean is that you should loose any thread of privacy, tact, or modesty. From the "Sybil Strategy" the great take-away is to combine the very best parts of yourself all into one page and do not be afraid to share, reach out, comment, join in and connect often with the folks that are friends on your page.

When you’re just using Facebook for fun it seems like there's no harm in letting your hair down and diving in with all guards down, but keep in mind the church scenario that I described at the beginning of this article.

Always make sure that you take your personal and family's safety and security into consideration by getting the facts before you start inviting and sharing. I suggest that you develop a strategy. Yes, a deliberate strategy. Regardless of what that strategy is you need to make sure that you know exactly why you are on Facebook and what are your expectations.

Talking about strategy, always keep in mind that we are not a homogeneous society, this is especially true on Facebook. As you increase your friends from your original circle of friends and family, you will start to get the true benefit of Facebook. You will have the opportunity to connect with people from many different walks of life, and from all over the world with many different cultures. So just like you, they many have a strategy in being on Facebook, of which you will never know the true details. I say this to remind us that keeping your post from diving off into overly extreme topics or views. Trust me we all have them, but we don't all necessarily need to have them in writing for the world to see. Don't bland down your conversations so much that you become boring. Instead try posing more narrow topics as a question, invite people to join in and share their views. You never know you might learn something or become the teacher yourself.

If you are a business, or have like me decided to open your page up to both close friends, clients, family and really everyone, understand that social media content engagement doesn’t necessarily translate directly to sales conversions online or offline. The ROI or sales will likely not be immediate. If the audience consuming content is further up the purchase funnel, the goal of your social media engagement should be to make everyone aware of your existence. You need to be patient before they’ll be ready to move to consideration or business focused purchasing conversations. Content marketing and social media engagement strategy is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. The benefits of high quality content marketing through social media engagement are great but come over time and therefore should be evaluated over time. Please don't turn off your family, friends and true lifetime supporters, by being one tracked. This one has been a hard one for me, because it is so easy once you put on your business hat to be laser focused, but what I have come to understand is that your strategy on Facebook using an integrated personalities approach needs to be considerate of your social community as a whole. I now have responsibility to be a friend before I am a business person.

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Conclusion

The world of social media engagement is always evolving. Regardless of you being or representing a brand yourself or just an individual trying to reach out to your social community; there’s a right way to do both branding online and socializing, and it’s all about the content. Provide people with smart, thoughtful, high quality content, embrace recommendations and favorable content created by third parties, make your communication two way by stopping by other's pages to say hi and visit, and above all be patient and you shall win the marathon with long-term advocates.

We would love to hear your comments, thoughts and answers to this post.  Also if anyone has any additional questions or differing strategies that we have not thought of here please feel free to pose them here.




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About the Author: Jannice Boyd Almansur (http://www.jannice.info/) is Managing Director of  Redberry Atlanta Website Designs. Redberry is an Agency that offers Branding, Website Development and Hosting Solutions and a full portfolio of business content marketing and brand identity solutions for small businesses. To learn more and to download FREE business tools and articles, as well as join their mailing list, visit the our BerryPatch Blog at http://www.redberrydesigns.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=419 and Redberry Atlanta Website Design website at http://www.redberryatlantawebsitedesign.com. You may print this article for personal use or republish it online only if it is left unaltered and in its entirety, including bylines, links and author information. Contact the author for all other permissions.





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