Facebook – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:02:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Does Snark = Sales? What Consumers REALLY Want from Brands on Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/07/consumers-brands-social-media/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/07/consumers-brands-social-media/#comments Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:30:35 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22636 Social media marketers, do you feel a brief pang of envy when a brand gets sassy on Twitter or Facebook? Do you wish you had the brand identity and/or corporate backing to smack down a troll, a la Wendy’s? Me too. It’s only natural. Even in a profession as inherently creative as marketing, some of [...]

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Social media marketers, do you feel a brief pang of envy when a brand gets sassy on Twitter or Facebook? Do you wish you had the brand identity and/or corporate backing to smack down a troll, a la Wendy’s?

Me too. It’s only natural. Even in a profession as inherently creative as marketing, some of us can fly our freak flags higher than others. If you’re working in financial services, or healthcare, or any number of staid verticals, odds are you have to keep your sarcasm in check.

We may never get the sweet satisfaction of seeing a tweet full of biting wit go viral. But we have to keep perspective. Are we here to get featured on Buzzfeed, or to generate revenue? Does the snark really translate to sales?

The good folks at Sprout Social just released their Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index, and they’re taking aim at precisely that question. People like brands with “personality,” sure. But what do consumers really want from brands on social media? And how should those preferences inform your social media marketing strategy? Let’s run the numbers.

#1: Funny Is Good, But It Isn’t Everything  

Infusing a little humor into a brand is a good way to express personality. It lets people know that there are actual human beings behind the brand, seeking to entertain just as much as they inform.

As a once and future comedy writer, I’m an advocate for humor in marketing. But we should make sure the humor is not all that we’re bringing to the table.

Sprout Social found that while 3 in 4 consumers appreciate humor from brands, being funny was 4th on the list of what consumers really want from brands on social media:

Social Media Marketing Consumer Preferences

The far-and-away winners are honest, friendly, and helpful. If you have these three covered, then you can add in the humor. On the other hand, if you’re not honest, friendly, or helpful, no level of funniness will make up for the lack.

It’s also worth noting how far down the list “trendy” and “snarky” are. There’s no shortage of brands trying to be edgy and au courant. But it looks like less than half of consumers want their brand to be the quip-slinging cool kid from a 90’s sitcom.

The bottom line: Humor is a welcome trait for a brand, but mean-spirited or edgy humor is likely to turn customers off (even if it lands you an AdWeek shoutout). And if you’re not being honest and helping people, no amount of humor can save you.

#2: Consider the Platform

Just as your brand has its own identity, every social network has a unique identity. Facebook is a casual place to post cute pictures and start political arguments. Twitter is an even more casual place to start extremely character-limited political arguments. LinkedIn is more buttoned-down and professional, with only occasional political arguments.

Your audience on each platform has a unique set of expectations, based not just on your brand, but on the platform itself.

How Platform Changes Social Media Marketing Preferences

People like personality on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but not so much on LinkedIn. So it’s important to adjust your messaging for each.

Most of us are scheduling social media messages with a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, and it’s easy to blast a single message across platforms. But don’t do that. Take a few minutes to craft unique messages for each channel, keeping audience expectation in mind. That bit of extra effort will help make your posts more engaging, and keep your most dedicated audience from seeing the same message multiple times.

#3: Know Your Audience

Social media is not a homogenous audience that’s the same for every brand. It’s a platform for connecting with your particular most-valued consumers. How your brand approaches social media, then, should be a byproduct of how your audience wants to interact with your brand. These preferences can vary widely across demographics.

For example, 74% of Gen X and Baby Boomers said they found it annoying when a brand uses slang. But only 59% of Millennials shared that sentiment. Millennials are also far more tolerant of brands making fun of competing brands:

What Consumers Find Annoying on Social Media

How your brand should express personality on social media is dependent on your target audience. If your demographic still uses words like “hip” and “groovy,” it’s probably not hip or groovy for your brand to use them. However, if your target audience thinks things are “totes adorbs” and “can’t even,” you stand a better chance of connecting with slang.

It’s vital to find the intersection of your brand personality with your audience preferences, and let that drive how you present the brand on social.

#4: Bring Value to Drive Sales

To quote my personal hero, Captain Obvious, “the purpose of social media marketing is ultimately to drive sales.” If going viral with a funny tweet contributes to the bottom line, that’s a tactic worth pursuing. The research shows, though, that most people aren’t following brands just for laughs:

Brand Actions that Prompt Social Media Sales

When it comes to driving sales, humor is 5th on the list. Being responsive, offering promotions, and providing educational content are all more likely to inspire a purchase decision.

What do people really want from brands on social? The same thing they want from brands everywhere else. First, people want to be heard, to engage in a productive dialog. Second, they want to be offered something of value, whether it’s a deal on your solution or simply valuable information. When people are looking for help, you have to bring more than jokes to the table.

Check out the full Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index for more insights.

Helping People Is the Top Priority

Giving your brand a winning personality is great. It makes creating and consuming your content more fun. But personality should be the seasoning for your social media marketing, not the main course. Start with being helpful, being honest, and providing something of value in exchange for your audience’s time. Then add a little sprinkle of personality on top, like so:

See? You can be helpful and funny at the same time.

Need help maintaining your social media presence? Let us handle your social media marketing.


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3 New Facebook Updates, Features Businesses Should Take Advantage Of http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/04/new-facebook-updates/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/04/new-facebook-updates/#comments Tue, 04 Apr 2017 10:30:22 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22116 From revamping its News Feed algorithm and page layouts to rolling out its own version of Snapchat last week, Facebook has been busy adding new features and capabilities over the past few months. For the average user, these changes are making it easier and more fun to share and engage on the platform. For businesses, [...]

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From revamping its News Feed algorithm and page layouts to rolling out its own version of Snapchat last week, Facebook has been busy adding new features and capabilities over the past few months.

For the average user, these changes are making it easier and more fun to share and engage on the platform. For businesses, the changes are likely overwhelming, with many wondering how they can adapt to these changes, turn them into a marketing advantage and ultimately reach a piece of the platform’s 1.23 billion daily active users.

If you’re part of the latter scenario, we’d like to help you out a bit. Below we highlight some of the latest updates and new features that businesses should take note of, as well as some tips on how to take advantage of them to further your social media marketing efforts.

#1 – Video gets a makeover.

In an attempt to provide a “richer, more engaging and more flexible” video watching experience, Facebook announced in mid-February that they had made several platform updates including:

  • Videos will now auto-play with sound. Previously, users would have to tap on a video to hear it.
  • Vertical videos now look better on mobile devices. After testing a larger preview of vertical videos and getting positive results, the social media giant rolled the update out.
  • Users can now watch and scroll. Users can now minimize the video and keep it playing in the corner of their screen.

Here’s Facebook’s own video overview of the recent updates.

What this means for businesses: Video will continue to be a powerful (and perhaps necessary) engagement tool for businesses, brands and marketers.

How businesses can take advantage: Start dabbling with video if it’s not already part of your social media marketing strategy and makes sense for your business. Compelling video content helps capture attention, encourages engagement and—in some cases—reaches a more prominent position in social media news feeds.

For those that are already using video, compelling imagery is still a top priority for video content, but music and narration should probably get more consideration in light of the new sound feature. Now it’s important to note that users who have their phone on silent mode will not hear the sound. In addition, users do have the ability to disable the feature in their settings. However, at this point it’s safe to say more people will be hearing and seeing your videos in the future—so make everything you do count.

#2 – Facebook launches 360 photos, videos and virtual reality app.

Last summer, Facebook launched both 360 photos and 360 videos, giving users the ability to capture and share a 360-degree, ultra-panoramic photo or video. But in early March, Facebook took the format to the next level by releasing the Facebook 360 app for Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus.

“With more than 25 million 360 photos and more than 1 million 360 videos posted on Facebook to date, there’s plenty of great content to discover in Facebook 360,” Facebook said in their announcement post. “The app is a one-stop shop for catching up on what you may have missed from your friends and others you follow, diving into the 360 photos and videos you’ve saved, and finding something new to enjoy.”

(Photo Credit: Facebook)

What this means for businesses: Facebook is bringing virtual reality to their platform, and businesses have the opportunity to truly immerse their audiences in their visual content. Of course, Samsung Gear VR may not be in the hands of every user yet, but virtual reality is certainly gaining relevance and speed in the social world.

How businesses can take advantage: Start experimenting by creating 360 photos using an iPhone or Android on a panoramic setting. Photos don’t require editing or extra equipment purchases, just a steady hand and a keen eye to capture something compelling. Consider giving users a glimpse into your office, store, production facility, or a special event you’re hosting or attending.

Once you’re comfortable with 360 photos and seeing some engagement, consider taking the next step to invest in 360 camera to shoot and edit video.

#3 – Facebook Offers is new and improved.

While the social media giant launched its newly designed Facebook Offers feature in late August 2016, it may not be on the radar of many businesses who are using a social media management tool like Hootsuite to share and schedule posts. The option appears under the native “Write something …” posting box, along with some other customizeable posting options.

Essentially, Facebook Offers allows businesses to share their in-store or online discounts and promotions with their social audience. Offers can be used in two ways: By creating an Offers ad or in a Page post. Here’s a snippet from Facebook’s announcement post with the critical details:

“Offers ads appear in people’s News Feed in the Facebook mobile app and website. Advertisers can reach the right audiences with creative ad formats—like carousel ads. And for online offers, advertisers can optimize the delivery of their ads to people most likely to make a purchase on their site. Advertisers can see how many offers have been claimed in ads reporting.

“The other way for businesses to share Offers is to post them directly on their Page through the Offer Page Composer. All posted Offers will be viewable by anyone visiting the Page. If someone missed a posted Offer, they can click on the new, dedicated Offers tab to see all Offers posted by the business.

What this means for businesses: While social media is largely known as an awareness and engagement tool, Facebook Offers gives you the ability to encourage conversions by showcasing your special promotions. After all, every shopper loves to get a good deal.

How businesses can take advantage: Simply put, add your special promotions and discounts to Facebook. You’re likely advertising your incentives via email, your website and other advertising mediums, so don’t miss out on this easy, accessible opportunity.

What tactics are you using to find success on Facebook? Where are you struggling? Tell us in the comments section below.


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The Queen of Facebook Tells All on Generating Facebook Marketing ROI http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/03/facebook-marketing-roi/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/03/facebook-marketing-roi/#comments Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:32:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22090 True to form, Mari Smith kicked off her presentation at Social Media Marketing World last week by sharing her full bio in the form of emojis and poking fun at her own mixed accent which immediately put the packed room at ease. When someone with experience like Mari takes the stage, you perk up and get [...]

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True to form, Mari Smith kicked off her presentation at Social Media Marketing World last week by sharing her full bio in the form of emojis and poking fun at her own mixed accent which immediately put the packed room at ease. When someone with experience like Mari takes the stage, you perk up and get ready to have a deluge of knowledge dropped on you in a short amount of time.

Her session (which seemed like mere seconds) was packed with helpful information and actionable insights that marketers can begin implementing on Facebook now. Below are some of the actionable highlights from Mari’s session. 


Caring is scalable. You can care about a lot of people. - @MariSmith
Click To Tweet


#1 – It’s Time to Rethink…Everything

One of the biggest issues that Mari has seen with social media marketing is that many brands (even large ones) are siloing their social efforts. Often, brands will have an organic social and paid social team that do not collaborate at all.

But the question we should be asking is: What if we were to implement social media company wide?


Social media is not just a business experience, it’s an emotional experience. @MariSmith
Click To Tweet


All businesses (no matter their size) have an opportunity to delight their customers by providing a great experience.

#2 – The Facebook Algorithm Struggle

Facebook makes an average of $6 billion in ad revenue per quarter and is quickly ‘running out’ of ad space to show users in-stream.

Because both paid and organic Facebook reach are becoming more difficult, it’s important that brands focus on what they really want to get out of it. Some examples might include:

  • Growing fans (Likes)
  • Getting exposure in the News Feed
  • Optimizing reach (paid & organic)

#3 – The Power of Video

According to Mari, Facebook is moving in the direction of television and tv advertising. In fact, they are following a model similar to Netflix or Hulu where they’re trying to encourage users to binge watch Facebook videos.  

