Category Archives: business

Facebook Fan Pages Blown Wide Open

Facebook Fan Pages Blown Wide Open

Facebook is a topic favorite on Digital 411, and there are endless things to talk about when it comes to the world’s most popular social media network. As the biggest online time sink and with more than 700 million users worldwide on Facebook everyday, if you’re not using a Facebook Fan Page to connect with your consumers you’re missing opportunities to be part of their daily lives.

On the Saturday, June 11, 2011 episode of Digital 411 we’re blowing Facebook Fan Pages wide open. Telling everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a successful page. We’ll discuss how to leverage custom tabs, social applications, email capture and much more.

Here are our guest co-hosts that will blow Facebook Fan Pages wide open:

Elijah R. Young

Co-Founder at Fandura (, Serial Small Business Entrepreneur, Small Business Start-up Consultant and Business Strategist, Elijah R. Young creates digital strategies that allow brands to both market themselves in the social media space, and connect their social online identities to their offline branding and marketing materials.

As a serial small business entrepreneur, as of January 2010, Elijah R. Young have started or been involved with the launch of 16 businesses from 2003 to Present. I am always looking to invest in entrepreneurship and develop new business ideas either offline, or via my personal blog. Follow Elijah on Twitter @ElijahRYoung

Mark Hill 

Mark Hill is a serial entrepreneur and has been so his entire life. He launched his first retail company out of his Ohio State dorm room at the age of 19. Since then he has either been a co-founder in or a part of 5 other startups, all but 1 being in the e-commerce or technology sectors. At Fandura (his latest company) he is excited about building web and social applications that help business owners grow their businesses.  Follow Mark on Twitter @IamMarkHill

I promise you will walk away knowing more about Facebook Fan Pages than you ever imagined. Join us during our live broadcast Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 10amEST on We take your calls at 1(877) 932-9766 and you can join the conversation on Twitter too @Digital411.

Can’t listen to the live broadcast — that’s okay. Catch the podcast the following week or subscribe on iTunes ( and don’t miss an episode!


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How do you make an online publication and offline community work?

How do you make an online publication and offline community work?

The next installment of Digital 411 promises to be a great one. We’re answering the question: What is the secret sauce to managing an online publication and an active offline community? As you can imagine, this can be a bit tricky because the offline and online doesn’t always come together as well as you hope.

As an added bonus, what do you do when you throw a hard copy publication in the mix. The workload, content, events and much more can get pretty complicated. But, in central Ohio, we’ve found at least 2 entrepreneurs that are making it work — and well. 

On the next episode of Digital 411, Saturday June 4, 2011 at 10am EST, my guest co-hosts reveal their secerts, successes and challenges. Here’s a little bit about TaKeysha Sheppard Cheney Sheppard and Walker Evans.

TaKeysha Sheppard Cheney

TaKeysha Sheppard Cheney is the Founder, CEO & Publisher of The Women’s Book, a multi-media publication that showcases local women leaders and resources including woman-owned businesses, nonprofits, news and events. The Women’s Book’s goal is to make it easier to find what’s happening in a community that benefits women and girls.


Walker Evans

Walker Evans is the founder of and co-founder of along with his wife and business partner Anne Evans. Walker has turned local media from a hobby into a full time career over the past decade and continues to consult with local businesses and organizations on topics related to new media and social media.

He lives in the historic King Lincoln District adjacent to Downtown with his wife and two children. He loves the urban energy and culture that Downtown Columbus has to offer and currently serves on multiple boards and committees including The North Market Development Authority, The Columbus Metropolitan Club Advisory Board and the Create Committee of the Columbus 2020 regional economic development initiative.

Digital 411 broadcasts live Saturdays 10am EST on Listen in, and join the conversation by calling 1 (877) 932-9766 or send your questions and comments by Twitter to @Digital411.


Posted by on June 1, 2011 in business, Digital 411


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5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

If you’re like a lot of people right now, you’re likely looking for a job. Whether you’re like me and always looking to add new projects and gigs to your freelance portfolio, or searching for a full time position, you’ve likely noticed an increase in the number of placement agencies conducting searches.
From what I can tell, there seems to be a strong push in that direction. Which makes sense, given there are still more people searching for jobs than there are jobs available.

