Are you ready for the new Facebook Timeline for Business Pages

facebook business

facebook business (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

If there’s one thing we can rely on, it’s that Facebook will change things regularly whether we like it or not.

 
And let’s be fair,  that’s their prerogative – they give us a platform we can use for nothing to promote our businesses – it amazes me how many people forget that!
 
So, new timeline is coming for Facebook pages, in one fell swoop wiping out the good work that’s been done with landing pages, changing the game yet again – are you ready for it?
 
In good news you can use that fab cover photo to promote more of your services; that can’t be bad, right?
 
In other not so good news now there’s no real incentive for people to ‘Like’ your page as you can’t encourage them as easily as you could with landing tabs.
 
I’ll be interested to see how this one plays out if I’m honest.
 
If you want to make the most of your Facebook Business Page, then the following blog posts are worth a read:
 
  • The death of the default landing tab
    As I’ve said, default landing pages will be of no use anymore, but this blog post has some good points about why you shouldn’t really worry about that. The upshot is that most of your traffic comes from your items in people’s news streams, so concentrate on great content and you should be fine.
  • Facebook EdgeRank – what is it?
    Have you ever wondered what makes your Facebook posts show up where they do? Or how you compare to your competitors on Facebook? This article will shed some light and give you something to play with.
Facebook can be great for business, and it’s well worth giving it a go if you’ve poo-pooed it before now – check out our 30 Day Facebook Challenge if you need a bit of help!
 
Happy Facebooking!


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Twitter – A Bigger Search Engine Than Google?

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It’s come to just about everyone’s attention that Twitter is HUGE. Twitter is used by almost every company, every celebrity, every wannabe celebrity, and every band to update clients on their goings-on, as well as inform future clients of their services. Most people,even those who aren’t on Twitter yet, also know that Twitter has it’s own search function that allows you to find accounts of people and companies that you would want to follow.

The Twitter search engine allows you to find users by post, by name, trends, and even tone. Trends often show what is popular on Twitter, from funny users that have quick quips to news reels from bigger celebrities and companies. Basically, it’s a 100% organic search engine that allows people to decide what shows first.

There are some good sides to this that can’t be achieved with a regular search engine. Spam sites and malware aren’t going to be in Twitter search results, unless you click outside links. It encourages conversation, followers, and also wit. The question remains – is it a bigger search engine than Google?

Well, yes and no.

It’s bigger in the sense that a lot of users can generate a lot of results in the Twitter feed, a lot more tweets probably are online than websites. There’s a much lower chance of viruses, and there’s a lot of companies that are using Twitter to advertise their services. There is a lot that Twitter offers as far as a community goes. And, the user base is massive. One of the most beneficial things about Twitter is that the tweets that are displayed in the search engines are always the newest that they have. Google and the others can’t say the same thing.

But, like with any search engine, Twitter has its own problems. You can’t separate business from personal accounts on Twitter. The results that you get from most searches aren’t as in-depth, nor are they even spelled correctly. If you are looking for grammatically correct musings from followers, searches, or otherwise, Twitter might not be the best choice.

Another issue a lot of people mention is that though Twitter’s user base is very large, it isn’t universal. There are a decent amount of people who aren’t plugged into Twitter, and therefore would not be likely to receive any message that you have there. The thought of nonusers using the search engine doesn’t make much sense, either. Would people choose a certain business because of their Twitter account?

Twitter has a very active community, but search engines like Google and Yahoo will always have the advantage when it comes to attracting a wider audience. Before you give up your SEO marketing campaign for Google, Yahoo, and other search engines, remember that the user base is much larger on these internet juggernauts. Instead, opt to blend both your Twitter and your website into one optimisation strategy that will keep you in the spotlight for all to see.

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Social Media Marketing: How Much Is Too Much?

 – A guest post by Henry Fitzgerald

From the consumer side, you know when enough is enough.

Maybe you reach that point after reading 26 consecutive tweets from Café Le Nom about lunch and dinner specials. Perhaps you draw the line at 50 Facebook notifications from one vendor. Or maybe you call it quits when your Gmail finally figures out how to re-route all messages from Café Le Nom as spam.

