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Don’t Miss an Opportunity: Understanding Facebook for Business

Posted by Benjamin Porter

Facebook for Business

Social media has taken a significant role in the marketing and operation of businesses in the digital age. This influence has been so profound that it has produced an entirely new type of marketing job in the form of a social media marketing specialist. Before hiring anyone to manage the social media for your company, it is important to have a basic understanding of the impact each social media community can have on your marketing efforts. In terms of Facebook for business, the key is to engage customers so that you remain at “top of mind” when the time comes to use your service.

Facebook is more about Branding and Customer Retention, Not Acquisition

It is important to understand when establishing a Facebook presence what your goals are. As any experienced social media marketing specialist can explain, each outlet has different uses in the marketing world, and Facebook is no exception. Many times, people think that if they set up a Facebook account for their company they will magically start getting likes, and their brand will simply explode due to all of the extra exposure. This is unrealistic.

Though Facebook will occasionally lead a customer to your company, and can be quite effective in that regard for certain industries, the simple fact is that the platform is not intended for businesses.  However, Facebook can work as a great tool to keep your business on your customers’ radar. By regularly posting updates, your product or service can stay fresh in peoples’ minds.

Your Only Expense is Time

Though there is the option to purchase Facebook ads, which can be very effective, the cornerstone of a successful Facebook marketing strategy does not require any paid advertising. The real keys to success are simple: keep a consistent voice and remain true to your brand, regularly make posts, and engage with customers. If your business is small, you may even be able to devote enough time each day to do this yourself.  If you can afford it, you can hire a company to monitor your account and keep your content fresh.

Ultimately, the key to success on Facebook is the same as any other marketing program. You need your message to stay in front of customers, and let them know that your value. By establishing this connection, you can help ensure that your business comes to mind when they need your service.

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5 Things for October 4: Kleenex's Signs, Twitter's IPO & Fandango's Screams

Posted by Benjamin Porter

If you only read five awe-inspiring, toe-tapping, marker-moving stories this week, make it our weekly list of five things you might have missed!

1.) Sweet Screams: Fandango wants fans to scream their heads off on social media. According to ClickZ, “From October 1 to 18, Scream-Off fans can submit videos of their best ‘blood-curdling, skin-crawling screams’ on Instagram or Twitter, with the hashtag #FandangoScreamContest and @Fandango.” Fandango will pick a Scream of the Day and feature it on the site before moving it to the next round of competition. The best screamer gets a stay at the legendary Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, where The Shining was filmed.

2.) IPOh!: Late Thursday afternoon, Twitter filed its paperwork with U.S. securities regulators in hopes of being a social media IPO that really delivers. Twitter is hoping that the ever-exploding mobile market will give it a leg up on Facebook. Social media marketers can expect Twitter’s decision to go public to mean a larger emphasis on advertising and mobile-friendly campaigns. But Twitter (or TWTR, as it will be known on the stock ticker) has a long way to go until it can bring in the ad bucks like Google or Facebook, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

3.) Drawn Together: Beer maker Steinlager wants its consumers to “be the artist, not the canvas” in a new spot which shows a mischievous young man who draws on his friends who have had too much to drink. The smart and funny commercial is accompanied by a “be the artist” app which gives users a chance to make and share their own ink masterpieces. 

4.) Adstagram: We knew it would come to this… Instagram announced this week that it would finally start delivering on the promise of introducing advertisements into U.S. feeds. Only a select group of brands that are already Instagram users will get to show ads first. The ads will slowly start appearing over the next few months. In contrast, complaints about the ads have already appeared on pretty much every other social network. 

5.) Bless You: Wrapping up our list is a little slice of online video creation that perfectly mixes “eww” with “aww.” The fine folks at Kleenex remind us not to get caught without a tissue by using people with signs telling their true sneeze confessions. It’s a simple, short and very memorable spot for a brand on the verge of a hipper, lighter digital makeover.

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Fashionable Facebook Pages That Awe & Inspire

Posted by Benjamin Porter

Facebook for business continues to evolve, and so do the ways marketers use the platform. Long gone are the days of branded Facebook pages rich in one-sided, sales-driven messages. Today, company Facebook pages can be information hubs, industry journals and a lively spot to talk to followers. Leave it to the fashion industry to come up with smart, stunning and stylish ways to market on Facebook.

When an old-school fashion staple like Burberry wants to reach out to a younger buyer, Facebook is an ideal place to start. Burberry’s page is filled with the kind of luxury the brand has always been associated with but bent to a hipper, more youthful audience. Currently, the page features photos from a new campaign featuring UK “It Couple” Tom Sturridge and Sienna Miller, for example. Burberry also takes advantage of Facebook’s improved video capabilities by posting videos from recent runway shows.

