How to geographically target a specific neighborhood using Social Media

I was in a local food store the other day and the owner’s brother struck up a conversation with me over the logo of my baseball cap which was the same name as their store name, but actually was from another business in another country.  After he realized that he went to school with my cousin and hearing that I worked in the computer industry he said that he was trying to get his brother to use Social Media, but his brother was reluctant.

Specifically, they wanted to get more customers from the neighboring neighborhood which started about 4 blocks away.  It seems that many people from this other neighborhood weren’t shopping at their store, even though they were the closest and had the best prices of any similar store in both neighborhoods.  I told him that I would do a little research and let him know what I thought about it.

The neighborhood was a small area with many high-rise condo and apartment buildings.  I don’t think that there is one single family home in the whole neighborhood.  It is one of the most densely populated areas on the continent.  Also, it is a very affluent area with a very high average condo price and is generally an older crowd.  A further complication is that there is a large number of foreign owners, especially Chinese speaking people.

I did some research and here is what I concluded:

-Based on the demographics of the neighborhood, it isn’t clear that they are huge users of Social Media.  If they are, it isn’t clear which Social Media site(e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.) they would use most.

-The store should set themselves up as a local business on Google and also Google Maps so that they will be found in searches.  This is easy and a no-brainer!

-The business could use Google Adwords to target specific Postal/Zip codes with ads. They would have to develop the ads, target the neighborhood geographically, send out the ads and monitor the results. Obviously, this approach would cost money, but could reach a lot of people in a short period of time.  A further complication is that they may need to also run ads in Chinese.

-The business could use hashtags to target specific areas.  They would need to research which hashtags apply to the neighborhood first.  Then, they would need to produce good content while using these hashtags on Twitter and Facebook.  This method would require them to do some research, then create the content, send out the content, and monitor the content.  This approach would take some time to do, but could be done relatively inexpensively.

-Another approach is to seek out the accounts of other businesses and organizations in the other neighborhood to leverage their followers.  For example, you could follow the Twitter followers of a business in the other neighborhood in the hopes that they will follow your business and interact with your business.  You would still need to produce good content for your followers.  This approach would take some time to do, but could be done relatively inexpensively.

-I did give some thought to whether LinkedIn would be appropriate or not.  You can do some very specific targeting using LinkedIn, but I don’t think people on LinkedIn would like to see food ads in their streams!

So, from my research, it is my opinion that  Social Media hasn’t totally evolved yet to do easy geographic targeting of specific neighborhoods.  You still need to spend a lot of time and/or money to geographically target a neighborhood.

I am going to talk to the brother and recommend that they set themselves up as a local business on Google and Google Maps.  However, I’m not sure that for this specific business and the specific neighborhood that they are targeting that they will be willing to spend the time or the money or have the know-how to really benefit from using the Social Media approaches I discussed to target the neighboring neighborhood.  If they want to proceed, they should hire a Social Media expert.


What does it mean when someone tweets my Twitter User id out with #FF hashtag?

As a relatively new Twitter user I am still learning about it.  Lately, people have tweeted out my Twitter User Id with other Twitter User Ids  and with the hashtag #FF, e.g.

#FF Part 2!! @BC_InsuranceGal @byrohlp @CineFixNetwork @hannahorens @KenAMcG @nithiamarimuthu @numbercrunchers @PaultheRockGod @Yamo_chan

So, what does it mean when someone tweets out my Twitter User Id with the #FF hashtag?

Looking up #FF, I found that it means “Follow Friday”, and is obviously used on Fridays!  And for etiquette reasons should only be used on Fridays.  So, the tweet is a Twitter user acknowledging the ids (i.e. people) that are in the list.  So, it is a good thing!

Also, it can be that Twitter user recommending other people similar to you.   I usually click on the other Twitter User Ids and see if I am following them already or not.  If not, I follow them.

Another interesting thing that I see people do is say “Part 2” which obviously means that this is the 2nd tweet of #FF that they did.

I’ve also noticed that successful Twitter users do this regularly.  I am going to start doing it soon!


Who knew?… I am an All-Star… well according to my LinkedIn Profile Strength!

I was out for coffee with a colleague doing some networking.  I was telling her how I was spending an hour a day on my LinkedIn Profile to see if it would generate some business leads.  Another colleague of ours had told us that he got all his work the last few years from LinkedIn.  So, I thought that I would put in the effort to have a great LinkedIn profile.

My colleague was new to LinkedIn so I thought that I was an ‘expert’ compared to her.  Then, she says, what is your LinkedIn Profile Strength?  I was stunned!  She knew something that I didn’t about LinkedIn.  I didn’t know what a LinkedIn Profile Strength was.  She said that it showed on the right-hand side of your profile page in LinkedIn.  When I went home, I signed into LinkedIn, clicked the Profile tab, and there it was on the right-hand side….I was an All-Star!  Yeah baby!

Your Profile Strength shows within a circle.  If you aren’t yet an All-Star then the circle is not filled up.  If you move your mouse over the circle it tells you the next level that you can attain.  Supposedly, it also gives you a link to suggest improvements to your profile.  The profile strength levels you can have are: Beginner, Intermediate, Expert, and All Star.

