Tag Archives: social media

Promoting Events on Facebook

Facebook eventsUsing Social Media for Successful Events

If you are holding an event, training, or gathering, you may want to announce and promote it on Facebook. You can do this on your personal or business page, or better yet…both. Here are the instructions from Facebook’s Help Center (with some modifications for clarity) to direct you through setting up events on your page.

To create an event on your business Page

  1. Go to your Page, then click Offer, Event + or Event, Milestone + at the top of your Page’s Timeline in the post box
  2. Select Event
  3. Add details about your event, add a photo, and put in date, time, and description. Events on pages are public
  4. Click Publish, or click the down arrow on the blue publish link to schedule the post for a later date

To create an event on your Personal page:

  1. Click the down arrow next to “more” just under the cover image
  2. Scroll down and click on Event, then click on Create Event
  3. The event will default to a private event, so that you will need to invite attendees. If you would like the event to be public, click on the down arrow at the top that says “Create Private Event” and click on the option to make event public
  4. Fill in the event name, details, location, time and date. Keep in mind that you must include an event name and time
  5. After you publish, Tap on Invite and your list of  friends will come up. Tap the names of the people you want to invite and then click Send Invite
  6. You can click on the option to let guests invite other or to show the guest list

You’ll be taken to your event where you can share posts, upload photos, invite more guests and edit event details.

How do I control who sees or joins my event?

When creating an event, the host can choose between the following privacy settings:

  • Private Event: Visible only to the people who are invited. You can choose to allow guests to invite their friends. People who aren’t invited cannot view the event description, photos, Wall posts and videos.
  • Public Event: Visible to anyone on or off Facebook. Anyone can also see the event description, photos, Wall posts and videos.

Note: Once you create an event, you won’t be able to change the event’s privacy settings.

To see who’s responded to an event invitation, go to the event, then tap Going, Maybe or Invited to see who’s responded.

To see who’s declined an invitation, go to the event on a computer.

To keep an accurate count of who’s attending an event, hosts of private events are able to update a guest’s RSVP. To update a guest’s RSVP to an event you’re hosting, find the person’s response or search for their name, and click to update their RSVP.

Note: For private events, hosts and other guests are able to see when you’ve viewed an event invitation.

How can I add photos or video to an event?

Hosts can add a main photo for the event from a desktop computer. To add a photo or video to an event’s Wall:

  1. Tap Post >
  2. Select a photo or several photos from your phone’s library or tap the camera icon in the library to take a new photo or video
  3. After choosing your photo or video, write something about it, tag people or add a place. Then tapPost
  4. If you are posting an event on your business page, and you want to include other businesses, at @Facebook Name to tag the business

If this is a public event, anyone who views the event can see its photos and videos. The photos and videos posted on private events are only visible to people who were invited. Hosts can remove photos or videos from their event.

Promoting your events on Facebook is a great way to increase attendance, visibility, connections, and digital reach. Let me know if you have any questions.

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.

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.

Who Sees Your Facebook Posts?

Facebook AlgorithmWhat you can do to help guide your newsfeed

 

Have you ever wondered who sees your posts and why your post impressions are so much lower than the number of likes on your page?  Of the average 1,500 posts that could show up on a newsfeed at any particular time, only about 300 actually make the cut. Why don’t you see every post from every one of your connections? Imagine how cluttered your newsfeed would be. You would miss posts from the people you interact with the most because they would be buried in a sea of content. Facebook has distinguished itself from sites like Twitter and Instagram, where every post by your contacts is on your newsfeed, and created algorithms that choose which posts you see on your newsfeed. Continue reading

Should You Create a Facebook Group?

Facebook GroupsHow to Best Organize Your Audience

Pages and Groups are Facebook’s solution to the frustration people were previously experiencing trying to connect with brands and celebrities with the limitations of a personal account. They are both designed to interact on social media, both as individuals and businesses, interests, causes, etc.  in a broader way than personal accounts allow. They share similarities, but there are some distinguishing characteristics that are important to understand. Most businesses by now know they should have a Facebook page for their business, but many may not be familiar with the value of creating a group around a topic, cause, or interest, which may or may not be related to the business.

