Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Devon Edwards and Phil Sharp on Digital Business Hour

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Devon Edwards

Served more than 15 years in the Armed Forces and upon retiring from Military went to Film school. Attended and graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Film. Worked as an Assistant Editor on 2 Independent Feature films: “Blessed and Cursed” ( DVD at Wal-Mart, Red Box, On Demand, and Netflix), “Dreams” (currently in market with Major Production Companies). Worked on several Chicagoland Chevy Commercials, Concerts, DVD recordings of artists such as Phil Tarver, Chris Searcy, Vicky Yohe, Mali Music, etc. Currently pursuing MFA at DePaul University in Cinema Productions. Lastly, but certainly not least is that I am launching own Film Company “Inspire-Films” Coming Soon.

Phil Sharp

A recent study from researchers at Wharton, Yale and Harvard suggests that when you’re pressed for time, a great way to be more productive is to help others. Yet, when you’re busy, lending a helping hand is often low on your priority list.
That’s why Good Deed Time was created.
Every week our members are emailed one specific good deed to accomplish. With all of us focused on accomplishing the same good deed, we’re bound to make people smile, make a difference in the world, and make ourselves more productive.

Quick facts:

-We have spent absolutely no money promoting the site. All sign ups have come through social media channels, community powered sites, and word of mouth.

-So far we’ve send letters and packages to a young girl with leukemia, sent supplies to the Atlanta Humane Society, and wrote letters of thanks to military families.

New LinkedIn Endorsements are Here

Almost since the beginning, LinkedIn has offered us a way to offer recommendations to those people who provide great products or services to us.  In addition, recommendations have always been a great way to build up your credibility for the jobs that you have listed on your resume.  Now, LinkedIn is offering a new way for us to recognize individual talents that people we know and have worked with may have.  This is very different from the traditional recommendation, since there is no way to ask that people endorse you (we can still ask for recommendations).

How do I get endorsed?

The first step in getting endorsed is to actually add skills to your LinkedIn profile.  Make sure that you are editing your profile so you can see the Skills area.  It is here that you will begin adding skills that you think you possess.  As you begin typing, LinkedIn will recommend skills based upon your profile, but you are always free to add additional skills. LinkedIn Endorsements

Be aware, however, that you are currently limited to 50, the number of skills that you can add, and make sure that you have the more important skills at the beginning of the list, so that your connections don’t have to take any unnecessary steps to endorse you.

Finally, the best way to get an endorsement is to give one.  That’s right.  If there are certain people that you would like endorsements from make sure to visit their profile pages and endorse them for the skills that you believe they possess.

Are they useful for college students?

LinkedIn endorsements may be especially useful to college graduates, as well as anyone looking for employment, as there is increased credibility when people endorse you on their own.  In addition, whenever you endorse someone, they receive an e-mail notifying them that they have been endorsed, and it just may spur a reciprocal endorsement.

The Endorsement Advantage

The biggest advantage that these new endorsements offer over recommendations, I believe, is that they are organic.  You can’t request them.  People need to actually take the time and endorse your skillset as it relates to them.

Have you added your skills?  Have you endorsed anyone?



6 Tips for Using LinkedIn the New Endorsements

Introducing Endorsements: Give Kudos with Just One Click

LinkedIn Debuts Endorsements As A Lightweight Way To Recommend A Professional Contact’s Skills

New LinkedIn Endorsements May Benefit College Students

LinkedIn endorsements offer more credibility behind skill sets


Pay Per Click v Pay Per ImpressionIn the world of social advertising, which is using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google Adwords, there is always the debate as to whether you should use the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Pay-Per-Impression (PPM) method of payment for your ads.

And, it is an excellent question with no certain answer.  But to help us decide, it is important to first know the difference between the two methods.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC requires that you pay for every click on your advertising link, regardless of whether the person clicking the link purchases or takes the required action.  Most services implement an auction for the cost per click, usually ranging around $2.50 – $5.00 per click.

