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Facebook Daily Users and Referrals are Both Up

Friday, July 25th, 2014
Image courtesy of Scott Beale/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Scott Beale/Flickr.

Two new numbers, from Facebook and Shareaholic, show that Facebook is gaining more value as a marketing tool for businesses. We already knew that Facebook is an invaluable part of Internet marketing, but these new studies show that despite some rumours, Facebook is still a great promotional tool.

More Daily Users

Facebook announced that it has had a 19 percent increase in daily users since last year. The site has 829 million users. This statistic shows that although some have speculated that Facebook has reached its peak and is declining in popularity, it has more daily users.

People are still using Facebook, and according to the study, they are logging in frequently. People still use it as a way to connect with friends, share content and socialise.

Your business would be missing out on a lot of social media marketing benefits if you decide to skimp on Facebook marketing. A strong social media strategy and Facebook ads can help you reach a large portion of your market, raise awareness and promote your products.

The Most Social Referrals

The Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report found that the amount of Facebook referral traffic has also increased. Over the last few months, the traffic took a minor dip, but is now higher than it has been since March.

This month, Facebook was responsible for 23.39 percent of social media referral traffic. In March, it was responsible for 21.25 percent, and in both April and May, it accounted for about 18 percent of social media referrals.

These statistics tell us that while more people are using Facebook daily, more people are also clicking on the links being shared. When you promote your website and blog on Facebook, there’s a good chance that you’ll drive more traffic to your site.

But, that’s not the only thing this study found. According to the research, Facebook brings more social media referrals than Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined!

Pinterest brings 5.72 percent of referrals while Twitter brings 1.03 percent. All the other sites mentioned above each brought less than 1 percent of the referrals.

Start Leveraging Facebook

Since Facebook’s daily users are increasing and it has the potential to refer a lot of traffic to your website, your business can’t risk not including Facebook as an integral part of your Internet marking and social media strategy.

So, how do you start harnessing the power of Facebook? There are so many features you can use to your advantage to make it a stronger part of your marketing plan.

Some places to start include:

  • Branding Your Page
  • Building an Active Following
  • Sharing Content Strategically
  • Using Well-Targeted Ads

Facebook remains an important part of the social media marketing world and when you use it to help you promote your business, you are getting your brand in front of more people and working to drive more traffic to your site. As you build this presence, you will benefit from increased brand awareness, more sales and customer loyalty.

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Go Beyond Simple Link Sharing for more Social Media Referrals

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Most businesses use social media to promote their blog and website. Sharing content here will help you drive traffic to your site where you can convert visitors to customers and even increase your search rankings.

But, simply copying and pasting links from your website to social media can get stale. It’s okay to post links, which on some sites let you automatically show a preview of your content, but when this is the only way you share your content, you aren’t using social media to its fullest potential.

With some creativity and by using some different approaches, you can update your social media marketing strategy to get your market’s attention and see even more social media referrals.

Post a Teaser

One of the most basic ways to generate interest in a link is to post a teaser. Copy and paste a sentence or two from the post itself or write a short blurb that gets people interested enough to want to click through to the content.

An example of a good teaser for an article about how to choose the right laptop would be: “We compared the top five selling laptops to help you decide which is right for you!”

Promise a Benefit

With so much content out there and with so many things to look at and do on social media, people need a good reason to click on your link. If social media users don’t see value in what you are offering, they won’t visit your site.

A post that says something like, “Don’t waste your money on the wrong laptop! Our comparison chart will help you find the perfect fit for you,” tells people what benefit your content provides: advice on how to save money.

Ask a Question about the Content

People like to give their opinion, so ask for it! When you post a link to your content, ask people a question about it. This makes them curious about what is in your content while also encouraging engagement and comments.

When you post a link, ask a question like “Have you tried any of the laptops on our value comparison chart? What do you think? Did we get it right?” This does two things. First, it makes people want to look at your blog post and chart and also encourages them to leave a comment on your social media post or blog post.

Give a Hint

Giving a hint is similar to posting a teaser, but it provides less information and tempts people to click on your link to find out what it’s all about. For example, write a post that reads something like “You will never guess which laptop came out on top in our comparison of the most popular models!” This hints at what your content is all about but doesn’t give too much away so people will still want to visit your site.

Sharing content on social media is a great way to drive traffic to your site and interact with your market. When you use more creative ways to post and share, you will stand out on social media and see even better results.

