Mistakes Only Amateurs Make on Facebook

Amateur or Professional?


I can tell you within a minute of looking at brand’s Facebook page whether it is managed by a professional or an amateur. For those who haven’t worked in social media for years like I did, it is not always as straight forward.

Unfortunately, there are “social media gurus” who give the real social media professionals a bad name.There are also agencies that promise you the world for a hefty price tag yet fail to deliver. Then there are poor employees and interns who were told they had to manage the company’s social media among their million other tasks. The last case scenario is the most common occurrence. Even though it has been said a thousand times, somehow it is still not going through: if you think that anyone who has a Facebook account can successfully advertise your business on Facebook, think again.

So how can you tell the person managing your Facebook page is an amateur and not a professional? 

1. Amateurs set up a profile or a group instead of a business page

Amateur or professional?If your business needs to “add friends”, it’s set up as a personal profile. This is not only against Facebook rules, but it’s also the easiest way to tell an amateur from a professional. If it’s your case, it is time to create a page.  This also applies to companies that set up their presence as a group instead of a page. Once set up correctly (as a business page), you will be able to view data about your audience in Insights and set up ads to precisely target your prospects. Remember to delete the old profiles/groups you set up incorrectly to avoid confusion.

2. Amateurs use images that are:

Social media amateur or professional?

  •  Too small

The example on the left is actually more common than you would think. The best size for newsfeed photos is 1200 x 900 but it doesn’t mean you have to resize your image every single time. Facebook will automatically resize your image, just make sure your image is not too small to begin with. If you end up with a tiny image, you are better off deleting the post and reposting with a image that people actually can see.

  • Copyrighted

You would be surprised how often you can see brands taking an image from Google image search and uploading it without crediting the original source. It goes without saying that such practice can get the company into serious legal trouble. It’s a shame the amateurs don’t know that they can find great images for social media posts on these awesome websites for free and without any copyright.

  • Poor quality

Amateurs use drab and blurry images, which are a no-no for fan engagement. Professionals create eye-popping images that inspire and stand out. The pros not only download and upload images, they design them.

3. Amateurs use CAPS and overuse punctuation

Amateurs use CAPS and “!!!???” to put an emphasis on words or phrases they want to highlight. Unfortunately, such practice is often translated as “verbal screaming” and it puts people off.  Professionals emphasize the message through visuals and on-point copy.

4. Amateurs post too much or too little

I once came across a Facebook page that sent updates every hour. On the other side of the spectrum are businesses that post once a week, if that. The golden rule for Facebook is posting 1-2 times a day.  If you are posting twice a day, space out the posts at least 3-4 hours apart.

5. Amateurs link to the videos instead of uploading them

It’s a well-known fact among social media marketers that Facebook users engage more with videos that are uploaded natively instead of just being linked to.

It’s time to check your Facebook page and check against these benchmarks to see if your brand is represented by an amateur or a professional. If the former, it’s time to hand over the key to someone who knows what to do with it!


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The Easiest Way to Get Facebook Users to See Your Brand First

Thanks to Facebook’s latest newsfeed update, users now have more control over what they see in their newsfeed. For brands, this change may be a great thing or it may be a disaster. The articles I read on this topic all advised brands to direct users through settings (Settings –> News feed preferences –> Summary or Brand pages –> Drop down menu –> Mark See First). But why to go the hard way if it can be done in 3 clicks?

In social, users prefer simple. Here is the simple way users can add a brand to “See First”:

1. Go to the Facebook page of the brand they want to see updates from

2. Click on “Liked” (on a cover photo)

3. Switch from “Default” to “See First” in the Dropdown Menu

Fans need to first like the page in order to have “Liked” on their cover photo. Once they are fans, they can select “See First” instead of “Default” on the dropdown menu that appears when user clicks on “Liked”. In Step #1 you can modify “Go to our Facebook page” to include the name of your brand.

