Social Media

Costello's Ace Hardware Facebook Fan Gate couponsRecently Outback Solutions was asked by a client, Costello’s Ace Hardware, to place a coupon on their Facebook page which could only be seen by those who select the page “Like” button.  This was an interesting request, and one I found actually offered a raft of opportunities for any business with a Facebook “business” page.

The premise of fan gate applications (as they are known) is that visitors to your business Facebook page can only see certain content if they “Like” the page.  This of course offers a tremendous opportunity to increase the number of people who follow your Facebook entries.  By offering special incentives, only available on Facebook, you may more effectively track the value of your page.  In addition, If you have a store front, like Costello’s Ace Hardware in Long Island, NY you may also increase the foot traffic into your place of business.

The application we used to create the Costello’s Ace Hardware “Coupons” fan gate page is  Wildfire’s “iFrames for Pages”.  It is easy to use and download, and even better, it provides a simple interface to add all the information needed to create a Fan Gate page.  Granted some basic knowledge of HTML is very helpful, but it is certainly not essential.  iFrames for Pages creates a panel in which you may:
1. Choose to turn Fan Gate “on” or “off”.
2. Create the “Fans View” using a custom image or HTML, and
3. Create the “Non-Fans View” using a custom image or HTML.
Once this complete it is a simply a matter selecting the disclaimer and saving your work. The page is immediately available and operational.

Given the success of the Costello’s Fan Gate, we have also added it to a number of other Facebook business pages including:
1.  Carmichael Ace Hardware – Sacramento, CA
2. Gardnerville Ace Hardware – Gardnerville, NV
3. Mr. Electric – Rancho Cordova, CA

If you would like to know more about how a Fan Gate can help build your Facebook business page following send an email to or call 1-888-794-9287.


Believe in the BandThe Outback Solutions team recently completed work on Phase 1 of an adventurous and innovative social media website called “Believe in the Band” (BitB).  BitB is the brain child of Ronnie Hartong of Santa Cruz, CA and offers an online community for artists to connect with a worldwide network of fans, music professionals and other artists to share their passion for music.

At the heart of Believe in the Band is an exclusive virtual memorabilia program. All artists are given free virtual merchandise that may be personalized by the artists and then purchased by fans in order to support their success.  Fans display the bands virtual memorabilia on their fan page.  Bands earn royalties from the sale of their virtual memorabilia that they can use to travel to an event or to buy instruments or anything else they may need to succeed.
Click here to register an artist
Unsigned artists may also post; videos, music and photos.  In addition, bands can:
1. post blog entries,
2. add events,
3. create a wishlist, and
4. send messages to their fans.
Click here to see a band page.  Click here to read the “Band FAQs”

Believe in the Band fan registrationFans have fun adding merchandise to their page and showing their appreciation for the musicians that make the music they love.   Click here to see a fan page.  Click here to read the “Fan FAQs”.
Registration as a fan or a band is simple and easy.  Just select the links below:
1. Fan signup.
2. Artist signup.
Sign up today and tell your friends in unsigned bands that BitB is great way to create a following, and make money!

Watch this great video from Excentric to see how the Web might tell the Nativity story if it happened today!  It’s the original Christmas story told through various online mediums including; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare and Amazon.

Times may change, but the feeling remains the same.  Happy Digital Christmas!

FacebookI’m often asked what times are the most people using Facebook, and when is the best time to get a status update read by the most people.  According to a number of observers early morning, midday and late afternoon are the most popular times for Facebook usage.

A social media management company called Virtrue recently released the results of a study that seem to confirm the observations.  Virtrue analyzed Facebook posts over a three year period which concluded in October 2010.  The results were drawn from more than 1.64 million posts.  Click here to read more about the study.

Listed below are some of the most interesting findings of the study:

  • Week day Facebook usage becomes very popular beginning at about 8am PT and has peaks at 12noon and 5 pm PT.
  • The single largest usage typically occurs at 12noon PT on week days.
  • Usage during all week days is consistent, but Wednesday 12noon PT is the busiest hour.
  • Usage is less pronounced  during the weekend.

So What? Your aim should be to get your message to the maximum number of readers, with the ultimate goal of  sending your idea or brand viral!  Therefore, your first step must be to broadcast your message to as many friends and readers as possible.  So now you know the most productive times to post those updates.  Get on to it, but please respect the hours of business and use them accordingly!

Tomorrow I am presenting Social Networking 101 at BizFest Modesto.  To celebrate, Outback Solutions is offering a Wallaby blog special.  Print this blog post and bring it to the event and you will receive TWO tickets for the price of one.

