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Facebook Timeline for Pages: Upaya to the Rescue!

By now, you’ve probably heard about the mandatory 30-day switch to Facebook Timeline for Business Pages. We’ve been getting a lot of calls from clients who are worried that Timeline is going to negate everything they’ve worked for on Facebook over the past few months. However, we’re here to show you how to make the most use of the new features offered by Timeline. Check out the top 3 tips below:

Facebook Cover Photo

This is arguably the biggest change made by Timeline. The Cover Photo gives companies a space that is 815×315 pixels to convey their “brand image”. However, this cannot be used as a banner ad. There are specific rules for this space, namely:

  • Cannot be used for displaying pricing or purchasing info
  • Cannot display contact info
  • Cannot display any calls to action
  • Cannot show references to Liking or Sharing page

Despite these restrictions, this space can still be used effectively. The best examples I’ve seen are the Nike Facebook page, the Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page, and the Coca-Cola Facebook page. If you look closely, you’ll see that all these companies have done creative things with the space to promote their brand.

Default Landing Tab

A big strategy used by Facebook pages to recruit non-fans to Like the page is no longer going to exist. After Timeline implementation, default-landing tabs will no longer be allowed. This means that fan-gating will no longer work for pages. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a landing tab. It just means that you have to pay for this “privilege”. If you purchase a Facebook ad, you still have the ability to direct users to a specific landing page. This new restriction may be a way for Facebook to increase revenue in anticipation of the upcoming IPO.

Admin Panel

Now lets examine one of my favorite aspects of Timeline; the new Admin Panel. This will help page managers view all relevant information about their page in one glance. The Admin Panel displays notifications, Insights, and the all-new messages feature. With messages, users can message a page about any issues that come up. This allows pages the ability to quickly deal with customer service issues or any other problems.

What do you think of the new Timeline for Pages? Let us know in the comments!

Kickstarter: A New Platform for Company Branding?

Kickstarter has been in the spotlight recently; thanks to its effectiveness in helping “small players” raise money to pursue their dreams. Today, we’re going to quickly examine if Kickstarter can be used as an effective platform for company branding.

The Most Important Factor = Creativity!

In 2011 alone, there were over 25,000 projects launched on Kickstarter. In this type of environment, there are a lot of projects competing for donors. To be successful on Kickstarter, you absolutely need to stand out. There are many ways to do this. According to this New Media Rockstars article, a graphic novelist rewarded his backers by including them in his latest comic book. It was a successful way of getting the project noticed and funded, but from a branding perspective, it was a brilliant move. Those individuals that are part of the comic book are now fans for life.

Actionable Goals for Your Audience

Too often with start-up companies, people support the concept and team but feel helpless with how to play a part in their journey. With Kickstarter, that problem is solved. In our experience, we’ve seen support for start-ups stagnate after the initial interest phase, simply because there is no finished product that the “fan” can enjoy. Kickstarter gives supporters a feeling of being an integral part of building the product, which will make them invested in the company’s success. From a branding perspective, this is fantastic because it helps increase your early adopters and evangelists, who are pivotal in your success or failure (Ex. Apple fanatics).

Conclusion

Overall, Kickstarter is an effective source of small fundraising and branding. It is a great way to get evangelists on board and increase the excitement level surrounding your company. Let us know what you think in the comment section!

Other Resources:

Kickstarter Official Blog

Social Media: Reap the Rewards and Avoid the Risks

I was reading an article in Forbes earlier today about the management of social media risk (for those interested, here’s the link: Forbes on Social Media Management). It was pretty insightful on the potential risks that companies can encounter with social media and the methods currently available to counter those risks. These risks can be especially devastating for companies in highly regulated sectors such as health care, finance, or insurance. The article discusses social media management systems that can help mitigate these risks. Here are  three tips to use to minimize your company’s social media risk:

