7 Little Known – but Incredibly Handy – Facebook Marketing Features

With nigh-on 2 billion members at last check, Facebook continues to be by far the most dominant social network. It has done this by continually breaking new ground in the world of social media, and nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of marketing.

Facebook is an incredible tool for marketers, and far more expansive than most give it credit for. It’s likely that you won’t have heard of most of its features, such is the depth of the utility. So to ensure that you get the most out of Facebook, let’s look at seven fantastic marketing features that may well have flown under your radar.

1. Audience Insights

Paid advertising is part of any serious social media marketing campaign, and with it – on Facebook at least – comes a wealth of incredible insights. These can be found within the “Audience Insights” section of Facebook’s business section (marked by a greyer colour palate). The insights run deep, offering incredibly detailed info about your target audience, allowing you to create content that is far more relevant.

2. Ad Relevance Score

Facebook’s ad relevance score is a way of quantifying exactly how successful your ad is likely to be. A huge array of factors are considered when coming up with the score, including views, clicks, likes, comments, and positive and negative reactions. The relevance of your ad will also steer its cost – Facebook rewards success, so a good score will result in more views for less cash!

3. Post Scheduler

Many people assume that you require a third party app like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts. Not so. Facebook has a native function to do just that. It’s just a matter of clicking on the “Publishing Tools” tab, selecting “Scheduled Posts” and then creating one!

4. Invite People to Like Your Page

A quick and easy way to grow your audience, you can automatically suggest your page to your contacts in far more ways than you might have thought. Businesses with healthy email databases rejoice – you can import your entire list of contacts and flick them a link to like your page automatically. Simply click on the “…” button on your page, then click “Suggest Page.” A variety of email options will come up, so just choose the one that’s right for you.

On top of that, did you know that you can suggest your page to people who have previously engaged with your content? Just click on the list of people that like a particular post, and they’ll be listed with a button that says either:

  • Liked – that person already likes your page
  • Invited – that person has already been invited to like your page, or
  • Invite – that person hasn’t yet been invited

If it’s the third option, hit the invite option to (hopefully) gain another follower. The good thing is that they’ve already appreciated content that you’ve posted, so the conversion to followership shouldn’t be a particularly difficult one.

5. Pages to Watch

Keeping an eye on the competition, or industry movers and shakers, is always a good idea. And Facebook makes it incredibly easy. “Pages to Watch” allows you to follow up to 100 pages and compare their activity, audience growth and engagement with your own over a weekly period. You’ll get incredibly detailed insights into the workings of your competitors and of social media leaders, allowing you to learn the Facebook marketing ropes super quickly!

6. Like Pages as Your Brand

If you put the good vibes out, you’ll get the good vibes back. But many people assume that you can’t let the positive energy flow from your business page by liking and following the pages of others. The reality is that you can, although it’s a feature that’s somewhat hidden. You’ll need to visit the page that you’re looking to support, but instead of blindly hitting “like, you instead need to hit the “…” button on the page, and click “Like As Your Page.” This is great to encourage a little bit of #f4f action!

 

7. Free Ad Images

Did you know there was a stock photo collection built within Facebook, ready to bring fantastic imagery to your next campaign? When you create your Facebook ad, you’ll obviously be given the ability to upload your own images, but next to the upload button you’ll see a stock images tab. As it’s completely free it’s always worth a look, particularly if you haven’t got any imagery that’s super relevant to your post on file!

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6 Essential Tips for Social Media Cross-Promoting

Cross-promotion on your organisation’s social platforms is a social media marketing fundamental, but nevertheless, it can be a difficult one to get right. With the intricacies and best practices of each platform constantly in flux, it can be difficult to know exactly how to go about your cross-promotion efforts from year to year.

There are some things that never change though. Here are six bankable tips that will help you to get all that you can from cross-promoting across your social media accounts!

1. Add social links to each of your profiles

Each one of your social accounts – be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest or LinkedIn – comes with an “about section” (or something similar). While this section should obviously outline what your organisation is about, it should also be seen as a fantastic cross-promotion opportunity. Be sure to include links to each of your other profiles in the section, so that a follower can receive the full complement of your social media activity.

2. Buddy up with a non-competitor

Good social media cross-promotion strategy utilises both internal and external methods. External methods are those that capitalise on a third party – an individual or organisation with whom you’re not in direct competition – to promote your material. This can take the form of either a mutually beneficial cross-promotion partnership where you promote their offerings and they promote yours, or a paid sponsorship agreement, like hiring the services of a social media influencer.

