5 Reasons to Stop Putting ‘Like & Share’ Contests on Your Facebook Page

 

To all you “LIKE and SHARE my Picture Contest” Facebook page owners;

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Please stop. Here is why:

  1. You are in violation of Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines – all those ‘likes’ you get from people who only want to win your prize can disappear in the blink of an eye when Facebook catches up to you.
  2. Speaking of all those LIKES, please explain to me how having thousands of LIKES from people who only want to win something free is a good Facebook marketing strategy?  An effective business presence on Facebook means
    you actually get business from your efforts. Contest entrants are not interested in what you are selling, they are only interested in what you are giving away for free.
  3. The myth of SHARING as contest entrant criteria. The only way to see who shares your content on Facebook is to be personal friends with that person, AND for them to have their privacy settings set for their friends to see their shares. When you tell your entrants that their shares make them eligible this can only be accurate if you are friends with all of your page’s fans. You cannot see who shares your content even if they like your page, so there’s a very good chance you’re not including people in your contest who have actually shared your content.
  4. It fills the newsfeed with clutter. Real fans – you know, the ones who actually want to purchase your product or service – get sick of all these contests plugging up their newsfeed so they hide your posts – most don’t bother unliking your page, so you won’t even know they’re gone.
  5. It’s a waste of your precious time. If you really want to gain qualified leads, consider a targeted Facebook ad campaign. That way you can sit back and let your ads garner interested customers, instead of spending your valuable time adding up mythical shares and unqualified likes.

To Endorse or Not to Endorse?

” Hey, can you endorse me please?”
Sound familiar?
If you are a member of the largest professional social network on the planet, LinkedIn, it’s likely not only familiar, but starting to become a tad annoying.

LinkedIn, in an attempt to become even more of an online professional resume, has offered its members the opportunity to very easily endorse each other based on the skills you have listed in your profile.

In theory it sounds like a great idea but in practice it’s not only falling short of its target, it might even be wiping out the credibility of LinkedIn in the process.

Here’s the problem, in the past 3 hours I’ve received two endorsement requests from people I have never done business with. We may have connected through a networking event, we may have intentions of doing business in the future but nevertheless, as of the time of the request, we have not. If I were to recommend your business skills without having experienced them, wouldn’t that be a lie? What if, worst case scenario, I did endorse you and you were lying on your profile. Could that not come back to affect my credibility in a very negative way?

In fact, we should all think long and hard before ‘endorsing’ anyone, from a lawyer to a realtor to a hairdresser – not having our ducks in a row could have catastrophic consequences.

So here’s what I propose, don’t put your colleagues, clients or potential clients in the awkward position of having to turn you down. Stop asking anyone other than regular, satisfied customers for endorsements. If your skills are what you say they are the endorsements will happen naturally and no one’s credibility, resume or hair-do will have to pay the price.

Best Times to Post to Facebook

Clients ask me all the time “what are the best times to post on Facebook?” Here is the magical answer, “I haven’t got a clue.” Why don’t I have a clue you ask? Because I don’t know your audience and that fact is the most important one when deciding when to post.

So, how do you get to know your audience? First, look at the data you already have. If you have had a Facebook page with over 30 fans you’re collecting data on each fan and that data shows up in your Page Insights. Insights have been greatly improved and the format changed recently so go here  and get a copy of Facebook’s guide to understanding them (just under the graphic, on the right). You may also want to download the other guides available at that link and bone up on your Facebook marketing all ‘round.

If you are new to Facebook and don’t yet have an audience you will have to take a slightly different approach – Decide who you want your audience to be and set about attracting them. Use at least 3 characteristics to describe them – age, location, earnings, career, kids, lifestyle, etc. and based on that, make an educated guess when you think they will be on Facebook – yes, I said guess. Then test those times for engagement.

For instance, if your product/service appeals to women between 25 and 35 there is a good chance they have small children – marketing to them before 9pm might be a waste of time, because they are likely preparing meals, guiding through homework, organizing for the next school day and maybe even packing lunches – that woman checks Facebook from her laptop, when the kiddies are tucked in, while she watches her favorite show – after 9pm.

