Facebook Advertising 101

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Facebook Advertising 101

facebookAs we all know Facebook is the king of social media and now that they are starting to revolutionize the platform for advertising online. Facebook makes it very simple for you as a business owner, blogger and company, to increase awareness around your brand, product or service(s). Admittedly, the Facebook advertising platform is not the most intuitive, however it is effective and with a couple of tips and tricks you will be on your way to your first social media advertising campaign before you know it. I’ve received several questions from clients and I’ve compiled a list of common questions and my responses.

What is “Promote a Post” or “Boost a Post”?
Essentially the same thing. Promote a Post or Boost a Post, which means you will only reach your fans and their friends and these chosen posts are shown specifically in News Feed, they are not right side bar advertisements. The goal of these ads is to reach more of a company’s existing audience and some of their friends. These help get a page’s content seen but usually do no result in many Page Likes. When creating the ad, you tell Facebook, which post you would like to feature – Facebook creates the content of the ad by automatically generating this post from content you’ve posted on your fan page.

What is a Page Post Ad?
The intent of Page Post Ads are to reach non-fans or friends of fans which allow more flexibility as they allow for interests or category based targeting, such as zip code, married, single, divorced, college degree, women, men, age, industry etc.. You can get more explicit with Page Post Ads, however you have to custom design the ad using Photoshop, Illustrator or other graphic design programs. And, this is purposeful because Facebook only allows 20% text within these ads. Which isn’t a lot considering the required dimension are 1200 x 900 px (max) or 400 x 209 (min). A good way around this is with quality pictures. These are what attract consumers and are what will help you sell. The text should be right to the point and the picture should be relevant to the brand, business or product you are selling. Page post ads are intended to amplify likes, comments, and shares. These advertisements show up in News Feed and sidebar.

What is a Page Like Ad?
Page Like Ads are self-arranged. You can produce a straightforward “Like” campaign by promoting a relevant picture of a staff member or business event, product or service. I did this for a client who is a dentist; we used a posted picture of him and a patient that was very happy with their new smile. We got 100 Page likes in 24 hours and gained a few customers as a result and we only paid $80 for this campaign for a 2 day run.

Rules and tips when creating an ad:
• 20% text maximum (tip use a great graphic photo, keep your message simple)
• Ads must be in the dimensions of: 1200 x 900 px (max) or 400 x 209 (min)
• Carefully choose your demographic
• You must have a credit card to pay for advertising with Facebook
• Choose your budget wisely
• Advertise for more than one day (two day minimum)
• Create a Like campaign first to boost awareness around your brand then create advertising campaigns.

Facebook advertising isn’t as complicated as it may seem, but the only way you’ll know is by trying. The best thing you can do is jump in with a small budget to see how it works. Once you’ve seen a return on your investment increase your budget. The first thing I tell my clients is to try a like campaign first, then look at advertising with a Page Post Ad and a small budget, nothing less than $30 per day and nothing less than two days, otherwise you could decrease your ROI.

Useful Facebook Advertising Links
Facebook Advertising Rules and Guidelines
Create And Ad On Facebook
Facebook Advertising FAQ

Social Media/Directory Listings: Made Simple

sm imageThe worst possible thing you can do as a small business or any business for that matter when it comes to social media is sitting idle. So many businesses have no initiative as to where to start with social media, they end up doing nothing at all. BIG MISTAKE. Colossal. I say this because, social media marketing is not going away anytime soon, and you don’t have to know everything about social media marketing to make it effectual for you as a business trying to be found on the internet. So what the hell are you waiting for?

