Archive | July, 2012

5 Tips for Successful Facebook Advertising

30 Jul

Currently Facebook boasts somewhere in excess of 400 million users and growing. You’ve probably heard this line by now, but if it were a country it would be the third largest in the world behind China and India only. There’s a pretty good bet that some members of your ideal target customer reside in and visit Facebook land, but the trick is to find them.

Facebook’s advertising platform is a vehicle worth exploring. The tool allows you to place small display type ads in the right sidebar of Facebook pages and profiles. At this point it’s not as effective in pure response as well targeted Google AdWords campaigns, but it’s not really the same kind of vehicle and you won’t find AdWords in Facebook, at least for now.

Like many things Facebook, setting up and running successful campaigns isn’t as straightforward as it could be. Below is a description of five steps to consider as you explore Facebook advertising.

Target

One of the best things about Facebook advertising is the ability select who sees your ad using a number of variables, including keywords. You can target by geography, age, gender, education, relationship status, workplace and keywords. Demographics are pretty straightforward, the real trick is expanding your keywords to the point where you have a large enough audience to get the job done.

Attract and Engage

The first thing you must do is decide whether you want people to be directed to your own web page or something on Facebook like a Page, Application, Group or Event. If you are already the administrator of your Facebook Page, Group, Event, or Application, you can select it from the drop down option. The thing that’s nice about using ads to promote your pages and events is that Facebook puts a “Become a fan” or “RSVP to this event” button right in the ad. People don’t even have to visit your page to take action. There are some pros to sending them to a link on your web site (better tracking options) but by sending them to assets on Facebook you have the ability to multiply their actions through the natural social wall activity that occurs when someone RSVPs to an event. (All their followers automatically see that action.)

Some users find Facebook ads a good tool to promote events or get new fans to the pages. From an engagement standpoint think in terms of using the ads to promote content and value and not so much to sell something. The most successful use of ads on social networks is to create deeper engagement so you have the ability to sell once trust is built. Think about putting white papers on your Fan Pages and promoting that content or creating a free event, like a webinar, and advertising that event. In both of these cases you’ll have the opportunity to sell a bit once you’ve proven you know your stuff. (One quick note – when you promote an event created with the Facebook event app the title of the ad will automatically default to the title of the event, so name your event wisely )

You don’t get much space in these ads so use it wisely. Your headline (25 characters) should grab attention immediately with a benefit. You’ll get another 135 characters to describe and entice in the body of the ad. You also have the option to upload an image. Take this option. It may be the most important aspect of your ad so choose wisely. Facebook users are very image driven (it’s the largest photo sharing site in the world) and the visual graphic you choose will make or break an ad. This is an element you must plan on testing (see below)

Budget

Facebook advertising works a bit like AdWords in that you bid for keywords and compete to get your ads shown. How effective you are at this depends upon the competitiveness of your keywords. You can choose between a cost per click (CPC) model where you pay only for clicks or a cost per thousand (CPM) model where you pay per 1000 ad views. Most research I’ve read suggests that the CPC model is slightly more effective in terms of ROI.

To start your campaign you must determine a bid per click and daily budget. You can set both of these numbers very low, but don’t expect much. Initially you are just testing so you’ll want to set your click bid somewhere around the Facebook suggested amount and a daily budget you can live with, something like $50 or more to start. You can always adjust these.

Test

No matter where or what you should always test your advertising. Online applications like this make it pretty darn simple. You can and should create multiple ad versions. Once you create an ad you will have the ability to create similar ads and run those as well. You’ll be able to easily view which ad is performing the best based on clicks. Facebook does need to approve your ads so make sure you are familiar with their guidelines.

The simplest thing to test is your image. I’ve seen ads go from no response to mega response with a better picture. Mind you I had no idea it was a better picture or I would have used it in the first place, but testing told me so.

Analyze

Once you create and launch your campaigns you need to start tracking and tweaking. Facebook has a tool that gives you some information on actions taken inside the Facebook platform. So, if you are running an ad for an event or Facebook page you can use the Facebook Insights tool to monitor interaction.