As for the different social networks, I have found that Facebook is the lowest in the PPC category and that LinkedIn tends towards to have a higher cost per click.  Google and Twitter tend to fall somewhere in the middle.

Pay-Per-Impression (PPM)

PPM is very similar to PPC, however, you will pay for each impression (usually based upon 1000 impressions) that your ad receives.  There needs to be no action taken by the person seeing the ad for there to be an associated cost.

Which should I use?

Over the years, I have found that each method is well served for specific tasks.  If you are looking to use an ad strictly for branding purposes, and want as many people to see the ad as possible, a PPM strategy is probably the way to go.  It will afford you the largest audience and most networks will optimize the number of times your ad will be seen by your target audience.  If you are requesting that potential customers take some action for some type of reward (Click here for a coupon), then I would suggest using the PPC method, as it will better serve your target audience.

Regardless of which method you choose to implement for your advertising campaign, it is important to realize that no social marketing campaign can operate on a “set it and forget it” schedule.  You need to make sure to optimize your ad for its click-through ratio as well as for the number of clicks v. the number of impressions to ensure that you are reaching your target audience.

Have you been advertising on social networks?  Which method works for you, PPC or PPM?  Any secrets to share?  Feel free to sound off in the comments.

Happy advertising!



The World of Pay-Per-Click/Pay-Per-Mille Advertising

Pay Per Click or Pay Per Impression?  Do You Know the Difference?

5 Steps to Pay Per Click Advertising That Works

DocuSign – The Next Big Thing is Here

DocuSign LogoWhat if you could sign all of your small business contracts with just your finger?  What if you never had to print a contract again.  Even better, what if your child’s school could e-mail their permission slips, and you could sign them right from your iPad or iPhone?

I had the pleasure of meeting several members of the DocuSign team at a dinner in New York, and after speaking with them about the possibilities of DocuSign, and how they have grown, I was completely amazed.

DocuSign began in 2003, and has managed a steady increase in users ever since.  In fact, they now have more than 22 million users that have signed more than 160 million documents in 188 countries.  More than 150,000 documents are “docusigned” each day, and over 90% of the Fortune 500 have used this service to complete their documents in under 2 hours.  But, what’s even more amazing is the fact that they have reached 22 million users without any real advertising and marketing campaigns.  And, according to Dustin Grosse, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, they have their sights set on 50 million users by the end of 2013.

That’s right.  This is a true viral story.  DocuSign has grown without any traditional advertising and marketing.  Currently, they have over 6,500 followers on Twitter and 10,000 fans on Facebook.  They even have their own YouTube channel, with over 250 subscribers and 500,000 video views.  And, let’s not forget their iOS app, DocuSign Ink, which brings the ability to docusign five documents for free.

How have they become the number one service for eSignatures?  According to Grosse, it was simply having an easy to use service that made people wonder how they got along without it.  And then, have those people become their brand evangelists.  It is truly remarkable they way they have built such a loyal following through nothing more than a great product and terrific social media.

I highly recommend you check out DocuSign, and join the “next big thing” in eSignatures.  After all, the “next big thing” has been around for some time, and you don’t want to miss the boat.  Do you?

Have you used DocuSign?  What unique ways could you envision using the service?



DocuSign on Facebook

DocuSign on Twitter

DocuSign on YouTube


Social Media – The Great Equalizer?

Wikipedia defines social media as, “… web- and mobile-based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals.”  And, I would think that social media organizations would be looking to foster an “interactive dialogue”, regardless of opinion and personal feelings.

I would be wrong.  As I was searching Twitter the other evening, I came across a bunch of tweets from a local organization, and was sorry that I couldn’t attend their meeting.  I then tried to follow the Twitter account, when to my surprise I was immediately informed that:

I was confused.  I visited the organizations Twitter page and was able to see all the tweets, and could follow along with the hashtag they were using.  I just couldn’t follow them.

Why would an organization interested in fostering interactive dialogue on the topic of social media take the approach of blocking users they don’t agree with.  Would they also prevent me from attending one of their meetings?

