On Facebook Live

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I have been getting asked more and more about Facebook Live over the past few weeks, so I thought I would chime in on the topic. While it is still in it’s infancy, you can already see the potential of this content sharing vehicle.  When all is said and done, I predict it will be a real game changer.

In the macro, it is a really big deal. As the land grab continues on streaming content (think Netflix and Hulu) as well as other players trying to grow their foothold (think YouTube Red and even Apple’s moves towards Hollywood and owned, created content) Facebook is flexing the muscle of its massive platform and is making big waves. Zucks is obsessed with FB Live as it fits so nicely into the core ethos at The Social Network, and it is such a simple and easy way to be in the game.

They are going long on the ability to easily deliver content to a very targeted audience and leveraging heavy hitters on the platform such as Vin Diesel, who has recently offered some behind the scenes videos from the set of of his reprisal of XXX or Whoopi Goldberg who broadcasted her experience from The Oscars this year and earned 2million+ views when all was said and done.  People are watching and what’s better, the content creator can (and usually does) engage with the viewers in the comments, creating a dialogue rather than just another one way medium.  It is a win for Facebook and for both the talent and the audience too.

From a brand or small business POV, Facebook live is a tremendous vehicle to broadcast real content and to engage with fans and customers in a direct one to one format. It is not for everyone, but for those who have the chops it can really pay off. Be prepared before you go live. You don’t want to just be on camera and live streaming to your community without a plan of what you generally want to say. Just going live for the sake of it and then babbling about nothing specific, can actually move people backwards in the sale’s cycle – so think first, before streaming!

Fitmark is doing an excellent job with this new tool and it is translating into chatter and revenue for their brand.  They have always been early innovators on Facebook and have been quick to jump on new features before the rest, to get a head start. By hosting their #AskFitmark show there and/or just live streaming their charismatic CEO Mark Samuel in and around the office, they are winning with this feature.

If done right it can be an amazing way to tell your story, sell your products and develop your community. That is the whole point of social media, isn’t it?

 

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How to Use New Facebook Features for Marketing

6a01b7c6da9523970b01b8d06491a8970cFacebook is always working to add new features to improve users’ experience. For companies that use Facebook as a marketing tool, it’s important to know how to use these features to best benefit them as a business. Social Media Examiner put together a list of some of the new Facebook features for marketers to know and take advantage of.

Encourage Fans to See You First
Facebook now gives users the option to enable the “See First” option to prioritize updates from certain friends, groups, or pages. Educate your fans on how to use the See First option, and encourage them to prioritize your page so they don’t miss out on anything.

Get a Beacon
Facebook beacons are free, you just have to request one, and are a great way to send information to Facebook users who are nearby and using Bluetooth. You can send people recommendations from friends, photos, a welcome message, a prompt to check in, and pretty much anything else.

Send/Receive Money in Messenger
Facebook introduced the ability to send and receive money with friends via Facebook messenger, so if your friends are clients they can make in-app purchases without ever leaving the page.

Create Saved Replies
If you have a standard message you regularly use, saved replies can be a useful tool. You can create replies to frequently asked questions to save some time when helping customers.

Lead Ads
Facebook is working on rolling out lead ads, which will make it easier than ever for customers/fans to fill out contact information on mobile devices. Keep an eye out for a more widespread use of this.

In the ever-changing social media world, it is important to stay on top of any new developments. These are just some of the newest ways to use features to improve marketing on Facebook.

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Cost Effective Ways to Grow your Facebook Page

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Facebook is an essential tool these days in marketing, but paying for ads can get pretty costly. Social Media Examiner wrote up an article with some ways to grow your Facebook page without breaking the bank, and we’ve summed it up for you here.

1)   Be a guest curator on pages that complement your own. Choose 5-10 pages of companies that offer services complementary to yours (not competitive pages) and offer to produce content for them once a week in return for credit on their page. This will help get your work and page out there and grow your audience.
2)   Give promotional swaps a try. Reach out to 30-40 pages that are, again, complementary to yours, and who share your target demographic and offer them a deal. You’ll mention their page on yours, and they’ll mention you on theirs. This will help you both to gain fans in your target demographic.
3)   Conduct Q&A’s on your page. Now that you can directly reply to specific comments, have experts on different topics come in and answer questions in real time on your page. With the direct reply option, the Q&A will be easy to follow and educational for fans. Make sure to reach out to experts well ahead of time, and then start promoting the Q&A chat in advance to build excitement.

