Archive for January, 2012

Business Facebook Pages

by Ryan Grassie - Jan. 23, 2012 at 3:19pm

Facebook Pages are different than profiles. You have a profile for you, Joe Dirt, but your business can’t have a profile — it can have a Page. A Page is a place to house all the pertinent information about your company. They’re so useful because you can include everything that relates to your business in one place with a built-in potential audience:

  • Overview of company
  • Website and contact info
  • Press releases
  • Videos
  • Blog RSS
  • Twitter updates
  • Company news and status
  • Customer interaction

Setting Up Your Page

Once you’ve logged in to Facebook, scroll to the bottom and click on Advertising. Then click Pages and Create a Page. Select the type of business you own and start filling in all the details. The more info you add, the better your page will be (and remember: Google thinks highly of Facebook in its search engine results).

Make sure to include your company logo, any RSS blog feeds that are relevant, videos, images — the whole nine yards. Once you’re satisfied with the Page, publish it, then get ready to dive into promotion.

Enhance Your Page with Apps

You can also enhance your Facebook Page by adding applications to it. Apps add particular functions to your page, such as drawing in your blog’s RSS feed (the Social RSS app is a good example of this) or YouTube videos. They are a great way to further engage visitors to your Page and provide them reason to come back, and there are hundreds of apps designed to help you do business better on Facebook.

Another option you have is to internally develop a new app. Pizza Hut’s Order App which allowed fans to order their pizzas directly through Facebook was a huge hit, for example. Red Bull has a custom application on its Page that pulls in Twitter updates from all of the athletes they sponsor. Developing a custom app for your Facebook Fan Page can be pricey, but if you can afford it or have in-house development talent that can get the job done, it can be very rewarding.

Promoting a Page

The tricky thing about Facebook Pages is that you can’t friend someone the way you can from your profile. People can elect to become fans of your Page, but only if they know about it. So you’ve got to spread the word organically (and keep doing it) to introduce people to your Page and to your company.

First identify contacts from your profile that are either business connections, people working in a field related to your business, or who would otherwise benefit from the information your company provides, and invite them to become a fan of the Page. Send a short note explaining what you want to offer from the Page (remember, people are thinking “what’s in it for me?”) and include a link to the Page.

You should also promote your Page elsewhere online by putting a Facebook Page button on your website to help others find it, spreading the word on Twitter if you’re there (and you should be), sending out an email notification, or putting a link on your business cards. Do whatever it takes to help people know that you’re on Facebook and you want them to become a part of your community.

Get the Most Out of Your Page

If you’ve got a brand that already has a strong following like Zappos.com or True Lemon, a Facebook Page can be a great way to launch a community. Encourage discussion among fans by asking questions like: “what’s your favorite product?” or “what could we do to improve our product?” Post updates weekly, if not daily and point your fans to any off-site promotions, such as giveaways hosted on different web sites.

And keep it fun! Nobody likes straight up business all the time! Zappos, for example, has crazy videos and posts that aren’t related to shoes, which is why their fan base is well over 21,000.

It will take time to build your fan base, so remember to keep sending out invites to new contacts asking if they want to become a fan of your business Page. Constantly promote the Page in any way possible, and keep your content fresh — give people a reason to check in on your page regularly.

Check your analytics: before long you should see a large portion of your website’s referrals coming from Facebook!

Wrapping it Up

Your Facebook efforts will be ongoing, so plan to dedicate a few hours each week to getting new fans and updating content. You’ll quickly appreciate the instant ability to connect with customers and future customers through this social media tool!

To Wrap, or Not to Wrap?

by Ryan Grassie - Jan. 19, 2012 at 4:00am

You see them everywhere…trucks with construction company logos, vans with florists names on them, hummers with martial arts training studios, and everything else you can think of. Is it worth it? What are the pros vs. cons and what are the costs?

When you compare vehicle wraps to other forms of advertising you can make a great case for it. Depending on how often and where you drive you can potentially be getting a lot of brand awareness from your vehicle wrap. Seeing as the cost is anywhere from a grand to about four depending on how you do it (full vs partial wrap or decals) it is inexpensive compared to most print campaigns.

It makes it much easier to write off your vehicle milage (you can send a picture of it to the tax man if he doesn’t believe you). You can gain brand awareness in your local area very quickly from people noticing your vehicle. It also works as a great conversation starter when parking around town. Keep lots of cards in your glove box!

The key is getting a good design that both looks good on your vehicle and stays on brand.

The only downside I can see is that once you get a wrap done you will need to spend more time keeping your vehicle clean. You are also always a company rep when in the vehicle so road rage and aggressive driving must be kept in check.

So in conclusion if you drive around enough and can shell out for a good design it may be worth making part of your marketing mix.

8 Ways to Make Your Website More Social

by Ryan Grassie - Jan. 18, 2012 at 5:55am

Many companies in 2012 are trying to build more of a social buzz around their brands.  There are many solutions you can implement to make your website more social and engaging for your users.

1. Use Share Buttons to Spread Content

Using content-sharing buttons such as the “Facebook Share” or “Twitter Tweet This” buttons, visitors can post your content on their networks, encouraging their friends to visit your website. Put the share buttons on all blog posts, articles, photos or videos that are posted to your website.

2. Feature Social Links on Homepage

Place your social icons somewhere on the homepage where it’s prominent and easy for visitors to find. Don’t bury your social links on subpages within the website. It will encourage them to become a fan of your pages.

3. Allow Users to Login Through Social Networks

If you allow users to log in and interact with your site using plug-ins like Facebook Connect, then any activity will be automatically published back to that users’ social channel, encouraging their friends to engage with your website as well.

4. Embed Videos Using YouTube Player

Add a YouTube player to your website so you can create a presence on YouTube in conjunction with adding video content to your website. YouTube recently released the new playlist player, which is meant to display a series of videos from the same player. Video is a great way to keep your visitors engaged and the player is easy to manage directly from your YouTube account.

5. Install a Floating Social Bar

Remind visitors to become a fan of your page by installing a floating social bar to your website that stays with the user as they browse your content.

6. Stream Social Updates

Use the twitter widget and Facebook stream plugin to allow visitors of your site to view your social updates directly from your website. This might encourage them to fan your pages if they happen to see a tweet or status update that interests them.

7. Encourage Users to Submit Content

Keeping a website full of engaging content is time-consuming and difficult with limited resources. One solution is to ask users to submit content to your social channels that you can then feature on your website. This could lead to improved thought leadership and brand recognition for your company.

8. Connect Your Blog to the Website

Make sure your blog is fully integrated with your website so it can rank on fresh content posted to your blog. This helps with search engine optimization (SEO) and draws traffic to your website. Use keyphrase focused blog tags and categories to improve visibility and search engine rankings. Enable blog commenting as well using the social plugins mentioned above.

The Effectiveness of Social Engagement

Google recently announced Social Engagement Reports available through Google Analytics, which can measure the effectiveness of your website’s social engagement. The reports will help you analyze the sharing and social activity on your website including the information on any new Google+ interactions that occur on your website.

With search engine optimization constantly changing and social media continuing to become a large part of marketing, it’s important to build a social corporate web presence on your website so that you are positioned for better rankings, more social activity and potential leads.