Showing posts with label Social Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Media. Show all posts

28 July 2010

0 3 Ways Businesses Can Benefit From Facebook Questions

It’s official. Facebook’s new Questions feature is live and asking what you want to know. The best part? Fan pages can ask questions, respond to comments on their questions, and answer other’s questions. With all these questions flying around you may instantly be asking one of your own “How can my business or organization benefit from Facebook Questions?”

1) Market Research
Currently about 1 percent of Facebook users (about 5 million people) will have early beta access to Facebook Questions, and it will be gradually rolled out to the rest of Facebook's 500 million active users. With the new tool you’re not limited to only the opinions of your friends or existing fan base anymore. All questions and their responses are open to the public. As a result, with the new Questions feature you will be able to tap into the opinions of Facebook’s network of users serving as a resource for some impromptu market research.

In addition to asking an open-ended question you have the option of creating a poll to focus the information you find. For example, if you’re a plastic surgeon looking to find out more about consumer behavior, specifically what would be the strongest influencer for users considering surgery you could ask: “What was the deciding factor for choosing your plastic surgeon: surgery cost, surgeon’s experience, before and after pictures, word of mouth, convenient location, impression in consultation?”

2) Establish Yourself as an Expert
One of the key elements of the new Questions feature is the ability to tag questions with keywords to associate them with specific topics. The questions a user asks will be shown to people who have expressed interest in the particular topics that were tagged, as well as to their friends and friends of friends. Users will also be able to browse topics to find answers to different questions.

The whole idea behind the questions feature is to help connect the Facebook community with people who are in the know ensuring that users get the best possible answers to their questions. You can establish yourself as an expert in your specific area by searching topics relevant to your specialty and providing insightful answers to users’ questions. Users have the ability to see your answers to other questions you have posted by clicking the “See more from…” by your thumbnail image. You will also want to sign up to view new questions about these topics to instantly receive updates on new questions in the topic area.

3) Increase Awareness of Your Brand
I constantly hear clients tell me that consistently expanding their fan base is an area that stumps them. By joining the conversation you can reach out to new people and gain exposure for your business through the conversations generated in the Questions feature. Just remember what the tool is essentially for and forget about blatant self plugging. Remember social media is all about sharing. Listen to the community and engage them in conversation by sharing insightful information. If a user finds your answers helpful it is very likely they will be interested in learning more about your organization. They can easily click on your name or thumbnail to view your organization’s fan page or your personal profile.

Facebook is unique in having one of the largest communities of people and it is a community that is already used to asking questions to others on the social network. There is significant potential for organizations to utilize the new questions feature to learn more about their target market while also increasing public awareness and interest in their services, products and expertise.

14 July 2010

0 Old Spice Successfully Hits the Social Media World

Almost everyone has seen the new "Old Spice Man" commercials. Yes, your man may not be like him or look like him, but he can definitely smell like him. You know you have a good ad campaign on your hands when it becomes viral and gets the social media world buzzing about it. But the creators behind the Old Spice Man haven't stopped there. The Old Spice Man is getting in on the action.

The Old Spice Man isn't staying silent on what people are saying about him online, he is joining the conversation and responding. The best part, he's doing it from his bathroom bringing back the set from one of the steamer commercials. The campaign is taking the next step in engaging it's social media audience by posting video clips on the Old Spice YouTube channel responding to comments from Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Even celebrities aren't exempt.

What a great idea! Take a look at a few of the posts:

13 July 2010

0 4 Tips for How to Get Shared on Facebook

Your public’s experience with your business and brand isn’t limited to your Facebook page. The fundamental element of social networking is to share – share thoughts, interests, knowledge, findings, goofy dancing baby videos, and whatever else people may find interesting or entertaining. It’s all about the sharing. Here are a 4 tips to increase the sharing power of your content.

1. Emphasize Social Proof 
The more we see a certain action, the more we believe it is correct. It’s human nature. To emphasize your social power consider incorporating “retweet” and “like” buttons at the top of your content. Take the below example articles:

While both articles are essentially the same article, one clearly flexes its social influence muscles. Based on this quick glance, which article would you be more likely to read? Surveys show that the socially buffed article would instinctively get more attention as it appeals more to the “cool” niche as discussed in the Lessons from the Science of Facebook Marketing.