The good news is: There are jobs available. The bad news is, you’ve got to figure out how to get your application materials beyond this additional level of screening in order to get your shot in the hiring process. So, what are some best practices and strategies for actually getting your name in the hiring poll. Here are 5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

1. Know what you want

Recruiter’s are busy people and in demand right now. They don’t have time to waste, so whether you’re at a job fair, networking event, on the phone, or sending an email, don’t beat around the bush regarding what you are looking for in a job, as well as what will make or break the position for you. Even if that position isn’t a great fit for you, it’s likely the recruiter will come across something that may be, and the more they know about your background, experience, and professional interests, the better.

2. Attention Grabbing Headlines

As you can imagine, staffing specialists are weeding through a large number of applicants while attempting to fill multiple positions (that’s why they are being pulled into the hiring process more now than ever). You’re goal is to get their attention in your email subject lines and professional headlines.

When developing those punchy headlines, don’t go crazy, but do consider the nature of the position. If you’re in a creative field (such as marketing, writing, graphic design) you have more at your disposal; however, even if you’re position isn’t necessarily in the creative realm, you still have space to include key words from the position positing in your attention getting headline and email subject lines too!

3. Help A Recruiter Out

Remember, recruiters are talent scouts and are always on the hunt for to add outstanding talent to their pool. So, if you have an opportunity to interact with a recruiter one-on-one and you’re not a perfect fit for the position, they may ask you to pass along the posting, or refer them to someone that is. Do It! 

Recruiters know that people in the same or related fields know one another professionally, and appreciate a little additional help in penetrating that circle. Also, this is a great show of good faith and professionalism.

Sure it’s disappointing that the position wasn’t right for you, but helping the recruiter is something that they will likely remember. Providing that additional help can also mean they now have a better understanding of what you’re searching for. Also, keep in mind this is now a working relationship, and if you can help them, they are more likely to help you. That’s a win-win!

4. Offer Your Availability

Although we don’t always know from the position posting that it’s a recruiter that is conducing the search, it’s good practice to offer your specific availability and request a meeting or phone conference. Be sure to include the fastest method of communication as well. Remember: you want to always include a “call to action.” It frequently works.

5. Stay in Touch (on their terms)

By virtue of their work, recruiters are “high touch” people. They are in constant contact with their clients to give them progress updates on their searches, and routinely touching base with candidates, to find the best one for their open positions. This means they are on the phone and email a lot.

Staying in touch with them — and recriporcating that high touch sensibility is a good way to not only get their attention, but keep it during the course of your job search. Be sure to ask the recruiter how they would prefer you reach them, (phone, email, message in a bottle –whatever). Once you’ve got the preferred communication method, use it.

Also, it’s not a bad idea to include your resume in the text of the email as well. They might remember your name, but not your background. So, don’t make them search their database to find your resume and see if they have a position you might fit into.

Although not necessarily part of keeping a recruiter’s attention, but just good business etiquette is to let the recruiter you’ve been in contact with know when you’ve secured a full time position. A short email will do the trick.

So, have you worked with a recruiter lately? What strategies did you use to secure their attention?
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in business, communication


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Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?

Is your inflated brand scaring away prospective employers?
A few weeks ago, a few social media consultants and myself were having a spirited discussion regarding solo-preneur to micro to small business growing pains. What some of us were really saying was: I’m starting to feel that owning my own business isn’t fun anymore, I think I like working as a consultant better.We toyed around with the idea out loud and with others like was it time to get a full-time job? And if it was, could having a gigantic personal brand do more harm than good? Could my personal brand actual scare away potential employers?Is this really possible, I thought. I had spent the last three years or so, building a personal brand that stood for something and reaping – what I believed were — the benefits of a strong online and offline reputation. I never considered the possibility that  my persona brand could be too big for an employer?

Of course everyone from Katie Couric to Angela An and every other news caster, employment counselor and economist has talked about the importance of networking and building a brand. But what if the opposite can be true, with potential employers declining to meet with you because your brand is too big?

We speculated about the negatives of hiring someone with an inflated personal brand. Someone in the company — presumably a decision maker — doesn’t like you because of some inflammatory remarks you made at a speaking engagement.

Especially at a small business or startup, the president may be concerned that by hiring you, your brand will overshadow the company. We also speculated as to whether or not, expectations of what you can do and accomplish are inflated because of your larger than life online persona.

Clearly that conversation got me thinking. So, I reached out to someone who I know works with small businesses and asked what she thought about the question: Can a strong personal brand scare away a potential employer?

