Facebook, is it over for businesses?

Since Facebook announced the algorithm change for Business Pages, back in January, many business owners have either left the platform or have given up.

The reality is that as a small business owner we can still continue to grow on Facebook.  There are many elements available through Facebook that allow us to keep building our businesses.  You have your personal timeline, groups and YES, your Business Page.

What I have seen and heard, is that it was the larger companies, those who had larger followings, that got more affected by the change than us ‘little’ guys.  Reason being is that they had huge amounts of engagement (like/comment/shares) than we had, so the decrease in numbers were much more noticeable.

I will tell you that I personally, did not see a difference in my “number of people reached” on each of my posts, I am still averaging 600 daily reach on my posts.  Why?

I have been using Facebook for 10 years for business, with the last 6 focused on my Facebook business.  During those 10 years, I spent more time building relationships through the different groups, than anything else.  I realized the impact of this for my business, so I knew that I had to dedicate DAILY time to doing this.  I knew that my Business Page was not the ONLY thing I needed to focus on.  I also learned that my personal timeline could make a HUGE impact.

By working these 3 main elements of Facebook, it ultimately, will affect your following and your engagement on your Business Page.  People will want to follow you because you have built a relationship and in turn, they will tell their friends and your following starts to grow.  HOWEVER, this is not the only way, this is just a small fraction of what you can do.

Really think about what you are posting on your Business Page.  Does it provide value?  Is it something that will create engagement?  Does it show you as an expert in your field?  Does it show who you are/your personality?  Is it ANOTHER business promotion?

What we post on our Business Page is the KEY to creating engagement, even against the algorithm.  When people make sure that they are seeing your posts, then they are engaging, that will draw in more attention.  Facebook loves engagement, so we need to do what we can to create it.  P.S. Did you know that when you ‘share’ your Business Page posts onto your personal timeline and into groups, this is considered engagement?  

As you are growing and learning which type of posts work best, DON’T get discouraged by your numbers if they are not all great, every day.  Just keep moving forward and focus on improving what you are doing.

Here is a great article from Buffer talking more in-depth about the Facebook algorithms and some suggestions on what you can do.  READ HERE

GUEST BLOGGER: 7 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Social Media

Email marketing is an integral part of every successful digital marketing strategy. In terms of ROI, it frequently outperforms other digital marketing channels, making it a favorite among marketers who have to work on a limited budget. Email marketing is an excellent backup option if all your other marketing attempts start to fail. Your website might get blacklisted, your social media accounts might get blocked, but with an email list in place, you still have a means of reaching out to your audience.

The effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns is primarily determined by the size and quality of your mailing list. There are already many articles online on how to grow your email list, so we have decided to narrow down our focus on social media as a way of generating email leads. Give these techniques a try, and watch as your mailing list starts growing faster and faster before your eyes.

Add CTAs to Your Social Media Profiles

The most direct way to leverage social media for growing you email list is to include a call-to-action in all your social media profiles. Ideally, your CTA should point to a landing-page that gives them an option to receive some kind of benefit, in exchange for their email address. This tactic works best on your new social media followers, as they are more likely to interact with your brand immediately after hitting the subscribe button.

Offer Bonus Content

Creating quality social media content is essential for keeping your audience engaged with your brand. And if your content is good enough, your followers might be willing to lend you their email address in exchange for a second serving. There are two ways of implementing this strategy. One is to gate certain parts of content until your lead provides an email, and the other is to offer something extra for those willing to give away their address.

Host a Giveaway

If you are willing to invest a bit more into growing your mailing list, you can host a giveaway on social media. Give your followers the chance to win a premium prize simply by giving you their email address. Make sure that the prize you are offering is tailor-made for your target demographic – otherwise you will attract people who are just in it for the freebies, and are therefore unlikely to keep interacting with your brand. You can also go a step further, and give your contestants the opportunity to gain multiple entries to the contest for CTAs such as sharing the event on social media.

Add Sharing CTAs to Your Email Content

While we are on the topic of sharing, be sure to include the option to do so in your newsletters, courses, ebooks, and other bits of content you will be sending out in your emails. It costs you practically nothing to add a small share button at the end of every email you send, and those shares do add up over time. Giving people the option to share your email content will make you seem more generous and forthcoming, so your existing customers will want to return the favor.

Advertise on Facebook

This tactic requires some social media training in order to implement it right, but if you have the skills required, it can be extremely effective at expanding your email list. First you need to create a landing page with the appropriate CTA, or use one which you made previously. Then you have to set up the ad itself through Facebook, making sure to include an evocative title, a quality advertising copy, and an eye-catching image. Finally, you have to specify how much money you are willing to bid on a monthly level to have your ad displayed to your target demographic.

