It is well known that people do business with other people whom they like and trust. But how do you create and keep that trust, especially before someone is a client of yours? It turns out that correct usage of social media is one of the crucial means of creating trust before a sale, and of keeping trust after a sale.
Executive social media
A recent poll determined that more than 80% of consumers were favourably or very favourably inclined to trust companies whose executive officers used social media to communicate the goals, vision, and values of a business. That translated to 77% of consumers saying they were favourably or very favourably inclined to buy from such a company. Note that this doesn’t refer to the designated social media person talking about what is going on at the company. The executive officers are the ones who set the policies, strategy, and vision for the company. They should be using social media to explain what they have decided the company should do, and why. This is akin to the way that publicly traded companies analyse the past year and why the year to come will be different in their annual stock reports.
Confusion equals distrust
Consumers like to know what they’re getting from a company. They have certain expectations regarding advertisements, and certain expectations regarding informational content. When a company blurs the lines between advertising and content, such as by creating “advertorials” (paid advertisements that look like news pieces) or product comparisons that are highly skewed in favour of their own products (for example, by failing to mention the areas in which their competitor’s product outperformed their product), customers lose trust in the company.
The worst offenders in this category are online videos, which look like informational content but are revealed to be advertising at some point after the viewer begins watching. About 85% of the people surveyed by MediaBrix regarding this topic reported that they had fallen prey to this deception. Coincidentally, only about 15% of the people who saw such videos approved of the company that created it, with a whopping 85% of the people neutrally or negatively impacted.
Right and wrong social media
Other categories of line-blurring that people objected to, in order from most severe to least, included advertorials, infomercials, Facebook sponsored stories, and Twitter promoted tweets. Refrain from trying to lure a few extra eyeballs to your website by using these strategies, since the backlash can cause more damage than you gain.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use Facebook sponsored stories, or Twitter promoted tweets. They can be an excellent way to increase the visibility of your information to your fan base. But make it clear to your reader whether the story or tweet is advertising or content. Do that, and you’ll increase their trust of your company.
There are many different ways to use Facebook as part of Internet marketing. If you plan on using Facebook to engage with your fans, however, you should follow the five tips below to get the best results.
#1: Make Content Shareable
You may have a fantastic news story or exciting product announcement, but that Facebook post sits like a lump. Meanwhile, a photo of your pet doing something adorable goes viral. Why? People share things that they are able to personalise with their own spin, or that reflect their own values. Put a picture of your product next to a famous quote highlighting some key benefit of it, and suddenly it’s sharable. Say you’re releasing a new gizmo that is twice as fast with 10% less waste. Try pairing it with the quote from George Allen, “Every day you waste is one you can never make up,” with a caption of “More time, less waste with Gizmo 2.0.”
#2: Think Visually
This was alluded to in the first tip, but you should always think visually about your content. Every post should have an associated visual, even if it is not a photo post. People’s attention goes first to visual images, and then to text, so as your post is competing for attention on a busy page, having a picture associated with it makes it more likely that someone will actually read it. Having read it, they will also be more likely to share something that includes a picture.
#3: Be a Real Person
Facebook is not the place for corporate pronouncements wrapped in marketing hype or couched in legalese. It’s a way for people to feel like they are connecting with the human heart of an otherwise soulless organisation. You have a business culture – show it! Whether you’re an aficionado of a particular kind of music, or let loose with Crazy Hat Day, let your fans know that you’re not all about business.
#4: Get Their Opinions
People love to express their opinions. Make it easy to do by running posts that have 2, 4, or 6 different choices (each with a photo) and asking them to choose their favourite. It could be as simple as picking their favourite colour of the new product, or as silly as choosing the best looking dog.
#5: Monitor, Analyse, and Incorporate
Track the results of all of your postings. Which result in the most Likes? Which result in the most Shares? Which do the most to expand your reach? Can you correlate any of this activity with increased sales? Are there particular days or times of day that you get better responses? Are there particular types or subjects of posts that get better responses? Use the information you gather to refine and improve your strategy.
