On July 31, 2012 Miriam Schwab, friendly CEO of illuminea, gave an informative 9-step webinar on making your WordPress site more social. Here is some of the material written out and you’re welcome to watch the full webinar as well. In brackets throughout this post are the times from the video so you can hear Miriam’s explanation of each step.
Add Google Authorship to your content (00:40)
When you associate certain pages/users on your site to your Google+ profile, Google pulls in your picture when those pages appear in search results. Like so:
This is beneficial because:
- Seeing a picture of someone increases trust-worthiness of the content and as a result, it could increase click-through rates.
- You can directly tie yourself to your content so that if anyone scrapes your content or steals it then you will still be recognized as the original author by Google.
- Some are saying that soon authorship will become a ranking factor.
How to do it:
Part 1 – in Google+ (3:28)
- Make sure you have a Google+ profile. If you have a Gmail or other Google service, you probably have Google+ already.
- Go into Google+.
- Go to your profile page – an icon in the left sidebar.
- Click “Edit profile.”
- In “Contributor to…” you can add sites where you contribute content.
Part 2 – in your WordPress website (5:25)
- Install the free WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. (Miriam highly recommends this plugin for many reasons – most of this webinar is based around this plugin.)
- Activate the plugin.
- Go to your profile in your WordPress Dashboard.
- In your profile is a field called “Google+”. Insert the URL to your Google+ profile there.
- Save changes.
Yup. That’s it. There are lots of tutorials on very convoluted ways to do this but Yoast’s SEO plugin makes it this easy.
Please make sure you have a good profile photo of yourself on Google+ since in a week or two (that’s how long it takes for Google to index this change), it’ll start showing in search results!
How to give authorship to the homepage of your site
In your WordPress Dashboard, go to SEO > Titles & Metas > Home
In Author metadata, from the dropdown menu, choose who you want to be the author of the homepage.
If you have a multi-user blog, then by default, authorship is shown on a per-post basis based on the Google+ URL that appears in each author’s profile.
Add Facebook opengraph info to site (10:35)
This is a way to tell Facebook and other services (theoretically) specific information about the site or the page they are on.
In the Dashboard, go to SEO > Social > Click the checkbox “Add OpenGraph meta data”. Click Save Settings.
So, what does it do?
With OpenGraph (OG) activated, you have more control over what title, excerpt and image show when people share your content on Facebook.
Titles and excerpt
When you share a page or post on Facebook, normally Facebook pulls in the title and the first couple of lines from your post (the description). But in each individual post editor is a “WordPress SEO by Yoast” area and if you go there and give your post a special SEO title or meta description, that is what will be pulled in instead.
If you prefer to show a different description for Facebook, you can go to the Social tab in this area in the post editor and add a different description there.
Often, without Facebook OG installed, when people share web pages on Facebook, random images, such as ads from websites, are pulled in as image options.
But, with OG installed, if you choose a featured image for a post/page, that is the image that will be pulled in to a Facebook posting.
Alternately, if you don’t choose a featured image, all the images added to your post will be made available to those sharing your material.
Sharing homepages is often most problematic in regards to the image and the description. To remedy this, go to: SEO > Social.
Insert a link to an image and create a description.
Very important! Debug!
Any time you make changes to OpenGraph general settings or settings regarding content that has already been published, if you want Facebook to recognize the changes right away, you need to use the Facebook Debugger tool.
Go to the Facebook Debugger and enter in the URL of the website where you made changes. Click Debug. This will tell Facebook that you have new information.
Make sure you don’t have two plugins running at the same time that add OpenGraph.
Implement the other seven tips for socializing your site
- Get Facebook Insights for your site (19:00) – If you link the Facebook Insight tool to your site, you’ll get information about how people are Facebook-interacting with your site.
- Add Twitter cards to site (20:34) – This is similar to OpenGraph. You add information to your site’s page so that when people share your content on Twitter, it is shared in the way you want. Learn also how to add authorship for Tweeting.
