Grow Smart Business


Search Articles

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

3 Reasons to Stick With Social Media Marketing

December 18th, 2012 ::

NumbersDiving into social media marketing is fun and scary at the same time. When you’ve been at it for a while and you’re not getting the results you want, it can be incredibly frustrating. Why so few likes, comments, retweets, shares? I totally hear you, believe me! Between trying to deal with Facebook’s EdgeRank and timing social media use so people will see your brilliant content, it is easy to give up.

Resist the urge – don’t give up! Here are 3 reasons why (statistics courtesy of HubSpot):

Your demographic is on social media

No matter who your customers are, they are using social media: 83% of 18- to 29- year-olds and 70% of 30-49 year olds are active on it. Even 51% of those 50 and older are active on social media. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, your customers will interact with you on social media if you share engaging, useful content.

Social media use is growing

Your customers are continually joining social media – and using it more and more. Consider these numbers:

  • Every 60 seconds, 66,000 things are shared on Twitter, 695,000 things are shared on Facebook, and 7,000 things are shared on LinkedIn.
  • Every day, 700,000 new Facebook accounts are created.
  • Every week, 7 billion (billion!) things are shared on social media.

The more active you are, the better your chances for engagement.

Social media marketing works

Just because you’re not seeing immediate results on social media (new leads, new customers, higher sales numbers), don’t give up. Marketers are reporting 3 significant results:

  1. 91% see improved website traffic due to social media
  2. 79% are generating more quality leads than those who don’t use social media
  3. 50% have successfully connected with new customers on social networks

Making sure social media marketing works for you is pretty straightforward:

  • Be real
  • Be remarkable
  • Show your appreciation
  • Make your fans and followers feel special

How has social media helped your business grow?

Image courtesy of englishwithjo.com

Should Your Small Business Ditch Facebook for Pinterest?

December 11th, 2012 ::

Shopping bagsIf your small business makes and/or sells products, you might want to refocus your social media marketing energy on Pinterest rather than Facebook. Pinterest users, as it turns out, are shoppers.

In a recent Bizrate Insight survey, consumers were asked to list the reasons they use Facebook and Pinterest. As it turns out, Pinterest users are far more engaged than Facebook users – and way more likely to shop on the site.

Here are the most noteworthy results:

Pinterest users are shoppers

A whopping 69% of Pinterest users have purchased an item on the site, compared to only 40% on Facebook. That is a significant enough difference to make you rethink your social media strategy, isn’t it?

Pinterest users are looking for inspiration

Pinterest really takes the inspiration cake: 70% of users look for inspiration, 67% keep track of or collect the things they like, and 67% keep up with trends. Facebook came in at a paltry 17%, 21%, and 22% respectively, so take this as a directive to step up your content creation and product marketing on Pinterest.

Brands and offers do better on Pinterest

Shift your branding and exclusive offer efforts to Pinterest, since 43% of Pinterest users like to associate with retailers or brands (24% on Facebook) and 39% use it to get special offers (26% on Facebook).

Both sites are hang-outs

So, should you ditch Facebook completely? Probably not. People like to hang out and pass time on both sites – 73% on Pinterest and 61% on Facebook. If you have a pretty active community on Facebook, refocus your efforts on sharing fun stuff and creating conversations.

Have you had success selling on Pinterest? Share your tips in the comments below!

Image courtesy of in-this-economy.com

4 Things You Need to Know About Facebook’s EdgeRank

November 21st, 2012 ::

EdgeRankIf you’re new to using Facebook for your business, you have probably noticed that some of your posts generate zero interaction, while some generate lots. That’s due to EdgeRank. Here are 4 things you need to know about it:

1. What is EdgeRank?

It’s Facebook’s news feed algorithm, and it determines what updates are seen by your friends and fans (this is true for both personal and business pages).

2. How does EdgeRank determine what updates are seen?

No one really knows, because even when an update is generating interaction – likes, comments – it still might not be shown in the news feed. According to PageLever, you’ll only reach 7 percent of your fans on any given day.

3. How can I calculate my reach?

Go to Facebook Insights at the top of your page and look at your average reach for the last 30 days. Divide that by the number of fans you have, and that’s your reach. Typically, the more fans you have, the lower your reach.

