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? 


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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.

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.

Social Media Contests That Work

It is no secret that running contests on social media (if done right) boosts the company’s following. You can think of it as a good strategy to increase your number of subscribers if you were talking about the email marketing. In a sense, it is very similar: by liking or following you, your fans and followers opt in to receive your company’s messages on a regular basis, which makes it for companies well worth the investment. If the turnout of the contest is good, it can be a pretty cheap way (considering the alternatives like Facebook ads) to boost the number of fans and followers on your social media sites.

In this post I won’t be advising you on how to run a successful contest but rather put on your radar some contests that have been tremendously successful, so you can learn what has worked well and apply these principles for your own contest.

I have decided to pinpoint one for Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, so if you are thinking about running a contest on any of these platforms, you’ll find good examples to follow below.

TWITTER

Shutterbug Social’s Pre-Contest #MillionDollarPhoto Giveaway

For 4 days, Twitter users can enter Shutterbug Social’s Pre-Contest #MillionDollarPhoto Giveaway. Company used promoted tweets to spread the word on Twitter and the response has been great so far. The contest started yesterday and one day later there have been over 15k mentions and 4,660 tweets with #milliondollarphoto hashtag (when I started on this post 9 hours ago, this number was about 600 tweets lower btw.)

Source: TwitterCounter

Shutterbug Social got over 2.6k followers in two days and is now at 6.5k followers – very curious what it’s going to be on day four. Just a side note, Shutterbug Social is giving away Canon Rebel T3i, Samsung Galaxy S3 &  Canon PowerShot ELPH 110HS to three winners in this contest, not a million dollars (yet).

The tremendous response is to the large point caused by the fact that Shutterbug Social used promoted tweet, which is a sponsored tweet that appears in user timelines or search. Promoted Tweets are priced on a Cost-per-Engagement (CPE) basis, so you pay when someone retweets, replies to, clicks or favorites your Promoted Tweet. Promoted tweets are expensive for most small businesses (over $120k per day) but if you really want to get your tweet across the Twitterverse, they’re a very good way to do so. If you don’t have $120k to drop in a day, you can still run a successful Twitter contest. Twitter celebrity and social media maven, Aaron Lee, wrote a good post about that: http://askaaronlee.com/binkd-twitter-contest/

FACEBOOK

I rarely ever participate in Facebook contests, maybe because I never win or maybe because they are just not fun or simple enough. However, I fell in love with the “Spot the SunSM”  campaign ran by Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts. The hotel giant is giving away 100 free hotel room nights each day in August on their Facebook page. Entering the contest is super easy, fast, and fun, which is partially why it became so popular.  To enter, the Facebook user has to find and click on the sun that can be found in the picture posted on the app. First grader would manage to do it, yet it is still entertaining enough for a college graduate.  Once you find a sun, you fill out short form with name and email (great way to grow their email database this way too) and then you just hope you win!

What also adds to the appeal is that you can enter again if you don’t win, as every new day means a new chance to win. The winners are announced the next day, so the curiosity will have you come back and check the page again (and enter again) before you forget such contest existed.

The page’s Facebook Insights reveal that the contest received a great response. Ever since the campaign launched, the Facebook page has been receiving over 1000 likes per week, way more than before the contest started. The engagement on the page also skyrocketed as the result of the campaign, so kudos to Marriott – nicely done.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to run successful Facebook contests, check out my “Top 10 tips on Doing Facebook Contest “ article.

PINTEREST

Norwegian Cruise Line decided to enter Pinterest with a bang and launched a week-long “Pin to Win” contest on August 15 on Pinterest. The concept is fun and smart as it integrates other social media channels (you have to either tweet or post on Facebook about the contest to finish your entry).  NCL is giving away a seven-day cruise for two in a balcony stateroom to any of Norwegian’s popular destinations such as Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii and more on August 24. To win, the participants need to do quite a few things including creating a special board on Pinterest, repinning NCL’s pin and tweeting/adding a comment on the Facebook page. I must admit it was too much work for me so I didn’t enter but apparently many people weren’t that “lazy”, as the contest board that contains 1 pin has over 2,000 followers and this one pin got 822 repins, 64 comments and 84 likes. Not bad if you ask me, especially since the NCL’s overall Pinterest account has just bit over 2.5k followers. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but comparing to the other cruise lines, NCL is now way ahead. Needless to say they can thank this contest for it!

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“Facebook Offers” Are Here: All You Need To Know!

Before I get started on all you need to know about “Facebook Offer”, I would like to inspire you with a success story of a small Northern Irish hotel. Roe Park Resort decided to use “Facebook Offer” feature to get more bookings, so the company created an offer that allowed the Facebook fans to get a 1 night stay at the hotel for £42.50.  The offer quickly went viral and it was claimed over 28,000 times in 24 hours!