Either way, consumers know when they’re fed up. But, how do businesses and service providers know when to draw the line? How do they know when they’ve gone too far? What are the steps to recover from overdone social media marketing and get on the path to recovery?

Whether you suspect you’ve gone too far with your company’s social media use or had no idea that people can become fed up, check out these tips to help gauge your marketing.

What to Do:

When it comes to marketing via social media, there are definite do’s and don’ts. If you haven’t considered this concept before, you may have already gone too far. But don’t worry, you can always improve!

1) DO: Use Email Marketing

Businesses can be pretty quick to discard email as an effective marketing tool. However, with the smartphone revival sweeping the nation, people are showing a renewed interest in email. Eighty-five percent of people surveyed said that their mobile email is becoming increasingly relevant for daily life while one in three consumers said they use mobile email now more than ever. These numbers all add up to a solid case for email marketing. With people using email on the go, sending out deals, offers and coupons directly to consumer’s inboxes means they can access information on the go, from just about anywhere.

The key to being successful with an email marketing campaign is the frequency of delivery and the wording. Do not, for any reason, use spammy subject lines like, “OPEN NOW!!! UP TO 95% OFF SPECIALLY MARKED ITEMS FOR THE NEXT THIRTY SECONDS!!” Your messages will be flagged as spam and redirected accordingly. Make your subject lines honest and appealing and keep your messages between the 2-5 times a week mark. Send them during the day when people are likely to be out shopping and keep the message short but informative.

2) DO: Blog!

Blogs are an underutilized resource for many larger businesses. People like to be updated with your business, but might not necessarily want to read about it on Facebook or Twitter. Linking to your company blog gives people the option to check it out, without being too overwhelming. Keep the blog updated with fresh, interesting content and be creative to make sure that your readers keep coming back.

3) DO: Use Social Media Wisely

All in all, just be wise with your social media use. Follow the golden rule. If you don’t want your social media bombarded with company links, coupons and gimmicky posts, then don’t do it to others. Post a few times a week to keep customers interested and avoid posting more than a handful of times each day.

What Not To Do:

1) DON’T: Fill Up News Feeds

This is fairly self-explanatory. If you notice that you’ve posted a lot at one time, you can bet that you’re probably filling up news feeds. This act will put you on the fast track to be un-friended or un-followed. Over-sharing is the number one reason people will cut you from their social media radar. Keep your updates limited to avoid being axed.

2) DON’T: Bombard Inboxes or Sent Out Spam

If you decide to use email marketing, do not take it too far. Don’t send more than one email a day and avoid spammy subjects like the one listed above. If you send out messages too frequently and if they contain the spam phrases, Gmail will call you out before consumers can even find the unsubscribe button.

3) DON’T: Ignore Feedback

Customers are the most vital aspect of your success or failure. If you receive feedback, either positive or negative, don’t ignore it. If they’re trying to tell you something, listen. You’ll be glad you did.

Henry Fitzgerald is a technology consultant based in Seattle. When not geeking out over the latest tech gadgets, he spends his time cooking, playing soccer, and sailing. Check out his tech blog here or follow him on twitter: @hfitzy34

5 Ways NOT To Market Your Services On Twitter

Follow me on Twitter logo

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If you are a business owner who needs to learn about marketing, it’s important to learn how to Tweet for success. Like any other matter in marketing, there’s a right way to do things, and then there is the wrong way to do things. Those who want to market their services on Twitter should learn how to gain followers, but not by being these five marketers.

The Internet Explosion – Above all, this is the #1 thing you don’t ever want to do. Some very, very foolish business owners don’t know when to step away from the computer when they are angry about something. Once in a very blue moon, a Twitter marketer will post a rant about customers, or something along those lines, in a very unflattering light. If you ever post a rant about a customer, you can bet that people will always think twice about choosing you as the business they want to go to. Should you get the feeling that you need to do this, just back away from the computer, and get a cup of tea. You don’t need to sacrifice your business for a 5 minute revenge.

The Spammer – You have probably seen this one on Twitter. Constantly posting links without any information is a great way to get people to filter out your tweets at the blink of an eye. Customers won’t know whether you are a virused user, a business with a really terrible marketing approach, or a spam bot. For their own computers’ sakes, users will quickly stop following you if they feel this is what you’re doing. Actually put some effort in your Twitter marketing! Come up with real content that isn’t a pile of links or repetitive phrases, and your Twitter following will blossom.