Since people grasp information better with visuals, make sure your instructions include an image. You can either include a screenshot or include the step-by-step instructions as part of an image (example below).

How to get users to add brands to see first

———–

I included both options because there are benefits and drawbacks to each. If you use a screenshot, you won’t be able to put the budget behind it since it doesn’t adhere to Facebook’s 20% text rule. However, print screen may be easier to understand.
I suggest your brand posts printscreen first and a few weeks later uses the other image with some ad spend behind it.

Here is a short and sweet copy you can use with your image: “Don’t miss a beat! Make sure you see our updates in your newsfeed by following the instructions below”.

Good luck and stay tuned – I will be writing about a few strategies that motivate users to add brands to the newsfeed spotlight.


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What’s Up in Social: June 2015 Quick Overview

what's up in social (2)June sure kept us social media professionals busy! It’s almost a full-time job just to keep up with all the changes taking place on different platforms.  Here are the most important ones to note:

1. 47% of Americans admit Facebook is their #1 influencer on purchases. Facebook drives almost 25% of all social referral traffic.

2. According to Social Media Examiner’s latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report, majority of small businesses carry out social media marketing on Facebook. Specifically, 93% use Facebook, ahead of Twitter at 79%. In the coming year, 62% of respondents plan to increase their use of Facebook for marketing purposes. Sixty-six percent will increase Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn activity.

3. Most small businesses spend 6 hours or more weekly on social media. How about the users you ask? The average American spends 40 minutes per day on Facebook. Check out which networks are next.

4. Social-native, including Facebook News Feed ads and promoted tweets on Twitter, will draw a majority of native ad revenue between 2013 and 2018. Since 2013, post promotion has risen 120% for brands on Facebook.

5. Facebook is testing new “Lead Ads” which will allow marketers to ask users to sign-up for a newsletter or request a call with just two taps. Talking about increasing those ad revenues!

6. Facebook users now have more control over what they see in their newsfeed. The average user has access to about 1,500 posts per day but only looks at 300. The new feature, “See First”, gives users a simple way to automatically place up to 30 friends’ and Pages’ posts at the top of their feeds whenever they appear.

7. Video posts average 62% more engagement than photos. Facebook is trying hard to compete with YouTube and plans to start running ads between videos for a small group of publishers.

8.  Twitter is lifting the 140-character limit in July for DMs, but it’s still in place for tweets. We can expect quite a few changes in a near future since Twitter’s CEO recently stepped down.

9. Social commerce is becoming bigger than ever. Instagram recently introduced “Shop now” button and Pinterest launched its blue “buyable Pins

Over to you: which changes are you most excited about? 


Got a Q or need help?

Connect with me 

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How to Use Social Media During Events

How to Use Social Media During EventsThere are many articles on how to build buzz on social media before your event, so let’s focus on something different and learn about what you can do with social media during the event. Whether you are hosting a conference, fundraiser or a tweetup, check out these experience-verified tips:

1. Decide which networks you want to promote and monitor

Even though you may have a presence on many different social networks, some channels are a better fit for events than others. While it is advisable to update all your social media networks with your event information, it’s best to pick one channel per community manager during your event. If you only have one person to service your social media, you should just choose one network to focus on. The most utilized during the events is Twitter due to its public, real-time nature and users’ hashtag adoption. If you decide to utilize Twitter at your event, consider asking for participants’ Twitter handles during registration. Instagram use at events is also on the rise and we can expect more events to make use of live-streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat.

2. Make sure your hashtag is everywhere

In your event planning phase, you hopefully decided on one, unique hashtag that would be short, easy to pronounce and spell and give event participants a better idea about the topic of the conversation. To make sure your hashtag is unique, search the platform you will be monitoring during your event for the hashtag you intend to use. Once your hashtag is set, make it a part of all your digital and offline marketing materials (email, website, conference app, brochures etc.). Remember to promote your hashtag at the event venue on highly visible spots (on screen before the presentations, in the program, on the flyers etc.).