4. How can I increase my visibility and thus improve my reach?

You need to increase engagement.  Here 3 proven ways to do that:

Post photos: EdgeRank loves photos, because people love photos – they are engaged with the most and reach the most people.  The more photos you post, the better, as they get from 5 to 20 times as much interaction as any other type of Facebook post.

Challenge your fans: This is one I see a lot, and it always generates a lot of interaction. Ask your fans to fill in a blank. It could be general (“This weekend, I wish I were traveling to ________”) or it could be specific to a holiday (“My favorite Thanksgiving dish is ________”) or it could be tied to your company (“If I could have one marketing superpower, it would be _________”).

Run a sweepstakes: A sweepstakes is not that hard to do, and actually the simpler it is, the better. Just make it a random fan giveaway and announce it in a status update, along with rules and any restrictions. Make sure the prize is related to your company so you attract the right kind of fan rather than random people who want an iPad, for example.

Try these tips and let me know if you see an improvement in your engagement levels – leave a comment below!

Image courtesy of v3im.com

5 Ways Smartphone Shopping and Social Media Are Changing Retail Marketing

November 14th, 2012 ::

holiday giftsWith holiday shopping moving from in-person to desktop to smartphone and offline word of mouth moving to review sites and social sharing, retail marketing has entered a whole new era. HubSpot recently produced a fantastic (and very long) infographic called The Meaning of Like, which I went through and analyzed for insights all retailers should know.

There are my 5 favorite takeaways:

1. Shopping via smartphone is huge

If you don’t have a mobile site, you are missing out on the 64 percent of smartphone users who shop online with their devices. It is estimated that 167 million people will shop online this year and spend an average of $1,800 per person. You do the math.

2. Online shoppers are very social

Retailers who are active on social media have a distinct marketing advantage, as social media users are big shoppers: 40 percent of Twitter users search for products via Twitter, 51 percent of online shoppers conduct research on social sites, and 60 percent of Facebook users will discuss a product or service in exchange for a discount or deal.

3. Online shoppers check reviews

As I mentioned above, online shoppers do a lot of research, so it is worthwhile to ask customers for online reviews and spend time on Q&A sites like Quora to answer questions specific to your industry, product or service. Consider these numbers: 59 percent of online shoppers check customer reviews, 42 percent check question and answer tools, and 26 percent  look up Internet forums.

4. Online shoppers do more than just shop on their smartphone

A third of online shoppers use their smartphones to look for sales and specials, check store info, look at product reviews and compare prices. Make sure all of that information is easily findable on your mobile site!

5. Online shoppers use Pinterest

Do you have a Pinterest account yet? Half of consumers check for coupons and deals on Pinterest, 43 percent look for product information (which strikes me as odd, since Pinterest is a visual platform), 36 percent read or post comments, and 34 percent look for event information.

In my next post, I’ll share all the ways retailers are changing to accommodate this new shopping and sharing behavior.

Image courtesy of bigfrey.com

6 Common Reasons People Unlike Your Facebook Page and Stop Following You On Twitter

November 8th, 2012 ::

people running awayAs you may have noticed by now, I really like infographics. I found a great one published earlier this year on the Get Satisfaction blog that listed the reasons people will stop following a brand on Facebook and Twitter. All the reasons are super easy to avoid, so here the top ones that I see all the time, along with tips on how to not make those mistake.

1. Posting or tweeting too much

You know what they say: Too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing, especially in social media.  When it comes to posting on Facebook, once a day is plenty. As for Twitter, twice a day is fine.

2. Posting or tweeting too much about the same thing

This is where an editorial schedule comes in. By listing all the different topics you can write about and then spreading them out over the course of, say, two weeks, you won’t bore your followers.

A corollary to this is: Don’t post the same exact thing on Facebook that you do on Twitter.  Your audiences are different on each platform, so your content should be as well.

3. Posting or tweeting too much promotional stuff

People care about one thing: themselves. The more content you share that benefits your followers, the better. If you post too much stuff about your company and how great it is, well, where’s the value in that?

4. No value beyond one-time offer

Once you hook a new Facebook fan or Twitter follower, make it worthwhile for them. They responded to your offer for X, so that means they are interested in X. Post about X – tips, tricks, guides, funny quotes, photos, etc.