Time and time again I’ve had the same conversation with clients about what they should or shouldn’t do about their social media marketing efforts. The biggest response I get from clients is, “I don’t know where to start”. My response is: “You really can’t screw it up, but don’t do NOTHING”. Yes, SM implementation is time consuming, less intuitive than one could ever envision and yes, it can be exasperating at times, however, if you sit down and determine what is relevant and what is not, you will rapidly find yourself with a short list of SM venues that might suit you. Worst-case scenario, you set up the sites and then what? You scarcely post to them, this is common, and it will change once you start noticing what others are doing and how it works for them. More importantly, the foremost thing is, at least you have accomplished the hardest part by listing yourself as a business. Believe it or not you are now on the road to something larger than before when you were sitting on your hands contemplating, “Where do I begin?”

When I started out in Social Media Marketing, I was faced with this very same challenge. I was thrown into a position as an Internal Marketing Coordinator for a dental office, and I was given a small manual on how to claim social media sites. I began reading a lot on my own, and learned that you need to claim your listings on the Internet. So I sat down and made a list of the ones I use, personally and started there. This list has perceptibly amplified now, but here’s what I’ve established to be the most essential

MY TOP TEN SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

Observably we can add more to this list now, but quite honestly, if you are just starting out and you want to know where to start, this is a good base. Another thing to contemplate in addition to all of these are: Directory Listings. Yes, directory listings are also just as vital as social media listings and you don’t have to pay to list for basic directory listings, they are FREE, and they are effective. In the beginning I found a beta testing site called Brandify to help me understand what our brand looked like on the Internet. Brandify now charges a small fee to use their service, but this helped me understand our brand online, compile my list and it also gave me a list of directories they deemed valuable, necessary and prudent as well. I’ve added to that list and here are my

MY TOP TEN DIRECTORY LISTING SITES

When you initially look at these lists you are scratching your head going, “huh, I’ve never even heard of these before”? Yes I know, some of these you’ve never heard before and some of them you have, but consider this: singularly they are meaningless, united they are powerful. What that means is, the more places you put yourself on the Internet, the easier you are found through Google, Bing and Yahoo searches.

Things to consider when setting up directory listings and social media sites:

1. Uniform – Keep your information uniformed throughout your sites! Continuity is king as well as content! Make sure you fill out all of the information you can, the description, the about us, keep it uniform. Write a universal description and about us and copy and paste it throughout your sites and directories.

2. Media – Make sure to post relevant pictures, photos, videos and logos wherever you can. Don’t leave things blank, your brand and the awareness around it are vastly important when it comes to being found and consumers remembering who you are!

3. Claim before Create – Make sure you are claiming your sites before creating new ones, it’s quite possible someone might have already started a Facebook page for you when they checked in at your business or wrote a review about you on Yelp. Yes, you have to claim your sites, not all of them but most of them, just make sure you do a search on that site before setting up a new one.

4. Be Prepared – This process will be much more painless if you are prepared and have your information ready and accessible! The more prepared you are the faster you will get your listings posted. Keep your media and information in one universal folder on your desktop where it is accessible.

5. Don’t pay to claim – When claiming, there are some sites that want you to pay to claim faster, don’t do it. They will send you a postcard in the mail with a verification pin and instructions. Most of them will say it takes 2 weeks, but I’ve never seen that, it usually takes about 5 business days or less.

HINT: When setting up your map directories in MapQuest, Google Maps and Bing Business Maps, make sure your location pin is in the right location, if not, move it. You can drag and drop your pin anywhere on a map. If not, then you contact Google/BING/MapQuest.

After you’ve set up your sites, start posting to them and drive traffic to them. Use your social media sites to drive traffic to your directory sites, use your directory sites to drive traffic to your social media sites by linking you social media sites on your directory sites. Any link that backlinks to your website, is great Simple SEO 101. Once you jump in to this ever-changing tide of social media and online marketing, you will soon find out, it isn’t as intimidating as it looks. It is very easy to start campaigning and promoting your business with a few clicks of the mouse and keyboard and it didn’t cost anything more than your time, BOOM!