One of BNI’s mandates is to provide business education to its members.  That is exactly what BizFest is designed to do. BizFest Modesto will feature speakers who will provide you actionable ideas to market and grow YOUR business. It is also a great NETWORKING opportunity to strengthen your business relationships both in and out of BNI. BizFest Modesto is open to ALL motivated business people.

CLICK HERE for the Bizfest Modesto flyer, which includes the program, speakers and topics.
Modesto Center Plaza
1000 L Street, Modesto, CA 95354
Click here for driving directions
Open Networking: 8:30-9am
BizFest: 9am-12pm

You may purchase tickets at the door, by calling the BNI Central Valley office at (916) 489-9302, securely online at or by selecting the links below. I look forward to seeing you there.

BNI Members $20
Modesto BizFest

Non-BNI Members $30
Modesto BizFest

Outback Solutions Social Networking 201Last Saturday, October 16th Jody Amato, Larisa Capodieci and I conducted the Autumn Social Networking 201 class.  It was one of the most diverse group of participants with whom we have worked.  The group included; a psychologist, realtor, coach, automobile body shop, virtual assistant, retail CEO, chef and two high school students.  This diversity speaks to the wide appeal and broad application of social media.  Based on the participants’ feedback they found the seminar eye opening! Thank you to you all for making the workshop a success.

In an effort to assist the workshop participants, and others who are interested in developing their social media presence, below are a selection of Larisa, Jody and John’s social media platforms:
Larisa: Balfour Facebook pageTwitterblog.
Jody: Inkblot Communications Facebook page, Inkblot blogLinkedin.
John: Outback Solutions Facebook page, LinkedinBNI blog

Special thanks again to Brian Bentzen, the Sac Chef, who catered the workshop and Sean Boyd, Mr. Loophole, who provided the venue.

Finally, the next Social Networking 201 workshop is not yet scheduled. If you would like to attend the next seminar please call (916) 489-9302 or email to register.

Six Reasons Why Your Blog is Essential.

Last week I explained why every business needs a website. A website is your “brick and mortar” professional business presence on the web.  A blog, on the other hand, is your opportunity to communicate directly and personally with your consumers, be they clients, customers, patients or friends.  A blog is not just a web based diary, it is a means by which to establish personal, online “world of mouth” relationships.  It certainly should provide information of value and encourage people to explore your brand in greater depth, but it must also provide for interaction and engender a response.  In other words it must have impact!  Your blog is the center piece of your social media strategy.  It must be interconnected with all of your other platforms including your website, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Every business owner (no matter how big or small) should have a blog where he or she may share both the corporate ethos and personal goals directly with customers.  Below are six reasons, with examples, of why blogs are an essential component in today’s business environment.

1.Google and the Other Search Engines Index Blog Posts. The primary search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc) reward sites that maintain currency and update content.  Every time you add a blog post a new permalink is placed on the Internet. The search engines take note of this and I can prove it.  I have a Google Alert for “Outback Solutions” and every time I write a new post I get an alert.  Conversely, if I make a change on the website I do not receive an alert.

2. Build an Audience. Blogs are an excellent way to begin the VCP (visibility – credibility – profitability) process.  A blog can attract readers, who if they find you credible, will tell their friends. Brian Bentzen’s SacChef blog has attracted a worldwide audience who order products directly from the blog.  Prior to the creation of his blog, Brian didn’t know anyone who lived overseas.

3. Blog Content is Added to the Internet’s Permanent Record. As I mentioned earlier, every blog post is assigned a permalink. This effectively means that every post has a unique URL assigned to it for future reference.  For example, if you search for “BNI Central Valley” the BNI Visitor Day Planning blog appears on the first page of Google.

4. Credibility Makes You an Authority. It’s not enough to simply be known, your comments must also be regarded as useful and credible. If you you can achieve this status your posts will be assigned greater value by your readers and your expertise noted.  You must prepared to provide information of value without the expectation of a direct ROI.  One of our clients Momservations was derived as a direct result of Outback Solutions’ reputation for timely and accurate work.

5. There is No such Thing as Bad PR. The press is always looking for new sources of relevant information. If you are fortunate enough to be picked up in a newspaper or television it can accelerate the VCP process. The Sacramento Bee has published SacChef blog recipes.  The result, a massive influx in the blog’s readership…and sales!

6. Multipurpose Blog Content. Much of the information posted in a blog may be used in other forums.  Several of Wallaby Blog’s posts have formed the basis of presentations, handouts, newsletters and short essays.  I also recommend you keep a list of potential blog topics for later reference.

So you don’t know how to start a blog? Stand by, an upcoming Wallaby Blog post will highlight the best blog platforms and explain how to get started. Conversely, you may call us at 1-888-794-9287 for individual assistance.

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