Video ads that perform well are ones that empathize with the audience and tell a great story. A prime example is the video below from Chatbooks which is an ad that Mari originally saw as an organic post from a friend that shared it. Just let that marinate for a second. Facebook users are sharing video ads.

Characteristics of great video ads:

  • Quality from the first frame
  • Authentic
  • High energy
  • Entertaining
  • Evoke emotion
  • Personable and relatable
  • Useful to the audience
  • Designed to be played with the sound off
    • Add lower third highlights
    • Add captions

In June of 2016, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Vice President for EMEA predicted that Facebook will probably be all video in the next five years. However, a recent study by Buffer found that video is largely underutilized on Facebook. Even though video gets 3x’s the engagement of other posts.

Mari’s Pro Tip: It’s Hip to Be Square
Even with Facebook’s addition of portrait and landscape video, square video still reigns supreme. In fact, square videos receive almost 30% more views, more shares and has almost a 70% higher view completion rate.

The team that manages the Jane Goodall Institute Facebook page ran an A/B test of landscape versus square videos and experienced a significant increase in the number of views, shares and likes on the square video.

 

#4 – Real-Time Shopping

The ability to shop for items in real-time has been talked about for years. But now, it’s finally real. Amazon for example has incorporated a camera into their mobile app that allows users to hover over an item in the wild and receive suggestions for a similar product from Amazon in mere seconds. Even as an avid Amazon shopper, I wasn’t aware of this feature until Mari shared an example on stage. Below is a test that I ran by scanning a photo of my watch:

Recently, Facebook partnered with Shopify to develop a similar approach where users can purchase items in real-time while watching a video. It’s unclear as to when this feature will be available to all users but the fact that it exists offers many exciting opportunities for marketers.

 

What Does the Future Hold?

The evolution of Facebook’s approach for brands is beginning to cover many opportunities for the modern marketer. Just imagine the ability to provide real-time customer service via messenger. The good news is that the possibility of providing that service isn’t far off.

What other updates would you like to see Facebook make for marketers?


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Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/small-businesses-social-media-traffic/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/small-businesses-social-media-traffic/#comments Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:30:26 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21745 For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality: Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active [...]

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For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality:

Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active users a month—that’s an audience worth addressing. Yet business owners struggle to convert Facebook users into organic traffic to their websites.

Business app discovery platform GetApp recently surveyed 500 owners of small and medium-sized businesses. Less than 30% of respondents reported that Facebook was moderately to extremely effective at driving organic traffic to their sites. By contrast, 20.1% rated it slightly effective, and over 25% said it was not effective at all.

If you’re a small business owner and Facebook is the focus of your marketing efforts, it may be time to branch out. Here are a few ways to use a little strategy and a small budget to increase traffic to your website.

#1: Make Sure Your Shares Encourage Website Traffic

Some businesses do a great job creating a fun, relatable feed. They have memes. They use emoji in a cool, not cringe-worthy way. They even share valuable content from around the web.

All of that is great for building your audience on Facebook. But it’s not enough to build a hip Facebook page, put your URL in the sidebar, and watch the clicks roll in. Make sure to regularly share content hosted on your website, with an eye-catching visual and a summary that compels a click.

If you’re already doing that, keep reading for more tips. But if you haven’t been explicitly, actively, repeatedly encouraging your Facebook audience to visit your site, this is an easy win.

#2: Use a Little Strategic Paid Promotion

“Stellar work, Nite,” I hear you say. “So the way to generate more organic traffic is to pay for traffic?”

Hear me out, though. Organic traffic is free(ish), and that’s great. It’s wonderful when people opt to look at your content. But what’s better is traffic from a more relevant audience of your choosing. Facebook makes it easy to get results with a really small budget.

Take your top-performing organic content—the post that already has likes and shares, so you know people like it—and put $5 behind it. Target it to a specific audience that is valuable to you. Most importantly, use the “Create a Lookalike Audience” option to reach a new audience.

Keep a close eye on your $5 investment and use what you learn to optimize the next round. The small investment is worth it, if it pays off in more relevant traffic. As you attract a new audience, you can start to pull them from Facebook to your own site.

#3: Turn Facebook Followers into Subscribers

As Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi puts it, “Don’t build your house on rented land.” As long as your audience is exclusively on Facebook (or any other social media platform), the platform determines how and when you can reach them. If Facebook has a choice between allowing you organic reach or demanding a ransom—well, you can guess which way they’ll go.

So when you share links to your site’s content on Facebook, make sure there are prominent opportunities to subscribe. Whether it’s to your blog feed or a weekly newsletter, give your audience the option to opt in.

You can also add a Subscribe button to your Facebook Page. When you’re logged in as the page, you will see the “Add a Button” option right under your header image. Choose the “Sign Up” button and link it to a subscription landing page.

Make sure the page has a quick but compelling statement of benefit and very little else—just a quick form to fill out and a big shiny Subscribe button.

#4: Look to LinkedIn*

If your business is B2B, Facebook is likely not the best fit for a primary marketing focus. LinkedIn tends to be a better place for B2B business to build an audience and generate leads—according to research, 80% of B2B leads are sourced through the platform.

LinkedIn isn’t exclusively for B2B, however. You can create a Company Page and build an audience for your B2C company as well. You can also use long-form posts on LinkedIn to promote your personal thought leadership. Use the platform to build credibility and visibility that can transfer to your business. Great content leads to more profile views, and you can construct your profile to lead visitors to your business’ website.

Do You Believe in Life after Facebook?

Facebook can still be a good place to build an audience and boost your business’ brand awareness. But don’t rely on likes and follows to do any heavy lifting. Make sure what you share on your feed is strategically created to encourage action. Don’t be afraid to invest $5-10 every few weeks on targeted promotion, or to try other social media platforms better suited to your company’s offerings. Finally, the end goal should be to amass an audience on your own site, not someone else’s platform.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.


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Facebook Advertising: How to Get More for Your Budget http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/facebook-advertising-more-budget/ Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:30:38 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21672 Gather around, children, and let me tell you a story of Facebook advertising in the long-forgotten year of 2012. In that gilded age, whenever your page posted an update, up to 20% of your followers would see it in their feeds organically. It was a simpler time. A gentler time. And a time when Facebook [...]

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facebook-advertising

Gather around, children, and let me tell you a story of Facebook advertising in the long-forgotten year of 2012. In that gilded age, whenever your page posted an update, up to 20% of your followers would see it in their feeds organically.

It was a simpler time. A gentler time. And a time when Facebook took in a lot less revenue from advertisers.

Then in 2016, organic reach fell off the cliff (Or was it pushed?), sinking to as low as 2% of a page’s followers.

The moral of the story is: If you want to reach a sizable audience on Facebook now, you’re going to have to pay. But as our friends (and clients) over at LinkedIn Marketing say, “Organic is good. Paid is better.”

Why settle for the audience that happens to wander by? Why settle for the audience Facebook thinks wants to hear from you? With a little investment, you can bring in an audience that is perfect for your offer. And you can keep refining your targeting over time to get even more out of your budget.

Here’s how to get the most out of your sponsored content on Facebook.

Zero In on Your Audience

Most people who use Facebook entrust the site with an astonishing array of personal information. I’m not talking names, addresses or phone numbers (though plenty of people surrender that info as well)). We’re talking what businesses they frequent, what public figures they admire, what pop culture they like, and more. As a marketer, all of that information is at your fingertips.

You can start to build your targeted segment based on demographics like age, occupation, and education. Then take it to the next level with interest and behavior-based filters.

Say you’re selling a self-help book. You might pick an audience that also likes Tony Robbins and has visited other self-help websites, for example. That means filtering by Interest (pages and categories people have liked on Facebook) and by Behavior (actions taken on and off Facebook). Here’s an example of what Behaviors look like in Facebook Ads Manager:

behaviors

Create a Lead Capture Page

Once you have defined your audience, it’s time to create a page that will compel a click. This is the landing page your ad will lead to—it needs to close the deal for people who already clicked from Facebook.

Start with an asset that is worth trading some contact information for. Offer real data-based, demand-based, substantial best answer content. Then set up your landing page with:

  • A brief headline (60 characters or less!) with a statement of benefit
  • An inviting image (can’t go wrong with happy people)
  • A little proof (testimonial quote or stats)
  • A big, friendly CTA button with custom text (“Get your guide” vs. “Download”)

Create your Ad

You can either design your landing page or your ad first. Whichever order you do it in, your landing page should look as much like your ad (or vice versa) as possible. Use the same fonts, same verbiage, same image. There should be no doubt in your customer’s mind that they’ve come to the right place when they click through.

Be sure to follow Facebook’s advertising policies, and to keep your copy short and to the point. Research shows that posts with 80 characters or fewer get far more engagement than wordier posts. Up to 66% more engagement, in fact. So be brief!

It’s important to create a few versions of the ad for A/B testing. Test variations in the headline, copy, and image.

Create a Trackable Conversion

In order for you to track the effectiveness of your ad, Facebook needs to know what happens to visitors after they leave Facebook to visit your site. Adding a Facebook Pixel to your pages makes that possible. It’s a little piece of code that tracks behavior of traffic from your ads to pages you specify, making it easy to attribute conversions and retarget ads (more on that later).

Once you create the pixel and add it to your pages, you can create event code to put on a specific page. Place the code on your thank you page (after the visitor has filled out our lead form) and you can use it to track conversions:

Facebook Advertising Conversions

Here’s Facebook’s guide to creating a conversion in the Ads Manager.

Run Multiple Variants of Your Ad

Always run a few variants of your ad at the same time, so you have data to evaluate performance. In addition to testing variations on the ad copy and visual, test variant audiences. Take advantage of the thousands of targeting options to try a few different sets and see what hits. You can always turn off the underperformers and focus your budget on what works.

Analyze & Optimize

As you run your campaigns, keep a close eye on your analytics. Facebook’s Ads Manager has some pretty robust reporting abilities, especially with your pixel and conversion properly configured:

facebook-ads-manager

You will be able to see your CTR, break down the clicks by demographic, and see your cost per click (CPC) at a glance. Use all this information to refine your campaigns—switch off the ones that aren’t performing and try new variants, while boosting the variants that perform the best.

Retarget & Lookalike

Not everyone who clicks through is going to complete your conversion goal, of course. That’s why retargeting is so important. Retargeting means making a custom audience on Facebook of people who have visited your website (tracked by your pixel), and using that data to serve ads to them again until they convert.

For extra bonus points—by which I mean, a larger relevant audience and more conversions—select the “lookalike audience” option for your retargeting. In addition to traffic that has visited your site, Facebook’s algorithms will serve the ad to people with similar demographics and interests to your website traffic.

Book Only the Most Relevant Faces

Even with the most compelling content, it’s hard to get organic reach on Facebook. Of course, any traffic is better than none—and if the content’s good, it has a chance of getting shared and amplified over time. So don’t discount organic entirely. But it’s definitely time to start thinking of Facebook primarily as a paid platform, and to take full advantage of its potential.


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Facebook Pages Just Got a Lot More Customizable-Here’s What You Need to Know http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/facebook-pages-need-know/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/facebook-pages-need-know/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:30:01 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21594 Back in 2006, creating a Facebook Page was mind-numbingly simple. You picked your URL, uploaded a picture, filled out a few boxes, and that was it. Unlike its chief rival, MySpace, there was no mucking about with HTML, no picking the right animated backgrounds, no blinking green fonts to fine-tune. Of course, the flipside of [...]

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facebook-pages

Back in 2006, creating a Facebook Page was mind-numbingly simple. You picked your URL, uploaded a picture, filled out a few boxes, and that was it. Unlike its chief rival, MySpace, there was no mucking about with HTML, no picking the right animated backgrounds, no blinking green fonts to fine-tune.

Of course, the flipside of that simplicity was a complete lack of control. Your page was indistinguishable from every other. White background, Helvetica, blue buttons, a simple newsfeed-type layout.

Facebook has slowly been adding options to the mix the past few years. You still can’t create a true rotating-skull-gif masterpiece like you could on MySpace, but you can make your page more useful to your audience.