Some good SM management softwares: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, CoTweet

Surveys Are Social Media Too!

vectorstock_926108In spite of what type of business you are whether it be an ecommerce or brick and mortar; surveys are unfortunately one of the most disregarded pieces of intel you aren’t using, yet! After having a very causal conversation with a close friend who’s company does $50,000 a day in business transactions by selling merchandise online, I asked a very simple marketing question when responding to his frustrations with customers who were discontented. I asked, “do you send every customer a survey after they make their transaction? And do you send them a survey if they had a return?” The answer was no, on all counts, and this started to make me speculate. A company this successful, which is a start up mind you, that has amplified their revenue almost overnight, managed to neglect a very uncomplicated yet extremely imperative piece of information in customer satisfaction verification…THE SURVEY! How could this be? To be honest it is more common than you would think and in the most unlikely industries as well. Living in Austin, TX the second Silicon Valley, there are startups everywhere that do not send surveys to customers but it’s not out of laziness, just simply because like all startup businesses, you get busy!

How is it possible for something so vital go unnoticed or untouched?
Simple, success! People don’t question what is going wrong with their business when they are flourishing. However, can you imagine the increase in success if you knew what your clients were happy/unhappy about? Disregarding client intel is the biggest “no no” in business and customer service. When you make a large purchase, whether it is a car, furniture, electronics, you are typically sent a survey. If you are an e-commerce/service industry business and you are not sending out surveys to ALL of your customers, then your marketing plan has gone awry and needs to be re-vamped. This information is so essential to the growth of your business and let’s face it there will be a time when you are not as successful as today and you will be scratching your head wondering why.

Why is this important to my business, I don’t have time or the manpower to send out surveys?
Good! Then pay someone to do it for you! No excuses though, here’s the little inside secret to surveys, they are a genius way to get your customers to vent to you first if something has gone awry during their transaction. Whether they are wrong and you are right, doesn’t matter, it’s all about repeat business and exuding excellent customer service. Surveys give you the opportunity to respond! So when a bad survey comes back, this is your opportunity to shine and woo these clients, and 9 of 10 times they will return if you make it right. Furthermore, do not afford your customers the opportunity to spread it all over the internet with nasty reviews. We know as business owners that we make mistakes and we cannot make everyone happy, but we can sure as hell try. And when you get those 5 star reviews from customers go back to them and ask them to write a review about your business on Facebook, Google, Yelp etc.. By looking for trends on your reviews you can capture the information you need to make your business healthier, whether it is customer service, sales or product, you have the opportunity to listen and they have the opportunity to speak, so respond! Trust me; just like a bad review on the internet, if it goes unreplied to, then you are guilty.

I’ve compiled a list of online survey sites I recommend. Most of these you can generate your own surveys and some will give you suggestions or have existing templates in place for you to choose from. It is a nominal expense for great information about your business from an outsider’s perspective. And always appreciate that these surveys should NOT be used as a witch-hunt, because let’s face it everyone has a bad day, so take that into account and extract the real information about you business and apply this to your day to day operation and annual improvements. Look for trends, answer questions and respond, respond, respond!
Here’s a compiled list of sites:

Create Survey http://www.createsurvey.com/
I like this one because you can link your positive surveys to your social media sites. Plus, they are reasonably priced $800 p/year unlimited responses

Survey Monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/
Like Create Survey they are reasonably priced for unlimited surveys but you an also custom design and keep your branding in tact!

Poll Daddy http://polldaddy.com/
I like Poll Daddy because they are brought to you by the creators of WordPress and who doesn’t love WordPress. Pricing is a little steep but they have more robust package.

Google Docs
You can create a survey through your Google Docs. I personally haven’t used this survey option, but from what I’ve read it pretty sound. If you are a small establishment wnating to save extra money, check out this blog, they will explain step by step how to set up a survey with Google Docs.

