The Arms Race to capture the most Likes on Facebook has been a complete failure. In fact, starting in January, Facebook is cutting down unpaid promotional material in user news feeds that businesses have posted as status updates (source). This announcement is Facebook’s way of saying that rent is due and it’s time to pay up. If you want your followers to see your promotional posts in 2015, you better set budget aside for Paid Social.
What comes to mind when you think about Pinterest? Brides pinning wedding dresses. Parents- to- be pinning organic baby food recipes. Moms pinning how to have the most organized dream home while maintaining a full-time job. And then feeling like a failure because that is unattainable.
AWRF Social Media Presentation 2013
When social media first arrived on the scene companies were scrambling trying to figure out how to take advantage of this new medium. While others were asking the question, “why should I bother? Especially when all people do is share pictures of what they had for dinner or their kids back to school pictures.”
What we forget is that social media is really nothing new. It’s something we’ve done since the days of AOL, America Online. Don’t you remember the 500 hour free cds and usernames like Kitty 902010? It’s really just a fancy way of describing how we communicate on the internet.
We know that Social Media isn’t going away. It’s the #1 activity on the web and when we pull out our cell phones, 91% of us are using them for social media related activities.
Here is a great example of the larger role mobile plays in our day to day lives. This is a picture of St. Peters Square in 2005. Nothing really to write home about. Fast forward to 2013 and you’ll notice nearly every person has a mobile device to capture the moment. But they aren’t just capturing the moment for their personal collection. They are sharing the moment in real-time on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. It’s what we call the real-time web.
So as business owners how do we take advantage of social media? With all that we have going on where do we start?
It begins with your website. Think of your website as your hub. Everything that you do should revolve around getting traffic back to your website. Facebook is not your website. Your activities on social media are the spokes that drive traffic back to your site.
Now if it’s been a little while since you’ve updated your website it may be time for a makeover. Sure we get busy, but we need to think of our website as our business card on the web. It’s the first impression we give when someone is researching our company. And with keeping mobile in mind it’s even more important that we take a mobile first stance to our design. What we like to call responsive. Responsive design allows your website to resize to fit whatever device someone may be using whether it be an iPhone, tablet, or desktop computer.
An example of recent redesign is the AWRF.org website. We wanted to put the social icons at the top for a couple of reasons. Number one was to share with people where they can find and two to let the search engines know what social media sites are connected to us. This way when someone searches out your company Google can return the social media sites as relevant results.
We also added an image that would quickly give a visitor an idea of what the website was about. You have roughly five seconds when someone visits your website to before they give up and leave.
Finally we made sure to have a clear call to action telling the visitor what we wanted them to do. All of these items were above the fold. Meaning when you visit from a desktop you can see all three items.
Now that we have our website in order we need a way to measure our efforts. It doesn’t make sense to put in all the work without understanding the return. One of my favorite tools is Google Analytics. Mostly because it’s free but also because it gives you great insights to how people are visiting your website and if the content you are sharing is working.
You can see how many people have visited your website. What country, state or city they came from. The amount of time they’ve spent on your site. All of this data will help you to understand how people are using your website. Don’t trust my word on going mobile, let the data guide you.
So we have our website in order and a way to measure our efforts. How do we choose a social network? It starts with connecting the dots with our traditional marketing goals. Who are the people we are trying to reach? Where do they spend their time? With over 200 social networks it can be overwhelming. Don’t forget forums they are great for niche communities and discovering conversations that can’t be found on more traditional networks.
Let’s talk a bit about blogging. Blogs are great way to easily update your static websites. For those who are a bit leary about the pressure to update often because of the name blog can name it something like news.
What are some of the things you can talk about? Stories of employees volunteering or doing good in the community. An employee spotlight. Share your company milestones. Customer stories and testimonials are great options. What about your frequently asked questions. Certainly you have customers that reach out with same questions over and over. Make them short blog posts. Blogs are a gift that keep on giving. Long after you’ve written a post you’ll reap the rewards of that content.
I’ve listed a few blogging platforms although my favorite is WordPress. It’s simple to update. If you can use Microsoft Word, you can use WordPress. Talk with the guys in your IT department about implementation.
As business owners you certainly wear lots of hats. Finding time to manage social media and digital marketing may be one hat too many. Where do you find the time? It’s a team effort. Look for subject matter experts within your organization that can contribute on a regular basis. Find employees that are active on social media. But make sure you put a social media policy in place to guide them on what is acceptable. What works for their personal Facebook account isn’t always what’s best for a corporate account. And be sure to make it a habit. Check your accounts first thing in the morning. Get in a routine.