2. Readability = Sharability! 
Studies show that Facebook users want to be entertained, and as such they don’t want to think too deeply. Another important factor to consider that the average reading grade level on Facebook is fairly low, with the majority at 9th grade and below.

A study done by HubSpot showed that the use of nouns and verbs increased sharability of content, while adverbs and flower adjectives are too subjective and as such they get less attention.
3. Publish on Weekends 
Friday-Sunday equal higher sharing times with Saturday being the highest! During the weekdays people are often overloaded with work and other daily activities. As such they are less likely to spend as much time actively participating in social media.

4. Think Mainstream 
What people the most interested in outside of social media are most likely to be the same things they will be interested in sharing online. Before publishing consider the topic. Below are a list of the most and least liked topics on Facebook. However, even if your topic isn’t the most popular, you can still get your content shared. Consider the newsworthiness and entertainment factors of your content. Both are important elements for being shared.

12 July 2010

1 Lessons from the Science of Facebook Marketing

Recently I took part in a Webinar on the Science of Facebook Marketing through HubSpot. I can be a bit of a statistics geek, especially when it comes to social media. With so much advice and opinions out there on what to do and how to do it, I find that strong data is a helpful tool in not only ensuring that my efforts are paying off, but also in explaining why I recommend certain things to my clients. Here are some important concepts and a few stats that I came away with:

1. Facebook is about facilitating existing relationships. 
Think about it. Do you really want to be friends with someone on Facebook that you do not know in real life? No. Facebook is an avenue for building stronger existing relationships whether they are personal or for your business and brand. People who like your business’s Facebook page do so because they have some experience or association with it. If you’re looking to aggressively build new relationships, turn to Twitter.

2. Facebook is just like high school. 
No, really it is. Users are hyper sensitive to what people may think about them based on their likes or interests online. Essentially, each user wants to look “cool” to their network (See what I mean about high school). Would you honestly like a wart removal page on Facebook? Most likely not. It’s important to consider how your page can increase your users’ affinity with other users through your brand.

3. Really know your audience.
This may seem obvious, but it is incredibly important to really know your audience, not simply have a general idea of whom they are. It goes way beyond their general age group, gender and location. Consider what their Facebook activity level is like. How often do they post to walls, how much information do they make available about themselves (i.e. interests), etc.  Here are a few interesting stats to consider when thinking about your audience.
(Click on image to view larger)
Notes: Younger Users are more social. They chat more, post more and have more friends.
Older users are more open with their interests and value privacy more.

Another useful tool for quickly learning about the demographics of your existing audience is Quantcast. All you need is an existing website. You may be surprised by what you find out. Note: Your site does have decent traffic for this tool to work.

4. Your ambient awareness may be higher than you think.
The average Facebook user has 130 friends. We already know that for any user who likes your page, Facebook will recommend the page to all of their friends at some point. But have you ever stopped to consider how ambient awareness may be affecting your brand? Consider this, not only may your page be suggested to a user, they may see a comment from a friend about your brand, a comment from a friend on your brand page, a conversation about you brand on wall post, or a PPC advertisement along the side. All of these little elements add up. It may not have the user’s direct attention; however it does become part of their ambient awareness.

28 June 2010

1 A Marketing Lesson from the Mexican Street Vendors

Recently I was speaking to a colleague about her trip down to Mexico. Eventually our conversation came around to the plethora of street vendors that you inevitably run into in any tourist district when something she said hit me as profound and honestly smart marketing at the simplest level: “Everywhere I walked people would yell ‘Hey there, you honeymooners!’ and even once ‘Hey, you, the Broncos fans!’”

Lesson: Know your audience. Pay attention and look for clues. 
These street vendors weren’t relying on simply standing around waiting for someone to come to them. They were seeking their potential customers out, but more importantly they were paying attention to clues about their potential customers.

It’s marketing 101, however all too often I see businesses forget this step. They get wrapped up in getting out their message and forget that if you want to get someone’s attention and appeal to them, first you have to know something about them!