The Social Media Flex on Social Issues

Gay Marriage-Viral Logo.JPEG-0c75bOn Tuesday, March 25, 2013, social media proved a movement, and a very big one at that. One of the most visually persuasive movements I have ever witnessed. The Supreme Court heard two cases on Tuesday and Wednesday concerning marriage equality in the matter of gay rights and same sex marriage. Both cases presented to the Supreme Court were epic on many levels, more importantly the shape of such a subject matter which at one time was a contentious subject matter overpoweringly took Facebook and Twitter by storm in a very short period of time. By 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning I took notice, as it was more than difficult to not. The customary blue and yellow human rights emblem was altered, now displaying an audaciously pink and red. The movement began with a couple of my friends who made the new equality sign their profile pic and then another and another, and soon I joined in, the next thing I knew, there was a swath of red and pink all over Facebook, not just my gay friends, but straight friends who openly support marriage equality as well by replacing their typical profile pic with the new dashing pink and red sign of equality. By noon, a sea of pink profile pics corrupted my Facebook, along with disagreements, arguments, support, and opposition as well. I read more than once that people were deleting friends, family members, acquaintances that were in opposition of the movement in addition to an overabundance of thank you’s to people who were unsuspectingly supportive. It was a poignant 48 hours and still even a week after the hearings there are copious sums of lingering pink and red profile pics displaying their version of the altered equality sign.

Being a social media consultant I considered this to be more than a movement, it was revolution. A moment, where we as individuals openly connected, supported and opposed a key social issue. Social media brought so many people together on those two days and in the same breath, tore so many people apart. That is the power of social media. Without it, who’s to say what kind of movement this would’ve been. But in my opinion, without social media and blogging, I believe that equal rights and marriage equality issues would simply be a blip on the radar. You can’t count on true broadcast media to report fully the extent of all issues without placing their spin on it and distorting fact from fiction. With social media, we are able to keep up to date on everything, see what others are honestly saying regardless of their bias; it is an natural faction, a movement that has given so many individuals a voice that didn’t have one or at least one that couldn’t be heard because it wasn’t and couldn’t be adequately strident.

We can look at this movement not just from a social standpoint but as a progressive societal viewpoint. Granted, there is always going to be some ugliness when these issues have severe antagonism, but when we appraise where we were on these very same social issues 10 years ago to today, we have seen a society transform, one that is not diluted by what the press and media are feeding them, but one that is creating their own press, their own news media through social media and blogging. It’s luminous. And because of this movement, and the state of its evolution, we are finding that being gay isn’t such a tragic and horrible thing in society’s eyes as the media has portrayed it to be. We are seeing more and more support for marriage equality than lack thereof. I think this movement has proven that this is a miraculous time in our country and world. When you think back to the civil rights movement in the 60’s and how many lives were destroyed because of this, it’s interesting to think that nowadays, we can click, delete or add and move on if need be, without very little destruction. Social media has saved the social anguish over social issues.

It’s compelling if you think about it. At times we look to social media as the grand interpreter and destroyer, I’m quite sure that because of social media, marriages, relationships, jobs have been destroyed because when something is posted to the internet, it is written in ink not pencil. However, in the light of this, now people have been given a voice; and now, in a non-violent way people can disagree without vast consequences. We can block people from comment lists, unfollow, unfriend or whatever if that is what makes us feel more in control of our social atmosphere then so be it; this, all due to the flex of social media. Now, people are uniting over a subject matter whereas 10 years might have not. Why? Because social media has connected so many people from high school, college, home towns and now because of these spider webs of connections, more and more people know more and more people that are gay, and are like, “ya know what, who cares!”

In the end, when looking at social media as a whole, I think in its entirety it has brought people together in unlikely times and as do most mediums it has the propensity to raze as well. However, if it weren’t for social media, we wouldn’t have the ability to exercise the freedom of speech, support or oppose issues openly without the feeling of prosecution. I think in general, we undervalue social media and the flex it has on our society and how we function within that society. On those two days in March, I was able to witness something extraordinarily implausible; I saw a country come together on an issue that is so vital to our society and its very existence as Americans. It is beautiful to say I was a part of that moment, even it was just as simple as changing my profile picture in support, I felt like I was part of a very powerful and important movement, and that in itself was a captivating emotion…

Why you need Social Media!