But let’s say you’re not that fancy a dresser. Fine. With nearly 38 million “likes,” Converse must be doing something right. The iconic shoe company uses Facebook to post the kind of things its fans are into, like music, skateboarding and viral videos. Converse excels at speaking to followers rather than at them and therefore encourages lively discussions in its comments sections.

And for incredibly chic and trendy foreign fashion labels like UNIQLO, Facebook is a must. The Japanese retailer is opening 10 more stateside stores this fall, so a steady stream of interesting posts and fabulous photos is essential for keeping fans, both new and old, excited.

Who needs a glossy, overpriced fashion magazine when you’ve got Gucci’s Facebook page? The mainstay of high-end branding for 92 years running stays fresh and on the cutting edge with a Facebook page chock full of slick videos, incredible images and the latest from the runways. Gucci keeps its whopping 11 million fans on the edge of their seats by continuously updating, reinventing and changing its page.  

In the end, that’s what great Facebook marketing is all about. Every business can take a cue from the fashion industry and keep their pages as fresh and innovative as the designs coming off the runway.

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Are You Making This Major Social Media Mistake?

Posted by Dawn Walnoha

179320163resizedWe have long preached about Facebook and Twitter marketing being two-way streets. These social media channels are great for selling our company, getting the word out about products and services while helping with SEO. Yet social media management cannot exist solely on sales-driven posts. These efforts should help tell our brand’s story and build relationships. A new survey for Econsultancy, however, proves that marketers are more interested in using social media for lead generation and list building than for branding.

The study, published on MarketingCharts.com, found that 37 percent of marketing professionals surveyed used social advertising for lead generation. Eighteen percent used it to increase traffic, while another 18 percent used it for direct online sales. Only 27 percent used it for branding.

Steve Olenski of Forbes explains why this is not such great news.

“It means that marketers are putting more emphasis on selling than they are at establishing relationships with consumers via branding,” he writes. “It means that marketers would rather try and sell you something than say tell you a story. It means that marketers are only in ‘it’ to increase their bottom line.”

Olenski describes placing sales-driven marketing placed ahead of relationship building as “catastrophic.” We could not agree more. Over and over, we’ve seen social media marketing “fail” small businesses. Upon a closer inspection, we usually find that these efforts failed because they were filled with only sales-driven messages. No effort to reach out, zero engagement and a brand’s unwillingness to connect with followers is what fails, not the platform itself. The mistake is thinking these efforts are short-term, quick fixes for lead generation. Consumers and especially social media users can see right through brands who do that and are quick to unfollow those who exist only on a “please buy our stuff!” diet. Social media has invented a class of savvy shoppers who expect a little conversation and intelligent back-and-forth before they plunk down their credit cards. For the most part, this is a good thing — and, good or bad, it’s a reality. Embracing the culture of social media and reaping its benefits is a more long-term survival method.

“What these same marketers fail to realize is that by building their brand via storytelling, sharing of relevant content and truly engaging with consumers will lead them to the lead gen promised land they seek,” Olenski notes. “Make no mistake about it, however. Those marketers who go down the path of putting lead gen/sales over branding and relationships will not be successful in the long run.”

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Getting Your Party Started Using Facebook Event Pages

Posted by Brandsplat

Anybody who uses Facebook for business is undoubtedly familiar with Facebook events. This handy tool lets you invite all of your page’s followers to your openings, new product release parties and company functions. If your brand has hundreds of “likes” and you have a very active page, all you need to do is create an event page and all of your adoring fans will show up, making your event a smashing success. Right? Um, no. We hate to break it to you but, having pulled off several successful Facebook-driven events, we can say with confidence that creating the event page is only the beginning. 

When your brand’s major method for communication is Facebook, an event page is a must. They are incredibly effective and easy tools. In fact, thanks to new targeting which allows admins to promote events to certain demographics, it’s gotten even easier. Invitees can now be chosen by gender, relationship status, age and interests. To begin, make sure your event page has all of the correct information and important things like start time and dates. Sounds silly that we’d even mention this, but you’d be surprised how many event pages leave off the vitals. Next, constantly update the content on that page to hype the event. Stagnant pages with no updates get fewer confirmed guests than ones with a steady flow of action. Add videos, photos and the latest news your guests need to know before attending.  

Yet even a well-chosen guest list and an oft-updated event page does not necessarily mean that your event will be well attended. The event and the event page both need further promotion outside of Facebook. Other social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are worth a shot but make localization key if you’re looking for real-life bodies in attendance. We’d say a great resource for your event page is your local media. Those papers they shove in your mailbox, the calendar sections in the hip neighborhood journals and even your city’s television stations are worth hitting up with information on your event. That way folks in your own backyard are hearing about your event from multiple channels. Since your Facebook event page has all of the details already, we think directing members of the media and followers on other social media platforms is an easy way to spread the information while promoting the page. 

