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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook marketing’

Will Facebook’s New Nearby Friends Feature impact Your Business?

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Facebook has announced a new feature that allows users to make their location visible to their friends and in turn, see where their friends are. The goal behind the new Nearby Friends feature, according to Facebook, is to foster more in-person communication and interaction and to spark online conversations about places.

The feature is optional and users can turn it on or off. They can also control exactly who can see their location and even set time limits for their visibility. The idea is that as people use Facebook from their smartphones while they are on the go, they can meet up with friends who happen to be in the same area. Users can also give recommendations for restaurants, shops and other sites when they see their friends are in a specific neighbourhood.

When the feature is activated on Facebook’s mobile app, users will be able to see the locations of their friends on a map, so finding friends is very easy. Nearby Friends will become available to users in the United States first in the coming weeks, and then it’s likely that all users will have access to it soon after.

Nearby Friends and Your Business

So, will this new feature impact your business? It has the potential to, but the question is how will you leverage it?

To use Nearby Friends, you’ll need to encourage organic interaction. You can’t set up a page, activate the feature for your audience or even actively use it in a way that benefits your business. What you can do is be aware that your market may be more inclined to talk about your brick-and-mortar locations on Facebook if they use the feature.

Also remember that friends are extremely influential and their opinions often mean more to people than messages and tactics from your business. For example, some people may be more easily swayed by a friend who sees they are in the same neighbourhood as your shop and recommends it than they will be by your own Facebook posts.

Keep in mind that not all of your potential customers, if any, are following you on Facebook. If your Facebook following mostly consists of current and past customers, the Nearby Friends feature could be a way for you to tap into the group of people who are likely to become your customers as people recommend and mention your business.

Businesses won’t be able to actively use this feature to promote their products and services, but the feature could make them more visible to a new audience on Facebook. The key is with the users. If your customers love your business enough to recommend it to their friends through Facebook, you may benefit from the Nearby Friends feature.

Whether or not this new feature will catch on and be embraced by users remains to be seen. How heavy Facebook users choose to use Nearby Friends, and how actively they participate, will determine whether or not your business will benefit.

In the meantime, you can encourage your customers to recommend your business to friends, offer perks to customers who refer new customers and continue to build your Facebook presence and community.

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Don’t fall Victim to Facebook’s Updated News Feed Algorithm

Monday, April 14th, 2014
Image courtesy of Dimitris Kalogeropoylos/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Dimitris Kalogeropoylos/Flickr.

Facebook has updated its algorithm, which determines what appears in users’ news feeds. When you understand how the algorithm works you can better understand how to get your posts in front of the biggest audience and use your account effectively.

This latest update is mostly designed to fight spam, but you should be aware of the changes so your content won’t be targeted.

Don’t “Like-Bait”

In it’s announcement, Facebook warns users not to do what it calls “like-baiting.” This is the practice of asking users to “like,” share or comment on a post. Your business might be doing this in an effort to increase engagement and make your content visible to a wider audience. According to Facebook’s announcement, users find these kinds of posts 15 percent less relevant than other posts.

From now on, these kinds of posts will appear less frequently than posts Facebook thinks are more relevant to a user, like posts from friends and even other pages. Facebook says that it isn’t targeting pages that are genuinely working for engagement, so to make sure your page’s posts are seen, avoid asking for engagement on a regular basis. Instead, ask questions and post insightful content that sparks a natural reaction from users.

Don’t Upload the same Content Multiple Times

Facebook is also cracking down on pages that upload and share the same piece of content several times. Some businesses may do this as a way to make sure more people see their content, but it is a form of spam that users don’t appreciate.

With the new algorithm these pages won’t appear in users’ news feeds as frequently as they used to. Only upload and share each piece of content once.

Don’t Share Spam

Spammers are using a new tactic in an effort to get Facebook traffic. They are sharing links on Facebook that look like they lead to helpful content, pictures, or a high-quality website, but instead, lead to a spammy page or ads. Facebook is using this algorithm update to make these kinds of posts less prevalent on users’ news feeds. Your business should never share this or any other kind of spam on Facebook.

For most businesses, this update won’t make a big impact on the way they use Facebook. As always, the key to success with social media marketing is sharing high-quality content that will benefit your market.

As you do this, be careful not to blatantly ask your followers to “like,” share or comment on your posts too often. This could lead Facebook to flag your content and posts from your page won’t be as visible to users.