These are three cost effective ways to get more people viewing and subsequently “liking” your page. Be patient and try more than one tactic to improve your page, and you are sure to see your numbers grow.

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Shopping with Facebook

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Facebook is once again working on something new—the company is currently building “shops” within Facebook pages. These shops will allow users to browse and purchase directly from Facebook, without ever leaving the site.

According to Buzzfeed, the shops are still in the testing phase, but some already have a “buy” button to allow the purchase to take place inside of Facebook.  Ultimately, the goal is to allow businesses to create e-commerce sites inside Facebook, instead of just being an advertising platform.

Social media based commerce is still a relatively new concept, and the results are unproven. However, bringing a store straight to Facebook could have a transformative result. Businesses will be drawn to the site as not just a place to spread the word about their product, but also a place to sell it.

This new project comes on the heels of the money transfer functionality of the Messenger app by Facebook, and the buy button that was part of an independent initiative last year. The company is also reportedly working on a Messenger assistant that will help people virtually find and purchase products.

Currently, Facebook does not receive a cut of the profit from product sales on its site. However, anyone familiar with Facebook knows that is liable to change if the company sees a chance to go back and monetize.

This new initiative to bring commerce to Facebook shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider how many other platforms are trying it. Both Twitter and Pinterest have introduced their own versions of shops, and even Google has introduced a buy button.

At a time where mobile usage is growing every day, it’s only natural the shop feature would be displayed prominently on Facebook’s mobile app—which sees 13% of all time spent in apps. The shops on the app are located right underneath the tool bar, where they can’t be missed.

The shops are currently in a very early stage, but they’re sure to have a big impact on businesses when they launch. Ultimately, it will allow them to use Facebook in a way that is more in line with what they do.

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Facebook Marketing and Messaging- A “Must Have” Component of A Social Media Plan

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Social media is evolving and I find that most businesses are still struggling with how to understand the necessary functions for their business. First off there is an underlying need to be active and participate in the social conversation and you need to have someone who is actually managing that process.  The day to day facilitationof the conversation, known as “community management” is mission critical for all types of businesses these days.  Whoever is at the helm, needs to be well versed in a few core areas:

1) Social Media Management: The most important piece is the day to day community management for the brand. This includes design and development of content/assets that users/fans/followers of the brand will want to consume and engage with and strategy on how best to use the various social networks to their advantage. It is very difficult to find a person internally that can do all of this effectively, especially at the price most will want to pay for the role. As a baseline a brand should consider this to be a full time position and should allocate a junior level salary to it: At least $2,500 per month ($30,000 per annum). Outsourcing is a great option for guaranteed results.

2) Social Media Marketing: This is the actual marketing component of social media and you will need to allocate a budget that is specifically marketing related. Most small businesses have not really tried to leverage Twitter of Pinterest Ads yet, though both definitely have value and are powerful.  When it comes to social media marketing, I think most have only dabbled with Facebook’s advertising platform.

The data and targeting abilities of Facebook make it one of the most attractive and compelling platforms I have ever experienced in online marketing.  When attacking Facebook Ads we generally recommend a starter test budget around $500-$1000 per month to get a feel for the platform. Depending on the goals of the client we need to assess what type of CPL, CPC, CPA OR reach and impressions we can drive.

We encourage businesses to look at Facebook spending in two distinct categories:

Facebook Marketing: As described above is marketing on Facebook with an allocated budget and some clearly defined marketing initiatives and/or agendas in mind.  Most marketers and CFO’s should feel very comfortable with this, as it is very ROI driven and very measurable via Facebook’s analytics platform, which is very robust.  If you want to track sales, Likes or even reach and impressions on key marketing messages, you can do so very easily via Facebook.  This platform offers low cost marketing, super narrow targeting and very detailed insights = a marketer’s dream.