In the end, we think that Facebook event pages are a fantastic way to promote a brand’s events as long as other forms of promotion happen alongside it. Readers, do you go to the things people invite you to on Facebook and have you had success using events for your own shindigs? Tell us in the comments section!

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5 Things for August 9: Blog Marketing, Watery Billboards and Applebees

Posted by Brandsplat

Need a longer lunch break? Want more people to read your blog? Can’t find your keys? Our weekly list of the best content marketing stories you might have missed can help! We have five stories that could very well answer your most puzzling questions when it comes to social media and online marketing. When it comes to things like finding your keys, however, you’re on your own.

1.) On Trend: It feels like there has been a never-ending supply of new Facebook stories this summer, and here’s one more you might have missed. On the heels of its hashtag rollout two months ago, Facebook is trying out another Twitter-born application: trending topics. Facebook told Mashable on Wednesday, “Today we started running a small test that displays topics trending on Facebook. It is currently only available to a small percentage of U.S. users who use Facebook’s mobile web site (m.facebook.com) and is still in very early stages of development,” a rep for Facebook said. Good idea or just another Twitter knockoff? Tell us in the comments section.

2.) Blowup Dolls and Burgers: Applebees is back with more inflatable dolls in hopes of inspiring folks to take a longer lunch break by leaving a stand-in behind at the office. Sounds ridiculous, but two styles of the dolls, “The Overachiever” and the “Cubicle Queen,” have already sold out on Amazon. It’s a clever and successful stunt. Still, it’s hard to say if these blowup buddies actually inspire people to eat at Applebees.

3.) Get Your Blog Noticed: Forbes published a fantastic list of easy solutions to blog marketing earlier this week. The list is worth a read since it gives 14 blog marketing and content ideas that every business can put into practice immediately. 

4.) A ‘Pizza’ the Action: Domino’s is investing in startups while generating some huge buzz with Pizzavestments. The program, covered by tons of blogs this week, hands out $500 Dominos cards to 30 startups who probably spend a lot of late nights munching on pizza while working. #PoweredByPizza is the hashtag the company is using to inspire Twitter users to share their own tales of pizza-assisted genius. 

5.) We’ll Drink to That: We close out this week’s list with a billboard in Lima, Peru worth celebrating. UTEC, a tech and engineering school, looked to solve Lima’s drinking water problem by creating this billboard which captures humidity and converts it into drinking water. Since the billboard went up 3 months ago, this magical billboard has created a whopping 9,450 liters of drinking water.

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5 Things for August 2: Slurpees, Hot Pockets and Cronuts

Posted by Brandsplat

Can we get an “Amen” up in here? Divine Twitter marketing, holy Hot Pockets, salvation for travel bloggers and much more make this a list of five things you might have missed that’ll have you saying “hallelujah!”

1.) Oh Thank Heaven: When it comes to engaging with their Twitter followers, no brand does it quite like 7 Eleven. The convenience store rocks with clever, timely responses that evoke the brand’s sense of humor and fun. For example, this week a follower tweeted “There is no God” after discovering the Slurpee at her local 7 Eleven was broken. To which, @7ElevenCares replied, “We’re sorry this has caused you to question your faith. Can we get the location to eliminate your doubt?” 

2.) Snuffed Out: This viral spot for Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week featuring Snuffy the Seal is so funny, delightfully wrong and surprising, we won’t spoil it for you. Just go watch it — immediately. 

3.) Blog Travel Advisory: This excellent post in The New York Times about the changing face of travel blogging is a worthwhile read for blog marketers, too. Written by Dan Saltzstein, the editor of the Times’ Travel section, the piece is chock full of sage advice as well as being illuminating on how blogging has evolved for travel writers. Example: “Despite all the growth and expanded opportunities, for successful bloggers it comes back to guiding and connecting with readers.” Haven’t we been telling you this?

4.) Cronutty: The hoopla around the pastry hybrid the Cronut is officially out of control. As if paying up to $20 bucks a pop for this donut-meets-croissant mutant wasn’t enough, creative agency BBH has taken it one step further. According to AdWeek, “‘The Cronut Project,’ spearheaded by some BBH New York interns, partnering with NYC Food Bank and Cronut inventor Dominique Ansel, features a daily raffle — with the donor who pledges the most money, plus another random donor, getting a free Cronut. ” All proceeds go to the NYC Food Bank. We’re thinking the BBH interns are behind the “another random donor” hijinks.

5.) Drop It Likes It’s Hot: We wrap up our list this week with Hot Pockets. The stoner treat is back with a new makeover, and apparently we’re really excited about it. Like, over 3.5 million views on YouTube excited. The videos, which feature a variety of chefs plus “sandwich expert” Jeff Mauro, aren’t incredibly entertaining, but nevertheless the public still loves this brand. And with this kind of popularity, Hot Pockets could be the branding comeback of the year. Take that, Twinkies.