Facebook 201: Secret Groups as Your Free Small Business Intranet

I have a friend who has become seriously SMUG and wants to use Facebook and other social media tools in her home-based marketing business. She has an organization involved in selling stuff, and wants to be able to communicate with people in her marketing network, which is widely dispersed geographically.

In essence, she would like to create an intranet without the corporate firewall.

If her team members all had a company email address (e.g. personname@companyname.com), Yammer would be a great solution, and you can read all about it in the Yammer curriculum here at SMUG.

But that’s not the case in many small or home-based businesses, nor is it for my friend.

Let’s call her “Terri” (since that’s her name). One of “Terri’s” concerns is that when she does business-oriented work on Facebook, the things she posts get all mixed in with her personal Facebook feed. And while her business activities may not be super secret, she would like to keep personal and work activities somewhat segregated.

A Secret Group in Facebook can be a good answer in this case.

To use this, though, everyone in your group needs to be a Facebook “friend” — at least until you have invited them into your secret group, although there is a workaround, as I will explain below.

Here are the three steps to creating your free small business intranet, assuming you have already created your Facebook account. (You have done that, haven’t you?)

Continue reading “Facebook 201: Secret Groups as Your Free Small Business Intranet”

Buy a Vowel?

In the past couple of years I’ve given presentations on “new media” or social media to several marketing-oriented health care organizations.

At Monday’s meeting with FSHPRM (Florida Society for Healthcare Public Relations &Marketing), I began to notice a pattern. Some other similar organizations to which I’ve presented:

  • MHSCN (Minnesota Healthcare Strategy and Communication Network)
  • WHPRMS (Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society)
  • FHS/FCBMS (Forum for Healthcare Strategists 12th annual Forum on Customer Based Marketing Strategies)
  • SHSMD (Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development) – that one was in my pre-blog days, and was just  a presentation on media relations.

I was struck by the complete absence of vowels in any of these acronyms, and the resulting difficulty in pronunciation.

First Rule of Word of Mouth: To have word of mouth about your organization, people need to be able to pronounce its name.

Possible reasons for the completely consonant acronyms:

  1. They were created by committee. PR needed to be included in the name. So did Marketing. With a letter to represent the state name, you have four consonants, including a P and an R that need to be together, and everyone gave up on the possibility of pronouncability.
  2. They want to keep the organization secret. Maybe they don’t think marketing, public relations and health care go together — or are concerned that other people might have that opinion. So by choosing a vowel-less acronym they are sabotaging word of mouth about their organization, to keep a lower profile.

What do you think? Is it #1 or #2, or is there some other explanation? And do you know of any health care PR/marketing associations for which the acronym contains a vowel and is able to be pronounced?

(Organizations from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah don’t count, since their state names begin with a vowel. But it would be interesting to know whether they still managed to avoid a catchy acronym.)

Dr. Seltman’s Opus

Among the reasons for my relatively lighter posting in the last few days is this video, which I produced (with some of my colleagues) to honor Kent Seltman, who celebrates his retirement from Mayo Clinic at a reception this afternoon.


Unlike the character played by Richard Dreyfuss, Kent not only left his influence within the lives of the people with whom he worked at Mayo. He actually did get to write his Magnum Opus. Kent is the author, with Leonard Berry, of Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic: Inside One of the World’s Most Admired Service Organizations. You can read a review here.

Google Tool for Internet Marketing

Robert Scoble calls out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and why it’s important:

What does this tool do? It helps you see the searches that people are actually doing on Google. Let’s say you had a quilting store. Do you really know what searches people are actually doing to find information about quilting? If you haven’t used this tool, no, you don’t.

This tool also is important to figure out how many people are searching for a particular topic. This helps you test your assumptions of how many people are really searching for something. This will help you choose your title tags, and, even, your content.

I look forward to checking this out and seeing what it means for search optimization of content.

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Facebook Friend Rules

I suppose I have brought this on myself (or maybe that’s just a blame-the-victim mentality), but some recent developments have led me to establish some new rules for accepting Facebook friend requests.

I have previously encouraged any SMUG students or even casual readers to add me as a Facebook friend. I still hope you will. The fact that you’re here suggests that Google thought you might find this content interesting and relevant, and that you took Google’s recommendation. We should be friends, even if we haven’t yet met.

But in the last month or two I’ve had an alarming increase in friend requests from people who seem to think Facebook is the next Amway, and who want to use it mainly as a tool for multi-level marketing.

Getting away from spam (the electronic kind, not the trademarked kind that is made in my home town, and which saved Western civilization during World War II) is a major part of Facebook’s appeal. I don’t want to be bombarded with get-rich-quick schemes.

Lately, I’ve had too many scenarios like this, which started last night:

11:09 p.m. on 6/14/08 – I accept a friend request from Jan Cheung

Within a few hours I had received this (click to enlarge):

And very shortly after that I received these two group invitations:

Jan’s not the only one who’s done this, but this was the proverbial straw.

So he’s not my friend any more. Not in Facebook, and after this post, likely not elsewhere either.

And I’ve developed some new rules for Facebook friend requests. I’ve had other people whom I have accepted as friends send friend requests to my kids, who thought they should add people because I did.

So here are my new rules, which are less strict than Facebook would suggest, but yet leave room open for connecting with people who have a common interest in learning about social media, not just using people as leverage points.

  1. Send me a message with your friend request. Give me some sense that you’ve read one or more of my blog posts, and that you added me in Facebook from here instead of from someone else’s list of friends. If you say something about SMUG, I’ll know you weren’t just cruising people’s friend lists and adding people in alphabetical order.
  2. Don’t spam me. If you send me a message inviting me to join a group within 24 hours of becoming my friend, or make me one of 8-10 recipients of one of your messages, I will “unfriend” and block (and perhaps report) you.

If you’re reading this post, you’re exactly the kind of person with whom I want to be friends. But for those who add me because I’m first in alphabetical order in all my friends’ lists as you cruise Facebook, they’ll be ignored.

Are you having a problem with friend spam, or is this just among the cons (there are many pros) of having a surname like Aase?