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HOW TO: Manage Multiple Social Media Profiles

Start counting the number of social media websites you have a profile with, right now. Out of fingers yet? Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter), Flickr (Flickr), and YouTube (YouTube) are just the start of it – for people active on social websites, you could have several dozen social media profiles, half of them using a really old picture of you.

Heck, some of them probably have inboxes filled with strange messages from some girl named “Leota” who wants you to visit her sexy singles website.

While inbox spam and old pictures may not be the end of the world, keeping up a consistent image across the web and keeping your content fresh is vital to good business and strong relationships. With a little upfront effort, the task of maintaining multiple profiles can be less tedious, freeing up time to better connect with other people.

Step 1. Understand your Current Position

The first step is to exactly know where you have a social media profile and where you do not. Start by checking with Check User Names, which will search dozens of popular social media websites to see if your username is active. Check any you normally use. If any don’t ring any bells, see if it’s yours or if somebody already owns.

Tip: Always keep note of other people using your most common username. Making sure people don’t confuse you for somebody else is important for friends and potential employers alike.

Step 2. Choose Your Platforms Realistically

People may disagree with me, but I believe you should sign up for the most popular social networks regardless of whether you are going to use them all. This prevents someone else being mistaken for you and protects an account that you may want to use later.

This doesn’t mean you should be active on all of these services. Take a long, hard look at all of the services available and your time constraints and choose the ones that pique your interest the most. Keep some focus when choosing platforms. For the rest, place a note on your profile with contact information and links to your favorite social profiles.

Step 3. Organize!

This is the most important step! Don’t be satisfied with a disarray of bookmarks and email notifications. Organize a bookmarks folder or two for the social media services you are using. Filter your email so that all of your notifications fall into their own inbox/label. Schedule time to log into these accounts and make sure they are in order.

Tip: The most important thing to remember is to find a system and stick to it. These are the profiles that need your attention consistently; keep them free of spam and outdated information.

Step 4. Automate and Combine Your Profiles

No, I am not suggesting using a bot or having autoresponders. Instead, I am talking about grouping similar tasks together. One of the most common actions on social media is sending an update that you have updated your blog. Normally, you would have to copy and paste this type of message into Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace (MySpace), not to mention Plurk (Plurk), Brightkite (Brightkite), or FriendFeed (FriendFeed).
However, with services such as Ping.fm and Twitterfeed, this can be done without any work on your end. Find tools that can help you spread you reach without eating up your time.

Tip: Atomkeep is a cool tool for updating all of your social media profiles at once – it connects to your Twitter, LinkedIn (LinkedIn), Facebook, and other accounts and allows you to change bios and profile pictures with one action.

Step 5. Keep it Fresh

It’s easy to tell if someone has abandoned an account and left it to grow weeds. If you intend to use a service, keep adding new content! You can’t expect to meet new people on Digg (Digg) or Stumbleupon (StumbleUpon) accounts without digging or stumbling. And it can be confusing for other people if your profile has an old email address or says you’re still in a relationship with your high school sweetheart.

Tip: Use a Firefox (Firefox) extension like Shareaholic to help make adding new content to your profile easier.

Go for it and Network!

Once you’re organized and understand where you really want to spend your time, managing multiple social media profiles becomes less of a chore and more about sharing experiences, discovering new content, and building new relationships. That is why you made these profiles in the first place, right?

Have more tips on managing multiple profiles? Be sure to share them in the comments.

Heide Holtz
SmarterSites.net

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Filed under: New releases, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Tips for Optimizing Your Brand’s Facebook Presence

Here is an excellent article by Steve Coulson.

Steve Coulson is a partner at The Advance Guard, a new media company that creates radical marketing programs using disruptive technologies, community platforms and social media.

So – you’ve set up a Facebook (Facebook) public profile for yourself, your brand or your company, and you’re starting to post content. Now what?

If you’re like me – a tinkerer and tweaker – you might be interested in ways to fine-tune your profile for maximum affect.  So here are five tips to optimize your activities on Facebook, including the right way to create profile and thumbnail graphics, how to show different content to Fans and non-Fans, creating DIY vanity urls, and how managing what and when you post can lead to greater success.

1. Creating the perfect profile picture

Facebook specs recommend that profile pictures should be 200px wide, while height can vary as needed. What is less documented is how the thumbnail that Facebook uses across the system is generated from this picture.

You’ll find the system crops images when generating a thumbnail, losing information around the edge. After some initial testing, we’ve determined that there’s a “title safe” area within all images. So when you create your profile image that’s 200px wide, allow a 12 pixel border around crucial information (such as typography or a logo) to allow for automatic cropping.

Also bear in mind that regardless of the shape of your profile image, Facebook thumbnails are square (with rounded corners), and sized based on the length of the shortest side of your image. So when designing rectangular profile pictures, make sure to keep your desired thumbnail imagery within a square boundary.

