Social Media: Making Friends For Money

NOW, settle down. We’re not talking about the oldest profession. We’re talking about how businesses can build real friendships through social media — friendships that look more like true friendships and build communities among their friends to support their business goals.

Why businesses should make friends on Facebook?

Businesses question the value of incorporating social media into their marketing communication mix.  Many don’t believe social media really works, others lament the lack of analytics showing the ROI (Return on Investment) from social media marketing efforts.

So, why should YOUR business invest time and money building a friendship network on Facebook?

The infographic (courtesy of my pals at Ambassador) makes a strong argument for using Facebook.

  1. 25% of Facebook users check their newsfeed 5 or MORE times per day.  And, with the rise of smartphones and the ease of Facebook apps on these devices, that number is going nowhere but UP!
  2. Adult users spend over 7 hours/ month on Facebook’s mobile app.
  3. Facebook has more users per month than all the major social media sites put together.
  4. US users spend nearly 25% of their time online using Facebook and other social media sites.

Pay-off when companies use social media

Facebook and other social media sites increasingly form a viable means for business lead generation in both B2B and B2C environments.  And, employees like working for companies where the CEO or other leaders are active Facebook users.

But, most importantly, consumers are strongly influenced by what their friends think about a brand. 

How to use social media, like Facebook

Likes have relatively little impact on purchase decisions when they’re purchased through contests and such.  Plus, Likes from folks who aren’t part of your target market do little.

The real trick to social media success, regardless of the platform, is to give people something of value.  That might be:

  • free stuff or coupons
  • helpful information
  • exclusive access
  • community, self esteem

What visitors are NOT interested in, is hearing about you or your brand.  Social media is NOT advertising or PR and users are really not interested in being talked TO.  So, unless you’re a celebrity, find something else to talk about!  Something folks are interested in.

And, interact with visitors. Thank them if they say something nice or share your content.  Address their questions or problems promptly and thoroughly.  Treat them as if the most important person in your town just walked into your store.  This isn’t rocket science, it’s just down home hospitality.

Yes, I know. You’ve sat through webinars and paid for training programs filled with advice about the optimal time to post and how often to post, you’ve paid to have really attractive cover photos designed, maybe you pay a college kid to post to your Facebook wall, and you carefully track how many fans you have on your page.  And, I’m not saying that stuff is trivial.  I’m just saying that sharing stuff your target audience loves trumps all that other stuff.

Hausman and Associates

Hausman and Associates publishes Hausman Marketing Letter and the monthly email newsletter of the same name.  We also provide cost-effective marketing and social media through our innovative virtual agency concept.  We welcome new clients and would happily provide a proposal to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE.

 

social media: making friends on facebook

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Facebook Business Marketing

It’s been a while since I talked about social media strategies for Facebook Business Marketing and much has changed.  So, I thought I’d discuss some issues to create success with your Facebook business marketing.

Facebook Business Marketing

Facebook is just one tool for social media marketing, but it’s a biggie.  Facebook currently has nearly 1 BILLION users.  Even considering that some of these profiles are duplicates or represent users who don’t actively use Facebook, the potential for marketing on Facebook is still massive.  Especially when you consider the reach exceeds what you’d get from spending $3 Million of a Super Bowl Ad.

But, your Facebook Business Marketing only works IF you do it RIGHT.

Facebook Business Marketing Tools

1. Your cover photo:

facebook business marketing

Here’s my cover photo for Hausman and Associates.  I’m not a graphic designer, but I created this myself using Adobe Photoshop.  I realize it could use some professional help, but you see what can be done in an afternoon with limited experience with Photoshop. At a minimum, continue your branding with the same color scheme, images, and fonts. Aim for lots of white space and avoid things that are violations of Facebook’s terms of service, like including the website address or phone number in the cover photo. I also included a picture, although I know I need a new headshot — but who has the time.

Apps

Facebook got rid of tabs a long time ago, but now includes apps — those little boxes under your cover photo.  These can be very useful.  For instance, I include a link to sign up for my email newsletter — Hausman Marketing Letter — using the Aweber app (most email marketing providers can integrate with Facebook).

Below, you’ll see my Aweber app under special offers.  When you add an app to your page, you’re given the opportunity to upload any image you want associated with that app.  If you’re tech savvy, you can grab the Facebook API and create your own apps.

Facebook tabs

Creating Engagement

Of course, the holy grail of Facebook business marketing success is creating engagement for your page — it’s this engagement that amplifies your messages to reach a large audience.  Using images and links both increases your visibility — and potential amplification of your message — and includes the call to action that drives sales or helps you reach other goals.

Creating engagement is a huge topic, which you can read about more on this site or my presentation of DC Tech Week.

