Connecting Business to Business

@Leveraging Facebook for Deeper Networking

Here’s a lesser known trick to build and strengthen business connections on Facebook. I talk a lot about social media being a dynamic and interactive place. It is difficult sometimes to know how to create that kind of presence with other businesses, especially when they are your target market (B to B). Those of us using Facebook to present our business online, and connect with our audience, are challenged to create a community around our brand that includes our business contacts.

Facebook does not allow business pages to interact directly with personal pages. When an individual likes your business page, you cannot reach them directly through messaging, email, or interacting on their pages. You can, however interact freely with other business pages through the “Like”, “Comment”, or “Share” feature on their posts. This is an excellent strategy to grow your audience by paying attention to and supporting others; when giving is primary to taking.

In addition to this approach, we highly encourage businesses to include another tool to increase your connectivity. Mention, through a clickable link, the businesses who’s relationships you want to strengthen, in your Facebook posts. This is how it works – when you publish a post on your business page, in the introduction type @ Facebook Page Name of the other business.  As long as your page has already liked their page, their Facebook page name will populate as you type it in.  It works the same was as tagging  your “friends” on your personal page. When Facebook recognizes the page name it comes up as an option to click on, making it a clickable link to that business page directly in your post. Using this approach appropriately will forge stronger relationships with other businesses through their Facebook pages.

Using @mention in your posts has 2 outcomes that can be more powerful than liking, commenting, and sharing posts: 

  1. The other business gets a notification on Facebook, and email if that setting is enabled, that their page was mentioned by your page. This is a link that takes them to the post where their business was highlighted. They can interact with the post on your page, increasing the communication. This can happen with the “share” feature as well, but the other business’s page is not highlighted so distinctly, so it doesn’t create as clear a call to action to click on their page as when the page name is linked in the post. Also, a shared post is simply that, which is nice, but says nothing about the business who’s post you are sharing. Mentioning their page gives you the opportunity to enhance your link something positive about that business.
  2. Your audience will see the other business tagged with a link to the other business’s page, and  if you do it correctly, includes a reason to want to go to the other business page and connect with that business.

This is good for your business because it is good for the other business; it demonstrates good will to others and your audience who may benefit from the link you shared. If the other business is similarly inclined (hopefully they are), they should do the same for you on their page, drawing their audience directly to you and reinforcing the bond between your businesses.

Make sure the post and business tag you are publishing on your page make sense and are relevant to your industry, business, or community. Here is an example for how a business page can use this to a very positive effect:

A mortgage lender posts a home listing from one of the realtors who could refer homebuyers. In the introduction to the listing the mortgage lender adds @Super Realtor.  The lender’s network can click on the link to the realtor and check out their page and the listing, and connect directly with the realtor to get more information on the house. The realtor is notified that @Savvy Mortgage Lender mentioned their page and promoted their listing on their Facebook page. @Super Realtor is grateful for the recognition and expanded audience and is likely to return the favor, either on Facebook or through direct referral. @Savvy Mortgage Lender’s Facebook audience has a direct link if they are interested in that house.

If the business you tag doesn’t respond, even with a Thank You, that may mean they aren’t paying attention to what is happening with their page or may not know what to do about it. It probably isn’t personal. If that happens you may want to follow up with an email or message to let them know you’d like to share content and invite them to share any of your information on their page.

If anyone ever interacts with or tags your page, always acknowledge, appreciate, and where possible, reciprocate. It is considered bad form to ignore your audience online, so be sure to be one of the good ones…or hire a professional to do it for you. When I do this for my clients and the target business responds, I am far more likely to continue promoting their page for my client, as opposed to the ones who ignore the recognition and I stop engaging directly with those pages.

This kind of networking can be effective for any business, even those that serve individuals. Businesses typically don’t operate in isolation and benefit from other business connections as referral partners, vendors, or support companies.  Give this a try and let me know how it works for you.

 

Promote Where You Can

Email Signatures Are you using your email signature to invite people to your social media platforms?

Most of us use email a lot and it is still the #1 form of business communication. Every time you have an email exchange with a client, prospect, partner, vendor, or any other contact, you have an opportunity to showcase your digital presence.  By putting icons linked to your social media sites below your signature line, you are inviting your contacts to take your connection further online.

Here is my signature line with all my sites linked so anyone I email can go to my sites.