But, and more to the point, why would you choose to engage on any social media platform and then proceed to prevent people from engaging with you.  Social media’s primary purpose, whether for business or personal, it to increase engagement, and to allow others to connect with you when situations don’t allow in-person meetings.

I certainly understand the need to be able to report and block users for spam (I’ve discussed that previously in my article How Not to Market on Twitter), and Twitter makes it fairly easy to do so.  But shouldn’t you have a reason to block someone before doing it?  I would never block someone just because their opinion differs from mine.  I would not block someone that has a different affiliation, whether it’s political or religious, since I don’t have to engage in the conversations with them.

Is social media the great equalizer?  I thought so.  At least until I was blocked.  Have you found that you were blocked by a user or organization?  Have you done the blocking?  Why?


Too Much Sharing Going On – A Case Study

I share an office with my wife and as I was heading out for a meeting, I noticed she was tagging something in Diigo, a social bookmarking site which allows you to store articles with descriptions and tags for later retrieval. I inquired why she was still using Diigo, and not Evernote to keep track of all things important.  “I never learned to use Evernote,” she replied.  Simple enough reason.

This got me thinking about why we use certain tools to accomplish our on-line tasks. Be it Diigo instead of Evernote or TweetDeck instead of Hootsuite, what makes a person choose one tool over another?  Why do people not always choose the more highly rated or more efficient tool for the job?

Very often it comes down to time and effort.  My wife uses Diigo and TweetDeck because she doesn’t have time to learn a new tool, and TweetDeck got there first. It’s the tool that, today, requires no extra learning.  After all, social media isn’t her business.  While she’s using it for business, if one tool does the job, why look at another?

One of the things that we social media people have a hard time understanding is that not everybody embraces the available tools for connecting with the zeal that our community does.  When I probed my wife’s social media habits further and inquired whether she shared the articles she saved to Diigo, she said no.  No? “Why,” I asked her and her answer surprised me more than I expected.  Very calmly she replied, “There is too much sharing going on.”

Really???  Too much sharing?

She went on to explain that her business Diigo group only had a few followers, and that her intention was to reach a wider audience.  That is why she shares to Twitter and Facebook, and not to LinkedIn.  There was no real purpose to sharing to her Diigo group. In her mind, it was more efficient to send an email newsletter summarizing her favorites.

So, have we reached a limit to the amount of sharing we are going to tolerate?  After all, for small businesses, they can share to several social networks, including:

(check out the Big List of Social Bookmarking and Networking Sites on Squidoo)


So, how much is too much?  As you saw from the conversation with my wife, too much is going beyond Facebook and Twitter.  But, maybe your target audience is also on LinkedIn.  Then you have no choice but to be available there, as well.

The moral to the story is simple – share where you reach your audience.  Because, after all, you can’t share everything everywhere.  It’s just not possible.

Where are you sharing?  Where have you been most effective?

Social Bookmarking Sites explained:  Social bookmarking sites allow users to organize, manage and store any resources that they discover on-line.  It is like an on-line filing cabinet for everything internet.  They do work very similar to Evernote, in that you add websites to your account, and can tag them with keywords and descriptions, which are then searchable.  Evernote has an advantage, in that you can send items from your e-mail, desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet.



Top 6 Social Media Podcasts Plus One More

Podcasting.  It’s the way to bring a “radio show” to the internet masses.  Since 2004, when the word first appeared in a newspaper article. In spite of the fact of going mainstream after the word “podcast” appeared in a newspaper article in 2004, podcasting began many years before that.  And until recently, I didn’t get it.  I didn’t see the value in listening to a podcast.  I always understood the value of a webinar.  It’s visual and audio learning combined.  It’s just like being in a classroom, except on my own time.  Podcasts were a whole different animal to me.  But I also don’t listen to audio books.

Things have changed.  Drastically.

Why, you ask, have things changed?  Very simply, because I have experienced the podcast.  I have learned from the podcast, and I’ve even argued with one (only in my head, however).  Podcasts are great ways to listen to interviews of people that are sought after speakers within your field.  They are great ways to learn new facts and to stay current, since the best podcasts are released frequently (most are weekly).  They are also great ways to pass the time while exercising or traveling.

