Archive for February, 2012

Dear Mark Zuckerberg: Can We Talk?

mark-zuckerberg-facebookAnyone who knows me knows that I L-O-V-E Facebook (and Mark Zuckerberg). I’m serious!! I love it so much I started a business to help business owners use Facebook (and other social networks) to grow their businesses and connect with their customers. I’ve seen the power of social media for business. Especially Facebook!

Facebook should love businesses, too, when you consider that advertising comprises 85% of Facebook’s revenues. According to the company’s IPO filing, ad revenue was over $3 billion last year and has been growing at more than $1 billion each year since 2009 (yes, those are both B’s!). In fact, one of the “risk factors” listed in the IPO filing was that there could be a “decline in advertising revenue”.

CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE RUNDOWN ON FACEBOOK’S IPO FILING

That being said, you’d think that Facebook would want to do what it can to help businesses succeed on its platform. However, as a business owner who not only advertises on Facebook, but encourages her clients to do so as well, I have to admit I’m less than pleased with many of the things that are happening with Facebook Pages (business pages) in the past few months.

I realize that Facebook developers live by the code (no pun intended) that ‘done is better than perfect’ and their focus is on delivering features first and improving them later. I get that – and I like that approach – but there are some things that have been rolled out that seem to punish Page owners, aka advertisers.

So, Mark Zuckerberg…can we talk?

Given just a few minutes with Mark, I’d like to propose several things that, I feel, could make all of our Facebook lives better and improve everyone’s bottom line. Below, I outline six problems that I encounter daily and my suggestions for solving them.

The Problems and My Suggestions

1. Problem: Let’s start at the beginning. When a company initially creates its Page, it is required to get 25 “likes” on the Page before being able to claim a vanity URL (i.e. www.facebook.com/seekmediagroup). This requirement was supposedly dropped a few months ago, but it hasn’t been. A vanity URL is important because it makes it easier for potential fans to find the page on Facebook. There’s nothing vain about it.

Suggestion: Allow Page owners to claim the vanity URL immediately upon creation of the Page. Easy breezy!

2. Problem: The biggest advantage to having a Page is the ability to connect and engage with clients and potential clients. Since the advent of the ticker, posts from Pages are relegated to the ticker…for about 3 seconds. No longer do our posts go to our fans’ news feeds. We’re told that if a fan engages with the Page, the Page’s posts will appear in the news feed, but that’s not happening either. many of my Page’s most engaged fans complain that they don’t see my posts in their news feeds.

Unless a fan happens to be on Facebook, looking at their ticker, they most likely won’t see the post. It’s difficult to have fan engagement when the fans can’t see your company’s posts. According to AllFacebook.com, only 17% of a Page’s fans actually see a Page’s posts. While some of that may be due to poor content, most is due to the posts going straight to the ticker.

Suggestion: Simple. Allow Page postings back in the news feed – with or without prior fan engagement to allow for greater engagement opportunities. If a Page continually posts substandard content, they will lose fans of their own accord, but at least give the fans the choice.

3. Problem: When fans aren’t seeing a Page’s posts, they don’t have an opportunity to engage with the Page.  Studies show that 80% of people don’t return to a Page after liking it. It is for this very reason that Page posts need to show in the user’s news feed. They liked the page because they want to receive the information that the Page posts. They shouldn’t have to go to the Page to get that information. By the way, my Page’s fans have complained that they aren’t seeing my Page posts…and they want to see them!

Suggestion: See number 1 above.

4. Problem: Pages are unable to tag fans in posts unless the fan has made a comment. Even when a fan posts on the wall, we are unable to tag them. Tagging is very important since the Facebook notification system no longer seems to work. Tagging a fan is sometimes the only way he will know that his post or comment has been acknowledged which is an extremely important aspect to building community and engagement.

Suggestion:  I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. Another easy breezy fix. Allow tagging of any person or Page that has liked a company’s Page.