This week, Facebook began rolling out a new batch of settings for pages. These new options are aimed squarely at marketers; they’re all about converting traffic into action (and paying Facebook for more action whenever possible).

Here’s how to optimize your shiny new Facebook Page.

#1: Brush up Your Images

It’s not all “brave new world of tomorrow;” most of the changes are far enough under the hood that your casual traffic won’t notice them. Your trusty profile and cover photos are still the first thing people see:

TopRank Marketing on FacebookSo now is a good time to give both images a once-over. Are they visually compelling? Are they the right size and resolution? Make sure you’re putting your best face forward. Your profile picture should be square, 170×170 pixels. The cover photo should be 851×315 pixels. Use a JPG for the cover photo if it has lots of color depth. For photos with large flat areas of color or lots of text, use PNG instead.

If your images look good and your CTA button is ready to for action, you can start organizing your page.

#2: Choose a Template

First, head to the “Settings” button at the top of your screen. Then select “Edit Page”:

editpage

Here’s where you can drill down into how your page looks to your potential audience. Start by having a look at the types of templates available. If you’re in a few very specific industries, Facebook has you covered for a preset look:

  • Shopping is for ecommerce sites. It highlights your products and encourages people to buy
  • Venues puts the focus on your upcoming events, hours, and location
  • Gaming highlights your fans, with a tab for Groups where fans can connect.
  • Politician encourages people to send messages, and features photos and videos your page shares
  • Professional Services has a “Call Now” CTA and puts your Services tab up at the top of the list
  • Restaurants & Cafés is designed to highlight your hours of operation, location and menu

Each of these templates automatically rearranges your tabs and buttons. Before you choose one, take a look at the details to see which tabs are featured—if you pick a template that’s missing some of your current tabs, those tabs will disappear.

In the incredibly likely event that your industry doesn’t fit neatly into one of these six templates, you can…

#3: Rearrange Your Tabs (And Your Feed)

Your page has a row of tabs on the left side that people can click to go straight to specific types of content.

tabs

This is where you can make a huge difference in how your page looks and feels. In the new layout, the order of your tabs top to bottom determines the order content is displayed on your page.

In other words: If you put the Photos tab at the top of the list, your latest pics will show right under your profile picture. If you put Events up top, visitors will see the event and your “Buy Tickets” CTA button first. You don’t have to pin one post and hope for the best! You can show viewers exactly what you want them to see! O, frabjous day.

Put your most relevant content types at the top, and turn off tabs you don’t need:

ordertab

Make sure your most visible content will lead to the action that’s most valuable to your goals. If you’re raising awareness, photos or videos might be the top. If you’re keeping your audience up to date on news, keep your posts up top, etc.

Note that Facebook will sometimes add a “Featured for You” box at the top of the feed for individual visitors, with content its almighty algorithms determined will be of most interest.

#4: Take Advantage of the New Posting Templates

The final change you will notice is a row of colorful boxes underneath your usual “Write something” post prompt:

posttypes

This is Facebook’s less-than-subtle way of clueing us into new post templates(and, of course, subtly encouraging specific types of posts). Each icon leads to a custom form you can fill out to quickly create ads, invite discussion, create events, and more.

If none of the templates is appealing, just click in the “Write something” box to write a plain ol’ post, just like grandpa and grandma used to write.

#5: See the Final Results

Once you’re done customizing and adding new content, take a look at what your page looks like to visitors. Your view is full of buttons, tips and tools to help you funnel advertising cash to Facebook. If you log out completely, you can look at the page as a visitor—but the bottom half of the screen will have a big “Sign Up or Log In” banner.

It can take some clicking around to find the “View as Visitor” option—it’s hiding in the “More” button just below your profile picture:
viewasvisitor

Take a minute to look around and make sure your page is looking its best.

Give Your Facebook a Facelift

Even with these changes, Facebook Pages will never be confused with a properly-optimized, well-designed landing page. Still, you can exercise a lot more control now over how your audience encounters and interacts with your page.

So brush up your images, get your tabs in order—and most importantly, keep serving up quality content that will help you build an audience.

Need more social media tips? Check out or most popular social media marketing posts of the year.

 


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What Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook Live http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/social-media-marketing-facebook-live/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/social-media-marketing-facebook-live/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:30:23 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21134 In the age of Netflix and DVRs, it’s weirdly ironic to watch the growing popularity of live video for social media marketing. Sure, most of it is recorded so you can access it later, but it has far more in common with the nightly news than with modern on-demand, personalized content. It turns out, there’s [...]

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facebook-live-what-you-should-know

In the age of Netflix and DVRs, it’s weirdly ironic to watch the growing popularity of live video for social media marketing. Sure, most of it is recorded so you can access it later, but it has far more in common with the nightly news than with modern on-demand, personalized content.

It turns out, there’s something about watching an event unfold live that’s hard to replicate. To be there as it’s happening, in the moment with a group of friends and strangers, sharing a singular experience. It’s powerful. And it never really went out of style—it just took a while for technology to create a compelling modern version.

Facebook Live has realized the potential for live video combined with a social network. Not only are people watching in droves, they’re more engaged: People spend three times longer watching live video than they watch recorded versions after-the-fact.

As with any new channel, it’s always tempting to jump right in and start creating content. And, as always, it’s a better idea to do some evaluating and strategizing first.

Here’s the low-down on Facebook Live: What it is, what it’s for, and how brands are using it.

What Is Facebook Live?

A native live-streaming service embedded in Facebook. When you go Live, the stream will show in your follower’s feeds and on your profile page. Viewers can leave likes and comments in real time. After the event is over, viewers can watch a recorded version with the option of seeing the comment stream as if it were live.

Who’s Doing It?

Everyone from the President to celebrities to athletes.

How Do I Do It?

Right now, the easiest way to go Live is from a mobile device. On the Facebook app for iOS or Android, you’ll see a “Live” button right at the top of the feed. Click that for a quick set up and your feed will begin! There is a version of Live for desktops which is slowly being rolled out—if you don’t have it yet, the mobile version is the only game in town.

What Are the Best Practices?

Facebook’s best practices for Live are a good place to start:

  • Tell followers ahead of time before you broadcast
  • Write a compelling description
  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection
  • Respond to commenters on the air
  • Aim for longer sessions (10-90 minutes)
  • Develop a schedule so viewers know when to tune in

What Pitfalls Should I Look Out For?

Since it’s so easy to go Live, a lot of Live streams right now look the same. They’re talking heads, people holding up a phone and chatting informally with the viewer. If you’re a celebrity with a quick wit, go for it—otherwise, don’t go in without a plan.

It’s an unpredictable platform—you may have to contend with technical issues and an unmoderated comment stream at the same time. It’s a good idea to have at least one person off-camera who can handle the comment stream and work out any glitches.

Finally, don’t expect your entire audience to tune in all at once. Generally viewers drop in and out of live streams—some will arrive late and some will leave early. So a complex narrative that builds on prior knowledge is not the best choice.

Q: What Kind of Content Works Best?

There’s a vast array of content that works for Facebook Live. The most successful take advantage of the special connection the platform affords with an audience, addressing and interacting with them in real time. Here are a few good examples:

  • Behind the Scenes: Dunkin’ Donuts took their followers on a tour of “Dunkin’ Brands University,” a facility where Dunkin’ creates new products. At the end of the tour, audiences got a tutorial on how to make a Dunkin’ Donuts wedding cake. The tour scored just over 30,000 views.The informal, intimate nature of the platform is ideal for these sneak peeks behind the scenes. If your brand doesn’t have a factory to tour, consider a tour of the office space itself—promote transparency and your corporate culture by showing off work spaces and interviewing co-workers.
  • Tips and How-tos: Benefit Cosmetics hosts a weekly show called Tipsy Tricks. A host and guests drink wine, gossip, and offer makeup tips. They respond to viewer comments, and generally offer a mix of practical advice and entertaining banter.Facebook Live works well for how-tos and demos, provided there’s an angle to keep it interesting for the audience. As you prep a how-to, keep an eye out for dead spots in the process that your host will need to fill.
  • Performances: If your brand can swing it, musical or dance performances are a great way to pull in top-of-funnel audiences. Postmodern Jukebox is my favorite for performance video—they livestream parts of every concert they put on, often capturing behind-the-scenes content as well as the concert. But you don’t have to play at that level to stream a performance. Buzzfeed’s interactive dance-off was compelling to viewers because it was an amateur, interactive event.
  • Stunts: If one video captures the pared-down essence of storytelling on Facebook Live, it’s Buzzfeed’s watermelon explosion. At the time it aired, it was the platform’s biggest hit, with well over a million views.The concept couldn’t be simpler: Two Buzzfeed employees, decked out in safety gear, take turns putting rubber bands around a watermelon. The tension builds for 45 minutes until the watermelon finally explodes.On the surface, it seems kind of…dumb, right? But this video was successful because it hit all the right points:
    • Audiences could drop in any time
    • It was immediately obvious what was going on and what was at stake
    • It encouraged audience interaction
    • It built suspense
    • It worked toward a definite endpoint

Granted, the one thing it lacked was an element of utility. But it was undeniably compelling. Add some value for your viewer while checking off the same boxes this video did, and you’ll be unstoppable.

Livestreaming video is still in its infancy. Marketers are still experimenting with the form, with mixed results. One thing’s for sure: As with any channel, it’s all about relevancy, authenticity, and providing something of value to your audience. Put their needs first, and you can develop a strategy for success.

Does your brand plan to jump into livestreaming? Are you already enjoying success with the platform? Let me know in the comments.

 


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Find the Bright Side: 6 Things Brands Should Do in Light of New Facebook Page Layout http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/facebook-business-page-layout-changes/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/facebook-business-page-layout-changes/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 10:30:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21059 The summer of 2016 has been a little rough for businesses, brands and marketers that use Facebook as an important part of their marketing mix. Not only did Facebook implement a new News Feed algorithm that favors content from users’ friends and family, but just over a month ago they rolled out a new desktop [...]

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new-facebook-layout-tips

The summer of 2016 has been a little rough for businesses, brands and marketers that use Facebook as an important part of their marketing mix. Not only did Facebook implement a new News Feed algorithm that favors content from users’ friends and family, but just over a month ago they rolled out a new desktop business page layout—something they had been testing for a couple of months.

While the algorithm change was a little disheartening, many pages had likely been seeing a drop in organic reach for months as competition for space in the News Feed continued to grow. But when Facebook began testing the new page layout, many page admins were upset for a variety of reasons—from not being told about the changes to hating the new layout to believing they should hold the power to choose a design that works for them.

As someone who’s used Facebook for more than six years as a marketing medium, I totally get the frustration. But all the moving, shaking and changing of the digital landscape is nothing new, so we might as well look on the bright side, right?

Here’s that bright side:

  1. The new layout is ad-free, eliminating some of the clutter and potential for your audience to get distracted and navigate away. Basically, you’re the start of the show now.
  2. The profile photo and cover photo no longer overlap, meaning you don’t have to design a cover photo to fit around your profile photo now.
  3. All tabs are visible and stationary as users scroll, allowing you showcase all your information and visual media, and ultimately making it easier for your audience to learn more about you.
  4. Calls to action are more prominent, giving your audience clear direction on how they can move forward to learn more, get in touch, shop or any other action you’re trying to drive.

Facebook Business Page Layout Changes

See? Change isn’t so bad, right?

Even if I haven’t convinced you, not all is lost. Now that the change is in place, it’s time to make sure your page is the best it can be continue to engage users and build awareness for your brand. Below are a few suggestions on how to do just that.

#1 – Assess your profile and cover photo.

Your profile and cover photos are the main visual aspects of your page—and you want them looking good. For the best looking photos, these are the dimensions:

  • Cover images should be 828 x 315 pixels
  • Profile images should be 180 x 180 pixels

For your profile photo, I’d suggest choosing a branded image or logo. Since your profile photo, along with the tabs, will stay stationary as users scroll through your page this is a great opportunity to keep your brand top-of-mind.

For your cover photo, choose something that can visually convey what you’re brand is all about. Since the profile photo no longer overlaps, you have more freedom to be creative. Some text is certainly OK, but don’t go overboard. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Here’s a great example from FedEx. For me, this cover photo sends the message that FedEx is always there, in the background, reliably delivering packages to locations all over. (And the sunflowers are gorgeous.)

