Facebook

Recently, we have run into business people who have attended conferences where they were told they had to be on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter, etc. or they would soon be going out of business. The response to this type of claim is pretty predictable. When faced with get on or go out of business, many business owners panic. What do they do and what should they do?

Some, jump in on their own, creating profiles for every social media channel and working to get their name out. Others hire “social media experts”. Unfortunately, many times the expertise that is claimed tends to be rooted in the amount of time the “expert” has spent on social media rather than any real expertise.

Is doing something better than doing nothing? In many cases when you are doing the wrong something, you would have been better off doing nothing. What should a business owner do?

  • Focus on your goals! Don’t get caught up in fear. Your goal may be centered on not going out of business at the moment, but think further. How many new customers do you need to add to your business? How much money will you make from each new customer?  Remember, you have to consider the cost of customer acquisition. If you are spending $1,000 per month to add 4 customers that add $100 each to your top line, you are not doing it right!
  • Focus on your customers. Think about the different social media platforms and determine which may be best for your business. Where are your customers? Do you really need to be on all of the social media platforms? The main demograpic for Pinterest is women who are between the ages of 25 – 54. Does that fit your target market? The point of using social media for marketing is to be where your customers are, engaging with them and gaining their trust.
  • Focus on your strategy. What strategies are appropriate for reaching and engaging with your customers. Social media is a great way to add customers, but remember it is “social.” This is not the place to use old style marketing techniques like reaching out and grabbing your potential customers and bombarding them with advertising messages. Social media is a place to interact and engage. What strategy might be appropriate to attract potential customers to a call to action? What might entice a social media contact to take a step towards becoming a customer?
  • Focus on what works! How will you know what works? Measure it! Get your analytics in place and keep track. How many visitors do you actually get to your site from social media? How many of those visitors convert into leads and customers for your business? How much time, effort and money was expended to get those visitors to your site? Is it cost effective? Could it be more cost effective?

Just having a social media presence is not enough. As you can see, if you aren’t doing it right, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money.




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Monitoring Your Facebook Page

by Joe B on March 8, 2012

Your Facebook page should strengthen existing relationships, and also forge new ones. You will need to closely monitor your Facebook page to understand what you fans want.

Things to Consider:

  • The most frequently used activity for young Facebook users is wall posts.
  • The older Facebook demographic is more interested in using Facebook for themselves.
  • Share original content:
    • 60% of links shared on Facebook are published content.
    • Additional 36% of shares were embedded content.
  • Put like or recommend buttons at the top of the blog article.
    • Community will build up a reputation for the article by “liking” the content.
  • Post articles on the weekend.
    • 51% of American companies block Facebook at work.

Source: HubSpot, The Science of Facebook, 2011

Your Facebook page should be the launching point to your home website, blog, and conversion offers. By encouraging discussions on your Facebook wall, you will be fostering a community in which your newest visitors interact with your most dedicated and loyal customers. In doing so, your existing customers’ excitement to share and interact with your material and page could impact your more casual fans’ decision to purchase your product.




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Setting Up Your Facebook Business Page

by Christi on March 6, 2012

Although Facebook has made it easier than ever to set up a business page, there are some steps that you may have overlooked. When you are setting up you Facebook page, keep this in mind:

  • People have profiles; businesses/brands have pages.
  • Create and treat your welcome page like a landing page. Add calls to action; don’t miss the opportunity to generate some leads.
  • Set up Custom Tabs for resources using the FBML application.
  • If you are a single location business, set up a “places” page.
  • Add useful applications such as Discussions Boards and YouTube Video Box.

Facebook pages must be as inviting as possible. The format of your page should first be focused on creating an engaging environment for your fans, which when executed properly, will result in generating and collecting more information about your leads.

Be as creative as possible, and determine which activities or apps would best supplement your company’s brand.




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A good social media marketing plan takes into account where your customers are. What types of social media is your target market using? Are they more involved in Twitter or Facebook? Maybe, for your brand, Pinterest is the popular place.

We’ve been enjoying the parades here in New Orleans leading up to Mardi Gras. The crowds are huge and a large majority of them are using mobile for a variety of reasons. Some are checking out what the upcoming parades are on the local parade apps. Some are texting friends to try to meet up somewhere. Many are posting updates and pictures of their adventures to their favorite social media sites.