  • Have a second person review all posts. This is a good idea for all external communication, not just social media
  • Monitor social media sentiment. This can be done the “old school” way by simply searching for and reading what people write about you. However, for larger businesses this might not be possible so using a platform like SocialVolt would be helpful
  • Plan your posts in advance. This gives you time to reflect and determine if you want to edit your post for any reason, including controversy or improvement.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Why Super Bowl Commercials Are Bad Advertising

This past week, I had an interesting discussion with my friend and fellow social media consultant Mike Oradini about the effectiveness of Super Bowl commercials and the future of advertising. For the price that companies are paying (reports show a $3.5 million price tag for a 30 second spot), they better be at least breaking even on their investment.

During our discussion, Mike brought up the trend of ads going from a “one to many” approach to a “one to one” approach. What this means is that while advertising has traditionally been done on a mass media basis, the trend is for advertising to become more personal. This means a switch from full page newspaper advertisements or TV ads to specific Facebook or Google ads.

Let’s do some math. If you are a company that advertises at the Super Bowl, lets say Ford, you are spending $3.5 million, even if you only have one, 30 second commercial. Now, it was reported that approximately 110 million people watched the Super Bowl. Of that 110 million person number, we can exclude about 30 million of them because they are children or college kids who won’t be buying a car. Now we’re down to 80 million. We can also exclude another 60 million, because at least 75% of the audience will not be in the market for buying a new car. This brings us down to 20 million. Of this group, maybe (and this is being generous), there are 2 million potential Ford customers. Of this group, a conversion rate of 1% or 20,000 purchases as a direct result of the ad are possible.

Now, with $3.5 million, you could run an enormously extensive online advertising campaign. For example, you could allocate $1 million for Google ads, running with keywords associated with Ford car purchases. These customers are actively looking to buy cars. Another $1 million can be used for Facebook ads, targeting people who are interested in American-made vehicles. At an average of $2/click for Google and $1/click for Facebook, you would be able to get 1.5 million potential customers to come to your site. And yes, I know the argument for Super Bowl ads includes a “brand awareness” boost. For this purpose, lets allocate the remaining $1.5 million in the budget for banner ads across the Internet (particularly on relevant sites, like car review and car magazine sites). From these banner ads, for argument’s sake, lets say another 500,000 potential customers come to your site. That brings your potential customer number to 2 million, equivalent to the Super Bowl ad number. But we forgot one key factor; conversion rate. Since your online ads are targeting Internet users who are actively looking for, or likely to buy a vehicle, your conversion rate will logically be higher. Even with a conversion rate of just 2%, you are already selling DOUBLE the number of cars you would have been able to sell from the Super Bowl ad.

Obviously the numbers used in the preceding paragraphs are a bit rough but the message is still important. Over time, advertising will start to shift towards this “personalized” direction. However, now is the time to be ahead of the game and tailor your advertising message to the group you are marketing to. It is simply common sense. If you were a big Green Bay Packers fan and there were 2 different companies advertising the same car to you: one using New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning in the commercial and the other using Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the commercial, which are you more likely to pay attention to?

Do you have any thoughts on the future of advertising? Let us know in the comments below!

Mark Zuckerberg IPO Letter – Lessons Learned

By now you’ve probably heard that Facebook has filed for its IPO, in a valuation range between $75-100 BILLION dollars. Very amazing stuff. I am personally in awe of what Facebook has accomplished in such a short period of time, and quite honestly, I believe that it has lots of room to grow in the foreseeable future.

Besides all that, what can you learn from Facebook’s IPO? Well, if you haven’t done so yet, I highly recommend that you read the letter that Mark Zuckerberg (founder and CEO of Facebook) included in the IPO filing. You can find it here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/mark-zuckerberg%E2%80%99s-ipo-letter–why-facebook-exists.html

From Mr. Zuckerberg’s letter, there are some very important lessons to be learned. First of all, check out this particular quote from the letter:

“As people share more, they have access to more opinions from the people they trust about the products and services they use. This makes it easier to discover the best products and improve the quality and efficiency of their lives.”

