Blog

April 9th, 2014

SocialMedia_April07_CBusiness customers can be largely visual creatures; judging a company by how it looks. When it comes to social media campaigns if the content of your business posts is not visually appealing you may find it hard to engage your clients. The question is, what tools can you can use to create visual content, especially if you aren't a Photoshop expert or graphic designer.

In this day and age where compelling visuals are possible online, it is extremely important to learn how to create attractive visuals to aid your social media marketing campaigns. You at least need a working knowledge of how to enhance your photos and make them more attention-grabbing. There are a number of free or highly affordable tools out there that can help you do just that.

PIXLR - This advanced photo editor works like Photoshop, only it is easier to use and therefore ideal for beginners. You can create images from scratch or perform advanced image editing. Using fairly simple tools can maximize the potential of images. For quick editing, there’s PIXLR EXPRESS or PIXLR O-MATIC, which are free to use. Visit the PIXLR website to learn more and start use these programs.

PicMonkey’s Online Photo Editor - This photo editor can transform ordinary images into fantastic photographs in just a few clicks. Select the image that you want to modify and add special effects such as fancy text, or simply crop and re-size. The photos edited using PicMonkey can be uploaded on Facebook and other social media platforms. PicMonkey is free to use so you can just go to the website and start editing away. For added frames and special effects there’s a premium version you can upgrade to for USD $33.33 per year.

LiveLuvCreate - This website can be used without any charge and offers a variety of design layouts and graphics. Using this platform you can edit your own images and there are also a ton of images created by users on its library that can help give you inspiration. Among the tools available are borders, filters, and photo effects, as well as fonts, colours, and styles. Visit the website to set up an account and start editing your images today.

Canva - If you want to create your Facebook cover photos from scratch, or if you want to design some blog images, this is a free application that might prove useful. This tool is very convenient and can be used to create business cards, invitations, posters, and presentations. Visit the website today to start creating your own visuals.

Quozio - If you are into quotes, Quozio lets you upload famous and favorite quotes, visualize them, and then share them on your social network. Simply enter an interesting quote and then select a background image. Instead of simply posting what’s on your mind, you can make a quote more attractive and appealing by transforming it into a visual using this free app. Visit the site today to visualize your next quote.

Whether you are posting on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network, your content cannot come alive without the use of quality graphics and images. If Photoshop does not work for you, these other tools are ideal substitutes for creating appealing graphics for a variety of social media platforms.

Make sure to share your own list of top photo tools for everyone to see! And, if you would like to learn more about leveraging social media in your business, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
April 1st, 2014

Facebook_March31_CEvolution is one of the most important aspects of any Internet based company. Organizations like Facebook implement near constant changes. Some of the most common adaptations are made to the News Feed algorithm which determines what content users will see. These changes can often make it more difficult for companies to get their content seen without the use of ads, but there are still ways to do so.

There are many ways you can improve your News Feed performance and the best is to improve the reach of your content. Before we get into how you can do this, we should first describe what your Facebook reach is. Basically, your reach on Facebook is the number of unique users who see the content you post and your updates. When it comes to reach there are four actions you can take to influence it:

  1. Posting content on your own Page - This is commonly referred to as organic reach by Facebook.
  2. Facebook users interacting with your content - When users interact with the content on your Page e.g., commenting or sharing, this is shown in their News Feed, an act which Facebook calls viral reach.
  3. Sending users to view your content - This could be as simple as putting a link to your content on an email, or even on your website asking people to visit your Page. This is a form of organic reach.
  4. Paying to get content in front of people - This is using Facebook's ad services and paying to target your content to specific audiences, thereby increasing the chance they see and interact with it. This is commonly referred to as paid reach.
By combining these four actions together, you can get a picture of your overall reach. By increasing the reach of each post through the above actions you stand a higher chance of getting your content in front of other people. The more people who see your updates the higher the chance of interaction with your company on Facebook or through other mediums, including avenues of sales.

