September 5, 2014

Let’s Be Careful Out There

This was one of my favorite lines from the 70’s police show, Hill Street Blues. In every episode, they would use this tagline at the morning roll call. I thought it would be a fitting title to use, in light of celebrity photos being hacked and Home Depot’s data breach. You have to be careful with your information on the internet. This brings me to my real subject, 3rd party cloning of personal Facebook pages.

I know I normally write about business pages on Facebook; but, the two are related since your business page is tied to your personal page. Let me explain how this cloning works. Let’s say John Doe has a Facebook page and the url is www.Facebook.com/johndoe. All someone has to do to create a cloned Facebook page is grab some images from John Doe’s page and then select the same url and add a number to the end. Here is how the new url would look www.Facebook.com/johndoe.9.  Pretty simple, right?

Here comes the really bad part. That person now has a page that, on the surface, looks like John Doe’s. Now they can start sending out “Friend Requests” to all John’s friends. Guess what? 90+% of his friends will accept this request with question because they feel like it is coming from a trusted source. Many will accept the request first and then ask why he has started a new page. The response will be something along the lines of they got a virus on their other page (which actually makes no sense.) I’m sure their lies will get better.

So, now you may be wondering, why would someone do this? Well, it’s part of an internet scam. Shortly after you accept the friend request, you will receive a message from the impostor. It will be a little small talk at first; but, when he gets a chance, he will start to tell you about the new government internet plan. It’s a scam…don’t buy it! (Click Image of Facebook Chat)Be Careful Out There  Image 2

Please note the person who has been cloned can’t see the page because they have been blocked from the page by the impostor. As friends start to question the imposter, they may be blocked also. People who are blocked can’t report the site for stolen identity.

So What Can You Do?

  • Check your security settings so that images and other important facts about you are hidden and only visible to friends.
  • Be careful who you accept “Friend Requests” from, even if you know them and especially if you are already friends with them on Facebook.
  • If your page gets cloned, let all your friends know as soon as possible and post a warning on your page.
  • Since you are blocked from the impostor’s page, you are unable to use the “…” tab to notify Facebook that your identity has been stolen. You will have to click on the down arrow on the top right of your page and then click “Help.” At the bottom of that menu, select “Report A Problem” or “Report A Violation.”
  • If you can get a friend to take a screen shot of the scam like the one above, you can attach it when you report the cloned page.
  • Also be sure to include the url of the cloned page.

I certainly hope this doesn’t happen to you, and remember “Let’s be careful out there.”

 

April 4, 2014

Are You Frustrated With Facebook?

Have you noticed you are getting less and less response to posts you make on your Facebook business page?  Well, I just want you to know that it’s not you…it’s Facebook.  I’m hearing reports that Facebook is only showing posts to one or two percent oImagef pages fans.  (I can’t verify this myself; but, I have read it in several blogs.)

I know this can be discouraging since you’ve invested your time, or as I like to call it your “social currency,” doing all the right things like posting several times a week, making sure you have a good mix of topics and asking your fans plenty of questions.  But, let’s be fair, Facebook employs over 6,000 and those people need to get paid.  Think of it this way, when your local TV or radio station first went on the air, did they offer free advertising to their clients for four years?  I don’t think so!

Enough of the negative…let’s think positive. This is going to clear out a bunch of businesses that were just on Facebook because someone told them it would be good for their business and it’s free.  These are the same businesses that make every post all about them and never really bothered to engage their fans.  That properly describes about half of the small businesses on Facebook.  That’s great news! And, they won’t be missed.

So, what do the rest of us do?  Well, for the past two and a half years, I’ve been buying ads on Facebook. Many of the accounts I work with hadn’t gotten a new like in months.  Shortly after I started an ad campaign for them, the likes started flowing in.  Facebook ads really work!  And Facebook lets you track everything, so that you can quickly fine tune your ad campaign.  I recommend checking Facebook Insights often and checking the quality of the people liking your page.  This may take a little time, but you can fine tune your results to hit your target audience.  Remember, like everything on social media, it’s about the quality and not the quantity.