Andrea Howard
Social Media Maxima – President
703-944-6021

          

The icons are links that take the reader directly to your page and look more impressive than a text address.  They should be simple, easy to follow, clear, and each one a working link. Having this on your email reflects your professionalism and that you are active in the digital space.

I don’t recommend this if you don’t have social media platforms or If your presence isn’t that impressive.  You should have a consistent presence and an attractive site if you are going to invite people there. Check out a previous blog on how to make your Facebook page look great.   If you aren’t quite ready, you may want to wait until you can show off your platforms proudly before you announce them to the world. I have seen emails with social links, but when I click, there is nothing there…leaving a bad impression.

When you do have social media platforms to be proud of and you want to invite engagement, follow these steps to get your sites linked. There are different instructions for various email servers, so here it is for outlook and the most common resources. If you don’t use either of these, check with your tech support folks or google the instructions.

Instructions from Microsoft Office for Adding Social Icons to Email Signature

Instructions for Adding Social Icons to Other Email Servers

(Including gmail). Click on the email provider you use for more specific instructions on creating a signature line, and follow these instructions for linking an image to your site.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Keeping Prospects on your Website

PRI’m working with PR consultant, Chris Volz, and asked him to take a look at some websites and offer recommendations from a public relations point of view.  This blog is his perspective on how websites should best be constructed to produce a positive outcome. Websites are the public’s view into most businesses now, and usually their first encounter. It stands to reason that the first, and ongoing impression of the company, should be favorable to the public. These suggestions are appropriate for any business to assess their website.

From Guest Blogger, Chris Volz:

Old time PR and “Bounce Rates”

“Bounce rate is the percentage of visits that go only one page before exiting a site.” Google

The average person will spend 10-15 seconds on your website before moving on. Counting how many people visit your website is useless if the visitors move on in seconds without taking action. You have to hook them quickly with the information they seek and delivered how they want it . Most websites don’t do it.

Years and years ago when being trained in PR, one of the things you had to learn was how to write articles for newspapers. The entire story is in the first paragraph, everything after that is detail. This is not unlike how people digest information online now. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the years that apply to web design and development for business:  

Know your Public

Understand the demographic you are trying to reach and use the the appropriate language, artwork, and design for your web pages and social media platforms.

Know your Product Inside and Out

Know the benefits, advantages, pro’s, con’s and what makes it unique. Know it well enough to explain to a child briefly and make them smile about it.

Be brief

You may have reams of fabulous content. NO ONE WILL READ IT.  The main pages (Home, About, Services, etc.) should be limited to the most critical aspects your public wants and needs to know to do business with you. Save your industry expertise for blogs, white papers etc.

Be organized

Your website should flow in a way that makes sense. It is surprising to still see so many sites with content that is out of context. As an exercise, print all the pages of your website and put them on a wall. Does everything flow from one item to the next easily and clearly? Have someone who is not familiar with your company do this exercise with you and see if there are any missteps. You may not be able to see poor organization on your own website, but your audience will.

Be Professional

You are a professional… In your field. You are not a professional at web design, SEO, marketing, social media platforms. Chances are you don’t tune up your own car – for many of reasons.  Don’t tune up your own web site, social media etc. and don’t give the job to your niece in college because she “…is online all the time and understands it all”. Be a professional, hire a professional.

Be User Friendly

Again, this is where it helps to have someone else look at it. Old rule – “You can’t proofread what you write”. Let someone else walk through your site and see if its easy for them. Of course its easy for you, its your baby, but it might frustrate the heck out of me.

Make it easy

You want the contact, the customer, the sale.  Is your website designed to reach that goal? Are there clear calls to action? Is it clear and easy for people to do what you want them to do – call, come to an event, take advantage of a special, etc.? Is it written with your prospects as the audience or you?  If someone stays on your website at least 15 seconds, you have a better chance of converting them into customers. If your site is unappealing or cumbersome, they bounce!  

I hope you found these PR website tips helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Are you Using Instagram for Business?