Many people think that being a good salesperson requires developing relationships with lots of “rapport” and expressions of warmth. Their goal is to develop a persona like a fishing buddy or other person with whom their customer would share many good times and personal intimacy. The internet marketing side of this comes out in how you portray yourself in social media.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with developing such relationships with your customers, it’s the wrong attitude with which to start. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your customer isn’t looking for a friend; they’re looking for an expert whom they can trust. Once they find such an expert, they expect to be told the truth, even when the truth won’t bring them closer to buying something from you. That’s what true experts do, and it’s what wins both minds and hearts.
Tell your customers the truth. Even better take the stance that you’re there to serve, not to sell. No one wants to be sold anything. People want to buy. Take the stance that you’ll find out what your customer needs, even if it isn’t something you can provide to them; even if it’s something that a competitor can provide. When you take this stance, you begin to rise above the crowd and gain a reputation for excellence and service.
If you want to really maximise the potential here, take the stance that you’ll even be willing to risk the relationship if that’s what you believe is best for the customer. This might include telling the customer that they’re about to do something that they haven’t thought through enough, or that is a mistake—and why. You can tell them this nicely, and you should always get permission first.
Those who do their level best to put the customer first, not just as a catchy slogan or catchphrase but as a way of living, will find in many cases that their customers will become enthusiastic fans who recommend them to all of their friends. They will refer business to you, and that’s always the best way to get new customers.
Once you understand that your customers need you to be the expert they can trust, you will find this leads to a variety of different behaviours. How will you dress? What will your website look like? How will you communicate with prospects? What will your stationery, business cards, and proposals look like? All of these questions can be answered by determining what will make it easiest for potential customers to view you as an expert they can trust.
Those who try to be all things to all prospects find themselves in a weak position, since it is impossible to be an expert in everything. They rarely build lasting relationships of real value.
Don’t be your customer’s friend. Be their ally and serve their true needs. See what happens. You’ll be amazed at the results.
If you have been actively pursuing your Facebook campaign and you have not seen results, you may be making fatal mistakes that cause your campaign to crash and burn. Facebook has upwards of 900 million users, which means you have more than ample opportunity to reach a large market. However, if you are not following the precise guidelines presented by Facebook, your campaign won’t get off the ground. Check out these fatal Facebook flaws that can be holding your business back on Facebook.
Pages: There is a two-fold aspect to Facebook pages for marketing. First, you have to use them. You can’t count on your personal Facebook page to drive traffic to your website. Next, and most importantly, you have to fill out the page completely. If you leave blanks in the contact information section or don’t post your address and pictures, you might as well shut your page down.
Play by the rules: Facebook has rules. It might look like an anything goes site, but in reality, it is closely watched. If you break the rules, your page can be shut down. Make sure you read every detail about business pages before you begin. For example, you cannot have a cover photo that contains pricing, discount offer or purchase information. You also cannot have a call to action on your cover photo or your contact information. Your photo should be a photo that is indicative of your business.
Legalities: If you are going to sponsor a contest or give something to visitors, you have to make certain that it is legal. If you advertise a contest that is not legal, your page can be shut down, and you could face fines.
Over populating page with text: This also includes too many posts. You don’t want to write a book when you add text to your page. Keep it short and to the point. You should also make sure you are posting regularly but not every time your screen saver changes. No one wants to receive notifications on their page every time your boss calls your name. Keep posts relevant and short.
Stick to your brand: Be careful that you aren’t creating posts that steer people to brands other than your own. Don’t let your posts get sidetracked and ultimately have nothing to do with your business.
Facebook can bring you a large amount of web traffic, if you take the time to learn how to utilise it properly. You don’t have to spend hours a day watching the page and making comments to be successful. Use Facebooks’s rules and guidelines to create a quality page and then update it regularly. Your business will gain visibility and your web traffic will increase in a short time.
If you have used Facebook pages and made other mistakes that you want to share, use the box below and we can all learn what not to do. Go check your Facebook page and make sure you aren’t breaking any rules that will have you removed from the site.