- Add posts to LinkedIn profile (24:13) – Learn how to automatically share your blog posts on your LinkedIn profile. There are different options so you have more control over which posts you want to share.
- Add Twitter follow buttons to site (27:20) – Allow people to follow your Twitter account from within your WordPress site.
- Add Facebook album to site (29:44) – Embed your Facebook photo albums in your website.
- Facebook’s plugin for WordPress (36:23) – Allows you to do things like automatically post new content to the author’s profile page and to a fan page, it allows you to tag friends on your site, add Like and Subscribe buttons and a Recommendation bar. And you can activate Facebook comments instead of native WordPress comments (learn why Miriam doesn’t recommend using Facebook comments).
- Social plugin by MailChimp (46:23) – Boosts your website comments in a much better way than Facebook comments. It allows you to comment signed into Facebook or Twitter or neither. And all the comments are being saved in your database so you control your comments. (If you have the problem that Miriam mentions in the webinar, you are probably using Hostgator. Go to this link to learn how to get around the problem.) Allows you to post automatically to your social networks.
That’s it folks. Here’s the webinar:
Recently, we launched a new monthly lecture series to present the most important web trends for marketing professionals.
At the April 2012 Web Trends Webinar, Miriam Schwab, the Friendly CEO of illuminea, spoke about:
- Google Webmaster tools keeping data for 90 days
- Keep a close on your Google account with activity reports
- Need more space in your inbox? Sort emails by size with a Google Spreadsheet script
- How Google Penguin updates affecting sites
- Google Drive finally launching but not with iPhone access
- Google+ gets a new design, as if that’ll make more people join…
- You can now email people’s message box based on their profile URL. Good for stalkers…
- Download IP addresses to see who’s been logged into your account
- Timeline Checklist – a list with useful tools for optimizing your timeline
- Fancy graphs for Facebook engagement since the launch of timelines
- Facebook ads that link to internal Facebook pages perform better, and are cheaper.
- People You May Know feature
- Targeted updates
- Follower stats
- iPad app which represents a general trend of people moving away from apps and more toward specialized mobile and tablet sites
- Overview of ad options and prices
- Partner program allows you to put ads on your videos and do revenue share with YouTube
We also discussed: Pinterest, WordPress stats – over 72.4 million sites built on WP, Klout, Wajam, Sociabell, joliprint, and secure.me.
We invite you to join us in-person at illuminea Headquarters in Jerusalem or online via live straming for our next 1-hour Webinar on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 10am. Signup and details here.
I was recently looking at a post on LinkedIn, and I noticed something I had never noticed before: underneath the poster’s profile picture is a link that allows me to “follow” them.
Follow? What is this, twitter?
I remember when LinkedIn announced that companies can now be followed. That kind of makes sense, since companies are entities. But I had never noticed the follow-people functionality, and I don’t love it.
LinkedIn is about quality
I like that every social network has its own unique flavor. Aside from the varying features of each network, I build different types of relationships in different ways on each social network. On twitter, I’m pretty open to following anyone I think has related interests, and of course anyone can follow me if they choose. On facebook, I’ve become more open about who I approve as a friend and I don’t actually have to have met them previously. But I still won’t confirm friendship with people who don’t seem to have anything in common with me (common being a very loose term – could apply to geographical location, interests, etc.) or who seem shady.
LinkedIn is the last remaining place on the web where I value quality over quantity. My connections there only consist of people I’ve met, whether on- or off-line, or with whom I’m building a business relationship. [Side rant: I don’t understand people who don’t know me and send me the default LinkedIn introduction message of “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” Take a minute and introduce yourself, tell me why you want to connect, or where we’ve met!]
I think that this type of quality vs. quantity approach to LinkedIn is what gives anyone’s network there value. For example, a big part of LinkedIn is introducing people. If I don’t really know the people in my network, I can’t introduce them to others, and that reduces the value of my network. If I don’t really have a relationship with my connections, then they’re just numbers.