Facebook Insights is a nice reporting tool as it can give you information about the actual, not targeted demographics and interests of the people clicking on your ads and keywords that drew that interest. This will help you narrow or broaden your targeting. Page admins can access Insights by logging in and viewing the box titled Insights in the left sidebar. This is only visible to Page admins. If you click on See All you will get full reporting.

Facebook does allow you to run ads that point people links outside of Facebook and in order to track these ads you simply and monitor them using your own analytics tool such as Google Analytics. If you are using Google Analytics simply use the URL builder tool in Analytics to create a link to your page that contains tracking parameters and place that in your Facebook Ad as the destination link.

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Twitter Paid Advertising for Small Businesses: How to Get the Most Out of the Promoted Tweets Platform

23 Jul

Twitter’s pay-per-click advertising platform, now in beta, has opened up to offer access to some small businesses in addition to the larger advertisers who have been able to advertise via Twitter ads for some time. Getting access to the promoted tweets platform and understanding the different types of advertising available to you via Twitter could be a point of confusion for small businesses, so let’s outline the different means of advertising on Twitter.

Available Forms Of Twitter Advertising

There are a few different ways you can advertise on Twitter:

  • Promote Tweets to Twitter Search – You can pin a promoted Tweet to a specific search (you could choose some of your core keywords or advertise on a competitor’s brand name).
  • Promote Tweets to Your Followers – You can also promote specific tweets to people who already follow you – this might be a good place to promote a specific offer you want followers to take, to promote your presence at events, or to promote content you want to get more exposure for.
  • Promote Tweets to Users Similar to Yours – This is a good way to get additional exposure beyond your follower base, as the platform will find users similar to your followers and show them your promoted Tweets, which might promote certain offers and/or content.
  • Promote Tweets to Trends – Similar to search, you can promote a Tweet in response to a specific trend
  • Brand Pages – You can create an “Enhanced Profile Page” which is a branded page similar to a Facebook fan page.
  • Sponsored Accounts – You can also pay to have your Twitter account sponsored to users who the platform determines would be interested in your account.

If you’re a larger advertiser and can commit to at least $15,000 over three months, you can have access to all of these features, or if you’re a smaller business and want to test the platform via self-serve ads you can leverage the promoted accounts and promoted tweets (to users similar to yours).

10 Ways to Make Your Business More Social in Today’s Marketplace!

16 Jul

When transitioning from a traditional marketing plan to an online social media marketing plan, a B2B company will both need to alter minor and major changes. Major changes include alterations to your CRM software, Lead generation systems and retargeting of old clients. Consider integrating social media into your systems as you make your way down the list.

1) Marketing Collateral – When approaching a new client or interacting with current clients it is likely that you are using marketing collateral such as a sales brochure or one page flyer. In an afternoon you can transfer that valuable information onto a more social platform such as SlideShare or Scribd where you can easily access it online and share it with potential clients.

2) Online Branding – Claim your business name on each social media channel. The uniformity of your username on all social media channels will brand your company as well as lock down your company’s name from being taken by someone else. It is also recommended that you use a similar or the same profile photo throughout the social media channels whether that be a mascot or your logo.

3) Integrate Quick Link Icons – One of our best tools for social media marketing are our emails. These days it’s common that people are more comfortable asking a quick question via email rather than picking up the phone. It is easy to add quick social media icons to the bottom of your email signature where your clients and potential clients can become more actively involved in your company.

4) Start Blogging – The Internet is a way of easily sharing information. Information comes in many formats including video and audio as well as written. Blogging on your company’s website will give your company a reason to share information with your clients and potential clients by giving them a reason to go to your website and read more about industry news or insider advice.

5) Setup Tracking –  Being able to track and learn from your website is essential to your marketing and advertising development. Growing your website traffic is contingent on knowing where your online traffic is being generating.

6) Start Actively Monitoring – To start gaining a following on social media channels you must actively be listening. Start monitoring conversations in your industry with free online tools such as Twitter Search, Alerts Grader and Boardreader.

7) Train your staff – Your staff must be included in your goals of creating a more social company. Hiring a social media trainer to come into the office and walk your staff through the do’s and don’ts of using social media as a company may be the best way to train your employees and avoid learning lessons the hard way.