The question is: How can a company do this? Here are seven of the most effective ways to improve your News Feed and its performance.

1. Develop a strategy

The key to posts being shared is that they need to be useful and interesting to your audience. Take a look at your Page's Insights (Open your Page's Admin panel and click on Insights) to see what content has been popular with your followers. From there develop a content strategy that covers what content to produce, when it should be produced, and when it should be shared.

Take a look at the most popular posts and see when they were interacted with most. This will give you a good idea of when your followers are most active and likely to interact with your content - thus increasing reach and overall effectiveness of your posts.

2. Know your audience

This will take time and research, but you should be able to paint a pretty solid picture as to who your audience is. If you can define a few personalities or even target individuals, you can better come up with content your audience will be more willing to interact with, or be more receptive to should you promote it.

3. Let people interact with your Page

Some companies have allowed users to post content on their News Feed or even tag companies, having the post show up on the company's News Feed, only for the content to be trolling or negative. This can potentially harm your company brand and reputation.

While there is a chance of this happening, the benefits of allowing your fans and followers to mention you in their posts far outweighs the potential negative outcomes of a few. This is because when a user mentions or tags you in a post on their News Feed, their friends are more likely to see it too. In other words, this can be a massive contributor to your overall viral reach.

4. Be active after you post your content

Don't just post content onto your Page and leave it. If people are interacting with it by commenting then you should make an effort to reply to the comments. This shows that you are interested and responsive, and willing to communicate and create a dialogue.

Mentioning the poster using @username when you comment will highlight the name and post your comment on their News Feed, thereby increasing the number of people who view your original content and encouraging the commenter to return to your Page.

5. Don't be afraid to repost

If you have had successful posts in the past, don't be afraid to reintroduce them. You could try updating the content a bit if need be and reposting it. This will increase the chance of other users seeing content they may have missed and interacting with it. Just be sure to comment somewhere that this content is a repost. You could comment that it was popular in the past and you think it is still relevant to today.

Be sure not to recycle too often however, as this can be viewed as lazy and turn users off. Aim for one to two posts every couple of months.

6. Integrate successful posts with other aspects of your online presence

While there is a good chance that your posts will be seen on Facebook, try boosting this by sharing your most popular content on other mediums. For example, paste the link into your email signature asking people to check it out, or add a list of your most popular posts to newsletters. This will encourage more people to visit the content and even interact with it.

In order to tell what is working, use the information on your Page's Insight panel.

7. Don't be afraid to be innovative

If you hit on a strategy that works, that's great! But, you should not be afraid to try new ideas. If, for example, you see that captions on photo posts are becoming popular with your audience give one a try to see how it works. The key here is to be resourceful and always on the lookout for new ideas.

Looking to get more out of Facebook? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 12th, 2014

Facebook_Mar10_CFor businesses, the Facebook Page is an important aspect of their overall online presence. In order to ensure that Facebook is used properly, the company set user guidelines. Businesses should pay attention to the Page guidelines, largely because they dictate how businesses should use the platform. The thing with this and many other guidelines is that Facebook does change the from time-to-time. In the past months, the company has changed the guidelines related to Promotions that you should be aware of.

Background on Facebook Promotions

Business that have Facebook profiles orient the majority of their activity around their Page. Much like a user's profile this is where all the content and information about and from the business is posted. When business Pages were first launched many companies started to join and run promotions, often to the point of spamming or at least annoying users.

To curb this, Facebook implemented a series of regulations as to how companies can run promotions. Break these regulations and you could see your posts and content punished in the form of showing up lower on user's News Feeds, or not at all. This is obviously something many companies don't want, so it would be a good idea to keep up with the rules supporting how you can use the platform for promotions.

The problem with this is that it's easier said than done especially since Facebook is known to change regulations on a regular basis, often making it hard for businesses to know whether the promotion they are running meets regulations or not. In recent months, Facebook has actually changed their Page guidelines around promotions, actually eliminating some that you should be aware of. Below are four of the old guidelines along with the recent changes made.

