Archive | June, 2012

LinkedIn Advertising for Beginners

25 Jun

LinkedIn is the social network of business professionals. With more than 150 million members, it can be an extremely important and effective advertising opportunity when used correctly.

The demographics and targeting options of advertising on a social network are powerful and a key differentiator of other PPC advertising outlets. It’s those differences that get people excited, but often times they seem to be the reason why people give up too quickly on them. A mindshift has to occur no matter which paid search outlet you use so you can understand your options, adapt your targeting, and achieve your goals.

LinkedIn Ads are painfully easy to get started using and it’s one of the smoothest systems for quickly getting you going. That said, that ease can easily lead to misteps and result in your campaigns not running effectively. So when you sit down to do this, take your time!

Setting Up LinkedIn Ads

Once you sign in to LinkedIn Advertising you will immediately be prompted to start your first ad. Stop right there!

You should question whether you’re running your ads for yourself or on behalf of a company. Almost 99.9 percent of the time it’s probably going to be for a company. If that’s the case, you’ll need to create a business account. This is hidden under the dropdown of your name in the top right of the screen.

When you start typing a company name, LinkedIn automatically drills through its database to find the company. And by choosing that company name you state that you’re authorized to represent that company. On the honor system. Surely nothing bad could ever happen with that. *cough* *cough*

But since you’re a nice person you’ll probably want to add a representative of that company (if it’s not your own as a user). Just start typing their name and if they have a LinkedIn account, they will be found and notified. You can set permissions and notifications as well:

  • Admin
  • Standard Access
  • View Only
  • Make User the Billing Contact
  • Make User the Campaign Contact

A note on Admin Access: Once you make someone an Admin, you won’t be able to undo this without contacting customer service. You should keep this in mind before passing this out to potentially disgruntled future ex-employees. Standard Access should be fine in most cases.

Creating Your First LinkedIn Ad

You can do this is three easy steps, but each one comes with a choice:

  1. Ad Campaign Name: Your ads in LinkedIn are grouped by Campaign so if you’ll be testing multiple targets and goals, you should name your campaign something relevant. There can be up to 15 ads in each Campaign.
  2. Ad Destination: Are you going to send them to a page on your website or one of your company pages on the social media network? This all comes down to what your goal is for advertising in the first place.
  3. Ad Copy & Image: LinkedIn Ads allow you:
    • Image: 50×50 icon (tiny!!)
    • LinkedIn Ad Title Headline Length: 25 characters
    • LinkedIn Ad Body Description Length: 75 characters across twolines.

There’s not a ton of room to work with due to these ad limits, but you can still craft effective calls to action, branding, and visual impact. Remember to test your Ads! Try different pictures, headlines, and offers depending on your goals.

Targeting Your LinkedIn Advertising

Now comes the fun part of social media advertising, figuring out who to serve your ads to. The possibilities are staggering to say the least. Without delving into the specifics of the above displayed options here are some suggestions on best practices.

  • Know who you’re looking to influence. Are you trying to reach people early in the buying cycle or later? Reaching the right people with the right message is what you are after here. So know who makes the decisions and how those are processed in your target customer. If you’re trying to sell pencils, hitting up the CEO of a company is probably not the best idea.
  • Job Titles – Ack! Every organization seems to have a different naming system for the same role so while you’re searching for various positions be open to trying similar roles. You might be trying to target a role but it’s not called what you thought it was. For example a Cost Accountant, Accounting Manager, Financial Cost Controller are all similar roles (depending on the company) and they might all fall into the same targeting bucket.
  • Targeting Groups with LinkedIn Direct Ads is another tricky one as groups can be named all sorts of different things. You might want to try searching for group names based around job positions crossed with your target industry or Professional or Trade Associations that your audience might be members of outside of LinkedIn might have a group here as well. It’s also important to note that while you are searching groups, you should open up a tab in another browser and research the groups you are looking to add. This can take a lot of time but save you money and help guide your campaigns and your messaging for ads as well.
  • LinkedIn Audience Network Advertising is your last option for targeting. It runs basically like any display/content network would and comes with the same pitfalls. If you’re just getting started, I’d likely turn this off. I would also advise that if you want to test this, you think about creating a seperate campaign for management purposes.