So, what do I think are the top 6 social media podcasts today?

6.  The BeanCast Marketing Podcast – A weekly roundtable discussion featuring people from marketing, advertising and public relations.

5.  Six Pixels of Separation – This podcast, by Twist Image has won numerous awards, and remains a top podcast covering blogs, viral marketing, SEO, and anything else related to digital marketing.

4.  Inbound Now – A podcast from Hubspot, bringing the latest in inbound marketing and social media.

3.  Social Media Examiner – Mike Stelzner recently launched a podcast to help your business use social media.

2.  Social Triggers Insider – A podcast from Derek Halpern, who helps businesses use psychology and human behavior to help attract leads and close sales.

1.  Social Pros – This podcast is from Jay Baer (Convince and Convert), and delivers exactly what they promise – real people doing real work in social media.

Any list of podcasts would not be complete without mentioning TED.  So, my “one more” is:

TedTalks podcast – These are the audio recordings from the amazing TEDTalk video presentations.  Not to be missed.

How Do I?

Now that I have your interest in podcasting, how do you go about listening?  It’s actually very easy, especially if you have an iphone.  Apple has recently released a stand-alone podcast application, which makes it dead-simple to download and listen to podcasts on your schedule.  Check out the app here:  Podcasts by Apple.  If you have a Blackberry, feel free to check out BlackBerry Podcast.

Now that Labor Day is upon us and the summer is ending, why not use this opportunity to check out these great podcasts.  And, please let me know what other podcasts have caught your ear, and share them below!  Have a great holiday!


Like Me, But Know I Can’t Be Your Friend

In 2007, Facebook introduced their new Facebook Pages for businesses, and marketers were off and running.  Business owners now had a legitimate way to reach their audience through Facebook.

There were many differences between business and personal pages, but the most striking difference, and the one I want to discuss, is the fact we are “friends” with people, but we could only “like” businesses (when Facebook started pages, you became fans of the page.  Like is now used, so I will continue using that term for simplicity).

This began to cause a major issue for companies that had previously set-up their Facebook page as an individual (the only option), since businesses were no longer permitted to have friends.  What were they supposed to do?

Facebook solved that issue, offering assistance in converting your profile to a business page, simply by visiting their help section.  But many business owners, to this day, have not converted their profiles to business pages.

So, Why Should All Businesses Convert Their Profiles to Proper Pages?

  1. Facebook’s terms of service prohibit maintaining a profile for anything other than an individual person, and if you don’t convert your profile to a page, you risk losing access to the profile and all its content.
  2. Personal profiles are limited to 5,000 friends.  Business pages have no such limit.
  3. Facebook pages are able to use applications and plug-ins that personal pages are not able to use.  Examples of these are applications from Lujure, Wildfire, and Pagemodo.
  4. Business pages don’t need to approve requests to be liked.  People are able to like a page and immediately receive updates.
  5. Business pages can have several “administrators”, which are people that can control the content and post to the business page.  Now you don’t have to share your personal log-in details.
  6. Business pages can utilize the Facebook Advertising engine to help grow their page and their business.

There is no reason that you should continue with your business page as a profile– to do so only tempts fate.  Facebook will eventually delete the improper page, and you will be left with nothing.

How Do I Convert My Page?

The first step should be to visit the Facebook Help Center, which offers detailed steps and tips for converting your page.  Most importantly, make sure to download your profile information.  Information on downloading your account information can be found here:  Facebook Help Center.  Once you have downloaded your content, you can begin the process of migrating your profile to a business page.  Facebook has the process available here:  Facebook Pages.

What Gets Transferred to the New Page?

When you convert your profile to a Page, Facebook transfers your current profile picture, and converts all friends and subscribers to people who “like” your Page.  No other content is carried over!

Although none of the content gets transferred, the benefits definitely outweigh the costs.  And by keeping the profile, there is no guarantee Facebook won’t delete it!

