Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Aug 11
2011

Facebook encourages marketers to have a “business” page, also known as a “fan” page (which is different than a regular Facebook profile – create one here). While there are great marketing benefits in having this kind of presence on Facebook, there unfortunately are some limits versus having a normal profile or even a group page. We definitely recommend having a Facebook page and working it properly by creating consistent engaging content will significantly enhance your business, just so you know what you can and can’t do, here’s a list of some basic pros and cons:

Pros

Tabs – Facebook pages give you the ability to add and customize tabs, which are like extra pages or menu items. These tabs take basic html, so they are extremely flexible, just as almost any general page on the web. This is very useful if you want to provide information that doesn’t necessarily fit within the default Facebook functions/media. For example, you can have forms, links to your latest products/downloads, videos, banners, etc. These tabs also allow you to also create optimized landing tabs that you can design solely for conversion of a certain promotion. For example, “Click here for you’re your chance to win a free ipod!” Here’s an article on how to add custom tabs to your Facebook page.

Custom tab on facebook

Apps – There are some cool apps available only to Facebook pages, such as e-commerce apps that allow you to sell on Facebook, Youtube apps to display videos, “Bandpage” apps for musicians to display their music, etc. You can even hire developers to create completely custom applications for your company. Unfortunately, Facebook has closed the app directory, so you will need to search for any existing apps. One wayto find existing apps that might be great for your page is to go to pages similar to yours and see what apps they are using.

Search Engine Optimization – Facebook pages have great SEO, so even if you end up doing nothing with your page, it’s still a good idea just to have that presence. When creating a Facebook page, make sure to fill in all pertinent information – give it a good Title, About Us, basic info, local info and addresses, etc. Make everything as keyword-rich as possible because this is what will be read by Google and may index above even your website. Also, even when searching within Facebook, it’s a lot easier to find your needle in a smaller haystack of businesses than it is to find it in 750 million profiles.

facebook seo

Inbound Fans Only – While I list this as a con later, what you have here by default, is the members of your page are only quality leads. In outbound marketing, cold prospects may or may not be someone interested. Example, in Myspace, business pages had the luxury of sending friend requests. However, you’d find that members would just except them, either without thinking or just for the sake of increasing their friend count. This is opposed to now your members who had to consciously subscribe to you. Members like this will more likely have open ears to what you have to say.

AdsFacebook’s ads system is such a robust system because of its precision targeting. Profiles not only filling out their interest, but choosing already existing pages allows Facebook to pool everyone together based on interest, resulting in highly targeted, quality segments. With a page, you now have access to the most targeted market there is for your business – members of your page! Who else would want to purchase your product more than those who consciously joined your page because they were interested in you?

Aside from this, you may one day need to reach another market through Facebook ads. For example, you may be a musician similar to Justin Bieber and you’d like to market your music to his millions of fans. You can now target that pool of prospects and combine it with other similar pools to create significantly large, targeted audience that is likely to be interested in your page or product.

Sponsored Story’s – Someone says something good about your page – here is the key to viral and social marketing, the power and trust of word-of-mouth. Now, having a page allows you to extend that reach further – you can pay for “sponsored stories”, similar to an ad, you can increase the reach of that word-of-mouth and give it more weight to those that may not have necessarily seen or paid attention to the glowing review.

Insight – A huge benefit for having a Facebook page is Facebook’s built in analytics system that measures engagement to your page. You’ll be able to track, for example, how many likes you get a day. What posts are the most engaging? Has your engagement dropped from last month? Did a campaign increase engagement? By how much? Facebook’s API allows access to their data and can be used for different types of analytics integration, including Google Analytics Social Engagement measurement. Though the system can be improved (there are limits on what you can segment. Also, the definition of metrics like “likes” are too ambiguous – do you mean I got 10 likes to posts today or 10 likes to my page?), this is great for a general idea of what activity is happening on your page.

facebook insights

Cons (Limits of Fan Pages)

Inbound Fans Only?! While this is great from a consumer’s perspective – limiting spam requests – for marketers, it’s …well … limiting. Your market has to come to you. Similar to the “Opt In” vs. “Opt Out” email subscription discussion, while “Opt In” will get you more qualified leads and less unsubscribes, it also means you have to be a lot more creative in enticing prospects to sign up. You have a similar challenge here – businesses now have to come up with engaging content and promotions to make it of value for users to “Like” their page. While this has its benefits, it doesn’t make life any easier for increasing your membership.

