Archive for social media marketing

Twitter Adds Tweet Scheduling–Sort Of

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Twitter recently added a new feature that allows you to schedule your Tweets in advance. I probably won’t use it – here’s why.

The scheduling feature is embedded inside of the Twitter Ads interface. You can use it to schedule unpaid tweets, but you have to navigate to your Twitter Ads account first. You can create a Twitter Ad account for free (learn more here).

1. Go to https://ads.twitter.com or from your Twitter account, click on the gear and Select Twitter Ads:

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2. From the Ads dashboard, click on the blue compose button at the top, right of the page.

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3. This will bring up the familiar dialog box for composing a tweet, but you will see three tabs at the bottom of the window. By clicking on the Scheduling tab, you can access controls to set the date and time you wish to publish your post.

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The Delivery tab allows you to choose Standard (tweet to all of your followers) or Promoted-Only (tweet to users targeted in your campaign). The Promotion tab allows you select the campaign this tweet belongs.

So why did I say I probably won’t use this new feature to schedule organic (unpaid) tweets? Mostly because it is too cumbersome to access. Most of the tweets I create or share happen during the flow of my regular work. If I’m doing my morning reading and I find something I want to share, I want to compose my tweet right then and there and get it over with. Even though I have a Twitter ad account, I can’t schedule directly from within Twitter; I have to follow the steps above. It may not seem like that much extra effort, but it really interrupts my whole workflow.

That’s why I still love using Buffer, as it allows me to simply click a button on my browser toolbar, compose a post to share on Twitter or a number of other social media accounts, schedule it, and keep on moving.

I do see how the new scheduling feature inside of Twitter could be useful for those who like to sit down and schedule all of their tweets for the day, week, or month at one time.

Facebook Limits Amount of Text in Cover Photos

Facebook_iconYou may not have noticed it, but on January 15 Facebook changed their policy for Cover Photos for Pages. Under the new policy, you are not allowed to have cover photos that have text on more than 20% of the image area.

That’s 20% of the image area (not a specific number of words or characters). Cover photos are 851 x 315 = 268,065 square pixels. 20% of that is 53,613 square pixels. Text can appear anywhere, but typical text blocks sizes might include:

  • 450 x 119 pixel area in the  top left corner of the cover photo
  • 640 x 83.77 pixel area in the bottom right corner of the cover photo
  • 232 x 231 pixel  “square” block area

Depending on the font size you use, many small business may be limited to displaying their business name and/or their tagline under these new rules.

Facebook is reportedly developing a tool to measure the amount of text that they will use themselves and share with users and advertisers to help measure compliance with this rule.

Just for review, here are Facebook Rules for Timeline Cover Photos:

1. All Cover Photos are Public and should be 851pixels wide x 315pixels high.

2. Covers CANNOT be Deceptive, Misleading, or Infringe on anyone else’s copyright, if they are you may find it disappears.

3. You may NOT encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.

4. Cover Photos MUST NOT Include;

  • Images with more than 20% text
  • Price or Purchase Information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on yourwebsite.com”
  • Contact Information such as a Website Address, Email, Mailing Address, or Information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
  • Calls to action, including references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an Arrow Pointing from the Cover Photo to any of these features or Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.

You can read the full set of guidelines here – https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php

Facebook’s Search Engine – Graph Search

facebook-graph-search-logoFacebook recently announced their new search product called Graph Search. Graph search is a way for you to find people, places, and other interests that have been shared on Facebook. According to Facebook, “All results are unique based on the strength of relationships and connections.”.

Graph search will be very different from searching on the web. Web search is designed to provide the best possible results for a set of keywords. Graph search will return a set of people, places, photos, etc., that have been shared on Facebook and are related to your query. does a great job of explaining this difference in this post on searchengineland.com.

So when would you search on Facebook rather than Google? Based on reading several overviews, I’ve made up a few example searches below:
  • People who like golf and live in Kansas City
  • Photos of my friends from the 2012 All Star Game
  • BBQ restaurants in Lenexa my friends have liked
  • Recent movies liked by my friends

As you can see, graph search appears to have a huge potential for small businesses to be found by the friends of their customers. I’ll be posting more about how small business can benefit from graph search when more details become available (and I get a chance to experiment with it).

If you want to see some examples of the types of searches you can do with Facebook’s Graph Search, along with some screenshots of what the search results will look like, check out the photo galleries on this post fromengadget.

Want Facebook Graph Search? You can’t have it <g>, but you can get on the waiting list here -  www.facebook.com/graphsearch

How Facebook Can Enhance and Build on Marketing Campaigns

I’m attending the annual Duct Tape Marketing Consultants Gathering this week so today’s post is a guest post from David Nelson. David is a consultant who specializes in business strategies. He holds a degree in business administration with a major in finance and lives in the Chicago area.

It is common for organizations to use email campaigns to raise funds, but some disregard this established technique because it seems daunting to scale the campaign large enough to make it worth the time. Email marketing campaigns are most effective when combined with other social media efforts. According to ResourceNation.com, companies reported that client engagement rose from 48 percent when using only social media to 72 percent after adding email marketing.

