Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Social Media for Businesses Part 2: Facebook for Business

I am completing a three-part series on social media platforms for businesses with one blog for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Welcome to Part 2!

I will be highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook based on my own experience; I do social media marketing for almost ten different companies, so I'll be sure to take the best of the best advice to pass on to you!

I'll start with the advantages that Facebook has for businesses:
1) It's easy to use: Facebook works hard to be user friendly; easy to post, easy to see your analytics, and easy to keep track of customer engagement. They also make business pages similar in format to personal pages so it will seem extra familiar to the regular Facebook user.
2) There is a large number of active users: According to Facebook's website, they have more than a billion monthly active users and 618 million daily active users (as of December 2012). This is a huge market to tap into and you don't want to miss out on it!
3) You can schedule content directly through Facebook: Facebook allows you to schedule posts directly through your business page. It lets you schedule posts up to five months out; posts can have links, pictures, videos, and text built right into them.
4) There are analytics built in: Facebook is constantly changing and updating their internal analytics to give you the best view of your business page as possible. It's very easy to see what kind of content or post does well and which does not.
5) It gives customers multiple ways to interact with you: People that like your page can send you messages, write on your wall, write recommendations, like your posts, share your posts, and comment on your posts. This is a large part of building your brand and gives customers an option of how they want to interact with you.

No social media platform is perfect though! Here are some disadvantages of Facebook for businesses:
1) It's difficult to gain and retain "likes" when first starting: Just like with any business as it starts out, a business facebook struggles to gain "likes" when first beginning (*without the use of promoted posts). A new facebook page will struggle with engagement and interaction as not all of your "likes" will see your posts. Once you gain a larger number of followers, you should see a steady increase of approximately 2-7% new "likes" per month (at least this is my experience).
2) It takes time and hard work to do it right: Although Facebook is free, you have to take into account time and effort spent into growing your Facebook "likes". On top of that, you must learn the difference between running a personal account and a business account.
3) Facebook limits who sees your posts: Not all of your "likes" will see every post. Most of my posts see an average of 30-70% of my total "likes" (Of course some get less and some get more). If you pay attention, you'll notice that Facebook limits certain types of posts (like pictures and certain links) to even fewer of your "likes".
4) Facebook lumps third party posts together and identifies where you post from: Yes you can schedule through Facebook directly, but in addition to that, you can post from many third party applications. These are convenient but can hurt the reach on your posts. Facebook may lump your posts together, may limit who sees posts from certain applications, and also identifies where you are posting from (i.e. Hootsuite, Gremln).

Even with its ups and downs, your business must have a Facebook page. With so many users waiting for you, you must not miss out! You have to use and manage it, but it can do wonders for building your brand and serving as a communication tool for your current and potential customers.

Does your business have a Facebook account? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects?


"Move fast and break things. If you aren't breaking things you aren't moving fast enough."
             ~Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook

See Part 1: Twitter for Business here

Part 3 coming soon: Pinterest for Business

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Social Media for Businesses Part 1: Twitter For Business

I will be doing a three-part series on social media platforms for businesses with one blog for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Welcome to Part 1!

I will be highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Twitter based on my own experience; I do social media marketing for almost ten different companies, so I'll be sure to take the best of the best advice to pass on to you!

I'll start with the advantages that Twitter has for businesses:

1) It's easy to gain followers: In my own experience, I see an average month to month growth of  Twitter followers between +5-20% for the business Twitter accounts. It's easy to gain followers because (usually) when you follow people, they'll follow you back! 

2) Twitter doesn't block your content: Twitter will post everything that you ask it to-whether it's 2 tweets per day or 200. Other social media platforms limit who sees your content based on what they want their users to see.

3) Twitter doesn't block third party post-scheduling apps: Twitter will allow you to post from any third party application (Such as HootSuite and Gremln); it will not block content, nor will it identify where the post is coming from. 

4) It makes you think about what you are going to say: Because tweets are limited to 140 characters, you really are forced to think about what you'll say and how you'll say it best. Messages must be concise and straight to the point-you don't risk boring your followers!

5) Following a brand on Twitter increases likelihood to purchase as well as recommend a brand: According to eMarketer, 37% of respondents are more likely to purchase from a brand after following them on Twitter (this is compared to only 17% that say the same about a brand they like on Facebook). Numbers are about the same when asked if they would recommend a brand.

6) Hashtags make it easy to use Twitter like Google: When using hashtags in tweets, you are making it easier for users to find your content. They can use the search bar to look for words like "marketing" or "twitter" and Twitter will pull up every tweet that has mentioned this word via hashtag for the past forever. This is an added way that new followers can find you and discover your content quickly and easily.

Of course, no social media platform is perfect. Here are what I would call disadvantages about using Twitter for businesses:

1) The half-life of a tweet is only two to three hours: Not only do you have to provide excellent and engaging content all the time; you must be careful about when you post your tweets! After just a few hours, the odds of a user seeing a tweet are minimal. It also means you need to post quite a few times each day to get your content in front of your followers.

2) It's really hard to respond to complaints in a small amount of characters: If a customer provides a long and confusing tweet complaint, you may have to tweet back and forth several times to ask all of the questions you need to. The character limit may also make your tweets sound cold or "canned", which may upset the user further.

