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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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!

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