You can use much of the same content for email newsletters and on social networking sites, such as Facebook. However, content must be interesting enough to capture the attention of donors and volunteers. Simplify your campaign with a marketing tool such as JangoMail mass email service, or whatever email marketing service works best for your business. This service allows you to paste emails into the software and then trigger mass emails using a variety of options. Using mass emails complemented with an optimized Facebook page will boost your business’s bottom line.

Make a Facebook Page

Your organization needs a presence on Facebook. Millions of people and businesses are on Facebook; if your organization does not have a fan page, you are missing out on a great opportunity to reach donors. The content that goes into your emails can be posted on your fan page to inform the world of what you are doing and what you need to succeed.

Creating a Facebook business page takes five minutes. Visit facebook.com/business to sign up, then choose your page name, a photo that represents your business and a brief description of your products and services. Once your page is up and running, start connecting with potential customers.

Join the Conversation

While Facebook is a leading platform for modern marketing, it doesn’t follow the same script as traditional promotional outlets. Businesses on Facebook thrive when engaging fans in conversation, whether through videos, links to articles or open-ended questions. In order to build an effective marketing campaign, contributing to the social culture is key.

According to Facebook, the most engaging posts average between 100 and 250 characters and include a visual element. A natural social networking page contains variety, so don’t feel restricted by these guidelines, but keep them in mind when looking for comments and re-posts. When fans share your content, you are building access to untapped markets because their friends will see it, too.

Engage your fans in a discussion about a trending topic, post a sneak preview of your business’s new product and link to content the has nothing to do with your business. It may feel aimless, but the goal is to establish a personal rapport with fans. Proving that you respect the culture of the platform will help you build trust with Facebook users

Offer Incentives

Save the focus-group tag lines for print campaigns. The best way pump-up sales on Facebook is through an honest portrayal of your product or service, but Facebookers also love a good contest. Ask a trivia question or host a photo contest and offer a discount to the winners. Regular incentives will attract fans who may not have otherwise “liked” your page.

Continual Marketing

Facebook isn’t a one-time promotional campaign. It can continually grow your audience through due diligence and consistently engaging fans. Social-networking-success.com recommends postings at least once a day, preferably during non-business hours, when consumers are more likely to be online. Maintain a consistent voice and your business will be on the front of your fans’ minds when its time to make a purchase.

Social Media Conversion Tracking – What Small Businesses Need to Know

measuring social mediaSmall business owners using (or planning to use) social media channels for marketing need to be able to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns using those channels. Tools like Google Analytics can give you some insight into your social media campaigns performance but it is important to understand the role social media plays in your marketing hourglass and how that can influence what you see in your analytics reports.

Tracking conversions in social media is different than tracking conversions in most online marketing. One reason is that, as my friends at Argyle explain, social media tends to be intent generating while other online marketing activities tend to be intent harvesting. Here is the example they give:

Search conversions usually happen at the bottom of the (traditional sales) funnel:

  • A person searches for product or service.
  • They click on a natural or paid link
  • They buy a product, sign up for an initial consultation, etc.

Social conversions usually begin much earlier in the funnel:

  • A person sees one of your posts re-tweeted from someone they follow.
  • They click your link to an external website, thinks it’s pretty interesting  then wonders who originally tweeted it. They read about your company and think “Hm!”
  • Although person didn’t need your product earlier, they later have a need it fills.
  • They don’t remember your URL, so they search for you.
  • Person clicks on a natural or paid link.
  • They buy a product, sign up for an initial consultation, etc.

In the cases above, Google Analytics will count both conversions as coming from paid or natural search (the click on the link), because the click that led directly to a purchase was from these sources. The contribution from social media channels outlined in the second scenario are ignored.

As a small business owner you want to make sure that you’re using a conversion tracking tool that’s specifically built with your needs in mind. In some cases, using the information from Google Analytics provides may be “good enough”. Either way, it’s important to know what you are measuring and why so you can use the information to make better business decisions.

4 Social Media Metrics Small Businesses Should Track

social media metrics for small businessHow’s social media working for your small business? How do you track what’s working and what’s isn’t? There are lots of things you could track, but which social media metrics will give you actionable information that will help you grow your business? Here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Most small business start of their social media measurement efforts by tracking audience size, i.e., Twitter followers, Facebook likes, LinkedIn connections, etc. Audience size can help you see if you are trending in the right direction, but by itself it doesn’t provide you with very much insight.

To add some context to audience size, many small businesses find it helpful to measure the level of engagement with their audience. Two common social media metrics that measure engagement are Click Rate and Interaction Rate.

Click rate is simply the number of clicks your posts/updates receive divided by your audience. Click rate can help you determine how useful your audience finds the information you are sharing.

You can also measure your Interaction Rate (Interactions / Audience). While click rate measures clicks on links that you share, interaction rate measures all interactions i.e., re-tweets, replies, shares, likes, comments, etc.

Small business marketers often use social media to promote their marketing content. If you use social media this way, you may also want to measure clicks per post and interactions per post. Use these metrics to identify content that resonates with your audience and create more content like it.