Instead, encourage interaction by asking your followers questions, participating in conversations and sharing the kind of content that people will want to interact with. Doing this will make your Facebook page a more valuable resource for your market and a stronger part of your social media marketing strategy.

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How to get People to Share Your Social Media Posts

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If you use social media marketing, chances are that one of your goals is to get people to share your posts so you can reach a much wider audience. Friends are very influential to consumers, so a person becomes much more likely to become a customer if his friends recommend and promote a brand or product.

But, sometimes getting your audience to share your posts is easier said than done. You’ve seen big brands with very engaged social media audiences and followers that loyally share their posts. How do they do it?

Post Shareable Content

This may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but posting shareable content will go a long way in getting it in front of a wider audience. People only share content they really like or they feel will benefit their friends, so create that kind of content. Things that are interesting, entertaining, informative, helpful and valuable will be more likely to get shared on social media.

Resonate with Your Audience

When you share content that touches your audience and that people can identify with, they will be more likely to share it. People like to share things they agree with or that moves them, so when you can accomplish that your content will be more shareable.

Spark Conversation

Content that inspires people to think and talk about a subject is more likely to be shared. Posts that include awe-inspiring content, are controversial or talk about in-depth topics make people want to share their opinion and share it with others to get their friends’ opinions too.

Let People Share Your Cause

According to a study by The New York Times, 84 percent of people share content that allows them to be supportive of a cause. Telling your brand’s story and producing content that demonstrates your cause will encourage people to share it on social media.

Ask for a Share

It’s okay to ask your audience to share your content once in a while. When you post something that you want to send to a bigger audience, tell your followers how exciting it is and ask them to share it with their friends. To make this work, you still need to create interesting content people will want to share.

Give an Incentive

You can also incentivise your audience to share your content. Doing a giveaway that requires entrants to share a social media post is a common way to do this. Other options include offering discounts and holding contests that require people to share a social media post.

If you want your social media audience to share your content, it needs to be interesting and valuable. Then, you can use other strategies to encourage people to take that step to share it with their friends on social media.

As more people begin to share your posts and content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites, you will be able to reach a wider audience and make more people aware of your business so you can be more successful.

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How to Set up an Effective Facebook Page

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Setting up a Facebook page is probably one of your first priorities when you start social media marketing, and it’s also the foundation of a successful Facebook strategy. Your Facebook page should be an online base where social media users can find out more about your business and interact with you. It will help you build your brand, reach your market and foster customer loyalty.

But, to get the best results from your Facebook page you need to keep a few things in mind as you set it up. If you’ve already set up a page, it’s not too late to make some adjustments to enhance it.

Take Advantage of Features that Allow for Branding

While there are some things you can’t change about your Facebook page, you can take advantage of some of the network’s features to make your page as branded as possible. When your market visits your page, you want people to know right away that they are looking at content from your business.

Use your profile picture, cover photo and tabs that link to things like videos, photos, events and your Facebook apps to show off your brand.

Get Your Page Verified and Link to Your Site

Facebook allows you to get your business’ page verified, which tells users that it is the official page for your business. Verified pages have a blue checkmark next to their name. When your page is verified, your market will know that they can rely on the content and will take your page more seriously.

The description you write for your business will appear on the top of your page, directly under your profile picture. Make sure your description is concise but adequately describes your business. This is where you should link to your website so that the link appears front and centre on your page.

Use Apps Strategically

Don’t be afraid to use apps, or the boxes that are directly under your cover photo, to build your other marketing strategies. For example, you can use them to link to your other social media accounts, promote a contest or even build your email list. You can use some apps temporarily for a special campaign or promotion, and some you can use continually for long-term efforts.

Make it Very Easy for People to Contact You

Sure, your audience can contact you through Facebook, but what if a customer wants to talk directly to a customer service representative? Make it very easy for users to understand how they can get in touch with you in multiple ways, not just through Facebook.

The simplest way to do this is to use your “About” page to post things like your phone number, an email address and a link to your customer support page on your website. Also be sure that your description isn’t so long that people won’t read it or that it buries your contact information.

When you take the time to make sure your Facebook page takes advantage of all the features the site has, that it is branded and that your market can easily interact with you, you’ll see much better results as you use it to market your business.

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Social Media Rules you Should Adopt at Your Business

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Image courtesy of Sharilyn Neidhardt/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Sharilyn Neidhardt/Flickr.