8. Liven up company culture – Clients like to see the culture of your workplace. People like to do business with people that they like. If you can show an atmosphere of support and enthusiasm in the workplace then the client’s will be more at ease when dealing with your company and your employees. Companies that have  successfully embraced this philosophy include eBay, Zappos and Amazon.

9) Set up a Company LinkedIn Profile – LinkedIn is a business to business focused social network. It allows a business to setup a company profile and maintain this profile page with company updates. Setting up a company profile is a good first step to becoming an active member of the LinkedIn community.

10) Know when to share information – There are specific times of the day when sharing on social media will gain a larger response than others. For example if you have a large industry update that you want to share with professionals the best time to do that is on a Tuesday at 8:30am, while for more client based fun “FYI” sharing is best shared on a Thursday at 4:00pm.

Why Social Media Marketing is a Must for Small Businesses!

9 Jul

According to the Experian, 2011 Social Media Consumer Report 91% of the American adults online, which sums up to 129 million approximately, access some form of social media each month. This tells us about the power/reach of the social media these days. In another survey by the Constant Contact, 63 percent quote Facebook, and 30 percent quote Twitter as extremely vital tools that aid marketing, and these stats for your information have risen from 50 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

In addition to these statistics, the survey also points out how small business owners now see the social media as equally vital as the old school face-to-face interactionsA social media way to revitalize this old school face-to-face interaction is by adding Live Chat to your website and providing website live support to make the experience easy and friendly.

 

All the basic traditional marketing activities also saw diffident increases in their importance this fall. By saying traditional marketing activities, I’m including websites, event marketing, email marketing, and online surveys, etc.

The problem with small business owners these days is that they struggle with contracting new customers as well as sustaining the current ones, and as if this wasn’t enough, they also struggle with marketing their products as well as their services in order to succeed. When it comes to websites, small business should have Website Live Support to assist their business.

Ironically the solution to the first and second problem can be solved by addressing the third problem only. Meaning you solve the third problem and the first two get solved automatically. If a small business runs a website then it should opt to Add Live Chat to Website and provide Website Live Support. This makes the online interaction between company and customer easier. In case there is any issue, it can be resolved instantly.

Marketing and advertising, is the finest key to any small business’s success and popularity. This journey of gaining popularity began back in the days with directly selling to customers, which further got evolved into advertisements with flyers and posters, and then turned into using websites and emails, and now it’s down to electronic ads on the oh-so-fashionable social networking sites. According to the Facebook’s recent F8 Developer Conference, more than half of Facebook users, more than 400 million people, log into the site every day.  Targeting the appropriate (to your product or service) customers is the most excellent way to anticipate and meet the needs of those customers.

Social networking sites include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Myspace. All of these social networking websites offer options to create profiles and pages, wherein small business owners are able to advertise their products and services. These social media websites now even offer applications which calculate the likes and dislikes of users. According to http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com out of business owners who use social media, 86% use Facebook vs. 41% LinkedIn and 33% Twitter:

Which shows as to how out of the small and medium-sized businesses, majority are investing their most efforts in Facebook. Users of Facebook can even join groups which support small businesses, or like I mentioned earlier the customers even have the option of “become fans of…” these small businesses pages, adding to their reach and advertising audience.

We need to understand that this social networking system of e-collaboration is more or less now the very basis of electronic advertising as far as the small businesses are concerned. What small business owners are doing is that they’re using Facebook as a platform to get through to the masses, updates about their service or product, events that are taking place, what special offers are going on, what achievements or recognitions have been received by the small business, etc.

What Facebook’s done is that the recent activity of individuals, meaning their status updates, posts, comments, likes, them joining small business groups or adding support to small business advertisements, all used to be listed on the user’s profile but, now what they’ve done is evolved that into the “newsfeed” which offers multiple updates on the current activity of friends for everyone on their home page. And this newsfeed further got followed by a ticker box now, which provides real time updates. Doesn’t get better than this, does it?

Published articles pertaining to the achievement or success of these small businesses can be copied and pasted onto the business profile or be linked on to their status on Facebook or Twitter. Such updates allow the current clients and potential ones to view their activities or achievements within, not even minutes, but seconds of their publication.