Wall Updates don’t reach all your fans. With Facebook’s new EdgeRank algorithm, only posts relevant to users will appear in their feed (based on how often they interact with you page, how much engagement your posts get, etc.). It becomes the chicken-and-egg – no one will see your post if it’s not attention worthy, but then how can it get attention if no one sees it?! If your page is new or took a break for a little while, and people stopped visiting, your 1000+ fans you worked so hard to acquire may not even see any of your wall updates.

“Updates” page don’t trigger a “red” notification. There is a way to send notification-type messages called “updates” via your page. However, these do not trigger an update like regular Facebook inbox messages do. The fall into an “others” bucket, and may not be read right away, or if you’re like me, I don’t even read the “others” bucket at all. While this was meant to reduce spam interaction by putting all the “business” type messages in one bucket, I would even argue that this is more detrimental to consumers. They willingly wanted to get updates from these pages, and because of this, they may miss things they were interested in.

facebook red notifications

Unable to invite members to an event. While you can create an event under your page, you are unable to send invites to members of the page (though you can send invites to friends of your profile to that event). That means it will not show up in your members’ profiles under events (unless they willingly make the effort to find your event and attend). Thus, if your guests aren’t engaged with your page, very few may notice the event.

Unable to message event guests. If you do manage to get guests to your event, if the event was created under your page, the “Message Guests” feature will not be an available function. Instead, “Update Fans of Your page” is available, which means you can send a non-notification updates about your event, but to all your page members, not event guests.

message guests in facebook

While having consistently engaging content on your page is the standard way to engage your members and will eventually increase your membership, sometimes, you need a boost! The limits on Facebook page functions sometimes hinder this. In our next post, we’ll go through some “guerilla” viral tactics that use functions (events and messaging) that are available to your profile, your friends’ profiles, and your page, to maximize notification and engagement.

 

Aug 04
2011

One of the unique features of Google+ is the ability to edit comments and posts. In Facebook, if you misspell a word in your comment or status update, the only way to fix it is to delete the entire post and rewrite it.

PRO

With the “edit” feature in Google+, it does not matter how many errors you make, because you always have the ability to go back and correct them.

CON

There exists the ability to edit/change thoughts on a conversation after comments have already been posted. This could possibly lead to misleading situations.

Take the following scenario: I start a discussion on a certain topic and after people have engaged in the conversation I change the existing subject all together and without notifying the participants.

Here is a Google+ update I posted today to my work circle:

After I got few answers to my question, I changed the question to how I like to see it :)

In reality this change of context does not happen in human interactions without the awareness of all participants…unless you were interviewed by an unfair news station and when later watching your interview you realize that it was butchered and only passages were aired taking everything out of context.

Request to the Google+ team:

To be fair and accurate to all participants and readers, comments should always be attached to the original topic they’ve posted under/replied to; whether they were a reply to an original post or to someone’s comment. Once a preceding piece was edited all those who commented should be notified of the change and have the ability to approve, delete or change their reply based on the alteration to the original topic.

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May 04
2011

I just attended this webinar hosted by HubSpot, called, How to Benefit from Facebook 2011 Updates. They began by introducing the new features that were added on Facebook in 2011, then went straight into question and answer session. Advertising on Facebook has been around for sometime now but people are finally starting to figure out how it works and how to put it to good use to help benefit their businesses.

What’s New on Facebook

  • Send Button – it’s a selective Like button. It counts in the Like total on your page as well, and can be delivered as a Facebook Message or on a group wall.
  • Deals is still in test mode and is only available in 5 cities. But the point is that it will get groups of friends to discover the business by sending out deals with no upfront costs.

What benefits can I get from using iFrames on my page?

iFrames are frames that allow a visual HTML Browser window to be split into segments. Ultimately by introducing iFrames into Facebook pages, companies are now able to brand their pages.

  • Now you can use styles on Facebook as you use it on your website, this is great for branding your company.
  • You can also track page views using Google Analytics
  • Google Website Optimizer – is now available to be used on the tab pages.
  • Links can open within the iFrame as if you are on your website. For example, you can have a whole cart process within an iFrame and NOT leave Facebook at ALL.
  • If you want to know how to set up an iFrame on your Facebook check out Hubspot’s blog post on “How to Set up a Facebook Custom iFrame Landing Page Application.” You can also download for FREE “The Facebook Marketing Update – Spring 2011” E-Book which includes a step by step process of setting up iFrames for your custom facebook pages.