Seven years ago, social media was considered the red headed stepchild of marketing. That was 7 years ago, now, because of Apple and the splendid smart phone generation, social media has become “the” instrument for lead generations, captivation and interaction for all businesses big and small.

What we once considered a dating service as this was the sole intention of social media, we now look to social media as our link to the outside world and everyone’s world that is connected to us. Social media has become “the” thing that everyone is personally invested in, a spider web of connections, relationships and a way to get into the world of social networking on all levels, this has changed everything.  As a business owner if you are not implementing social media into your company or small business’ marketing plan, then you are missing out and the world’s most inexpensive and effective marketing tool there is.

True of False?

I’m afraid to have my staff manage our social media because they are just going to play on the Internet all day.   False and maybe true, and here’s why.

This is somewhat valid, but mostly false. The first mistake most companies make when putting together a social media campaign is the lack of a social media policy. It might seem silly, but in all fairness it is vital in ensuring you are sheltered and making sure that every crumb of content that is posted on the Internet is in accordance to your guidelines as a business owner. There is a certain moral that is expected when posting content related to your business. You obviously don’t want your employees to post personal photos of themselves unrelated to your business and you want to make certain that the language used on any or all of your social media is appropriate etc… Business social media posts are infinitely diverse from personal posts, and if you have a sole social media marketing person in your office that does just that, you want to make sure they are the only posting relevant, consistent and unique content that is worthy to your cause and appropriate to your business. CREATE a social media policy before even considering a social media campaign and if you are a small business that is delegating your social media posts to a team member make sure that they aware of the social media policy and have everyone on your staff sign off on a document called “xxxx’s Social Media Policy”. If this policy is closely followed by your designated person, then there is not much time to deviate from the task at hand. Yes, your employee is going to be on the internet posting to social media sites, but this is their job and what they are posting and what they are doing will be quite evident as you the business owner have ownership over all social media sites and interaction and have complete access to what is being said or not said about your brand/business. Quite honestly, if you are over-concerning yourself with whether or not your employee is using their social media marketing position to their advantage and wasting company dollars then you are not busy enough as a business owner. But to offset any confusion or concern, make sure to set in place a social media policy.

NOTE: some things to consider when writing a Social Media Policy, here are some highlights of important items to outline:

  1. Purpose/Policy Statement
  2. Social Media Platforms to be Used
  3. Social Media Tools – What products will you be using ie. Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Foursquare etc..
  4. Purpose of Social Media– Be clear about why you are using social media  
  5. Roles and Responsibility – if there is more than one personal managing the SM be clear as to who is responsible for what
  6. Moderation/Maintenance – how often are posts made and on what platforms
  7. Protect Confidential & Proprietary Info 
  8. Implementation/Monitoring/Review- review and re-visit the social media policy in xx number of days/months 

Here are some examples of social media policies from various companies and organizations, click here.

Facebook and Twitter have have nothing to do with my business.   False, False, False!

ALL social media has EVERYTHING to do with your business! Big or small, your business has a voice and if you want your voice to be heard, there is only one way to do this in a really big fashion, that’s through social media. To be clear, it’s not just about having your voice heard, it is also about being seen, being found and connecting and interacting with your consumers. There is nothing more influential than giving your consumers a voice, they want to be heard and most of the time they want everyone to know how awesome you really are. Social media can benefit your company in a multiplicity of ways. For example, you can advertise specials or promotions, you can inspire your consumers to check in to your business with Foursquare, Facebook or YELP and they can win a prize; you can find new consumers through your existing consumers that follow you and check in; give tips, reply to posts and reviews and personalize your business! Social media is your connection to the outside world, and it is FREE! Not only does social media help you connect it also helps with your SEO (search engine optimization) in being found on Google. Google has measured relevant and unique content on your social media sites as “bot” worthy. Which means, when you post on your various social media sites Google bots will seize any new and unique content on those sites, which then pushes you up in your Google ratings. The more places you are listed as a business the easier you will be found on Google, and we know how much everyone wants to be on page 1 of Google, it’s the holy grail of marketing!  Look at SM as your third arm; it’s your way of organically reaching out into the world and allowing your business to be found, to be heard and to be seen.