In my colleague’s case their clues were fairly simple to ascertain. Her and her companion are in their mid-twenties, holding hands, grinning at each other constantly and sporting shiny new rings.  Honeymooners wasn’t really a stretch of a guess in their case. As for the broncos fans bit, her husband had just purchased a Broncos poncho and was still holding it in his hand. But the vendors didn’t stop looking for clues there. One was smart enough to take in their dress, recent purchases and what the vendor had seen them looking at in one of the other kiosks to draw their attention to specific wares that he had for sale. By paying attention and applying what he learned (saw) he made the sale.  

Putting Theory to Work:
Here are a two quick online marketing and social media tips for putting this theory to work.
Pay attention to your Google Analytics. What pages on your website are your visitors hitting more often and spending the most time on? This can help you pinpoint what you have to offer that potential clients are the most interested in and also what areas of your business you may need additional efforts to effectively promote.

Pay attention to your fans & followers interests. Most people’s social media accounts are brimming with information that will clue you in about them. For example, take your Twitter followers: What are they tweeting on? Who are they following? Same goes for Facebook, only here your fans give you their information on a platter. Browse their information page.

A Social media Success Story: 
Recently I discussed this strategy with a plastic surgeon client of mine. After taking some time to view his fans’ profiles we found an interesting trend, over half of his fans were also fans of Grey’s Anatomy. Since offering discounts on his services wasn’t really feasible or significant enough to drive interest, we took to using a Grey’s Anatomy DVD giveaways of the latest season to encourage fans to recommend his page to friends and engage in conversations on his fan page. The results? He saw an almost 60 percent increase in on page activity and almost tripled his fan base. The best part is he continued to experience significant page activity after the giveaway by engaging fans in topics that were in the show, giving his opinion, asking for their's and sprinkling in a little self promoting information along the way.  

24 June 2010

0 LinkedIn Becomes More Interactive

With 70 million users, LinkedIn has been lacking in its interactive sharing capacities, at least for a social networking site it has. While it has always been fairly easy for you to let your connections know what you are working on, it hasn’t been very easy to truly share information. The good news? LinkedIn has realized that and is rolling out several features to not only make sharing easier, but to increase the ease and usability.

LinkedIn has taken a few pages right out of the Facebook and Twitter’s books with some of the new interactive features for everything from its Group Forums to the look of profiles.  LinkedIn will be rolling out the updated features live throughout this week.

Conversation Editing Capabilities – Have you ever been typing a response in a group discussion and after posting it you notice you’ve made a typo? This can be extremely embarrassing, but it won’t be as big of an issue anymore. You will now be able to preview, edit and delete your conversations.

Group Activity Tracking – Now you have the ability to view all of your activity history for all of your specific groups.  
The “Like” and “Pass” buttons – It’s back! In the Groups area you will be able to “like” a discussion. Not only that, you can “Pass” on a discussion. Facebook, why haven’t you given us this button yet?

Follow – The new follow button makes it simple for you to follow discussions and people. Like what a certain person had to say? Click “Follow” below their picture to keep up to date on their contributions across groups that you share.  

Top Influencers – If you are interested in learning who the industry leaders are for specific groups, you won’t have to wonder anymore. The new Top Influencer’s feature shows you which professionals are the most active in that Group.

Privacy of Updates - LinkedIn has rolled out another feature to help you target your communications. You can now specify who can see your updates. You can let everyone, only your connections, or only specific people or groups see specify updates.

Re-Sharing - This is similar to the retweet feature on Twitter. Now you can conveniently share content someone else posted.

Tiny Urls - In the land of 140 characters the shortened url is king.  LinkedIn is now making shortened urls available to accommodate the 140 quota.  

Profile Picture – Social networking is all about the sense of community, so why should a professional networking site be any different? If you’re anything like me you’re a visual person. Names don’t stick, but faces do. LinkedIn has made it easy for all the visual people by adding the professionals picture to their LinkedIn activity creating more of a community and shedding the hundreds of faceless name links.