Old guideline 1: Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.

This guideline meant that if you wanted to run a promotion, you had to use an app from facebook.com, usually on your Page. Facebook dropped this rule in the summer of 2013, and now allows businesses to use third party apps (not developed by Facebook) to host a promotion on their Timeline.

Old guideline 2: You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.

This guideline stated that you could not have a promotion where people can enter by using Facebook features, for example liking a post or commenting on it. With the removal of this guideline, you can now encourage people to enter a promotion by liking a post or commenting on it.

You can't however ask your fans to enter a contest by sharing the promotion on their timeline.

Old guideline 3: You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

In conjunction with the change above, Facebook had to also allow users to vote using the established features. The most common example of this is a promotion that encourages users to comment which counts as an entry. Then others vote on the comment they like by pressing Like. The comment with the most likes at the end of the promotion wins.

Old guideline 4: You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.

This has been removed and Facebook is now allowing businesses to contact promotion winners through a status update or a direct message. You can also use other methods such as direct email, an update on a blog or even another social media service like Twitter.

While Facebook has removed some of the guidelines, they didn't get rid of all of them. It would be a good idea to read their guidelines for Facebook Pages which cover not only how to use promotions but your Page properly.

If you are looking to learn more about using Facebook as a part of your marketing strategy or to represent your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 4th, 2014

Facebook_Mar03_CFacebook, the most popular social media platform, had a good month in February this year. First off they announced that there are nearly 1.25 billion active users. Next, they celebrated their 10 year anniversary by producing a highlights video for every user. Finally, the company launched a new mobile app - Paper - that drastically changes how users views their profiles.

What is Facebook Paper?

The mobile device is quickly becoming the main way people access their Facebook profiles. While some open the browser on their device and navigate to the website from there, most use the Facebook app. This app is really a smaller version of Facebook that is formatted for mobile devices.

While the app is heavily used, many users are unimpressed with the layout and general functionality of the app as a whole. It's really Facebook minus some functionality and a slight bit clunkier to navigate.

To address this and other issues the company launched a new division called Creative Labs, where teams can develop new ideas and features that could one day be incorporated into Facebook. One of the first major developments to come out of this division is Paper.

Paper is a new app for the iPhone that combines your traditional Facebook News Feed with something like an online newspaper. The whole idea of Paper is essentially Facebook reimagined into something that not only looks better but is easier to use.

How Paper works

When you download and open Paper using your iPhone you see a brief tutorial video of how the app works. Essentially, your Facebook Feed has been broken down into about 20 different categories, including: Headlines, Tech, Cute, Score, About, Photos, etc. Each section contains relevant stories and posts from your News Feed and from popular posts and publicaly shared content on Facebook. The posts are displayed differently and look more visually appealing.

These sections are then individually displayed in a horizontal manner, often with pictures and text, much like a mini article. For example, when you start the app you may be looking at the Headlines section and all relevant content. If you swipe to the left or right a new section will be brought up allowing you to view the content related to that new section.

What's cool about this app is that you are in charge of what categories you see. If you want to see the Headlines section (news headlines from around 40 sites) first, you just have to rearrange the sections. This is interesting because the app allows you to customize how you view Facebook.

Is Paper good for business users?

This app could be great news for businesses, largely because it gives them yet another avenue to have their content seen by users. The creators of the app want it to be content forward. In other words, content displayed in a visually appealing way that draws the eye and potentially increases interest. Businesses creating visually appealing posts will really shine on Paper.

Can I get Paper?

For now, Paper is currently only available for Apple's mobile devices and can be found on the iTunes store for free. Unfortunately, the app is only available to users in the US for the time being.

We are unsure as to when this app will be made available to more countries and devices, largely because the team developing this is small. We will undoubtedly see it come out in more countries and on other platforms but we can't say when.