Create How-To Videos for Youtube

While it might not be immediately obvious, YouTube is as much of a social network as Facebook or Instagram. The type of content you need to produce in order to attract a following differs, but it is still a platform for generating email leads. When deciding on the kind of video you need to make to promote your subscription CTA, be sure to look into video tutorials. Creating how-to videos covering basic topics can easily acquire millions of views, and that is a lot of potential emails you stand to gather for your list.

Host an Online Seminar on Social Media

Some people require a bit of persuasion before they divulge their email. And in order to persuade them, you have to invite them to a talk first. This can be done by creating an online seminar, giving your target audience the opportunity to interact with you directly. Give your first session away as a freebie, and then provide the option to subscribe for future session by providing an email. This way, your leads will get a chance to see what they are getting before making a decision whether to commit to your brand.

Conclusion

While being a powerful marketing channel in their own right, social networks give businesses the opportunity to enhance their other marketing efforts as well, including those that involve email marketing. Growing your mailing list is just one of the things that can be made easier by properly using the social media tools at your disposal.

 

Michael Deane is the editor of Qeedle, a small business hub he has started with a couple of friends. He is also a digital marketing executive, always looking for ways to make his clients lives easier. You can find him on Twitter at @ Qeedle_

Facebook Targeting Ads – News Feed

Have you ever wondered why you see certain Ads in your Facebook News Feed?

Everything you do on Facebook is tracked, even when you “like” a Business Page.  They take your information and place it into categories of “interests”, anything you viewed on Google will show up in your News Feed, all the different information you input into your personal profile “about” section is also targeted.

The GREAT news is that you can clean this up so that certain Ads won’t be targeted towards you!!

Here’s how:

  • From your desktop/laptop, log into your Facebook account (if you are going to do this from your phone App, you will find it under your “account settings” option)
  • Click on the drop down arrow at the top right corner of Facebook
  • Click on the tab “settings”
  • Click on the tab “Ads” down the left
  • Once you are in here, you want to go through each category and remove anything that you do not want them to target you with
    • Your interests (this is the information they gathered based on the pages you have liked)
    • Advertisers you’ve interacted with (specific companies you have interacted with)
    • Your information (this is the information you have put into your “about” section, you can turn off any of them you did not wish to receive Ads based on this criteria)
    • Ad settings (in here you can turn “off” the elements you do not want targeted to you)
    • Hide ad topics (you can choose to hide for a certain time frame or even permanently)

I would encourage you to go through this exercise as you really don’t know what you have made available to those who are doing Sponsored Ads.  When businesses create their Sponsored Ads, they choose a very specific target market and if you have any of the criteria they are targeting, then it will come into your news feed.

Clean it up!

 

Do you take responsibility?

I feel there is a need to write this blog BUT I know that some may be offended by what I have to say.

The day the internet was created, we were ALL opening up ourselves to releasing any privacy we thought we could keep.  There is much scandal going on right now with the world of Facebook in regards to the Russians having a hand in the Trump election and people are upset that Facebook would have it set up that people could get access to our information.

HERE IS THE REALITY!!  We ALL need to take some responsibility for this as well.  WE all need to understand that when you sign up for any social media platforms, when we play games, when we do quizzes, when we use Google (this is just a very small portion of what I am talking about, this goes so much bigger), WE open ourselves up to releasing our information.

YES, you need to read the terms, the policies!  YES, you need to check in the background settings of Apps and see what you have allowed them to take from you!  YES, you need to take responsibility for what YOU are doing in the internet world.

Did you know that if you use Google Maps on your phone, you accept the option for them to access your location?  Once you have done this, did you know that if you go to Google Maps on the computer, you will see a list of all the places you have visited?  Most people don’t realize this BUT you have to take the responsibility and find out.  For me, I do Google Reviews, so I have my location turned on BUT I do this for more visibility to my Google Account for my business.

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For the games and quizzes you do on Facebook, do you check the information that you are releasing to that specific App?

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When you get a Friend request on Facebook, are you taking the time to go through their profile and determine if it is a real person or a fake account?

Have you gone through your privacy settings on each of your Social Media platforms and made sure to set it up for what works for you?  P.S.  Get my FREE Privacy Settings for Facebook HERE

Do you believe those contests that are giving away something that is too good to be true?  Entering those contests are opening you up to hackers, spyware, releasing of your information to a 3rd party.

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Are you falling for the “click bait” type posts that shock you when you see the headline?  Read this article to understand fake news, HERE.

I think you are getting my message here.  Even though platforms, like Facebook, need to take responsibility for the information they are gathering about us, WE also need to take ownership.  WE need to check everything, read all the terms, understand what information we are releasing.