If you are like the majority of marketers or businesses out there today, your social media efforts fall into two categories. Either you are actively embracing social media or you are ignoring social media in hopes that it is a passing phase. If you fall into the later category, I wish you well but you are missing the boat. If you fall into the category of embracing social media, I ask you, do you have a clear understanding of how to use social media well? Let’s take a look at a company that is rocking the social media universe and see exactly what it is that they are doing that is making them such a success. After we see what it is that works, you can mimic those strategies into your own social media marketing campaign.
Coca-Cola has over 42 million Facebook fans. In fact, they have 42, 525,826 fans and on any given day, over 300,00 fans are ‘talking about’ them on Facebook. While this company has millions of dollars to invest in their advertising and marketing efforts and these efforts are on all forms of media, television and print, for our purposes we will focus on Facebook. Are they spending a fortune on Facebook ads? Are they using fancy graphics and expensive video to promote their products? Are they constantly self-promoting their soft drink in order to sell more? Well, we can’t gauge how much they are spending on Facebook ads but we can answer the other two questions. The answer to if they are constantly self-promoting and posting a ton of flashy images is no.
This past Friday, they shared a link for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The post was very simple. “London is calling – Light up Times Square with your cheers to the athletes! #CheersTeamCoke” This post provides the fans with a few different elements. One, it supports the Olympic Games, which inherently does not fall under self-promotion. Two, it shows support to the athletes who are participating and finally, the underlying self-promotion or call to action is extremely subtle. They aren’t saying “Buy Coke to support the London 2012 Olympic Games”. They are suggesting that having Coca-Cola supports the games and that by drinking a coke, you are supporting the games as well. See the difference? How can you incorporate this technique into your own Facebook marketing?
Keep it simple. This is what we can learn from Coca-Cola. While your brand may not achieve a following of over 42 million, you can keep your posts quirky, fun, informative and subtle. Drop the overt self-promoting status updates and actually give your fans what they want. Coca-Cola is a great example of many brand fanpages out there that we can observe and mimic. Consider it a free education.
Is your business fanpage working for or against you? Facebook is a wonderful tool to attract new customers and to maintain the interest of current customers. At times, it seems like Facebook is making changes every time we turn around. While it may be difficult to keep up with all of the changes, especially with the latest change to Timeline, it is worth your time and energy to make sure that your business fanpage is working for you and not against you. Here are three ways to improve your business fanpage.
Your cover image must be 851 px wide x 315 px height. While Timeline does have some restrictions for your cover image (you cannot display a direct call to action or list your website), your cover image is still the most compelling element of your Facebook fanpage. Your cover image is where most of your business branding will come in to play. This image is the first thing that visitors will see; therefore it is important to make a great impression. Don’t just slap any picture in the cover image position; it is well worth the money to have a graphic designer make a custom image that fits the dimensions perfect. You do not want your image to appear blurry or distorted. Take the time to make a great first impression.
We all know that content is king, and this is even more important on Facebook. If your audience feels that you are just posting arbitrary content for the sake of getting content out there, they will quickly unlike your page and tell their friends that your business fanpage is a waste of time. Create great content. One way to make sure your best posts are seen is by ‘pinning’ them to the top of your Facebook Timeline business page. Take advantage of this ‘Pin To Top’ feature.
Do your Twitter account and your Facebook account talk to each other? A great way to kill two birds with one stone is by integrating your Twitter account into your Facebook account. The benefit of this integration is that every time you post on Facebook, your post will be sent out via your Twitter account. By creating a constant stream of relevant and useful content, you will be able to engage with both your Twitter audience and your Facebook audience at the same time. This is a great time saver for busy individuals.
There are many different strategies that can be used to improve your business fanpage. The key is to keep up with the changes that Facebook makes and the rules that they have. By having a compelling cover image, great content and twitter integration you will find yourself pleased with the results.
All business that have ventured having a presence on Facebook ask themselves the same questions. How do I gain a large following? How can I turn my Facebook marking efforts into actual money? How much time will it take to see a return on my investment? These questions are all valid and online marketing is something that is not a fad. Having a presence on Facebook is important and when done correctly, can yield some amazing results. What are a few ways that you can make your business soar on Facebook?