Now that you have some pieces in place it is extremely important to listen. If you’re going to be involved you need to participate. This means knowing when a question has been posted about your company. Don’t let it sit for 2 or 3 days. Answer the question. You’ll know it’s out there if you take the time to listen and monitor your accounts.
I’ve listed a few tools to help manage your social media efforts. All of them are cloud based tools to allow you to manage from multiple devices from any location with internet access. Be sure to check out Bit.ly. It allows you to take a really long URL and make it tiny. You also have the ability to track where clicks are coming from and where your links are being shared.
Be sure to reach out if you have any questions. There are a couple more slides with additional tools and an example of how search engines return social media channels in search results.
The purchase at it’s initial value was the largest acquisition of a venture capital-backed consumer web company since Zappos was purchased by Amazon for 1.22 billion in 2009 (source).
Was it over-valued? Perhaps. As Facebook has yet to make any money from the purchase of Instagram.
With the anniversary of the announcement we thought it would be fun to put together a 13 things for 2013 on Instagram. Enjoy.
Instagram Launch Date: October 2010 (source)
In our research we stumbled across a tool for tracking your own Instagram numbers: Statigr.am http://statigr.am/instagram-statistics
Now go be social.
How did it work before
When you had a super busy thread you had to reply to a comment with a comment. This would be further down the thread and it was never readily apparent whom you were responding to.
How it works now
Now you have the ability to reply directly to the comment similar to what you see on blogs. We like to call them “conversation threads”. The most active comments will rise to the top of the discussion and comments marked as spam are moved to the bottom.
According to Facebook replies will make it easier to respond to people who have commented on your page. You can reply to a specific comment by clicking Reply under someone else’s comment. The replies are shown blew the comment, so it’s clear who’s responding to which comment.
When will you have it?
Currently you have the option to turn this feature on, you should see a notification when you visit your Facebook page. It will be turned out automatically for pages and profiles with more than 10,000 followers on Monday. It will be turned on for all pages by July 10.
What do you think of the new feature?
Facebook Likes. We want ’em. We need ’em. We pay for ’em.
I noticed a recent feature on Facebook asking page admins if they would like to get more likes. If you admin a page you’ll find it on the left hand side. It replaces the section that showed the most recent person to like your page. [UPDATE] Promoting your Page from the admin panel is only available to Pages with locations and a profile picture. [/UPDATE]
Similar to promoted posts, it’s Facebook’s way of making the advertising process easier to start. Page admins don’t have to fuss with the Facebook Advertising Dashboard or the hassle of creating an actual campaign.
Let’s take a look at how it works.
Facebook gives you the option of setting a daily budget between $5 – $100 per day (image right). To the right of the price is an estimate of how many likes the page should get. As you can see a $100 per day should net you between 43-391 likes per day. Your mileage may vary depending on your page and it’s existing fan base.
Where do the Ads Show?
Your ads will start showing in the new feed or on the right side of Facebook with a link that encourages them to like your page. They ads may appear on mobile or desktop and run until you end the promotion.
What Type of Ads?
People will start seeing ads in their news feeds or on the right side of Facebook with a link that encourages them to like your Page. These ads may appear on mobile or desktop and will run until you stop your promotion.
Who Sees my Ad?
Your pages ad can be targeted to people located near your business. You can choose from your business’s city, state or country.
I’m thinking this will prompt me to write a post about targeting ads on Facebook. I’ll also post some results as we’re testing the feature now (see bottom photo)
Have you noticed this new advertising option on Facebook? What do you think is it worth it?
Twitter has been around for 7 years now. It’s weird to say “I remember when” when it comes to something like Twitter. As different as it is today from it’s original concept, Twitter has changed the way many of us communicate and share information.
In honor of Twitter’s 7th Birthday here are 10 Things Business Should Know About Twitter (2013) Edition:
1. Twitter sees 400 million tweets per day (2012 saw 340 million) Source
2. 55% of Twitter users are female Source
3. 36 minutes is the average amount of time spent on Twitter Source
4. Twitter has 500 million registered users. 140 million are in the US. Source
5. 28% of African American use Twitter. 13% use Twitter daily (technically 2 stats but…) Source
6. 16% of Internet users say they use Twitter Source
7. Mobile users are 78% more likely to Retweet a brand Source
8. 1 in 3 Twitter users tweet about TV Source
9. 3 out of 10 people watch a TV show after discovering it on Twitter Source
10. 39% of users exposed to a retailers tweet made a purchase Source
I joined Twitter in December of 2008 as @3sixteenweb (now @bjstrawter). My life has never been the same. Here is my first tweet:
early to rise today, must have coffee
— Billy Strawter Jr (@bjstrawter) December 10, 2008
Do you remember what your first tweet was?
Now that you having a basic understanding of a Facebook page vs. a Personal Profile, it’s time to look at customizing your page.