InstagramInstagram is Great for Visual Products and Services

Instagram is a relatively young social media platform, but it has been increasing in popularity, especially with the under 30 crowd. Though it has a lot of users, many people in business do not know what it is or how to use it.  It is a great social media platform for businesses with highly visual products and services. Instagram is a photo-sharing app to be used on a smart phone. Accounts can be set up and managed from a desk/laptop, but images are shared through mobile device. On this social media platform you have the option to follow people, post pictures and text, and interact with others about their pictures. Because Instagram has become so popular, with a multitude of eyeballs, it is a great time for businesses with visual content to get involved and leverage all that reach.

Suggestions from Instagram to make the most of it for your business:

Account name – Choose an account name that is your business name or as close to that as possible, so your company can be easily identified.

Profile photo – The best profile image is your company’s logo. it will show on on most phones as a small circle – 150 x 150 pixel image.

Text – Use relatively short captions, hashtags to group your content (no more than 3) and ask questions to get your audience engaged.

Commenting & liking – Just like with Facebook and Twitter, don’t just post images/video, engage with your community about their posts and comments. Use location tags and Photos of You to connect with others.

Tagging – Include the location of your photo or video when appropriate and use the Add People feature to tag others to reach a broader audience.

Image tools – Use the editing tools available in the app  (like Hyperlapse, Layout and Boomerang) to create interesting effects.

Search & Explore – Use the “Search & Explore” function to find people, locations and posts relevant to your brand. Also explore trending hashtags and top accounts in your industry.

So why is Instagram so popular?

Easy to Set Up – Go to the app store for your phone, download the app, register by either putting in a username and password or logging in through Facebook. You will want to set up your profile like any other social media platform, with a profile image and basic information.

Sharing Photos:  pictures can be taken through the Instagram app or pulled from your phone’s cameral roll.  A caption or description can be added, so your viewers know what you are sharing. The image will go on your page and you can also share it on other main social media platforms.

Social: Connecting with others is a main feature of this app. Like with Twitter, you follow people and then see the pictures they post in your stream. You can like and comment on their photos too. Because you photos will be public, you may get questions about the picture from anyone. This tends to be a more relaxed community.

Connecting with People: Instagram allows you to follow your current connections on other platforms easily by brining up the list of your connections that are also on Instagram with a “follow” button.  Instagram will also suggest users you may want to follow.

Amazing Pictures –  There are beautiful images on this platform. You can also follow people who post images of things of interest to you, such as dogs, landscapes, ocean life, etc.

Instagram is easy to use and fun.  Because there are so many people on the platform outside the U.S., you can interact with and learn a great deal about other cultures and countries. Though Instagram is not big on building brands, it is great exposure for your business if you have products and services that present well as images. If you have questions or would like help with your social media, please contact us.

Setting Social Media Goals

Goal SettingGetting Clear on What You Want

There are several ways that social media can be good for your business, but let’s start with the assumption that small business’ primary goal for engaging in social media is to get customers and make more money. This is a goal for all business, or we wouldn’t survive. Though participation is digital marketing is not a necessity for most business survival, it may be key to the company’s strength and growth potential.

There are a lot of resources to help people make goals and different goal setting models. The most popular one is the SMART system,  where your goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic (or Relevant), and Timely. This is certainly a good method if it suits you. There are also other systems, such as OKS – Objectives and Key Results, BSQ – think Big, act Small, be Quick, or BHAG – Big, Harry, Audacious Goal. A good description of how to use these paradigms related to social media can be found in this article from Buffer. Any of these, or other structure for organizing your goals, can be used. The main thing is to organize, write down, assess, and revise your goals as a tool to set and measure progress.

Before embarking on any goal setting journey, you would do well to have a good sense of your WHY. Referencing our blog from August entitled “Know Your Why“, grounding in your purpose will shape your best actions toward achieving your goal. Knowing your why is more than setting goals, it is keeping the focus on the big picture as a framework for achieving what you want.

Assuming that your overarching social media goal is to increase revenue, let’s look at some of ways social media objectives can support that goal, albeit sometimes indirectly, but still related. Though revenue is the main goal for business to engage in social media, it is not the only or even necessarily the best. Because inbound marketing is not advertising, establishing a plan of action as if it were may lead to disappointment. Goals related to, for example, maintaining a dynamic online presence so when people check you out online, you look professional and impressive is a legitimate, but not direct income generating goal.

Objectives/Actions – here you get more specific about how you are going to accomplish your goal. Your objective establishes the answers to What, Who, When, and Where.  This is the foundation for your action plan.