You can run your campaigns right from your page using “Promote Page” or “Boost Post.”  But, I prefer to use the Ad Manager because you have more features and more control over who sees your ad or boosted post.  The best news is that it is all very affordable.  Big companies will continue to pay large amounts to reach their national or world market while small businesses can also participate on a local level.  When you try it I would love to hear about your results.  You can reach me via email at Ken@TheSocialGloo.com.

Good luck everyone!

January 14, 2014

How to Engage Your Customers on Social Media

The rules for marketing have changed.  When it comes to engaging your customers on social media, keep your sales messages to a minimum.  Social media isn’t advertising.  When engaging, remember the 80/20 rule.  Make sure that 80% of your posts give your readers information they want and need.  The other 20% of the conversation can be about your business, products and services.  Remember to give good information about your business, not a sales message.  People do business with people they know, like and trust.  This can take a little time; but, it is time well spent and can pay off big when your customers start sharing your posts with their families and friends.  Just a couple of shares could double or triple the reach of your current fan base.

Share Like Cupcakes

Yummy way to get more engagement.

If you’re a bakery, dessert shop or dessert food truck.  Here’s a way to show your product and engage your customers without a sales message! Think about how you can adapt this message to your business.

When engaging your customers, be a problem solver.  Offer tips and advice to everyday problems they may be experiencing.  Social media levels the playing field; and as a business owner, you have a big advantage over large corporations.  You can be authentic!  Large corporations have to hire a spokesperson or create characters like Coca Cola’s polar bears or Chick-fil-A’s cows; but you, on the other hand, speak with an authentic voice, and that’s why your customers opt to receive your message. Don’t disappoint them!  Post regularly and have fun.

Ask questions.  After all, this is a conversation.  If you do all the talking, you aren’t being very social. Asking questions is a great way to start a conversation.  By asking questions, you will learn more about your customers and learn what interests them.  This can help you when making future posts.

Mix it up.  Share links to relevant material, post photos, videos, testimonials and quotes from industry leaders.  Show your fans and followers love by creating custom content that is exclusively for them. This exclusive content doesn’t have to be a discount or a contest.  It can be as simple as letting your fans and followers be the first know about your latest creation!  Always entertain and educate.

Finally, monitor your posts and duplicate what works.  If a post gets a lot of likes, comments, shares or re-tweets take note and rework it and reuse it.

Let’s stay in touch. Follow me on Facebook  at https://www.facebook.com/TheSocialGloo or on Twitter @LordSocialMedia.

October 21, 2013

When Is The Best Time To Post On Facebook?

This is one of the most common questions I’m asked when discussing the use of Facebook to promote a business. In the past, I would have shared the wisdom I had gained through trial and error and by reading dozens of articles on the subject. The frustrating part to this equation was that some articles would say that their studies showed posting between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm was best. While just a few months earlier the article suggested that posts made in the morning were best. WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?
Well, now thanks to Facebook’s new and improved Insights, there is actual data on when your customers are most likely to be on Facebook. If you have never used Insights, now is the time! There is more data than ever, and now you can actually see when your Fans are online

When Your Fans Are Online
1) Insights is just above your Cover Photo – Click on “See All”
2) Click on the “Post” tab
3) Click on “When Your Fans Are Online”

I think you may be surprised to see when your fans are really online. In the screen capture below you will see that on Friday (blue line) most of my fans are online between noon and 11:00 pm. Yes, there is a little drop in activit
y between 6:00-9:00 pm, but it’s not enough to worry about. (FYI…the shaded area is the average for the whole week.)

Facebook-Insights

How to use Insights

If you’ve never given much thought to when you make your posts, this new data may help to change your mind. Especially when you consider that the average life of a post is less than a couple of hours and most interactions will come in the first hour.
Good luck and happy posting!