Setting a LinkedIn Advertising Budget and Billing

Your budget is a campaign strategy component that should be in place before tackling something like this. It would be foolhardy to specify hard figures, but here are some minimum guidelines:

  • LinkedIn will set a Minimum CPC for each of your ads and the lowest is about $2.00.
  • They also will give you a Suggested CPC Range that might be a good starting point for you. These vary wildly based on your targeting settings.
  • There is a minimum daily budget requirement of $10 (~$300/month).

After that, its giving them your credit card info and clicking go.

Summary

As with all forays into online advertising, don’t forget to test everything. Always.

Don’t be discouraged if your first try doesn’t get you the results you wanted. Lots of opportunities are available. Each pitfall is a step on the ladder to success if you learn why things did or didn’t work.

Advertisements

Twitter for Business Tips & Hints

18 Jun

We really can’t deny the fact that businesses are testing out Twitter as part of their steps into the social media landscape. You can say it’s a stupid application, that no business gets done there, but there are too many of us (including me) that can disagree and point out business value. I’m not going to address the naysayers much with this. Instead, I’m going to offer 50 thoughts for people looking to use Twitter for business. And by “business,” I mean anything from a solo act to a huge enterprise customer.

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

First Steps

  • Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
  • Add a picture. We want to see you.
  • Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
  • Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
  • Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
  • Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
  • Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
  • Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
  • Throw in a few humans, like RichardAtDELL, LionelAtDELL, etc.
  • Talk about non-business, too, like @aaronstrout and @jimstorer.

Ideas About WHAT to Tweet

  • Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
  • Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
  • When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
  • Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
  • Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
  • Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
  • When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
  • Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
  • Don’t toot your own horn too much.  Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.

Some Sanity For You

  • You don’t have to read every tweet.
  • You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
  • Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation.
  • Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
  • 3rd party clients like Tweetdeck and Twhirl make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
  • If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
  • If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
  • Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
  • If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
  • Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.

The Negatives People Will Throw At You

  • Twitter takes up time.
  • Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
  • Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
  • There are other ways to do this.
  • Twitter doesn’t replace customer service.
  • Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
  • Twitter is just for technonerds.
  • Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
  • Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
  • Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.

Some Positives to Throw Back

  • Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
  • Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
  • Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
  • Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
  • Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
  • Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
  • Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
  • Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
  • Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online.
  • Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)

What else would you add? How are you using Twitter for your business?

Getting Started with Facebook Promoted Posts

11 Jun

Facebook just launched a new advertising format called Promoted Posts, which allows Page administrators to turn any Timeline post into an ad that appears at the top of Fans’ news feeds. Promoted Posts increase the chance that more Fans will see it, and that more of their friends will too.

For example, if an ecommerce merchant wants inform Facebook fans about a special offer or new product, a Promoted Post would be one way to guarantee the message reaches a wider audience than a normal Timeline post.

Options include the ability to target posts based on location or language, and page administrators can track how many people see the post. Any post less than three days old, regardless of type — i.e., status update, photo, video or question — can be promoted using this new feature. Promoted Posts are marked as “Sponsored” in news feeds. Facebook requires that Pages have a minimum of 400 Likes before Promoted Posts can be used.

To give Promoted Posts a try, here is a step-by-step guide.

New Posts

Go to the sharing tool on your Facebook page to create a post and enter post details.

Go to the Facebook Page sharing tool and create a post.

Go to the Facebook Page sharing tool and create a post.

 

Click the “Public” button to choose targeting options based on location or language.

Use the Public button to select targeting options.

Use the Public button to select targeting options.

 

Click on the Promote drop-down button and set your desired budget, then click “Save.” (Note: The amount chosen applies to the lifetime of the ad and is not a daily budget.)

Click the Promote button to select set the budget.

Click the Promote button to select set the budget.

 

Existing Posts

  1. Go to any post you’ve created in the past three days on your Page timeline.

Posts less than 3 days old can be promoted.

