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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How to Use Social Media During Events

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

1. Decide which networks you want to promote and monitor

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

2. Make sure your hashtag is everywhere

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

3. Designate people and their roles

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

4. Prepare some content before the event and schedule it

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

5. Tell people what you want them to do

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

6. Incentivize

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

7. Make them feel important

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

8.  Create engaging and exclusive content

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

9. Encourage after-event engagement

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

10. Choose the right community manager

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

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

Features Twitter Needs

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

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

1. Edit a tweet

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

2. Suggested hashtags

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

3. More visual timeline

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

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

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

5. Join Twitter chat

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

6. Top trends based on category

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

7. Schedule a tweet

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

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

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.

Create Professional LinkedIn Background in Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canva.com

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

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

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

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“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!

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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!

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