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Facebook Testing new “Buy” Feature

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Facebook has announced that it’s testing a new feature that will let users buy products from businesses directly through the site or mobile app. This addition has the potential to make increasing sales through Facebook easier for businesses and could increase conversion rates for ads and posts.

What we Know About the Feature

We don’t know very much about this new feature yet, except that it will add a “buy” button to some Facebook ads and posts. This way, people can buy products through Facebook without leaving the site or app.

Facebook explained that the payment will be secure and users will be able to store their credit card information on the site or check out without saving payment information. It also states that payment information used on Facebook won’t be shared with other advertisers.

According to the announcement, the feature is currently being tested with some small and medium-sized businesses in the United States. Facebook says it will be assessing feedback, so it may be safe to assume that if the feature works well it could be available to businesses everywhere.

You can find out more about the test on the news section of the Facebook for business website.

How Businesses will Benefit

While this new feature hasn’t been expanded for all businesses and Facebook advertisers, it is an interesting development that could benefit your business later. Facebook seems eager to stay relevant and to entice more businesses to use the service and buy ads. If the tests go well, and the new feature is unrolled for all businesses, you could use it as a major part of your social media marketing campaign.

The addition of the “buy” button would give you a way to include a very visual and clear call to action. When you advertise products or just post information about them to your page, you could make it much easier for people to make a purchase.

Conversion rates could increase because making purchases would be faster and easier and customers could buy things as they use Facebook. People may be more inclined to make spur-of-the-moment purchases, especially if they don’t have to stop what they are doing.

Currently, advertisers can include links to their website and product pages, which makes it easier to convert people into buyers, but does require some extra work. The ads need to be enticing enough to convince someone that they are worth clicking on and exploring further. With the new button, some of that inconvenience could disappear.

How to Make more Sales Now

In the meantime, you can make sure your ads and posts are as optimised as possible to increase sales. Start by using ads that are appealing to your target market and make the shopping experience better. Link directly to a page where users can make a purchase and make sure the checkout process is easy.

To enhance your page, work to build a following of people who are likely to become customers and then post strategically so people will be interested in visiting your website where you can convert them to customers.

We’ll keep an eye on this test and keep you posted as it develops and if it becomes more widely available to businesses.

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7 Easy ways to get More Social Media Engagement Today

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Getting more engagement on your social media accounts can increase brand awareness, boost sales, drive traffic and encourage customer loyalty. Many businesses are constantly looking for ways to get more “likes,” comments and shares on social media.

To get the best engagement and see long-term benefits you will need to use some strategic social media marketing plans. But, here are seven quick and easy ways you can start getting more engagement today to jumpstart your accounts.

Start Asking Questions

One of the quickest and easiest ways to start getting some engagement is to ask questions. Ask for product feedback, opinions, reactions to events or responses on anything that will interest your market. People love to talk, especially about themselves, so use this to generate some responses and conversation.

Participate in a Group or Community

Groups and communities are the perfect place for conversation and interaction and can even help you gain more followers. Find groups that are related to your industry or community and that are likely to attract people who would also be interested in your business. Join existing communities or set up your own groups and start inviting people to join them.

Mention and Tag other Users

Generate responses and conversations by mentioning and tagging other users. Do this with a status update or by sharing content from another business and giving it credit. When you mention others in your posts, they will be more likely to respond, starting a conversation, or even share your post with their followers, helping you reach a larger audience.

Start a Conversation

Start a conversation by asking another user a question or commenting on someone’s post. As you start a conversation with someone else, other users may also join in and before you know it, you will be involved in a conversation with a group of people and eliciting all kinds of engagement.

Post Something Different

If your followers are used to the types of things you post and are no longer interested in interacting with them, change things up. You may want to make some permanent changes to your overall social media strategy, but you can test some different tactics by posting something new.

Post something that is different from what you normally post and go with something funny, entertaining, touching, amazing, awe-inspiring or even controversial. Sometimes all it takes to start generating more comments and interaction is a small change in what you post.

Crowdsource Something Simple

Crowdsourcing something simple, like a photo caption, is a great way to get people talking and involved with your brand. Other ways to do this include asking people to vote on a new blog design, asking people to comment on which of your products they like best, using fill-in-the-blank posts or asking for photo submissions. This tactic is similar to asking questions, but it involves more creative interaction.

Do a Giveaway

Giveaways are popular on social media and they are an excellent way to gain new followers, get comments and encourage people to share your posts. Make sure the giveaway is for something your market values and that it requires people to somehow interact with your brand on social media.