Smart business users of Facebook watch carefully to determine the times their audience is engaging with their content – over time their audience tells them exactly when to post.  And for those of you who think you have it down, there is one caveat, Facebook changes like a winter day in Newfoundland so make sure you check your data occasionally to determine if your audience may have shifted, especially if you see a drop in engagement.

Now it’s your turn – How did you decide when to post, or are you still working on it? Have some tips to share? I’d love your feedback – Thanks!

10 Things You Should Do When Using Facebook for Business

1. Claim your username – If you haven’t already, go here and claim the name that best fits your page. This makes it much easier for people to find you and for you to pass on your Facebook contact info. For instance, “Find me at http://facebook.com/AlisonStoodleyEnterprises”  is a lot easier to pass around than “Find me at http://facebook.com/Alison-Stoodley-Enterprises-5867746382450084673932”.

2. Stop focusing on numbers – It is better to have 25 engaged customers who actually buy what you are selling than 500 who only signed up for the giveaway and not only don’t engage with your content, but don’t want your product/service.  An organically grown, targeted, engaged audience is one of your most valuable business assets – focus on creating that, instead of boosting numbers.

3. Create a custom landing page for new arrivals. Using one of the many 3rd party applications available, (some great ones here) create a page with a call-to-action to ‘like’ your page. You can also create a fan gate that rewards your likers with exclusive discounts or information that makes them feel valued. These apps can be used to create a mini web page within your Facebook page so go ahead and get creative!

4. Keep in mind that competition for eye-space is fierce on Facebook and staying in your prospects Newsfeed means earning that space with engaging content. Create a posting schedule, test the best times for engagement with your fans and then stick to it. Lack of consistency is one of the main reasons that pages disappear from Newsfeeds – sending out fabulous content doesn’t matter if no one sees it.

5. Create a ‘Sign Up for my Newsletter’ tab on your page. Companies like Constant Contact make this incredibly easy to do. If you don’t have an account with them try it hereherehere for free. Email is still very important in the marketing mix and a permission based list of clients is an incredibly valuable business asset. Remember the difference in cost of acquiring a new customer and in getting a repeat sale? Email marketing is a proven way to keep your customers engaged with your brand, so take advantage of your Facebook page to beef up your email list.

6. Post your Facebook page link at every point of contact. If no one knows you have a page they will be much less likely to find you right? Get your link out there – on your sign on the door, your newspaper ad, your business card, your directory listing, your industry association listing, your letterhead, your invoices, your email signature, your car bumper, your desk, your counter, your cash register, your brochure….get the picture?

7. Make sure you’re receiving email notifications of page activity so that you can respond to comments and posts in a timely manner. Nothing says “we care” quite like an immediate response, just like the opposite is true when someone has to wait hours or even days, for a response.

8. Don’t lock your page down. Building customer relationships is a communication based activity. If prospective clients and customers can’t communicate with you on Facebook you have completely missed the point of “social” media.

9. Don’t shy away from negative comments. Just as you would do everything in your power to make it right if someone complained about your product or service in real life, Facebook should be no different, except that you get to solve the problem while your potential customers watch. Everyone understands that occasionally things go wrong so being up front and open about how you handle customer complaints is a wonderful way to gain customer loyalty. Having said that there is an exception to this rule – if you are slammed without just cause or spammed, simply delete the post without comment. If someone inquires about the deleted post, assure them that your page is reserved for constructive comments and the deleted post did not fit that criteria.

10. Don’t give up. If at first the throngs of new customers don’t come out of the woodwork and surround you with fists full of cash, don’t despair. A Facebook marketing campaign is not a quick fix. It takes time to develop a relationship with your audience and testing what works, is part of that process. You should be looking for results by the end of your first year of actively building a Facebook presence. Results that include increased engagement, increased positive sentiment about your brand and increased sales.

Now it’s your turn. Share your Facebook for Business tips in the comments below, we would love to hear what makes Facebook work for you!