June 20, 2013

Increase Your Social Reach With Email / Grow Your Email List With Social Media – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our conversation on email marketing and social media.  Last time, we discussed how to increase your social media reach with email.  In this post, I will be discussing how to grow your email list with your social media.  Please see Part 1 for my explanation on why you should be using an email marketing service like Constant Contact and not Outlook or other email providers for your newsletters.

Let’s acknowledge that all your social media fans and followers probably haven’t subscribed to your newsletter yet.  The good news is services like Constant Contact make it easy for you to add widgets, apps and links to your website, Facebook and other social media platforms.  In Constant Contact, you can go to “Contacts” and select the “Sign-up Tools” tab.  You will be able to select from website sign-up forms, installing a sign-up app on Facebook, creating a “Text-To-Sign-up” for mobile phones and, finally, the very cool custom QR code you can put on store signs and business cards that allows smartphone users to join your email list.  All of these options are free.

For this discussion, we will be selecting the “Install Facebook App.”  Once selected, you will be prompted to install the app on Facebook.  (Please note, you must be an admin of the Facebook page to add the app, and you should be logged in to Facebook.)  If you manage more than one Facebook page, you will select the page you would like the app installed on.  Once the app is installed, go to your Facebook page and make sure it is visible.  It could be hidden because Facebook only shows four tabs or apps. Your tabs are located under your cover photo.  Next to the last tab on the right, you will see a small down arrow…click on it to reveal the other apps.  You can simply rearrange the tabs by mousing over the app to reveal the settings option on the top right of the tab.  Then, just swap your new sign-up tab with one of the tabs on the top.

Now that the tab is installed, click on it to customize it.  You can add your logo and, if you have various email lists, you can offer the choice of which list to sign-up for.  Now your done, right?  No…now you have to get your fans to use this new feature.  I suggest you go ahead an make a post inviting your fans to sign-up.  Be sure to give them a couple of reasons why they should sign-up.  The great thing is you don’t have to giveaway the store…reasons to sign-up don’t have to be monetary.  For example, if you’re a bakery, you could say, “Sign-up for our newsletter right here on Facebook to receive our latest news, how-to’s and baking tips!”  Remember, most of your fans will view your post on their newsfeed.  So, be sure to include the link to the app.  You can find the link url by clicking on the link and copying the link from your browser.  This link may be a little long, so you may want to shorten it by using google’s url shortener.  Now, paste the link into your post and you are good to go!

Over time you will start to see your email list grow as fans discover and use your sign-up form.  Remember to remind them about your form each time you send out a newsletter, and let them know what they are missing by not signing up.

Whenever you send out an email you will want to include the share buttons which allow email recipients to share your newsletter on the their favorite social media platform.  This is why it is also very important to include a “Join Our Email” link in each of your newsletters.

I hope this tips have been helpful. Best of luck marketing your newsletter with social media.

April 2, 2013

Increase Your Social Reach With Email / Grow Your Email List With Social Media – Part 1

I know it’s a long title; but, when you combine email and social media, you get one of the most cost-effective and powerful marketing combinations for business I know of.

Your business may be using one or the other or maybe you are using both email and social media.  However, to really be effective you need to combine them.  If you are having trouble growing your social media, make sure everyone using your company email includes the company’s social media links in their email signature.  This could place your social media links in front of hundreds or thousands of people each month.  If you currently aren’t using an email marketing service like Constant Contact, Vertical Response or MailChimp, I would recommend you look into it.  That being said, let me disclose that I’m a Solution Provider and Authorized Local Expert for Constant Contact, so I will be discussing Constant Contact features in this article.

You may be asking yourself…why do I need an email marketing service?  Can’t I just use my Outlook account to market my business?  Well, let me ask…can you track who opens your emails, who clicks on a link, or who has forwarded or shared your email with a friend?  To sum it up:  measurable results and tracking are the key reasons to use an email marketing service.  After all, don’t you want results you can measure?  Plus, services like Constant Contact have hundreds of templates you can customize  to brand your emails, easily add photos, create coupons, manage several email lists and more.  You can’t do this with Outlook, Gmail or other email providers.  So, if you want to get serious about your online marketing, look into using an email marketing service.