Cover Photo for FedEx on Facebook

#2 – Consider adding custom tabs.

The ability to create custom tabs isn’t new, but the new navigation now allows you to display all tabs. With the old layout, most tabs were hidden under the “More” dropdown on the top navigation bar.

Creating custom tabs does require some tech savviness (and maybe even some web dev experience), but it’s worth it. With custom tabs, you’re able to connect users with more information about who you are and what value you can bring to them. Consider getting started with tabs for your other social pages such as Twitter or YouTube.

To create the tabs, login to the Apps platform within the Facebook Developer site at https://developers.facebook.com/apps. It may seem daunting, but it’s actually a fairly simple process. There are also some third-party tools out there, but using them will most likely require the help of a developer.

Also, keep in mind that you need to be an Admin on the page you’re attempting to add the tab to.

For more details, check out Facebook’s Page Tabs info page.

#3 – Add content to all your tabs.

With the enhanced navigation, you need to make sure all tabs have content. You certainly don’t want users to be met with nothing when they click.

The About section is especially critical. This is where the most basic information about your brand is housed. Make sure it’s all there and current.

#4 – Create a username.

If you don’t already have one, create a username for your page. A username will appear in your page’s URL, making it more custom, while also making it easier for users to find you in native search results.

With the layout change, that username is now prominently displayed under your profile picture, which can help people remember your page. Check out Facebook’s how-to for creating a username.

facebook-layout-change-3

#5 – Make sure you have the right call to action.

The new layout showcases your call to action button directly under your cover photo, with some nice white space around it. If you don’t already have a call to action button, add one. If you do have one, make sure you’ve selected the right one for telling your audience what they can do next.

facebook-layout-change-4

#6 – Continue to regularly engage with your audience.

As with any social media platform, the key to success is consistent and relevant engagement. But this goes beyond just posting a link, image or video a few times a week. Put the time in to understand who your audience is, what they’re looking and what resonates most with them. Utilize Facebook Insights to see the type of content they’re engaging with most and most effective posting times. In addition, consistently review your tactics to see if they continue to be effective for reaching whatever goals you’ve set forth.

All in all, the new page layout will certainly not be Facebook’s last change to its platform. So, make the best of it by adapting your strategies to take advantage of the positive opportunities that change can bring.

What do you like or dislike most about the new layout for Facebook business pages? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2016. | Find the Bright Side: 6 Things Brands Should Do in Light of New Facebook Page Layout | http://www.toprankblog.com

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6 Tips for Increasing Facebook Organic Reach in an Age of Decline http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/increase-facebook-organic-reach/ Tue, 16 Aug 2016 10:30:16 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20869 In late June, Facebook announced they would be changing the News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and families, triggering a collective sigh (and maybe some choice words) among publishers, brands and marketers who rely on Facebook to boost brand awareness and generate referral traffic to their website and blog content. While Facebook [...]

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Increase-Organic-Facebook-Reach

In late June, Facebook announced they would be changing the News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and families, triggering a collective sigh (and maybe some choice words) among publishers, brands and marketers who rely on Facebook to boost brand awareness and generate referral traffic to their website and blog content.

While Facebook admitted that they anticipated a dip in reach and referral traffic for some pages, many Page admins were probably already noticing a decline. Shortly after the announcement, BuzzSumo released data they’d collected after reviewing 25 million Facebook posts that the top 10,000 publishers has posted in the last year. Generally speaking, the average of total shares were up, but BuzzSumo discovered that average shares for posts with links were falling.

Graph of Facebook Posts - BuzzSumo

The bottom line? The type of content you post, along with the new algorithm changes, has a significant impact on reach and engagement, as well as the amount of traffic you can draw in.

For brands and content marketers especially, it’s more clear than ever that posting links to your website or blog content can’t and won’t get you the results you’re looking for, but rather it’s time to embrace Facebook as a way to connect with your audience, encourage discussion, show your value and build a rapport, as well as drive some traffic.

With that said, we’ve put together a few best practices along with some tips for boosting your the reach and engagement of your posts on Facebook.

#1 – Put in the work to really understand your audience.

For Facebook, their advice for boosting organic reach in light of the News Feed changes is for Pages to “post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.”

After reading that, you’re probably thinking: “Duh.” While it may seem obvious, it’s also an important reminder we all need sometimes. Once we get in the daily grind, or as new initiatives roll out, or as some other new social trend comes along, we can lose sight—if only just for a minute—of who our audience is and what they really care about.

Take the time to dig into your website analytics and Facebook Insights to uncover the types of posts that are really resonating with your audience. Look at the kinds of posts that are driving the most traffic to your website, as well as those that are garnering the most engagement on your page. Use that information to tweak your content plan, as well as your messaging.

Of course, knowing that your audience can certainly change what they like, make sure you’re reviewing this data often, and making the necessary adjustments.

Check out Facebook’s suggestions for getting the most out of Page Insights.

#2 – Avoid using clickbait headlines in the content you share.

Every publisher, brand or marketers has probably used a sensational headline to grab attention and get the click at some point. In my opinion, that can be OK if you can actually deliver content that’s equally sensational and valuable. But oftentimes that’s not the case—and it’s just clickbait.

Facebook actually uses a system to detect clickbait headlines in content after a link is shared on the platform, identifying Pages and web domains that are consistently posting that type of material and reducing the distribution of those posts in the News Feed.

Facebook suggests using headlines that are informative, clean and set appropriate expectations. Basically, don’t be spammy or misleading, and don’t just focus on the click-through, but rather use text to encourage engagement. Here’s an example that Facebook gives as a what-not-to-do.

Celebrity Gossip Example

Read more about what Facebook has to say about clickbait headlines. Also, check out our post 9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines to Draw Your Audience In.

#3 – Use hashtags.

While hashtags have always been an important best practice for Twitter and Instagram, it’s been a little unclear whether they’re important for gaining reach and exposure on Facebook. So simply put, hashtags are definitely a great way to get your content discovered.

Like Twitter or Instagram, when people click on a Facebook hashtag or search for a hashtag, they’ll see results that contain that hashtag, allowing them to find content on topics that interest them.

If you’re looking to join a conversation, use popular hashtags to foster that discussion. If you’re looking to brand your content and posts, create your own hashtag that represents that topic and use it whenever relevant. Find relevant hashtags by searching Facebook natively.

Facebook Native Search

You can also use Hashtagify.me to get some ideas, but technically this tool is for Twitter and Instagram hashtags. If you do use a tool like this, run the hashtags you find through a native Facebook search to see how and if those hashtags are being used.

When it comes writing your hashtag, if you’re using a phrase, capitalize the first letter of each word to make it easy to read, understand and remember, and avoid using spaces or punctuation. Also, make sure you understand the meaning of any hashtags you intend to use. While a hashtag may look like it represents a conversation or your brand, use a tool like #tagdef to learn if they’re being used for anything that’s a little more unsavory.

Read more about what Facebook says about using hashtags.

#4 – Utilize the mentioning and tagging functions to find new audiences.

Mentioning and tagging other pages and users in your content is one of the best ways to amplify your posts. Not only do those you tag and mention get notified when you do so, but they’ll more compelled to engage on your post and share your post with their audience.

Here’s a recent example from TopRank Marketing’s own Facebook page. Carlos Gil is a brilliant social media marketer. We wanted to give him a nice little shout out, as well as share something valuable and interesting with our audience.

Carlos Gill - 2

As you can see, this post got more than a dozen likes and a few comments, including one from Carlos himself.

Also, when it comes to mentioning, don’t let that stop in your original post text. If you receive comments from anyone, use the reply function to automatically populate their name as a mention and keep the conversation going.

#5 – Consider native video.

Most publishers, brands and marketers have known for a while that including images and video content in their posts is a way to drive engagement and give Facebook’s algorithm something it knows people are interested in seeing.

But native video specifically can be the type of media post that gets great reach. When looking at it in the context of social media, native video is any video content that is created in or directly uploaded to a social media platform, and then auto-plays within the news feed.

It actually lives on your Facebook page, removing the a barrier to interaction and making it easy for people to share so you can expand your reach.

Upload videos that you’ve already created or utilize the Facebook Live function for more informal or sneak peek style posts.

Here’s a great example from Microsoft. In just the first hour after posting, this video had more than 3,000 views, 8 shares and 54 likes. 

Microsoft 1

#6 – Encourage employees to share and engage with your posts.

Your employees should be some of your greatest fans. Encourage them to engage on your Facebook page or share your posts to help generate some reach and give engagement some momentum.

Send out a weekly reminder email to let your employees know about some of the interesting conversations or posts that are ripe for their engagement, or provide them with pre-written messages that they can copy and paste.

Here’s an example of one of our own employees, Debbie Friez, in action.

Debbie Share 1

Have you noticed a drop in your organic reach and engagement? What are you doing to improve them? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2016. | 6 Tips for Increasing Facebook Organic Reach in an Age of Decline | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Is Your Brand Likable? 7 B2B Technology Brands Taking a Creative Approach on Facebook http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/06/7-brands-facebook-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/06/7-brands-facebook-marketing/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2016 10:30:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20575 Between Facebook constantly tweaking features to improve user experience and the saturation of posts from every other brand out there, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for B2B brands to reach their audience by utilizing Facebook marketing tactics. According to the Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs’ B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America report, 84% of [...]

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Is-your-brand-likable

Between Facebook constantly tweaking features to improve user experience and the saturation of posts from every other brand out there, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for B2B brands to reach their audience by utilizing Facebook marketing tactics. According to the Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs’ B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America report, 84% of B2B marketers said they used Facebook as a content marketing tactic, but just 30% said their efforts were effective.

But this doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon the Facebook ship. It’s just time to reset your course and put some wind back in your sails. It’s time to get creative.

If your brand is only posting promotional messages: Stop. That’s not what your audience is looking for and you’re probably not seeing much return. Your audience wants to know who you are, what you stand for and what you can offer—beyond a line of products or services.

If you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are 10 B2B brands that are getting creative with their Facebook strategy to woo new followers and keep them coming back for more.

#1 – IBM

As one of the largest technology companies in the world, IBM pulled in nearly $82.5 billion in revenue last year, according to the 2016 Fortune 500 List. IBM’s Facebook page is filled with inspiring videos, articles and quotes that showcase the amazing innovative technology it’s bringing to the world and how’s transformed over the. A great example is this video that aims to show IBM as so much more than a company that produces computers. 


The video post got more than 1,200 likes and 571 shares.

The company also offers behind-the-scenes access to give its followers to connect its followers with its technologies and products in action.

IBM Facebook

Like IBM on Facebook.

#2 – Cisco

Cisco does a fantastic job of connecting their products and technologies with current events and topics to drive awareness and engagement. For example, this recent post features a short video that showcases Cisco’s partnership with the NBA aimed at improving the fan experience.

Cisco Facebook

Like Cisco on Facebook.

#3 – Sprinklr

Sprinklr is all about helping other businesses harness the power of social media and create valuable social experiences, so it’s no wonder that they’ve put some of what they preach into their own social efforts. When it comes to Facebook, Sprinklr often shares links to topical and interesting blog posts they’ve whipped up, but videos that show company execs and employees in action drive great engagement.

Sprinklr Facebook

Like Sprinklr on Facebook.

# 4 – Intel

From eye-catching photos and videos to behind the scenes looks, Intel uses Facebook to bring its audience along for the ride and show them how their technology is being used in a variety of different ways—such as providing real-time data at the X-Games in Austin, TX.

Intel Facebook

Like Intel on Facebook.

#5 – Salesforce

From the latest company news to topical articles to videos and images, Salesforce is a great example of offering a Facebook audience a variety of media and links to pique interest.

Salesforce Facebook

Like Salesforce on Facebook.

#6 – McKesson Corporation (client)

On McKesson Corporation’s Facebook page, rarely will you see any post promoting a product or service. Instead, the healthcare services and technology company’s Facebook page is dedicated to highlighting the people and programs behind McKesson—making it an excellent recruiting tool and a way to show the values the company holds dear.

McKesson Facebook

Like McKesson Corporation on Facebook.