In order to use social media marketing successfully at your business, you need to use a very focused strategy. This strategy defines how you will use your accounts to reach your markets and achieve your marketing and business goals. But, you also need to adopt some rules, in addition to this strategy, so that your social media use will be effective.

The details of your strategy and rules will depend on your business and goals, but here are some general guidelines to adopt.

Rule #1: Actively Find and Share Content from Others

You already know that you shouldn’t overly self promote on social media, but that doesn’t mean you should remain silent. Actively look for content and posts from others that are relevant to your market and share them.

This serves a few purposes. It allows you to provide more value to your market, make valuable connections with others and establish your brand as one that is part of a larger community.

Rule #2: Have a Purpose Behind Every Post

You need to have a purpose behind every social media post you make. This purpose could be as broad as adding value to a conversation or entertaining your audience. However, some posts should have more specific goals, like driving traffic, sparking conversation or promoting a particular product.

Rule #3: Remember Engagement Starts with You

We often expect engagement, conversations and interaction on social media, but fail to take actions that will make that happen. To get comments, “likes” and shares, you need to reach out and converse with others. This could mean commenting on others’ posts, asking your followers questions and responding to them or thanking people for mentioning your business.

Sometimes, engagement will need to start with you, so find creative and effective ways to spur activity on your page. To do this, you’ll need to track your efforts and results so you can find the best ways to get people talking and interacting.

Rule #4: Respond to User Requests

Make it a rule that you attempt to respond to user requests. Depending on the size of your business, it may not be possible to respond to every single comment, but make a clear attempt to be responsive.

It is up to you to decide how you want to do this. You may decide to respond to people who reach out as you are able to, or make it your policy to respond to feedback from people who need customer support assistance.

When you respond to your followers, you are proving that you are listening to your market and building a reputation as a business that puts its customers first. As your market sees that you are listening, people will be more likely to interact with you, whether they need customer support or not.

These rules will help you get more out of your social media accounts. However, to see the best results, you should combine these guidelines with your own, unique social media strategy that is designed to help you reach your goals.

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A Daily Checklist for Social Media Marketing

Friday, March 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of Maru Philippe/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Maru Philippe/Flickr.

If you use social media marketing at your business, you are completely aware of how much time it can take. While you can’t get away with spending no time at all on social media, you can do some things to streamline the process and be more productive.

This checklist will help you get things done and advance your Internet marketing tactics without getting sucked into the social media time warp we’re all too familiar with.

1 – Check for Messages from Others

The first thing you should do every day is check for messages from others. If people are contacting you through social media with questions about your business or products or just to provide feedback, you need to respond in a timely manner.

If you aren’t able to help a person through social media, refer him to your customer support line or provide a customer support email address he can use to contact you. The idea is to make sure your market knows you are listening and responding.

2 – See What is Being Said about Your Business and Respond

One of the most valuable things you can use social media for is listening to what your market is saying about your business and industry. You can follow influential people, participate in pages, groups and communities and search for your business on social media sites to find out what people are saying.

Understand what is being said and use the information to make your business better and enhance your Internet marketing plans. When it’s necessary, you can respond to these posts by providing information or thanking someone for mentioning you.

3 – Share Your Own Content

On a daily basis, you should be sharing links to your own content. Posting links to your blog, website, product pages and other online content will help you promote your business, drive traffic to your website and encourage people to respond to your calls to action.

Your content can help you increase sales, build your email marketing list and accomplish so many other things, and sharing it on social media is the first step to using it to reach these goals.

4 – Interact with Others

But, you shouldn’t overly self promote on social media. Interact with others by commenting on their posts and even sharing their content. This is a great way to build relationships and show your market that you are interested in providing helpful information, even if it comes from other businesses at times.

Interacting with others is also a good way to spark some engagement, since when you converse with others, they will be more likely to reach out to you and interact with your posts.

5 – Schedule Posts as Needed

Social media scheduling tools can be used effectively as long as you don’t rely on them. You shouldn’t use them to schedule posts and then never log in to your accounts. Your social media marketing success relies on human interaction. But, you can use these tools to schedule posts for times when you will be out of the office, over weekends or after office hours.

Social media marketing does take time if you want to do it successfully, but this checklist can help you use it productively and effectively.

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What Your Followers Expect from Your Social Media Accounts

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When you use social media accounts, your market follows you with certain expectations. People follow you and connect with you because they are looking for specific information, benefits or perks, and when you can deliver those, your accounts will be much more successful.