5. Problem: Owners of business Pages want to grow their Facebook communities. Other business owners want to support fellow business owners. However, likes from other Pages don’t count toward the likes of a company’s Page. That’s ridiculous! A like is a like is a like!

Suggestion: If a Page likes another Page, it should be included in the like total.

6. Problem: Insights. Aside from the fact that they are three to four days behind, they are not very insightful.  The stats that Insights are supposed to provide don’t mean very much when one is aware of Problems 1 and 2 above. If the Page posts were in fans’ news feeds then Insights would be incredibly valuable – and insightful. However, seeing that my post only reached eight people doesn’t mean anything since I know the reason that most fans weren’t reached is simply because they weren’t given the chance to see or interact with the post. Many business owners have also complained that in addition to Insights delayed reporting, many times they don’t work at all. When the Insights pages are opened, the information simply never loads. What’s the point of offering on-site analytics if the information reported is skewed and of little value? While we’re on the subject the “Talking About This” metric is absolutely of no value! Again, how can anyone talk about something they never see?

Suggestion:  Take a little time to work on providing analytics that are more valuable and true for the Page owners who are helping support Facebook and themselves.

Do you have a Facebook Page for your business? If so, what are issues that you’re facing? Are you a fan of a business Page or Pages? Are you seeing their posts in your news feed? Do you want to see their posts in your news feed? Let me know in the comments below!

Seek Media Group Wordle

Wordle: Seek Media Group

Just having some fun!!  :)

Social Media for Business: If You Build It, Will They Come?

In my work, I speak with many business owners about using social media to grow their business. They typically fall into three categories:

  • Those who are hesitant to involve themselves in social media (“I wouldn’t know what to do with a Facebook page!”)
  • Those who don’t believe social media will ‘work’ in their industry (“I sell to other businesses; it won’t work for me.”)
  • Those who say they’ve tried social media and had no success (“I have a Facebook page, but I only have 14 likes and no one ever goes there.”)

I understand that it can be a daunting decision, striking out into the unknown and being unsure as to the worth of social media for their brand, but when properly done, social media is a powerful business tool that enables your company to connect and engage with current and prospective clients, build community and brand loyalty, and increase sales.

To those who don’t believe social media is appropriate for B2B sales, I say give me an hour of your time. I can show you many ways that social media can help you grow your business and increase sales. LinkedIn is a fabulous network for B2B businesses. YouTube and blogging are excellent ways for your brand to become known as the expert in your field.

And for the last group, I say that there is much more to social media for business than simply setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account and having your receptionist or a high school student post your latest specials. Unfortunately, many business owners take this first step then are disappointed when they don’t see hordes of new customers coming through their doors. For a funny take on this concept, watch this short video below from Business2Community.com.

When I hear things like, “Our company tried social media, but it just didn’t work” or “We have a Facebook page/Twitter account, but no one ever goes there”, I ask them to describe their strategies. More often than not, the answer is nothing more than a blank stare. I don’t blame them for not having a plan; this is a very new medium and there aren’t a lot of rule books out there. I do wonder why business owners don’t take the next step of asking for help from a professional.  Think about it, if you were filling out your tax returns and didn’t know how to do it, you wouldn’t just abandon your taxes. You’d hire a professional to help – or at least consult with one.

Social media for business is a very powerful tool, but only when properly executed. It requires an investment of time and money, development of a strategy, and implementation of said strategy; just like any other marketing plan. The key word there is plan.

To get started, you’ll need to:

  • Establish goals and objectives
  • Conduct research
  • Develop strategies
  • Determine tactics

Many traditional marketing teams have little or no experience using social media for business and don’t know the nuances of social media marketing – and there are nuances – so having a marketing team in place won’t necessarily help you be successful in social media marketing. My suggestion is to consult with a social media professional, someone whose job it is to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media and is knowledgeable on best practices for social media marketing.