#7 – Facebook for Business

While Facebook for Business is the social media network’s marketing page—mostly aimed at showing the value of Facebook advertising—it’s definitely worth following to get a look at how other brands are using the ad options to take their efforts to another level, as well as for best practices and tips.

Facebook for Business

Like Facebook Business Manager.

What Do These Facebook Pages Have in Common?

You may or may have not noticed that there is a common thread among all of the B2B technology companies utilizing Facebook marketing listed in this post. That commonality is that they all share engaging content about PEOPLE. Their strategy isn’t just about the products and services, it’s for the people that buy those products and services.

What other B2B businesses would your recommend following on Facebook? Please share in the comments section below!


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How B2B Marketers Can Use Facebook to Drive Engagement & Generate Leads http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/10/b2b-marketers-facebook/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/10/b2b-marketers-facebook/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:42:31 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19399 Time and time again, B2B marketers have heard, “Facebook doesn’t work for B2B”. That statement could not be further from the truth. What B2B marketers should ask themselves is; am I truly engaging my Facebook audience by sharing things they want to see and interact with? Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool, if used [...]

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Andrea-Vahl

Time and time again, B2B marketers have heard, “Facebook doesn’t work for B2B”. That statement could not be further from the truth. What B2B marketers should ask themselves is; am I truly engaging my Facebook audience by sharing things they want to see and interact with?

Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool, if used correctly. In fact SteamFeed found that 60% of all social media traffic to B2B websites comes from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. So, there is proof that Facebook for B2B marketers works, but now it’s time to figure out how to create better engagement and make more meaningful connections.

Last week at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Andrea Vahl took the stage and shared some fantastic insights into how B2B brands can improve visibility, track leads and improve Facebook Ad targeting. Below are some of her best insights.

Is Organic Reach Dead?

While organic reach is not completely gone, it is on the decline. Additionally, your reach and interactions are out there for the entire world to see. So, when something is performing badly, everyone knows.

Before you eliminate Facebook from your strategy, know that B2B marketers can still get organic reach. Andrea ran some experiments by posting a similar message on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. What she found was that the messages on Facebook had a much longer shelf life than those on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What Does Work For Brands?

There is no denying that cats, dogs and babies rule Facebook. People love to be entertained by dogs falling down stairs and feel a connection with a heart-warming image. As a B2B brand, you can post a video of a dog falling down the stairs, as long as your message allows you to relate the content to your audience in some way.

Along with humor and entertainment, eye-catching images work really well for brands. Below is an example that Andrea shared of a B2B company grabbing the attention of their audience with bold images and succinct messages.

Maersk Group

Image via Andrea Vahl

Native Facebook videos can also be very powerful. If you have a video, you need to be uploading it directly to Facebook to get more views, reach and engagement. YouTube typically doesn’t get the reach and exposure of native Facebook videos. Also, the ideal length for a video is 30 seconds, keep it under two minutes. You’ll see a drop off in the length that people complete for. General Electric is an example of a company that uploads some unique videos that are entertaining and bring people in.

Image via Andrea Vahl

Image via Andrea Vahl

Remember that you can also include a call-to-action at the end of your video to drive your audience directly to your website.

Tools for Facebook Marketing

There were a few different tools that Andrea recommended for creating visuals and producing quality videos to share with your Facebook audience. These include:

Visual Tools

Video Resources

3 Recommendations for Facebook Advertising

#1 – Transfer Fans to Your Email List

Don’t build your company on the rented castle that is Facebook. Move them to your email list so that you can continue to nurture the relationship on a more 1:1 basis off of Facebook.

#2 – Plan on Ad Spend

Facebook has very much become a pay-to-play model that does require some sort of investment. Within Facebook, you can use highly targeted ads to convert your target audience. Where you should spend your focus (and funds) is on email conversions, website clicks and website conversions that only target your warm leads (those that have already liked your page).

#3 – Measure What Matters

Beyond reach and engagement, you’re going to want to measure the actual number of conversions from Facebook. In order to do that, you’re going to need to put a Facebook conversion pixel on your website. That way, you can see which ad sent that conversion to your website.

In order to utilize the conversion pixel, you must have:

  • A website where you can install the conversion pixel
  • A thank you page that indicates the desired action is completed

Facebook is still flush with opportunities for B2B marketers, but it may require that current strategies be adapted to meet the needs of the audience. What tactics on Facebook have worked best for your organization, or what are some great examples that you’ve seen out in the wild?

 


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Facebook Marketing: Hidden Tactics and Tricks from Leading Brands http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/03/facebook-marketing-smmw15/ Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:00:50 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18240 How are successful brands like Century 21, Western Union, Roadtrip Nation and the San Diego Chargers building and sustaining their Facebook communities? This Social Media Marketing World panel touted engagement as a key to a great community. Facebook Marketing Planning One key to great content goes back to planning. Joel Price, manager of new media, [...]

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L-R Michael Frenech, Cameron Partridge, Matt Gentile and Joel Price

Michael Frenech, Cameron Partridge, Joel Price and Matt Gentile

How are successful brands like Century 21, Western Union, Roadtrip Nation and the San Diego Chargers building and sustaining their Facebook communities? This Social Media Marketing World panel touted engagement as a key to a great community.

Facebook Marketing Planning

One key to great content goes back to planning. Joel Price, manager of new media, San Diego Chargers, says they review the week’s Facebook performance each Monday and plan posts for the weekend (and the week ahead) each Friday. In addition to engagement, the team is looking to drive traffic to their online assets.

Century 21 does bi-weekly planning of content. Matt Gentile, global director, social media, says they follow the 80/20 rule, looking for 80% of content to be about engagement and 20% targeted to drive people back to century21.com. Because of the nature of their business, some content needs to have legal review, so planning ahead is key.

Cameron Partridge, senior social media strategist, Roadtrip Nation, works off a quarterly brief that rolls into a monthly content calendar. They also go by the 80/20 rule.

Western Union built their own master content calendar to fit their needs, says Michael Frenech, global social strategy. He says some content needs to be approved by the brand group and possibly legal counsel.

The three pillars for content in regards to Western Union’s audience:
1. Food
2. Family
3. Culture

Western Union piloted a Facebook page for their Filipino customers, Facebook.com/wupinoy. The audience for the page grew to 180,000 in 3 months with 230,000 people engaged. Their fans shared the content with their family and friends.

Roadtrip Nation’s three principles of content:
1. What value to the user?
2. Does it strike emotion from the user?
3. Does it ladder up to their brand?

The panelists were asked about learning from their past mistakes. Gentile had a situation when a California congressman said Century 21 was advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s show right after Limbaugh made disparaging comments about Sandra Fluke. Gentile responded before he confirmed the sponsorship. Century 21 was not a sponsor, so his takeaway is to have all the facts before you respond.

Partridge says they used to focus too much on the product and not the user. They now often let their super fans answer questions of other fans.

Frenech said Western Union took some flack for focusing too much on their Indian consumers. He learned they need to show all countries/areas the social love.

What makes your brand successful on Facebook? Can you share some of your best tactics?

Are you enjoying the live coverage of #SMMW15? There is more to come in the next few days from myself and TopRank’s @writerbrooke.


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Social Media Advertising for Content Marketers: Insight from Salesforce’s ‘2015 State of Marketing’ report http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/01/social-media-advertising-2/ Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:31:53 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=17897

Social Media Advertising

Salesforce recently released its annual “State of Marketing” report, in which the company surveyed 5,000 marketers worldwide. Results of the survey point toward a significant investment in social media advertising in 2015.

According to the CRM company’s report (gated download), 70% of marketers will spend more budget on social media advertising this year. As numbers of customers on social channels increases, it is increasingly imperative, as the survey results show, to have a social media marketing strategy in place.

It is clear that digital marketers are increasingly valuing social media advertising to help promote their content marketing efforts. In 2014, 25% of marketers saw social as a critical enabler of products and services. The number leaps to 64% in 2015.

Social media overall is on the rise in both SMBs and large corporations. The 44-page Salesforce report says that 78% of marketers stated that they have a dedicated social media team. This number is up from just 57% in 2014. As digital marketers focus more on social media, it is important stay abreast of the reach and power of social networks.

Here is a look at the top three:

Facebook

Salesforce’s report showed that Facebook had continued to be “the most popular social channel for marketers to engage customers around the world.” With 1.35 billion active monthly users on Facebook as of Sept. 2014, B2B marketers are increasingly looking to Facebook to engage with their audience.

Here are a few stats to keep in mind:

80% of marketers are using Facebook
74% of marketers use Facebook to engage customers
73% rated Facebook 'very effective'
19% rated Facebook 'somewhat effective'
8% rated Facebook ‘not very effective / not effective at all’

Facebook is by far no stranger to B2B marketers, even though some still think it’s a place to connect with high school classmates. Facebook for business offers tips for getting started with Facebook advertising. Both B2C and B2B marketers will find resources to help you on your way to create awareness, launch products and services and drive sales. Facebook also offers tips specific to advertising on the social network.

Targeting options help Facebook advertisers reach not only the consumer audience that B2C marketers are after, but the B2B audience as well. Targeting by interests, connections, behaviors and location can help B2C marketers reach an audience that is more likely to include key buyers and decision makers they are after.

The video marketing service Wistia seeks to reach a B2B audience with this ad:

Wistia ad sample

Twitter

Second to Facebook is the micro-blogging social network Twitter. Marketers using Twitter totalled 70% of those surveyed for the 2015 report. However, Twitter ranks higher than Facebook in terms of use by marketers to engage with buyers. Salesforce’s survey showed that 79% of Twitter users engage customers on the platform, more than Facebook’s 74%.

More numbers about Twitter:

68% of marketers rate the platform ‘Very effective / effective’
22% say Twitter is ‘somewhat effective’
10% say Twitter is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’

Twitter’s 284 million monthly active users also serve as a target-able audience for digital marketers in both B2C and B2B roles. Twitter offers campaigns that work in a number of capacities, depending on your objectives. Twitter ads (some still in beta) can:

  • Grow followers
  • Facilitate conversations
  • Encourage app downloads
  • Collect email addresses

Twitter ads also can feature in-stream video as well as clickable offers. Twitter cards allow marketers to attach media experience to Twitter ads. In the example below, Uberflip uses a Twitter card to gather email addresses for a free eBook download.

uberflip ad sample

LinkedIn

When LinkedIn (a TopRank Marketing client) announced in 2014 that it was going “all in on content marketing” it resonated with marketers. LinkedIn has developed platforms that allow for the promotion of sponsored content. LinkedIn has used content marketing itself to promote the network’s ability to connect B2B marketers and buyers. LinkedIn’s collection of eBooks and videos have helped marketers understand the possibility of reaching a B2B audience.

LinkedIn’s numbers from the 2015 Salesforce report:

62% of marketers are currently using LinkedIn
69% call LinkedIn ‘Very effective / effective’
21% of marketers say LinkedIn is ‘Somewhat effective’
10% of marketers say that LinkedIn is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’

Through LinkedIn sponsored updates, marketers are reaching a B2B user-base that is highly in tune with the business of the day. Rarely are LinkedIn users on the network to be social. The focus is careers, networking and industry insight.

Adobe uses LinkedIn to raise awareness of digital marketing solutions through sponsored updates.

Adobe ad sample

Many more social channels

Every time a social media network pops up on the scene, there is no doubt savvy marketers will look for the best way to utilize that network. Social network advertising and engagement  to catch up with a buyer base in order to raise awareness and drive buyers toward their products or services. While the top three networks mentioned above are just the tip of the social network mountain, there are certainly others to keep an eye up with, from standards such as YouTube, Google+ and Instagram, to Snapchat and other messaging apps.

Have you found luck reaching your audience through social media? If so, tell us about your experience. If you would like more information about how TopRank Online Marketing can help you reach these audiences, reach out to us here.

Top image: Shutterstock.

