Is Facebook the best fit for your business & how to promote your product through blogs & non-promotional posts?
While the “rules” for promotional B2B activity on Facebook change more frequently than the Yahoo! logo design, Google algorithms, iPhones, or American’s hip sizes around the holidays… It is important to keep up with these changes to protect your company’s social media efforts on Facebook from being penalized.
So, how can my business get penalized on Facebook? Facebook recently announced that the networking giant can penalize post boosts that are too “promotional” as of last week. It’s not always clear as to what is “too promotional” but the decision was based on a survey determining that most Facebook users prefer to see stories and friend updates in their newsfeed rather than what Facebook deems product pushing.
According to www.SocialMediopolis.com, Facebook promotional regulations can best be defined as any of the following:
- – Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- – Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- – Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
An excellent article on Jon Loomer’s blog used a great example of what Facebook will consider too promotional:
After reading what they determine is “promotional” it’s clear that businesses with Facebook groups or pages should stick to boosting articles of interest that lead the reader back to your website or Facebook page. This is just another reason why frequent blogging and content creation is such an important aspect of your branding. A recent survey published by www.hubspot.com found that blogging is a vital part of lead generation.
How can blogging benefit sales leads and keep your company from being penalized on Facebook?
By pushing your blogs that are educational and timely to your readers (this does not include transparent product or service pitches in the form of a blog), you can reach your social following and also increase engagement. Below are some recent stats collected from www.hubspot.com.
- Companies that blog have 97% more inbound leads than companies that don’t
- 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog
- 81% of marketers rated their blog as useful or better
- 57% of US online adults read blogs
- 97% more inbound links for companies that blog
- Two-thirds of blog readers say a brand mention or promotion within the context of the blog influences their purchasing decision.
- 80% of adults say bloggers “can be very or somewhat influential in shaping product or service purchasing decisions.”
- Companies with more than 200 blog articles have 5X the leads than those with 10 or fewer.
Facebook also announced a few weeks ago that sweepstakes and contests would also penalize a page. These rules are much more complex and something businesses should be constantly aware of!
Is Facebook really important for businesses?
In short, yes. But that is something that every business must weigh against resources and rewards. Below are some facts recently printed in a report from www.SalesStaff.com that might help business owners determine if Facebook is really the best place for their financial and time resources…
Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s founder and CEO, said earlier this month that while a typical Facebook user could potentially view 1,500 updates a day, he sees only about 100. That means businesses that want to appear in that feed need to produce “really good content that’s going to be compelling to your customers.”
Almost 68% of people who live in Walnut Creek work for privately owned companies, and of those companies, more than 30% are considered small to medium sized locally owned businesses. On average, only 18% of small businesses are using social media as a marketing tool to reach out and engage with current and potential customers. A recent survey revealed that more than 60% of business owners don’t think investing in a social media marketing strategy will benefit their brand or financial success.
Business owners disregarding social media as a waste of time will continue to alienate potential customers and slowly lose current customers. Even your loyal customers will gravitate toward similar (and competitive) local businesses that are actively engaging with the community online and creating brand recognition that digital consumers recognize and trust.
Digital media is how most consumers are attaining information. Bay Area social media has outgrown the days where social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube simply helped people keep in touch with college friends and share baby pictures.
Why are Bay Area social media marketing strategies such a vital vehicle to engage with customers? There are more than 325 million mobile devices in the United States alone. Consumers use their phones to find the best deals on products and services close to them. Cars even have built-in technology that tells the driver where the cheapest gas station is within a 5-mile radius. Consumers can literally ask their mobile phone questions about where to eat if they’re looking for a restaurant close by. The voice on the other end, commonly known as “Siri”, quickly searches the web and provides a list of the closest sushi restaurants or what Mexican restaurants are still serving happy hour prices.
If you aren’t implementing an Internet strategy, you aren’t coming up in these searches and you’re losing a lot of costumers simply because they don’t know you’re there. Mobile devices graduated from simple communication conveniences to human appendages. This wasn’t a slow evolution, we blinked and the digital age surrounded us… America’s primary source for information and sometimes even an addiction. If your advertising efforts with print coupons, mailers, magazines, or newspapers does not include online placement of those coupons you are wasting valuable time and money.
The same survey, sponsored by Network Solutions, provided the below feedback from the 18% of small business actively using social media to engage with consumers and increase brand awareness. Here are some stats about what social media can do for Bay Area businesses, especially if you have competition you’re losing business to.
