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….

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!

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