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Social Media Advertising Salesforce recently released its annual “State of Marketing” report, in which the company surveyed 5,000 marketers worldwide. Results of the survey point toward a significant investment in social media advertising in 2015. According to the CRM company’s report (gated download), 70% of marketers will spend more budget on social media advertising this year. As numbers of customers on social channels increases, it is increasingly imperative, as the survey results show, to have a social media marketing strategy in place. It is clear that digital marketers are increasingly valuing social media advertising to help promote their content marketing efforts. In 2014, 25% of marketers saw social as a critical enabler of products and services. The number leaps to 64% in 2015. Social media overall is on the rise in both SMBs and large corporations. The 44-page Salesforce report says that 78% of marketers stated that they have a dedicated social media team. This number is up from just 57% in 2014. As digital marketers focus more on social media, it is important stay abreast of the reach and power of social networks. Here is a look at the top three:

Facebook

Salesforce’s report showed that Facebook had continued to be “the most popular social channel for marketers to engage customers around the world.” With 1.35 billion active monthly users on Facebook as of Sept. 2014, B2B marketers are increasingly looking to Facebook to engage with their audience. Here are a few stats to keep in mind: 80% of marketers are using Facebook 74% of marketers use Facebook to engage customers 73% rated Facebook 'very effective' 19% rated Facebook 'somewhat effective' 8% rated Facebook ‘not very effective / not effective at all’ Facebook is by far no stranger to B2B marketers, even though some still think it’s a place to connect with high school classmates. Facebook for business offers tips for getting started with Facebook advertising. Both B2C and B2B marketers will find resources to help you on your way to create awareness, launch products and services and drive sales. Facebook also offers tips specific to advertising on the social network. Targeting options help Facebook advertisers reach not only the consumer audience that B2C marketers are after, but the B2B audience as well. Targeting by interests, connections, behaviors and location can help B2C marketers reach an audience that is more likely to include key buyers and decision makers they are after. The video marketing service Wistia seeks to reach a B2B audience with this ad: Wistia ad sample

Twitter

Second to Facebook is the micro-blogging social network Twitter. Marketers using Twitter totalled 70% of those surveyed for the 2015 report. However, Twitter ranks higher than Facebook in terms of use by marketers to engage with buyers. Salesforce’s survey showed that 79% of Twitter users engage customers on the platform, more than Facebook’s 74%. More numbers about Twitter: 68% of marketers rate the platform ‘Very effective / effective’ 22% say Twitter is ‘somewhat effective’ 10% say Twitter is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’ Twitter’s 284 million monthly active users also serve as a target-able audience for digital marketers in both B2C and B2B roles. Twitter offers campaigns that work in a number of capacities, depending on your objectives. Twitter ads (some still in beta) can:
  • Grow followers
  • Facilitate conversations
  • Encourage app downloads
  • Collect email addresses
Twitter ads also can feature in-stream video as well as clickable offers. Twitter cards allow marketers to attach media experience to Twitter ads. In the example below, Uberflip uses a Twitter card to gather email addresses for a free eBook download. uberflip ad sample

LinkedIn

When LinkedIn (a TopRank Marketing client) announced in 2014 that it was going “all in on content marketing” it resonated with marketers. LinkedIn has developed platforms that allow for the promotion of sponsored content. LinkedIn has used content marketing itself to promote the network’s ability to connect B2B marketers and buyers. LinkedIn’s collection of eBooks and videos have helped marketers understand the possibility of reaching a B2B audience. LinkedIn’s numbers from the 2015 Salesforce report: 62% of marketers are currently using LinkedIn 69% call LinkedIn ‘Very effective / effective’ 21% of marketers say LinkedIn is ‘Somewhat effective’ 10% of marketers say that LinkedIn is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’ Through LinkedIn sponsored updates, marketers are reaching a B2B user-base that is highly in tune with the business of the day. Rarely are LinkedIn users on the network to be social. The focus is careers, networking and industry insight. Adobe uses LinkedIn to raise awareness of digital marketing solutions through sponsored updates. Adobe ad sample Many more social channels Every time a social media network pops up on the scene, there is no doubt savvy marketers will look for the best way to utilize that network. Social network advertising and engagement  to catch up with a buyer base in order to raise awareness and drive buyers toward their products or services. While the top three networks mentioned above are just the tip of the social network mountain, there are certainly others to keep an eye up with, from standards such as YouTube, Google+ and Instagram, to Snapchat and other messaging apps. Have you found luck reaching your audience through social media? If so, tell us about your experience. If you would like more information about how TopRank Online Marketing can help you reach these audiences, reach out to us here. Top image: Shutterstock.

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B2B Marketing on Facebook? Yes! So Say IBM, Volvo, Salesforce & Lattice Engines http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/10/facebook-b2b-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/10/facebook-b2b-marketing/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:14:01 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=17448 It goes without saying that Facebook is most commonly associated with consumer marketing since it’s hardly a place for industrial engineers to talk about the latest manufacturing process or for enterprise software companies to promote side by side feature comparisons. But behind those companies are people – both on the brand and the buyer side [...]

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b2b marketing

It goes without saying that Facebook is most commonly associated with consumer marketing since it’s hardly a place for industrial engineers to talk about the latest manufacturing process or for enterprise software companies to promote side by side feature comparisons.

But behind those companies are people – both on the brand and the buyer side of the B’s in B2B. B’s are people too and those people use Facebook to connect with peers socially. They may not look for product spec sheets for manufacturing hardware on Facebook, but they can get an idea of the people behind the companies they buy from as well as a more personal look at companies outside of nuts and bolts, hardware and software.

Enter our experts in B2B Marketing who use Facebook to do just that. At MarketingProfs B2B Forum last week, Joel Book from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Katie Keating from IBM and Amanda Maksymiw from Lattice Engines came together for a panel on B2B Marketing and Facebook.

The panel moderator was John Haydon from Inbound Zombie.

Joel Book
First up was Joel Book @JoelBook, Principal, Marketing Insights at Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget). Joel talked about his client, Volvo Construction Equipment of North America and how they have been using Facebook for B2B.  If you haven’t heard of Volvo CE, they compete with CAT, Deere and other manufacturers of heavy equipment.

Volvo’s multichannel strategy for acquisition, selling and service of customers includes:
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Trade Shows, Remarketing Email, Volvo Construction Dealers, volvoce.com, Monthly Email and more. But Facebook has been particularly effective. Said one Volvo executive:

“For Volvo Construction Equipment, Facebook has been the number one social media technology for posting equipment as well as promotions and generating leads”

In Spring of 2013 Volvo CE started using Facebook ads to engage prospects by providing links to content which sent traffic to volvoCE.com. There they could convert to email subscribers.  After that, Volvo began targeting existing customers with Facebook ads.

Volvo CE Facebook

Targeted Facebook Ads were very successful for Volvo CE. Some of the targeting options focused on Facebook users with interests in the kinds of equipment Volvo CE customers buy as well as construction equipment brands that are competitive to Volvo CE.

Volvo Lego Technic

Volvo partnered with Lego to create a Lego Technic L350F toy targeted towards individuals with specific interests in construction equipment. Promoted on Facebook and elsewhere, this was a big PR success and created brand awareness as well as adding 1,200 names to their prospect email list.

A few tips on Facebook Marketing for B2B companies from Joel:

1. Create a “social profile” of your best customers using a tool like Active Audiences from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, then use that profile to identify and target prospective customers with direct response ads using Facebook Custom Audiences.

2. Use Facebook Custom Audiences to target and attract prospective email subscribers. 68% of B2B brands say email is “core” to their business. And more B2B brands are discovering that Facebook is their top source for attracting new subscribers.

Katie Keating
Next up was Katie Keating @ThingsSheSaid and Engagement Strategist at IBM. Katie manages all corporate social media channels for IBM, including Facebook. Her advice for B2B marketers on Facebook:

Visuals are essential. Show things behind the scenes, people, clients, and products. These are all important for driving engagement.

IBM Facebook

Think like a B2C – How do people experience your brand if they can’t touch it? For IBM it’s through their employees. IBM is spending effort on empowering employees to be brand advocates on social networks.

Try new tactics – IBM has tried things like Facebook chats and influencer research. They actually created a tool to mine influencers in India and engaged with them. This was all organic.

Let your audience “exhale” with content that’s just for fun. B2B Facebook content needs to break from products and services. Use Facebook ads to make sure you’re reaching target audiences.

On IBM’s Facebook page, they share the company’s history of innovation and behind the scenes content.  Facebook post performance is closely monitored and if a post resonates organically, IBM will support it for further amplification with Facebook ads.

Amanda Maksymiw
Last up is Amanda Maksymiw @amandamaks Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines, which sells predictive analytics to mid market and enterprise companies.

The Lattice Engines product is a new thing, predicting who your next customers will be, so a lot of their content is educational.

Lattice Engines’ goal with Facebook: Humanize the brand to attract and retain talent, drive engagement with Lattice Engines brand, retarget influencers, prospects and customers. Facebook ad targeting is based on interests of buyers and competitors.

Lattice Engines Facebook

Along with posting content on Facebook are offers such as the opportunity to attend a webinar.

The Lattice Engines company Facebook page is very employee focused. They engage with Facebook fans through images, conversations, text and video content.

A few tips form Amanda for B2B Marketers on Facebook:

  • Create and share a blend of personality and professional content. Post pictures of employees and content efforts.
  • Post pictures with short text – it leads to higher engagement.
  • Hone targeting and retargeting skills to grow, engage and convert your audience. Target based on email addresses, (custom audiences) location and interests.

So it sounds like a “human to human” approach beyond the business side of B2B actually has some legs when it comes to social networks like Facebook. Like any effort to connect with business buyers in new ways, it makes sense to experiment. See what is already happening in a B2B context in your industry, amongst competitors and early adopters within your own company. Decide what your goals are and be committed to both understanding the targeting options within Facebook as well as the type of content that will connect with business buyers when the situation is not all business.

Are you using Facebook as part of your B2B marketing mix? What lessons have you learned?


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Organic Facebook Marketing Tips From the Pros http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/03/facebook-marketing-tips/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/03/facebook-marketing-tips/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 15:14:02 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16580 Facebook has become quite a conundrum for many marketers. For years, companies of all sizes have invested in organic and paid efforts to grow their Facebook fans. The “like” served as an opt-in for consumers to receive brand messages sent “organically”. But over the past few years, Facebook has diminished the organic reach of brand [...]

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Facebook Marketing

Facebook has become quite a conundrum for many marketers. For years, companies of all sizes have invested in organic and paid efforts to grow their Facebook fans. The “like” served as an opt-in for consumers to receive brand messages sent “organically”.

But over the past few years, Facebook has diminished the organic reach of brand fan page messages to a thin percent of the total opt-in whole. Now the only option to reach fans is to pay for Facebook advertising which can be hit or miss and leaves organic reach all but non-existent.

For companies without large ad budgets, this is obviously a challenge. Luckily, there are options! Here are tips from our latest Social Media Marketing eBook featuring some of the top Facebook marketing experts. They offer insight that can help you regain and optimize some of your organic traction.

Andrea Vahl
Andrea Vahl – @andreavahl

Social Media Coach, Author

The New Facebook Marketing

For marketers looking to adjust to Facebook’s new algorithm changes and decreased organic reach, a shift in mindset is needed.

Think of Facebook as a subscription-based marketing service vs. a free platform.

Facebook ads on an ongoing basis are inevitable. Divide your monthly Facebook ad spend between boosting posts for increased reach and ads to drive traffic directly to your website.

Spend a small amount on increasing your fan base as well. None of this ad spend needs to break the bank.

Work on effective ads so that you spend as little as possible for the biggest bang.

Mari Smith
Mari Smith – @marismith

Social Media Consultant, Speaker, Trainer, Author

Amp Up Facebook Organic Reach

Consider increasing the frequency of your Facebook Page posts to boost your organic reach.

If you typically post 2x a day, try doubling that to 4x.

Make sure your posts are top QUALITY, relevant and timely. Include periodic invitations to sign up for offers, but craft the wording in a warm, personal way that your audience can connect with. Plus, engage at every opportunity.

Great examples to study include: Richard Branson, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, KLM, and Sprint.

Amy Porterfield
Amy Porterfield – @amyporterfield

Social Media Consultant, Speaker

It’s All About the List

The energy of your business is directly tied to your email list.

Facebook ads are one of the most powerful lead generating platforms for small businesses today. Specifically, “Page Post ads” that drive traffic to a free, valuable giveaway (such as a free video training, eBook, or cheat sheet) are extremely effective.