And that’s why I think adding follow functionality is inappropriate for LinkedIn. One-directional relationships there are not part of what LinkedIn networking is about. The value of connections there is when they’re mutual and people can use those connections to build and develop serious business relationships.
And besides: why does every network have to be a twitter wannabe? Yes, there are cool things about twitter, but come on. A little less copy-catting, and a little more innovating please.
How to see who you’re following, and who’s following you, on LinkedIn
Now that we know that this functionality exists in LinkedIn, You can manage all your followers and followings on LinkedIn as follows:
- Click on Groups on the top navigation bar in LinkedIn.
- From the tabs that appear on the top of the page, select Following.
- You’ll see in the top-left corner of the page a list of links, including “People I’m Following” and “My Followers.”
- Click on either of those links to see who you’re following, and who’s following you. You’ll notice that under each person, you have the option to follow/unfollow, and to get email alerts:
If you choose to get email alerts about a person, you’ll get an email every time they do anything on LinkedIn. This is a good feature if you really want to keep a close eye on someone, but not if you just want to be connected.
LinkedIn automatically sets you to follow all your connections, and for your connections to follow you – that’s why you’ll see that you’re already following quite a lot of people.
So now you know how to manage following on LinkedIn. What do you think – is this a useful feature, or just another example of twitter wannabe syndrome?
Bill Gates has just joined LinkedIn, and I can see why. I just visited LinkedIn and was pleasantly surprised to see their amazing new interface. The modifications to the interface, and the addition of new options and features has made it into a serious business networking tool that I could see myself visiting on a regular basis.
Before the changes were made, having a LinkedIn profile was like being at a party where everyone was deaf and mute. You could wave at people and/or shake hands (i.e. create and view connections), but aside from moderate signing (“I recommend you,” “Will you be my friend?”), nothing much happened. You couldn’t see your friends’ activity, the groups feature was weak-to-non-existent, and communication was sparse. The open bar (free membership) could only keep people interested for so long.
Now, LinkedIn has added a lot of the features that people look for in social networking sites, thanks to the innovations made by facebook in this area. As a result, LinkedIn is now a full-fledged social networking site, with all the goodies that can make it fun…I mean a good tool for developing productive business relationships.
Here’s an overview of the new features and design:
A more usable interface
With two simple menu bars, one horizontal and one vertical, the LinkedIn user can now reach all the information and participate in all the social activities with ease. You can find people, jobs, ask and answer questions, and find and recommend service providers on the top menu bar. On the sidebar, you can manage your profile, contacts, Inbox – which has many more features (see below), and groups.
This page is under Contacts on the vertical sidebar, and gives you an overview of your network. You can see your first degree, second degree and third degree connections, where your network is located, which networks you have access to, and more. This information is cute, but not really useful. For example, my Network Statistics page told me that my connections are in 23 industries, but my network gives me access to 147 additional industries, such as…Ranching. If I ever buy a farm, I’ll know where to turn.
Better organized Inbox
Your Inbox is now organized according to sub-topics. The most interesting and useful ones in my opinion are Introductions, Invitations, Profiles, Q&A and Recommendations. Introductions is a way for people to get introduced to people they’re not connected to on LinkedIn via that person’s direct connections. Invitations is where requests to connect appear. Profiles enables people to send other people profiles of people they think they’d be interested in. Q&A allows you to organize and track your questions and answers, and Recommendations is a place to see who has recommended you, and easily recommend them in return.
Network Updates let you see what your network is up to
The new Network Updates that appear on your home page allow you to see what your network has been doing lately, like who has added new contacts, joined new groups, changed their profile picture, etc. This is very similar to the facebook news feed that we all love.