Example:

Why; We want our business to have an impressive presence online, to be a clear and public reflection of the best we have to offer, add value to our audience, and create a community around us.

Goal: Engage on industry-appropriate social platforms to increase business opportunities, referral sources, client base, and revenue by 20%.

Objectives:

  1. Set up social media platforms and manage with regular posts of interest to target audience (as defined from the last week’s blog on “Developing a Kick-Butt Marketing Strategy for 2016“)
  2. Identify key referral sources, connect with them on platforms = like, share, retweet, and comment on their posts
  3. Reach out specifically to those new connections to meet, exchange business, and/or create opportunities based on synergy
  4. Establish a social media advertising campaign and budget to increase page reach to identified audience
  5. Measure success of ad campaigns and adjust message, targets, or budget accordingly
  6. Develop a social media mindset which includes healthy bragging about the company, engaging with customers through images and reviews, asking for people to engage on social platforms, and take every real-life connection online to and work it there.

There is little doubt that if the objectives were carried out consistently and effectively, the goal defined above would be achieved. The details of the plan should include elements like who is going to be responsible, how are they going to get content, what type of specials to promote, what to offer when you ask for connections, etc.

If you aren’t getting the results you were hoping for, it is important to do an analysis before determining that social media doesn’t work. For example:

  1. Look at the goal to make sure it is reasonable. In the example above, the goal was set to raise revenue by 20%. Is that realistic for an initial social media campaign, in that industry and business?
  2. Are there enough funds dedicated to advertising to get that return?
  3. Is the offer being promoted compelling enough to capture interest and bring customers in?
  4. How is the revenue tracked on the back end to make sure all leads coming from Facebook are tracked?
  5. Has there been adequate outreach both in and online?
  6. Are there any other areas on social networks that could be improved to get a better result?

Goal setting for social media can be as simple or complex as you want. You can get very detailed with editorial calendars and checking insights daily, or not, based on your business approach. The important thing is to have a plan based in reality, get a sense if it is working, be flexible to adjust as needed, and be dedicated and consistent with your efforts. I always caution people not to get too focused on a goal of “get more revenue”, without also giving value to the other benefits of having a rocking internet presence. Those things cannot be quantified with a dollar amount of return, but their value can be immeasurable.

Please let me know if you would like some help with setting actionable goals on social media.

Social Media Strategy for 2016

Social Media StrategyHow to Develop a Kick-butt Digital Marketing Plan to Take Your Business to the Next Level

The start of a new year naturally fosters a view toward analyzing the past and planning the future. Like a reset button, transitions from one year to the next call for a fresh look at our process, habits, actions, and goals. We take a look at what we have been doing to see what works, what needs adjustment, and what needs to go. Are you looking at your business to improve your digital marketing in 2016? If so, here are some ideas to set the foundation for a great plan.

Analysis – Look at your business objectively: are you satisfied with your online presence, how you are using social media and other digital platforms to present, connect, and market your business? Are you putting the right resources to this effort? Do you know if what you are doing is producing positive results? Do you know what to do differently to achieve better results? Answering these questions will give you a better baseline from which to grow.

Goals – In the above analysis, you were asked if your efforts were producing positive results. If the answer to that question is either “I don’t know” or some version of “no”, the next step is to be clear about the results you want. Most of us want more clients = revenue, however, setting up a goal that broad may be too abstract and lead to scattered actions. Next week’s blog will focus on establishing specific goals that are realistic and measurable. For now, think about your purpose for engaging in digital marketing and what you need it to deliver in order to justify the expense of time, money, and attention.

Expand Your Audience –  Who cares about your business, products, services, or industry? If you are only concerned with consumers, you may be missing segments that could be a help to your business. Identifying the connections that bring value to your offering,  either by bringing you more customers or through supporting your business process, may be just as successful as going after direct consumers. Make a list of every person, business, organization, or association that is or could be impacted by what you offer. This becomes your expanded target audience and helps define your message.

Your Message –  Many entrepreneurs struggle with defining their clear message. Some are concerned that blogging or writing social media posts would be difficult because they don’t believe they have much to say. However, once they get into talking about their industry and experience, their knowledge flows out as valuable content they could be delivering to their expanded market. Don’t minimize the value or withhold your expertise, this is how you can shine online and set yourself distinct from others in your industry.