3. Designate people and their roles

As mentioned in #1, you want to have a dedicated person to monitor and fuel the conversation on social media. You should also have a second person to feed the community manager with pictures, videos etc. Ideally, people handling your social media are present at the event. It is quite common to have a person managing the engagements not to be at the event, but those who are on site will always do a better job than those who can’t get the first-hand experience of the event.

4. Prepare some content before the event and schedule it

Don’t automate too much content, especially on the platforms that you will utilize heavily during your event. However, since your social media staff will be swamped with real-time updates during the event, it’s good to schedule key information in advance.

5. Tell people what you want them to do

Incorporate engaging reminders on-site, such as: “Got a question? Tweet your questions for our panel with #yourhashtag”. Announce the hashtag and your network handle (username) throughout the event and display it on screen before each presenter. Some people are hesitant to use mobile devices during presentations out of respect for the speaker and other attendees, so ask the speakers to invite participants to tweet, check-in etc.

6. Incentivize

Depending on the nature of your event, pick an incentive that your participants would be responsive to. If it’s a fundraising event, get a sponsor to match the social media mentions with donations for your cause. For tech conferences, you can appeal to participants with cool gadgets. To keep it simple, every hashtag mention can serve as an entry to a random drawing (remember people like simple on social!).

7. Make them feel important

It’s in human nature to enjoy public recognition. Set up large screens on site and display interactions in real-time. Use one projector or TV per channel – if you are engaging users on different platforms, you can set up multiple screens.  Use one these free management tools to display all interactions in real-time.

8.  Create engaging and exclusive content

Event attendees love sharing quotes, key takeaways, behind-the-scenes and real-time pictures and videos, so make sure you get as many of those as possible and put those up as soon as possible. Timeliness is key.  You can also attract participants with exclusive presentations, e-books or whitepapers. Speakers can ask interested attendees to tweet (or otherwise engage) with a certain phrase and a hashtag to obtain a link for a free download.

9. Encourage after-event engagement

Keep the momentum going even after the event is over. Post pictures of attendees and encourage the users to tag themselves. Ask users to submit their comments, pictures and videos. Share video testimonials and ask for attendees’ input on what they would like to see at next year’s event.

10. Choose the right community manager

I saved the most important for last. Having the right person managing your event’s engagement is essential because this person becomes a voice of your event. One’s personality projects in one’s writing and social interactions, so if you have never worked with this person before (or agency), ask them to come up with a few examples of posts so you can see if their voice is a good fit for your event. The qualities you should pay attention to are good writing skills, attention to detail, and outgoing personality.  A word of warning – don’t have interns or people without social media experience manage your presence. There are many companies that became famous for their social media fails – you don’t want that to happen to you.

Bonus tip: To figure out the total number of times your hashtag has been used on Twitter or Instagram, use this free tool.

What’s Up in Social: May 2015 Quick Overview

what's up in social May 2015

If you don’t have time to stay on the top of social media trends but want to stay in the know, I hand-picked some important news and stats mentioned in May/June social media articles:

1. Social media has now become the number one internet activity in the world. 72% of all internet users are now active on social media. Google’s algorithm ranks social media pages higher up its search ranking as they are seen as active, engaging platforms, with consistent new content – so it’s important to keep social media channels active.

2. Facebook is now dominating the social media advertising budget. It’s on target to hit over $14 billion in advertising revenue in 2015. It is now becoming a serious rival to Google.

3. Twitter ranks slightly more valuable than LinkedIn when it comes to sales prospecting.

4. More than half (52%) of marketers say Facebook is the most important social network they use to grow and market their business.

5. Google has removed prominent links to Google+ accounts at the top of search results, Google’s homepage, and Gmail. The change suggests the tech giant is doing still more to gradually phase out its social network.

6. Facebook has begun testing a new option for users—they’re giving some users the ability to choose people or pages whose posts would always show up at the top of their News Feed. Facebook confirmed the test but offered no more detail about the option and if or when it might receive a wider release.