All of these tactics can help you generate more interaction on your account right away. Start using these tips and then when you find what works for your market, consider changing your social media marketing strategy so it will be more effective.

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Simple ways to build Brand Awareness on Social Media

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Increasing brand awareness through social media isn’t a unique goal. Many businesses use social media, and other forms of Internet marketing, to make their brand, business, products and services more recognisable.

When your market knows who you are and what you provide, you can increase sales, become an industry leader and build trust with your market, which will help your business grow. With just a few easy tactics you can start building this kind of awareness through social media.

Ad Campaigns

Ad campaigns are a great way to promote your business and attract new followers on social media. Design a campaign specifically for people who don’t already know about your business or who have a very limited knowledge of what you do. The ads can be used to drive traffic to your website, increase sales or build your social media following.

Strategic Posting

Your social media campaign should give you direction and purpose. It should help you avoid random or unorganised posts and messaging. Make a plan that outlines what you want to tell people about your brand and what kinds of actions you want people to take, and then make sure your posts will help you accomplish those goals.

Develop a Personality

Part of your brand is your personality. Clearly define if your brand is fun, spontaneous, professional, casual, friendly or serious and then make sure that personality shows through on your social media profiles and posts.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and post monotonous content or updates that are dry and lack feeling and personality. Break out of this by becoming more human and conversational on social media.

Have Conversations

Social media is meant to be conversational, so talk to your followers! Accounts that respond to questions, ask for feedback and interact with others attract more followers. Having conversations can also help you get in front of more people and build your social media presence.

Some easy ways to have conversations include:

  • Asking Questions
  • Thanking Customers for Feedback
  • Commenting on Customers’ Posts
  • Interacting with other Businesses
  • Responding to Comments on your Posts
  • Giving Shout Outs to Partners or Community Members
  • Thanking Customers

As you start having conversations it will become a habit and before you know it your accounts will be a hub for your customers and draw the attention of people who haven’t heard of your business.

Be Consistent

It’s hard to establish a brand and increase awareness when you aren’t consistent. As you start to include these strategies in your social media plans, be consistent. This means posting regularly, continuing to have conversations and maintaining your presence.

When you are consistent you will establish your place on social media and you’ll become part of larger conversations. You’ll also be more visible to other users, which will help you raise brand awareness.

Using social media is a great way to increase brand awareness and by adopting just a few habits and making sure you are using your accounts strategically, you can inform your market about your business and grow your customer base.

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4 Reasons you Need a Facebook App

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Image courtesy of Maria Elena/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Maria Elena/Flickr.

One way you can bring something new to your Facebook marketing strategy is to use Facebook apps. A custom made app can help you run contests, collect email addresses, offer games and make it easier for your market to engage with your brand.

The benefits you’ll see from an app will depend on the kind you use, but all businesses that use Facebook apps can expect to see some general benefits.

Branded Account

First, Facebook apps are a great way to help you brand your account’s page. You can use your profile picture, cover photo and posts to show people that your page is an official part of your business and increase awareness, but an app lets you take this branding to a whole new level.

A custom app can include your logo, brand colours and a design that matches your overall brand, reminding people that use it that it belongs to your business.

Incentive to Follow You

An app adds value to your Facebook page and can incentivise people in your market to follow you. When people know what you have to offer, they will be more likely to follow you for easy access to the app.

Of course, you will still need to make sure your posts, the content you share and the conversations you have with your followers are valuable, making your entire Facebook experience something people won’t want to miss out on.

Increased Engagement

Using an app gives your followers and market another way to interact with your page and business. Now, in addition to being able to post comments, answer questions, “like” posts and share your content, they can interact through your app.

Think about what kind of goal you want to accomplish with your app and then make sure its design and function will help you get there. Your app should be easy to use and intuitive for visitors.

More Page Visits

While people in your market may only see your posts in their newsfeed, and rarely look at your page right now, an app will give people a reason to go directly to your page. For example, they will now navigate to your page to enter a drawing, play a game or otherwise use your app.

You can take full advantage of this perk by using an app that encourages people to visit your page daily or weekly. The easiest way to do this is to do a giveaway every week that requires people to use your Facebook app to enter it. As people are coming back to your Facebook page on a regular basis, be sure to keep it updated with current posts, links to your website and other information.

Facebook apps are a great way to enhance your page and make your social media marketing more powerful. Your app will work best when you use it in conjunction with a Facebook page that is frequently updated and already has a strong following, so work to build up your account before you launch an application.