These ads are inexpensive, highly-targeted and can be completely automated.

It may take a little trial and error, but once you find that sweet spot where your ads are consistently producing results, you’ll be hooked!

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu – @dennisyu

CTO, BlitzMetrics

Social Media Force Multiplier

Social media marketing, email marketing, and website retargeting are all the same thing.

You’re following around users who have visited you, regardless of whether the tracking mechanism is a pixel, email address or Facebook user id.

Consider multiplying upon your strengths by getting your email subscribers to be fans, your fans to to visit your site, your web visitors to be fans, your web visitors to be email subscribers and so forth.

Try Facebook Website Custom Audiences and Google Remarketing and you’ll be on your way.

You can get even more Social Media Marketing tips from our SMMW14 eBook here.

As the organic approach in other areas from SEO to public relations to content marketing have undergone shifts, so too has Social Media Marketing and Facebook marketing in particular. Modern marketers must adapt and continuously refine and optimize their approach. Optimization isn’t just relevant for tactics, but for how you approach marketing as well. This is the core of how we approach social media at our agency and the blogging on the topic we do here.

How have you adapted to changes in Facebook’s news feed and treatment of brand fan page content? What tips and insights would you add?

Top Image: Shutterstock & CleanSocialIcons


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How UFC Is Throwing Big Blows On Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/01/ufc-social-media/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/01/ufc-social-media/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 18:00:41 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16294 Big sports are big business.  There are billions of dollars to be made and no sport is growing faster than the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  Millions of viewers worldwide tune in to watch fighters pummel each other.  Jackie Poriadjian SVP/Strategic Marketing/PR & Distribution for UFC and Dave Taylor sat down and discussed How The UFC Rocks Social [...]

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UFC NMX 2014Big sports are big business.  There are billions of dollars to be made and no sport is growing faster than the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  Millions of viewers worldwide tune in to watch fighters pummel each other.  Jackie Poriadjian SVP/Strategic Marketing/PR & Distribution for UFC and Dave Taylor sat down and discussed How The UFC Rocks Social at NMX 2014.

The Stats

Lets take a look at some of the numbers that make the UFC a true heavyweight.

  • Largest PPV Event In The World – Bigger than the WWE, professional boxing, or any other pay-per-view event out there.  The UFC is the real king of the ring when it comes to transactional viewing events.
  • Broadcast In 28 languages – That’s just as many as the BBC, the world’s largest broadcaster.  That’s the big reach their fighters wish they had.
  • 5 Billion Impressions In A Single Night – You read that right.  That’s 5 BILLION in just one night on Twitter and Facebook before UFC 168 at the end of December 2013.
  • Over 50 Billion Impressions Over The Course Of A Single Campaign – That’s just from the campaign run during the promotion of their most recent fight.  Most of us are lucky to have even 50 people talking about us.  Even compared to other big brands that number is huge.  Heck, many big brands don’t even have 50 billion impressions total, much less in a single campaign.
  • Over 1.6 Million Twitter Followers – And that number is just for their main account.  The UFC encourages their fighters to have their own accounts and many of them have a million or more followers too.  Their Twitter following isn’t just huge either.  They’re very active and very passionate.
  • Over 11.5 Million Facebook ‘Likes’ – And again that’s just their main account.  They have millions more on various other UFC accounts plus fighters with millions of their own.  They’re active, passionate, and love to talk about their favorite fighters.  And if you think that Facebook killed brand pages with their recent changes to their algorithm, think again.  A picture of Anderson Silva on crutches after breaking his leg  in the most recent fight reached 100% of their 11.5 million followers. If the timing and topic is on, you can reach everyone despite what “marketing experts” claim.
  • 500k Instagram Followers – The same day Jackie and Dave sat down to talk at NMX 2014, the UFC Instagram account hit over half a million followers and it’s not even a spot they’ve focused much effort on at this point.

Looking at those numbers, it’s easy to see that there’s a ton of social talk around the UFC and it’s fighters.  And for a brand with that much activity, they spend a relatively small $500k-1 million a year on paid social promotion.  While they do some paid social advertising, they don’t do it for their events.  Their fans do the promotion for them.

Management Of Millions

So how do they manage all of that social chatter?  An army of social media managers right?  Nope.  Just 2 people at their headquarters to deal with messaging and managing over 15 million followers.  How do they manage their fighters and their messaging?  They don’t.  While they do give their fighters some initial social training and coaching to keep them out of trouble, they let them manage it themselves and say what they want (they’re all independent contractors technically).  Should an issue come up there is the possibility they’ll send them to sensitivity training, make them do community service or impose a fine but that has been very rare.  Their biggest challenge hasn’t been the messages their fighters post but how they respond to criticisms and comments from their followers. I’m sure we’ve all had times where we’ve had to take a step back and take a couple deep breaths before responding to someone on social media.  Now try to teach that to someone who knocks people out for a living.  Fun job huh?

The UFC’s fighters take a lot of pride in the sport and want to take it to the next level.  They love interacting with their faithful fans so most are very active on Twitter and Facebook.  It’s that high level of interaction directly with their fans that has allowed the UFC to build such a large following.

Feeding The Following

So how can just 2 people create all the great content that people follow the UFC for on social media?  It’s not a 2 person effort alone.  The entire organizations has access to a central dropbox in which they can upload any content they create.  Pictures, video, and more are all put into a central database that allows their social managers to pull and post the best from their photographers, videographers, fighters, reporters, and other employees.  It’s a great way to always have tons of great stuff for your followers to consume.

A young demographic (UFC pretty much owns the male 18-34yr old demographic when it’s on) that loves social media has helped to fuel the explosive growth of the UFC and MMA.  As the brand continues to struggle to gain more mainstream acceptance (the New York Times and others for instance doesn’t generally care to cover UFC fights), the push from social media is helping to make the UFC a main event.

Do you think they have what it takes to TKO other professional sports?


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Tips for Pictures That Generate Breakthrough Results in Social Media Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/picture-generating-social-results/ Thu, 07 Nov 2013 20:30:30 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16002 What picture of your brand are you painting in social? I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean what visuals are you using to represent what you do and what your audience cares about? Study and after study indicates that visual content is far more impactful in social than its text-only counterpart, and yet a majority of [...]

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Visuals in Social #SECHI

What picture of your brand are you painting in social? I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean what visuals are you using to represent what you do and what your audience cares about? Study and after study indicates that visual content is far more impactful in social than its text-only counterpart, and yet a majority of brands interacting in social aren’t adjusting their content mix accordingly.

Cliches are Cliches Cause They Work

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We’ve all heard the phrase, and for good reason. Especially when it comes to engaging your audience in social. Laura Roth, of Incisive Media, moderates today’s session focused on ‘harnessing the power of visuals’ in social.

Krista Nehrer, CEO of Boot Camp Digital, is the first presenter and she wastes no time to ‘prove’ images have more impact. Nehrer shows an image of a baby on the screen in the conference room. It flashes for only a moment, but when asked, the audience is able to describe the image to a T. More than simply proving recall, the audience also responded to the image with emotion.

She then flashes a ton of text on the screen. Again the information is only shown for a moment. This time, the audience falls silent. We were not only unable to recall a majority of the information, we (or at least I) felt no emotion in reaction to the flashing text. Science actually supports that an image is worth a thousand words! Take that 8th grade science teacher who yelled at me for doodling.

The 3 R’s of Pictures

Nehrer introduces her 3 R’s of creating quality images.

  • Real Pictures
  • Real Things
  • Real People

Her point is simple and clear. People respond to images they relate to. So real photos taken of real things by real people is far more relatable, than say, my 8th grade doodles or photo shopped creatures.

Translating these best practices to social, Nehrer points out that using images in social requires an understanding that real images drive real engagement.

Instagram & User Generated Content is GrowingBig Mac Reality

Consumers are savvy and they don’t appreciate feeling misled. To keep brands and marketers to their promise, consumers are taking their own images to demonstrate how the product appears when they received it. The images featured here of the Big Mac – ad vs. a consumer’s reality – is a quintessential example.

This emerging behavior is a great reminder to deliver on our brand promises as part of an image strategy. Expect your audience to generate their wn images and pictures of your brand. The question is, are you giving a product that is ‘photo-ready’?

Continuing the discussion on user generated content, Cara Phillips of Federated Media, brings us back in history.

 The Kiss is Gone

If you’re over 20 years old you’re likely familiar with the picture known affectionately as ‘The Kiss’. It’s a WWII era image of a sailor dipping and kissing a young woman. That single image captured the imagination of the nation and still resonates with many today. But in some ways, the days of ‘The Kiss’ are over. Which is not to say photos don’t work. In fact, it’s the contrary. Photos work so well that we’re all generating our own photos. So in moments of great crisis or emotion, there are hundreds, thousands or millions of ‘photographers’ capturing the moment – not one.

The Kiss

Photos are Art 

Phillips, who spends every working hour of her day creating visual content, wants to empower the audience (and marketers everywhere) to think like an artist. ‘Photos are art, it’s subjective. So to be successful publishing images in social, you need to trust your own judgement of what photos are good.’ She then shows 2 different images of a boy with a dog, side-by-side. Both were cute, but boy on the left is being photographed in a ‘Glamour Shots’ like environment and is dawning all white. The boy on the right has messing hair, some dirt on his face and slobbering pooch. The image to the right ‘wins’ with the audience, and it’s not even close. Sorry ‘Glamour Shots’!

Consistent Visual Strategy

Phillips asserts that brands that succeed with visuals in social have a consistent visual strategy. Meaning, not only do they produce quality images on a consistent basis, but the visuals are all connected under a common – overarching theme. Pointing to Nike as a gold standard, Phillips explains that the images have a clear theme to her: our products are there to help you perform physical activities and reach your goals. So whether you are looking at their timeline in Facebook or peaking at their Pinterest boards, you’ll walk away with the understanding of how Nike can fit into your life.

Marketers want data to inform all decisions. It’s in our DNA. And while we ultimately can measure the effectiveness of the images we use in social as it relates to certain KPIs, maybe the biggest lesson to take from this session is we need to embrace our inner artist as well. Know your audience, understand what they like and trust your inner artist to stay true to those points.


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How to Build a B2B Community in Facebook http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/10/building-a-b2b-fb-commun/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/10/building-a-b2b-fb-commun/#comments Thu, 10 Oct 2013 18:44:40 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=15861 Yes, B2B marketers lean towards LinkedIn as the social network of choice…and for good reason. But that doesn’t mean that a very real opportunity doesn’t exist to create a community in the world’s largest social network – Facebook. Consider this, according to Hubspot’s “Intro to Facebook for Business”, 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook. [...]

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Mike Lewis at MPB2B

Yes, B2B marketers lean towards LinkedIn as the social network of choice…and for good reason. But that doesn’t mean that a very real opportunity doesn’t exist to create a community in the world’s largest social network – Facebook.

Consider this, according to Hubspot’s “Intro to Facebook for Business”, 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.

Mike Lewis,VP of Digital Strategy TATA Consultancy Services, kick starts the panel discussion with a challenge to marketers to consider the opportunities they may be missing in Facebook. With his challenge heard, Lewis shares his methodical approach to determining how to best create & nurture a B2B community in Facebook by launching into his ‘3 Initial Keys to Standing out on Facebook’.

1) Pay Attention

Before you ‘listen’ for your opportunities, begin with an understanding of:

  1. Why are you listening?
  2. Where is the conversation happening?
  3. What are you going to pay attention to?

As Lewis points out, the amount of information in Facebook is seemingly insurmountable to harness. For brands to be effective listeners who actually pay attention, a more organized approach to identifying and tracking key conversations is needed.

What to listen to in Facebook:

  1. Your company & brand
  2. Market landscape
  3. Competition
  4. Customers
  5. Influencers
  6. Buying intent
  7. Your page

2) Interaction

Continuing his systematic approach, Lewis encourages brands to identify their various audience types and to nurture their involvement differently based on their level of participation.