Features Twitter Needs

What product features Twitter needs?Twitter CEO Dick Costolo asks one question at every product team meeting,  “What’s a bolder choice we could be making?

This question got me thinking – what features would Twitter users and businesses welcome?

1. Edit a tweet

If I found one Twitter user who at some point didn’t wish to edit the tweet after it went out, I would be surprised. Whether it’s a silly autocorrect mistake or overlooked typo, once the tweet is out, it’s out. Tweets you want to edit need to be deleted and reposted again. This is especially a problem if the tweet has already been retweeted, because by deleting the tweet, the engagement on that tweet is also gone. It seems like a no-brainer feature, so why didn’t Twitter enable it yet? One issue is that Twitter is first of all very viral in nature, and it is, for the most part, public. Imagine retweeting a tweet with a certain text and picture and after the user edits it – and say includes a swear word or inappropriate image – it is now on your timeline, hurting your public image. So how can Twitter go around some of these issues? For instance, it could only allow edits on tweets that haven’t been retweeted. This would not resolve the lost engagement issue, but it would at least address the inconvenience of having to delete and repost entire tweet because of one small typo.

2. Suggested hashtags

Many people are unsure which hashtags would fit their tweet. Based on the content of the tweet, Twitter could suggest relevant hashtags where people could just add the hashtags with one simply click. Better yet, it could include an option to have up to 3 hashtags added automatically, which would make the process of tweeting even quicker and easier. RightTag is a great tool to do just that (with fantastic real-time hashtag analytics) but many people are still unaware of this tool.

3. More visual timeline

Social media is an increasingly visual space. Twitter has been moving in that direction as well, but there is still a lot of space for improvement. For instance, Instagram and Pinterest pictures shared on Twitter currently don’t show as a picture but as a link. Should they ‘populate’ and show as a picture, retweets of such tweets would increase. Same holds true for the videos. If you share YouTube video, only the text link will show. The only visual way to currently share a video on Twitter is through Vine. Why not to give the option of adding a video attachment to the tweet directly? And why not to throw Slideshare presentations, pdfs, and other popular formats in the attachment options?

4. Promote how-to Twitter articles on new user timelines

Many new users give up because they just don’t get Twitter. They don’t know how to get new followers and how to engage. Even though Twitter has its own user guide and there are tons of how-to Twitter articles all over the Web, putting it in front of the users while they are using the platform would make it even easier. Does the user have small follower base? Promote a tweet on the top of his timeline about getting new followers. Does the user only tweet his own content? Suggest an article about top ways to engage on Twitter.

5. Join Twitter chat

Finding a Twitter chat that’s relevant to your interest and that’s taking place at the time when you can join is actually quite a task. Twitter would benefit from its own Twitter chat directory where users could search and submit the Twitter chats. The users could then sort it by category and day of the week for instance. This would make it easier on users to find conversations to join and increase chat participation. Even better, Twitter could have Twitter chat rooms people could join in the real-time.

6. Top trends based on category

Twitter has already made some changes to make Top Trends more relevant, but out of the 10 trends that show on my Twitter, only about one is actually something I care about despite having ‘Tailored Trends’ feature on. Tailored Trends are supposedly based on one’s location and people one follows, but since I follow mostly entrepreneurs, social media mavens, and success-related tweeps, Game of Thrones, Caitlyn Jenner, and Ana Ivanovic seem more like a very generic suggestion. I would find more useful trending topics based on category, so I could quickly discover what is trending for instance in social media, small business marketing etc.’

7. Schedule a tweet

Twitter added the option of scheduled tweets to its ad platform in 2013, but who would want to go through all this trouble (unless you are running a Twitter ad) if there are fantastic tools like Buffer or Sprout Social where you can schedule tweets with one click? It makes sense for Twitter to enable its own scheduling feature, but make it one-click deal and not a cumbersome chain of events.