How did I become an All-Star?  I did a little research and being an All-Star relates to how complete your profile is.  You need to have a photo, title, industry, a summary, some experience, some skills, and education entered.  You also have to 50 connections.  There are probably some other requirements also, but these are the main ones.

What does it mean to be an All-Star?  Now, below the circle a link to ‘Share your profile’.  Clicking on this link opens a window that allows you to share your LinkedIn Profile on Facebook and Twitter.  There is a generic message followed by a link to your profile, e.g. ‘Check out my professional profile and connect with me on LinkedIn’.  You can change the message to say whatever you want.  In addition to be allowed to share your profile, you also will rank higher in searches in LinkedIn.  One job seeker wrote in a blog post that after achieving All-Star status, he was contacted much more from Fortune 500 companies.

So, it is good to be an ‘All-Star‘!



Tips for Building Social Media Communities

I’ve been trying to learn more about Social Media lately.  One of the ways that I have been doing this is by participating in a Social Media Podcast.  This podcast is called the Bunker Project and takes place bi-weekly in the back storage room (aka. the Bunker) of a bar in the Barclay Hotel on Robson Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Many of the regular participants have huge Social Media Communities.  One person has over 100,000 Twitter followers and is one of the top Social Media influencers in the world.   Another participant, has a huge LinkedIn following and a noted LinkedIn Expert.  The hosts have done hundreds of Podcasts and are frequent social media contributers.  Other participants include SEO experts and Games developers.   So, these are obviously people with lots of social media experience!

A recent podcast was about building communities in Social Media.  Each participant was asked to give a tip about building social media communities.  These tips were so good, I thought I would write this blog post to share them.

Tips for building Social Media communities:

1. Don’t Spam.  If all you do is bother people and try to sell something you won’t build a good community.

2. Don’t Put a hashtag (#) in front of every word in your Tweets in Twitter.  This is just bad etiquette and makes your Tweet hard to read.

3. Don’t post the same thing to multiple social media sites (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc.) in a short period of time.  Your community will probably be following you on multiple social media sites and they don’t want to get the exact same post within a few minutes.

4. Give more than you take.  Contribute to your community and you will build your community!

5. Don’t post too many items in a row in a short period of time.  There are tools, e.g. Buffer, that can space out your postings.

6. Like your community.  If you don’t really like your community, what is the point in building a large community?

7. Meet people in your community.  Personal contact with people in your community will raise your standing in the community and help to build your community.  This is easier if your community is local, but if it isn’t you can always go to a convention or meet people in your community when travelling!

These are some of the tips that I have picked up by participating in a community.




What to have prior to signing up for Twitter?

I recently joined Twitter because I knew a number of people that were already on it .  So, I signed up for Twitter and sent out some Tweets to the people that I knew.  And you know what I got…everyone got back to me and said ‘Get rid of that egg!’.  The ‘egg’ they were referring to is the default Twitter profile picture that shows if you haven’t uploaded your own photo.  So, to avoid grief, I would recommend that you have a photo ready and to upload this photo as your profile before you send out any tweets.  Just so you know, the Twitter profile picture specifications are that the photo must be a jpeg, gif or png file and the file size must be less than 700k .

How to generate more traffic to website from YouTube videos

I am trying various methods to increase the traffic to my web sites.  One method is to put videos up on YouTube.  However, I found that my videos were not being viewed too frequently.  Then, I realized that you should update the ‘Basic Information’ about each video.  For example,

YouTube screen shot showing fields that can be optimized to generate more views and hence more traffic to your website
YouTube screen shot showing fields that you should optimize for each of your videos in order to increase views.

for my web site video, I  did the following:

  1. Updated the Category to ‘Travel and Events’.
  2. Added a ‘call to action’ at the end of the Description telling the user to ‘Go to’ my web site.
  3. Added Tags that seemed appropriate.  Just type in the word(s) that you want as Tags and press Tab.  Note that YouTube gives you suggested tags below the Tags field that you can just click on.

I’m hoping that these simple updates will generate more views of my videos and hopefully more views will generate more traffic to my web site.  I will report back later to let you know how well this worked!


How to get a second YouTube channel

One way that I use to generate traffic to my websites is to put up relevant videos on YouTube.  On my first website, I created a “channel” and added videos to this channel.  This channel linked to my gmail email.  For my second website, I wanted a new channel because I didn’t want to mix the videos of the two very different websites because the topics were very different.  I looked around in YouTube and realized that it didn’t allow you to have 2 channels for 1 user.  So, the workaround I found was to create a new 2nd gmail email account.  Then, using this gmail email, I was able to create a 2nd user and 2nd channel ( on YouTube.  Hopefully, one day YouTube will be changed to allow multiple channels for an email, otherwise I may end up with lots of gmail emails!

New Blog on Web Development, Social Media, and Domaining

As part of my ongoing professional development within Luna Systems Corporation, I have been dabbling in web development, social media, and domaining.  I will use this blog to share what I’ve learned, best practices, what work for me and especially what didn’t work!