It is no secret that the biggest reason why people become fans of a Facebook page is to gain access to the exclusive offers. In fact, the special offer motivates 68% of fans to click on that “Like” button. So far the businesses had to push the special offers on Facebook through variety of creative ways – third-party coupon tab, special offer tab, events, or links to the third party sites. Back in February 2012, Facebook announced the great news of having an “Offer” feature on Facebook pages, which would give companies an easy avenue to share their deals with their Facebook fans. Few premium brands and advertisers were able to test the feature early, but most businesses had to wait for Facebook to enable the feature on a larger scale. As of May 3, 2012, Facebook announced it’ll now start rolling out this FREE feature on more Facebook pages of the local businesses that are based in the U.S.  Sure enough, this feature started to appear on many more Facebook pages, so chances are your Facebook page has this feature already or will get it in next few days or weeks.

Simply go to your Facebook page and you should see “Offer, Event +” right next to “Status” and “Photo/video” sharing options [you must be an administrator of that Facebook page to see that feature, so make sure you are an admin of the page]. If you are not an admin, ask the person who handles your Facebook page to make you an admin (takes 2 minutes).

–         Rejoice! You will be able to share special deals with your fans, add value, increase brand awareness and your revenue!

–         Read Facebook guidelines that specify the rules for Facebook offers   (http://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php)

–         Decide what offer you want to run and make sure your offer complies with Facebook guidelines

–         Create the offer on your Facebook page (it’s free!):

  • Go to your Facebook page, click on “Offer, Event+”, click on “Offer” and fill out the easy form
  • There is no minimum on how value or discount required, though Facebook recommends at least 20% off for the best impact.
  • You can’t edit the Offer once it’s posted, so make sure it is exactly the way you want it
  • You can add a thumbnail, headline, expiration date, and terms & conditions
  • You can limit how many people can claim the offer
  • You can’t limit the offer to fans only, so it’ll be visible to all Facebook users who view your page
  • You can choose to target your offer’s audience by country and language only (before posting, click the drop down Public  menu next to the Post button and select Language / Location.)

When you create an offer, it will show up in your fans’ news feed and on your Facebook page. Fans who click on your offer will be able to redeem it by receiving an email that they present at your business’s site. If you are running an offer that does not involve physical business location, you may have to use more creativity on how to have the users redeem the offer. In either case, right after you know what offer you’ll be running, inform the staff who would be involved in the offer redemption (cashiers for retail stores, staff at the front desk if you’re a hotel, waiters if you’re a restaurant etc.).

If you need to change the offer or want to stop running it altogether, you can delete it (you can’t edit it) but make sure you honor the offer claimed by the fans who already redeemed it prior to your deletion.

Last but not least, make sure you track your success (hopefully not failure). “Offer” feature includes a counter of how many people redeemed the offer; however, it doesn’t mean that all the fans who actually signed up to receive it via email will actually redeem it at your location. That is why it is advisable to collect the print outs from the fans and store them in one place so you can easily track the actual success of the offer. Pick and instruct your employees to collect these print outs and tell them where to keep them, so they are easy to find and count. Don’t forget to analyze which offer produced the best results!

–         You can ask Facebook to enable it on your Facebook page by filling out this form: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact/?id=367554259954235

–         Make sure your Facebook page is categorized under “Local Business” and that you filled out the address for your business (Click on “About” – then “Edit” on Basic info tab). If your business address is outside of the U.S., you will have to wait for the feature a bit longer (though Facebook allowed few foreign businesses to test the feature).

–         You can meanwhile share your special deals with customized tab like Hilton Miami Downtown did (requires involving the graphic designer and programmer)

–         You can install a free coupon tab from third-party applications like www.woobox.com

Whether your Facebook page has the “Offer” feature or not, you should create special social media offers regularly to add value, increase the number of your Facebook fans, and differentiate yourself from the competitors. It is also a great way to generate more revenue directly and decrease reliance on OTAs and sites like Groupon that take generous commissions!

Facebook Ads: Target Users by Zip Code

Facebook is taking the paid ads to another level and adding the option of targeting the users by their zip code (hooray for marketers and businesses)! So far the companies have only been able to target the users by the city, which can be way too broad. After all, how often do you really travel from one side of the city to another just to eat at the restaurant? Targeting users by the zip code adds much more relevancy to the ads, making this option very appealing to the advertisers. NOW many companies can really enjoy the big BANG for the buck.

This option is to become available the following week – I know I will certainly give it a try. Choose age, key words, zip code, better yet target the fans of the page of your direct competitor … The possibilities are endless ;)

Remember some good practices for Facebook Ads:

  • Always design more versions of the ad to test what would work the best (slight changes in text and try different images)
  • Don’t rush with choosing the image – choosing the right picture is extremely important
  • The pictures should be relevant to your ad yet eye-catching
  • Make the initial bid higher – you can lower the bid during the campaign
  • Get rid of the ads that don’t convert well and keep those that get the best conversion

Guide to Facebook Ads is a great place to start if you’ve never tried Facebook Ads.