5. Not offering enough deals

If you offered a special promotion exclusively through Twitter or Facebook that got a great response, then your audience probably really likes deals.  Keep offering them weekly or monthly to build brand loyalty.

6. Irrelevant content

If you want to really engage your audience, be sure you’re sharing information about topics they care about. Whatever gets zero response should be pulled from your editorial schedule. Whatever gets a lot of response should be put front and center on your editorial schedule.

If you’re not sure what your audience cares about, ask them!

Have you unfollowed a brand or business for doing any of the above?

Image courtesy of fbei.wordpress.com

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: I’m Voting App (Voting App)

November 6th, 2012 ::

I’m Voting App

The outcome of today’s presidential election will be important for small businesses. Since we live in a social media-obsessed world these days, you can make your intention to vote known and voice your opinion on Facebook. The I’m Voting app from Facebook and CNN allows users to both make a commitment to vote, and to choose the candidates and issues that matter most to them – the economy, healthcare, immigration, foreign policy and more. You can see what other fans are thinking and follow along all day for updates.

Case Study: 5 Tips on Using Facebook From a Social Media Expert

October 22nd, 2012 ::

I love Facebook!I have a major confession to make: Although I write about social media a lot here on GrowSmartBiz, I was not that active on Facebook. I would read as much as I could about using social media for marketing, share what I had learned, and then not follow my own advice.

I have a second confession to make: Facebook intimidated me when it came to my professional life. I was so scared of doing it “wrong” – posting content no one would care about or see – that I ended up doing nothing. Sad, but true.

When September came around, I decided to get serious and start actively using my company’s Facebook page (I am already active on my personal page).  Here are 5 things I have done and learned over the past, nearly-2 months:

1. Play around with timing

I like to quote Dan Zarrella, the Social Media Scientist, a lot, because he takes a very in-depth, numbers-focused look at social media use, including when to post on Facebook, what words to use, etc.

However, I found that what works for everyone else might not work for me.  After quickly looking at the posts that got comments and likes and the most views, I learned that the best time for me to post is between 8am and 11am during the week and around 6pm on the weekend.

2. Personal posts are engaging posts

I thought it would be a great idea to share articles, videos and photos that I found valuable, interesting, and/or entertaining. Not my best idea. I have learned that the more personal the post, the more activity it generates.  For instance, last week I was without an Internet connection for half a day (Verizon thankfully showed up to fix the problem very quickly!). I posted about how crappy it is to be without Internet when you work from home, and it generated a lot of engagement, which surprised me.

3. Photos definitely get more attention

You hear a lot about how engaging photos and videos are, and I learned that yes, they are. When I share a photo that I take (rather than one that someone else took), I get higher engagement rates.  I just started using videos last week, so the jury is out on what content is most engaging, as well as when to post it (weekday versus weekend).

4. Editorial schedules help – a lot

I always suggest putting together an editorial schedule, but I didn’t put one together for myself at first, because I wanted to learn what people would find engaging.  Now that I know, I have a partial schedule:

  • Monday: Fun post that has nothing to do with work because I hate Mondays
  • Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday: Share latest GrowSmartBiz blog posts
  • Wednesday: Post something client- or partner-related
  • Friday: Video tip of the week

5. Facebook is not time-consuming

One excuse that small business owners use a lot to justify their non-use of social media is the time commitment. Well, I can say with no uncertainty that this is exactly that–an excuse. If  I added up the amount of time I spend each week deciding what to post on my Facebook page, writing the update, posting, and responding to comments, it would be 30 minutes tops.  That’s 4- 5 minutes a day. Totally doable.

Now that you know how I use Facebook (you can like my company page here), how do you use it? What status updates have you found to be most engaging? If you’re not using Facebook for your business yet, why not?

Image courtesy of socialmediaguy.com

9 Easy Ways to Tweak Your Twitter and Facebook Strategies for Better Engagement

September 20th, 2012 ::

Social media engagement

Social media marketing firm Buddy Media released a very interesting report that looked at how marketers use Twitter – and they found some surprising mistakes.  In the study, they analyzed 320 Twitter handles from large brands between December 11, 2011 and February 23, 2012.  Instead of making the same mistakes as big companies with large marketing departments, learn from them!