Create An Experience
Make your business page on Facebook as visually appealing as possible. With the advent of Timeline, this is easy to accomplish. Timeline makes it possible to show off your business with style. Make sure you incorporate your logo and change up your posts. Give your fans a reason to share your content. Use of videos, images and valuable information works well. Also offer your fans great incentives for liking your page. Coupons and special offers are a great way of saying thank you.
Facebook opens the door and provides the optimal platform for creating community. Your fans are customers and potential customers but above all they are individuals looking to have an experience. As a sales professional, it is your job to provide them with an experience that makes them feel that they are special. Engagement is a great way to accomplish this. Respond to any and all complaints and acknowledge the raving compliments. Your fans are taking time out of their day to connect with you, it is just good manners to return the favor.
Sponsored Stories & Facebook Ads
Facebook makes it very easy to become visible to consumers that are in your target demographic but that may not know about your brand. Facebook aggregates data from their user base so that you can choose exactly which demographic you want to target with your ad campaign. Sponsored Stories allow your posts to have extreme exposure with fans. Your Sponsored Stories can be new posts or older posts, which allows you to recycle great content. This is extremely time efficient.
Give Them Something To Talk About
Content is always king. Make sure your posts are engaging. Ask questions, ask for feedback and use the Facebook Poll option when you are looking for specific fan feedback for your brand. Photo tagging is another way to get your fan base talking. Take pictures of your products or your business and tag them with your business fanpage profile.
Facebook has opened a whole new world for marketing. Brands now have direct access to their customers and potential customers on a 24/7 basis with an audience that is around 900 million. It is well worth your time to take massive action and build your brands visibility.
As marketers and business owners we are not strangers to the power of Facebook. We know that marketing on Facebook can be critical to our success. It seems like we finally became accustomed to the format of Facebook, how to purchase ads and how to use our business fanpages to effectively. Then all of a sudden, Facebook decides to change their structure with the introduction of Timeline.
Many of us switched to Timeline on our personal pages and the reaction was dramatic. People either loved Timeline or they hated this new format. Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t give us the option to switch or stay with the old layout. As of March 30th, all business pages switched to the Timeline format.
Facebook has issued specific rules for using Timeline as a business. The first rule deals with your cover image. At first it may appear that these new guidelines work against those that are trying to market their business via Facebook. If we take a look at the specific guidelines, we can discover ways to work around these strict rules. According to the new guidelines, your business page cover may not:
Include any monetary information. This includes % off, download your free copy of or advertise a special or specific price of an item or service.
List your contact information. Your cover image cannot display your URL, email, mailing address or phone number.
No suggestions to “like”. You cannot say, “like this” or “share this page” with an arrow showing the fans how.
No calls to action. Your cover image cannot give any directives. This includes “get this product now” or “share this amazing product with your friends.”
Your cover image cannot be misleading or break anyone’s copyright.
Despite these strict guidelines, you can still create a cover image that attracts attention. While you cannot give a directive in your cover image, you can still have sales and offers within your app array. Your profile picture can display your logo or the special that you are offering at the current moment. Another important features is the “about” section.
Timeline About Section
Once fans realize that they have to dig a little deeper on your fanpage for information, it will become second nature for them to automatically click on your “about” section. Therefore it is important to make your “about” section count. One tip is to use the 255 characters that you are given in the about title to succinctly describe your business. These 255 characters are the only thing that the fans can read in your “about” section as it is displayed when they first arrive at your page. The key is to think of these 255 characters as your elevator pitch. If you had just a few moments to describe who you are and what you offer, what would you say? This is what needs to go in your “about” sections first line.
Knowing the rules for your cover image and maximizing your “about” section will help you maximize Timeline for business pages to achieve better results.
As the most popular social networking site and the second most popular web site in the world, I don’t have much need to introduce Facebook here.
