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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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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“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!

Hotel Digital Marketing Trends & Interesting Stats

Which marketing channels does your hotel spend the most money on? What are the most effective ways of bringing business to your hotel? The answers to these key questions and many others can be found in a recently released HeBS 5th Annual Benchmark Survey on Digital Marketing. This is definitely a must-read if you are in the hospitality industry.

Key lessons you should take away from the survey:

  •  Forget offline, online marketing is a way to go! (49.1% shifted money from offline marketing budgets to online marketing; also over 45% of all hotel bookings in 2011 will be via the Internet)
  • Go Social! Social Media is now a major player. (Social 43% of hoteliers saying they believe social media is one of the Internet marketing formats that produces the best results and the highest ROIs.)
  • Go mobile!  Many hotels are planning for a mobile site and mobile booking engine this year (14.6% increase comparing to 2010)
  • Invest in website optimization and social media!  Majority of hoteliers attribute the highest ROI to these two components.
From the social media side of things, I’d really advise you to look into Facebook ads, social plug-ins, and relevant blogs.

I highly encourage you to go through the entire survey carefully and to modify your marketing strategy accordingly.

Feel free to ask questions and/or share the best marketing practices of your property as well as your marketing budget projections!

Learn more about me: https://onlinefantastic.wordpress.com/about/

Connect with me:

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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).

Learn more about me: https://onlinefantastic.wordpress.com/about/

Connect with me:

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Hotels, Promote Your Social Media Accounts!

Are your hotel’s social media accounts promoted at the front desk, on room keys or feedback cards? Does your hotel’s website and blog have easily noticeable and clickable Facebook & Twitter logos?  

Surprisingly, most hotels fail to display their social media accounts correctly online and offline. Hard-to-find or nonexistent Facebook and Twitter logos on the website OR at the property are a norm.  I call this paradox “hide and seek”, because hotels basically hide the fact that they have social media accounts and make their customers dig this information up. 

Why is it such a big problem?? If you make it hard on your customers to find you on social media, most of them simply won’t. Therefore, you lose an access to your most valuable fans and followers. I say most valuable, because the guests who have stayed at your hotel before already established an emotional connection with you, so they are more likely to interact with your brand on-line than a person who has never visited your property. Now the best social media accounts have one thing in common – they show high level of fan engagement. This being said, you NEED your guests to find you on Facebook, Twitter etc.

In short, when you play ‘hide and seek’, your fan & follower base is slow to grow and level of engagement on your social media accounts is poor. You can also express what happens in a simple equation: lost connection = lost feedback = lost chance to build trust & loyalty = lost future business. Lesson to take from this? Make it easy – as easy as possible. Display it clearly everywhere you can think of (with reason, of course) – at the minimum, all the places on my checklist below.

Finally, let’s find out if your hotel is playing ‘hide and seek’ by going through my checklist!

If ANY answer to the questions below would be “NO”, your hotel is ‘guilty’:

–         Does your hotel have Facebook & Twitter logos on at least the main page of the website?

–         Does your website have the Facebook & Twitter plug-ins integrated?

–         Is FB & Twitter part of the e-mail signatures of your employees?

–         Do your e-newsletters contain links to your social media accounts?

–         If you have a blog, is your blog linked to your Facebook, Twitter etc.?

–         Do you promote your social media accounts at the property? I.e. Do your room keys, in-room  TV, front desk, feedback cards, receipts show the address to your Facebook, Twitter etc.?

Whether your hotel plays ‘hide and seek’ consciously or unconsciously, I urge you to change it –  stop hindering your social media strategy. When you decided to enter social media space, you took a unique opportunity to connect with your past, current and potential customers. Make it easy for them to find you and you will see an amazing progress in quality as well as quantity of your audience on social media.

Connect with me!

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Top 5 Ways Hotels Can Find and Reach Luxury Consumers Through Social Media

 Luxury hotels are all over Facebook and Twitter these days. The mere existence on social media channels is, of course, not enough. Successful social media campaign is underlined by a sound strategy, part of which is finding and reaching the target market (in this case the luxury segment).

Here are the top 5 ways on how to find & reach the luxury consumers on social media:

 

#1: Twitter Lists Rule!

Twitter directory

 If you are one of those people who think Twitter doesn’t make sense, think twice. Twitter is the easiest social media platform for finding & reaching the travelers who love luxury. Thanks to Twitter directories like twellow (www.twellow.com), twibes (www.twibes.com) or listorious (www.listorious.com), you can search through many relevant tags, users & Twitter lists in seconds. Just type in luxury travel, luxury etc. to find a relevant list and then follow every user from that list (I now see some people disapprovingly shaking their heads, but following others is the fastest way to let Twitter users know that you exist on Twitter!). Those who follow you back give you a chance to establish a relationship – please notice I do not say sell to them. Talk to them, engage, have fun & they will love you and come to you next time they travel your way.

 

#2: World Meets on Facebook Fan Pages

  

There are plenty of luxury loving fans worldwide who breathe Facebook & travel. The best way to find them is to use Facebook search on your profile’s homepage. When you search for the relevant keywords (luxury, travel, luxury travel, luxury hotels etc.)., the results will contain people, groups, apps etc., but what you really want to focus on are Facebook fan pages. Become a fan of the relevant page that has a lot of people from your target market.  By doing so, you will be able to tag the other fan pages in your Facebook posts (by using @ + start typing the name of the fan page you want to tag), which will make your Facebook page appear on the fan page that you tagged. Yes, you can write straight on the wall of these fan pages (without tagging), but such method is often viewed as a spam, so most people will ignore it plus you are risking being reported for spamming.

 

#3: Think Competitors! 

 

Social media (especially Twitter) give you an easy access to your competitors’ clients – existing and potential. You can find out who they are, reach out to them, and ultimately turn them into your clients. Though Facebook will allow you to see the list of all people who are fans of your competitors, reaching out to them is very difficult. Therefore, focus on your competitors’ Twitter accounts instead. It is generally 2 steps process: find your competitors’ Twitter accounts (if they have one) & follow all their followers. The chances are many will follow you back since you offer similar services, which means a chance for you to interact with them, show them your value, and hopefully ‘steal’ the business from your competitors.

 

#4: Luxury Twitter Users! 

 

Find the Twitter users who tweet about luxury, travel or both (especially the influential ones) in Twitter directories (more in my point #1), follow them, interact with them, follow their followers, follow who they follow.  My faves include for example @LuxeTiffany (hotel inspector who is all about luxury travel: http://twitter.com/luxetiffany),  @LuxurHolidays (tourism guide to the luxury traveler that provides a comprehensive list of the best luxury hotels of the world: http://twitter.com/luxurholidays) or @LuxurySociety (informing the world’s leading luxury professionals: http://twitter.com/luxurysociety). For more see http://listorious.com/tags/luxury. 

 

#5: Blogs!

 

There are many blogs focusing on luxury consumers. You can find the popular ones easily by putting luxury travel blogs, luxury hotels blogs, luxury travel blogs etc. into Google or you can use blog directories (i.e. www.technorati.com).  Important part is to participate, which includes commenting on blog posts, getting featured in a blog post, or use paid ads if you want to splurge a little ;). Most often it will be the choice #1 – commenting on blog posts, in which case you need to make sure that your comments are relevant and that they include the link to your site. Some of the popular blogs you should know about are Vagablond (http://www.vagablond.com), journeyPod (http://journeyPod.com/) or Luxique (http://www.luxique.com/blog/).

 No matter what you do, remember that the value is not in your selling, but your sharing [quote by @Iconic88]. 

Feel free to add to my list in the comments and best of luck!

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