The Trigger – Similar to the internet explosion, the person who posts something very controversial or incendiary will probably find a drop in their sales. Topics that could trigger a nasty backlash include politics, anything that could be considered racism, or anything that could be related to religion. Your customer base could include anyone. Why alienate them? Why alienate yourself? If it’s a really bad gaffe, your company could be faced with protesters and boycotts. Natural food megastore recently had an entire Twitter following devoted to boycotting their products after unsavory staff relations had come to light. Do you really want to be the one to spark your own Twitter boycott?

The Strong, Silent Type – Some people simply feel strange talking about their Twitter accounts off Twitter. And, it’s understandable. It can be awkward. But, if you don’t advertise your Twitter account, you won’t ever see enough followers for it to become a substantial part of your marketing campaign. The point of marketing is to get people included in your company, and to develop a better community around your company. Not telling them how to be a more active part of that community keeps that community from growing.

The Pre-Packaged Dealer – People can smell out fakers a mile away. You want to appear like a human being to them, which means that any message or following that appears to be manufactured will quickly be disregarded by most people. No one, but no one, wants to feel like they are talking (or listening) to a robot. This is why formula invites, tweets, and messages don’t work. Believe it or not, an organic approach with one or two tweaks might be the best approach that you can have on Twitter.

Done ‘properly’, Twitter can boost your web traffic, increase your sales, encourage referrals and build relationships – surely that’s what every business owner on Twitter wants?

What puts you off following people?

Still finding your way with Twitter? Need a helping hand? Check out my 30 Day Twitter Challenge to kickstart your Tweeting today!

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Free marketing ebook – 99 Tools to help you get business from Social Media

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We’re loving the freebies that Hubspot are giving away these days, and this one’s a corker!

99 Tools to help you get business from Social Media requires that you sign up to a mailing list to get it, but it’s more than worth it.

In it you’ll find:

  • Tools to manage your Twitter account
  • Tools to manage your Facebook account
  • Blog and website management tools
  • Content creation tools
  • Tools for tracking and analysis
  • and more!

It’s most definitely worth a download so pop on over and get it (PDF) now!

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Online reputation management – Is naming and shaming the right way to attract attention?

A dunce cap that I am going to use as part of ...

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In this day and age of Social Media, Google Alerts, and every man and his secretary monitoring a company’s online reputation, it may seem easy to grab attention by naming companies in your blog posts and website that are ‘getting it wrong’.

And don’t think I haven’t joked about writing bad reviews of big companies, then plastering a ‘need online reputation management? See NikkiPilkington.com’ at the bottom 😉

But let’s be honest here – although naming and shaming people who are ‘doing Social Media wrong’ may get their attention, and in the long run maybe even a few customers – is it the right thing to do?

There’s an ‘expert’ who regularly posts a Twitter hall of shame – he goes through Twitter accounts to see who’s doing it properly and who isn’t. Then he writes a blog post about them and tweets it. Often he’ll get comments on his blog from the companies involved, but not all of the time.

I realise his aim is to highlight bad Twitter practice, and to sell his Twitter coaching services to the companies involved, and all power to him.

But to me there’s something a little bit ‘icky’ about it… I’m not even sure why.

I’m all for using Social Media to write bad reviews if you’ve had bad service, but to go hunting for ‘victims’ just seems a little wrong to me.

Maybe i’m too nice (ha!) or too much of a wuss – what are your thoughts on publicly naming and shaming companies in order to get their attention and hopefully their business?

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Recent Facebook Page Changes – what do they mean?

fbpageA Guest Blog By Angie Stewart of Maginus

Last week Facebook announced an upgrade to managed pages. According to Facebook, these improvements provide “Better Communication”, “More Opportunities for Expression” and “Improved Relevancy”. So what does this all mean and how can it help you as a Facebook page owner? And what new opportunities does it open up?

Below I’ve outlined what it really means for your business and how it can help your brand.

Interact as your page

Previously, Facebook did not have the functionality to comment on other facebook pages as your page. Any comment you made on other pages would be from you personally as opposed to your page. There was a work around for this, but it was not ideal and not suitable for all situations. This new functionality allows you to increase exposure of your page by commenting on and liking other
industry relevant Facebook pages.