We help businesses create custom apps to improve their social media marketing strategies and get better results. Contact us if you’re interested in finding out how you can benefit from a Facebook app.

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Do these Two Things to Reach 80% of Internet Users

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.

Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.

When you use Internet marketing to promote your business, you want to reach as many people as possible. Some new research shows that if you include just two things in your marketing strategy, you will reach 8 out of 10 Internet users.

So what are those two things? Social media marketing and blogging.

While these two basic Internet marketing strategies may seem simple, Search Engine Watch reports that businesses that use them reach 80 percent of Internet users.

To widen your audience and make sure you are reaching your target market, you need to use both social media and blogging strategically. If you use these tactics without purpose or direction, they won’t help you achieve results.

Jumpstart your Social Media

When was the last time you reviewed your social media marketing strategy? Reassessing your strategy often will help you make sure you are using each account to its fullest potential and benefiting from your efforts.

Choose your Sites

What social media sites are you using? Look at your accounts and make sure things like your biography, profile picture and contact information are all up to date. If your fans are engaging with you and you are gaining an audience, you are likely using these sites well. Consider if there are other social media sites that lend themselves to your brand and goals.

Share Strategically

The content you create, curate from other sources or even the status updates you post should all help you reach your goals. You can accomplish all kinds of things, from increased brand awareness and sales to more email subscribers through social media. Decide whether the posts you share are helping you be successful.

Take some time to assess your social media accounts and strategies to make sure they are helping you reach your overall marketing goals.

Rethink your Blog

Your blog should also help you achieve your business goals. One of the biggest benefits of your blog is that it is a platform you have full control over. Social media sites come and go, features are always being added and removed and you don’t have complete control over how your page is branded. But, with your blog you know you have a platform that will always be there and will look and function the way you want it to.

Your blog also gives you a unique opportunity to get your own message, facts and information out there, without the risk of it being misconstrued. Media coverage, other blogs and sometimes even social media sites don’t give you full control over your message the way your blog does.

Who is Your Audience?

Think carefully about who your blog audience is. Is it potential customers? Current customers? Other businesses? What demographic information do you have about your audience? When you know who your blog is for, you can leverage it to your advantage. If the kind of content you are sharing isn’t of value to your audience, your blog won’t be very successful.

Social media and blogging are two very important Internet marketing strategies. When you use these two elements effectively, your campaign will be successful and benefit your entire business.

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Facebook’s New Multi-Product Ads and Improved Targeting

Monday, June 30th, 2014
Image courtesy of Ricky Lai/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Ricky Lai/Flickr.

In recent months, Facebook has made several improvements and changes to its advertising program. The latest changes are exciting because they allow businesses to use multi-product ad formats and better target niche markets.

As Facebook’s features are developed and offer more options, it becomes easier and easier to reach your audience and promote your business. If you use Facebook ads, or even if you are considering signing up, you won’t want to miss these new features.

Multi-Product Ads

Now, you can promote three products with a single ad. New multi-product ads will feature a slideshow with three different images, descriptions and links. You can see this ad in action on Facebook’s announcement.

These new ads are a great way to get more out of your advertising space and get your market’s attention. You can now work to generate traffic and sales by promoting three images with one ad, so you’ll be more likely to entice a user than if you could only promote one product at a time. The moving slideshow feature is eye-catching, so as people scroll through Facebook they will probably be more likely to see and read your ads.

According to Facebook, Nomorerack has been using multi-product ads with custom audiences and experienced a 42 percent increase in its click-through rate. The business’ cost per acquisition went down 42 to 45 percent, so it not only achieved a higher click-through rate, but also saved money doing it.

Currently, multi-product ads are only available with the Facebook ads API. However, the announcement noted that they will be available through Facebook’s other advertising interfaces in coming months. Multi-product ads will be displayed on both the website and Facebook mobile app.

Enhanced Custom Audiences

The second new feature Facebook announced is enhanced custom audiences. The custom audiences feature allows businesses to target very specific groups of Facebook users, making it easier for them to reach their market and potential customers.

Now, custom audiences includes options relating to a business’ website. For example, you can now target your ad to anyone who has visited your website, people who have visited a specific page on your site or people who haven’t been to your website for a set amount of time. You can use a custom combination of options to get even more specific.

Facebook has also made it possible for businesses to use targeted audiences for different products. For example, your business could show ads only to people who visited a product page on your site and who have bought specific products.