3. Learn how best to use each platform

Every social media platform is its own unique little snowflake, and you’ll need to treat each as such. Posting to Instagram, for example, necessitates the clever and liberal use of hashtags, whereas hashtags on Facebook are far less important. While text-only posts can still work well on Twitter, they’re inadvisable on almost all other platforms.

Educating yourself on the ins and outs of each platform will allow you to cross-promote content in the most effective way possible, extending your reach markedly. Avoid cross-posting – uploading the exact same post across all of your profiles – at all costs.

4. Assimilate your website and social profiles

Your website should direct visitors to your social profiles, and your social profiles should direct visitors to your website. If your website uses WordPress or something similar then there will be a variety of plugins that will allow you to embed either social buttons or small social preview screens directly into your site. Directing social followers to your site will generally be done by posting links to website-based content, but it’s also important to have a link to your website listed somewhere on your profile.

5. Invite one profile’s followers to an event on another profile

Each platform has a unique broadcasting strength. Capitalising on Facebook’s Live function or conducting a Twitter Q&A tends to attract a greater and more engaged audience than simply posting a link to a blog post. So why not invite one platform’s followers to watch you do your work on another? If you’re going to do a Facebook Live feed, advise your Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat followers. This will help to ensure that every member of your audience has a complete picture of your social activity and won’t miss a thing.

6. Use customised tracking URLs for your analytics

There’s no real way to know how effective your social media cross-promotion efforts have been without analysing your performance, but if you’re cross-promoting one particular piece of website content it can be difficult to know where each hit has come from, and thus see which profile’s post worked and which didn’t. Customised tracking URLs seek to solve this problem – they are unique to each profile, enabling you to check exactly how many click-throughs you get from each source.

So yes, cross-promotion is a social media fundamental, but it can be a difficult one to get right. You’ll need to be committed, adaptable and adventurous to do so, but the benefits that come with good cross-promoting are more than worth the effort.

How to Increase Engagement When Using Instagram for Business

The best way to use the world’s most minimalist social platform remains a mystery to many businesses. With such limited functionality your options might seem to be fairly restricted, but in truth, there are a multitude of ways that you can work to increase your Instagram engagement. Here are seven of the most effective:

1. Put a link in your profile

The main aim of your Instagram account is likely to get more people to your website, blog or newsletter. It’s to introduce people to your brand and direct them to where they can enjoy more of your work.

While putting an external link in an Instagram post is a no-no, the platform does allow you to put a link in your profile. In order to drive engagement outside of Instagram, it is crucial that you make use of this function. Once you’ve added the link, you can then put text like “link in profile” on your next post to direct people to your site.

UPDATE: You can also add an external link to your Instagram stories.

2. Use relevant hashtags

According to this study, just a single relevant hashtag can increase engagement on a post by 12.6 percent. Instagram allows you to use up to 30, but if you don’t want to come across spammy 5-10 hashtags makes for a nice middle ground.

3. Call your followers to action

Sometimes people need to be told what to do. A call to action does just that. Include a CTA in the text that comes with your photo – something along the lines of:

  • Double tap the photo if you like it
  • Tag 2 friends that this reminds you of
  • Comment with your favorite…

It may seem a little brash, but requesting that people like or comment on a photo actually works!

4. Use correctly sized images

With the rise in the resolution of smartphone displays, Instagram has recently changed from a standard image size of 612 x 612 pixels to 1080 x 1080 pixels. And while you now have the opportunity to upload images that are portrait or landscape instead of a perfect square, going too far either way will result in an image that is either hard to recognize or is cut off by the app. Do your best to upload high-quality images that are as close to a perfect square as possible. Your followers will thank you.

5. Give your Instagram profile an aesthetic

The most successful Instagram businesses have a uniform aesthetic. This “brand” allows your followers to become comfortable with what you deliver, and begin to love you for it. It could be as simple as committing to the use of one specific filter, or you could focus on uploading images relating to one specific subject. Refinery29 has suggested that the right filter choice can increase exposure by 21 percent and comments by 45 percent!

6. Try out Instagram stories

Instagram’s battle with Snapchat is in full swing, and as such, they’re pushing their version of Snapchat – Instagram Stories – pretty hard. If you upload a story you’ll be placed at the top of your followers’ feeds, highlighted in an eye-catching circle. If you’ve got a lot to say Instagram Stories allows you to say it without clogging up your followers’ news feeds – perfect for when your business hosts a special event.

