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!


Connect with me:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys

http://twitter.com/onlinefantastic/

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

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:

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic 

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!

My Interview with Hotel Insight

 I recently had the privilege to talk to Hotel Insight about my biggest passion – social media. The interview touched on what I do, how I got into this field as well as the key principles of successful social media campaign, how to use Twitter, and my predictions for social media marketing. You can view the interview here:  http://hotelinsight.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/interview-with-lucie-hys-hotel-social-media-expert/

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:

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic 

 
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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!

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic 

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!

Let’s Connect!

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic 

 
 

What Businesses Should Jump on Twitter Train?

No matter what you sell, Twitter can help. In other words, if you own or run  the business, I would highly recommend that you learn how to tweet. Notice I am not saying establishing your Twitter account – that is not enough. In order to get results from Twitter, you need to know how to use it. Now, there are certain fields in which I would say tweeting your heart out is a must. If you are in one of the industries I named bellow and don’t have well-established presence on Twitter, you are saying “no” to a great deal of potential business, thus money.

 So, if your company operates in the following fields, make Twitter your best friend now, seriously!!!

 TECH related entities (computer & web specialists, electronic stores etc.)

  • We finally arrived to the stage in which being a geek is a way to go (luckily for me, right? 🙂  Jokes aside, technology is the new black, so demand for toys and those who know what to do with them is bigger than ever. In other words, there are many people on Twitter who are looking for what you have to offer if you are all about tech.

 JOB related entities (employment agencies, job boards etc.)

  • Many talented people, many people who lost their jobs, many people who want a better job: Twitter has it all. Especially in this economy, job is a precious commodity, so if that is what you can provide, you have the potential to be one of the most popular kids on the Twitter block ;-).

 TRAVEL related entities (hotels, motels, B&B, car rentals, airlines etc.)

  • Everybody travels, so everybody on Twitter can use your services. Considering that there are more than 75 million Twitter accounts, this means some serious business!

 FOOD related entities (restaurants, fast-food places, bakeries etc.)

  • We all have to eat (especially here in the U.S. food is a religion), thus millions of people your business can feed!

 LOVE related entities (online dating services, marriage counselors, wedding planners, photographers etc.)

  • Most people either have someone special or they look for someone special. Either way, all people need love in their lives, so there is audience of 75+ million people that you can make fall in love with you and your business!

 EVENT related entities (event promoters, nightclubs, bars, festivals etc.)

  • People are social creatures, hence the success of social media. People come to Twitter to socialize, network, meet new people, connect, have fun – sounds just like the audience that would be likely to go out and have fun, right?

NEWS related entities (magazines, newspapers, TV stations etc.)

  • There used to be the time when people woke up, picked up the newspaper and read it while eating breakfast or commuting to work. Today, most people begin their day with ogling their cell phones and laptops and many head to Twitter to stay on the top of things. Since anything big spreads virally on Twitter within seconds, Twitter has become the preferred news channel for many.

To sum things up, if you have a company, I recommend being active on Twitter, period. However, if you own or run the company that falls into the category I mentioned above, not being Twitter-savvy costs you a lot of money every day!! The opportunity cost that you are paying by not taking the full advantage of Twitter is huge. Do you have doubts? Connect with me and I will prove you wrong! 😉    

Yours XOXO Lucie

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic

www.facebook.com/travelfantastic

How to Promote Your Company on Twitter

Are you promoting your company on Twitter and have hard time finding followers or getting retweeted? Then read this very carefully.

Almost wherever you go, whatever you do, there are advertisements. No wonder people start avoiding ads whenever they can (hence skipping channels, investing in commercial-free radio and TV programs etc.). So why would they voluntarily follow you on Twitter and really listen to what you have to say?

Well, many people won’t, but there is a lot you can do as a marketer to persuade people to follow your company and to really pay attention to your messages. First of all, look at it from a greater perspective: if you were the potential customer, what would the companies have to do in order for you to follow them on Twitter and really pay attention to what they are saying? Think about it. Think hard. What would motivate you personally to invite the company into your life? It is likely that if it motivates you, it would motivate the others as well. This is the most important thing for you to keep in mind.

Certainly, you would hardly follow the company on Twitter that just sells, sells, sells and doesn’t interact or respond. The social networking sites are marvelous marketing tool because they cut the middleman to get feedback and allow you to interact directly with the consumers, so use this opportunity! It is a two-way communication tool, not a monologue. So ask questions, look at what people are saying about your company and respond, comment on other tweets. Socialize! This is the second most important point every Twitter marketer should remember.

Last but not least, focus all your Twitter activities on adding value. I know, you have probably heard this before, but what does it really mean??? It means that you tweet about things that people want to know, what they may be interested in and what could help them in some way. Maybe you have a job opening, great deal, coupon or just a good quote that relates to your business? Every message can be tailored to add value, even the promotional one.

If you keep these three things in mind, you will soon see the results. Promoting via Twitter can really be a great source of competitive advantage and I have it verified by experience that it works, BUT do remember that in order to promote successfully on Twitter, you have to do it in a way that puts your potential clients first, not your interests!

Yours XOXO Lucie

Feel free to connect with me!

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic

www.facebook.com/travelfantastic

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.  ~Albert Einstein

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