Indirectly showing off these achievements by posting links and statuses, the small businesses can, more like do create what we call a “buzz” about their ongoing activities. In a survey by Zoomerang, 1,180 small to medium-sized business (SMB) owners and 500 customers were interviewed in September 2011. These participants were all asked about the 3 most important reasons small businesses leverage social media, and were given seven possible options to choose from. The result was as follows:

With the help of social media, what we can see is that small business owners are able to retain customers, build relationships, and receive recommendations by marketing the expertise as well as services they offer through the use of social networking. All you small businesses out there, will definitely and truly benefit immensely from creating a page on these social networking sites, which should contain all the relevant information about your product or service (whichever you’re selling), that users need in order to assess your quality, performance and even popularity. These pages can include the pictures of the company, your product range, pictures of some branding activity that you carried out, along with the appropriate logos and contact information.

These social networking pages target the masses with a single click. What I mean by this is that your updates and messages can be sent to all of your business followers through a single click, hence enabling you to make the most of the many aspects that the social networking applications provide us. Another interesting trend is to offer incentives to the fans on your page, by providing the followers with contests, games, and prizes for fans who participate.

Social media also allows you to create Events via Facebook or for them to be posted on Twitter, which contains the basic contact information along with all the relevant information such as the venue, timing, host, attire, admission fee (if any) etc. Social Media i.e. websites, along with the use of Website Live Support make it more interactive.

In this highly globalized and competitive world, you don’t want your small business to be wiped off the market. So before this can happen, start making use of what is a MUST now, the Social Media and Add Live Chat to Website today!

 

3 Ways To Use Instagram For Business

2 Jul

Alright, so as many of us know Instagram was recently acquired by Facebook for 1 BILLION DOLLARS.

This got me thinking, “what’s the big deal behind instagram, isn’t it just an app that makes your pictures look vintage?” Well it can be just that, or it can be so much more if we look at how we as marketers can harness its marketing potential. First lets explain how instagram works, then I’ll explain 3 key ways on how we can use instagram for business.

Basically, you take a picture with the application, add a “filter” so it looks more interesting and then you add a caption which, similar to twitter, lets you hashtag words with. The application is essentially its own social media network of people who follow other people for the pictures they post. Benefits of the app: They’re also able to link their posts to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr and most of them do.

Now to the 3 key ways you can use it for your business:

1. Make a campaign around taking pictures of your product. 
Lets say your business is a pizza place, you can put a sign next to the register, or on all of the tables that have your social media tags and info. The simplest campaign would be. “Take a picture and #(yourpizzeria’s name)”  best picture of the week gets a free pizza, or whatever deal you guys decide to run.  By having them hashtag your restaurants name (assuming it’s a small local business) you’re then able to look at all the posts under that hashtag and keep a flow of fan pictures of your food and by doing so they’re promoting your business to their social media network!

2. Managing Instagram Aside from Running Contests 
Keep involved with your instagram community. Lets use a real life example 5 Guys is a very respected high burger joint. Last week I personally went to 5 Guys and instagramed a picture of my burger. I hashtagged it as #5guys #bestburger and within an hour 5 Guys Instagram account liked, commented, and then reposted the picture and tagged me in it calling it the fan pic of the day.

By doing this they were able to create customer interaction at the same level as I would have had with one of my friends. I then followed them on instagram, and since have seen a few other pictures of their burgers and THE PICTURES MADE ME WANT TO GO BACK AGAIN! Isn’t that perfect? Free marketing!

3. Don’t limit Instagram to Instagram, use it on other social media sites as well!
In the points above I’ve discussed how getting people to post pictures and tag the restaurant could be effective on instagram, now lets think about the other social media networks. Say you decide to do “fan Instagram pic of the day” or something like what 5 Guys has in place, you could also post that same picture to facebook, and twitter. What does that mean for you? FREE CONTENT!  it means you can use it as part of your posting schedule, by creating something fun for your fans to do, and not hound them about deals you have or why your product is better.  By letting potential customers see that other customers are loving what you have to offer, it just makes things more real and personable on your social media networks!