7. Pay for a sponsored post

Sometimes – perhaps all the time – you have to spend money to make money. Instagram ads allow you to reach a huge amount of eyes for a minimum spend. Because Instagram is a subsidiary of Facebook you’ll need to use Facebook’s Power Editor in order to set up your campaign, but with the ability to reach thousands of fresh eyes for very little cash, it’s more than worth it.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, increasing your engagement on such a basic platform is largely about doing the basics well. But don’t let the minimalism fool you – despite its simplicity, Instagram is well worth the investment of time and resources for your business.

5 Inspirational Examples of Awesome Social Media Contests

Social media contests are marketing tools which are as effective as they are fun. Giveaways can really spur your audience into action, with engagement and reach far exceeding the results of more standard social marketing tactics.

Looking for inspiration for your next promo? Here are five examples of social media contests done right.

UrDogs

Social media is all about sharing things with your friends, and we all know that nothing is more shareable on social platforms than cute pictures of dogs. Thus a contest centered on such pictures is always going to be a sure fire hit.

UrDogs did exactly that with their cutest dog contest and enjoyed the spoils. With over 2,000 entries, each one more shareable than the last, the reach of the contest was astronomical. While UrDogs is a media company, and thus simply offered up cash prizes, ideally, you’d offer up a product or service that’s more directly related to your business.

Vans Custom Culture

Footwear giant Vans has created the sort of contest that many organizations can only dream of – one that has become an institution in certain circles. 2017 sees the eighth edition of the Vans Custom Culture competition, which pits budding designers against each other to create the finest pair of custom Vans that they can.

The competition is school based, with the first 1,500 art classes to enter receiving 4 pairs of plain Vans to do whatever they want with. Upon completion, photo entries are sent into Vans, who use an array of social media platforms to display the results. The winners – based on public votes – receive $50,000 for their school’s art program. It’s a contest that’s at once wholesome, fun and extremely effective.

SuperHeroStuff.com

Are you finding coming up with a contest idea difficult? Tying into a holiday is always a home run. Whether it’s Christmas, Easter or the summer solstice, holiday-based promotions offer a familiarity that few other promotional themes can match.

SuperHeroStuff.com showed just how simple and effective such a promotion could be with their “What are you thankful for?” contest over Thanksgiving. They asked entrants to answer that question in 25 words or less, with the winner receiving merchandise to the value of $50. One thousand-four hundred and forty-three entries later this super simple promo paid for itself in an astounding way.

Qwertee

T-shirt company Qwertee knows how to run a Facebook contest. From the outset the company saw the value that promotional giveaways offer businesses, so set themselves a goal. They’d give away as many t-shirts as it took to get to 100,000 Facebook likes. In 2013 they were giving away hundreds of t-shirts every month, but within a very short time frame – a matter of just a few months – they’d reached their goal.

Four years later and Qwertee has continued to go from strength to strength, now boasting 400,000 followers who are kept interested by regular contests and promotions. Qwertee knows their market, and have a product which is perfect fodder for social media contests.

O-Cedar

What is the least exciting contest prize you could imagine? A mop and bucket you say? Interesting. That makes O-Cedar’s “Give it a whirl” giveaway all the more impressive.

By offering up nothing more than the chance to win one of 10x EasyWring mop and bucket packs every day for two weeks, O-Cedar managed to collect the details of over 11,000 entrants. The key to their success rested on two main factors:

1. The competition was presented brilliantly, with ultra-professional graphics and a clear message.
2. They offered entrants a real feeling that they could win. 10 prizes per day over a period of 14 days; that’s a lot of opportunities for your name to be drawn out of the hat.

While you may not have a particularly thrilling product or service to offer as a contest prize, O-Cedar’s efforts go to show that you can still have real success in running a contest.

No matter what your organization does or how big your marketing budget is, a social media competition is worth a shot for anyone who seeks to grow their business. And by taking on a little bit of inspiration from the examples above, your contest could well pay big dividends.

The 5 Keys to Providing Great Customer Service on Facebook

The Facebook page of modern day businesses is now just as viable and accepted a communication platform as a phone number or email address. Your customers expect that you’ll see their communiqué and will respond to it in good time. In fact, most customers prefer Facebook, particularly if their message is a negative one, as it publicly airs their grievances for all the world to see. They feel that you’ll be more forced to address the issue than you might in a phone call or via email.

So with great swathes of your customers now choosing Facebook as their preferred customer service channel, it’s up to your business to adapt to this change as quickly and proficiently as possible. And to help you do so, let’s look at the five keys to providing great customer service on Facebook.