Facebook Terms of Service

Always pay attention to Facebook’s Terms of Service because Facebook is pretty unforgiving if you breach their terms of service.  I’ve known folks who lost their profile or page without warning.  Facebook is pretty unresponsive to requests for re-activating these Facebook properties and usually doesn’t even give you a reason why it banned you.

And, Facebook’s terms of service vary as they change their interface — what your Facebook fan page looks like and works like.  So, what types of things are violations of Facebook’s terms of service.

  1. No duplicate profiles – although you should NEVER use your profile page for your business.  Profiles are for people, pages are for business.  If you have 2 profiles, turn one off.
  2. Don’t add people to your network that you don’t know.  That’s why Facebook created the “subscribe to updates” option.  So, if you’re a popular Facebook personality like Mari Smith or Guy Kawasaki, you can subscribe to their updates.  That way you get all their content, just like you were “Friends” without violating Facebook’s Terms of Service.  Plus, there’s a 5000 limit for friends and subscribers have no limit.
  3. Cover photos can’t be promotional.  So, don’t include your phone number or URL, don’t put in calls for action, don’t add statements requesting visitors to “Like” the page.  These are good practices for marketing, but Facebook decided it didn’t want users using promotion in their cover photos.  You CAN include these in the links BELOW your cover photo.

 Your Turn

Have you used Facebook to market your business? What results do you get from your Facebook business marketing?

Questions?

Comments?

 

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Google+ Business Marketing: Is the Sharepocalypse Coming?

google plusAlright, so business pages won’t be available on Google+ for a few more months, but that doesn’t mean folks aren’t already salivating over the prospect of Google+ business marketing.

Amid the hype and anticipation, some question whether consumers will follow brands to Google+ or whether they’ll stay where they are: on Facebook.  So, maybe we should continue our focus on Facebook business marketing and ignore the potential for business marketing on Google+.

Several theories underlie the belief that Google+ business marketing may not be all that rosie.  Here are some of the arguments:

Consumers are overwhelmed with sharing options.

I’ve heard this notion from many folks, including some top marketing folks at a recent AMA (American Marketing Association) networking event.  The idea is being spread by social media giant, Mashable, in a post over the weekend predicting a Sharepocalypse — apocalypse is the most trendy word in the social media vocabulary recently.

The argument goes like this:

In the Sharepocalypse hundreds (if not thousands) of online friends share content with us across various social networks, culminating in massive information overload. Our lives will become more fragmented, we will lose productivity, and we’ll perpetually be playing catch up.

Many folks on Google+ already complain about the time sink — logging on for a few minutes that becomes hours.  But, it it really a time sink? I’m not so sure, even though I’m one of those who’ve spent hours in front of the screen consumed in conversations on G0ogle+.  But, for me, this is Google+ business marketing at its best — I’m discovering new, valuable blogs I should be following, I’m meeting all kinds of new people forming networks that should be mutually beneficial, and strengthening my existing network of social media colleagues.

But, will the average consumer enjoy this witty reparté?  I think it’s too early to tell.  Right now Google+ is populated by tech geeks, photographers, and social media types.  But, the celebs are beginning to trickle in (and I’m not sure who gave an invitation to Paris Hilton, but they should be shot).  Consumers will likely follow because they can’t get enough celebs.

Circling is complicated

Again, I here this.  But, mastering your circles is a critical element underpinning Google+ business marketing.  If consumers try to use Google+ the way they use Facebook or Twitter, they’ll likely become overwhelmed, fullfilling the Sharepocalypse predicted by Mashable.  Facebook takes care of this through moderating what shows up on your wall.  It displays posts from people who seem to be more interesting — based on having more interactions in Facebook.

Of course the problem with Facebook is that your grandmother, who doesn’t post often and likely doesn’t get many likes, shares, and comments is invisible in your newsfeed.  Google+ fixes that by allowing you to decide WHO shows up in your stream.  Select too many people in circles and your stream looks like your Twitterfeed — moving down the page at a pace too fast to read.

I only have about 300 folks in circles and, during busy times, I can’t hope to keep up with the stream and I miss everything between times I login.   I manage this by having a list of influencers who share great stuff, like Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki, and a list of folks I interact with, like Mari Smith and Michael Stelzner.  When I haven’t been online for hours, I take a look at my stream, then posts from these 2 circles.

Will consumers figure out a system like this that works for them? Who knows.

Will Google+ evolve as Facebook did to make it less complicated? Probably.  Google is very responsive to comments by users and engaged with us. I think they’ll figure out a solution and probably that’s part of the reason for waiting before rolling out Google+ business pages.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Where do you see Google+ business marketing going?

 

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