If you were at the Twitter product meeting, what features would you suggest?

Designing Business Cards with Canva? Read This First!

Now this post is not directly related to social media, but I chose to share this guide since it could be useful to every professional – whether social or not.

As I was recently working with Canva on my new business cards, I came across few things to add to Canva’s awesome, easy-to-follow guide. 

business card design

Source: canva.com

But before I get to these points, it’s important to note why Canva. While there are thousands of templates to choose from when buying business cards, the easy way is typically not the most effective way. A business card is the reflection of you and your business and that’s unique right? Therefore, your business card should be unique as well. If you can’t do magic with Photoshop, Canva is your to-go website. Even though Canva’s guide is pretty good, there are few additional things to know that the guide won’t tell you.

1. Don’t settle for the template. 

Don’t go for the easiest route and just change the text and a logo. You can use the template, but at least change the colors, fonts, and visuals to reflect your brand’s uniqueness. Playing with the layout may be more tricky and time-consuming, but it’s well worth it.

2. Get inspired.

I spent a good hour searching the web for different business card design ideas. Take your time reading through the articles with business card inspirations. Here is one of my favorites that is sure to get you inspired and make you smile.

3. Remember the best practices.

No matter what you do, always always always check for the best practices. Did you know that on average, prospects keep a color card 10 times longer than a standard card? Check out this fantastic infographic to learn more about what works and what doesn’t.

4. When done, save your creation as a pdf not an image!

If you save your work as an image and then try to print it, it will be blurry. Save it in pdf and you can always convert it to an image if necessary (make sure you save it in the best quality possible).

5. What you see is not what you get.

The colors you see on your screen won’t be printed exactly as such. Typically the color will print darker than you see on your computer screen, so make sure you take that into consideration. If you are using colorful background for instance, make sure there is enough contrast between the font and the background.

Now go give it a try, it’s free! Business Card Inspiration

Brands’ Biggest Instagram Frustrations


Instagram Biggest FrustrationsInstagram‘s popularity with the brands has been on the rise. Recent report from Olapic and L2  indicated that brands have been putting up more posts on Instagram and decreasing the number of posts on Facebook. Facebook’s organic reach squeeze had the brands looking for alternatives, but before your brand joins the Instagram madness, consider this:

  •  Instagram ads are way too costly for smaller players:  “Lower-end monthly pricing is estimated around $350,000, while higher end can get up to $1 million. (Jun 12, 2014)”. In most cases brands don’t have hundreds of thousands to drop on an Instagram ad, so all of the sudden paying few dollars on Facebook isn’t all that bad. Without ads, your brand will be stuck with having to grow followers organically, which will be pretty time-consuming (and time is money). 
  • You can forget about clickable links on Instagram (for now). Instagram has only recently given this sought-after benefit to the advertisers who use carousel ads. I expect this feature to roll out to all the users in a near future (or is it wishful thinking), but for now, most brands have to rely on the only active link which is in the profile’s bio. Brands have been pretty creative to work around this by sneaking the link references elsewhere, but it’s pretty frustrating for both brands and users to have to beat around the bush when it can be just so simple (come on, Instagram!).
  • Have I mentioned Instagram’s limited analytics options? At the moment, brands have to rely on the third party apps for metrics. There are not many choices either: easily the most popular one, Iconosquare, gives you a decent amount of data (who your most loyal followers are, most popular images, best times to post etc.) but you won’t get any demographics data, won’t be able to customize date range, and there is no option of one-click exporting.

So should your brand invest more into Instagram than into Facebook? Depends on what your goals are.

If you are looking to drive traffic, then you’re currently better off paying to play on Facebook (or get pinning). If you care more about engagement and brand awareness, give Instagram a try. According to a November 2014 Instagram study from research firm L2, users interacted 18 times more on Instagram than on Facebook.