Now, if you are a bar or restaurant along the parade route in New Orleans, you probably have all the business you can handle right now (if you don’t, there is something seriously wrong). However, how about businesses outside the parade route, or even outside of New Orleans. Lots of people, all over the country are watching the New Orleans parades online and getting updates through Twitter. If you have a business that could benefit from some of the Mardi Gras excitement, maybe you should start taking part in that conversation, if that is where your customers are spending their time.

This is just one example of how your business can benefit by finding out where your customers are spending their time online and joining the conversation. Get some tips on how to kick up your internet marketing strategy by downloading the free ebook: Essential Guide to Internet Marketing today!

Happy Lundi Gras!

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Facebook Marketing | Relationships

by Christi on October 11, 2011

Facebook MarketingFacebook marketing can be a challenge. Facebook makes changes, and we all have to adjust. The same thing is true with other social media; it does, however, seem that Facebook is in the lead of making huge changes that can really upset their users. It is important to keep in mind that, at the end of the day, Facebook marketing and any social media marketing is about relationships.

I recently had a business owner who created a group for her business. She added me to her group and then proceeded to start posting a lot of status updates. Those updates came to my email and also to my Facebook notifications until I turned them off (which I did in short order). Needless to say, this was not a great way to start a relationship.

As with any relationship, you can’t rush things. You have to be sensitive and polite. In other words, you have to be human and you have to do it right. If the business owner that added me to her group had instead asked me to like her page, I more than likely would have done that and we could have had a much better start to a relationship.

I think this relationship building aspect of social media is one of the biggest frustrations of business owners. It really does take time and effort to build relationships that can pay off in sales for your business. It is tempting for business owners to push and rush when they see so many people who fit their target market on a social media platform like Facebook. It seems like there ought to be some way to just reach out and grab them, right? Well, maybe not.

Today’s marketing is not about grabbing attention and hard sales. It is about permission marketing. It is about being found when people are looking for you. It is about providing good information and building relationships that help your prospective client solve a problem.

When you are using a social media platform like Facebook, think about your connections. Think about how you can help them. Take the time to get to know them. Take the time to build relationships. It can pay off, if you do it right. You can never get closer to your goal if you don’t start.

How are you building relationships on Facebook? What problem do you solve and what value do you offer? Would love to hear your thoughts.




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Facebook News Feed | How Do I Control What I See?

by Christi on September 29, 2011

The Facebook News Feed has undergone some major changes. Sometimes, this can cause a bit of frustration. I am a fan of Rocky Ridge Refuge on Facebook. Janice Wolf, at the refuge, does a wonderful job of rescuing abused and neglected animals. I’ve noticed many of her fans have mentioned that her daily pictures are not showing up in their news feed. I’ve put together a video tutorial to show you how to create lists that will help you control what you see in your news feed. First, let’s look at what Facebook has to say about it:

How do I control what I see in my News Feed?
Filter by friend lists
Click the name of one of your lists on the left side of your home page to view only stories by people on the list you’ve selected. Hide a person or a story type (e.g. a quiz)
Click the drop-down menu that appears when you hover over the top right corner of a story you want to remove from your stream. Then, select an option from the drop-down menu:

  • “Hide story” will remove the individual story
  • The “Hide all by” and “Unsubscribe from” links will remove the post and prevent all future stories from a person, Page, group, event or app
  • “Report story or spam” will remove the post and help keep your News Feed clear of similar stories in the future

Unhide stories from a person, Page, group, event or app

  1. From your home page, hover your mouse to the left of the left side News Feed menu.
  2. Select Edit
  3. A list of people, apps, Pages, and groups you’ve hidden or unsubscribed from will appear in a pop-up box. Click the X next to each one you’d like to remove from this list. Removing someone or something from your list of hidden stories means those stories can appear in your News Feed again.
  4. Click Save.
The first option listed by Facebook is to control what you see with lists. Of course we’ve always had the option of creating lists, but, now, Facebook is making them even more important. Ready? Here is how to create lists for your favorite pages.




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Another Facebook Hoax

by Christi on September 26, 2011

I see that several of my friends have fallen victim to the latest Facebook Hoax. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen it on some of your friends’ posts.

It says:

“FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP,$9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES,$6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES,$3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO…IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY.”

