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?
With Facebook’s announcement of changes to the New Feed, the first question we heard in meetings was “how will this affect our page?”
Our response? Great question.
As of right now, thanks to the infograph from ShortStack, here are a few changes you can expect for your business page.
1. Sharing will be important. A feature called spotlight will showcase your Page’s most shared posts.
2. Profile and Cover photos. Whenever someone new likes your Page, your profile image and cover photo will show in the new feed. Good opportunities here. But don’t over do it with the text in your cover “photo”. Please.
3. You’re kind of hidden.There will be a “following” feed for fans to access news from Pages they like. FYI average Facebook users will rarely use this feature which already exists now. Expect engagement to drop a bit.
4. App integration will show larger complete images of what your fans like.
While this is a pretty short list, we’ll be sure to keep you updated as we get our hands on the updated News Feed.
You can download the PDF here at Short Stack.
With it’s latest update Foursquare has added tap and hold check-ins to allow users to quickly check-in. With each update Foursquare looks to be working towards simplifying the check in process so you can get back to your date or night out with friends.
How it works
When you tap the check in button and see a list of places, just press and hold the place you’re at. You’ll see a green bar glide across the top of the screen and that’s it, you’re checked in. How cool is that? The instant check in.
TIP: You can also long press the blue button at the top of the screen when the app opens.
What about Photos?
For those who are a bit old-fashioned you still have the ability to check in the old way. Nothing changes here, add a photo, some text, tag your friends.
I like how Foursquare is making it easier to check in. The new feature is a great example of increasing the quality of user experience by reducing the number of steps the user is required to complete a goal.
You have a fabulous idea for an online business. You’ve done your due diligence by researching the need, target market, and even had the “talk”. You know, the “if only 10 people buy per day, that’s like and extra $2 grand a month” talk.
If only it were that easy.
Build It and They Will Come
Unless blessed already large, built in customer base, launching a website will generally get you crickets (nada). Simply putting up a website these days is not enough. If you want to increase your exposure, you’ve got some work to do.
Search Engine Marketing
Different than Search Engine Optimization (SEO), search engine marketing is the process of buying digital advertising for the sole purpose of driving traffic. Works wonders when you’re just starting out. You can serve relevant targeted ads based on location. For example I could target someone searching for “SEO Services” within 20 miles of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This would show my ad to anyone typing that search into Google, Yahoo, or Bing (if that’s where I advertise). Just be sure to set a budget. SEM can get extremely expensive if you dont’ watch it carefully.
Search Engine Optimization
If you’re going to do Search Engine Marketing, it’s important to know that SEO (search engine optimization) plays a role in the cost of advertising. The more optimized your landing page (the place people land when they click you ad) the lower your overall
cost per click will be. An example: A page on your site sells manly man soap. You decide to serve up ads for anyone searching your competitor. Nothing illegal about it, although this will cost your more on average than if you targeted individuals searching “manly man soap”.
Also make sure that the pages of your website are optimized. Does every page have a title? Keywords? Description? You can check by right clicking the mouse and selecting “view source” (See image below. It’s missing keywords and description)
Social Media Marketing
Social media has come a long way since the early days. Companies now understand that less is more. You already know your target market, now figure out where they spend their time online. This could be forums, Twitter, Facebook, a blog, all of the above or or a combination of a few.
It’s really easy to get lazy here. Don’t just follow random people. Be intentional. Follow people in your area. In your target market. While it takes time in the beginning. You WILL reap the benefit in the long haul.
Did we miss anything?
I’m pretty sure the fact that I use forums may date me. But they are a useful tool when it comes to business.
I like to think as forums as on of the original social networks. You could come together with like-minded individuals for some pretty in-depth conversations.
forums plural of fo∙rum (none) 1. A meeting or medium where ideas and view on a particular issue can be exchanged. 2. An internet message board
1. Forums are Niche
Sure there are forums that are wide reaching, but the majority of forums are specific to an industry, topic (photography, motherhood, business), group. Which leads us to:
2. Get backlinks from relevant websites
Getting back links is good for Search Engine Optimization. One advantage to being a forum member is the ability to create a signature that links back to your website. There may also be a minimum requirement of posts before you can add a signature. Each forum is different. Some have a no-follow rule (tells Google not to follow the link), you’ll need to check the forums terms of service to see how they handle back-links.
3. Pick a Good Username
Try to avoid names like PinkyStar8047. Especially if it’s a business forum. Consider using your business or your real name. And be sure to add an avatar. Other users are more likely to interact with you vs. a logo. That being said, a logo is still fine just make sure you take the time to re-size it and that it identifies with your brand.
4. Introduce Yourself
Most forums have a thread that allows you to introduce yourself to the other members. Take advantage of this as the more active members will generally take the time to welcome you. Let them know what that your goal is to contribute to the community. Don’t try to sell anything here. It will get you banned.
5. Observe the Natives
Don’t be “that guy”, the one who jumps in to a conversation simply to get several posts so you can add your signature. See how the other members interact with one another to better understand the community you joined. It will help you figure out who the influential members are and allow you to fit in faster.
6. Give to get
Don’t just be a lurker. The more involved you are the better the community is as a whole. You get to build relationships all while promoting your business. Win/Win.
When you’re ready to make the leap look for forums that are active or overrun with spam. Of note: Try to avoid one hosted by a competitor. Even if you decide not to do the whole forum marketing thing, forums are worth considering for market research. You can find a wealth of information ranging from customer satisfaction to areas in the marketplace that need to be filled.
