Ok, I have been raving on the benefits of using Facebook for business. Well, some of it is still true. But with recent changes some of the advice and tips given is changing – nearly as fast as Facebook is. The newest thing on Facebook is their TimeLine, which has its good points and bad points. So let’s cover a few of those so you know how it affects you both personally and in your business.
First of all, remember that spat you had with your best friend a month or two ago? With TimeLine, that little argument might show up on your Wall again. The things you thought were buried in the jumble of new posts from your friends might pop up again in your TimeLine, which is basically a chronological history of your Facebook history. This could be good for your business in bringing up your branding information, but bad if you have a history of complaints against your business. Think back to what your status was a month ago, and what comments, “likes,” and “unlikes” you got. Those all could come back to either help you or haunt you.
The other part of this major change is that Facebook basically takes over your internet experience, allowing you to add apps that are approved by Facebook, and putting your “inside the box.” The good news for your business is that there are 800,000,000 users on Facebook. Targeting them for your business, however, is not going to be that easy.
The main take on this update is that you need to be careful of the apps you add, since everyone can see and access them from your TimeLine. Be careful who you add as a “friend,” since that will also be made public, and double-check your privacy settings in order to protect your business. Otherwise, once all of us get used to this change, we’ll be just fine.
Let’s face it – Facebook is literally in our faces every day! The site has grown from a clique of friends to a world-wide social media site in a relatively short period of time. There are about 250 million people on Facebook, with the numbers growing each day. If you are running a business, can you see the potential in that number? Of course you can. It’s no secret that a lot of business are now using Facebook as part of their social marketing strategy. And why shouldn’t they? People are always hungry for good deals.
But there are things that Facebook can and cannot do for you. In planning to use this social service in your marketing strategy, it’s important to know this in order to get the most benefit out of the site.
The biggest thing that Facebook can do for you is in branding. Getting your brand known to a network of people is a big step in growing your business. It also involves building trust and a business reputation. If your business supports a worthy cause, post it on your Fan Page or as a status. Facebook is great for raising community consciousness on causes. While you are at it, you can slip in a product that relates to the cause. For example, donate a certain percentage of sale proceeds to the cause the mentioned. This is a win-win situation for your business. Not only do you move your products with a bit of profit, but you also benefit the cause you posted about.
What Facebook does not do all that well is allow for direct sales. And quite frankly, you shouldn’t even bother trying it there. It’s ok to describe your products, but the closer should be on your web site, and not on your Facebook network. Don’t add a “buy here now” button that takes people away from Facebook. Instead (in the case of a worthy cause) add a link to your site that shows the amount of current profit that goes to the cause with an option to shop more if you have other products.
Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication (depending on who you talk to) is a really simple way to increase traffic to your blog or web site. Basically, they are files that are submitted to a feed directory and sent to your readers in a short time. This allows subscribers to your RSS feed to see your content quickly, quite often in 30 minutes or less.
What this means to you is that your RSS feed makes it easy for subscribers to add your links into their own web sites or blogs. When they see your content and find it worthy of sharing (and let’s hope that it is!), they will include your link as information that is relevant to their own, increasing traffic to your web site.
Although it is preferable that your loyal readers return to your site frequently for updates, some people miss new content or get tired of visiting all of their favorite sites to get what they want. Getting your content via your RSS feed allows them to get your updates on the fly, prompting them to revisit your site and share it with their friends. If your feed includes the addition of new products or sale price, you can increase your sales by letting your subscribers know about them.
Of course, it goes without saying the keeper fresh content on your web site or blog is must, it’s also important that the content be entertaining and useful. Visitors will not subscribe to RSS feeds that will send them poor content. With the wide array of media choices today, there are a lot of ways to add purpose and entertainment value to your feed. Technology is changing all the time, and a lot of internet users can receive your RSS feed on their mobile devices. This allows you to create your stream of income no matter where your subscribers are.
You can do everything perfectly in social media marketing, and you know that your strategy is becoming successful. But how successful is it really? It can be difficult for small businesses to track their social media marketing efforts, but is it necessary in order to maintain the success that you have built. There are some tools that can help you get on the right path.
TwentyFeet is a service that aggregates all of your social media statistics in one place, making it easier to compare them to see which ones are the most effective. For example, it can tell you if your Twitter account is doing as well as your Facebook account, or whether it is worth your time and effort to post video ads on YouTube. One nice thing about TwentyFeet is that it notices a change in your metrics, you will be notified.
Ice Rocket is a social media search engine that lets you search for any phrase. For example, you can search Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and news for your brand or product. If you search Twitter results, you can see who tweeted back to a message, how many followers that user has, and the age of the tweet. Using this tool helps you to determine where your social marketing efforts should be concentrated, and which ones are less effective.
Sysmos offers a set of tools that let you listen in on social conversations from blogs and other social media. It also allows you to track campaigns in real-time to find conversations and influencers to build your social networks. Sysmos Audience gives you the metrics to measure your social media ROI in order to maintain your marketing budget and get the most out of your social media marketing dollars.
There are other tools that can help, too. Some are free to use, and will put you a step above your competition.
It is no surprise that a lot of people depend on the internet for a lot of things. Everything from research for a child’s homework to finding a reliable contractor for home improvement can be found. Even obscure trivia facts like whether the Koala Bear is really a bear are researched. (By the way, the Koala Bear is a marcupial native to Australia. It is not a bear.) So it comes as no surprise that a lot of people use their internet time on social media sites. This offers businesses an opportunity they did not have in years past.
Social media allows people to connect with each other, following current (real-time) events and happenings. Even the smallest things are broadcast, allowing people to see the events on their PC, mobile phones, and other mobile media. With advancements in technology hitting the market almost daily, businesses are starting to see opportunities to benefit them with the advancements as well.
While people are out and about on their mobile devices, they are also doing some shopping and sharing the good deals they find with their friends and relatives. If your business is taking advantage of social media to post your “right now” sales, you could be expanding your business with the stroke of a few keys. Technology can do that for you. With more and more businesses getting into the social media loop, it’s important to get going in that marketing arena now in order to reap the benefits. Your business can increase the customer base pretty rapidly when people spread the word through their web of friends, and their friends sending to their friends, and so on. Your business should never under-estimate the power of “word-of-mouth” advertising even if it is through a cell phone or a computer keyboard.