As I’ve been saying for quite awhile, Facebook (and the Internet in general) are moving the world closer and closer to a tight knit community, similar to the kinds that were found in small towns years and years ago. This means that if your business doesn’t deliver the service that you promise, people will find out quickly and you WILL go out of business. For this reason, you absolutely must focus on quality and treat all of your customers as individuals, rather than just a paycheck. The empowerment of the “little guy” means that even one dissatisfied user or customer can wreck havoc on the state of your company. But…to put a positive spin on it, a satisfied customer can become the best salesman (or saleswoman) your company could ever dream of having.

Another quote: “Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.”

This has valuable connotations for any business, not just a rapidly growing tech start-up. If there’s one thing you can learn from Facebook’s business culture, it is that building something valuable and great should be the primary goal of your organization. For the business leader’s out there, this means making decisions based on customer value, not internal politics.

One last quote: “Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take any risks. We have another saying: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.”

As businesses grow, they tend to reduce the number of risks they take. The opposite needs to happen. As a business leader, you MUST be willing to try new things and be bold. Opportunities are out there for the taking but only the bold will seize them.

I could go on for hours with lessons from this letter but I’ll end it there. Let us know what you think about Mr. Zuckerberg’s letter and the Facebook IPO in the comments below!

 

Twitter – The Ultimate Customer Service Tool

If you’ve been following our blog for awhile, you know I’m a big fan of Twitter for marketing and customer outreach. What I didn’t know until yesterday is that Twitter can be the ultimate customer service tool.

 

I was having trouble with my company’s Hootsuite account yesterday due to an improper login. First, I checked their Help documents but didn’t get too much out of them. However, I noticed that they said to contact them via Twitter if you need more help. So, I decided to Tweet my issue @ them and quickly got a response and assistance. Hootsuite’s customer service via Twitter was great and solved the problem quickly and efficiently.

 

My theory about Twitter’s customer service effectiveness is that it makes the company’s customer service record public and viewable to ALL. This includes other customers, investors, reporters, etc. When the spotlight is on a company to do well, they will usually perform. This holds great lessons for all businesses. When you provide great customer service, and the world can see it, your reputation as a company gets improved. Customer service via Twitter is another opportunity for company branding and should not be missed.
I wouldn’t recommend putting customer service entirely through Twitter. Some people just feel more comfortable talking through email or on the phone so those options should be available as well. But showcasing Twitter for customer service will continue to build your social media assets.

 

Do you have any social media uses that are outside the box? Let us know in the comments below!

Numbers Don’t Lie…Or Do They?

Happy Monday everyone! Since it’s a Monday and its snowing outside (at least where I am – Maryland), I’m in the mood to take a moment to talk about a trend in social media, particularly Facebook, that is a little disturbing to me. This trend is the emphasis on the number of Likes on a Facebook page.

Everyone these days seems obsessed with getting to 1,000, 10,000 or some predetermined number of Likes on their Facebook page. In itself, this motivation is not a bad thing. A large number of Likes indicates a thriving community of “fans”. The more Likes, the larger your reach (in theory).

The problem comes when people start trying to use shortcuts to attain a high number of Likes on their page. Luckily, with the new Facebook Insights (detailed Insights blog post coming next week), it has become easier to see that shortcuts don’t result in any net benefits to your business.

The particular shortcut I am referring to is the use of “Robots” to increase Likes on a page. These Robots will Like your page (to vastly increase the overall number of Likes) but then don’t give you any benefit since they are not customers, users, or otherwise engaged fans.