A brief overview of Pages:

1. They are public – there is no way to restrict who sees the page and its general posts

2. Posts on Pages show up on the Newsfeed of the personal accounts AND the Pages that like that Page

3. Only personal accounts impact the number of Likes on a page, not other Pages

4. There is no way to reach out specifically to individuals who like the page, posting relevant content when the Page audience is most likely to see it is the only way to reach your audience on a Page

5. You can pay for promoted posts which will reach a larger target audience than just those who like your Page

6. When someone other than the Page Administrator posts a message on a Page, it shows up in a sidebar section, not as a regular post on the Wall

7. When someone responds to a post on a Page, it shows up as a comment under the post with a clickable link to the Page that offered the comment

Pages are a powerful platform to showcase business services, branding, culture, customer service, as well as cross-promote other businesses, interact within their community, and create buzz beyond the business. There are a number of limitations with Pages that makes it challenging for businesses. Groups offer a different opportunity to interact with your audience on Facebook.

A brief overview of Groups:

1. There are three privacy settings for  you to choose who will interact with your group and how

a. Open groups function like pages so anyone can see and participate

b. Closed group names can be seen by anyone, but members must be approved by the moderator

c. Private groups are not seen in a search and all activity is members only

2. Group topics usually center around an industry, interest, activity, event, or cause

3. Groups can only be established from a personal profile, not from a Page

4. People can interact with Group posts the same way they do on Pages

5. Group posts show up on members timeline just like Pages posts

6. Group moderators can reach out to group members specifically with messages which will show up as a message in their notifications

The most significant thing for businesses to understand about Groups is that is is a way to organize your audience around something greater than or more specific than your brand. Being able to reach out to the members specifically is a huge benefit and something that Pages do not allow. Make sure if you create a group the personal account it comes from is connected to your business. This means that either you are a small or independent business owner with significant personal branding in your business, or your personal account that hosts your business page is a general account without much personal content.  Pay attention to Facebook’s Terms of Use for this and make sure your designated personal account does not violate those terms.

An example of how a business may want to use a Group, in addition to their Page, is when coordinating a large event. One of our consulting clients is preparing for a trade show that they are hosting. They decided to create a new Facebook page for the trade show so the vendors, attendees, and sponsors could have a platform to post content, updates, pictures, etc. and start connecting before the show. This was a great idea and a great way to leveraging social media for their trade show. I did suggest the possibility of a Group as long as their personal account was relevant. Here are the reasons why:

1. They want to increase their social media activity on their brand Page and creating a new Page shifts focus off their brand

2. With Pages open forum, you have no control over who is participating and gaining access to the information being shared. This is a bigger issue in some industries than others, but something to consider

3. Once the trade show is over, that Facebook Page will presumably die, until next year, and all that good internet buzz is just sitting there. Groups are more likely to remain engaged after the event if their is traction around the topic

4. Most importantly – moderators can reach out to the group with updates that they will see at notifications. This means that it is far less likely for updates and posts that the audience would be interested in are not seen or ignored

5. If you create momentum with a Group around common interests, and you are the moderator, even if it is from a personal account, your influence and position within the industry is far more significant as you are demonstrating leadership and area expertise

There are good reasons to have Facebook Pages and other good reasons to have Facebook Groups. I encourage you to look at the guidelines and see if this is something that suits your goals. Contact us if you have any questions or would like some help with your digital presence.

Get Out of Your Digital Comfort Zone

CancunInspired on Vacation

Have you ever wondered how companies in other countries are using the digital space to develop  and enhance their business? With digital platforms increasing in popularity and global access, businesses world-wide are figuring out new ways to leverage technology to their benefit. Do you think there might be a brilliant idea out there that would make a significant difference to your market, but it just hasn’t occurred to you yet? Have you considered what new approaches to solving your clients’ needs or filling desires are proving successful elsewhere? Sometimes we get so focused on our approach, our community, our resources, we forget that there is a vast expanse of ideas and innovation out there for sharing, repackaging, and repurposing.

A Trip to Cancun

I just got back from  Mexico – where I was expanding my own horizons and enjoying a much needed vacation. I met a young man, Sebastian, who impressed me so much with what he had created.  I was compelled to think about what new approach could be right in front of me that I’m not seeing.  Sebastian and I share in common that we both launched and are continuing to developed successful social media/inbound marketing businesses. I was curious how a young man of 22 was able to create what is clearly a thriving enterprise. When we compared notes, our efforts and strategy went along similar paths; IE, attracting businesses struggling to keep up in a fast-paced, technology-driven environment, and crafting solutions to meet their needs.