If you are looking to learn about Facebook and how your business can get more out of it, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 12th, 2014

SocialMedia_Feb10_CMarketing is an incredibly important lifeline and function of nearly every business. With successful marketing a company will likely be more successful and able to grow. Nowadays, social media has become a large part of marketing, especially platforms like Twitter. While at first glance, Twitter is easy to use, there is a one big mistake many companies make that can harm the reach of their content and posts.

Social media is an always evolving idea, so what works one day won't necessarily work in the near or foreseeable future. Combine this with the various changes and features of the different social media platforms and it is nearly impossible to master every service.

When it comes to Twitter, one of the most popular features is using @username to bring the tweet to the attention of the user and to tweet about them. When you do this you and the person will be able to see it, along with people who follow that person.

What is the #1 mistake Twitter users make?

The problem is, many people put the @username at the beginning of the tweet. What this does, as we stated above, is only make the tweet visible on your feed, to the user and their followers. Why is this a problem? Well, it comes from how most businesses use Twitter. They use it to share content, e.g., a blog article or a video, etc.; to essentially tweet about the person, not at them. You see this in many tweets, for example, "@microsoft's new blog is great. Read it!"

While you want to share the content with people other than those who created it, putting @user at the front of your tweet actually limits the audience to the person who created the content and their followers - in other words the opposite of what you intend, unless Microsoft is your target audience of course!

How do you avoid mistake tweets?

If you are looking to tweet about someone or the content that user has created, using the @user is still a good idea because it will bring to the content-creator's attention that you are sharing their content. This is a great way to form relationships and even have these individuals and businesses share your content. In turn, this can help increase the potential of your content being seen by a wider audience.

For many tweets it makes sense to put the @username first as it helps make the overall tweet easier to read. The problem is, this will also limit your audience. So, for those who want to have their cake and eat it too, so to speak, add a period before @username e.g.," .@microsoft's new blog post is great. Read it!".

What this does is ensure that the tweet isn't addressed only to the user, but can be seen by everyone.

Looking to learn more about utilizing Twitter or any other social media as a part of your marketing strategy? We have a lot to tweet about and can help you tweet too.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
February 4th, 2014

Facebook_Feb03_CSocial media has come to play an incredibly important role in business marketing. Services like Facebook are the perfect New Age marketing platforms that allow companies of all sizes to reach out to their customers. Facebook has some great ad features that help make this possible, but recently announced that one particularly useful feature - sponsored posts - will be shut down in the near future. Many business users are wondering whether this is something they should be worried about.

What is, or was, sponsored stories?

Sponsored stories is an advertising feature on Facebook that allows businesses to capitalize on word-of-mouth recommendations. The way it works is that it allows businesses to essentially promote user activity to that user's friends.

Say you own a coffee shop and have allowed users to check in on Facebook when they visit your store. When a user checks in, their friends will sometimes see this on their News Feeds. However, a check-in may be missed because of the sheer amount of content shown on our News Feeds.

With sponsored stories you can pay to promote, or sponsor, these check-ins, or other interactions with your company's Facebook profile. When you do this, the post or story will show up higher on user News Feeds or in the bar to the right of the News Feed. These posts will say Sponsored on them and will tell the user that their friends have liked the content, or interacted with the business e.g., checked in.

The problem with sponsored stories

While this is a great feature for businesses - they have a higher chance of their name and content being seen by users - it hasn't been so popular with many users. Many users don't mind seeing ads for things they have just looked at, but to have Facebook tell other users about it without their consent has created some criticism.

In fact, in 2011 Facebook was hit with a class action lawsuit over misuse of user data directly related to sponsored stories. In the summer of last year, it was ruled that Facebook had been violating user privacy and was fined $20 million. Largely because of this, the company implemented the ability to opt out of sponsored stories. It is estimated that this has cost the company around $100 million in lost revenue, which is highly likely the real reason why the company has decided to drop sponsored stories as of April 9, 2014.

What does this mean for my business?