At least this latest Facebook hoax doesn’t send you to a protest page where clicking on certain icons would initiate a script that could hijack your computer. This hoax is just a practical joke whereby those who attempt to exempt themselves from the charges spread the hoax even further. If Facebook were going to charge users, why would it choose to exempt you?

Mashable writes, “These rumors are simply untrue. “It’s free and always will be” is still in giant font on the Facebook homepage. Besides, Facebook is already making billions in revenue.

What would you do if Facebook did decide to charge a membership fee, would you stay or would you go?

Let us know.

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Are Facebook Changes Driving You Mad?

by Christi on September 22, 2011

Apparently, for some it is. Yesterday, Facebook made some major changes to the way it displays users’ news feed. This was followed by much angst and gnashing of teeth. Soon, “I hate Facebook” pictures started showing up, followed by more supportive pictures like this:

Facebook Changes

More to come

In case you didn’t like yesterday’s changes, brace yourself because more “profound” changes are on the way. In fact, in an article from Mashable, Ben Parr tells us that he has seen the changes and “it’s going to change the world of social media.”

Change is hard

Change, good or bad, has always been difficult. If you’ve been on Facebook for awhile, you know that they occasionally make major changes that some users love and others hate. It seems the initial shock of change is what puts people off. They adjust to the way things are, and then all of the sudden it is something different. However, in most cases, after a couple of weeks, most people adjust to the new and have a hard time even remembering how things used to be. Looking back, we didn’t use to have a news feed, we didn’t have a wall. Those changes caused much angst as well.

The new news feed

So, here is what Facebook is saying about the new news feed:

Starting today, it will be easier to keep up with the people in your life no matter how frequently or infrequently you’re on Facebook.

News Feed: See What Matters at the Top

When you pick up a newspaper after not reading it for a week, the front page quickly clues you into the most interesting stories. In the past, News Feed hasn’t worked like that.  Updates slide down in chronological order so it’s tough to zero in on what matters most.

Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top. If you haven’t visited Facebook for a while, the first things you’ll see are top photos and statuses posted while you’ve been away. They’re marked with an easy-to-spot blue corner.

If you check Facebook more frequently, you’ll see the most recent stories first. Photos will also be bigger and easier to enjoy while you’re scrolling through.

News Feed often has a time lag. Usually when you’re on Facebook, a lot of your friends are too. Until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to see and chat with your friends about photos, articles, and other things they’re posting in real-time. The new ticker helps you do just that.

Ticker shows you the same stuff you were already seeing on Facebook, but it brings your conversations to life by displaying updates instantaneously. Now when a friend comments, asks a question or shares something like a check in, you’ll be able to join the conversation right away. Click on anything in ticker to see the full story and chime in – without losing your place. See more from this article here.

It takes time

It takes a little time to adjust. I think Facebook is not always the best about how they roll out changes. I think they are kind of using the “pulling off the band-aid” approach – do it all at once and get the pain over with. The profound changes that are promised today are dreaded by some and eagerly awaited by others. I’ll be here watching for the changes and then trying to see how to best leverage them to help you continue using Facebook to build relationships and reach your target market. Stay tuned.

Download the current Facebook 101 for Business eBook and you will be notified in advance when the new, revised and expanded version is available that will include information about all the changes that are happening right now!

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Facebook Smart Lists – Not That Smart?

by Christi on September 19, 2011

Facebook Smart ListsFacebook lists are a great way to control who sees what you post and how you interact with them. If you haven’t used the Facebook list functionality, you have missed one of the great Facebook features. Last week, Facebook changed the way lists are created and introduced “smart lists.”  According to Facebook:

Managing lists is boring. That’s why smart lists do the work for you. To start, we’ll offer you smart lists for:

  • Work
  • School
  • Family
  • City

For instance, if you list Boston College as a school you’ve attended and your friends John and Sarah do too, then you would instantly have a smart list called “Boston College” with John and Sarah on it. This means that if you’re having a grad party or a college reunion, you can easily share photos with just your college friends, without bothering other people you know.

You can also add or remove friends manually to make the lists even more accurate.