For me, personally, I am aware of what I am releasing and accept it.  I know that there are elements that are not in my control BUT that is a risk I have to take if I choose to use the internet, to turn on my locations, to use platforms like Facebook.  I accept that I have opened myself up to a world that I ultimately can’t control BUT use because I choose to use it.

GUEST BLOGGER: 3 Ways to Respond to Negative PR on Social Media (With Examples)

It is often said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But in today’s world of viral social media posts, that may not be the case. A simple negative comment about your brand could snowball into a massive controversy that can paralyze your business and can hamper lead generation.

Bad PR is something that happens to all businesses, especially the big ones. In fact, many companies that have become popular were able to do so by experiencing a massive PR crisis and turning it around on its head to eventually benefit from it.

That said, spinning negative PR on social media is like playing with fire—if you’re not careful enough, you risk getting burnt in front of a public audience and tarnishing your brand reputation.

While responding to negative comments on social media is risky, it’s a hazard you have to take if you want to improve your business. According to Warren Whitlock, one of Forbes top 10 social media influencers, complaints often come from people who actually care about your company and want you to succeed. Ignoring complaints may be a safer move, but you could hurt yourself more by losing potential life-long customers.

Here are some approaches you can use, along with examples, on how to respond to negative publicity on social media.

(1) The Normal Way

What’s the simplest way of addressing negative feedback on social media?

  1. Acknowledge.
  2. Apologize.
  3. Advise on a solution.

 

First, you have to indicate that you acknowledge the feedback and accept that you have shortcomings on your end. Once you’ve acknowledged that, offer a sincere apology, quickly followed up with a suggestion on how you can resolve the issue.

A good example of this is KitchenAid’s response to its Twitter crisis back in 2012, which nailed all three steps in addressing this issue.

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Cynthia Soledad, who was head of marketing at the time, went the extra mile by issuing the apology not as a brand entity, but as herself. This made the apology more sincere, and helped KitchenAid get back on its feet more easily than if it was done otherwise.

(2) The Swift Response

Due to its on-demand nature, Twitter is a favorite platform for sharing negative reviews about brands. While many businesses usually just ignore these (which isn’t a good idea), Elon Musk turned it into a weapon of his own.

Musk, founder and CEO of two of the most popular tech companies in the world, showed the world how to use Twitter as a customer service-slash-marketing tool when he directly responded to complaints about Tesla and resolved the issue in LESS THAN AN HOUR.

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Like the first example, Musk’s approach was also sincere because the response came from his personal account, not from Tesla’s.

What’s more is that Musk’s sincere apology served as a clever marketing tactic, which caused more good than harm for his company. Proof that feedback often comes from customers who actually care.

(3) Sprinkle A Little Bit of Humor

When it comes to handling customer complaints like a pro, we can all learn a lot from Tesco.

(Notice the rhyme in there? There’s more of that in our next example 😉)

Back in 2016, a Tesco customer shared a Facebook photo when he found out that the cucumber he bought had a worm in it. Tesco cleverly responded with a poem or an “ode to William” which made the post viral.

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This approach is harder to pull off than the others since you’ll need someone really good at telling great stories. It also depends if you think your customers can take a little laugh. But if you do pull this off, you can potentially pivot bad PR into a golden one that could even go viral.

Key Takeaway

Whatever approach you take, there’s one thing that should stay the same when responding to bad PR on social media: always maintain a tone of empathy.

In the end, what your customers really want is someone to listen to their story and help them with a solution.

 

Johanna drives the product and data strategies at PureB2B. She’s a two-decade veteran of the online publishing, B2B demand generation, and technology media markets. When not in the office, Johanna enjoys her family, fitness routines and reading self-help books.

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GUEST BLOGGER: Must-Have Tools to Become a Master Instagram Curator

With 800 million monthly active users and 40 billion photos uploaded on Instagram so far, it has become understandably challenging to make a feed stand out from the rest.

Slapping just about any photo on your feed without premeditation will no longer do if you want to be eye-catching and grow a loyal following. Remember, there are 500 million daily active Instagram users that are also sharing images on this platform. So, if want your feed to stand out, you need to be more methodical about it.

For starters, take time to examine the most trending Instagram accounts. Most likely, you’ll find that most popular accounts are the ones that are posting quality images on optimal times and frequency, and are maintaining a neatly organized and impeccably curated feed. The top accounts are the ones posting images that are planned and picked.

Certainly, creating social media posts that will click-particularly on Instagram involves a degree of curation. Each image posted has to be consistent with the one that came before it to create a sense of cohesion. Additionally, every post must fit the over-all predetermined theme or aesthetic of the feed.