Here’s some of what Andrea Applegate of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce had to say on the subject.

Regardless of your occasional tech and social media savvy lawyer or nurse,most small business owners really don’t know much about social media. She continues, “technology, PR, marketing, or youth oriented industries are the types of small business owners that are well versed in social media.”

Andrea notes that since, “small businesses in other industries don’t even understand social media, so it (the killer social media brand you’ve been cultivating) is meangingless to them.”

Here’s the real dagger in your social media lovin’ heart: According to Andrea, “most small businesses and startups have no real understanding of how powerful social media can be and is.”

Although this is good news of sorts. I mean if you decide to hang up your consultant lifestyle for a straighter laced existence, then working with a startup or small business feels like less of a sell out — over working for the man and going straight corporate.

But that brings to light another problem: My potential audience may not have any idea about me and my awesomeness? Now what do I do.

According to Andrea Applegate — it’s time to get integrated. Since many business owners have their finger on what’s happening in their industry — start working traditional reputation building channels as well.

Social media my not be the first place your audience turns for everything from coupons to daily news, said Andrea “you have to distinguish yourself as an expert in your filed using traditional mechanisms (like speaking at conferences, writing white papers, etc.) because these activites have a higher value for these employers.”

Whoa, so you’re advice to consultants thinking about getting a 9 to 5 gig with a small business or start up generally is to go integrate old school reputation management with new school personal branding methods. That’s great advice! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but valuable nonetheless.

What do you think? Is this sounds advice to consider, or B.S.? Are you thinking if the company doesn’t get social media is it not the right place for you to begin with (I admit that’s my gut reaction =)


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Cbus representin’ at Future Midwest 2011: An event review

A few weeks ago when I was kicking alongside many other Cbusrs with Hubert Sawyers III during his inaugural pilgrimage to Columbus, OH I heard about the Future Midwest 2011 conference happening in Detroit. Since I have not had the opportunity to attend many interactive conference in the past year — I decided this would be a great opportunity to meet some new people in the interactive space and see what’s shakin’ in the “D.” Although I didn’t arrive to Detroit until the end of day one, I got to participate in some very informative sessions, had a great Taste of Detroit experience and met some very cool people.

Here’s a brief review of some of the highlights.


David Norris, CEO of Bluecava talked about the future of privacy. What was most interesting about his presentation was the argument that online retailers and advertisers need to find ways to bring consumers into the privacy discussion. Because advertisers are collecting personal information about you why not bring consumers into the privacy conversation and offer them ways to be actively engaged in the very complex eco-system.

What Norris also said is that the government — or more specifically, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — really has no idea the extent to which privacy is being violated (or perhaps redefined) by the professionals in internet marketing. So, the legislation that is currently under negotiation is pretty much worthless. Even more alarming for me — and somewhat unknown by the FCC — is the depth to which surveillance is occurring.

According to Norris, most users are unaware that the “tracking” of their website activity goes way beyond their website traffic and includes everything that is done on that website.

Finally, even if you opt-out of personalized ads, that’s really just one piece of the puzzle — and just clear your cookies and that opt-out is officially wiped out. Very interesting stuff.

Relationship Building and Storytelling

The other interesting session was presented by John Meyer and Scott Meyer — bro-founders of 9 Clouds. In addition to being pretty proud of their term “bro-founders,” John and Scott seemed to really understand how to help the non-tech person know how to convert their understanding of online relationship building and storytelling. I love their line, “Your mom is better at Facebook than you are, she just doesn’t know it.” More specifically, your mom — likely part of the fastest growing demographic of people joining Facebook — knows how to maintain relationships and tell great stories. As digital and interactive marketing professionals, if we can help our clients and employers understand how to translate those skills to the digital space, than we can harness the power of social media. That resonated with me.

Although the conference presentations were awesome, there are some low lights to my Future Midwest experience. As any conference organizer knows, you can’t please all the people all the time, so I hope that this constructive criticism is taken as such.

Wireless Internet

Okay — so interactive — web — social media types are notorious for their immediate gratification needs. As an added obstacle, we all have 2 or 3 or sometimes 4 devices to burn up bandwidth. So, needless to say, there were some issues with the wireless internet access. My hope is as the conference continues this will be resolved.