Below are 2 Insight screenshots. Take a look and see for yourself which company is doing a better job of Facebook marketing:

Company 1 (3010 Total Likes):

Company 1 Insights

Company 2 (1028 Total Likes):

Company 2 Insights

 

If you answered that Company 2 was doing a better job at Facebook Marketing, you are 100% correct. With the new Insights, the key metric to pay attention to is “Weekly Total Reach”. This metric means the number of people who saw your updates on their Newsfeed during the particular time period. When people see your updates and posts, it increases brand awareness and drives customer loyalty and sales.

From these Insights, it is very obvious that Company 1 has resorted to using Robots. Despite having nearly 3 times as many total Likes as Company 2, Company 1 has about one fifth the Weekly Total Reach. They were only able to reach 5.4% of their community. This, for lack of a better word, is pathetic. In contrast, Company 2 is engaged in organic growth and was able to reach 58.6% of their community this past week.

I haven’t even gotten to the fact that Robots are against Facebook’s policy and can get your account suspended. So, to sum it up, Robots don’t improve your social media and they can get your account suspended. Oh, and you have to pay a company that specializes in Robots to Like your page.

Its a LOSE, LOSE, LOSE situation! A better solution is to focus on good old fashioned content to engage your existing community and promote organic growth. If you absolutely must increase Likes, a good way to do it is through Facebook ads, which can be targeted to the appropriate audience and are very efficient. Be honest and SKILLFUL with your Facebook marketing and the sky is the limit!

Have your own comments, questions, or ideas about Facebook, Robots, the weather, or anything else? Comment below and we’ll get back to you!

 

P.S. Company 2 is an Upaya Services client. Want similar results? Contact Us today!

Email Marketing Basics

In the normal course of business, you’ve probably collected emails from current customers and prospective customers. If you know what you’re doing, these emails can become extremely useful for customer engagement and sales. In today’s world of flooded inboxes, it’s important to follow certain rules when sending emails. I will be getting into this in more detail over the upcoming weeks and months but here are 3 quick tips to implement immediately:

 

Subject Line

Make your subject line as interesting as possible. Obviously, your email content is very important but you need to make your subject as intriguing as possible so that recipients open the email. A major problem with email marketing today is low open rates, presumably because of the torrent of emails attacking people’s inboxes.

Short and Sweet

We know you have a lot to say in your email. However, try to keep your email as concise as possible, out of respect for the reader’s time. A useful technique is to link your email to a blog post or article where you can talk about the subject in more detail.

Personalization

Try your best to include the recipient’s name in the email and sign off with your own name. Some email list services (such as MailChimp and Aweber) make it really easy to do this.

 

We’re happy to help make your next email campaign a roaring success! Feel free to contact us with any questions. Happy New Year!

 

Twitter: Using Mentions and Retweets to GET NOTICED!

If you’re like most business owners, you’ve made a Twitter account, followed some people, tweeted a few times, and are still waiting for the magic “Twitter effect”, which should be a nice bump in web traffic. Furthermore, your number of followers is stuck at somewhere less than 100. What are you doing wrong?

 

First, its important to understand one major factor in marketing: The key is to get your name OUT THERE as much as possible! Twitter gives you a couple ways to do that.

 

The easiest way is to reply to the people you follow. For example, if you see someone you’re following talking about a topic in your industry, you should definitely reply to them. Taking this one step further, spend 15 minutes each day searching Twitter for topics relevant to your industry and respond to users who are asking questions. This is a great way to gain a Twitter following and overall, improve your brand image.

 

Another way to gain a following is to tweet highly relevant and interesting content that your followers will “retweet”. Retweeting results in higher exposure to a variety of new audiences because your followers will be broadcasting your content to all of their followers. This can increase your follower count as well as raise brand awareness.

 

While its easy to read suggestions and put them away in the back of your mind, by far the most important aspect of Twitter marketing is consistency! You need to spend a minimum of 15 minutes Tweeting everyday. If you have a smart phone, its easy to get this done by Tweeting from your phone.

 

Contact us for more Twitter strategies and make sure to follow us on Twitter @upayaservices for constant updates and strategies!

 

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