- 70% indicated that their social media presence met or exceeded their expectations
- 61% stated that social media brought them new customers
- 52% found it developed a higher awareness for their organization with their target market
- 46% stated that it helped them stay engaged with current customers
- Only 6% reported that negative comments by dissatisfied customers hurt the image of their company more than social media helped it (Keep your eye out for our next blog that will discuss reputation management and why monitoring your online brand is so vital – regardless of your hesitation to actively push your business online, you are likely still being mentioned in reviews and rankings.)
- 50% found that it takes up more time than they expected
- 75% reported that they broke even or made money using social media, in spite of the time required to actively participate
- 84% believe that they anticipate that they will either break even or make money with social media within the next year
Last week, I told you all about the benefits of setting up a Facebook Page instead of a personal account for your business. Today, I’ll show you, step-by-step, exactly how to do it!
This is a very basic tutorial; the customization possibilities are endless! (I’ll give you some customization resources at the end of this post…)
First off, log in to your PERSONAL Facebook account. Because you must have a personal account linked to the Fan Page, it’s best to start there!
From the Home page of your profile, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look in the right corner. You’ll see this:
Now, click where it says “Create a Page” (I know, tricky, right? :))
Once you’ve clicked that, you’ll see six large buttons, with categories, as shown below:
Because we’re talking about setting this up for a business, that’s what I’ll be focusing on, but notice the different options here; you can create a fan page for your favorite celebrity or TV show, or your personal website… many bloggers will set up a page as a way to increase their readership as well… there’s a category for everything!
Once you choose the “Local Business or Place” button, you’ll be prompted to choose a more specific category, and to fill in your business name, address and phone number:
Once you’ve filled that out, you’ll be asked for a Profile Photo. Even though you’re given the option to skip it (small text next to the Continue button) I don’t recommend it. Speaking from personal opinion and general experience, an account that lacks a profile photo is often ignored or overlooked as junk or spam. Even if it’s just your logo, putting *something* there is better than nothing! It only takes an extra moment, so I really encourage you to do so at this time.
Once you’ve uploaded your profile photo, you have the opportunity to invite people to Like your page… you have both the option to invite your existing Facebook fans, and to pull email addresses from your contacts.
And there you go! It really is that simple to set up a basic Facebook Fan Page!
When you’re ready to take your page to the next level, there are limitless options… if you set up a “Welcome” tab instead of just having new fans land on your Wall, you have a higher probability that they’ll Like your page. You can google “facebook welcome tab design” to find help on how to do it yourself, and there are also professionals that can help you with this service as well, if that’s a better option for you.
Some companies who are really taking advantage of the custom possibilities are Red Bull, Hotel Max, and Mazda USA. Have you done something really interesting and fun with your company’s Facebook Page? Link me up! I’d love to see it!
So, your company wants a Facebook page… Facebook, with its 750 MILLION active users, is “the place to be” online, and the cornerstone of many corporate social media efforts.
You’ve probably had your personal page for years; maybe you’re hooked on Farmville, you enjoy keeping track of old friends from high school, or you use it to coordinate your kid’s busy social life and share photos with friends.
Whatever you use Facebook for now, the way to use it as a business is different, and for good reason. I’ll be describing some of the things you should keep in mind along the way, as you set up your company’s Facebook Page.
One of the most common mistakes I see is when a company sets up a personal account like it’s a person: first name Miller & Sons, last name Painting. One quick way to tell is to see if, at the top of the page, you see a “Send Friend Request” or a “Like” button. Pages allow people to “Like” them, and personal accounts add friends.
When someone “friends” you on Facebook, the information that you’re allowed to view is different than what’s available to you when they “like” your Page. As a Page, you have fans instead of friends, and you’re limited in that you might not see their status updates or the photos they share, but the information that you gain access to is invaluable to a business looking to track the effectiveness of their Facebook campaign.The Facebook Insights Summary
If you ask me, the best thing about a Facebook Page is their Insights feature. It tracks what kind of reaction your posts are getting; it shows you, on an easy to understand line graph, when you’re getting new fans, and when you’re getting comments and likes on what you’re posting. It breaks down all of that information and shows it to you, right inside your Facebook account.Facebook Insights User Overview screen
Besides being able to see this information, you can export this data to an Excel file to track it long term. It’s also nice, from an efficiency standpoint, to be able to switch back and forth between your personal account and your Page.Just click on your name to switch accounts!
When you’re set up as a Page, you can grant other people access as an Admin, so you aren’t the only one responsible for posting content. Have someone else assigned as an Admin and they can also post on your behalf, so your account doesn’t sit ignored just because you’re on a much-needed vacation!
Now that I’ve sold you on the benefits of a Facebook Page instead of a personal account for your business, the next step is setting it up! Come back next week for step-by-step instructions on how to do that, and please feel free to leave any questions you might have about Facebook, and I’ll do my best to help you out!