1. Passive Followers

  • Who they are: Silent observers
  • How to interact: Ask questions

2. Moderate Interactors Regular Engagers

  • Who they are: Regular engagers
  • How to interact: Publish content consistantly

3. Active Interactors Top Fans

  • Who they are: Top fans
  • How to interact: Make them champions

4. Influential Interactors

  • Who they are: Influencers who regularly engage
  • How to interact: Guest post or co-creation

3 Content

Corey O’Laughlin, Content Marketing Manager at MarketingProfs, takes the stage to share a story on the power of letting your audience inform your content. It all started with MarketingProfs asking their Facebook audience what topics they care about. They received an overwhelmingly response for ‘mobile content’. Surprisingly, when they did produce content on mobile, their audience wasn’t engaging. So what gives?

That is precisely what O’Laughlin needed to know. So she turned to her audience once again for that info, this time cleverly asking her Facebook ‘mobile marketing is _______?’ What she found based on the audience response was that they love mobile…but fear it as well.

Armed with this information, O’Laughlin was able to more effectively break down content on mobile marketing to produce the information their audience was craving.

And Remember!

As the session wraps, Kristen Curtiss of Constant Contact offers some important and often overlooked counsel: don’t saturate your audience with content. With a customer empathetic approach to social, Curtiss encourages marketers to really consider if the content your publishing is valuable and whether the rate at which your publishing is helpful to your audience.

So cultivating a B2B following in Facebook requires sound listening, strategic interaction and customer-driven content? What marketer could resist this opportunity?

Stay tuned for more from the 2013 MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum. Up next ’10 Key Influencer Marketing Questions’.

 

 

 


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Successful Facebook Marketing Examples, Tips & A Secret from Mari Smith http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/07/facebook-marketing-tips-mari-smith/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/07/facebook-marketing-tips-mari-smith/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 13:23:25 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=15496 When you think of social media, surely Facebook tops most people’s list as the “go to” social network. The demographics may have changed since the early years as a Harvard born startup, but there’s no question that consumers and brands are connecting on Facebook in ways that drive brand awareness and customer engagement. While there’s [...]

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Mari SmithWhen you think of social media, surely Facebook tops most people’s list as the “go to” social network. The demographics may have changed since the early years as a Harvard born startup, but there’s no question that consumers and brands are connecting on Facebook in ways that drive brand awareness and customer engagement.

While there’s  plenty of marketing opportunity, whether it’s to connect with consumers via tablet, smartphone or desktop computers, the rapid development to release new features and grow the business have kept many companies guessing on Facebook marketing best practices. It’s not enough that nearly 15% of the global population is on Facebook, businesses need to understand what’s possible and how to do it.

For this Social Spotlight interview I’ve connected with one of the most respected and authoritative Facebook Marketing experts on the social web: Mari Smith.

Mari is author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes named Mari as one of the top social media power influencers several years in a row and Fast Company has described Mari as “a veritable engine of personal branding, a relationship marketing whiz, and the Pied Piper of the Online World.”  Of course that’s not all. Mari runs an international social media consultancy and training agency that works with organizations and entrepreneurs around the globe.

In this interview, we tackle several important questions about Facebook Marketing from deciding whether Facebook ads are the right move to common mistakes to which tools are most effective for Facebook marketing and measurement. Mari also shares her most coveted Facebook Marketing secret.

Facebook 1 Billion Users

Facebook is now well over 1 billion users and there are over a million advertisers, what advice can you share for companies that still haven’t taken the Facebook advertising plunge? Can companies realize Facebook benefits organically? When should they start advertising?

Facebook ads is the most targeted traffic your money can buy. Though organic marketing can certainly yield measurable results over time, ads can really augment your marketing efforts. Starting with a nominal budget, businesses can place ads to attract more targeted fans and can then reach more of those fans with what are called “boosted posts.” Plus, the Power Editor is a terrific tool for increasing advertising options.

For instance, advertisers can opt to place ads in the News Feed – this coveted piece of real estate is accessed by more than 75% of Facebook’s active users via their mobile device. Mobile users don’t see the right hand column ads. In addition, Power Editor allows advertisers to upload their own email database and places ads to them. You can even get Facebook to find you “lookalike audiences” that are similar to your own database. I recommend running ads to drive traffic to specific campaigns during a product launch, or to boost lead generation. Page owners can direct traffic to a specific app on their page, e.g. a contest, giveaway, etc.

In your recent post “10 Proven Ways To Improve Your Facebook Reach” you mention that most Facebook pages only reach about 16% of their followers on average, but that it could be increased as high as 47% or more. Can you share some of the most common mistakes companies make with their Facebook pages that dampens their reach?

The top two reasons that fans hide posts in their News Feed are:

1) posting too often and
2) posting irrelevant/off-topic content.

However, frequency varies dramatically from page to page. For example, we expect Facebook pages for news sites like Mashable to post every hour or so. Passion pages typically post very often, too. Both the The Girlfriend Life and Beauty Addicts post at least once an hour and their respective communities love it. (Passion pages are topic-specific, although there is typically a profitable business running the page and driving traffic to a website). Most businesses and brands would do well to post 1-3 times per day. The key is in watching your page metrics closely, because another mistake that can lower reach is actually posting too infrequently. As soon as the likes, comments and shares have really tapered off, this indicates the post is probably no longer sitting in the news feed of fans and it’s safe to make another post.

What are some of your favorite tools for Facebook marketing and measurement?

A site that I reference regularly is SocialBakers. I also like ZuumSocial, EdgeRankChecker, PageLever, and CrowdBooster. I often get asked what these third party types of sites provide that Facebook Insights doesn’t; one of the top features is industry benchmarks. Being able to compare your results to competitors and even cross reference different industries can really help improve your own approach. Also, many of these tools often analyze exactly when and how often you should post for the best results.

Please tell us a Facebook marketing secret. What’s one thing that could have a big impact that most companies or executives overlook?

Invest in passionate, trained, highly active Community Managers. It is, by far, one of the most critical roles in any company’s social media department. When fans receive a response to their questions, this study by Mr Youth shows that as much as 80% go on to make a buying decision. Although the Mr Youth study is from a couple years ago, it remains true that consumers feel valued and important when they receive a response from brands and businesses — which builds trust and social equity. However, according to SocialBakers, 45% of fans’ questions on Facebook pages go unanswered and companies take, on average, 13.7 hours to respond to posts by Facebook fans. Although that’s a vast improvement on what used to be 22 hours not long ago, this post shows that 1 in 6 fans typically expect a response in less than 30 minutes.

So, the bottom line is, invest in trained staff who can promptly, accurately and courteously respond to as many fan posts as possible. In fact, SocialBakers has a whole new metric around this concept called “Socially Devoted.” I find it fascinating that the top ten socially devoted brands are all outside the U.S. It seems we have much to learn from our counterparts on other shores.

Please share a few companies that are great examples of Facebook marketing. What are they doing right?

1) I love Earth Cafe Living Foods – they are friendly and highly responsive to fan posts. And, although they post frequent promotions, it’s done in a way that is exciting and inviting.

2) One of my favorite airlines is Alaska Air; they really get what social is all about. Their response time and style of personalized replies on Facebook are very impressive. I actually shared a personal story about Alaska Air in my book The New Relationship Marketing, of a time my flight to Seattle was delayed for many hours in San Diego and I’d left my iPhone charger at home. With just one tweet, the local Alaska Air manager managed to track me down in the airport and loan me a charger. I was blown away.

3) I’m always impressed by the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina — their response time and friendly manner on Facebook and Twitter makes me relate to the brand pretty much the same as if they were a friend. As mentioned in #4 above, I feel valued and important the moment the hotel replies back to me. (The Marriott‘s main Facebook page does well with community engagement, too).

Social Networks

Let’s play word association. I’ll mention a social network, and you reply with the first word that pops in your mind:

  • Facebook – family
  • Google+ – hangouts
  • Vine – fun
  • LinkedIn – professional
  • Twitter – instant
  • Snapchat – kids
  • YouTube – entertainment
  • Instagram – fun
  • Pinterest – crafts
  • MySpace – music

Thank you Mari for sharing your insights, tools, examples and answers to our essential Facebook Marketing questions!

This post was originally published on Tech Page One: “Mari Smith shares her secret Facebook marketing tips


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Think Like Zuck: 12 Tips For Creating Better Engagement on Facebook by Ekatarina Walter http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/12/think-like-zuck-12-tips-on-creating-engaging-status-updates/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/12/think-like-zuck-12-tips-on-creating-engaging-status-updates/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 13:19:19 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=14547 When you work in the digital world, there are insightful, smart and good people you “meet” online that you really look forward to meeting in real life.  Ekaterina Walter is one of those people who I finally met at a BlogWorld conference 4 years ago. Since then “E” has really made her mark as a [...]

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Think Like ZuckWhen you work in the digital world, there are insightful, smart and good people you “meet” online that you really look forward to meeting in real life.  Ekaterina Walter is one of those people who I finally met at a BlogWorld conference 4 years ago.

Since then “E” has really made her mark as a social innovator at Intel. When I presented at Intel’s first global social media conference a few years ago,  Ekaterina had everyone leaning forward and focused on her approach to enterprise social media. She’s a force to be reckoned with for sure. “E” has continued her advancement and sharing by becoming an author: “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Today’s guest post outlines Ekaterina’s practical advice on how to publish content on Facebook that results in better engagement with fans. Fan counts mean little if there is no engagement so read these though and put them into action today.  Then pre-order Think Like Zuck to get even more strategic lessons about doing business on the social web.

Besides being a part of the community and hoping to get discounts on your products, information is one of the most important reasons why your customers become your fans on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or engage with you on other networks. So add stickiness to your communities through great content and engaging status updates. Use 80/20 rule: 80% of status updates should provide value to the fan and 20% can be around your products or services.

There is a number of great ways to keep them interested as well as encourage interactions:

  1. Share pictures. Pictures, images and photo albums are rather popular with the fans. For example, one of the top five Intel Facebook posts of 2011 wasn’t even technically a post; it was the photo album featuring images of new Intel museum in Santa Clara. In the community of over 4 million people then (now it is over 14 million), the post was liked over 17,000 times with over 1,000 comments.
  2. Posting simple to follow how-to videos and useful tips can prove much more effective than posting a link to a specific product or service.
  3. Fill in the blank posts are great, because they invite your fans to share their own perspective with you. Example would be “I love technology because _____”
  4. Questions. Asking fans to share their story or point of view always is one of the most effective ways to increase engagement on your page. Though simple, this type of post is often overlooked by community managers. “Real or fake?” “What do you think?” “What is your story?” Or just plain “PC or Tablet?” would do.
  5. Videos. This one is a no-brainer. Videos, especially the atypical or funny ones, are always welcomed by fans and shared a lot more than links.
  6. Holiday wishes. Show the human side of your company by wishing your fans happy holidays throughout the year. Intel’s simple “Happy New Year! Cheers to an amazing 2012!” post garnered over 14,000 likes, over 900 comments and over 140 shares.
  7. Celebrate milestones and say thank you. Did you reach an important milestone? Celebrate with the fans! When Intel reached 500,000 fans, 1 million fans, etc. we celebrated on our Intel page by changing the profile picture and thanking our fans for being a part of our amazing community. The response was overwhelming.
  8. Encourage mentions, shares, likes. If you want your content shared or your posts to be liked or commented on, ask! Simple “Click Like if you agree” or “What do you think?” would do the trick. Likeable Media study showed that when you ask questions or asked fans to like the update, the engagement rates were up to 6 times greater than regular updates.
  9. Offer interesting challenges. Quizzes or trivia questions might be interesting to your fans. Every now and then we post a comment within Intel communities written in binary code (hey, we are geeks and we are proud of it). Our fans/followed love it!
  10. Bring experts for weekly chats. Offer an hour every Friday with an expert on a particular topic. Encourage your communities to post questions for your expert to answer in real time and help foster the discussion.
  11. Run polls and ask open-ended questions. Your Facebook page is the best focus group out there. It’s free and real time! If you want to know something jusk your fans! And if you run out of ideas or if your content calendar suffers from the “boring bug” just ask your fans what they would like to see on the page and deliver on their expectations.
  12. Draw attention to the most engaged members of your communities and share their creations.

The above was an excerpt from an e-book by Ekaterina Walter.


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