Social media marketing can be a powerful part of any Internet marketing plan, and when you use it to convey strategic messaging and meet your market’s needs, you can see big results.

Timely Updates

One of the biggest reasons people follow your business on social media is to get timely updates. They want to know about new products, events, promotions and what is going on at your business. Be sure to keep your market updated by posting company news and information that appeals to your followers.

Special Perks

Another thing social media followers are looking for is special perks. By following your business, they want to be in on “inside information” and qualify for things like discounts, freebies and giveaways. Find ways you can include these kinds of perks in your Internet marketing plans to promote your business, make sales and drive traffic to your website, so both your followers and your business benefit.

A Line of Communication

Your followers expect your social media pages to be a line of communication with your business. They expect to be able to contact your business through your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other pages. At the very least, they expect to be able to find contact information for your business on your social media pages.

Meet this need by monitoring your accounts and by making it easy for people to find your phone number, address and an email address.

To be Heard

Along with a line of communication, your followers expect your social media accounts to be a place where they can be heard by your business. They want to be able to voice concerns, give feedback, ask questions and even get some form of customer support.

The level to which you fulfil this is up to you. You may not be able to provide complete customer support through social media, but maybe your social media manager can ask customers who reach out to call your customer support number. Or, you may be able to answer some general questions through social media, depending on your business and what you offer your customers.

Engagement with other Followers

Some social media followers are looking for an online community where they can talk about your business or industry with others who are also interested. They want to connect with other customers, finding common ground, talking about your business and discussing your products.

Foster this kind of community by providing interesting content and even reaching out to users to start conversations. Ask questions and encourage discussion to create an online community that helps you build your business.

When you set up and maintain social media accounts, your followers have expectations. If you are able to meet those expectations and leverage the power of social media, your business will grow and benefit in so many ways.

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Facebook’s New Ad Targeting Options and What Makes a Good Ad

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Image courtesy of [ Mooi ]/Flickr.

Image courtesy of [ Mooi ]/Flickr.

Facebook has announced that advertisers can now more easily target their markets through Facebook ads. The announcement is good news for businesses that use this form of Internet marketing, because it just got a lot easier to make ads more effective.

When you create a Facebook ad, you can now target your market based on general categories: location, demographics, interests and behaviours. These categories may seem broad, but they allow you to target people based on recent events like engagements, where they live and even what kind of education they have received.

But, even with this update, it’s still important that businesses understand how to create a successful Facebook ad. The features Facebook provides will help you reach your market, but you still need to create ads that inspire your audience to take action.

An Attention Grabber

First, Facebook users are practically flooded with posts, photos, content and yes, ads, on the social network. If you want your ads to work, you need to grab your market’s attention.

The way you do this will depend on your brand and products, but using attractive pictures, entertaining ads and readable text and making your ads different than your competitors’ can help them stand out. You will likely have to do some testing to find out what kinds of ads your market notices and responds to.

Influential Content

The best ads, on Facebook and other sites, have influential content. You need to know what inspires your audience, what they are looking for, what needs they have and what they are interested in. When you know this, you can create influential content.

The images, taglines and copy you use all need to influence people in ways that inspire them to want to learn more about your company, make them more aware of your brand or encourage them to respond to your calls to action.

A Call to Action

Every one of your ads needs to include a clear call to action. This is absolutely essential, and is what makes your ads worthwhile and what will bring you results. Some common calls to action include:

  • Buy a Product
  • Visit a Website
  • “Like” a Page
  • Read a Blog
  • Visit a Store
  • Fill Out a Lead Form

Of course, these are just a few of the most common calls to action, and yours could be very different depending on your business and goals.

An Incentive

People are busy and when they are browsing Facebook, they don’t always want to stop looking at their friends’ pictures or posting a status update to respond to your ad. You need to provide an incentive.

The incentive you use could be tangible, like a free sample or a discount, or it could be something more abstract. For example, you could tell your market that if they “like” your page on Facebook, they will be the first to hear about your new product launch.

Facebook is always adding new features that make it easier for businesses to use the site and target their markets. When you include these elements in your ads, they will be much more successful and you will be able to reach your current and potential customers.

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Make Your Market Fall in Love with Your Social Media Accounts

Friday, February 14th, 2014
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When your market falls in love with your social media accounts, people will be attracted to your pages, post comments and engage with you. Your accounts will become a more powerful Internet marketing tool, your site will get more traffic and you’ll make more sales. This sounds like every business’ dream, but how do you make it a reality?