I want my social media person to just post one time a week just as long as it is something, I don’t care what they post.    FALSE and this is a horrible approach.

First of all, you want to make sure that before you are posting anything to the Internet in your social media feeds, you want to make sure that it is relevant, appropriate and unique. In order to ensure consistency, appoint or hire someone to maintain your social media marketing if you haven’t already.  By having a designated person to maintain your social media presence you can have a stronger more consistent message to your consumers. Moreover, create a social media tactical plan before even attempting any social media posting and creation. It is key to ensuring a successful social media campaign and relates to how your social media marketing person functions in their position. Otherwise, it will be like running a marathon without training. You have to plan for the unforeseen and make sure you are maximizing your social media marketing person’s time properly. Otherwise, you will just be wasting your time and company’s money by throwing away potential lead generation by not having a tactical plan on how to effectively capture your audience through social media. Posting just anything will do absolutely nothing but lead your lofty aspirations of social media to ruin. Remember: the initiative of social media is to institute a permanent and growing rapport with a company or brand’s audience by encouraging audience communication.  In order to harvest the largest advantage from each facet of social media, each channel included into the campaign must be strategically planned in terms of the timing, relevance and originality.  Follow this guideline and you will be on your way to a successful SM campaign.

If I post videos to YouTube about my services will this help my business?   Yes and True!

YouTube is your biggest ally when it comes to social media and SEO. YouTube is owned by Google which means, they love your YouTube videos. YouTube is the most underrated social media site by most small companies simply because they think it’s just a place to watch funny videos. Wrong!  YouTube is yet another link to the outside world and your chance to literally show them what you’ve got. I have a client that is HVAC repair guy and we were putting together a social media campaign for him, one of things we talked about was making a video about how to change out an air filter on a furnace unit. His first reaction was, if everyone sees my video then they wouldn’t need me to show them how to do this. This is a common mentality but what he was missing was, you are showing someone how to do something which might seem very insignificant and easy to you but might be overwhelming to someone else. In return, this creates legitimacy for your business and the more views you have, the better your ratings are with Google. Videos are paramount to your social media campaign and you can post these videos directly to your website and to your other social media sites. Not only does this benefit your social media rankings it automatically makes people relate to you and trust you! It’s great PR for you company and it will help in your overall ratings online and through Google!  Say, Yes to YouTube!

In the end, social media is what you make it; this is YOUR social networking community! But don’t underestimate the power of social networking; this is your way as a business owner to get your name or brand noticed!  Not only does this give you more exposure it also allows you to be heard and to hear what your consumers are saying about you and to you as a business. This is vital data, which will in turn assist you with future marketing campaigns and also help you manage your quality control. If you are doing something right then build upon that, if you are doing something that someone doesn’t like then learn from this and make it right and respond appropriately! More importantly, in business, social media is a link building community where  you can link up with consumers you might not have been able to reach before. If you put together a solid social media policy and tactical plan and find a person to designate to this task, you are already three steps ahead of businesses that are scratching their heads trying to figure it out. Just like anything else in a business you have to plan and as social media continues to dominate the marketing world, you will be one step ahead of your competition by taking the appropriate steps to prepare yourself accordingly. Don’t be intimidated by social media, it can be fun and if you are having fun with it professionally it will show in your posts and trust me, consumers will love it and want to connect with you!