Companies have been debating how to determine the value of a social media contact for years. Today, I’d like to specifically discuss how you can determine the value of a Facebook fan.
Kudos to Ryan Rasmussen for bringing up this subject. Rasmussen states succinctly:
Instead of using an approximate static value of a fan (e.g., $10 per fan, on average, as SocialCode concluded in 2011), it proves the effective value of your program and the unique value of your particular customer segment in taking an action or adopting an attitude that can be tracked back to sales.
In other words, if contact with a Facebook fan doesn’t lead to a sale, then there is really no value in that fan.
Don’t take that to mean that the fan herself must be the one buying your product. The fan could share a piece of your content with her network of friends, and if that leads to you getting another fan or two who purchase your product, the sharing fan proves her value. Is it much? It depends. Do her referrals purchase often, and do they purchase a lot?
I agree that Facebook fans should not be given a blanket static value. This is arbitrary and doesn’t give a true picture of your Facebook marketing efforts.
When it comes to determining value, think a little deeper. Don’t just look at the surface.
Jeremy Page shares his insights into marketing on Instagram in only five minutes a day at Search Engine Journal. More interesting to me is that his strategy uses hashtags.
Hashtags have become a de facto social media organizing tool. They started on Twitter. You can even search Twitter hashtags at Hashtags.org.
Over the past year, hashtags have become regular use on Google+, Facebook, and Instagram.
While this doesn’t exactly spell ubiquity, it does say something about the growing popularity of hashtags. It’s entirely possible that hashtags could become the Internet’s social organizational tool and may even be indexed through a dedicated search channel in the search engines. Just as Google has search channels for News, Blogs, Videos, and other verticals, it’s possible that search engines could develop a vertical for hashtags.
I’m not saying that will happen, but it could. Hashtags are becoming, more and more, a way for people to catalog their information and a way for them to follow and find information that is important to a large cross-section of people with something in common.
How do you use hashtags? Are they important to you? Do you use the same hashtags across several social media platforms or do you create unique hashtags for each platform? What are your thoughts about the future of hashtags?
Facebook post embedding is soon coming your way. And I can’t say it isn’t soon enough. It makes me wonder why Facebook hasn’t allowed this before.
You’ll often see with online Web properties, especially once they become popular, that changes come a bit slowly, but when they do come they come with a fierce vengeance. I fully expect that the Facebook embed posts will become a very popular feature very quickly. As many people who use Facebook for promoting their blog posts, you know this feature will be put to some good use all over the Web.
Unfortunately, as of right now, the embed feature is not available to everyone. But I can hardly wait.
According to a Mashable article, only a handful of news organizations currently have the ability to embed Facebook posts. These include:
- The Huffington Post
- Bleacher Report
- People Magazine
Embeds will also make use of hashtags, which allow journalists and bloggers to track specific conversations the way they do on Twitter.
Surprisingly, 72% of Facebook users set their posts to private, but in order to be embeddable, a post has to be set to public. I don’t think this will hurt Facebook at all. Journalists, news organizations, and others in the communications business, even businesses, are going to set their posts to public. Private posters aren’t generally posting information that anyone would want to embed, with only a few exceptions.
What do you think? Will this make Facebook posting more or less valuable from a social media marketing standpoint?
Jill Konrath and Ardath Albee released an e-book based on a survey of LinkedIn users and their conclusion is that top LinkedIn sellers view the social network as essential to their marketing efforts. “Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code” shares some insightful statistics about how these top sellers use LinkedIn to nurture prospects and build their businesses.
Konrath and Ardath share five key findings in their report:
- LinkedIn “contributes” to opportunity creation.
- The most frequent LinkedIn activity is prospect research.
- Top sellers use more of LinkedIn’s capabilities than other users.
- Top sellers also pay close attention to their professional “presence” on LinkedIn.
- The biggest obstacle to using LinkedIn effectively is knowledge of its capabilities.
It is clear after reading the report that top sellers on LinkedIn have a completely different mindset than average users. They frequently close more sales than the average user and find more qualified prospects too. In other words, they actually have a LinkedIn strategy.
Konrath and Albee are careful to note, however, that merely using LinkedIn the same way that top sellers do won’t guarantee sales success. Putting in the time doesn’t translate into sales (BTW, top sellers spend 6 hours or more a week on LinkedIn).