Jobs Tab – If you’re not in the market for a new job then the endless stream of job posts that appear in the discussion areas of your Groups can easily become very annoying. LinkedIn has created a jobs specific tab within its Group area to separate it from the actual discussion. The best part?  LinkedIn also included a handy Jobs tab on the discussion tool bar to flag any ill placed postings.

These changes all bring LinkedIn into a new level of social community to further foster interaction and conversation. Way to go LinkedIn.

What is your favorite new LinkedIn feature?

22 June 2010

0 Ok Go's End Love Viral Spread

Ok Go is no new comer to using the power of social media to promote its music. The pop band creates original and slightly quirky videos in time to the tunes of their songs. Remember the treadmill dance scene from the Here It Goes Again video (believe me it’s not as easy as they make it look) that won them a YouTube Video Award for Most Creative Video in 2006, not to mention a Grammy. Now the band that showed us how to get over 1 million views in less then a week is at it again – only this time their stepping out with Facebook.

Ok Go has launched a contest through Facebook to promote their newest video for End Love. In the My ‘Friends’ Are Cooler Than Your ‘Friends” End Love Contest fans are encouraged to share the band’s new video to their little heart’s desire. The fan that uploads the video to their profile and receives the most comments on the video receives a custom engraved iPad for Ok Go, completely stocked with the band’s music and videos.Publish Post

The band that originally gained immense popularity with its viral videos gets extra props for delving into its existing fan base and using virtual word-of-mouth to increase its audience and promote the newest song.  They have built an identity centered on viral promotion and their fan base is predominantly the social media savvy.  Not only is this newest endeavor good viral marketing, but it is also an excellent branding choice.

18 May 2010

0 Why Your Business Needs to be on Facebook

I’ve said it time and time again. Social media isn’t just a fad, as the #1 activity web users engage in online it’s here to stay! In March 2010, Facebook officially became the most visited website in the United States beating out Google. Yet, I’m constantly surprised how many business owners and executives are hesitating to join the conversation. Let’s take a quick look at why you should care about Facebook:

“Kids” aren’t the only ones on Facebook, so are your consumers, employees, and other stakeholders
Consider the facts:

  • On average Facebook has 400 million monthly visitors, 125 million of which are monthly US visitors.
  • Only roughly 26% of users being 24 or under.
  • 35-49 year olds are the fasting growing demographic

With these stats it’s reasonable to believe that some of these users are your business’s existing stakeholders. On top of that, think of all the potential stakeholders your business has yet to reach!

Word-of-Mouth isn’t only verbal, it’s viral
People are consistently spending more and more time online. Half of Facebook’s active users log on every day. In addition, the average user spends 55 minutes a day on Facebook, according to a statistics reported by Social Media Energy.

Not only are we connecting with our day-to-day friends and acquaintances anymore, we’re able to connect with anyone we’ve ever known on a daily basis regardless of distant and time. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. When a user comments on your business, service, product, etc. it reaches all of their friends.

Consider this:

  • 78% of consumers report trusting peer recommendations
  • reported an 80% increase in visits referred from Facebook after Facebook released the “LIKE” button
  • has seen its users create over 350,000 links and references on Facebook  

Can your business really afford to keep silent?

07 May 2010

0 Google Universal Search & Real Time Search – What Are They?

Recently I’ve spoken to a few clients who have had questions about Google’s Universal Search and Real Time Search. With all the new features and applications that Google has recently rolled out it can easily get confusing as to what each feature does, and, more importantly, how it will affect your internet marketing strategies.

Universal Search
Google’s new Universal Search incorporates listings from its news, local, images, videos, book and blog search engine results into it standard organic website search listings. Now when you do a search on Google you may see results from more than one of these areas along with the regular website listings. Think of this as Google’s way of cutting back on the clicks necessary to find what the searcher may be looking for.

Below is an example search I did for Cosmetic Surgery. Instead of only seeing listings for websites, Google has incorporated news results, local businesses, blog posts and book results along with the regular website results!

Real Time Search
Google’s new Real Time Search automatically pulls in new results as they happen. These results are displayed in a “Latest results” area. The feed will constantly stream new results while the user is viewing their search results. Results are pulled from Twitter, Facebook, Google’s News and Blog searches, new web pages, recently updated web pages, MySpace updates, Google Buzz and a number of other social networking sites.