Here are the top findings of the study, along with 9 easy ways to get better engagement on Twitter and Facebook:

1. Twitter engagement is 17 percent higher on Saturday and Sunday

Takeaway: save your best tweets for the weekend, and don’t be afraid to tweet more than once.

2. Beginning on Monday, Twitter engagement falls off as the week progresses

Takeaway: Don’t stop tweeting, but tweet less between Monday and Thursday.

3. Twitter engagement drops off on Thursday but picks up as Friday progresses

Takeaway: Send out tweets on Friday afternoon/early evening when people are winding down from the week and getting ready to dive into the weekend.

4. Tweets perform best during “busy hours”

Takeaway: Keep tweeting between 8am and 7pm to get the most engagement.

5. Facebook status updates perform best during “non-busy hours”

Takeaway: Shift Facebook updates to publish between 8pm and 7am.

6. One tweet per day has the highest engagement rate

Takeaway: While 2-4 tweets still perform well, Twitter engagement nosedives beyond 4 tweets per day, so spread out your tweeting.

7. Tweets of 100 characters with working links get much higher engagement rates

Takeaway: Keep your tweets to the point, and be sure your links work.

8. Tweets with hashtags and photos get twice the engagement

Takeaway: Research hashtags first to be sure you’re using popular ones, but don’t add more than 2 or engagement will drop off.  And be sure to say if a link is a photo.

9. Asking for retweets works

Takeaway: if you ask for a “RT,” you’ll get a 12 times higher retweet rate; if you spell it out instead of using the abbreviation, you’ll get a 23 times higher retweet rate.

What other tips can you offer for better engagement on Twitter and Facebook?  Leave a comment below.

Image courtesy of avenuesocial.com

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: StoreYa (Put Your Store on Facebook)

September 13th, 2012 ::


Want to sell products from your Facebook business page? StoreYa can import your inventory with one click. No design or coding experience is needed; simply choose your platform and click to have StoreYa make the transfer and add a tab to your current Facebook page. You can customize your store and keep it synced, then use StoreYa’s tools to promote your site and also get sales statistics. If you sell globally, StoreYa lets you customize your Facebook page to any language and currency. If you have any problems with the transfer, check StoreYa’s troubleshooting guide.

5 Common Misconceptions About Social Media – and Why They Are Not True

September 6th, 2012 ::


Because using social media for marketing is still a relatively young practice, many misconceptions about it continue to float around out there.  Here are 5 that I hear all the time, followed by the truth:

1. Social media cannot be used in my industry

Uh, really? Why not?  Your customers are people, and chances are they are already using Facebook and LinkedIn – and maybe Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest too.  Instead of making broad assumptions, get online and spend 30 minutes searching topics and keywords that are industry-specific. You might be surprised about who is talking about what.

2. My business is too boring to be good at using social media

Yes, it is much easier to come up with fun status updates, contest ideas, photos and videos if you are a salon and spa rather than an industrial metals manufacturer.  So get creative! Ask, “What does my target audience care about? How can I engage them with photos, videos, contests and games?”  For example: your employees could do a spoof on a song, changing the words so they are related to your company or industry.

3. Success is measured by quantity (of blog comments, Twitter followers – you name it)

Measuring the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts by tallying up the number of comments your blog gets, the number of Twitter followers you have, or the number of times a photo is shared is wrong in so many ways.  What you need to be measuring is the number of leads you are generating, the quality of the leads, and how many are converting into customers. Customers, not popularity, are what pay the bills.

4. I must have a presence on every single social media network

This is only true if your target market is active – in large numbers – on every single social media network.  They probably are not.  Find the 2 or 3 networks with the most activity, and focus on those.

5. I don’t have time for social media

You probably do, actually, and that is because being active is not that time-consuming.  Just as you devote time to checking email, answering customer queries and keeping up with industry news, you can carve out some time for social media.  Set aside 30 minutes to plan out an editorial schedule and decide what you will post when.  Once you do that, you will probably only spend 15 or 20 minutes total on your social media accounts every day.

What other misconceptions do you hear about social media?  Share them below!

Image courtesy of brainwormproductions.com