Facebook Is an Awesome Tool for Business, but Only When Wielded Awesomely

With nearly 10 billion users, Facebook is easily the most well known social network in the world. If Facebook were a country with a seat at the U.N., it would possess the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook (should we call it Facebookistan?) features its own unique customs and norms, and you need to understand and respect them so that you can capitalize on the site’s potential as a tool for promoting and expanding your small business. When I see local businesses faceplant on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t invest the time to understand Facebookistan’s customs.

Tread lightly

What makes Facebook so distinct among all social networks? It’s the fact people that use the site have strong connections with one another. Everyone is connected with their best friends, their immediate family members as well as their close relatives. They share intimate parts of their lives. Stuff like:

  • Birthday celebrations
  • High school graduation footage
  • Baby photos
  • Wedding announcements
  • Anniversaries

The upshot for business owners? They need to be conscientious and careful within their technique. You can’t use the old kinds of one-way, direct-response marketing on Facebook, since people aren’t there to listen to sales pitches. They’re not necessarily in a buying mindset. They’re in a socializing mindset. You have to respect that.

Keep it real (for real)

If you try to port the old style of marketing into Facebook, you will be disappointed. The natives will get angry and shun you. “With Facebook, marketers of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokeswoman. “But Facebook is all about authenticity, so if your company is not being authentic or engaging with customers in a manner that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”

Don’t be fooled: It’s meant to be hard

Don’t be fooled by social media “gurus” who make ridiculous promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is all about creating relationships and influence—and this requires time. Many organizations believe that if they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they need to do. Marketing on Facebook is definitely an extremely effective way to reach local customers (we wouldn’t be talking about it if it weren’t). But here’s the rub: it’s also challenging (and rewarding) if you’re doing it correctly. The payback is well worth the investment in time and attention. Based upon a study from Social Media Examiner, nearly two-thirds of small businesses involved in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing effectiveness, and 80 percent report forming new partnerships after just two years of participation.

Why It’s Essential to Engage in Social Media

Way back in the day (last year) it was a relatively simple undertaking to rank your pages in Google’s search results. Optimize the pages, have decent, unique content and create a slew of backlinks to them.

Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case!

Google, in their quest to develop a more relevant, social collection of search results, has made the game a bit more intricate. In addition to making sure we are still performing most if not all of the aforementioned tasks, social signals are now playing a vital part in the Google search results algorithm, the formula designed to determine where our pages rank in the search stratosphere.

What in the name of Twitter are we supposed to do?

Here are three simple ways for you to enhance the level of engagement with your brand, increase the size of your prospective audience, and favorably increase word of mouth about your business.

  1. Use images and videos – Like it or not, we are now a society that thrives on images. Most would, whether by time necessity or purely visual stimulation, prefer to watch and see instead of read. According to Facebook pics and vids attract 53% more “likes” than text alone.
  2. Do it later in the day – Customer engagement in the form of likes, shares and follows, are occurring later in the day, according to this infographic. (See, you wanted to check it out, didn’t ya!)
  3. Be quick to respond – Getting people to respond to you is hard enough: don’t leave them hanging! Make sure you develop the practice of replying to comments, tweets and status updates as soon as possible. You’re wanting to engage, not find a way avoid this!

Don’t be like Freddie!

Professional golfer Freddie Couples was asked once why he never answers the phone. His reply was, “there might be someone on the other end.” Don’t be like Freddie! Engage with your followers!

Do Your Marketing Emails Look Terrible on Mobile Devices? That’s a Problem

Email marketing is tricky enough without us making the task even more complicated. With mobile email open rates rising quickly, it can be a virtual death sentence for your business if you neglect optimizing your marketing emails for small screens.

Mobile email open rates are on fire!

According to a study by Knotice.com, mobile opens accounted for 36 percent of all email opens in early 2012. Also, it’s by far (by 74 percent!) the preferred method of communication by online adults. And it’s not just phones on one platform either. ReturnPath reports that iPhones account for 59 percent of the open rate share, iPads 26 percent, Androids 14 percent and Windows phones and devices less than 1 percent. The takeaway here is that it’s not simply phones, and not necessarily on the move.

Some tips for optimizing your marketing emails

So just how do you go about optimizing your marketing emails? Not to fear, we won’t leave you in the lurch! Here are some must-do tips that really help make sure your messaging shows up the way you’ve intended it to!

  • Keep your messages short. People, especially on mobile devices, have a short attention span. Make punchy, enticing subject lines and material that keeps your reader engaged.
  • Keep image files small, as large files take significantly longer to load, you don’t want people exiting before they even get a chance to see what you’ve got!
  • Keep your font sizes in your main content at least 14, and headlines around 30. Anything below 13 will get automatically changed by the iPhone, and can wreck your formatting.
  • Make sure any calls to action are big enough for easy tapping. The average adult fingertip measures around 45 pixels, so keep that in mind.
  • Test your emails on different platforms before sending them out. Better safe than sorry!

Optimizing your emails is not a choice if you’re wanting to win with email. You must get on this today, as you can be sure your competitors will!