How to Deal with Undesirable Facebook Friend Requests

If someone you don’t want to add to your Facebook sends you a friend request, you have two choices – not accept and risk that they will be offended or accept and then constantly worry about what this person is going to think when they see your post, comments etc. Of course if the request is from a complete stranger, you just ignore it/block it without thinking twice; however, in some situations (the friend request from your boss, a co-worker, your ex’s mutual friend) it’s not as clear cut.  That’s where the Facebook’s “Restricted List” comes in handy.

You can accept their request but add them immediately to your Restricted list, so they’ll only be able to see your Public content or posts that you tag them in. In other words, unless the update or a picture you posted is set to “Public”, the person in the restricted list won’t be able to see it (given you don’t tag them). I would not recommend having your updates or pictures set to Public, as then everyone, friend or not, can see your content. How can you tell if your posts is seen by all? There will be a little “globe icon” by the date and when you scroll over the icon, it’ll say “Shared with Public”. You can change the setting of each update or a picture (except for the cover photo which is by default public and can’t be changed).

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A word of warning: if you are commenting on a Public post or a photo on Facebook, people in the restricted list can see that.

So say that your favorite brand posted a “public” (visible to all) post on a page and you’re liking it and/or commenting on it, it will be visible to everyone on your friends’ list. However, if you’re commenting on updates that are set to friends only or friends of friends, then people on the restricted list can’t see it.

Now how to add people to your restricted list the easiest way:

1. Log in to your Facebook

2. Go to your “friends” list  (click “Friends” on your profile page)

3. You will see a list of all your friends

4. By each friend, it will say “Friends” and have a check mark by it. Scroll over the Friends button and the following pops up:

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5. Click on “Add to another list”

6. The names of all lists you have will pop up, including the Restricted option (see below). Click on Restricted. If the person is successfully added, there will be a check mark by Restricted list.

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7. You can repeat this by each friend you want to add to the Restricted List.

Now every time you post something that is not public can’t be seen by the Restricted List people (including your or others comments on that post). To the Restricted List people, this post simply doesn’t exist.

Create Professional LinkedIn Background in Minutes

Following in Facebook’s and Twitter’s footsteps, LinkedIn recently enabled its users to add a cover photo to their profile. Currently this feature is available to the LinkedIn Premium users and some free users, but we can expect this to soon be “fun for all”. If you want your Linkedin profile to stand out but don’t have a designer background, this article is for you.

1. Create a free account on canva.com, it takes a minute (you only need your e-mail, no payment information is needed)

2.  Once logged in, you’ll see “Start a new design page”. On the right side, you’ll see “use custom dimensions” option (see pic below) and click on it.

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3. Once you clicked on “use custom dimensions”, the table will pop up asking for width and height dimensions. For width, input 1400 and height 425. From the dropdown menu, choose px (pixels). See pic below.

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4. Once you have it filled out per step #3, click Design! button.

5. New tab or pop up will open. You can then either use keywords in “search” to find the background that fits what you are looking for (i.e. if you are in healthcare, type “health” or “healthcare” in search etc.). Many items are free and some are just a $1. You can create a lot for free! You can also upload files from your computer or Facebook by clicking “Uploads” on left hand side. (see pic below).

Canva.com

6. You can add text and background as well, which is what I did for my LinkedIn background. You will want to spend some time playing with it, especially if you are going to add text. Do not close your canva page even when you think you are finished, as most likely you’ll want to make changes. Close it only after you upload it to your LinkedIn profile and are satisfied with it.

7. When you are done with creating your background on canva, click “download or link”, then “image” and it’d open the “save as” pop up for you. You just save it as a picture wherever you’d like it on your computer to be saved (pic below).

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8. Once saved, go to your LinkedIn profile, click edit, then “edit background” and “change image” or “new image” if you don’t have any yet. Upload your canva creation and click “save changes”. Don’t forget to save changes as otherwise it won’t save your new background. You’re done! Here is my free canva creation. Have fun!

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