2. Optimizing your website’s Share Preview

A key strength of Facebook – especially for the new Public Profiles – is the viral spread of shared links into news feeds, using the Links application. When anyone links to your site using this, the application presents the user with a number of images from the page that can be chosen as a thumbnail to accompany the link. But if your site is mainly Flash-based, or has no suitable graphic components for a thumbnail, you should define a custom Share Preview image.

Facebook provides specific information on how to do this here – with a snippet of code to add to the HEAD of your website pages that points to your desired image.

Again, no guidance is given as to the perfect size for a Share Preview, but we’ve found that a 100 pixel square preview is optimal. This not only requires no resizing by Facebook, but also provides a suitable shape for Digg (Digg), which uses the same code to pull its own Share Preview (albeit reduced down to 48px square).

Note that the Facebook Links application will also pull the “Description” Meta Tag from your site into the news feed, so ensure that you have made this sufficiently explanatory. (You can also define the media-type icon that Facebook uses in feeds for your site e.g. blog, news, picture, video, etc – full details to be found at facebook.com/share_partners.php )

3. Displaying different content for Fans and non-Fans

Public Profiles now allow separate default landing areas for Fans and Non-Fans. This allows brands to display a “Become a Fan” incentive in an FBML box or Tab. A common request we’ve heard from brands is “Is there a simple way to display different content for Fans and non-Fans?” This allows for some interesting scenarios, from displaying a simple “Thank you” to people who become Fans, to incentivizing visitors to “Become a Fan to see exclusive content/promo code/offer.”

So here’s a quick hack for creating an FBML box that can be used on the Wall or Boxes page (or in its own Tab) that displays different information to different users, depending on their Fan/logged-in status:

1. Create a 1 cell borderless table, with a fixed height and width; for example, 100px.

2. Create and define a background image for that cell to the same dimensions, which contains the information you want NON-fans to see.

3. Create a same-sized image that contains the information you want Fans to see and insert that into the cell.

4. Use the following FBML tag to surround the cell contents – <fb:visible-to-connection><img src=”insert your image URL”></fb:visible-to-connection> .

This FBML Tag only displays its content to Fans who are logged in. So what we’re actually doing here is creating a table with a background image, and then covering it up with another one IF you’re a Fan. It’s a bit of a hack, but only takes five minutes to do.

Here’s some example code if you want to try it:

<table width=”xx” height=”yy” border=”0″ cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″><tr>
<td background=”http://www.yourdomain.com/linkto/nonfans.jpg”&gt;
<fb:visible-to-connection>
<img src=”http://www.yourdomain.com/linkto/fans.jpg&#8221; height=”xx” width=”yy” />
</fb:visible-to-connection>
</td></tr></table>

4. Creating your own vanity URL

While it’s rumored that Facebook will eventually open up vanity urls to all brands, for now only preferred partners get these (eg: http://www.Facebook.com/mashable). Until then, you can create your own with a domain redirect. If you own your own domain (and frankly, who doesn’t), set up http://facebook.mydomain.com to point to your profile. Easy to remember, easy to share. Obviously, the same tactic applies to profiles you may set up on Twitter (Twitter), LinkedIn (LinkedIn), etc, but this is most useful with those tricky Facebook URLs.

5. Defining a publishing schedule for your content

This isn’t really a tip, but more of a best practice. By creating a calendar to guide your updates, you will achieve the following benefits:

1. You can spread updates out so that you carry on a persistent but unobtrusive dialog with your Fans. Post too often and your page updates will start being hidden, or you’ll lose fans. Too seldom and you’ll be forgotten. Try to mix up different update types – a status update, a Link, a Note, a Photo or video update.

2. By creating a calendar, you can also schedule moderation periods for comments if you feel this is necessary for your brand. Most Interaction activity (including comments) will occur within 24 hours of an update before it drops out of Fans’ news feeds.

3. By recording all activity on a schedule, it’s easier to map it against exported stats data from your page’s Insights. This can show you Total Interactions around different content types to gauge which gets the most traction/conversation, and track Removed Fans against certain update types.

Steve Coulson is a partner at The Advance Guard, a new media company that creates radical marketing programs using disruptive technologies, community platforms and social media. He is also the author of About Face – a free white paper that steps businesses and brands through setting up their Facebook Public Profiles.

So – you’ve set up a Facebook (Facebook) public profile for yourself, your brand or your company, and you’re starting to post content. Now what?

If you’re like me – a tinkerer and tweaker – you might be interested in ways to fine-tune your profile for maximum affect.  So here are five tips to optimize your activities on Facebook, including the right way to create profile and thumbnail graphics, how to show different content to Fans and non-Fans, creating DIY vanity urls, and how managing what and when you post can lead to greater success.

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