How My Favorite Coffee Shop Uses Facebook (and You Should, Too)

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Facebook management, when done right, really is an art. Small businesses that fully use all of Facebook’s features — along with the platform’s conversational style and ease of posting images — truly put themselves on a different level. Check out the Facebook page of some of your favorite local, indie haunts and I’m sure you’ll find one or two that is killing on Facebook and taking social media to another level. For me, it’s my favorite coffee joint that is truly inspiring me to be better at Facebook for business.

The Market, located in downtown Denver, has been serving locals and tourists kick-ass coffee drinks and mind-blowing pastries since 1983. The spot serves everybody from uptight businessmen and slacker students to artsy musicians and neighborhood families (and everyone in between). Yet somebody must have figured out that just being a local favorite isn’t enough, so in order to keep up with newer cafes, The Market would have to embrace social media. And embrace it they have. The Market is a community staple, so Facebook is the perfect channel for it to behave as such. More so than Twitter, Facebook can really be an instant way to alert customers about the happenings inside your company. The Market’s posts include lost-and-found belongings left behind at the cafe, updates on new menu items, deadlines for ordering cakes, hours of operation changes, chatty posts like celebrity sightings (Prince Henry was recently there) and witty observations from the baristas. In short, The Market’s Facebook page is as warm and inviting as the place itself. The focus on The Market’s Facebook marketing is less about a hard sell and more about talking to their customers in a friendly and approachable manner.

What this is, beyond being great social media marketing, is terrific and solid branding. The company’s message is the same online as it is at the counter. To offer a similar experience on Facebook as you do in person takes some real prowess and impressive skills and my favorite local cafe has it in spades. The Market has inspired me to be consistent and creative with my own Facebook marketing efforts. And mainly not to try to pound my followers with sales messages. As a brand and a social media marketer, I can chat with my followers and make Facebook visits more interesting and friendly.

So, readers, how does one of your favorite businesses use Facebook that really inspires you? Post below!

3 Essential Facebook Marketing Rules

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If your business is having a hard time making Facebook marketing work, take heart. Many companies, even many of the big guys, abandon Facebook efforts after a few months. The truth is this: Memorable Facebook-for-business campaigns take a lot of effort, creativity and time. The daily Facebook game can feel overwhelming, especially when even your best efforts are failing to yield results. Yet before you dramatically delete your page and log off of Facebook for good, here are three Facebook marketing rules that could change the way you use the social network.

Share: We’ve all ended up with “those brands” in our newsfeeds. You know, the ones who just blast us with boring advertisements and never really post anything worthwhile? The antidote to that is to share. Sharing cool images, relevant videos, important company milestones, new product photos and the like is far more interesting than just beating your followers over the heads with branded messages. Share the kind of posts you yourself would want to read and chances are your followers will want to read them, too.

Engage: “Engagement” is one of those buzzwords in Facebook management and marketing that we hear all of the time. And there’s a reason. Brands that can really get their followers engaged on social media have truly succeeded. Facebook posts that demand a response (like trivia questions or polls) get users involved, but that’s just the beginning. To dip your toes in the Facebook engagement waters, start with pictures. Photos are a simple and dynamic way to keep your users engaged. In fact, cool and talked-about pictures are 10 times more likely to go viral for a brand on Facebook than posts without images.

Interact: With social media, brands of any size have been given the golden opportunity to really reach out and talk to customers, critics and followers. Use Facebook to get consumers’ thoughts, to address changes in your business, to alert followers of last-minute deals and specials and mainly to find out what’s on their minds. Don’t have Facebook be a one-sided conversation. Use it as a tool to really get inside your followers’ minds and find out what is important to them.

 

Meet Vin Diesel, Facebook Marketing Hero

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Facebook marketing has produced all kinds of valuable lessons from the unlikeliest of sources. Take Hollywood lunkhead and action star Vin Diesel, for example. Not only does a guy who gets paid millions to mumble keep getting hired, he also is quite the master when it comes to selling his brand on Facebook.

Just ask him.

“What Facebook didn’t realize is something very big was about to happen, and that was — for the first time in history, and it’s kind of a fluke they didn’t see this coming — when I jumped on that page in April 2009, I started talking to people. In the realest ways,” Diesel modestly reports in a new issue of Entertainment Weekly. “Imagine if you could’ve been a Facebook friend to Marlon Brando, or whoever your role models are. Imagine, if you were able to Facebook Elvis, and talk to him, and hear from him without the Hollywood of it all. That was the Fast & Furious experience.”

While Diesel’s oversimplification might make marketing snobs snicker, the dude has a point. Facebook is still the fastest and most direct social media network for brands, politicians and celebrities. Naturally, many would argue that most celebs and brands on Facebook are having someone else create their posts. But Diesel maintains that every post on his page was created by him alone.