The news that Facebook is removing a potentially valuable advertising feature could cause some business users to worry, especially those who have benefited from this feature before. This change, along with the recent lawsuit that highlighted how Facebook uses data, doesn't mean that the company will stop collecting data and showing ads to users. Instead, users will no longer see names of friends attached.

For your business this means that you will still be able to advertise, and your content and even ads will still continue to show up on News Feeds, only they will lack other contact information usually seen at the top of sponsored posts.

There are also a number of other options available, including promoting posts and content on yours and other people's News Feeds. Another option involves using the teo Custom Audiences features. These two features allow you to create an ad that can be sent to existing mailing lists or a market that is most likely to respond positively to the content. For businesses that don't have mailing lists or a target market in mind, Facebook also offers Lookalike Audiences which can help you find potential audiences based on your current connections.

In fact, both of these features are currently used by many Facebook users to set up sponsored posts. Now, the main difference will be that the word-of-mouth style of sponsored posts will be gone and will only appear in the right-hand sidebar of user News Feeds.

If you are looking to learn more about using Facebook with your business, contact us today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 15th, 2014

SocialMedia_Jan13_CSocial media is now so common that it's expected that a company has a presence on at least one network. Because of the high level of use, sites have started to enter a more mature phase, where users are finding other ways to leverage the services. We will undoubtedly see a change in the way businesses use social media platforms in 2014 and new trends emerging which companies will be acting upon.

Here are five social media trends we believe businesses should track throughout 2014.

Successful content will become more helpful

One of the key rules of marketing is that you need to create content that is relevant to your target audience. If you can't show how your company, service or product will help the customer there is a high chance that they won't invest, or will look elsewhere.

Throughout 2014, we should see a shift of strategy with companies using social media to engage with customers to leverage data and create content aimed at being helpful to 'fans' and followers. This might include tips on how to use products and visual images that show fans how to use products, etc.

The key idea business owners should grasp is that they should not be using social media to promote their company, but rather using social media to help. When you can help your followers, you will see more positive association with your brand and possibly even more sales.

Planning ahead will become increasingly important

It used to be enough to simply have a social media account, but now you need to also be active. As more companies break into social media, you will need to post more content on a regular basis.

Because many managers and business owners are busy, they often lack the time to concentrate on social media, especially as demand grows. This means that companies will have to start planning ahead if they want to be successful on social media. What this means is likely hiring a new employee, or appointing a staff member, to run your social media activities. You will also need to schedule posts and content well ahead of time, as well as set budgets.

If you just post occasionally now, or have a profile that isn't that active, the first step you need to take is to schedule a day each week where content goes out. Take a look at older posts and see what worked well with your audience and create similar content. Schedule the content to be posted at roughly the same time each day. Over time, ramp up when you post - try posting new content on different days to see how reactions and interest changes. The key is to stick with it, and you will begin to see some positive returns - likely an increase in Likes, Shares and Comments.

Content will need to be mobile

It's not difficult to see that the mobile device - smartphone and tablet - has become the gadget of choice for many social media users. Some have even gone so far as to stop using social media on their computers entirely. This trend will grow throughout 2014 and what this means for businesses is that they need to be creating content that can be viewed easily on mobile devices.

Because mobile screens are smaller, and many companies are starting to create mobile oriented content, we should see some more visually oriented posts, including both movies and images. At the very least you should ensure that your content posted on social media platforms can be easily viewed by users on mobile devices and your other social related sites, like your blog, can also scale to fit on smaller screens.

Social data will play a key role in company strategies

As the number of users on social media continues to grow, we are starting to see a trend where many users are basically using social media for everything. Because these systems are online, data regarding nearly everything is being tracked and made available to companies and users. This social data can be a huge help if leveraged properly. For example, it allows you to see what users like and dislike, and the content that works best in certain regions, and different dynamics, etc. You can extrapolate this information to your products or services e.g., if post on how to use your product is liked more than other posts, you can assume that the product is seen to be good.