When you consider that in a typical 5 day work week a power user will spend 1-1/4 hours per day on LinkedIn and contribute to 30 or more LinkedIn groups, then it’s clear that top sellers are people who are active on LinkedIn. It makes me wonder if they are active on other social networks too.
What do you think? Are you using LinkedIn like a top seller/power user?
I like how Jon Morris tells this story. While he offers several “key takeaways,” for me there is one really BIG key takeaway.
In his words, he shares
Provide your influencer with exclusivity in viewing and sharing your personalized content. Allowing them to create the first surge of the sharing wave will help reinforce that they are an extremely valuable, important part in the process. But don’t rely on them for everything — have a two-pronged approach and invest in link building efforts to compliment the awesomizer’s reach.
Jon came to this revelation by experimenting with an infographic, which he created specifically for a Twitter power user to whom he gave exclusive rights to with no expectation of return. The risk paid off.
I like this strategy.
You don’t always have to be first to share your own content. In Jon’s case, he could have published his own infographic, but would it have gained the same amount of attention as the one he created for his Twitter pal? Not likely.
When he offered exclusivity to Travis on Twitter, he essentially allowed the power user to get the glory that comes with sharing something great with your audience. Travis, however, paid it back and passed that glory on to Jon and his team. When you pay it forward, good things happen to you.
Lesson to learn: You don’t always have to be first to share your own content.
Marketing on Facebook is an art, not a science. People will follow your business page, but they want it to be entertaining and engaging. They want something more than a little self-promotion. They want a page that acts like a community. They’re OK with your central control over the content as long as fans feel like they are a part of your community.
Here are 5 ways to spruce up your Facebook business page and keep your fans happy.
- Talk about other people. A lot. Don’t make your page all about you. Talk about your customers, your business partners, even your competition. Just don’t talk about yourself all the time.
- Post videos. People like images. They love moving images even better. You don’t have to post a video every day, but you can post one once a week. Less, if you want. But videos are powerful ways to communicate a message, and if you have the resources to produce high quality videos, they will work hard to promote your brand.
- Post about something else. I wouldn’t advise you to go off topic with every Facebook post, but you can do it once in awhile. People want to see your personality. They want to see the personality of the person running your Facebook page. So give them what they want. Post off-topic content every now and then, but keep it professional.
- Make unforgettable offers. Businesses offer discounts and run promotions. You can do that on your Facebook page. Of course, you can run general business promotions, but do something special for your Facebook fans. Offer a Facebook-only promotion.
- Tell stories. People love stories. Have your customers share their stories about using your product or service. Talk about events that have happened around your brand. Tell stories, and make them interesting.
When it comes to social media marketing, your Facebook page is one piece of the puzzle. Use it well and it will pay you back.
Going viral can be a lot of fun, and for a business it can be really profitable. But at what cost?
One fan wasn’t doing it for the business, but he went viral in a very un-recommended way. @MasoneDylan posted on Twitter that he’d run across the field at the Major League Baseball All-Star game if he got 1,000 retweets. He ended up getting 3,552.
Now, I have to ask this question: What would you do for 1,000 retweets?
Keep in mind that a retweet doesn’t necessarily mean more money in your pocket. Those social media users may never visit your website and may never buy your widget. But you’d get a lot of publicity, especially if you do something stupid like interrupt a professional sporting event.
Some people get desperate for attention. Business owners are not immune to it either. Be sure, before you do something risky, that you stand at least a good chance of seeing positive results from your crazy antics. It’s OK to do something wild from time to time as long as you don’t endanger people’s lives and you don’t end up ruining your reputation. These kinds of antics are a risk.
If you want to go viral, think a little on the crazy side, but stay away from the stupid side.
This is perhaps the greatest social media blunder in history.
MySpace decided to change directions – again – and when they did they closed off some features to users and deleted all of their old information. And what did they apologize for? A MySpace with limited features.
I don’t know about you, but that just doesn’t seem right.
Imagine going to Facebook and being told that all the posts, comments, photos, videos, and everything you’ve ever done on Facebook is gone. Kaput. Finis. You can’t get access to it, and you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to get it back. But Facebook apologizes for redesigning the site so you can’t create groups any more. Would that tick you off?
This little social experiment by MySpace should tell you one thing: You need to start saving all of your Facebook data.
In fact, you should backup all of your social media data every so often just in case your favorite social media website decides to follow MySpace’s lead. I think Cynthia Boris makes a valid point when she says
we don’t own our space in social media, we’re only renting.
