Have you heard about the changes to Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines?

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Now all of those Like and Share contests are actually OK. I think it’s a good idea to scrap unenforceable rules don’t you? You no longer need to use a 3rd party application to run contests – that makes things a lot easier for businesses wanting to promote their wares with a give away or contest.

The official announcement is here: https://www.facebook.com/facebookforbusiness/news/page-promotions-terms

Make sure you take creative advantage of this feature to increase fan engagement in a huge way. Your fans will love winning more often and with these rules relaxed you can offer smaller, more frequent contests. For instance – 50th fan to LIKE this post gets a free lunch, etc.
Will these new guidelines encourage you to use contests on Facebook more often?

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Frequently Asked Social Media Questions Series

“To save time shouldn’t I connect my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts?

Short answer: No, no and definitely no.

Here’s why. These 3 platforms could not be more different and one of the best ways to show you aren’t aware of how they work is to connect them.

Look at it like this, Facebook is the backyard barbeque, Twitter is the local bar and LinkedIn is the corporate networking event. All social, but all with completely different agendas and acceptable practices.

Connect Accounts What could go wrong you ask? Picture this, a bank manager who is also an avid hockey fan tweets passionately about his team losing, using a little ‘colourful’ language. Arriving at work the next morning he is horrified to realize that every one of last nights tweets (and there were many) is greeting each of his professional contacts as they glance over their LinkedIn newsfeed.

Now, what if his boss is also a connection, or worse, what if he is looking for work?

Using social media effectively for business is about gaining awareness and exposure that translates into qualified leads, leads that increase your bottom line, right? So, saving time, although a valid idea, becomes less important when your efforts are paying off. In fact, if your social media presence is helping to increase business wouldn’t you want to do more of it rather than less?

Knowing your audience and giving them appropriate content on each of the platforms will get the job done. Connecting your accounts might not only hinder that effort but could have it blow up in your face altogether. Just ask that bank manager….

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.

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!

fear not…

When many of us first wade into the social media jungle we notice a few things.  First of all, this stuff takes a fair bit of time  and second there is a lot more to an effective social media strategy than simply posting to a twitter account occasionally. [tweetmeme source=”alisonstoodley” only_single=false]

The biggest surprise for me was to see how many people were scared of the social media environment.  Fearing their lives be laid out for all to, not only see, but comment on freely, an awful lot of people have decided to avoid social media altogether.  The problem there lies in the fact that as a business not maintaining a social media presence is becoming a liability.

One of the best things you can do if you fall into the category mentioned above is to educate yourself.  Understanding and using the privacy settings on Facebook will make it a lot easier to enjoy the experience and once you are playing in the environment it is not so hard to make the move to a business presence.

Each social media tool should be taken on one at a time and you can find more information about each one and their privacy controls than you will ever have time to read, with a simple Google search.

So, take a baby step, get comfortable and keep moving forward……because love it,  hate it,  fear it or embrace it,  social media is here to stay.

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