In 2014, companies will increasingly come to realize that they have access to this data and will start to use it to plot their marketing and social strategies. If you aren't already tracking your social data, now would be a good time to start. It will also pay to learn how to analyze it and develop useful insight.

Social integration is the next step

The first step in social media was to get users, including businesses, online and interacting. Now that this is happening, it's time to move onto the next step. For businesses this means integrating social media into their company. In 2014, that's what we predict we will begin to see businesses doing in larger numbers.

This trend has already started with businesses linking their websites to social media profiles but we predict it will go even further with companies integrating social data and plans into the organization as a whole. This will likely be the connecting of social data with other streams of data to make marketing and overall business decisions. In other words, social media will become an integral part of business.

What do you think the biggest social media trend will be in 2014? Let us know today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
January 7th, 2014

Facebook_Jan07_CAsk most business owners and managers what social media platform their company uses, and the answer will likely be Facebook. This site has become one of the most important marketing tools for many businesses, and in 2013 the company introduced many useful business oriented features. As 2014 starts, many are wondering what trends they should be aware of.

Here is an overview of five popular Facebook trends small to medium businesses can capitalize on in 2014.

1. Targeted auto play video ads

In early January, Facebook started rolling out their newest ad feature - auto-play of video ads. If you post a video, you can sponsor or promote it so that it may show up on a selected target audience's News Feed. When they scroll by it, the video will begin to play automatically - with the sound muted - if the user clicks on it, the video will open in full-screen and play with sound.

While video advertising isn't the newest feature, the ability to set your ads to auto-play is. While this feature is still in testing, open to a select few marketers for the time being, you can bet that this will likely become a full-feature some time in late 2014.

What this means for many businesses is that they will need to start creating higher quality video content. If you plan to use this feature, you should start looking into creating content that your followers enjoy. Try posting videos to see the number of Likes, Shares and Comments and from there tweak your content so that more users enjoy it and respond positively to it too.

2. The hashtag

The hashtag first saw widespread use among Twitter users and has since been introduced in almost every other major platform. Browse most people's News Feeds and you will see posts using the hashtag, which calls attention to the content and makes it searchable, (click on it to see other posts that have the same hashtag).

It is highly likely that the popularity of the hashtag, especially among companies with Pages, will increase in 2014 and beyond. If you are looking to integrate these into your content be sure to use them sparingly, as too many hashtags will make your content harder to read, and could turn readers away.

Instead, try using them to highlight one or two keywords you want people to focus on. You can also use one or two keywords each time you mention your company name, so that visitors associate a specific tag with your company. The biggest benefit to this is that it will make your other posts searchable and give users a quicker way to see similar content.

3. Increased ads from small businesses

Well over 25 million small businesses have a Facebook Page, a number which is sure to grow in 2014. However, the full number of how many of these businesses actually use Facebook's Ad client, which can place targeted ads in front of a categorized audience, is quite a bit lower - at roughly 1 million regular users.

This leaves 24 million users who aren't using the service - something Facebook undoubtedly sees as a great opportunity. Through 2014, businesses with Pages should see an increase in Facebook Ad marketing. The company is also working on ensuring that the ads companies promote are targeted at relevant profiles.

Facebook recently enhanced their Promoted Posts feature, which allows companies to pay to promote a specific post, with the hopes of it showing higher on people's News Feeds. With the recent change, companies can now promote content that is older than three days, potentially breathing new life into older content that was once popular.

The overall trend for small businesses is that you should see further improved ways of advertising and interacting with your clients on Facebook. You can be sure that the company will be targeting you with Ad promotions, which if acted upon could see your brand awareness and even sales increase.

4. Mobile-first content

The mobile device is quickly becoming the most talked about tech gadget - take a look at tech-related ads, they are almost all focused on the smartphone. As the demand for these devices increases, hardware manufacturers are working hard to develop mobile versions of just about everything. And following the hardware, is the software or app. It seems like every major Internet related site has an app these days, one of the most popular being Facebook.