Where are the Eyeballs? – Some research is involved to find out where people and businesses you most want to connect with are engaged online. You may discover different platforms for different segments. For example, your target customers may be looking on Angie’s List, but your referral partners are active on Facebook. Having a sense of this will help you determine what kinds of posts go where. In this example, your emphasis on Angie’s List is to encourage happy customers to post positive reviews and respond consistently to those. On Facebook your message will be centered on an expanded view to interest and engage people who are not in your industry, but connected to it in some way. I suggest doing internet searches and talking to people in person and in forums, blogs, and Facebook groups to get this information.

Pull it Together – Once you are clear with these elements, put it together in a plan. Answer these questions:

Who – who is doing the interacting online and who are they connecting with?

What – what platforms are you using, what resources of time and money will you dedicate, what is message, special, enticement?

When – when will you do your online interactions, follow-ups, requests to connect on and off line?

How – how many posts, blogs, emails, per week? How will you stay on top of it? How will you know if you are getting anywhere?

This is the skeleton of your digital marketing strategy; using this to support details, specific campaigns and brilliant ideas. Please let me know if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help. Watch for next week’s blog on drilling down to establish more specific goals.

Identifying Your Target Audience

TargetReaching the People Who Want What You Offer

The general idea with any form of marketing and advertising is to get your message to those who are most likely to become customers. There also may be the added benefit of attracting business partners, referral sources, and vendors to support your business. If we are not entirely clear about who our audience is, where they put their attention, and how to get in front of them, we might be wasting a lot of time and money on people who will never add anything to our business.

One of my blog followers commented on my last article, “This is great information, but how do I know who my audience is and where to find them”. It dawned on me that we spend a lot of time focussed on the how, what, when, where, and why of digital marketing, but critical details like being clear about your audience are assumed. Do you really know the profile of your ideal prospect? Getting clear on this answer will help you craft your marketing messages and be of significant value when you do Facebook advertising. Because social media levels the playing field for access to people’s attention, niche targeting is critical now more than ever.

Steps to Crafting Your Target Market:

Differentiate Business from Individual –  Most businesses know if they are B to B (business that sell to other businesses) or B to C (business that sells to consumers), but they are not always clear on just how different the strategy is between these two groups. If you get a recommendation to implement a plan that is designed to reach the wrong group, you will be way off in your results.

General to Specific – When I ask small business owners about their target audience, I usually hear things like, “anyone who needs my services” or “homeowners”. These fields are too general. Consider obvious demographics like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Location
  • Education level
  • Income
  • Relationship status
  • Ethnic background

Also consider Psychographics (personal characteristics) including:

  • Attitudes
  • Political persuasion
  • Behavior
  • Personality
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles

Determine how what you offer fits with these factors not just for the end use of your product/service, but to help define the marketing strategy. Where are these people putting their attention, how can you reach them? Getting specific is important, but there is a line. Don’t go so far that you’ve cut out whole sections that could be available to you.

Solving Problems or Fulfilling Desires – The two primary reasons people will be interested is that your service either solves a problem of relative significance to them, or it offers something compelling enough to make them want. Think “automating software” or “new Mercedes”. It is critical to understand how your product or service fits in with these motivators. 

Analyze Current Customers – Who is your audience now and how did they come to you? What were the contributing factors that converted them from prospects into customers? Are there common characteristics among these people? Who are most profitable? Who may not be a client but has brought you business? Answering these questions will help you create a clear audience profile.

Analyze your Product/Service – Create a list of features and benefits to what you offer. Once you have listed your benefits, make a list of people who have a need that your benefit fulfills.

Evaluate your Audience – Marketing is a somewhat fluid process. You may not have captured your audience correctly or may have missed critical elements. Always be willing to shift and adjust as new information comes to light. When assessing the accuracy of your audience profile, consider these questions:

  • Are there enough people that fit my criteria?
  • Have I accurately identified what drives my target to make decisions?
  • Does my target really benefit from my product/service? Do they see a need for it?
  • Can they afford my product/service?
  • Where am I reaching them, where am I not reaching them?

If you are feeling overwhelmed with this process, try researching what others have done to reach your market. Read articles and blogs on your market to better understand what captures their interests. You may find resources where your audience is engaging in conversation about your field. This will give you great insight into their motivators. You may want to do a survey of your own customers to get their feedback.