Posts less than 3 days old can be promoted.

 

  1. Click the “Public” button to choose targeting options.
  2. Click the Promote button, which is located just below where people can add comments.
  3. From the drop-down, set your budget based on how many people you want to reach, then click “Save.”

For ecommerce merchants, the kinds of posts to be promoted could include the following.

  • Posts about special offers, product discounts or Facebook Offers,  coupons.
  • Posts about new products.
  • Posts about company news and events.

Facebook’s help files include a set of best practices for the types of posts that should be promoted.

There are several advantages to using this new advertising model over traditional Facebook ads.

  • Ads appearing news feeds are more likely to be seen than traditional Facebook ad units, which reside in the right-hand sidebar.
  • They have a more “organic” feel than do Facebook ads. As such, Promoted Posts are better suited to the Facebook environment.
  • Promoted Posts focus on brand participation and interaction, and less on advertising.
  • Promoted Posts rely on content produced in Facebook Pages, which means such pages play an even more central role.

Final Thoughts

I have two concerns when it comes to using Promoted Posts. The first is cost. Promoted Posts start at $5.00 each and could be much higher, depending on the number of Fans and estimated amount of reach. Second, for users who are Fans of several pages, there is a possibility their news feeds could become clogged with Promoted Posts.

Despite those concerns, Promoted Posts could provide a more viable advertising option to merchants than traditional Facebook ads. It is certainly worth experimenting. Visit the help center to obtain more assistance on using Facebook Promoted Posts.

The Pros and Cons of Facebook Marketing

4 Jun

As a part of the Web 2.0 evolutionary wave, social media and marketing have really come to the forefront of a professional marketing campaign. To the surprise of many, Facebook edged out the once-popular MySpace to become the most used social network. It seems that everyone you talk to is a Facebook user, regardless of their age. Rather than focusing on a teen market or specializing in a particular niche, Facebook has successfully marketed itself to a wide demographic. This has proven beneficial to online marketers since it gives them a very effective and civil way to contact people with an interest in their products. In order to maximize your marketing plan and increase your online business, you need to include social media tools such as Facebook. Millions of Facebook members use the website to keep up with their friends, meet new people, play some games and many other activities. This simply means that people are spending a lot of time social networking, which means they have time to look into your product/service too. I am going to show you in this article different ways you can use Facebook in your promotions and tell you how it can make your business more successful.

Facebook started monetizing their service once they reached a couple of million users. They launched a service called Social Ads that lets you display targeted ads on Facebook. Other service like Google Adwords are harder to use than the simple format that Facebook has developed for you. These ads can get a good response because you have an option to target them to users according to their age group, interest, gender, etc. Your primary objective is to be sure that the individuals clicking on these ads are the audience that they were intended for. By choosing which group of people your ads are shown to you can help avoid this problem. This means your ad will get a higher click-through-rate, which in turn means more traffic for you. It’s also possible to put a picture on your ad that’s thought provoking and interesting to your prospect. You’ll be able to increase the trust factor and the appeal of your ad, making it more responsive.

Though Social Ads is probably the most common method of marketing on Facebook, there are many other ways to achieve your goals. You can always develop a group or page to attract people with similar interests. Facebook users enjoy adding themselves to groups, as well as finding things they are interested in and counting themselves as a ‘fan’. Design your advertising strategy to capitalize on this movement. Simply develop a Facebook page or group that focuses on your company. Make sure to include a concise description of what you do and what your products are. Keep it relatively short. Next, your goal is to get users to become members of your group or fans of your company’s page. While it is possible to ask others to join your group, it is not an option when establishing a page for your company. In such a scenario, you can always get traffic to it using other advertising/marketing methods. But whether you make a personal or business page you will be thoroughly thrilled with the results of your efforts. It is all your choice of what to do.

Basically, the potential that Facebook carries will only increase as time goes on. More and more people are joining it and are using it actively. Make sure you get in on the business before the competition gets too fierce and you get left behind.