1. Use a purpose-built tool

To do any job properly you need to equip yourself with the right set of tools. You can’t fix your broken mug with a hammer, as I’m sure a saying goes.* While using Facebook’s standard features to reply to seems logical, they aren’t optimised for use as customer service tools. Messages, posts, and comments are liable to get lost in the noise, particularly if your page sees a decent amount of action.

It’s wise to use a purpose-built utility instead, which will allow you to manage your customer service efforts far more easily. Some of the best include Hootsuite, Buffer, and SocialFlow.

*I just Googled it and it’s definitely not a saying, but I feel like it should be. I now proclaim this canon.

2. No question goes unanswered

Rule one of the Facebook customer service guidebook is that all queries should be addressed. This shows that you pay attention to your customers – that you care about them, and aren’t aloof. It only takes one ignored complaint gone viral for you to have a real PR disaster on your hands.

The content of the reply should go over and above simply answering the question. You should attempt to foresee subsequent questions, and cut them off at the pass by offering the customer any information that is relevant to their query or complaint. This strategy will save you a lot of time in the long run.

3. Setting response time KPIs

As a customer, what would you deem a reasonable response time to a query or complaint? While instantaneousness is ideal, it’s also impracticable. A reasonable response time for any business is 24 hours – anything over that and it starts to look as though you’re (ironically) phoning your Facebook customer service efforts in.

Set a maximum response time, and work within it religiously.

4. Seeing complaints as opportunities

The attitude that you bring to the table will have a massive effect on how productive your Facebook customer service efforts are. This may sound like vintage middle management talk, but complaints truly are opportunities. The opportunity to solve an issue experienced by a loyal customer. The opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service. The opportunity to turn a complainant into a brand advocate, and bad PR into good PR.

Adopting a positive attitude – rather than the far more natural defensive attitude – will allow you to mend any relations and bring complaints to a close for more efficiently. You’re also putting out good vibes to your greater Facebook audience who may see the post.

5. Using a consistent voice and a suitable tone

As a customer, I have no doubt that you despise any customer service that appears automated. Whether it’s dialing numbers on your keypad to solve a dispute over the phone, or chatting to one of those website bots that don’t really get the nuances of the English language, automated customer service features tell people that a company cares more about efficiency than it does their customers. We just want to talk to a human for goodness’ sake.

Using a consistent human voice in your Facebook communications is vital. It helps to develop a brand persona, giving your messages a uniform feel and your followers a personality that they can relate to. The tone is also crucial – be somber with complaints, excited with praise and cheery with general queries.

Facebook will only grow as a customer service tool into the future, so by getting your fundamentals right now, you’re setting your company up for success for years to come.

24 Top Tweets about the Gloriousness of Coffee

Money doesn’t make the world go round. No no no. Coffee does.

Without that life-giving shot of caffeine in the morning, it’s fair to say that most of us would be empty shells of ourselves, wandering through life like milk-drunk toddlers who are 2 hours late for their afternoon nap.

The impact of coffee on society hasn’t been lost on Twitter users. Every artist needs their muse, and it seems that inspiration from the bean has allowed many to produce some of their very finest work. So, for your reading pleasure, here are 24 of Twitter’s finest coffee-related tweets.

“Someone in the office keeps making decaf coffee & I’ve narrowed it down to that guy who never gets anything done.”

“I don’t need a husband I just need someone to come over and make me coffee in the morning and then leave.”

 

“Instead of going to Starbucks, I make coffee at home, yell my name out incorrectly, then light a $5 bill on fire.”

 

24 Top Tweets about the Gloriousness of Coffee

Money doesn’t make the world go round. No no no. Coffee does.

Without that life-giving shot of caffeine in the morning, it’s fair to say that most of us would be empty shells of ourselves, wandering through life like milk-drunk toddlers who are 2 hours late for their afternoon nap.

The impact of coffee on society hasn’t been lost on Twitter users. Every artist needs their muse, and it seems that inspiration from the bean has allowed many to produce some of their very finest work. So, for your reading pleasure, here are 24 of Twitter’s finest coffee-related tweets.

“Someone in the office keeps making decaf coffee & I’ve narrowed it down to that guy who never gets anything done.”

“I don’t need a husband I just need someone to come over and make me coffee in the morning and then leave.”

 

“Instead of going to Starbucks, I make coffee at home, yell my name out incorrectly, then light a $5 bill on fire.”