Defining your target market is the hard part. Once you know who you are targeting, it is much easier to figure out which media you can use to reach them and what marketing messages will resonate with them. Instead of creating a Facebook ad that just targets your ZIP code, identify your audience by the above demographics. You will save money and get a better return on investment.

Targeting a specific market does not mean that you exclude those who do not fit your profile. Instead, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on those most likely to buy from you rather than your competitors. This is a much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business. I suggest going through the process of defining your target audience as a formal exercise. Take some time and write out your answers to the above questions.

Let me know if you have any questions or could use any help with this process. It may seem cumbersome, but it is worth it in the end to know who you want to reach and how you meet their needs.

Going Beyond Content

Engaging on Digital Platforms

There still exists a lot of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge from business owners about using social media for their business.  One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make with their social media is only posting their own content – their specials, their services, their glowing reviews. Where it is great to promote the positive attributes of a company, and social media is perfect for that, it is actually a missed opportunity.

In every business, there are natural networks of customers, clients, prospects, vendors, business partners, and referral sources. All of these connections have networks of their own. Social media is designed to leverage those networks to strengthen connections, increase visibility, and share valuable content.

Social media works this way because people are interactive by nature, some more than others, but essentially we like to connect with and be curious about each other. Most people appreciate it when someone likes our page, or leaves a positive comment, likes or shares our content. Not only does the business we interact with on these platforms value the attention, but that interaction is visible to that page’s audience, which opens up greater opportunity and expands digital presence.

It takes more time to engage this way, but if we want our business presence to expand online, we have to work it effectively. Here are some common mistakes we see businesses doing on social media and some suggestions to improving your business presence online:

Top 5 Mistakes:

Mistake #1 – Posting only content about the business, no sharing other material or content their audience would find valuable.

Mistake #2 – No response when someone likes, shares, comments, or requests a connection

Mistake #3 – Inconsistent and/or infrequent posting/interacting

Mistake #4 – No follow up to connect on social media with a live contact

Mistake #5 – Poor content – boring, irrelevant, overly industry-focused, text-based, wrong target audience, etc.

Here are some ideas to improve your business social media:

5 Remedies:

Remedy #1 – Share, like, and comment on content from your connections. Don’t worry too much if it is not related to your industry. If you introduce the post from the perspective of being supportive of other quality businesses, your post will make sense and be appreciated.

Remedy #2 – Always, without fail, respond when anyone engages on your social media platforms. Say thank you, like the comment, or comment on their comment. If the comment was negative (uncommon) respond to that too. Demonstrate publicly your fantastic customer service.

Remedy #3 – If you use scheduling software, like Hootsuite,, make sure you still go on your platforms frequently to work your connections. Remember, automated posting only handles the outflow of your page, and not the community building.

Remedy #4 – When you meet someone at a networking event or business function, find them online and reinforce the connection on those platforms. This is especially important on Linkedin where business to business relationships are key. If you make a valuable connection online, follow up to request a meeting in person if you have something of value to offer them in exchange for taking the time to meet with you.

Remedy #5 – Define your audience and craft your message for them. Generally social media should not be used for an internal audience, so avoid the mistake of treating your Facebook page like a company bulletin board.  Consider what people who are interested in your company or industry care about and deliver content of interest and value to them.

Interacting on social media is one of the best ways to create and reinforce community around your company. Some industries have an easier time doing this than others, but there is an audience for every business. To do it right requires dedication and a paradigm shift away from traditional marketing. Please Contact us if you have questions or would like any help with social media for your business.

Landing Pages and Facebook Ads

Landing PagesAnswering Your Questions About This Lesser Known Resource

A landing page is a good way to direct your audience to the specific offer or service you want them to see. This idea has been around for a long time, but a lot of small business owners do not understand what they are, how to create one, and how to use it to drive traffic to their offer. Though this has been a popular marketing strategy for some time, now that Facebook has significantly improved the reach through advertising, landing pages are even more powerful than before. I’ve received a lot of questions recently about landing pages and how to use them with Facebook advertising, so I’ve repurposed a previous blog to answer these questions.

What is a Landing Page?

Simply put – a landing page is a single page URL. Your website has multiple pages with a lot of information and content. This is very helpful for people who are checking out your business, trying to contact you, or researching your services. Sometimes you want to promote a single special, or get people to sign up for an event. When you have a specific offer, you can send your audience directly to a landing page where they can sign up for your offer, without having to sift through pages and content on your website.

