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5 easy facebook marketing tips that will help you grow your community

14 Jan

If you’re like many business owners or entrepreneurs you have probably found yourself in this situation. You know you HAVE to be on facebook but have no idea how having a fan page is going to land you more sale. Heck, you probably don’t know how to encourage people to become fans in the first place. You are probably so occupying so many roles that growing your fan base is just another daunting task. Don’t fret, in this case you are probably in the 99% :).

Over the years I’ve attended many facebook marketing “how-to’s” seminars, talks, meetups, etc. Lucky for you, I’ve taken lots of notes and I’m going to share the 5 most kick-ass facebook marketing tips that will help you grow your fans.

Before jumping into the goods, I’d like to share a simple model that if followed correctly can help you see success in your online marketing strategy. The reason I start here is because it is important to understand why you are (or should) be investing resources (time or money) into growing your social presence.

  1. Set up your foundation
  2. Grow a fan base/tribe (more info on Tribes by Seth Godin)
  3. Create ongoing engagement
  4. Turn fans into profits

So the idea is that by growing a fan base or tribe and providing value, your fans will most likely buy from you instead of your competition. Sales occur when there is a transference of emotion, not a presentation of facts. In this post I’m going to assume you have already worked on the foundation piece of your social media and facebook strategy, and the tips I’m sharing with you today will help with growing your tribe and create ongoing engagement.

1. Kick your banner up Banner

Include something other than your logo as your fan page picture. Sure, you should include an element of your brand in your facebook profile “banner”, you can even include your logo, but include something that showcases your brand, or a project your are working on/promoting. You can actually upload an image 600px(height) x 180px (wide) so you can get really creative.

2. Use a reveal tab (landing page)

I’m sure you’ve seen them, many successful facebook fan pages are using them. The reason they work is that psychologically as humans we want to be in on the “secret”. By having to do something as simple as clicking “like” to enter your page, you have just created exclusivity. After a person likes your page the gate opens and the fan content appears. The great news is that there are now many companies that offer landing page services and barrier to entry is very low. Some do-it-yourselfers (both offer free and paid versions: Pagemodo, Wix and of course Static HTML iframe tabs. The benefit is that you can start creating right away with little or no cost. If you do want something a little more customized then I suggest you setting aside some budget to get this done. Usually hiring someone to do this for you is anywhere from $250-$1000 depending on what you are looking for.

3. Add Value

Nobody wants to come to your page to see that all you do is plug your products. Sorry to say, but that is no way to build a community. You have to provide engaging and relevant content, get to know your fans and reveal a little about yourself (or your organization). Give people a reason to visit your page and to come back. Ask questions, provide information such as ebooks or videos related to your industry. Take your FAQs or industry issues and answer the in an engaging manner. As a rule of thumb contribute 4 pieces of interesting/unique/engaging content and 1 promoting your company/brand/product.

4. Post often but don’t overshare

You want to stay top of mind and working off  tip # 3 provide engaging content that your community is happy to share with friends (either by sharing directly or by commenting or “liking”). However, you need to be conscious that you  don’t become “spammy”. There are many tools out there that can help automate your postings so you don’t need to be setting your alarm to remind you to post. A good one to try is Hootsuite (yes, it’s free!).

5. Advertise

What better way to target your audience than by running some highly targeted ads to reach your ideal customer. facebook announced yesterday that they will likely reach 1 billion users by August. This is 1/7th of the world’s current population. Regardless of industry, I am willing to bet this could mean MANY potential customers for you. With facebook’s highly customizable ads (both look and target audience) you are sure to stumble on a new fan or two by running a couple ads. Study competitor ads, analyze what works for them and budget around $500 to get started.

A social attitude

23 Dec

Surely you are aware that the way we communicate is no longer the same as 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Our buying decisions, how we listen/buy music, buy/read books, magazines, watch movies or even communicate has drastically changed. Organizations no longer tell us what to THINK we evaluate them and make our own judgements. Transparency and value are more important than ever, and those organizations still playing the game with the old rulebook are getting left behind. Doing “social media” is no longer going to cut it. You need to adopt a social attitude. Just like you need to socialize puppies when they are young so they grow to be well-adjusted dogs, you need to adopt a social attitude to grow your community of raving fans.

So how do you become social? As I mentioned in my previous post How to Be Awesome Online it starts with your core message. One you have identified who you are, who you are targeting you can move on to the how. It is extremely important to remember that you no longer have the luxury of broadcasting your message to an audience, instead you need to  build a community of people who support your company/brand. From a larger perspective, this is much more effective anyways, assuming you are transparent and are providing value to your community. And remember that you are not “selling” on social media, but engaging with your community.

Do your homework.

Develop guidelines for your organization such as how, where and who. You want to ensure your team knows what its’ goals are online (building a community vs. selling). You also want to determine where to establish presence (based on your organizational needs) and whether or not you want to set some guidelines for your team’s personal use. Please not this does not read “ban social media for employees” but rather form an agreement on how your team should engage/promote your brand online. Your raving fans can certainly grow from the inside out. Regardless of the industry you are in (yes lawyers have gone social too) there will be a tool/platform that is right for your needs. Determine your measures of success. Number of followers does not equal success, engagement does.

Take Action

Smaller, less bureaucratic organizations may have an advantage because they can start implementing change without all the hoohaw of research, senior management engagement or board approvals. The most valuable thing a company can do is start talking with their community just as people do at networking events in real life. With guidelines in place, start implementing away. Hire/consult knowledgeable people, who knows, they could be sitting right next to you in the lunch room. If you are already online remember that the more you contribute and create the more value you are adding to your ecosystem.