“Facebook used to ask me to come up to their office to explain what the f**k I was doing, and why I had so many fans,” he says. “What was unique was: I never let anyone do a post, I never let anyone post for me in the last four years. My audience knows me so well on the page that if my producing partner’s in the room when I post, they’ll know somebody was around me. That’s kind of cool, that’s how sophisticated they are. Facebook really owes me billions of dollars. But whatever.”

But let’s hear what you think, kids. Have celebrities hurt or helped Facebook marketing? Do you take to heart what a personality or brand posts on Facebook, or is it all juts a bunch of PR hooey? And lastly, what stars do you follow on FB? Sound off below!

Simplify Your Social Media Marketing

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Simplify Your Social Media MarketingSuffering from Twitter marketing ADD? Having a Facebook management meltdown? Is the once fun task of updating all of your corporate social media accounts more annoying than scrubbing a toilet? Sounds like it might be time to simplify your social media marketing practices. In the spirit of simplification, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite tools and tricks to make social media marketing easier.

Budget your time: Great social media campaigns start with great organization. In addition, a well-thought-out plan saves you time later on down the road. Set a time where you’ll handle your company’s social media (every morning, three times a week, etc.) and stick with it. Without the panic of trying to squeeze it into your schedule, you’ll be able to get creative and have more fun doing it.

Analyze and Reorganize: Analytics tools on Facebook and on dashboards like Hootsuite are incredibly helpful for brands trying to figure out which posts are working and which ones are duds. Use these tools regularly to get insight on your failures and successes and you’ll be able to better direct your future campaigns.

Google Alerts: These have been around for years, but if you’re not using Google alerts, you are missing out. Google Alerts notifies you by email every time your brand, topic or desired keyword shows up in Google searches and in the news. This super-easy tool helps you track your company’s SEO without spending hours manually sifting through pages of searches.

Social Oomph: Companies that are Twitter happy can really get a lot out of this service, which automates the entire tweet scheduling process, provides easy tracking of keywords and instantly purges your direct message inbox. Unlike other Twitter dashboards, this one also lets you save drafts, schedule social media distribution for blog posts and dozens of other nifty time-saving tricks for a few bucks a month. For serious tweeters, Social Oomph is a must.

Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions #3: Facebook

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All week long, we’ve been talking about using springtime, this season of renewal, as a time to make new social media marketing strategies. But when it comes to Facebook marketing, most brands already have a plan or have been using the channel for years. Yet who among us couldn’t use a shot in the arm or a refresher in our Facebook campaigns? Today’s final installment of the Spring Social Media Strategy Sessions looks at revamping our Facebook strategies with style, substance and ease.

Analyze: Spring is a terrific time to look at your Facebook efforts thus far. Use Facebook’s awesome analytic tools to get a clear idea of what works, what doesn’t and how to reach more folks. Do followers respond better to visual posts or text-heavy posts? Which links posted by your brand are the most popular? When did you experience bumps up in likes and, conversely, are there any events that caused you to lose likes? By honestly analyzing your Facebook campaigns with questions like these, you can get a solid feel for where your Facebook efforts should go in the future.

Visualize: Just like that fresh coat of paint in your bathroom, new images can really spruce up an old Facebook page. Changing a Like page’s cover photo or posting photos from your latest event are just the start. New data point to image-rich posts on Facebook being shared ten times more than posts without said images. To start, try photos of new products, photos of stellar employees and pictures of life around the office. Make a plan to include images in your status updates at least a few times a week.

Intellectualize: The more we market on Facebook, the more we learn that the channel is most effective for brands that don’t just sell, but that also participate in lively discussions. While avoiding controversy and drama, it’s possible to talk with followers about things in a lively and spirited manner. Jot down some ideas for discussion probing questions, topics and ideas that are sure to get your followers engaged.

Energize: If your Facebook feed is feeling flat and sort of blah, you are not alone. Most brands dump Facebook or let their pages sit for months because they feel uninspired. Luckily, there are tons of ideas and easy solutions to this problem. Have new employees create original videos, change the time of day you do social media updates, create weekly Facebook-based contests — basically, Google around for ideas to keep Facebook fascinating for you and your followers.

Everybody Takes a Facebook Break

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It’s happened to everybody who does Facebook management for their company. After months of engagement and lively chatter back and forth, suddenly — zip, nada, silence. Suddenly those talkative types in your thread have shut their traps and your posts go ignored. Posting the wrong kind of stuff is usually what makes user engagement sink, but there might be another factor, too. A new study says at one time or another, most Facebook users log off and take a break.

According to the PEW Internet and American Life Project, the majority of Facebook account holders have been known to go months without commenting on a picture, liking a branded page or (gasp!) even playing a round of Candy Crush. This new survey released Tuesday found that 61 percent of Facebook users have at some point “taken a break” from the planet’s most popular social network.

“Pew reached 1,006 adults in the continental U.S. by phone during three days in December. Some 860 of them use the Internet, and 525 use Facebook,” writes Mashable.com.

The 525 who use Facebook were then asked if they had ever “voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more” during any point of being a member of the site, leading to that 61 percent affirmative statistic.