Though we shared elements of service offerings, strategy, and target audience in common, there was a departure that goes directly to knowing your strengths and opportunities and capitalizing on them. This is so important for business development – having a firm grasp on your audience and being bold enough not only to seize opportunity, but use it as a springboard to create something totally unique. This is what Sebastian did  to leverage the benefits of living in Cancun – a high quality tropical vacation destination. He used his social media management business, SOME (Social Media Mexico), as a base for a website that offers companies in the tourism industry a platform to advertise to their target audience. This in itself is nothing new or exciting, but how he makes it attractive to advertisers and their audience is perfect.

A Great Idea

He has a film crew go to local resorts and events to video people having a great time on vacation. Many of the partiers are college students and young people enjoying the benefits of an environment that offers a wider latitude for behavior.  The film is edited with music, clips of happy people dancing and calling out where they are from, and creative transitions to enhance the quality of the video. Everyone appears to be having a blast…and why shouldn’t they? These beach revelers look amazing and with their fantastic time is captured on video, of course they are going to want a copy of that film. They are directed to the site where they can buy a professionally filmed and edited documentation of their trip to Cancun with their friends. Also on this site are advertisements from the companies who want to attract this exact audience with special offers.

Win-Win-Win-Win

Sebastian’s business makes money on the video sales (brilliant) and on the advertising (resourceful), the vacationers have a unique and lasting remembrance of their trip (sweet), and the local companies have a highly targeted audience viewing and responding to their offers (profitable). Doesn’t everything work better when it is a win for so many elements? Of course their is effort involved – developing the concept, creating the website, convincing advertisers, gathering a film crew and production equipment, finding the events/locations and gaining access, enticing the customers to buy from the website…it isn’t easy or instantaneous, just as most brilliant ideas coming into fruition. There is a great deal of effort involved, and the payoff can be huge.

I love hearing about innovative ways to do business and offer services. I hope you are similarly inspired to look beyond your walls for new ways to develop yourself and your business. If you have questions about social media or would like to collaborate on an exciting project, Contact Us and let’s discuss.

Collaborative Social Media Management

Collaborative Social Media ManagementWould you hire a professional painting company to redesign the look of  your home and not tell them what you had in mind? How about having a financial advisor put your money in whatever vehicles they wanted without your input? How much sense would it make to contract a social media manager, or task a employee to manage the company’s online marketing, branding, audience, connections, and image, but give them little material, direction, requests, or feedback to that end? Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

I trust Certapro Painters of Loudoun because I know they are a good company. I have faith that as professional quality painters they will do a good job making my house look great. But I don’t expect them to know the details of what I want –  if I want interior or exterior, the whole  house or just a few rooms, if I like wild colors or subdued, trim painted the same or a different color. As good as they are, they can’t create my perfect look without some collaboration from their client. It makes perfect sense in this context, yet so many business professionals treat their social media and digital marketing efforts just this way. Business owners are usually stretched thin with divergent demands, so it is understandable that they would consider outsourcing or delegating this function to get it off their plates entirely. But this is where the challenge lies – how to engage, how much to engage, what do business owners expect others to do for them and what do they contribute to maximize the benefits?

Unfortunately, with social media, or any other aspect of business for that matter, a totally hands-off approach will likely yield less than stellar results and sometimes cause serious problems. Even employees, if given insufficient direction and information, will struggle with their tasks and the organization will suffer. This is also true when hiring a vendor to manage your online presence – without good collaboration and input from the client, even the most sophisticated and professional social media managers will have trouble crafting and maintaining the best personalized image for the company.

Business owners who don’t understand social media as a business tool, may believe content posted on their sites is the activity; they may not understand the power and importance of reflecting the brand accurately or creating a community of interest around the brand. In this case, a social media campaign in simply content distribution and the business is not getting the full benefit of digital networking. If you are a business owners who has someone else managing your online presence, and you want the to get the most from your social media campaigns, follow these tips and feel free to add your own from what has worked for you:

1. Respond to requests from your social media manager – they will use the information you provide to your benefit on your social media platforms

2. Start with expectations clearly spelled out and agreed upon, for items such as content sources, communication channels, posting/interacting frequency, company social media policy, how to engage the audience, etc.

2. Start to develop a social media mindset (topic for a future blog) – think “I’m going to post this article on Facebook“, “I should Tweet about this event” and “I need to link with that person on Linkedin

3. Send the information from #2 to the person managing your accounts and request specific action – post your item on Facebook, Tweet about your event, and find and request the connection on Linkedin

4. If there is a post on one of your platforms that you question, communicate with your account manager and be specific. Help guide the person’s understanding of your business, brand, and personality. There may have been nothing “wrong” with the post, but if it does not reflect your business the way you would, you have to communicate that effectively

5. Keep in mind that social media is not just about promoting your business. A good social media manager will post articles and links on your platforms that expand your presence, reach, and image. As long as the post is not inappropriate, consider this on the basis of how you audience might benefit from the information

As a business owner, your online presence is as important as any other avenue for promoting and highlighting your company. We encourage you to collaborate with those you have charged with its presentation and together create the perfect social media campaign. Contact us if you would like more information or our free white paper on Social Media for Business.