Notification about Fan activity

This is very useful as many find it unproductive and often unachievable to keep checking Facebook pages for activity at regular intervals. This new functionality provides you with e-mail notification of comments and activity meaning you can respond immediately to customers. You don’t need to do anything to get these notifications, as default, all administrators of your Facebook page will receive
them.

Photos and Images at the top of the page

This is another nice option for many brands. Perhaps you want to showcase your some of products, encourage people to events with enticing images of the last ones or encourage client interaction with images of them at your store/branche/venue. There are many ways you can creatively use this space to enhance your brand.

Feature Favourite Pages

This is very useful if you are a large company with different pages for separate products or niche offerings, as you can feature one on the other. It can also be used for mutually beneficial relationships with other companies operating within a similar field. I.e. if you sell outdoor clothing, you may wish to pair up with camping sites and outdoor activity clubs for reciprocal features.

Identify Admin Users

In many situations, it’s beneficial to have a personal face to the brand. People like talking to people not logos, so the ability to show page administrators will increase interaction and trust for a lot of brands.

All in all there are some great changes that, in my mind, will really help you to grow your brand and increase your exposure.

Angie Stewart, Online Marketing Consultant at Maginus. Maginus are a Manchester based online marketing services provider. Angie is a keen contributor to many industry blogs as well as recognised as SEOAngie on Twitter.

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Online reputation management – what do you do when someone repeatedly posts negative comments on your Facebook page?

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An email from a person I know on Twitter and Facebook prompted this post. She manages the Facebook page of a pretty well known brand with a positive online reputation.

But a disgruntled former employee has a bee in his bonnet, and has been posting negative comments on their Facebook page. Not just under his own name but also by registering multiple fake accounts and posting the same things under those names too (not very bright, our chap 😉 )

Of course, she has been removing the posts, which accuse the directors of the company of fraud and embezzlement, bullying, affairs and more. And names them every time. However, this is obviously a time consuming way of managing the situation.

In most cases, if negative things are posted, I advise that they are responded to calmly and dealt with in a way that shows that the company is open and responsive to criticism as well as praise.

But I’ve seen these messages and believe me they are pretty foul, and as far as I can tell have no basis in truth.

So what should she do? Of course, she could disallow postings on the page from people who aren’t admins, but then that takes away the very social aspect of having a Facebook page.

Deleting the posts and reporting the accounts, and banning them from the page, works in the short term. but when someone is so vitriolic and registers even more accounts to carry on their ‘work’, it becomes a never ending cycle.

So, over to you guys. How would you deal with this? What can she do that will not take up hours of her time a day checking the page and removing / banning / reporting?

This kind of thing is starting to happen more and more as people realise the power of social media – have you faced a similar problem? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Buying Facebook 'likes', Twitter 'followers' and 'fans'?

Get 10,000 fans / likes for just $100

5,000 unique Twitter followers for just $50

Buy your way to the top!

Just some of the headlines of email we’ve received in the past week.

Then there are the potential clients that approach us asking if we can ‘buy fans or followers’.

Well the answer is a resounding:

NO!

We can see why it seems a great idea. 10,000 people listening to your message, all added to your account within a week or so – before you know it you’ll have sales coming out of your ears, right?

WRONG!

See, think about it. How many of those 10,000 will be REAL people, waiting to read your message and interested in what you sell? The chances are, not many.

And how many alerts will you be triggering with your super fast growth? Probably lots – Twitter is renowned for closing down accounts that grow so rapidly, as it’s the classic hallmark of a spam account (which, incidentally, yours pretty much is once you start buying fans and followers instead of building your fanbase organically).

We know, it seems like a great idea – hardly any money gets you a huge potential audience.

But we’ll put it to you that if you think this is a great idea then you’ve not quite ‘got’ the idea of Social Media Marketing – it’s not about broadcasting to a huge audience, it’s about attracting the right kind of fans and followers, building your audience gradually, interacting with them and developing credibility.