Social media strategists can work with you or your marketing team to help you develop your plan utilizing best practices. We can also do it for you so that you don’t have to worry about it and can go about the business of running your business – and take care of all those new customers!

Social media for business is no longer an option! You wouldn’t dream of opening a business without putting up a website, so why would you then deprive your business of one of the most powerful marketing tools available? In short, you shouldn’t!  Really.

For more information on how Seek Media Group can help you integrate social media into your marketing efforts, please contact us today!

To help you get started, we’ll even give you a FREE social media assessment!

 

Social Media for Business – The First Few Steps

Many business owners are afraid to jump on the social media bandwagon mainly because they just aren’t sure where to start. Deciding what to do and how to do it can be a Social Media Iconsdaunting task, so here are some tips to help you get started and grow your business using social media.

First Steps to Using Social Media to Connect, Engage, and Grow Your Business:

•    Join the Social Networks That Matter. Join the social networks that matter to you and your community. Don’t stretch yourself thin by signing up for hundreds of social networks (and there are hundreds!). Learn where your community is and join them. If unsure, my recommendation is to begin with Facebook.
•    Reach Out to Those That Matter. Let your current clients know that you have a social media presence and ask them to join you there. Links to your social media pages should be in all outgoing communications (email signature, press releases, business cards, etc). Stay focused on the type of people with whom you want to interact. If you advertise on Facebook, don’t just place an ad that will show up on the walls of all 800 million Facebook users. Facebook allows for very specific targeting in ads to reach the specific types of people who matter to your business and you should use this feature to reach your perfect clients.
•    Share Great Content and Listen to Others. Provide helpful resources that go beyond what you have to offer. Share entertaining media. Treat your connections as you would a friend; don’t look at them as dollar signs. Listening (and responding) to those who are commenting on your social channels is one of the most important things you can do. You wouldn’t ignore a customer who was standing in front of you; don’t ignore those in your online community.
•    Ask People to Share Your Content. Include social buttons on your website and your content and ask people to share it. Interact with people when they do, by thanking them or asking their opinion of your content.  Engage with other brands, too! You may be surprised to find that other brands are willing to give your company a shout-out on their social channels – and you should be willing to return the favor.
•    Be Consistent! Connecting and engaging with your online community doesn’t happen overnight. There will be times, in the beginning, when you may wonder if the investment of time is worth it. It is. It’s also a lot of work and it takes a bit of time before you see the payoff – just as with anything that’s worthwhile.
•    Don’t Be Afraid to Hire an Expert. Let’s face it; there is a lot more to social media marketing than just creating profiles and sharing content. There are many ways to promote your brand using social media. Having an opportunity to connect and engage with current and potential clients is also a huge advantage of social media – when done properly. Don’t depend on your receptionist or your teenage son just because they “use Facebook a lot”. To be truly successful using social media for business you need to develop a strategy and identify your goals. You need to know how to respond when negative comments come in, and no matter how great your company and your customer service is, there will be negative comments. At times such as this, it’s a good idea to have an expert on-board to help you respond appropriately.
What you need to remember is that people are talking about your business via social networks. They are saying positive AND negative things. You need to be a part of the conversation!  Some business owners are frightened by the prospect of addressing negative comments on social networks, and that’s understandable.  In reality, though, those negative comments will come whether you have a presence or not.  Isn’t a better idea to have the opportunity to address those customer concerns with them directly, for the world to see how fantastic your company is at turning negative perceptions into positive ones by apologizing and making the situation right? That’s the beauty of social media for business: You have the opportunity to address negative perceptions in a public forum and make your company the hero! Don’t be mistaken, though, there are right and wrong ways to address these negative comments – and that’s where a professional can be a great support.

See also:  5 Ways Brands Respond to Negative Comments on Social Networks and Why Only One is Effective

If you need further assistance getting started with social media for business, please contact us today…we’re here to help!

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