Facebook Messaging: This is spending to strategically target your Facebook content and statuses at specific audiences.  Even for brand’s who are not spending on “marketing” on Facebook, it is very important to allocate funds to promote your branded messages. Page post engagements guarantee delivery of your posts to different users. With organic reach plummeting, brands are up in arms and some are even leaving Facebook.  As they run away, I encourage my clients to run towards the platform.  A little money goes a long way here and you can craft content and then deliver it to the right eyeballs consistently. Want to:

Target messages to your email subscribers on Facebook?  YES

Target messages to people who visited your website or even specific pages on your website?  YES

Target messages to audiences who’s profiles just “look like” the two audiences mentioned above? YES

Some content you might just want to show to your current fan base and customers, so you can “boost” that to your current fans.  Other content that specifically highlights your Unique Selling Propositions (USP’s) would be great to target at fans of your direct competitors, and they offer that too.  Taking it one step further, perhaps you might want to target specific messages at subsets (i.e. only female fans) and you can also do that without even posting it on your timeline for others to see. These are called dark posts which are hardly new, but are vastly underused.

Bottom-line is that there is so much you can do with some allocated funds on The Social Network, and allocating no budget for either marketing or messaging is a big mistake. It will compromise your online efforts and leave you feeling very unfulfilled.  An investment here will give you highly targeted messaging to real users, who are most likely to care about what you have to say.  No other medium offers that.

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Launching with Facebook

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Photo: Barzi Service

Social media has become an important tool for companies when they introduce a new product or service. Social media is different than more traditional types of advertising because a company’s social media presence often reaches a more particular audience. Social Media Examiner has put together a list of ways to help launch a new product or service on Facebook.

1)   Plan ahead
Start mapping out your Facebook strategy at least two months in advance. Think about what materials you will use on your page and start any preparations.

2)   Build excitement
Start posting teasers about your upcoming launch to get people talking, and use a variety of different content on your page to keep it interesting.

3)   Keep the energy up
Even once your product launches, you have to keep the excitement around it going for awhile. Use promotions and contests to keep interest high.

4)   Assess
Once the launch is over, it is important to thank your audience for their support. Then, analyze your results to see how your campaign did.

These are some of the key points to hit when you are looking to create buzz on Facebook about a new service or product that your company is offering. Be creative and strategic, and start planning ahead in order to have an organized and successful launch.

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Tips for creating video content

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In the past few years, video has become much more popular in social media and marketing. With things like the introduction of video on Instagram and instant video on Twitter, it’s no wonder people are using it more. Video provides a unique way to tell a story through your social media accounts that will let you engage your audience in a new way. Social Media Examiner came up with eight ways to use video to interact with your brand’s fans and followers.

1)   Post videos that fans create. This will provide your company with engaging content that other fans and followers can relate to.
2)   Use video content to create a fictional series. This will entertain your audience while showing your product in use.
3)   Share personal stories to connect with and relate to your audience.
4)   Try shooting a documentary-style video. This will be entertaining and informational for your viewers.
5)   Video interviews with influential people in your company’s industry are a great way to share information that your audience is interested in.
6)   Give viewers a behind-the-scene look at your company. It will engage viewers while giving them a peek inside the business.
7)   Animated videos are a fun way to present information to viewers while still providing them entertainment.
8)   A classic “how-to” video tutorial is fun, educational, and interactive for your audience.

Video has become increasingly important in social media marketing, and for your brand to find success you have to create original content that tells a story your audience can connect with.

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Engage Your Audience

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Having an audience on social media is important, but having an audience that engages with you is even more important. Engagement shows interest, which is something every brand should strive for with their social media accounts. If you’re looking to spark more dialogue between your brand and your brand’s fans, check out these tips from Social Media Examiner.

Creative Questions
Ask your fans questions in a creative way to inspire them to answer. Give them a multiple-choice question, or an interesting graphic, and they will be more likely to respond. Take a look at the brand Zomato for some good examples of this. And don’t forget to be relatable and have a good sense of humor. People respond well to personality.