Be What they are Looking For

You already know that if you want your business to succeed, you need to fill a need. The same holds true for social media. To attract followers and get the most out of your social media accounts, you need to provide what your market wants and needs. Through your posts, the content you share and even your photos, you need to be what your market is looking for.

If your market is looking for industry information, provide content about relevant topics. On the other hand, if your social media audience consists of current and potential customers who are looking for a good deal, maybe you can provide coupons and discounts through your accounts.

Provide a Constant Stream of Value

As you start to form an online community you need to provide a constant stream of content that provides value to your market. This will help you build your following and retain your current followers, as people begin to see your account as a valuable resource they don’t want to miss out on.

Start by considering what your market is looking for and then find ways you can create content that is relevant to your followers’ interests and needs. The value you provide will depend on your business and market.

Engage in Two-Way Conversations

Social media isn’t meant to be a platform where you do all the talking. Listen to what your market is saying, encourage interaction, respond to comments and reach out to your followers. People like to be heard and when you demonstrate that you are listening and interact with people, they will fall in love with your accounts.

There are so many ways to encourage interaction on social media, both formal and informal. You can host competitions, ask questions and do giveaways to get people interacting with your account. Or, you can take a more casual approach and simply be involved in conversations and respond to your market. In most cases, you’ll need to use a combination of formal and informal strategies to have two-way conversations on social media.

Show Some Personality

People don’t fall in love with accounts that seem stiff or robotic, they fall in love with social media accounts that show some personality. Let your brand show through when you post and interact on social media.

If your brand is more formal, consider being a little more informal on social media. You don’t need to abandon your brand, but in general, social media is a more casual platform. If your business is already casual, let that shine through when you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your other accounts.

When your market loves what you have to offer through your social media accounts, you’ll gain more followers and build a more involved community, which means your social media marketing will be more effective.

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How to Avoid Overwhelming Your Market with Content

Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

With content marketing becoming more and more popular, some experts have started to wonder what happens when an audience gets overwhelmed with a brand’s content. When people are bombarded with blog posts, videos, podcasts and social media posts from your business, they could begin to see you as a spammer or start to feel like they can’t keep up, and ignore your content.

But, you can easily avoid this content fatigue by taking a few precautionary steps and using content marketing strategically.

Have a Plan

If you are constantly creating and publishing content without a strategic plan, you will wear your market out. While it’s good to create a lot of content, you need to think about how and when you will publish it.

For example, some of your content will likely be published on your blog, but other pieces could be posted elsewhere. Try to integrate your content marketing with your larger marketing plan, so they work together. For example, if you are having a spring sale on a particular line of products, create content about those products to keep your messaging clear and your market focused.

Don’t Release Content too Quickly

A common mistake businesses make is releasing content too quickly. When you do this, your market can’t keep up and could walk away from your website or blog altogether. Of course, you do need to provide a constant stream of relevant content, but make sure you don’t flood your audience.

Publishing a podcast once a week instead of once a day is a great way to keep your market interested and coming back for more without overwhelming people. Different pieces of content and different publishing platforms all have their own ideal frequencies. For example, daily blog posts work well to keep your audience engaged and to build traffic, while monthly panel discussions might be enough for your market.

Find a Balance with Social Media

Posting too often to social media can drive followers away, as they will begin to feel like you are spamming them and that you are taking over their news feeds. There isn’t a magic number that dictates how often you should post to social media accounts, so you’ll have to do some testing to find out what works for your market.

In general, you should post to sites like Facebook and LinkedIn a few times a day, but you can post to sites like Twitter and Instagram even more often than that. Try different approaches to find out how many posts you need to share to achieve a high level of engagement and make your social media accounts effective.

Listen to Your Market

As with many other Internet marketing strategies, the best way to learn how to provide the best content for your market is to listen to your audience. As you post content, see how people react. Are they engaged and interested? Or are you losing followers and site visitors? Asking yourself these kinds of questions can help you gauge whether or not you are overwhelming your market.

Another way to listen to your market is to conduct surveys or polls. With these tools you can ask people if they like your content, what they want to hear more about and other questions that can help you be more successful at content marketing.

When you are careful not to overwhelm your market, content marketing is an excellent way to get people engaged with your brand, drive more traffic to your website and promote your business.

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