You can now have a status in LinkedIn! This is like the facebook status, and is a way for all your connections to see what you’re up to. This can be a very powerful way to passively announce new business developments, requests for meetings, and other notifications. I just hope there’s some way to eventually import my twitter updates automatically like I do for facebook so that I can update everything at the same time. Also, it’s pretty annoying now that every status automatically starts with the user’s first name, not even “Miriam is,” so the status doesn’t make sense unless you make sure your status starts with a verb like “is” or “thinks.”
LinkedIn emerges as the true business networking site
Until now, I and many other people were using facebook for business. Thanks to facebook’s news feed, events, status, posts, and more facebook is a great way to communicate and connect with business associates. The drawback to using facebook for business is that it’s not intended for business. On facebook, my “friends” include family (even my Dad is on facebook), old school friends, and other friends, along with business connections. That means that it’s hard to strike the balance between a profile that is both professional and personal. For example, I’ve hesitated to post photos and news about my kids and family on facebook because I don’t want my non-personal “friends” to see that kind of stuff.
In short, LinkedIn has just moved up a notch in the social networking world. Based on what I find useful in facebook for business, I’d like to see LinkedIn eventually add the following features:
- Importing blog posts and other feeds - my blogs are an important parts of my business communications, and I’m sure that’s the case with many other people. I would want my connections to be able to see my new posts as they are published, as well as my activity on other social media sites. Plaxo Pulse got this right with their ability to add unlimited feeds of your activity around the web. With our web identities becoming increasingly fragmented as we participate in myriads of sites, the ability to unify it all in one place for business could be very useful.
- Events - The option to add business events, and RSVP so that others can see if you’re attending could help people publicize events to a broad audience, and connect to people they’re interested in meeting. If done properly, LinkedIn could potentially take over all business events from Meetup.com.
- Photos and videos - I love seeing pictures from events, whether I’ve attended them or not. Videos from events, as well as business related videos could provide useful content to my network.
- Documents - Here’s where LinkedIn could stand out in the business networking world: documents are an integral part of running a business. If there was a document sharing area of LinkedIn, people could share and recommend templates for contracts, MOUs, NDA, letters, emails, invoices, work orders, and more. In addition, authors could share their e-books or articles on business topics.
LinkedIn has come a long way, but it has a lot of potential beyond adapting facebook’s features in a business setting. facebook succeeded by thinking outside of the box, and I’m sure there are ways that LinkedIn could become a leading business networking site in ways beyond copying facebook.
Oh wait, is that a question for me from Bill Gates? Bill, I’m flattered, really.
So what’re you waiting for? Connect with me on LinkedIn!
There are so many social media sites and tools out there, that it’s hard to know which to pay attention to, and which to ignore. Also, how do we use them effectively and still retain time to get some real work done?
A recent discussion took place on the CIWI (Connecting Independent Writers in Israel) mailing list about how to start a blog, and whether one should start one at all. One writer was of the opinion that blogs are passe, and that users should concentrate on microblogging mediums, like Tumblr and Twitter.
In my opinion, the microblogging tools are a nice addition to an overall social media strategy, but are weak on their own. Many of the most popular people on Twitter, for example, are those who have built up a following for themselves via their blogs. They use Twitter to drive people to new posts on their blogs, and to create a supplementary stream of information. Much of the information on Twitter is backed up by longer posts or articles on other sites.
Blog, Twitter, both, none?Â
So what is the best way to create an effective web presence? Do we blog, do we tweet, or do we do both?
Adopting a social media strategy can be a daunting task, particularly due to the wide range of tools and services available. Users need a strategy that is effective, yet also gives them time to have a life outside of the web.