Can you use photos and videos as marketing?

  • Photos and videos are much more visible on the news feed because they take up space, so this would be a smart technique to attract attention from your fans.
  • Also, keep in mind that videos are much more engaging than pictures because fans will more likely click play and tune in than Like an image.
  • Tip: Turn images into Call to Actions to see what kind of interaction you may receive.
  • And now with Google Website Optimizer, you can test videos and photos to see what interests people more.

What to do about Negative comments?

  • Don’t ignore negative comments, that will only make things worse.
  • Address the comment and take it offline.
  • Suggestion: Have a customer care person who is not the same person updating the facebook page to address negative feedback to try to assess and fix the issue.

When is the best time to post?

  • It depends on your audience, no one set rule for everyone, it just depends on the kind of site you have. Keep in mind, if they are across the world, they won’t necessarily see the post because of the time difference. By the time people get to the post it may be buried, so if your target base is in another country across the world, make sure to post in their waking hours.
  • Keep involved but don’t over do it.

Which brand is doing Facebook advertising best?

  • Audi – more engaging than Justin Bieber – they have 3.5 Million fans. This is because there is a lot of interaction and discussion. By answering comments and engaging users, they have gained a heavy fan base.
  • Mail Chimp also has a lot of interaction and comments. They have a human element by commenting, it’s not just a faceless brand.
  • Retail sites are hard to get engagements but Sephora does it well
    • Fans talk to each other about products and advice on which product works best.

The webinar was based off of the FREE HubSpot E-book, “The Facebook Marketing Update – Spring 2011

Follow @HubSpot‘s hashtag #FB2011 to see what others are tweeting about today’s webinar!

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Apr 26
2011

I’m a big fan of our local farmers’ market. The market offers a huge variety of fresh locally grown produce, dairy products, flowers, fresh baked goods, honey and more.

While most of the products offered in the farmers’ market are available in grocery stores in a more presentable way and even at cheaper prices sometimes, people love to shop at the farmers’ market for the social aspect. My family and I love to go there to meet our community and to support our local farmers and vendors.

My kids go around and try every sample, my wife talks to different vendors about their products and recipes and I network with my friends and neighbors.

The farmers’ market provides a unique environment hardly found in grocery stores. (I’m not suggesting that either business model is more important; both serve consumers differently.)

The uniqueness of farmers’ markets in enhancing social interaction is similar to expanding social media sites, as compared to regular brand websites, in the online sphere.

Unfortunately, most businesses have not grasped the idea of social networking! Many still deal with social media as another advertisement platform rather than a unique interactive platform. Businesses/organizations treat social media pages as an extension to their main website rather a completely different platform of communication with clients.

Businesses need to know that by participating in social media that they are no longer the hosts but visitors; audiences are now leading the conversation. Businesses need to respect the evolving culture and ethics of social media and adapt to the language and habits of their audience. This shift in mindset might sound scary but I strongly encourage businesses to better engage their audience.

In the past, businesses were limited in online marketing by the number of visitors vising their sites. Today, the game has changed and the number of potential audiences can be multiplied if businesses adapt and follow the new rules of social media.

What internet users think of social media
First, we need to understand what internet users think of social media. According to a study done in 2011 by the IBM Institute for Business Value, 70 percent of consumers go to social media sites to “connect with network of friends and family” while only 23 percent noted that they go to social media sites to “interact with brands.”

What marketers should think of social media
In my humble opinion, online marketers should ask themselves: How can I make the 70% of consumers who go to social media sites to connect with their networks see the real value of my product/service and talk about it?

Achieving an effective social media presence:

Because there is no one solution, each company must apply the strategies that best optimize their business model. Here are some general best practices for how to go social and reach larger audiences:

  1. Strategy

  2. Create a concrete plan for going social. This includes:
    - Defining your business and social objectives
    - Defining your target audience
    - Deciding on the relevant social content [not just “offers”] and needs of the community
    - Defining the engagement elements
    - Deciding on the committed financial and human resources

  3. Selecting the right social media platform

  4. Once you successfully outline your social strategy and the value it will add to your potential target audience, select the most appropriate social media technology to help achieve your social goals.