If you thought otherwise, sorry to disappoint you. The social media services may claim that you own your own data, but if they can delete it at any time and not give you access to it, then does it do you any good to own it? Take some good advice. Do your own backups.
How many times have you said, “Facebook doesn’t support hashtags?” Probably a lot because a lot of people have been using hashtags on Facebook for at least a year now, and Facebook hasn’t supported them. Now, however, if you say Facebook doesn’t support hashtags, you’ll be wrong.
They started supporting hashtags yesterday.
From the announcement:
Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.
Whether you’ve wanted Facebook to support hashtags or not, you can now do some of the things that you’ve been able to do on Twitter, Google+, and other social media sites, such as:
- Search for a specific hashtag from your search bar.
- Click on hashtags that originate on other services.
- Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results.
So, will this make your Facebook experience any richer? I’m guessing, if you like hashtags, then it very well could. One feature I like is being able to click a hashtag that originated elsewhere and seeing the stream. I did this just to test it and was able to click the results and go to all sorts of places – Amazon, personal blogs, Q&A sites, and more. I guess it works.
One of the latest developments for website design is responsive design. This is a term that is used to describe a website that is accessible from any device and allows the user to experience the website whether viewing it from a desktop machine, a laptop, a mobile phone, a tablet, or some other device. The website responds to the device it is being viewed from.
Responsive web design is about more than simple accessibility. It also has some SEO benefits.
For instance, responsive websites eliminate the duplicate content issue. If you have a website in HTML that was designed for computers and a separate website that was designed for mobile devices, you’ll either have to rewrite the content for the second site or potentially deal with duplicate content issues in the search engines. There’s no way around it. Even if your mobile site is a subdomain of your main site, you’ll have to face the duplicate content monster.
You also only have to do SEO on one site. If you have two sites, that’s twice the SEO work.
Thirdly, if you have a traditional website and a mobile website, then you’ll have to build links to both sites. Link building is a time consuming activity. You will most certainly duplicate your efforts in social media promotion and other link building activities if you have a dedicated mobile website.
Going forward, responsive website design is going to be one of the most important trends for website development.
If you use Pinterest, you probably want to know what kind of images get repinned the most. This article discusses that.
In summary, images that get repinned the most at Pinterest include:
- Reddish-orange images. In fact, they are repinned twice as often as blue images.
- Multiple dominant colors. Images with multiple dominant colors get repinned 3.25 times more often than single dominant color images.
- Medium light images. These images are repinned 20 times more than very dark images. I have no doubt. A quick look at the two images on display should tell you why.
- Vertical images. Here’s an interesting one not related to color. Vertical images between a 2.3 and 4.5 ratio get repinned 60% more than very tall images.
- Images without background. Images with less than 10% background get repinned 2-4 times more than images with more than 40% background.
- Brand images without faces. This one is the most surprising statistic of all: Brand images without faces are repinned 23% more often than images with faces. How often have you heard that faces in photos is a good thing? Evidently, not on Pinterest.
If you’re going to use a social media site – any social media site – then it helps to understand what works and what doesn’t work there. This article should give you some insight into what Pinterest users like.
You’ve spent hours upon hours of time pushing your content through social media channels and analyzing the results. You get lots of traffic to your website only to see it bounce and go somewhere else. Is this how social media is suppose to work, or are you doing something wrong?
Traffic generation is good. I’m glad you are able to attract visitors to your website, but is your traffic targeted?
It’s better to get 100 highly targeted users to your website than to attract 1,000 non-targeted users. The targeted users are more likely to stick around and check out your content, maybe even buy something. Non-targeted users are more likely to go somewhere else.
It’s important to realize that just because you have a social media presence doesn’t obligate anyone to show up at your business website. People aren’t going to do that. But they will visit your website, and even buy something, if you have what they need.
Social media marketing is not about attracting the highest number of website visitors. It’s about attracting the right website visitors. If you aren’t doing that, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your social content and see if it’s doing the job you want it to do. You’ll get a higher click-through rate and more conversions if you focus on the traffic you want rather than the traffic you can scrounge.
Social media has become the big gorilla of online marketing. Unfortunately, it isn’t the panacea that a lot of hype makes it out to be. It can, though, be very rewarding if you work it the right way.
I’m not going to tell you which social media websites to be on. Instead, I’m going to tell you how to make the most of the websites you are on, and what to do if you are posting to certain social media networks. Here are three ways to improve your social media marketing experience.