Now that you’ve selected an email service, here is how you can grow your social media presence.  First, create an invitation and invite your contacts to follow and like your business sites.  Be sure to make it simple for them by including your social media links.  Your next step should be to create a good offer for your email readers and then make an exclusive offer, if they like your Facebook page.  You can do this very simply with Constant Contact’s Social Campaigns which will hide the exclusive offer until they like the Facebook page.  Once it is revealed, they can print out the offer to redeem in-store or online.  I’ve worked with accounts that have used this technique and have been very successful increasing the likes to their Facebook page.  Please remember that you should use this technique sparingly and the offer should be of real value.

Next time, we will cover how you can grow your email list using social media.

 

January 20, 2013

Promoting Posts On Facebook!

If you have more than 100 “Likes” on your business Facebook page, you may have noticed that recently a new button has appeared next to the post button that says, “Promote.”   You may be wondering “What it’s for?  And, why should I use it?”

Let me answer those questions in reverse order.  First, why should I use it?  The answer is pretty simple, to reach more of your fans.  Wait a minute!  Don’t you reach all your fans with each post?  The answer to that question is NO!  Facebook limits who sees your post by who has interacted with you in the past.  If your posts are receiving “Likes,” “Shares” and “Comments” regularly, then you could be reaching up to 25% of fans.  If you post once a week or less, very seldom post pictures or videos and have very little fan interaction, then your posts may be displayed to 10% or less of your fans.  It’s easy to see how many people have seen a post if you are the admin.  Just look at the bottom left corner of the post to see that number.  If you fall into the latter category of only posting once a week or less and are not using photos or videos in your posts, I would suggest you change your habits before considering promoting your posts.

Now that you know you aren’t reaching 100% of your fans with each post, the reason for the button makes a little more sense.  For as little as five dollars you can greatly increase the number of “Likes,” “Shares” and “Comments” you receive.  Keep in mind you don’t need to promote every post.

When selecting to promote a post, you will be asked if you would like to promote to “People that like your page” or “People who like your page and their friends.”  At first you would think “Of course I want to promote to people who like my page and their friends.”  Just keep in mind, if your business is limited to a defined geographic area, you may end up with likes from outside your area of business.  While it’s nice to have more likes, it is more important you have likes from fans that will engage with your page.  There is a good chance that people that like your page outside of your geographic area may not engage with your page and, therefore, actually hurt the overall percentage of fans that Facebook displays your posts to.

Give the “Promote” feature a try.  I think you will be please. 

March 8, 2012

Social SEO In 2012

Last night I attended the monthly Atlanta Bloggers MeetUp.  The title of the presentation was What SEO Looks Like In 2012.  I know some of you may think “SEO, how boring” or “SEO, it’s just a bag of tricks the experts use to get their clients on the first page of Google.”  In the past, I would have agreed with you.  But, over the past couple of years, Google has constantly changed the way they rank pages.

Google has remained the #1 search engine because they work every day to analyze what is important to people searching for information on the internet.  In the past, a website provided that information through meta tags, which are keywords that describe what the website was about.  On the surface, that seems to make a lot of sense.  But, let me interject, spammers and CEO’s will do just about anything to get their websites on the first page of Google.  This pressure to be on the first page of results caused some bad practices like using keywords such as Lady Gaga or Kim Kardashian in their meta tags to trick search engines into thinking their website is important and relevant.  And yes, it is sad to say that Lady Gaga and Kim Kardasian are relevant…start typing their names into Google and by the third or fourth letter Google has served up their complete names in the search field.

So, how are search engines like Google now ranking web pages?   Well, the first thing they did was to stop trusting web designers with their coding of meta tag keywords.  Search engines are now looking at the whole website and analyzing it very closely for original content and they look at how often that content changes.  If your website is full of good content that is new and fresh, and the information also matches what is in your meta tags, you will be ranked higher.  Just a quick warning…don’t think you can simply copy and paste new content from another web source to create content on your page.  The search engines see that as plagiarism, and you will receive a lower ranking.