Happy New What?

New Year – new you, new business, new body, new mind, new adventures, new loves, new houses, new homes, new friends, new connections, new opportunities, new world.

These and many more ‘news’ are standing before us all now in the fresh, enthusiastic wonder that is 2012 – the question remains – what will you do with your new?

A New Year means more than a ticking clock or tearing off a calendar page. It means we can start over, again or anew. It means the chance for hope, compassion, and contribution. It means that even though we have no idea what is coming we will make inspirational plans for that unknown and goals that will help us get to it.

Today we can easily feel the possibility, the adventures looming, tomorrow those feeling will begin to fade. By next week they will be distant memories. Unless……unless we give them life and resolve to take action that keeps us ‘in possibility’.

Try this, take a package of brightly coloured sticky notes and write on them BE GREAT, POSSIBILITY, ACTION, PURPOSE, CONTRIBUTION, or any other inspirational words that stir your juices. Then post them all over your house, never mind if people see them, they make excellent conversation starters. When they start to curl around the edges take them down and start again with new words in different places. Never let the new get old.

If we remind ourselves on a daily basis what is possible, that we can create whatever we want, we will…..and then we can say Happy New Minute, Happy New Morning, Happy New Day instead of just celebrating possibility on a yearly basis. If we realized the potential in each and every second we are given, we would readily run out of fireworks. But then again, we wouldn’t need them, because we would celebrate each moment by living to our highest potential, wouldn’t that be incredible?

Happy New Year Everyone!
Now get out there and create something really cool!

Tweet Much?

No, seriously, tweet much?
Most of the clients or friends I ask answer that they don’t. They don’t because they think the mundane details of their lives are ridiculous and if they haven’t got something relevant to their business to say, they say nothing… (insert crickets here).

The problem with that is they think all the people on twitter are doing the same, waiting until the perfect inspirational, call-to-action tweet pops into their head and only then sharing it with the twitterverse – So. Not. True.

The reason Twitter works for business, and for pleasure, is because tweeters are people – and people want to connect with people.

If you only communicate on Twitter in business form, using business speak to discuss business issues, you’re missing the point and more likely, you’re boring your audience to tears.

The reason Twitter works is precisely because of the mundane details that connect us all – cheering on your sports team, watching your favorite TV show, hating on ridiculous drivers, talking about the weather and yes, sharing what you had for lunch, even immortalizing that salad in a picture.
Yes, we do business, but we also do life in general, and it’s that general part where most of us find some commonality.

If you’re resolving to get your tweet on in 2012, or you want to increase your impact on Twitter give this a try: take off your business suit, move away from your desk and tweet instead from the couch, in jeans – sweats even – and see if you don’t make a connection that just might someday lead to a little business.

Gathering Customer Information With Social Media

Have you cultivated a social media following? If yes, then you have an opportunity you may be missing – information gathering.
In most cases a loyal audience will tell you anything you want to know, within reason. And most of us want to know a lot about our customer right? So, start asking.

Ask them to comment on blog posts, ask them specific questions with specific answers in customer surveys — tip: keep surveys short, really short – 5 questions max. — or ask them one specific question at a time with Facebook questions. You can also insert mini surveys into your monthly newsletter or ask something on Twitter or in your status update on LinkedIn. You might also ask a question in a LinkedIn group, respondents are likely colleagues not customers but they may have keen insight into your customers wants and needs.

What to ask? Ask them about your products, the good the bad and the ugly. Ask them what they do with their spare time, ask them what technology they use, how they use it and how they think it can be improved. Ask them if they are married, do they have kids, what is important to them and where they would like to see themselves in the future. The more personal and intimate the questions, the better off you are keeping the survey private (off Facebook) and possibly anonymous.

The information you gather should be relevant to your product or service. It should be designed to help you move your company forward and most of all it should give you insight into your best customer. When you know your customer and what they want, you can set about the business of giving it to them, which after all, is the point of being in business in the first place.

Have you used social media to gather customer information? Which tools have you used and how has it worked for you?

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