The brainchild of Mark Zukerberg while still a student at Harvard, Facebook started the social networking revolution, and has since made Zuckerberg into the youngest billionaire on the planet.
But as I like to ask, how can you turn this into extras traffic for your site, and extra customers coming through your doors?
The main draw of Facebook stems from its 800 million plus users. 800 million! That’s over 10 times the populations of the United Kingdom. If you can get even an infinitesimal fraction of these users on your site, and even a fraction of them buying your product, you can start thinking about moving up your retirement date.
But that’s the hard part. Let take a look at a few of the best ways to engage the Facebook community with your own site, and with your products.
The first step to bringing in traffic from Facebook is by understanding the nature of the site itself. It is a social network. Which means that you, the internet marketer, needs to leverage socialisation. And you need to network.
What do I mean by this?
Consider again the 800 million users of Facebook. All of them are linked to one another in some way, most likely as friends, but also as people who like the same fan pages or use the same applications. Now, all of these people are constantly updating the site with new comments, pictures, videos, and whatever else they feel like sharing with the world.
This means that you can’t handle all your marketing yourself. Everything that you post to the site is going to be lost immediately in the stream of updates.
However, by socialising, you can get the network to market for you. For free. Share posts of value and interest, and people will start re-sharing them and re-posting them. In effect, you post will go viral. However, note that I do not mean of interest to you. I mean of interest to your users.
How do you figure out what is of interest to your users? Ask them. Not only does this make your readers and customers feel appreciated, but it also provides you with the best market research you could possibly get your hands on.
Two of the ways that I’ve been getting in touch with my readers lately are by asking them questions about their interests, especially as those interests pertain to the marketing industry; and by asking for feedback on my products or sites.
By getting involved with the Facebook community, and dealing with such that you leverage its strengths and minimise its weaknesses, you’ll find that you not only an entire world of free advertising, but ultimately an entire world of paying customers as well.
Social media engagement is crucial to any internet marketing campaign. However, it can be difficult to know where exactly to begin engaging the social network. A Facebook business page is a fantastic place to start promoting your business and leveraging the power of social media today. Its straightforward, beneficial, and free. Read on to see how you can get started taking advantage of this excellent opportunity, and how to optimise your page so that you can get the most out of it in the long run.
Get Started on the Right Foot
Now that you’ve hopefully decided that a Facebook business page is definitely a step in the right direction for your business, get started with filling out all the relevant information about your company.
To start, you’ll have to select from one of six categories, including: Local business or place; artist, band, or public figure; company, organisation, or institution; entertainment; brand or product; and cause of community. For our purposes, you’ll most likely be choosing local business or company. Make sure you select this properly, as the category which you select will prompt Facebook to offer you different information fields when you finally get a chance to input more detailed information about your company. Perhaps more importantly, once you select your category, you cannot change it without deleting the entire page. Choose wisely.
Fill in The Gaps
Following this you’ll be prompted to add more detailed information about your business. What you need to add depends on your particular industry niche, but remember as a general rule that the more time and effort you put into the page, then the better it will look, and the better results it will yield.
So really take your time and fill in all of the categories. Put up a few pictures of your business place, of your products, or of yourself with community leaders or satisfied customers. Make sure to put in an email address, and if you have a physical business location, make sure that you include the address and hours of operation. The key to social media marketing is connecting the dots.
Once you’ve filled in all the information for your business, you can start sharing your creation with the world. Begin, of course, by sharing your new page with all the friends who you’ve already connected with personally on Facebook. Beyond this, leverage the power of social networking.
Update your status regularly, and update it will valuable and useful information, so that the people who have already followed or liked your page will repost your status updates. Additionally, cross-link your new page to existing business media, such as your blog and your business website. Make sure that visitors to one are able to quickly and easily access the others.
Additionally, be sure to take advantage of a feature on Facebook business pages called Insights. Insights allow you to see how many people visited, liked, or followed your page, and allows you to break these down by time frames so that you can judge the relative effectiveness of your marketing efforts over specific periods of time.
By taking these simple steps, you’re putting yourself on the fast track to social media marketing success.