- Be an authority and seek out relationships with other authorities. If you are not a highly respected authority, then you are second rate. That’s the taxonomy of the Web. So how do you do that? One very important way is to seek relationships with other authorities in your niche. If they follow you and share your content, then the search engines will like you better.
- Implement Google Authorship. Just by adding the Rel=Author code, along with an image and your byline, to your content, you are telling Google that your content is trustworthy. Trust is very important online. If your content can’t be trusted, then it won’t be ranked by the search engines and no one will find it. Google Authorship helps you do that better.
- Add A Twitter Card to your tweets. This is a fairly new tool for Twitter users. If you aren’t on Twitter, don’t worry about it (whether you should be on Twitter is another story). Twitter cards make your tweets more trustworthy. Untrustworthy content doesn’t get shared.
There you have it. Here are three ways to improve your social media marketing campaigns right now. Today.
I’m surprised that the number of small business owners who see value in Google is so low. But I think Frank Reed’s analysis is pretty sound. This is likely based on most small businesses having no clue what Google+ is.
Sadly though it goes even deeper because most don’t even have the knowledge of what Google+ is and why it can be valuable. Simply knowing what they are missing is the first step.
I disagree that Google+ is more valuable to large businesses than small businesses. That may not be what Frank Reed is saying, but it appears to be the case. This:
I would posit that Google+ is truly valuable to larger businesses. Why? Because they have the resources to take advantage of what Google+ offers a business in terms of its SEO efforts.
coupled with this:
But optimizing your Google+ presence requires the usual resources that most SMB’s struggle with which is people, time and money. SMB’s often don’t do what many see as what is best for them in marketing because they simply don’t have these resources.
is what I’m basing that on.
I do agree that Google needs to target agencies like Reciprocal Consulting. These agencies are the conduit between the small business owner and Google as search engine and Web portal. Google+ is a social network, but it is more than a social network. It isn’t Facebook or LinkedIn. There is an additional element of search that I think is lost on most small business owners.
So what’s that mean? I think it means that agencies also need to help small business owners understand the benefits of Google+. Those benefits are something akin to social + search. Even then, I’m not sure that gets to the heart of it.
You can’t hardly turn the TV on any more without hearing a tweet mentioned or see a Twitter account plugged. Major news outlets have Twitter accounts, and news is often first announced on Twitter. But that’s not enough for Twitter. They want to push further.
Twitter Amplify is Twitter’s advertising program, and they’ve announced some new partners:
- A&E (@AETV)
- Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV)
- Clear Channel (@ClearChannel)
- Conde Nast (@CondeNastCorp)
- Discovery (@Discovery)
- Major League Baseball (@mlbdotcom)
- National Cinemedia (@NCMonline)
- New York Magazine (@NYMag)
- PGA Tour (@PGATOUR)
- PMC (@Variety)
- Time Inc. (@Time_Inc)
- VEVO (@VEVO)
- Warner Music (@warnermusic)
- WWE (@WWE)
- VICE (@VICE)
Twitter calls these partnerships two-screen partnerships. Brands promote themselves through Promoted Tweets to remind viewers to tune into their TVs at the appropriate times to view their favorite shows and programming. And then the shows often tweet during the airings as well as immediately before and after.
Everything from news programs to sports can be seen on Twitter’s new Amplify.
So how can you turn this into a marketing opportunity for your business? You could contact Twitter and ask how you can participate in the Twitter Amplify program. If it works out, you could expand your audience and reach new people through Twitter and your TV screen.
According to Constant Contact, LinkedIn is getting more graphic. This is a good deal for LinkedIn users, and if you’ve stayed away from LinkedIn because it was boring and didn’t seem to offer the same bells and whistles that other social media sites were offering, now you can jump on the LinkedIn bandwagon.
What makes this exciting is you’ll be able to upload videos, images, photos, and other graphics to each section of your LinkedIn profile. That will make your profile a graphic depiction of your resume and life right off the bat.
Savvy Internet marketing experts know that visuals keep people returning to your website and are more likely to convert once they are there. It’s been that way for years. So this new development at LinkedIn plays right into the knowledge and information that professional online marketers have been operating on for a decade, at least.
LinkedIn has been used primarily as an online resume service. Now, your resume just got a lot more graphic. But I also think the added visuals will turn LinkedIn into more than just a place to post your resume.
What do you think? Is this good for LinkedIn? Is it good for LinkedIn users?