Having 10,000 fans or followers is great (our own @nikkipilkington has 11,000+, built organically) but it’s not a short cut to untold riches, and it doesn’t mean you’re going to sell loads – it just means you bought a list that’s probably as useless as the $50 link campaign you considered buying last summer – and probably just as dangerous, in terms of the likelihood of being banned from Facebook or Twitter.

Have you bought followers or fans? Would you? We’d love to hear your opinion of this practice in our comments section below.

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A day in the life of a small business tweet

Or, how you can fit Twitter ‘in between’ everything else. A guest post from @cherylcrichton

Tweeting is now commonplace in the corporate marketing landscape. With the right strategy and tools in place, Twitter allows small businesses to communicate on a much more personal level, and can actually influence the buying decision.

A day in the life of 140 characters:

08:45: CEO of ‘Company X’ gets an email advising that his latest product has been nominated for ‘Best New Widget Product of the Year’ Award.

08:51: CEO phones the marketing department and asks what can be done immediately to announce the nomination.

The marketing department advise that they will:

  • Web: Create a new page in the ‘News’ section of the website (which has the facility for the public to leave a comment on the award nomination, or sign-up for progress updates. It also has a link to a widget sheet download);
  • PR: Publish a press release;
  • Literature: Look at adding the award logo/short list message to the current collateral portfolio;
  • Social Media: Promote on social media (blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube);
  • Internal Communications: Advise all colleagues and brief them to promote the nomination.

08:59: The marketing department drafts and sends the first of five related 140 character tweets to their followers:

<delighted to be short-listed for ‘Best New X Product of the Year’ http://www.companyxyz.com/news/awards-short-list/ #widgetproductname>*

09:01: ‘Key Customer Y’ gets off a train at city centre location. They check their mobile phone for twitter updates and spot said tweet from favourite supplier. The customer is very happy to be using their service, so decides to re-tweet.

<@keycustomery RT @companyx Delighted to be short-listed for ‘Best New X Product of the Year’ www.companyx.com/news/awards-short-list/ #widgetproductname//A fantastic product>

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09:30: Marketing department drafts some cut & paste copy for the rest of Company X to use in social media updates (Linkedin status, email signatures etc). Copy gets circulated with an internal communication about the announcement. The marketing department also conducts a review of all their current collateral/literature to see where the award provider’s logo can be added to promote the nomination.

09.36: One of Key Customer Y’s twitter followers (‘Small Business Z’) checks their twitter feed and notice an interesting re-tweet about a product they have been considering. They click on the link and are taken to the provider’s website. They notice the registration form for further updates and sign-up.

10:41: Whole of Company X are now talking about the nomination and the web page has gone live. All staff email signatures include a link to the website where people can sign-up for further alerts about the award. All Facebook Fan Page and Linkedin profiles have also been updated.

10:42: Small Business Z’s MD sends the link to their sales department with a request to find out more product information. They also receive a branded email advising that new updates will be sent on a regular basis, but that they can unsubscribe at anytime.

10.45: Small Business Z’s sales team receive the link from the MD and bookmark the page to check later. They decide to follow Company X on Twitter, and download the product sheet the next day.

Our tweet has done its job.

Test and measure:
Through-out the day, Company X sends 4 more tweets, which are variations on the same message, but with links to different pages on the website; the press release, the E-News sign-up and the awards section for example. These can be monitored later to see which tweet performs the best. This then forms the basis of tweets going forward up to and during the awards ceremony. Activity and feedback can also be included in the next e-News.

Outcomes:
The Small Business Z sales person that downloaded the product sheet a follow-up call from Company X and a product demo was arranged. They also received a welcome tweet and a link to the blog for future reference.

Company X made a note that Small Business Z saw a tweet from Key Customer Y, which prompted them to visit the website. Therefore, Company X send a second tweet to Key Customer Y saying they may be eligible for a referral fee should Small Business Z sign-up.

Note: Pages may start appearing in search engines and on twitter feed if hashtags are searched.

* URL shortener would typically be used.

==

Clear Thought Consulting works with small businesses to equip them with the marketing strategies, skills, suppliers and set-up that they need to become bigger businesses.
SMART THINKING | STRAIGHT TALKING | GETS RESULTS

Contact: Cheryl Crichton. Associate | Clear Thought Consulting Ltd | 0117 325 77 25 | @cherylcrichton

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