Landing pages are a great way to develop or enhance lead generation.

How to use Landing Pages with Facebook:

1. Because a landing page is a URL, it can be copied and pasted on your Facebook business page as a regular post. Depending on how you create your page, this may or may not populate well on Facebook but there are some work-arounds.

2. If your landing page doesn’t look great when you post it on Facebook, you can take the main image you used on your page, upload it through the camera icon on the Facebook post, then put the URL in and an introduction to your offer. This is not ideal, but it is better to have a link over a great image than a crummy looking  post.

3, Facebook and landing page services are always upgrading, so this interface will hopefully improve soon.

4. Once your landing page is posted and it looks great, boos the post using the Facebook advertising suggestions from previous blogs. These suggestions are critical because Facebook will deny your ad if it violates their guidelines, which frankly can be highly interpretive.

5. Once your ad is approved, check the insights through the Ad Manager (found on the drop down of the “Promote Page” link on the upper right. This will tell you how your ad is performing, how many impressions (number of newsfeeds to get your ad) and clicks on your offer. If you ad isn’t getting the response you had hoped for, check your audience, change your image, title, or description, or add more funds

Here are some suggestions for creating a landing page for your offer:

1. Make a page within your website dedicated exclusively for presenting the offer and collecting prospect email addresses. You will likely need some extra plugins to make this work properly

2. Hire a web developer to create a landing page for you

3. Use one of the existing landing page platforms. Some options are WishpondLeadpages, and Unbounce. They aren’t free, but the quality of the pages and resources to help you through the process are worth the expense (entry level is $35/$45 per month).

I have been using landing pages with my clients to help them promote events and offers on Facebook. This combination can be the most effective way to get your message to a new and larger audience. The important thing to remember is to set everything up correctly and plan to invest some money in Facebook ads. See previous blogs for information about Facebook advertising. This is a complex, but not difficult process, once you get the hang of it. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Giving Thanks on Social Media

How to Incorporate the Attitude of Gratitude into your Digital Marketing

The holidays are the perfect time to express gratitude to your connections for their support, on digital platforms. As the end of the year draws near, people turn their attention to things that matter most. We think about our family and friends, possibly what to give as gifts, maybe we are planning a party or festive get-togethers, and there is a heightened sense of energy and activity. This is true for businesses and professionals too. Next years budget is being prepared, often including referral partner and client gift giving funds. We may be reflecting our professional relationships and how significant they are to our business growth.

Now is the perfect time to acknowledge the people who have helped our business in various ways – clients and customers who have contributed revenue, service providers contributing to business function, referral sources keeping business flowing, and friends to have been supportive in a variety of ways.

Feelings of, and expression of appreciation have a multiplying effect. It is natural human to experience positive feelings toward someone who shows us genuine appreciation. This initiates a positive cycle encouraging us to do/give more, which engenders more gratitude, and it continues.

Benefits of Expressing Gratitude in Business:

  1. Creates a positive exchange of mutual appreciation when our clients know we appreciate their business and do not take it for granted

2.  Reminds our clients of the value our work has brought them

3. Creates good will with our contacts

4. Encourages our focus on gratitude, which encourages a multiplying effect

5. Demonstrate a culture of appreciation to our existing contacts and larger audience

Using social media as a platform to communicate gratitude is not only appropriate, it is received well by others

Consider the following suggestions:

* Post Happy Holiday messages on your social media platforms with an appealing image and warm sentiment

* Thank people who like or comment on posts. There are few greater social media errors than failing to acknowledge those who show their support on our pages

* “Like” holiday and appreciation messages that others post

* Post comments on contact’s social media sites, thanking them for their contribution

* Go through your business connections and post positive review on Facebook (business pages must have an address listed in order to get reviews) or Yelp. This can be the greatest gift

* Communicate authentic gratitude. Insincerity can backfire

I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many wonderful professionals who have helped me and my business grow immeasurably over the years. I am truly grateful to everyone I know for the role you play in the health and well-being of Social Media Maxima, Inc.

Now I’m going to go post positive reviews and recommendations. Let me know if you would like some help managing all of this. I wish you all a very joyful, fulfilling, and exuberant holiday season!