Facebook gives you the ability to:
- Add custom apps
- Customize App Photos
- Add a Cover Photo
- Change your profile picture
- Change the information in your About section
Custom Apps and Custom App Photos
There are plenty of tutorials on adding custom apps, do a Google search and you’ll certainly find a plethora of selections. Adding a custom app for Twitter or blogs posts is fairly straight forward so we won’t cover that here. You do however have the ability to swap out the default image for apps. You can also swap app positions.
1. Hover over the app
2. Click on the pencil at the top right
3. Select “Edit Settings”
4. Select “Change” on Custom Tab Image
5. Upload new Image
6. Give Custom Tab a Name
7. Save (all done!)
The default size for cover photos is 399 pixels wide. Your image at minimum needs to be this size. The dimensions for cover photos are 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall. You’ll may also get better quality by using a PNG file.
If your image is smaller than the dimensions listed it will get stretched to the appropriate size which can have an effect on quality. You’ll also have the option of re-positioning photos if they are larger than the default size.
1. Go to your page
2. Hover over your cover
3. Click the pencil at the bottom righ of your cover
4. Pick on of the options from the pop-up menu
5. Save your changes
Profile photo’s are important not just because it’s the first thing that visitors see, it’s also what show’s in the newsfeed every time you make a new post. Make sure you adjust your design accordingly. Profile photo dimensions are 160 pixels by 160 pixels.
Customizing the About Section Under your Profile Picture
You can edit the about section anytime you like, however, you cannot choose what fields are displayed there. It varies depending on what type of page (category) you have. An example would be a restaurant will show price range, address and phone number while an musicians page shows the About field of the Page’s basic information.
When getting started with Facebook for business it’s important to understand the difference between a Facebook page vs. Personal Profiles.
Some business either from lack of understanding or purposefully create personal profiles for their business. Creating a personal profile for a business is against the Facebook terms of service.
[o_list][li]Timelines are for individual, non-commercial use. [/li] [li]Timelines represent individual people and must be held under an individual name. [/li] [li]You can follow Timelines to see public updates of people you’re interested in but aren’t friends with.[/li] [/o_list]
[o_list][li]Pages look similar to personal timelines, but they offer unique tools for connecting people to a topic you care about, like a business, brand, organization or celebrity. [/li] [li]Pages are managed by admins who have personal timelines[/li] [li]Pages are not separate Facebook accounts and do not have separate login information from your timeline.[/li] [li]Pages provide insights to help admins understand how people are interacting with the Page. [/li] [li]You can like a Page to see updates in your news feed about brands you care about.[/li] [/o_list]
What’s the Big Deal?
Opting for Personal Profile vs. a Facebook page may quickly allow you to garner friends, but be warned, Facebook has been known to completely delete profiles that are against the Facebook Term of Service. You’ll lose all of your pictures, posts, and friends in the process. All the hard work is gone. We know this to be true because it happened to a client prior to coming on board with us. 3,000+ friends gone.
Why do people do it?
Building a following isn’t easy. By using a personal profile companies send out mass friend request. It’s an attempt to get around the need to run ads or actually engage to build a page.
I’m Guilty What do I Need to Do?
First things first, you admitted it. Now you can go about making things right. You’ll need to convert your personal page to a Facebook page. Facebook will transfer your current profile picture and add all your friends and followers as people who like your page. You account username will become the username of the page. You’ll have the option to create a new page name if you like.
No other content (images, videos, etc) will be carried over, so make sure you download your Facebook history. From here you’ll be able to rebuild your page (contact us if you need help doing this).
Beware, once you convert your personal account to a Facebook you cannot reverse it. So it’s extremely important that you remember to download your history.
I’m Creating my First Page. Where do I go?
You want to start out right by visiting the Create a Page section on Facebook.
Foursquare continues to roll out the updates. First they updated the mobile app, now they’ve added Foursquare City Pages. Using data from the 3 billion check ins Foursquare has created “city pages” for hundreds of cities worldwide. Locally they’ve created city pages for:
The pages are well put together, listing the top rated places broken down by categories of Food, Nightlife, Things to Do, and Top Sights and Landmarks. Each section is then broken down further into types of restaurants (American, Breweries) or bar (lounges, dive).
Specials and Events
Another added feature is a list of places with Foursquare specials. At a glance you see what business are offering specials in your area. Events are nicely listed underneath and it looks as if there is some integration with 3rd party software here as well.
It looks as if Foursquare is building off it’s Best of Guide from 2012. You may remember seeing the page for the Metro Detroit Area.
Not sure what the plans are for mobile as the page doesn’t seem to be optimized (responsive) for different screen sizes. In the meantime it’s perfect for travelers and first time visitors to the cities listed.
What do you think of the new pages?