The main reason people take Facebook sabbaticals? They have lives. Twenty-one percent say their breaks were brought on by becoming too busy and no longer having time for the site. Ten percent said they lost interest, while another 10 percent said they found it to be a waste of time. Another not-so-shocking 9 percent said they took a break because of negativity and drama. According to the survey, some adults have taken a break and never returned to Facebook.

“One in five online adults (20 percent) say that they used Facebook in the past but no longer do so,” PEW writes.

This group of anti-Facebookers cites gossip, compromised accounts and privacy issues among the reasons they left and didn’t come back.

For regular account holders, Facebook breaks seem like a healthy thing to do and may even be good for perspective. For Facebook marketing experts, these kind of breaks should be a call to create less spam and more dynamic content. But what do you, our brilliant readers, think about this topic? Have you ever taken a Facebook break? Did you take that break and never return? We wanna know! Tell us in the comments section below!

Likes Done Right

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Not that long ago, Facebook marketing mavens were desperate to get “Likes.” The pursuit of likes for companies of all sizes became priority numero uno. Facebook management strategies for mega-brands and indie shops alike had likes on their minds and weren’t going to stop until they figured out how to be the most liked page on Facebook. Then we all kind of realized that likes didn’t always translate to dollars and moved onto the next thing. Yet likes for your company’s Facebook page are still important. The visibility a simple like brings to potential consumers is incredibly powerful. Why? Because each time a customer likes a brand’s page, it shows up in their friends’ newsfeeds, meaning endless potential for reaching out to new followers and consumers. We think you can (and should) still be on the hunt for likes, and here are some ethical, creative and even inspiring ways to get them:

The Maple Ridge Vet Clinic in Geneseo, Ill., for example, used some good deeds to get Facebook likes. Owner Dr. Matt Nelson recently called upon Facebook fans to help the local humane society. For every like the Maple Ridge Vet Clinic received on Facebook, Nelson pledged to donate a pound of cat food to a nearby animal shelter. Animal lovers couldn’t resist such a heartfelt promotion, so the clinic ended up with 150 pounds of cat food and The Maple Ridge Vet Clinic got more likes in the process, too. Nelson got likes for just being a nice guy. There’s a groundbreaking concept!

“Like lottos” are another good way to inspire more likes for your page. Authors can give away books. Theaters can give away tickets. Bakeries can give away cupcakes, and so on. Like lottos are easy to run — set a prize and give it away to the follower who is your desired number of like. Just keep it realistic. Facebookers won’t play if your goal is several hundred likes away. You want your followers to feel like they have a real chance of winning. Instead, go for 50 or under.

And yet you can have all the great giveaways and cool charity donations in the world and if your page doesn’t have good content, no one will care. Dynamic, frequently-updated content is still the best way to get likes. If you post interesting blogs, eye-catching images and unforgettable with regularity, there’s no question that your branded Facebook page will garner more likes.

The Purrrfect Facebook Marketing Scheme

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We comb the industry journals and insider blogs to get great ideas for Facebook marketing. Outside ideas that nail the platform are always welcome, because even though a billion or so folks use Facebook all day long, it isn’t always easy getting them excited. Nor are the marketing muckety-mucks always the ones cooking up the fabulous Facebook campaigns. For simple yet brilliant Facebook marketing, perhaps the family up the street is a better place to look.

A few months ago, the Urbano family was a house divided. Seven-year-old Remi and his 3-year-old sister Evelyn desperately wanted a cat, and while their mom Marisa thought it was a good idea, dad Dan wanted the family home to remain cat-free. After some negotiating, dad caved and came up with a compromise. He told the kids that if their cause could get garner 1,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook, then the family would adopt a cat from a local shelter. A long with some help from mom, the kids posted a photo of them holding a sign with the following message: “Hey Facebook! My sister and I really want a cat. Our papa promises we can get one if we can get 1,000 likes.” The Urbanos expected folks to be touched by the two kids’ plea for a feline friend, but they never expected that the darling duo would get their 1,000 likes in just two hours. The photo went on to collect more than 100,000 likes and the story made national headlines. More importantly, Remi and Evelyn got their kitty and saved a shelter cat’s life.

The amazing thing here is that this family’s Facebook campaign is totally on trend with the things we’ve seen work for big brands. Oreo, Levis and H&M all have had huge success with photo-driven Facebook campaigns. When it comes to brands, the ones that get talked about on Facebook are the ones with memorable images — and the Urbano family nailed it. The photo also garnered thousands of shares. Having your following like something is one thing, but having them like it so much that they share it is the kind of gold Facebook management gurus are eternally hunting for. Lastly, the Urbanos’ campaign knocked it out of the park by including a call to action. People responded to the Urbano kids not only because they’re cute, but because they get followers involved in the post by asking them to do something.

Whether it’s starting a conversation, posting a photo that segues into a “love it or hate it” poll or asking for Likes, photo posts that aren’t just passive live longer lives on Facebook. And in this case, nine of them.