Social Media Tips and Dangers to Avoid

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Like the Internet itself, social media has become a big part of our everyday lives. By now, most people have accounts and profiles on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. Some are using all four on a regular basis.

While social media can be a fun “escape” and a great way to catch up with friends, family and co-workers, it also poses many dangers. Did you know that identity thieves are using Facebook, and what people say on it, to steal personal information from unsuspecting users? And while you may want to scream out loud on Facebook that you are embarking on a fun-filled road trip for a week, remember that other people might see that status update and start planning a burglary.

So how do we protect ourselves in this new world of social media? Here are a few tips:

People Will Read What You Write – Be aware that what you post will be available to almost anyone for consumption. If you are considering posting something that you do not want even one person to read, DO NOT POST IT.

Be Careful When You Post Pictures – Those weekend party pictures might impress your friends, but a current or potential employer might think otherwise.

Choose Your Online Friends Carefully – When using a social media site for business reasons, make sure that any of your personal friends you add will not “tag” you with unsavory or unprofessional pictures, comments, etc.

Consider Separating Your Work and Home Life
If a client wants to add you as a friend on Facebook, make sure you are comfortable with them seeing your personal posts. Better yet, ask them if you can “connect” on LinkedIn instead, where the social atmosphere is more professional.

Never Give Out Personal Information – There are too many sneaky ways for identity thieves to use this information to hurt you.

Thoroughly Read and Understand Privacy Settings – And when you understand them, make sure to set them up accordingly!

In addition to protecting your personal information and determining your comfort level with adding friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc., remember to be mindful of what you say about clients and your current employer. Just because you know something about a client’s business practices does not mean the client gave you permission to talk about it. And future employers will take note of disparaging comments about your current employer when deciding whether to hire you or not.

Finally, AnswerNet’s Facebook page is rapidly growing and is a great source for company news and information. “Like” us today and stay connected!

Social Bookmarking Tips and Tricks

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By Sue McCrossin, Contributing Blogger

Recently, I got an interesting email from the owner of Greenlinepaper.com, Steve Baker. His question was “Sue, our website now has a share button for MySpace, Twitter, Digg, etc. on the product pages. Is there anything that you can recommend that we do to “circulate” things?” And I thought maybe some of you have the same questions….so I decided to post about this subject.

First of all, social bookmarks are places on the web like Twitter, Digg and de.licio.us which allow you to bookmark your favorites, just like you do on your own browsers on your computers, and share them with others. You “tag” your bookmarks so that they are relevant, and this allows other people to find relevant information quickly, rather than searching through millions of possible sites. Humans recommend sites to each other rather than search programs.

Social bookmarks offer links back to articles or pages on your websites. So it makes sense that if you have a new article you are posting in your blog, or a new page on your site that you think is relevant for a search term, you can add a quick button on the page for others to post it to social sites. This is what Steve has added to his web pages.

So after you post an article to your blog or website and it has all these social buttons associated with it, do you then have to submit it to 30+ social bookmarking sites? Not really, there are two really good free social bookmarking “automation” tools you can use. One is socialmarker and the other is Onlywire. They can help you spread a link on 30+ of the best social bookmarking sites in under 15 minutes! For hard core social bookmarkers, there is also bookmarkingdemon.com which costs $149 and automates pings as well.

So how well does this work? Social bookmarks probably won’t do much good for your pages unless you are promoting great content to the right audience. Then you can get some traffic if people at these social sites like what you share with them. Remember that if you are trying to get people to your site by suggesting that your content is interesting, and it isn’t, people will start disliking your website and give it poor ratings.
If you have good content or “value” on each page, people will rate it well and want to further share it. Consequently, if your pages are low in valuable content, people will ignore or even worse, rate them unfavorably.

It actually matters what time of day you decide to post your social bookmarks. On most social bookmarking sites you have only 24 hours to get to the front page. So, make sure to post when your supporters are actively working. Try posting in the afternoons on weekdays for best results, and make sure you submit to the right category.

One last thing I want to mention about social bookmarking is that you are more likely to be noticed by others if you have been posting useful stuff for different sites over a long period of time. Make sure your profile has links to many different sites in order to create a top-profile. Your content will make it to the first page of a social site because it has been rated and shared by your network of friends. Try to get at least 15 votes from your friends in the first hour that you submit so that others will also rate your article. 50 ratings can get you to the top page of many social sites.

The final piece of Steve’s question was how to also use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. It is hard to answer this part of the question because there is no one “right” way to use social media, but in my opinion, every business should use a blog to make interesting posts with social bookmarks. This blog should reflect opinions and contain very useful and specific information. Posts should be made as often as possible (daily if at all possible), and then shared through social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Sue McCrossin has been in the IT field for many years, and has gotten really excited about social media. In particular, campaigns using a combination of Facebook and Twitter have been successful with many different types of clients. Before starting Boomtown Internet Group, Sue worked as a consultant at Penn State University, supporting internet business development and several Philadelphia area businesses in their programming groups. Sue’s company, Boomtown Internet Group encompasses internet marketing, social media, and web design, all of which are important for realizing the power of lead generation on the internet.

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