How is “Social” playing into SEO?  One of the best ways to create new content on an on-going basis is to create a blog on your website or, better yet, a separate blog for search engines to reference that is tied back to your website.  Another way would be to build a relevant community on Facebook and Twitter.  Yes, what you say on Facebook and Twitter does matter; not only for your brand, but also as digital footprint that the search engines understand.  None of this happens overnight; and as I said earlier, there is no longer an SEO “Bag of Tricks”…there are now just SEO “Best Practices.” Remember content is King!

I would like to thank Jenny Munn for presentation last night.

Additional Information:  SEO Today How Not To Do It and How To Get The Most From Your Social Media Marketing

Next Time: Story Telling – Facebook Timeline For Business

 

 

February 1, 2012

How Long Does It Take For Social Media To Work? Yes!

All I can say is, the answer is YES!  If you are consistent with your message, you will succeed.  How long will that take?  I can’t say.  I know you hear stories everyday about exceptions to the rule…someone makes a post and it goes viral.  Who knows…that could happen to you; but, let me say, there are millions that feel the same way.  You tell me…who is right?  I will say “Yes!”

What does that mean?  Well, you can succeed with your social media message as long as you are consistent and as long as you stick with it.  Most businesses give up between 60-90 days; but, if you stick it out, you will see results.

I wish I could say it would only take 90 days or 180 days; but, the truth is…there is no way to know when your message will hit critical mass.  However, if you are consistent, you will see results.

Will your phone ring off the hook?  Hopefully, it will.  Will search engines see you as more relevant? Yes, definitely!  As you create more relevant content, search engines will find your business and you will become the expert in your field.

Stay positive and stay consistent!  Oh…and stick with it!!!

October 24, 2011

Who’s Your Social Media Expert?

Well honestly, you have a several choices when it comes to who handles your company’s social media. You can manage it in-house, hire additional staff, hand it over to your Marketing Department or you can out-source it to a company like mine. But for the purpose of this blog, I want to discuss the first option…managing your social media in-house.

You would be amazed how many times I’m told by an owner of a company that they have their social media bases covered. But after a little questioning, it turns out that their social media expert is their receptionist, intern, spouse, son or daughter. After all, anyone can make a Facebook post or write a tweet, right? Now don’t get me wrong, their son or daughter may be a wiz at social media; but, most likely, all they are doing is making posts without any real strategy. Even worse, they may be making some very common social media faux pas. I wish I had a dollar every time one of these so-called experts proudly tells me “Social media is piece of cake.” All they have to do is make a post on Facebook and it will post on Twitter for them. The only thing that is worse is having their Twitter account linked to their Facebook. Please don’t link your accounts. People on Facebook don’t talk the same way as people on Twitter and vice versa. Each social media platform has its own tone, please respect it. And to link your Twitter to your Facebook could damage your relationship with your Facebook fans, if your are posting multiple times a day. Your fans would see your posts as spam and hide you.

Another common mistake I see is no attempt at interaction. It is just post after post of daily or weekly specials. Please, if your going to use social media, BE SOCIAL.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t take an industry RSS feed and link it to your Twitter account. It’s lazy and it just doesn’t work. Today I saw an audiologist’s Twitter feed that has some good information for the hearing-impaired. It also had tweets about congressional hearings and a drunk driver hearing in Florida. This audiologist followed an audiology account that I handle on Twitter. But guess what? I didn’t follow them back because they have nothing to add to the conversation.

Below are some questions you should consider when talking with your social media expert.

1) Have they set-up a custom Welcome Page on Facebook?

2) If you use email marketing, have they made it easy for your Facebook fans and Twitter followers to sign-up for your newsletter?

3) Have they reserved your custom URL on Facebook?

4) Have they created any custom graphics for your Facebook or Twitter accounts?

5) Have they created any custom Facebook apps or run any Facebook polls?

6) When someone makes a comment on Facebook or Twitter, do they respond back or is it a one-way conversation?

7) Do they ask your Fans and Followers questions?

8) What is their social media strategy?