Facebook search has left a lot to be desired. To be honest, it was just plain awful and at times frustrating to use. All of that changed when Facebook announced the addition of Graph Search. What is Graph Search? According to Facebook it’s a new search feature that allows users to discover people, places, and things on Facebook.
This is great for local business because if you’re a Page or place, you and the content you share can appear in search results based on the information you have shared.
So if you’re a local business who has been active on Facebook with an abundance of content and fans you’re sitting in a good spot right now. If not, you have some work to do.
Here are five things you need to know about Facebook Graph Search:
1. Make sure your Place or Page is up to date.
This includes your name, categories, vanity url, and any information you’ve placed in the About section (address, phone number, etc). Facebook uses this information to help users find your business.
2. Be Engaging
This is a rule that never changes. Facebook has rewarded those pages who have the most engaged fans by showing them more often in the news feed. Nothing has changed here when it comes to search. Results will be ordered based on the strength of a users relationship. Places and pages that are most popular with a persons friends and connections will show first.
3. Photo Resolution is Larger
Be sure to upload at least a 620×620 pixel resolution profile photo. Don’t be lazy here by simply uploading your logo. Take the 10 minutes to customize it size. This will be one of the first impressions those searching will have of your business.
4. Share Photos and Videos
Photos tend to have a good shelf life on Facebook. What you share on your page will be available for photo and video-related searches.
5. There is no time like the present
Facebook started rolling out the Graph Search on January 15th to a small set of users so you have time to get things together. As with most things, those that do the work will be rewarded.
Are you ready?
The first step in utilizing social media for manufacturing is determining if social media makes sense for your business. I’m not entirely convinced that social media marketing makes sense for every business.
At it’s most basic form, social media is simply having a conversation online and can take shape in many different ways. Interestingly, most companies jump on Facebook and Twitter completely missing out on other opportunities. Having a presence on these to social networks doesn’t guarantee success.
Here are some basic steps for developing a social media strategy for manufacturing:
1. Start with the end in mind
What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to reach new customers? Existing? Will you be promoting a new product or service? Choose one. It can be difficult to be all thing to all people.
2. Where are you customers?
Where do your customers spend their time online? If it isn’t Facebook or Twitter, figure out where the conversations are taking place.
If all you do is promote and share links, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to “network”. After all there is a reason why it’s called “social networking”. Tools like search.twitter.com, Social Mention, and even Google search can give you real-time insights to what those in your industry are talking about.
Especially in forums. Forums are a great way for you to do market research, understand frustrations within your industry, and connect with those USING your product. There are some excellent forums for the manufacturing industry. Look for ways to engage. Think about joining a Twitter chat. #MFGchat is a bi-weekly chat for the manufacturing industry. A great opportunity to have one on one interaction.
A great way to connect with customers is by just jumping in. It’s like a big networking event, those who already know each other will be having a conversation and you have to find a pleasant way to jump in, but be careful, online communities don’t take kindly to spam.
Are you seeing results from your involvement in social media? Know what metrics you should be evaluating. You’ll be able to figure this out based on Number 1. Start with the end in mind. If it’s about making new connections, were you able to convert those online connections into real world meetings? If you’re trying to grow you newsletter, how many new subscribers came as a result?
If you’re a manufacturing company, how are you implementing social media into your business?
Social media for Insurance Agents. A regulated industry with do and don’ts to make your head spin. How does an insurance agent/agency even begin to take advantage of the social media options available? Should insurance agents take part in social media?
Social media/networking gives you the ability to connect with existing clients and prospective clients in a way that traditional media does not. It creates dialogue.
Social networking goes beyond Facebook and Twitter. While these are great networks for engagement and we’ll discuss, there are some other areas that offer a great return on your efforts.
1. Blogging – builds your website content and keeps your website fresh and up to date.
- Adding a blog to your existing website gives you the opportunity to write relevant content based on your audience.
- Create a section dedicated entirely to FAQ (frequently asked questions).
- Once a week address a FAQ on your blog. If you’ve been in the industry for a while this shouldn’t be hard to do.
2. Twitter – A great way to connect with other agent and build back links to your website
- Use Twitter to connect with other insurance agents/agencies.
- Use Twitter to share content created on your website.
- Participate in industry specific Twitter chats (held once a week/bi-weekly/monthly). Twitter Chat Schedule
- Connect with local Twitter users
- Answer industry specific questions
3. Forums – Find a non-insurance related forum and become the part of the community. Actively participate in discussions. This takes time as regular forum users are highly protective and treat spam harshly and quickly.
- Learn what people are talking about related to insurance issues
- Answer industry specific questions
- Market research the frustrations related to insurance
- Creates dialogue with potential clients
- Builds back-links to your website
- Sets you apart
4. Facebook – Facebook is the starting point on the web first thing in the morning for plenty of users.
- Connect with existing clients.
- Share content relevant to them.
- Avoid industry lingo and focus on relevant content that encourages dialogue.
- Create a simple welcome tab. Make it the default landing page.
- Interact with your fans.
5. YouTube – Video is a great way to connect visually
- Create short engaging video
- Think “less commercial” and more “value”. What usable information can they take away?
- Be creative – don’t be afraid to bring in an outsider to help
- Client testimonials, introduction to staff integrated on your website
- Keyword optimize.
5. Google Places – The percentage of smart phones continues to rise. This means local search is becoming increasingly important.
- Create/Claim your Google Places profile.
- Integrate your profiles, pictures, and video.
- Tag your profile based on industry.
These are just a few suggestions to get your started on Social Media with a touch of digital marketing. Both should be integrated into a traditional marketing strategy, not as a replacement.
How have you integrated social media and digital marketing into your insurance agency?