These enhancements make advertising on Facebook much more powerful. They let you show specially designed content and images to specific audiences within your market. When you can more narrowly target people, you can create ad campaigns that speak to their interests and needs and will be more effective.

Facebook’s announcement includes the fact that the business Twenty Jeans decreased its cost per acquisition by three times when it used these new custom audience features.

Both of these new Facebook advertising features can help you leverage your ad campaigns and make them more successful. Start getting more out of your Facebook ads by using multi-product ads and custom audiences.

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What to do After your Content Goes Viral

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

We hear a lot of tips for making content go viral and lots of businesses put time and effort into making sure their content gets in front of as big of an audience as possible. But, once your video, article or podcast goes viral, what next? What you do after your content goes viral is extremely important.

Whether your content went viral in the truest sense of the word, or just gained quite a lot of popularity in your niche market, taking a few steps after it has spread can help you leverage the opportunity.

Don’t Disappear

After a big hit like a viral video, it’s important that you don’t disappear. Continue your social media push and your Internet marketing strategies. A viral piece will help you get some attention and could lead to a short-term surge in site traffic or sales. But, if you want to maintain your market’s attention and keep getting results, you need to stay visible.

Continue to use the same messaging from your viral piece on social media, your blog and your website. Don’t let your market forget who you are and that your business was the one behind the viral content.

Ride the Wave

Riding the wave means leveraging the extra sales and site traffic for even bigger results. Doing things like offering special promotions, giving away free resources, promoting your email list and making sure your site is optimised to generate sales leads will help you take advantage of the extra attention your viral content produced.

Understand Why it Went Viral

Analyse your content and the results of it to understand why it went viral. Look at the key messages it included, the medium you used, where you published it and how people reacted to it.

There are lots of ways to find out why something went viral, but the best way is to make notes about the messaging and style you used and watch how people interact with it and share it across social media.

When you fully understand what it was that your market loved about the content, you can learn more about your audience and how you can enhance your marketing plan to hold its attention.

Make a Follow-Up Plan

After some time has passed and you have maintained your online presence, leveraged the opportunity and analysed why the content went viral, it’s time to make a follow-up plan. This plan should include ways you can use the same messaging and even some of the same tactics you used to see success with the viral piece.

For example, if a video did well consider producing another with similar messaging, using the same messaging across other pieces of content or boosting your social media involvement in some areas.

The idea is to assess your success and then find ways to use what you learned to enhance your Internet marketing plan.

Getting content to go viral or to be shared throughout your market is a big step and one that can bring a lot of benefits. But, when you do a few things after the content goes viral you can take full advantage of the opportunity and see even bigger benefits.

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3 Tips for Deciding How Many Social Networks to Use

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Many businesses struggle when it come to deciding how many social networks they should use. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all want businesses to use them as marketing tools, and that’s just the beginning. There are so many social networks already out there with more being added all the time, that it can be hard to decide how many to use to promote your business.

It can be tempting to jump into that new network, but before you do, use these tips to decide how many sites you should be using to reach your market effectively.

Decide how Many Networks you Can Use Well

You might be able to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at once, but can you use all three of these well? Using a social media network to its fullest potential is extremely important if you want to see benefits.

If you aren’t able to use most of a network’s features, facilitate a dialogue, respond to comments, post regularly or really stand out on a social media site, you shouldn’t be using it. Of course, spreading yourself too thin can be frustrating, but it can also be damaging to your brand.

Having empty social media pages or accounts that you rarely update can make your brand look unorganised and your business unprofessional and less trustworthy. Only use as many networks as you can handle and that you can really make an impact with.

Find Your Market and Audience

Using a social media channel your market doesn’t use and where you don’t have an audience is wasting your time. To get the most out of social media marketing and to see big results, you need to find where your market is.

You can use general demographics, like the fact that most Pinterest users are women, to determine what sites your audience likely uses or you can do some research with surveys and polls to find out what sites your target market is on.

This simple step will help you determine where your time is best spent and which networks will bring the biggest returns.

Translate your Brand into a Network

Some networks lend themselves very well to specific kinds of businesses. For example, Instagram is great for brands that can use visual content to promote their business while Twitter is great for a business that can engage with people regularly and may want to post several updates a day.

Think about your business and the kind of content you want to use and then decide which social media networks are best suited to your brand. Make sure you use networks that can help you highlight your business and really make you shine online.

Choosing how many social networks to use is a common challenge. But, when you determine how many networks you can use well, where your market is and which sites will help you show off your business, narrowing down your choices becomes much easier and your social media marketing will be more successful.

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