Content is King…

content is king

Online Platforms are the Domain

 

You may have heard the expression  – “Content is King”. As a business metaphor, this means what you put on your website, on your collateral material, post on your blog and social media sites is incredibly important…arguably the most important aspect of your online presence and digital marketing campaigns. That’s not to say design, style, form, and function are insignificant. Quite the contrary. Working with quality graphic designers, such as True Creative Services, in Northern Virginia has been key for our clients to present the image they want online.  The visual branding and design attracts and intrigues, but if the content isn’t there to back it up, visitors are not likely to stay and become clients.

Words, phrases, meaning, interpretation, terms, acronyms, jargon, and links, tell our audience who we are, what we do, how we do it, and more importantly, what we can do to solve their problems or enhance some aspect of their life. This content is absolutely reflective of our core purpose, which is why it is so important to get it right. There are several places online where your business content shows up. I didn’t include directories and list sources in this because though they are important avenues to be represented, they generally do not include extensive and ongoing content, but rather basic profile information.

Content Outlets

Website – Creating the perfect content on static platforms such as websites and brochures presents a certain challenge as a single project. You need to capture your audience’s interest, provide relevant information about your company and industry, access to your products and service, and drive them to a call to action. You want window shoppers to become patrons of your business in some way. How does the content of your website achieve these objectives? Are you an objective observer of your own content? Probably not. You may want to have someone not associated with the business look at your website with a critical eye and give you feedback as “secret shopper” on your site.

Blog – For the most part, once your website is complete and material written, it won’t change very often. On the other hand, effective blogs are updated at least weekly.  The benefits of writing a regular blog are multi-dimensional. Original content is big for search engines such as google. This refers to written word, images, video, and pictograms that are originated from the efforts of the business or individual posting them. . Original content doesn’t mean you have to write the content yourself, we ghostwrite a lot of blogs for our clients. Not everyone is blessed with writing abilities or time to pontificate through the written word. You can delegate or outsource blog writing to others who will do it better and more consistently than  you will. Regardless of how you get your blog, this is original, relevant, industry-specific information that would be of interest to the target audience for your business.

Updating content through a weekly blog is great for your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It also give you original content to post on your social media platforms and puts you in the position as leader in your industry. Clearly, only those with the greatest mastery of their subject matter have so much valuable information to share.

Social Media Platforms – Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, google+, are a perfect place for businesses to post content. The beautiful thing about social media is that it easily allows professionals to showcase not just their products and services, but their company culture, brand identity, connection to their community, values, and mission in the way a website just isn’t designed to do. And, it is free to use. Social media content distribution takes a commitment of time and attention, but it is worth it. If you have been working with your social media sites for a while, do a review of the posts, comments, likes, and shares over time and a community begins to emerge. You may not have a cheering section, but the connections made and reinforced with each post, are an asset to your business, not to be under-valued.

Finding Content

This is actually the easiest part of content delivery on digital platforms. Thanks to search engines, finding good quality content for your industry is as easy as a google search. Because inbound marketing encourages sharing content, posting articles written by others is easy to do and attributes the originator automatically, so there is no concern for plagiarism. This is how we find content to post for our clients:

1. Identify of a topic related to the industry…for example, our painting company client’s audience may be interested in something on color ideas for the bathroom

2. Google “Color ideas for the bathroom”. Choose an article or non-competitor site that talks about that topic or a website by a leading paint distributor with this subject on their site

3. Highlight the website URL, copy and paste it into the dialog box of the social media platform. This will automatically populate the article’s title, author, and link to the original source

4. Scroll down the Facebook newsfeed, Twitter feed, and Linkedin groups. When relevant or interesting content posted by a connection shows up – like it, comment on it, share it, or all three

5. Don’t just post content about your business or industry…stretch a bit and share posts announcing events in the area or fundraising opportunities. highlight your referral partners too

Remember, inbound marketing is more than just promotion. Use your content to add value to other businesses, the community, and your audience. Content is King…Online Platforms are the Domain. Contact me if you would like help with your content creation or social media management.