However, the Real Time Search feature will not always appear in your search results. For the Latest Results section to appear there must be a real-time component to the search topic. If Google recognizes a sudden spike in queries or information for a certain topic, then this section will be activated. The results are ranked by time, site authority and relevancy to the topic.

For example, on the day I did this search Jason Elam had just announced his retirement from the Denver Broncos. Since this is a significantly newsworthy topic (especially if you are in the Denver area like I am) the Real Time Search feature appeared in the results (see below for example). It continued to scroll new results as they were generated and pulled in. When I searched for Jason Elam today, the Real Time Search feature no longer appears since there is no longer a relevant buzzworthy topic related to him.

What Does It Mean For Your Business?
With both of these new features you have an opportunity to gain more significantly more exposure for your business. Want to increase your chances in showing up in the Real Time Search? Then, if there is a specific topic that is gaining considerable attention in your industry, regional area, etc. discuss it in on your social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, or write a blog about it. If your blog and social accounts continually have content relevant to your industry, it’s very likely that each is already acknowledged by the search engines as being focused on specific topics concerning your industry. Continue to post relevant topics on a regular basis, build your authority and utilize that to your advantage.

Google’s Universal Search also opens up plenty of new opportunities for increasing your business’s online exposure. This search silos information from multiple search areas. Not only could your website appear in the search listings, but your business’s videos, images, news, blogs, local listing and social networking pages could also appear! You can easily increase your chances of being found by utilizing these different areas. Have business videos? Post them on YouTube. Have a blog? Register it with the blog search engines. Also, consider how you name the images on your website and what keywords are in their tags. You can further increase your exposure by verifying and optimizing your local business listing, as well as developing a social networking presence.

Below is an example of a search I did for one of my clients, Dr. Terry Bass a cosmetic dentist in Oklahoma City. Not only does his website appear in the organic listings on the first page, but so do his Facebook page and his YouTube videos!
With the one stop shopping method that Google has embraced your business isn’t limited to being found only through its website anymore. Consider expanding your business’s existing online marketing presence and exploring new areas to increase traffic and exposure. After all, the first step in connecting with your customers is to be found!

17 March 2010

0 Hello Facebook - Welcome to the top!

Everyone’s favorite social networking site Facebook squeezed past search engine giant Google to become the most visited website in the US last week. According to industry tracker Hitwise, Facebook has been riding on a 185 percent increase in visitors compared to the same week in 2009. With over 400 million users and 125 million monthly US visitors can businesses continue to ignore social media and exclude it from their marketing and public relations plans? Absolutely not!

Did you know:
  • 42% of users are 18-34 years old
  • 62% of users make over $60K annually
  • 35-49 year olds are Facebook’s fastest growing demographic 

With stats like these it is essential for businesses and organizations to join the conversation. I’m constantly surprised by the number of businesses who don’t have a presence on Facebook yet, and of those that do have some sort of presence that are not using it to even a fraction of its potential. What does Facebook have to offer?

1. It’s a free branding tool! The average user has 130 friends. When a user is a fan of a page, Facebook will automatically suggest that page to all of that fan’s friends. Therefore that fan isn’t just one impression. The fan is worth 130 impressions. Branding can expand even further using targeted PPC campaigns.

2. It is relationship building platform allowing you to engage and interact with users beyond the traditional business to audience relationship.

3. It can be used for reputation management. You can respond to comments or feedback on your own page, as well as public platforms. You can add testimonials and allow users to add their own testimonial.

4. Cheap form of communication. You can inform your fan base of specials, upcoming events, business news, open job positions, industry trends, new products or services, philanthropic efforts and much more!

5. It’s a platform to bring all online content together. You can connect to your website, YouTube, Flicker, Twitter, Blog, Linked In, etc. If it is online then there is an application for it (Yes, Iphone isn’t the only one with this technology).

Still not convinced? Take a look at this video produced by Socialnomics. We are living in a people driven economy and the time for interaction is here and now. Any business can harness it.


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?