Of course, when looking at these metrics you need to consider who your audience is, what you are sharing, and the fit between the two. Having high engagement rates on content that is of little interest to your ideal customers is unlikely to help you meet your business goals.

One last quick note – when discussing metrics, small business owners often ask me what the “ideal” number is they should be shooting for as a goal. I don’t believe there is a set of benchmarks for small business social media marketing to date. Even if benchmarks did exist, I believe small business marketers should focus on the trends, and what they can learn from them, in their metrics rather than trying to target a specific number.

Creating Social Media Strategies That Drive Business Results

Do you have a social media strategy for your business?

As small business owners are becoming more comfortable with social media, many want to know how to create strategies and plans to use social media tools to drive business results.

Many small business owners, and many of the consultants they hire, jump right to tactics without taking the overall business and marketing strategy into account.

Selecting tools that make publishing easier (i.e. Hootsuite and TweetDeck) and creating a schedule of who will post what, when, are important parts of your execution plan. However, the execution plan is not the same as a strategy. If the tactics you are executing are not rooted in a strategy, then these tools will only help you fail more efficiently.

Before you jump into selecting your tools and creating your publishing calendar, take a few minutes to consider these 3 questions:

1. What do you want to gain from your social media plan?

Have you defined what success will look like for your social media plan? Having a clearly defined business goal, whether it is building a community, driving traffic to your offline store, or enhancing your customer service, is the first step the first step to creating a successful social media plan.

2. What do you do or offer that people will want to talk about?

People will talk about and share things for their own reasons, not for yours. Do you know what your audience wants to talk about? Sometimes, they may want to talk about the features of the products and services that you offer; more often they want to talk about the benefits those product, services, or just knowing you, bring to their lives. If you want to be part of the conversation, talk about the things that interest your ideal customers.

3. How do you make money and how can social impact that?

Do you make money by selling products online? Do you have brick and mortar stores? Do you sell directly or through affiliates? Are you a consultant looking for long term engagements? The answers to these questions will make a difference in how you use social media in your business.

If you want to create a social media plan that drives business results, start by asking and answering these 3 questions.

Twitter Disables Automatic Updating of LinkedIn

Are you on LinkedIn? If so, you probably received and email last Friday announcing that because Twitter “recently evolved its strategy” and is changing the way Tweets appear in third-party applications, Tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn.

You can still share your LinkedIn updates on Twitter by checking the box with the Twitter icon, and click “Share.” This will publish your update to your LinkedIn connections and push it to your Twitter followers. This works just like it did before. The part that changed is automatically sharing updates you create on Twitter with your LinkedIn network.

Personally, I welcome this change. In my experience, automatic updates from Twitter raised the level of noise on LinkedIn while providing little, if any, value. I have heard some bloggers and commentators argue that the automatic update was a good way for them to keep their LinkedIn account alive and relevant. Well, activity doesn’t equal relevancy and we’ve all been to networking events where there is one person who walks up, interrupts, talks about themselves and leaves without asking how they may be able to help. I guess they are alive, but I haven’t seen this strategy be effective.

If you were using the automatic update feature that pushed your Tweets to LinkedIn, I hope that instead of looking for a new way to blast your message with minimal effort, you will take this opportunity to think about how you can be more effective in your communications with your different networks.

LinkedIn’s Stolen Passwords and Updated Privacy Policy

As you may have heard, LinkedIn was the victim of a hacker last week. Many passwords were stolen an published on an unauthorized website. This serves as a good reminder that we need to protect our information on the internet and pay attention to good security practices even when they seem inconvenient.

Personally, I think LinkedIn did a good job of keeping up informed of what was going on. I follow their blog, so I saw the following updates throughout the week:

Keeping your community informed, even when all you have to say is “We are not sure yet, but we are looking into it and will get back to you ASAP” is something we all can work on improving.

With all of the password hubbub, you may have missed that LinkedIn also announced they were updating their privacy policy. The slated changes include:

  • Shortening the time they keep personally identifiable information obtained through plug-ins and off-site advertising to 24 hours.
  • Enhancing member privacy controls with public profile settings determining what information can be accessed outside of LinkedIn by search engines and third parties.

The coming changes were announced before last weeks episode, so there may be more changes to come.

Google+ Redesigned Interface

Have you noticed the changes to the look and feel of your Google+ account? Last week, Google announced on the roll out a redesign which they believe will allow users to create a more customized experience on Google+.

New features include customizing apps and the navigation bar as well as adding more flexibility to profile pages and pictures. There is also a new Explore page that you can use to find out what others think is interesting and trending across the site.

I like the changes. In my opinion Google has done a lot lately to make sure that their user interfaces are clean and simple – allowing you to focus on easily accomplishing your tasks.  I think this latest update does is right in step with that design philosophy.

Personally, I didn’t see the need to change the profile page to mimic Facebook’s Timeline, but that probably not a big deal. You may want to check your profile picture. In most cases, the default is to enlarge your old profile picture so chances are is has a pixelated look.

The chat list that puts friends front and center on your page, which is nice. The static menu icons at the top have been replaced with a ribbon  on the left. The ribbon allows you to drag and drop to rearrange the order. You can also hover over icons to select from a set of quick actions.

What do you think about the new design?