For most of Internet marketing history, search engines were the place people found information online. Content was king, and by “content” it was meant text. Then came along social media. There was Friendster and MySpace. Then, YouTube and Facebook took over. Flickr allowed people to store and share photos – and still does. Then something else happened.
Mobile phones became popular. Then smartphones. People were taking photos with their phones. And sharing them online. Pinterest hit the scene followed by other image-rich social media platforms. Now, it seems, images are taking over.
A recent article at Wired highlights the move toward image-based marketing. And the truth is, this trend is growing.
It makes sense. People want to see items before they purchase them. That was the premise behind the old Sears and J.C. Penney catalogs. If you’re old enough to remember those, then you know what I’m talking about. Modern websites like Pinterest are the catalogs of our day. They allow people to see a product before they buy it.
That doesn’t mean that search engines will go away. Actually, it’s probable that search engines will find a way to adapt to this new trend and create new algorithms to help people find the images that lead to greater online commerce. Such a move would only benefit them while also benefiting searchers. One thing remains sure, however. Images are becoming a lot more important for online marketing. No one can ignore that.
Is your content shareable? How do you know?
Creating content that is shareable is no easy task. There’s no magic trick either. It’s a strategy more than anything. You should consider how your content can best be shared before you create it. Don’t create it then wonder how you will share it.
The most important consideration in any piece of content is this: Does it make an emotional connection?
You have to connect with your intended readership. Pull on their heart strings. That doesn’t mean you should resort to sentimentality. What it does mean is you should let them know you are human, and don’t be afraid to address your topic from a real human need.
This can best be done if you put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What do they want? Answer that question and half the battle is won.
One effective way to appeal to emotions is to use humor. Keep it clean, but don’t be afraid to make your audience laugh. Laughter is great medicine. It also has a strong emotional appeal. People will remember you and they’ll want to spend more time on your website.
Nostalgia is another way to appeal to emotions. “Remember when …” posts are powerful because it puts people in a time and place that they remember fondly. If you can do that, then you can make a connection.
Remember, people make buying decisions emotionally. They also make sharing decisions emotionally. If you appeal to their sense of humanity, then you can get your content spread more widely.
There is a new art form, and a new marketing strategy, that involves using a variety of media to tell separate stories of the same characters or worlds. It’s called transmedia storytelling.
Transmedia storytelling is different than cross-media storytelling. With cross-media, you are telling the same story. With transmedia storytelling, you are telling separate stories of the same characters that run parallel. Many new entertainment brands are using transmedia storytelling by incorporating the following media to present worlds in different ways:
- Social media
- Mobile apps
- And more
The big question is how can businesses take the principles of transmedia storytelling and apply them to marketing and branding?
Like a lot of things, there’s not just one way to do it. But it takes some creativity and thinking outside of the box to pull it off.
For instance, why not create a character or mascot that represents your business? Then you can give that character a voice by choosing someone to play that character in a series of entertainment videos where your brand, product, market niche, or customer need is the central message.
Next, set up a Twitter account where you tweet in the voice of the character.
Make your mascot the central character in an e-book.
Blog in that character’s voice daily.
When you go about these ordinary marketing activities, be sure that you are adding value to your audience’s lives. Entertain them while you inform them. Make it fun.
I’m going to assume for the purpose of this blog post that you already have a website, you’ve done the right keyword research for your online marketing plan, and you have already established a marketing plan and budget. You are ready to begin the implementation phase. How should you start your blog?
I’d recommend with starting an editorial calendar. Begin your calendar with the first day of next month. You want to give yourself a little lead time.
Plan to post two days a week the first month. Pick the days and put them on your calendar. For each blog post on the calendar, pick a keyword from your list and write a blog post for that day. Write the entire first month’s blog posts and then schedule them to post on the appropriate days. WordPress makes this easy.
During that first month, you want to monitor your analytics. How much traffic are you getting, where is it coming from, and how long are people staying on your site?
Also, each time one of your blog posts goes live, share it to social media.
During that first publishing month you’ll want to plan the next month’s posts. It’s a good idea to have your publishing schedule completed before the 15th of the previous month. This time, plan to post three days a week. Write your posts and pre-schedule them. Monitor analytics.
Before the halfway mark of the second publishing month, have your posts for the third month planned. This time, plan to post five days a week. If you are a service business open Monday through Friday, post on those days. If you are open on weekends, post on your five busiest days, or the days that make the most sense for your business.
This is your first three months of posting. Continue sharing your blog posts on social media and monitor your analytics.