    A big mistake many companies make in the selection process is starting their campaign via Facebook and/orTwitter. Remember, although very popular, these are not the only social platforms available on the web. Because of the huge success these two platforms for personal accounts, many businesses assume it will be just as successful for their business needs!

    Let us take the “Google Analytics” as a brand example and attempt to measure how people talk about the brand in the social media. While there may be thousands of Facebook users who use Google Analytics on their personal and corporate sites, it is less likely that these users discuss web analytics when logging into Facebook pages. Instead, LinkedIn might be the more appropriate platform for Google to invest their social media efforts in for this specific product.

    Here are some media platforms to consider: Blogs, Photo Sharing [Flicker, Picasa], Video Sharing [YouTube, Vimeo], Podcasts, Social Networking [Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn], Wikis.

  5. Give to get

  6. Social media is for social interaction and with that interaction, users expect to get something in return [new friends, news, knowledge, entertainment, reviews,..], just like my family and I hope to get at our local farmers’ market :)

    Companies need to think of different ways to add value to their audience’s experience by interacting with them through social media before expecting anything in return.

  7. Overcome your fears

  8. We all have a fear of being publicly criticized especially because social media provides a platform for unhappy customers to easily express their opinion. While to some extent I share this concern, we must realize that our brand lies in the hands of consumers as social media slowly takes control over information circulation.

    Businesses need to take an active role in shaping the image of their brands by carefully listening to and participating in the conversation about their brands. These conversations will help businesses improve their products and services and provide more relevant solutions to the world.

    One of the best recent examples of participatory branding is by Domino’s Pizza. The company dedicated an entire campaign to address their shortcomings by seeking customers feedback.

    The “Pizza Turnaround” campaign used social media, along with other means, to deliver a clear message to their customers: we’re listening to you. In response, consumers were very honest and didn’t hesitate to express their opinion about Domino’s Pizza (some blunt critiques included: “pizza crust to me is like cardboard”, “totally void of flavor” and “the sauce tastes like ketchup”)

    Domino’s has since been improving their recipes. Though I have never had a slice, and thus cannot confirm or deny their claim, I am impressed by their courageous and frank approach.

  9. Dedicate resources

  10. First you need executive buy-in; successful social media marketing requires integrating social media with the culture of the organization. Without the buy-in of the leadership of the organization, it is very hard for marketers to get the human and financial resources to truly go social.

    In the 2008 presidential race, we witnessed an unprecedented social media movement. Because of the clear vision and understanding of Obama and his team, the digital campaign team was empowered and well equipped to utilize social media tools and reach a large segment of society who would have been hard to reach otherwise.

    The Obama administration continues to pay attention to social media by dedicating valuable resources to social campaigns. This can be seen in their consistent communication with the public through weekly addresses on YouTube, administration updates on Twitter, events photos on Flicker and supporter recruitment on Facebook. Obama even formally announced his re-election in an online video!

    Ironically, while writing this post, I received a tweet reminding me about the live Facebook town hall with President Obama. (Yes, I was listening to Mr. President while writing this post :)

  11. Fan participation

  12. As businesses/organizations evolve their social media efforts and their social media fan base increases, businesses/organizations need to facilitate and encourage fan participation in marketing campaign creation. If fans feel they are trusted and given ownership of these social platforms, they can be very helpful in achieving the businesses’ social media goals.

    In July 2010, Old Spice came up with a very creative idea to market their new brand of shower gel. They created 180 personalized videos, released them over 3 days, in which they responded directly to fan and celebrity comments.

    Regardless of whether Old Spice sales increased, the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign was the biggest social media buzz ever created for a brand. The company credits this success to audience participation and involvement. The graph below shows the rise in Google searches for “Old Spice” during and after the campaign, which confirms the success of the campaign in increasing interest around the brand.

Finally: Measure and optimize

Like any other campaign, you need to know how social media campaigns are helping in achieving your business goals. Number of fans, followers, and visitors don’t tell much, if any. You need a more robust mechanism to measure the involvement of targeted users with your brand, product or service.

Here are few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) just to give you an idea in what to look for:

  • Volume of social media mentions
  • Visitor loyalty
  • Sales/conversion by social campaign
  • Improved search engine ranking
  • Number of advocates
  • Number of customer service issues solved by social interactions
  • Number of reviews and feedback

Go social!

Share with us your own best practices and thoughts by dropping a comment below or connecting with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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