Here’s how I have structured my social media activity. This is not necessarily the only or right way to go, but it can give you an idea as to how to get started:
- Blogs: I use this blog to write about different issues related to marketing and business. In order to keep up with the world of WordPress, which is the platform we use to build all our sites and blogs, I also write a blog called WordPressGarage, which we use as a kind of online manual for knowledge management. WordPress’ categorization features such as categories, tags and search, are excellent for managing information. WordPressGarage has become more than just a blog: I use WordPress’ Blogroll to keep track of my links on the Links We Love page, and I’ve set up a microblogging section in the sidebar called Shorties, which is where I post really short bits of info that don’t justify a real blog post. I could have accomplished this with del.icio.us and Tumblr, but I really prefer to keep everything in one place if I can.
- Twitter: I don’t really like Twitter, but I use it because I know it is effective. It also helps me keep up with the social media arena, and I have to admit I’ve found some pretty interesting content thanks to the twitterers that I follow. I post here short things that aren’t appropriate for my blogs, or I post links to new posts on my blogs. (You can find me here on Twitter: http://twitter.com/miriamschwab.)
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn was really boring for a while, but it seems to be picking up, although it’s still not the type of site I’d visit on a regular basis (unlike the site mentioned in step 4). The advantage of LinkedIn is that it gives me a place to create a professional profile that people can easily find on the web. Other than that, not much happens there (unless I’m missing something). It’s like a really boring party where we all shake hands, and then sit around looking at each other. And here I am on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/miriamschwab
- Facebook: facebook acts as a kind of aggregator for all the content that I publish all over the web. I mashed together my blog RSS feeds into one feed, and that feed is pulled into my facebook profile’s notes section. My twitters (tweets) appear in my facebook status. Any extra stuff that I want to publish or share that aren’t directly connected to marketing or WordPress are published there too, like videos, links and events.
The above still uses up a lot of my time, but it ensures that my “online presence” stays fresh and current, and my offline presence retains some semblance of a life.
Facebook is on everybody’s minds these days (or blogs). It’s the latest killer app/site/web 2.0/social/community thingy. Well, it’s not really the latest, since it’s been around for a few years, but since they opened up registration to non-college people, it really took off.
Since I joined Facebook, I’ve been able to create a continuous connection with family and friends who are overseas, and rediscover friends from days of yore. I’ve had people contact me who I haven’t seen or spoken to for 15 years!
Cons of Facebooking for business
But is Facebook a good business tool? I’m not sure. A number of bloggers believe that Facebook is a good business tool, and that it can help you promote yourself professionally. But I think there is a major problem with Facebooking (can it be a verb?) for business: there is too much blending of personal and business.
My Facebook profile is simultaneously communicating with my 20-something cousins and business contacts. I have pictures of my kids there plus announcements of business events. There are probably people on Facebook who maintain a purely professional profile, but I can’t/won’t do that since I need to use Facebook for personal communication too.
Pros of Facebooking for business
If we compare Facebook to the current standard in business networking, LinkedIn, Facebook has a definite advantage in that it helps you look alive; it brings color to your online face. With Facebook, you can post notes, change your status, send messages, build groups, etc. You also get to see what’s going on with your friends: who they’re friends with, what they’re doing, new pictures they’ve posted, etc.
LinkedIn is the most boring site on the planet. My profile just sits there and does nothing. It is not dynamic, it rarely changes, and has no personality whatsoever. The same for the profiles of my LinkedIn contacts – boring, static and cold.
As a website developer, I’ve found another major advantage of Facebook: it drives traffic to your sites. I have been working on a new site for many months, and now that it’s getting closer to official launch, I decided to put a link to it on my profile. Surprisingly, the stats show that a high number of visits are coming from Facebook. (If you want to see the site, go find me on Facebook and look at the sites listed in my profile…)
Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with people around the world. It’s easy to use and dynamic. Although it can begin to consume way too much time if you’re not careful (read about Jason Calacanis’ Facebook melt-down) I do suggest that if you haven’t yet set up a Facebook profile, you do so immediately. People are looking for people over there, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity.
Update: Rebecca, illuminea’s Account Manager, pointed out this video which is a must see for anyone involved (obsessed) with Facebook:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PH4aElf6CU[/youtube]