In Q1 2013, nearly 70% (68%) of users accessed Facebook from a mobile device with 17% doing so exclusively. These numbers undoubtedly grew throughout 2013 and will continue to do so into 2014.

What this means for small businesses is that a large percentage of their users will be viewing their content on a mobile device, and small businesses need to start creating content that can be easily viewed on smaller screens. Try starting to come up with content that is centered around high quality images with small amounts of text, and grabs attention quickly. Ending with a strong call to action will also be beneficial.

5. Increased interactions with fans

The idea of social media is that it's a two-way street. For companies, this means that simply posting content on a News Feed won't cut it. You need to interact with your 'fans' in order to see any success with this type of marketing.

By interacting with your followers, you are showing that you do in fact pay attention to your social media profiles and are therefore listening to your customers. This makes the customer feel appreciated and will increase the chance of them staying loyal to your company. Take a look at the number of "Thank you" videos, or videos that give back to fans and customers like the WestJet video that went viral on social media shortly before Christmas.

It is content like this that customers love, and are eager to share. Companies are highly likely to be creating more content like this in 2014. If you can create something that thanks your customers, or even rewards them in a way they are happy with you should see some increased traffic, interaction and even calls.

Looking to learn more about Facebook and how you can use it in your company? Contact us for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 18th, 2013

SocialMedia_Dec17_CWebsites like LinkedIn have quickly become the most popular, influential and arguably most useful to business users. LinkedIn is a social network, so if you have a profile it is a good idea to interact with other users. However, it is slightly different than other social media sites in that it's mainly aimed at businesses looking to to connect with other businesses and professionals to connect with their colleagues.

To get the most out of your personal profile on LinkedIn follow our five top tips:

1. Specialize

A popular feature of LinkedIn is endorsement. You can view other people's profiles and endorse their skills. Some popular users have hundreds of different endorsements. The purpose of these endorsements is to highlight the important skills of each user.

If a user has say 30 so-called important skills that they are all endorsed for, it kind of looks like these aren't really that important. It is a good idea to pare down your skills and endorsements to 3-5 which you feel best represent what you have to offer.

2. Don't connect with people in order to grow your following

One of the main goals many users have with other social media networks is developing content that encourages people to essentially connect with the business. This in turn increases the reach and popularity of the business. With LinkedIn, connections and content are still the goal, only the type of desired connection is different.

You shouldn't be aiming to connect for the sake of connecting. Instead, try to develop connections that will help your business meet its goals and objectives. Some good examples of this include connecting with suppliers, colleagues and even other businesses you work with.

3. Think socially (What's in it for them?)

LinkedIn is really just online networking, and as with most forms of networking you are looking to build rapport and establish a connection. This is usually done by being interesting, which means creating content.

When creating content or developing your profile you should keep in mind that it is for the people looking at your profile and not you. With everything you write or create, try to keep in mind: WIIFT (What's In It For Them?). If you can create something that your connections and profile viewers will be able to benefit from, they will be more willing to listen to you when you actually need to contact them.

4. Look at your profile

As we stated above, your content and profile should be oriented towards your viewers and connections. Look through your profile and posts to see that the information does reflect this purpose.

Try looking at the different sections of your profile and focus on how you can help your connections. This includes giving detailed descriptions on your roles and how you helped the company or customers. Above all else, make sure your profile contains the information that is relevant to the people you want to connect with. If it isn't, you likely don't need it.

5. Join groups

Possibly the best way to get the most out of LinkedIn is to join groups. There are groups that cover nearly everything in the professional world. Try joining groups that are relevant to your profession and interests. There are usually some great conversations going on that you can really learn and benefit from. If you are an active member, you will become well known over time.

This is positive, as it makes other members more approachable and willing to listen to you, and engage with the content you share. Joining groups also gives you a great way to connect with people of varying experience. If you need the help of a specialist you can look through group members until you find an expert with the experience you need.