3) Customers expect an instant response: Because Twitter is such an instant platform (many users use it as an instant news source), customers have very high expectations of response rates. I've had a user tweet back within just a few hours that they were disappointed that I "never" got back to them. This can, however, be turned into a positive if you have a great social media manager that is on top of responding to tweets coming in.

4) There aren't any analytics built in to Twitter: Yes, there are third party programs that will create analytics for you, but you have to find which one will work for you. Other social media platforms offer analytics for managers within the platform itself for extra convenience.

5) The larger your follower number becomes, the more difficult it is to manage: This is a good problem to have-people like to hear what you have to say-but it makes responding to questions and tweets that come in extremely difficult. This can make engaging with your customers via Twitter tricky.

I believe that no matter how large or how small your business is, you should have a Twitter account! Yes it does take work to do it right, but it can be a great platform to expand the reach of your business and communicate your message with your customers.

Does your business have a Twitter account? What are the advantages and disadvantages you've run into?

See you for Part 2 and Part 3!

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MOpitzMarketing

“Twitter represents a collective collaboration that manifests our ability to unconsciously connect kindred voices through the experiences that move us. As such, Twitter is a human seismograph.” – Brian Solis, Principal of FutureWorks

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Do's and Dont's of Email Marketing

So you're a small business and you want to start an email marketing campaign. You know little about this topic except for you probably open very few of them yourself. So you're asking, how can I run a successful email marketing campaign for my business?

A good place to start is a solid list of Email Marketing Dos:

  • Do: Make sure your message is clear and makes sense
  • Do: Provide value to the reader through interesting, relevant, and current information
  • Do: Update your contact list frequently and correct addresses that come back as undeliverable
  • Do: Design your email newsletter with mobile platforms in mind
  • Do: Mail consistently--most suggest at least one email newsletter every 90 days
  • Do: Use short paragraphs and use things like bullet points or dashes to organize your content
  • Do: Create a solid subject line
  • Do: Let readers know about upcoming events
  • Do: Spell check and proof read for confusing content
  • Do: Provide contact information and links to your social media accounts
  • Do: Include links that direct people to your website
  • Do: Provide readers will an "unsubscribe" link
  • Do: Pick an email marketing platform that best suites your business needs

And another great place to start that pairs well with the first list is a list of Email Marketing Don'ts:

  • Do not: Write subject lines or content in all captial letters
  • Do not: Use hard to read fonts or colors or use a distrtacting background
  • Do not: Mail too frequently
  • Do not: Hide your unsubscribe link
  • Do not: Only talk about your company, your sales, and how awesome you are

Overall, the best way to answer your questions about social media is to try things out and adjust from there depending on what works and doesn't work. Just like social media, there isn't an official list of rules when it comes to email marketing; the rules need to be adjusted to fit the needs and interests of a company and its customers.

Until next time!

“I believe if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions, they will be moved to act.” 
                                                                                                                          ~ Bill Gates

I'd like to thank the following two websites for helping me out with this content!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Difficulties of Real-Time Marketing

Of all things that could happen during a Superbowl that you could possibly be prepared for-injuries, crazy plays, time rivalry-few were ready to react to something as simple as a power outage. Oreo cookie won the fastest-and-most-innovative-response-during-the-Super-Bowl-Blackout prize according to many marketers and judging by its rate of re-tweet (over 10,000 times in the first hour).

This crazy response to such an event spurred a new marketing term: "Real-Time Marketing".  The inevitable need for constant monitoring and virtually instant response is wanted by today's population. With the ease of social media and the usually quick response to a text message, people today strive for immediate gratification for their complaint and even their compliment. 

This is an incredible challenge for marketing and public relations companies. They are now having to adapt to a 24/7 marketing model and act more like a news room than a marketing firm. Usually the lack of staffing or the inability to staff around the clock gets in the way of running this kind of marketing model. 

There have been advancements and tools made to make real-time marketing a little more manageable. Here are just a few that you can use:
  • Facebook allows you to become a manager of as many pages you control. They make it easy to see notifications when you flip between profiles.
  • Applications such as HootSuite, Tweet Deck, and Gremln allow you to manage multiple sites at once and even have "news feeds" right on the pages themselves.
  • Mobile applications for social media platforms such as Facebook, make it easy to access and updates all of the Facebook pages that you manage right from your phone.
  • Social media platforms on their own are information hotbeds, giving virtually real time information updates at the tip of your fingers! Consistent monitoring of news feeds alone will give you updates that you can work off.

There are issues that come with real-time marketing, however. If not done properly, it can lead to negativity about the company or brand that attempted real time data monitoring  If your quick response is not well thought out, has a spelling error or has a failed attempt at humor, among other things, your efforts behind real time marketing will be wasted. Another large issue that comes with social media monitoring is the lack of resources to collect data; these can be items such as a social media management data base, man power needed to gather the data, and the time it takes to sift through the overload of information that exists. 

So, my advice for real-time marketing is to do as much as you can, but in the end remember: if you don't have anything groundbreaking, crafty, and timely to say, then say nothing at all--you will most likely be better off!

Until next time

“It’s less about being real time and more about being predictive. You can plan ahead, to a certain extent and have content and ideas ready to go if and when you can use them.” ~Unknown Advertising Executive