26 February 2010

0 6 Tips Toward Engaging Your Facebook Fans

February was unofficially Social Media month in my world. I've spent countless hours working with clients on setting up new Facebook fan pages, discussing strategies for getting more fans, and most of all answering the question "I have a fan page, now what?". Social media is all about engagement, so here are a few tips to help get the conversations started.

1. Start a Discussion
Social media is all about connecting and sharing. Start the conversation with a discussion application. This will help to open up your fan page from being a source of information about your business page to an engaging social media page.

An easy way to start a discussion is to ask for opinions or questions about a recent news topic related to your industry. If your business is related to plastic surgery or beauty, you could start a discussion about the ABC News story on at transfer instead of implants for breast augmentation. You can briefly share your thoughts about the procedure and/or story and end by asking fans what their thoughts are or if they have any questions they would like answered about the procedure. Write a teaser and post a link to the discussion as a status update.

2. Take a Poll
This is a quick and simple way for your fans to share their opinion. Thinking about doing a special on a service? Ask your fans what they would be most interested in seeing a special on. As an extra incentive to cast their vote, you can always provide a free or discounted service to a randomly chosen voter. Does your company make philanthropic contributions to charities? Have your fans vote to determine which charity you'll give to. You can poll about anything, but I recommend keeping it related to the business in some way. Get creative!

3. Host Events
You can connect with your fans offline as well as on. Keep the event related to your business in some shape or form. You can add details about the event, setup RSVP feeds, allow comments by attendees, and much more! The event application is also handy as a notification tool the company will be represented at any public event including someone being a featured speaker, a TV or radio appearance, an event sponsor, etc.

4. Join the Conversation
I've seen numerous pages that don't allow their visitors to comment! This is a serious issue. By allowing comments on videos, posts and photos you open the door for a conversation. But it is not enough just to allow comments. It's essential to join the conversation! If someone leaves a comment, then make sure that you comment back. It's best to have a dedicated admin to take care of this.

5. Become an Informational Resource
The most common mistake I see is in fan pages are companies that only talk about themselves. They tote their specials, charity events, blog posts, staff, etc. and nothing else. While I do recommend you share that information on your fan page (after all it is your company's page), I highly recommend posting interesting and relevant content that has to do with your industry, not just you. Have you recently read an interesting blog that someone else wrote? Then feel free to share it! This helps to make users not only fans, but turns them into repeat visitors!

6. Offer Fans Exclusive Incentives
While I realize this may not be feasible for every business, for most businesses it is an easy opportunity. When someone new becomes a fan, send them a welcome message along with an incentive code for a free or discounted service. In addition to sending out an initial fan incentive, you can periodically send incentives to all of your fans or you can just send them to the fans that are active on your page to thank them for their input.

The fundamental basis of all social networks is connection and sharing. So get out there and get the conversation started!

17 February 2010

0 Google is all a Buzz

It's seems like everyones into social media these days and Google is officially on the bandwagon. No, I'm not referring to the elusive and exclusive Google Wave, but the new Google Buzz! If you have a Gmail account then you recently received the notification upon logging into your account about the new Google Buzz. Maybe you accepted it and went on checking your email, maybe you poked around a little bit. For those who haven't had to chance to explore Buzz here is a little info for you.

Google Buzz is the new social network tool that combines the four major Google ventures YouTube, Picasa, Gmail and Google Reader into a single area. You can share videos, photos and status updates, start conversations, link to your tweets, and more.

So what is supposed to set Buzz apart from other social network sites and tools? The idea is it recommends posts you will be interest in based on topic or relationship with the poster and weeding out the stuff your less likely to view. Ah yes, a social too that doesn't bombard you with info about everyones lost animal on Farmville!

However since the roll out buzz about the program has been far from positive. Gmail users are automatically enrolled into the network, a feature that has many Gmail users far from happy. There have been concerns about privacy features, specifically about anyone you've emailed being able to see any other Gmail account holder you have ever email.

As with any social media the next step for Marketing and PR people is to figure out how we can use it to our advantage. Any thoughts?

10 February 2010

0 Google's Juicing Up

Recently I've had a few clients asking me about Google Caffeine. They've heard it mentioned or seen it referenced somewhere but aren't sure how to interpret what it means for them. In the world of online marketing, when a search engine rolls out a new system that may effect SEO or your Web site's place listing your first instinct is often panic. Here is some basic points of Google's new tool, Google Caffeine.

What it is
Google Caffeine is the new search algorithm that is coming online in early 2010. Google has yet to confirm if it has been fully implemented at this point. SEO experts are in agreement that once Caffeine is in place, user aren't likely to notice a difference in their search result experience.

How it effects website rankings
While search engine users may not notice a difference, Web master's may see either a positive or negative impact to their placement. Some factors that may cause a change include:

  • Frequency of updates to the Web site - more is better
  • Load time for the site
  • Better understanding of synonyms
  • Links out to relevant Web sites
  • Broken links within the site
  • Social media placement becoming higher on listings
Google Caffeine wasn't a system setup to send SEO people and Web masters into a panic. It is established to increase the effectiveness of the search engine and better guide users to the results they are looking for and to provide them with quality results. So shake off the jitters, look at the above factors and determine where your Web site can improve.

02 February 2010

0 Increasing Your Facebook Fans

I'm a big believer in the power of Social Networking. I'm constantly encouraging my clients to get online and in the game. After your facebook fan page is live, your posting regularly and you've suggested all of your friends become fans, the question I often receive is "How can I pursue more fans?" I often hear clients complaining that Social Media is time consuming and actively pursuing clients takes up too much of their time. However, it doesn't have to. Here are a few simple and creative ways to get more Facebook Fans without a lot of time and effort.
  1. Put up a sign in your office asking people to become a fan.
  2. Add a reminder to find you on Facebook on your business cards, appointment cards, stationary, newsletters, and other collateral.
  3. Add a link in your email signature letting people know that you are on Facebook.
  4. Add Facebook calls-to-action on your website. 
  5. Add a link back to your Facebook Fan Page on your other Social Networking sites.
  6. Add a become a fan widget to your blog.
  7. Offer special discounts or incentives for customers who are your Fans on Facebook.
Facebook is tool for creating buzz about your business. I encourage you to give it a try. I bet you will be surprised at the results.