LinkedIn can be a useful platform for business users and if you are looking to learn more about how you can leverage it, connect with us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
December 10th, 2013

Facebook_Dec09_CBusinesses with a Facebook Page have some really powerful tools that allow them to measure the success of their content. The main tool used is Page Insights, which was updated in October, and provides businesses with valuable information about the content they need in order to be able to optimize their Facebook oriented marketing efforts.

Here are four ways you can use the various measurements presented by Page Insights to help figure out what content and posts work. From here, you can work out what strategy to adopt or focus on next when it comes to connecting with your customers.

1. Look at overall engagement

If you open your Page Insights (select the Cog which is below your Page's Cover Image and select View Insights). Scroll down to the middle of the page that opens, where you will see a section with information on your last five posts. Take a look at the Engagement column and you will see two numbers beside each post. The upper number is Post Clicks while the lower is Likes, Comments and Shares.

These two numbers, according to Facebook, are presented with bars to visualize how engaged visitors are with your content. Naturally, the higher the number means greater engagement. You can keep a running tally of these figures and the different posts on your profile. Over time, you should begin to see patterns emerge as to what type of content your visitors interact with most, and what type they are more likely to share or like. If you can continue to create similar content, you should see overall engagement increase.

2. Pay close attention to the Likes

While the Engagement column presents you with a quick glance at the figures, you can also look deeper into your content. One measurement to focus on is Likes. If you take a step back and think about how Facebook works, this makes sense. When people click Like for content, they are essentially broadcasting it to their friends. This increases your Page's potential exposure. To go one step further, many who 'Like" content will also share it, thus increasing exposure even further.

In order to get Likes, you first need to know what works and what doesn't. This means looking at the Likes tab. When you click on it, you will see a breakdown of your content by type - Photos, Status and Link. You will also see four sections that present data on a daily, total and net basis. The first section you should look at is Total Likes. This graph visualizes the number of likes each type of content has received, allowing you to see what type works best.

Combine this with the other sections and you should gain a pretty clear picture as to what type of content is working, where it works best, and even the best time to post. From here, you can tweak content and posts, and see how your visitors respond. In theory, if you begin to provide what they like, your exposure should increase.

3. Know who your fans are

We all know that people are different, especially when it comes to age. Those who are 50 will generally not be interested in the same things as those who are 20. Therefore, in order to drive Likes and your marketing success, it pays to know who your audience is. Posting content that is not aimed at your target group will generally result in lower interaction and even loss of followers, leading to a possible downturn in business.

On Facebook, figuring out your audience is actually fairly easy. Open your Page Insights and click on the People tab. On this page you will be able to narrow down those who interact with your page demographically. This can help you determine age, sex, location, and even check-in information. If for example, you see that women make up 70% of the users who like your content, creating content that is aimed more at them could see some great payoffs.

4. Take a look at the Reach of your content

The Reach of your content is how many people actually view it. A higher reach means more people see your content and thus there is more exposure for your company. This is a positive indicator and something all Page owners are striving for.

When you click on the Reach tab from the Insights page, you should see a wealth of useful data. Some of the more interesting sections include post reach, which displays exactly how your content reached people - paid or organic. You can also look at the Likes, Comments, and Shares section to see how many users liked your content. This graph also shows the number of users who hid or unliked your posts.

This can be really helpful in helping you figure out what type of posts and content to avoid and what content was seen by the highest number of people.

You can also see this information applied to specific posts from the main overview tab. If you scroll down on the main Insights page you will see a breakdown of your posts. Take a look at both the Engagement, (as we mentioned above), as well as the reach. If you see posts with lots of interaction but a low reach this is worth looking into. The same goes for content that has achieved a high reach with little engagement.

In general, tracking the information displayed on your Page Insights can be helpful in shedding light into what content works and what doesn't. When you have an understanding of this information, you can then look into creating content that will work best for your business. The truth is, there is no general answer as to what works best, and this varies for each individual company.

If you would like help figuring out your Facebook Page and content, please contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.