Unique Contests
The use of contests to engage with fans has become commonplace, so it is important to do something a little different when coming up with a contest idea for your brand. Think outside of the box and do something fun, while still pertaining to your brand, such as contest Turbo Tax did during tax season.

Q&A
Open your social media page up to dialogue by offering a Q&A session. Invite fans and followers to ask you any question they may have about your brand, goods, or services. NASA holds sessions like this on Google Hangouts to get people talking. People will always have questions, just open the floor and give them a place to ask.

Tag People
When you share posts on social media, tag the original creator. It is likely the creator will thank you, and it will lead to more eyes on your post. If you create an original post, tag all the people, brands, and experts mentioned in the post. This draws more people into the fold, and they’re likely to share and mention you. Drawing people into a post by tagging them starts a discussion.

Ask Fans for Content
A fun way to encourage engagement is by having your fans contribute to your brand’s social media content. A great example of this is when Starbucks held the #WhiteCupContest, where they had people send in pictures of the artwork they doodled on the iconic white Starbucks cups to share on their social media sites. Getting fans involved will make them excited to engage, and they are likely to share with their friends.

Do Good
Social causes are a great way to get more people involved on your page and do something nice for others. Cosmetics company Estée Lauder did a breast cancer awareness campaign by asking their fans to share their stories of breast cancer, and this was a way to engage their fans while spreading a worthy cause. Find a cause your brand can get behind, and then launch a campaign supporting it.

Stay Relevant
The easiest way to encourage engagement and get people talking is to keep up with current events. Papa Johns did a good job of this by incorporating March Madness into their Facebook post. Posting about current events is good for engagement because it’s using things people are already talking about.

There are a lot of ways you can encourage engagement and dialogue on your social media pages. The most important thing is to let creativity and personality shine through all that you post.

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Facebook Tip: Advanced Ad Targeting

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When advertising on Facebook, it’s important to do your research first. Make sure you’re using Facebook Graph Search and Audience Insights to increase advertising return on investment, and to make sure you’re targeting the right people. Social Media Examiner has some tips for better Facebook ad campaigns.

1) Research your audience
When you’re looking at potential targets for advertising, take note of the types of pages those people already like on Facebook. This provides an insight into your potential audience based on their likes and hobbies. You can also search and look at the fans of your competition, to get a better idea of the type of person you should be targeting with your advertisements.

2) Location, location, location
Research and target people for advertising based on where they live. Each community is different, and knowing where someone lives can help you adjust your advertising techniques in a way that makes your brand more desirable to people in a certain area.

3) Make it a job search
Look at potential audiences by occupation. Using location and occupation to learn about people provides you with a tremendous amount of insight into a person, and what their hobbies and interests could be.

Once you have gone through all the trouble to collect this information and do your research, make sure you use what you have learned. Analyze the information you have gathered and put together a highly effective ad campaign.

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Grow Your Facebook Audience

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Courtesy of: Fort Hays State University

In the days of social media, having a large online presence is essential. But sometimes, even if you’re posting good content, you don’t have a large audience to see it. Social Media Examiner has tips for growing your Facebook audience to best help your brand.

1)   Make sure you have a Facebook “Like” button on your website. That way if people go to your site and like what they see, they can choose to follow you on Facebook to see more from you.
2)   Link to your company’s Facebook page when you contribute content to sites. For example, if you write content for someone else’s website, make sure to include the Facebook page in your bio.
3)   Use your personal Facebook page to link to your company’s page. Under your work section, add your company as your workplace so that it links to your company’s page.
4)   Add your Facebook page to the bottom of your email signature.
5)   Use Facebook Ads Manager to make an ad for your page. This will allow you to choose which audience you want to target.
6)   Use your company’s page as your main Facebook page. Comment, like, and share content on that page to bring attention to it, instead of your own personal page.
7)   Share your Facebook page on other social media sites. Promote your page on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to get more attention.
8)   Try creating a group on Facebook. That way people in the group will automatically get notifications about new posts.

Try some of these ideas to grow your Facebook page. A larger audience will help bring attention to your company and benefit your brand.

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