Be Real

Don’t spew “corporate” message. Nobody wants regurgitated jargon for lunch. Don’t be afraid to show a less-than-put-together version of yourself or organization online. Organizations are made up of people, and people are naturally social beings. If you care about your community and it shows, people will want to be part of your tribe.

Don’t post and ditch

I heard this one on a webinar I attended last night. The Facebook Guru Amy Porterfield stressed the importance of sticking around after you post content online. Just like you wouldn’t call you friend, say hello then hang up, why post and leave? Even if you only get one or two comments, people will see that you are engaging in conversation. It is far more appealing to interact with organization of people than bots.

Do it Again

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Just because you tweeted or posted something yesterday doesn’t mean your work is done. You keep doing, engaging and learning. If you are adding value, people will want to keep hearing from you.

Friday Funny

23 Dec

 

For all you peeps who’ve wanted to support Movember but couldn’t grow the ‘stache, well now you can. Coming to a telephone post near you…

Check out HappyPlace for more funny signs and laughs. Happy Friday!

 

How To Be Awesome Online

20 Dec

2011 has been a year of exponential growth in the social media scene. From Google Plus, changes to Facebook and Twitter, it is no wonder marketers struggle to stay ahead or on top of trends let alone changes. So how do you achieve success in this landscape? How do you become Awesome in this space? Well,  for starters you need to stop thinking from a traditional perspective and do something different. (For those of you interested in traditional vs. new media marketing click here). People on Facebook and Twitter don’t want to hear about your sale, new product, or brand, they want to connect, so why not create something to engage WITH them.

Before building your social media strategy you need to define your core message. Who are you and what do you represent (not what are you trying to sell) and who do you want to connect with? This simple exercise will help you gain clarity on what role you should be playing online. Once you have this foundation piece you can build your strategy to support this message. When you have a clear core message you can engage with your customers online by contributing substance instead of trying to sell them your latest widget.

To be truly Awesome online you need to do like you were taught at 5 years old: sharing is caring. Think about this social media as kindergarten recess. Those with the coolest snacks (who shared of course) had the most friends. Nobody wants celery sticks when they can have gluten free chocolate peanut butter cups. Build a community based on mutual values, interests and desires. Of course remember that just as any other marketing or communication function this requires planning, strategy, impecable execution, measurement and feedback. Unlike the Mad Men days when organizations could sell with a shiny ad an no substance, consumers today require substance and authenticity.

If you were your customer, what would make you stop? What do you have to offer that would top peanut butter cups? (gluten free of course)

How to make perfect hardboiled eggs

20 Dec

Ok, Ok, I know you might be giving me a WTF look right now but I’m serious about this.

Reason for this post is because I was looking for a fast, healthy, gluten-free snack when I’m on the run. I decided to make hardboiled eggs. Turns out, it isn’t as intuitive as I thought. I missed the oh-so-important “add cold water after boiling” and ended up with hard-to-peel egg muck. After surfing on Youtube I found this video, see for yourself…

In with inbound marketing

20 Dec

If you are a marketer, entrepreneur or have a Facebook or Twitter account chances are you have heard about inbound marketing. It isn’t a new concept, however with so many social media tools, people connecting online and low barrier to entry it is quickly becoming a strategy of choice for many marketers and organizations.

Voltier Digital compares Inbound/Outbound (traditional) marketing in a striking and fresh manner through the infographic below.

What do you think about the fact that 44% of all direct mail goes unopened or that 86% of people skip TV ads. Does your company have an inbound marketing strategy? Is this something on your radar for 2012?

I’d love to hear your comments below.

Image

Social Selling

13 Dec

Recently, I was approached by a friend for some advice on creating a new website. She has an amazing line of  handmade, all natural soaps but like many of us (myself included) is no website developer. I thought about it for a bit when I remembered a Facebook page I came across where I could purchase jeans directly through the site. I thought this was GENIUS.

My suggestion to her was to use Facebook as her website, she was already very familiar with the platform. All she needed to do was start a page and add an e-commerce plugin. It literally can be set up within 15 minutes! She was really excited about this option and was up and running by the next day. I think this is a great solution for her business, as she is targeting the kind of people she is already friends with on Facebook. There are pros and cons to forgoing the traditional site, however in this circumstances the pros heavily outweighed the cons.

As I looked into the e-commerce applications I noticed that many retailers are following suit. I was amazed by the quality of some of these applications.

Payvement 

Based in Silicon Valley, Payvement now has over 60,000+ sellers using their platform. Their plans range from free to custom, so any size retailer can jump in the game without the overhead of a physical shop (or e-commerce development costs) depending on their specific needs. Buyers can use their credit card or PayPal to make purchases.

Wishpond

Because I love Canadian companies! This up and coming social storefront platform also have different plans to fit retailers needs. What makes them unique is that they work with local retailers to provide them with a tool to engage and sell online AND increase traffic to their brick and mortar stores. They have been featured on Mashable, Inc., and Techvibes.

Zibaba

This fully-customizable storefront that has an affiliate program in place. While this could drive more leads to stores, it may not be for everyone. If you are however, an affiliate marketer, this might be an application you may want to check out.

As I was researching I came across MANY, MANY, more applications. Be sure to research a few to find the one that will best suit your needs.

What do you think about this trend towards social selling? As a retailer is this something you have considered? As a consumer what are you general feelings about purchasing on Facebook?