While possessing an innate eye and acuity for visual art can make coming up with a curated feed easy, turning to tools to help you won’t hurt. On the contrary, utilizing tools can polish and sharpen your aesthetics. Not only that, they can help you plan and organize your feed so that you can bring your Instagram game up to a whole new level one post at a time.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Luckily, we’ve listed the best tools to help you get started. Check out the tools on this list, as you’ll need them need to become a master Instagram curator.

  1. VSCO

To achieve cohesion in a series of images you plan to post, it helps to use either the same filter or a similar one.

VSCO is especially useful for this. Not only does VSCO give you a wide array of beautiful filters that can instantly enhance your photos, but it also helps a great deal in keeping the look of your feed consistent, as the app allows you to copy-paste edits from one photo to another. This nifty function ensures that everything—from exposure to contrast to saturation are consistent across your feed.

  1. Later

The most efficient way to curate your Instagram feed is to preview it in the grid before even hitting the share button. How many times have you posted a photo but ended up deleting it right after because you realized it doesn’t fit your feed aesthetic after all? Or how about the instances where you stopped in your tracks while editing a photo and checked your feed to see if your edits will be consistent with the photos you’ve previously posted?

We can bet that has happened to you once or twice, if not often. Previewing in grid definitely saves you from that hassle. That’s where Later’s visual Instagram planner becomes handy.

The visual planning feature makes it delightfully easy to organize and design your Instagram feed beforehand. On top of that, you can also auto-schedule images so that they are postedat ideal times.

  1. Plann

How incredibly convenient would it be to have one tool that has filters, other editing capabilities, a functionality that allows you to preview and pre-arrange your grid, and at the same time, lets you save your favorite set of hashtags so that you can easily copy-paste them into your future posts?

Well, that’s Plann for you. This tool lets you preview your feed and move your posts around until you find the grid configuration that screams “beautifully curated.”

Unless you’re a celebrity with an existing fan base or a creative agency, you’ll want to start curating your feed instead of churning random and slapdash posts if you wish to grow your Instagram following and engagement.

So, don’t forget to keep this list at hand. Or better yet, install these tools and have fun curating!

Paula Arce
MicroCreatives

GUEST BLOGGER: Finding the work/life balance when starting a business

Creating a business from scratch is not easy. It takes a lot of drive, goal-setting and most importantly: TIME. When you’re seeing your business grow from the ground up, it makes you want to say yes to everything. Soon, however, all the hours in the day disappear, and you lose precious family time or even just personal leisure time.

At first, it might feel like you have unlimited stores of energy that you can dedicate to your business (the excitement is real!) but if you’re not careful, too much work will start to wear on you.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind while creating a work/life balance:

  1. Know When The Work Day is Over

We are so connected to our devices! If you’re starting a new business, it’s seems natural to be your own 24-hour network. But shutting things off for the night is essential. In order to be more productive in the future, it’s best to set a time where you switch off business and focus on winding down. Not only will this help you sleep better, it will give you an opportunity to build discipline in finding the work/life balance we all crave.

  1. What are Your Time-Wasters?

What do you do in the day that is productive towards your goals? It can be little things, like posting a brand-relevant message on Facebook, or sending out a few introductory emails. Social media is PIVOTAL for business (I know a thing or two about that…), but are you using it for too much leisure time? How much time do you spend scrolling down your Facebook feed during your precious “working hours”? Sometimes old habits die hard!

We all need to re-evaluate what is important in order to make sure our time is used to grow the business and spend quality time with people we love.

  1. Social Self Care is Very Important

Speaking of people we love: when you’re running a business, you often forget to take care of yourself! Simple things like diet and exercise are obvious – but what about social health? Don’t abandon your friends! Try your best to make plans and stick to them. It will help you stop focusing on work 24/7, and actually leave your office every now and then. Friends can be great supporters of your vision, by the way, and that support comes from building strong bonds.

  1. Make Small Achievable Steps

A brand new business is like having a new baby! You have to nurture it and give it plenty of attention. But you can’t do everything all at once and expect it to run smoothly. Are you spending 12 hours a day glued to the screen when you’re only aiming for 4? Quitting cold turkey will backfire. Try weaning yourself off, hour by hour, until you find the right workflow that fits for your blossoming company. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Work smarter, not harder.” Keep an eye out for efficient solutions that help you get your business off the ground without taking up all your time to do it.

There isn’t a formula for the perfect work/life balance. Everyone has different lifestyles, workflows and circumstances that create their own unique challenges. However, once you find that golden balance that works for you, your new business and your home life will thrive!

This is a guest post by Josh Elkin, founder of Best Coast Marketing a marketing agency that helps increase our clients’ traffic through organic link building. Josh enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, marketing, productivity and self-improvement.

Connect via email:  josh@bestcoastmarketing.com

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