Okay, so if you haven’t made lists before, this is a helpful tool to get started. However, the functionality is so limited, I’m not too sure how “smart” it is. The problem with the new smart lists is that they offer lists for only your work, school, city, and family. You cannot search for people outside your own lists. For instance, we have several clients from other cities. It is sometimes helpful for me to see what is being posted by my friends in a particular city. I have set up lists of my friends in some of those cities. Facebook made that easy because I could search by current city (other than my own current city) and then add the people to the list for each city I chose.

With the “smart” lists, I cannot search for people in other cities. The smart lists shows me people who are within 10 miles of my current city only. That is fine for adding people to my list of people in my current city, but does not help me at all when I want to make lists of people in other cities. This is also the case for work, school and family.

Because Facebook had this functionality and then took it away with this latest update, my hope is that they will add it back at some time. Judging by the feedback on the Facebook page, there is a lot of “dislike” for how Facebook is now doing lists.

Let me add a caveat. I appreciate that Facebook is trying to make lists easier. The bigger your friend list, the more cumbersome it is to get lists organized. This could be a great update if it they will extend it to include searches that they included in the past (and maybe even add to that).

Do you use lists? What do you think?

Keep up to date with what is going on with Facebook and lots of other information that can help you with marketing your business online by subscribing to the Wharton Internet Marketing Blog.  You can sign up over to the right!

By the way, there is a new Facebook for Business 101 eBook in the works. Just letting Facebook get settled down a bit before release. Stay tuned!

 

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More Facebook Changes!

by Christi on September 16, 2011

So, I wrote on Wednesday morning about some of Facebook’s recent changes. Of course, Wednesday afternoon, they rolled out some really game-changing changes that have created a lot of buzz. The big change is the subscribe button. We’ll get to that, but first let’s look at a couple of the other changes that they have made that I like:

  1. You no longer have to have 25 fans for your page to get a vanity URL. Now, you can put up your page and get your vanity URL all at once. This makes it easier for businesses to immediately start promoting their page. If you don’t have your vanity URL yet, just go to facebook.com/username and get it.
  2. The navigation is fixed at the top right of the page. In the past, to go from profile to news feed and to account settings, you had to scroll to the top to get to the navigation. Now it is fixed to stay at the top. Just a little added convenience. I think I would like to see that for the links at the bottom of the page as well. What do you think?

Now for the biggie: the SUBSCRIBE button. According to the Facebook blog, you can use the subscribe button to do three things.

  1. Choose What You See in News FeedYou’re already getting your friends’ posts in News Feed. With the Subscribed button, you can choose how much you see from them:
    • All updates: Everything your friend posts
    • Most updates: The amount you’d normally see
    • Important updates only: Just highlights, like a new job or move

    You can also decide what types of updates you see. For example, you could see just photos from one friend, no stories about games from another, and nothing at all from someone else.

  2. Subscribe to Interesting PeopleThe Subscribe button also lets you hear from interesting people you’re not friends with—like journalists, artists and political figures.If you see a Subscribe button on your favorite blogger’s profile, this means you can subscribe. Just click the button to get their public updates right in your News Feed.
  3. Get Your Own SubscribersIf you’d like to share your public updates with more than just friends, you can get a Subscribe button on your profile, too. People who subscribe to you will get posts you set as “Public” in their News Feeds. This is an entirely optional feature – you need to opt in.To let people subscribe, go to the Subscriptions Page and click Allow Subscribers.

    Once you allow subscribers, you can decide who can comment and what notifications you get. You’ll also see a Subscribers tab on your profile, where you can see who subscribes to you.

So, the subscribe button allows you to follow and be followed in a way that is similar to Twitter. Of course, as a business, you still need to have a business page (not a profile – that is still a no-no). But the subscribe button presents some interesting opportunities and challenges for the way people in business use their profile.

If you are using your profile to build relationships and engage with people who may be in your target market, the subscribe button can open your profile up to a whole new set of people. Of course, you will need to control what is public on your posts. The challenge is that people can selectively choose not to see what you are saying. Now you have to really put the best inbound marketing practices in to place. Remember, inbound marketing is not about interrupting people or jumping up and down to get their attention. It is about creating interesting content that solves a problem for your customer and then being there when they are looking for you.

Looks like it is time to put out a 2nd edition of the Facebook for Business 101 eBook. It also looks like business now, more than ever need to embrace inbound marketing to continue to grow.

 

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