If you did, share your experience!

Planning Facebook Contest? Use Binkd!

In my recent article about Facebook contests  I have discussed some tips on how to run the successful Facebook contest. One of the things mentioned was that Facebook rules PROHIBIT running the contests directly on Facebook. Yes, this means no trivia, no “click like it”, no picture contests, no anything related to contests DIRECTLY on Facebook. However, you CAN run the contest through a 3rd party application (special tab you install on your Facebook page).

How do you do that? The easiest way is to go with the solution designed by one of the companies that specializes in online promotions. There are tons of firms that offer Facebook contest apps (WildfireWooboxPromoboxx to name some of my favorites), but they are often fairly expensive, especially if you want to run a contest that requires the users to like your Facebook page before they can enter. As I mentioned in my previous post, making users (and those who vote for them if it is a voting-based contest) like your page before they can participate is extremely important, because it is the best way to increase your Facebook fan base. Some basic (cheap or free) versions of the apps will allow you to run the contest BUT will require you to upgrade to much more expensive version if you want this functionality enabled. This is why I love, love Binkd. You don’t have to pay a penny for this function and you can run all kinds of contests (picture voting, text voting, sweepstakes & more). The free version will let you run 1 contest at the time for 21 days. If you want to run more contests at the time or for longer period, the upgrade is under $10.

It is relatively new, so there are still few issues, but Binkd is very good at responding and fixes everything in 24 hours.

Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!

Top 10 Tips on Doing Facebook Contests

So you have a Facebook fan page… but how do you get fans? How do you increase the fan interaction? One of the best ways to do that is running the Facebook contest. But how to run it so it is effective? I ran quite a number of Facebook contests with huge success (even 97% growth in fan base in 2 weeks!), so I dare to say that I do know what I am talking about.. ;-) I wrote this article as a guest blogger on Ruhani Rabin’s Tech & Lifestyle site last month and already got a very nice feedback (20 comments, 128 tweets & 36 Facebook shares). Hope you enjoy it as well!  

http://www.ruhanirabin.com/top-tips-facebook-contests/

5 Things All Hoteliers Should Know About Social Media

#1: Social media is not just about Facebook.

When I talk to the hoteliers about social media, the most common response is “Yes, I know Facebook.” But there is so much more to social media than “just” Facebook. There are many other platforms (Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Orkut, Foursquare etc.) as well as tools that the businesses can use to steal the spotlight from the competitors. All in all, it is a complex world full of opportunities. 

#2: Social media is not just for teenagers.

 I hear this argument a lot and I bet many who don’t say it aloud think that. To that, I say “let’s talk statistics”. The average Facebook user is 38 year old (http://bit.ly/eelYwV), so definitely far from teenage years. In fact, only 11% of Facebook users are 13-17 years of age, which means that they are the smallest user group on Facebook (http://bit.ly/he6Oqo)! This difference is even more apparent on Twitter, where 13-17 year-olds comprise only 4% of the user base! In short, social media is anything but teenage playground.

#3: Don’t expect overnight miracles.

If you launch your campaign on Facebook, Twitter etc. and expect to hit the goldmine the next day, in 99.9% you will be disappointed. It takes time to get the word out, attract the right kind of people and get connected. You have to be patient and persistent.  If your campaign is working, you should start getting the first signs of success after couple weeks or months (increased bookings via social media, fuller restaurant during the dinner time etc.) and before you know it, you will have large, loyal audience that once didn’t know you existed. 

#4: Your front desk person or 17-year-old nephew can’t do the job.

Because of the budget constraints and misconception of social media, hoteliers often think that they can put their social media campaign in just about anybody’s hands. NOT TRUE. Your social media account is the face of your company. It is your first-hand connection with your past, present and future costumer, so it is extremely important that you make a good impression. Your nephew or front desk person may have a personal Facebook account or make a good impression on you, but this really doesn’t mean that they know what they are doing. Don’t put the face of your company in the hands of the amateur.

#5 Using social media for business and for personal use are 2 very different things.

“Facebook is a waste of time. Why would I spend hours reading what someone’s eating?” Whether it is or it isn’t a waste of your PERSONAL time is a question. However, from the BUSINESS point of view, it is definitely NOT a waste of time. I have seen what social media did for many hotels and I can tell you that it is well worth the investment. Even if you would never ever set up a Facebook profile for yourself, as a professional you can’t ignore this very powerful marketing tool. If you do, your company is missing out on a lot of opportunities (which translates to sales and profit).

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