Cbus Representation

Even in the Midwest — the tech/digital/interactive/social media hub that Columbus is — is the best kept secret. I think we have to do more in the Cbus to promote the awesome stuff we have going on here because I was sad to see there was no presenters from Columbus on the program agenda. I’m hoping as the relationships grow among and between the communities in Columbus and Detroit that there will be a Cbusr representing at Future Midwest 2012.

Michigan In April

Michigan like Ohio has unpredictable weather conditions, and I obviously can’t put the weather at the doorstep of the conference organizers. I love the Eastern Markets venue, but it was uncomfortable cold. But again, what can you do.

For those of us that are freelancers and independent consultants it can seem daunting to attend conference and conventions because the cost can be a pain point. I know this can hold me back, but I encourage you to save and make it happen. It’s always worth the cost whether it’s the knowledge or the networking you’re going for.

So, what events and conferences are coming up this summer that would be worth shelling out the dough or going the distance to attend? 

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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in business


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Why are you worried about social media when your website sucks?

Perhaps these are conversations that are happening behind closed doors, so I’m hear to blow the lid off a few things. But first, let me set the scene for you.

At some random networking event, I run into someone really interested in talking about working together to build brand awareness using social and digital media. Awesome, just the conversations I love to have. We follow up our unplanned encounter with a scheduled meeting. In preparation for the meeting, I do my homework researching this person’s current social media, digital presence and website. Like a good consultant should!

What do I find during my routine pre-meeting preparation, but a complete shit show of a website. I mean, the thing hasn’t been updated for years, there nothing to indicate a company personality or link to their social media sites, and — as an added bonus — the logos from the website don’t even match those on current business cards.

So, we show up for a our coffee and social media conversation. When we get past the pleasantries, the conversation goes something like this —

Me: So, how do you feel about your website?

Them: Oh, I know it needs a little sprucing up, but I really want to talk about social media.

Me: Really? Hmm, did you have fantasies about driving traffic to your website from your social media channels?

Them: excitedly Yeah, that’s a real goal!

Me: quizzically Why are you worried about social media when your website sucks?

Herein lies the problem. Everybody is very concerned about their social media presence — that’s actually a good thing — but, if your plan is to drive traffic to your website and it’s a complete mess, than you are not ready to dive into social media just yet.

Although I don’t actually do any behind the scenes website construction or programming, I’m glad to throw in my two cents when it comes to visual appeal, user interface, and general layout. Here are some of the biggest offenses that send me back to my Google search results. Admittedly, you may have others to add to the list, since this is not exhaustive I’m sure to leave a few out.

Too Much Text

Although it may be tempting to include everything and the kitchen sink, but remember, people’s attention spans are shorter than what they use to be. You know from your own experience, if you’re questioning whether the investment in time or energy seems to outweigh the payoff — then you’re already planning to move on.

If you have lots of text to include be sure to break up with other visual elements such as pictures and headings.

Scannable Pages

Pages with too much text don’t draw in readers because people can’t get an easy preview of what the page has to offer. Make pages scannable with headings, pictures, survey questions or other types of visual aids. You may get a reader on the fence, they check out the video, and decide reading is a good idea. That’s great because it increases the points of interaction and amount of time spent on the page.

Use of Page Real Estate

I might have a bias for a three column page, but I find websites are easier to navigate when there are multiple points of navigation easy to locate on the site. I’m also partial to navigation at the bottom of the page as well.

Sidebars are always a great place to include testimonials, upcoming speaking events, or other types of timely information. And make social media interaction easy with plugins and streams in columns too!

I’ve also heard the “Website Under Construction” signs are pretty useless, so maybe you want to get rid of that and not make the site live until it’s fully ready for traffic.

“About” Page Falsie

In case you’re unaware, the “About” page is typically one of the most visited on most sites. I appreciate an actual “About” page, which tells me something about the minds (read people) behind an organization. Not the “falsie” which attempts to present a “big” company using “we” and “us,” but personalization can be to your benefit. At least give your site visitors some insight on the leadership of your organization — no matter how big or small.

No Contact/Interaction Opportunities

If you would like to increase business opportunities with your website — please include a contact page with a contact form. I have been to many out-of-date websites which seem to be missing the all important opportunity for prospective clients to actually reach someone at your organization. There’s nothing wrong with making contact with you as simple as possible.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to start your social media efforts or do you still have some work to do to get your website ready for the 21st century visitor?

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in business, communication


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