Have you converted your profile to a page?  Have a story to share?  Hints and tips to make the process smoother?  Share in the comments below!


A Picture is Worth 1,000 Shares

16%.  That’s the number of Facebook fans that actually see your page posts.  16%.  That’s it.  If you have 100 fans, then only 16 are seeing your posts at any given time.  That’s not very much.  Not at all. And, did you know that Facebook ranks your posts based upon a mathematical formula called “EdgeRank”?  And that EdgeRank takes three things into account in how it shows your posts – affinity (how often a fan interacts with your page and posts), weight (shares v. likes v. comments), and time decay (how new is the comment)?

So, how can we get our posts in front of more eyes?

Pictures (and video).  That’s how.

Facebook ranks photos and videos as content that is important, thereby allowing you to increase your reach and increase the likelihood that your post will be seen by more people.

But, what kinds of photos will get you those increased eyeballs?

1.  One of the best uses of photos is having your friends and users upload pictures of your brand or product.  That way their friends will see the picture posted on your wall and will (hopefully) be interested enough in sharing the picture and visiting your page (increasing your reach).

2.  Post screenshots of whatever you are trying to demonstrate or need to discuss.  Every hint and tip is better when we can see it directly.  What makes these pictures even better is our ability to annotate them.  Highlight exactly what you are discussing or trying to demonstrate.

3.  Make sure all pictures you upload (whether to Facebook or your website) have actual descriptive file names.  Never use the generic “IMG12345.jpg!  It tells us nothing about the picture and will actually lower the chance that the file will be shared.  To say nothing of the complete lack of keyword optimization.

4.  Use picture sharing sites like Instagram and Flickr to increase the reach of your pictures.  And, if using Instagram, make sure to add a little personality to your pictures by choosing an image filter.

5.  And make sure to invite discussion.  If you are using a screenshot, ask if your audience has any questions.  If uploading a candid picture from Instagram, invite comments and suggestions.  Make sure to be engaging in your text, as well as your photos.

The use of photos (and videos) is only limited by your imagination.  It is an opportunity to give personality to your brand.  An opportunity to engage your audience visually.  An opportunity to relate.

How are you using photos to increase your reach?  Have any photos that really exploded?  Please share below!



How Much Effort is a Follow Worth?

According to Webster’s dictionary, engagement is defined as emotional involvement or commitment.  And social media requires this emotional involvement for any of us to be successful.  So, why would anyone use a Twitter validation service?  Does it really matter who follows you on Twitter?

I am always looking for people to follow on Twitter.  People who look interesting, or who have an atypical bio.  But the other day, I was included in a #FollowSaturday which I retweeted.  I then received a mention from one of the people within the list, thanking me for the mention.   After receiving this “thank you” I checked out the persons’ profile, and decided it was someone I would like to continue to follow.  So, follow I did.

Except I didn’t.  Actually, I couldn’t.  Why?  Because this person uses a Twitter validation service called True Twit.  After trying to follow him, I received a direct message indicated that, “XXX uses TrueTwit validation service.  To validate click here:”.

Why should there be this many steps to try and connect with someone on Twitter.  After all, if you don’t like me, you don’t have to follow me back.  Social media is all about connecting with people we can’t normally connect with.  It’s about conversation.  It’s about engagement.  How engaging is it that you don’t trust me enough to let me follow you?  When at a networking event, do you ask the people you meet to first validate that their intentions are pure?  Do you ask for a DNA test before talking?  When calling people, do you want them to ask you to validate your purpose for calling?

Of course not.  It would be unheard of.

But by asking me to “validate” myself, you are doing just that.  You are telling me, actually shouting at me, that you don’t trust me, that I will do something unjust with our newfound relationship.

I have a policy regarding anyone using the TrueTwit service.  I unfollow you.  There is no relationship.  There will be none.

Social media is about engagement.  And asking me to prove my worth isn’t engagement.  It’s just plain rude.

Do you use TrueTwit or another validation service?  Pro? Con?  Sound off below!


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