Facebook retargeting 101

Not every visitor to an ecommerce site converts, and not every customer comes back to buy more. But, don’t fret, with remarketing on Facebook there’s a way to get more sales for little cost.

Facebook remarketing is fantastic, and critical, for ecommerce businesses. With Facebook remarketing, you can show relevant messaging to those who are familiar with your site — be it website visitors, email list members, or combination of both. You’ll pay a low cost-per-acquisition — think five times lower — than other remarketing options. And the ad can stay up all the time. If I could only pick one medium to remarket with, it would be Facebook, hands down.

Better yet, on Facebook you can add targeted interest and demographic data. If you know your customers are likely fans of IKEA, for example, you can add that targeting on top of your site visitors, since it’s Facebook. Again, the power of Facebook amplifies the targeting abilities you have, especially with remarketing.

Setting Up Facebook Remarketing

We will assume that you have the Facebook pixel added to your site, which you can easily do with Google Tag Manager, and that you’re familiar with how to set up a custom audience on Facebook.

For a custom audience, choose to target people who visited your site up from as little as 1 day ago, to as many as 180 days.

Creating a custom audience for your website visitors is the first step.

Let’s leave the audience at 180 days and call it “All Site Visitors.”

Now that you’ve created your audience, go ahead and create your ads. Go to Ads.facebook.com and click on the green “Create Ad.” You’ll see a list of objectives. For this example, we’ll select “Increase conversions on your website.”

After creating your audience, create your ads and objectives.

Enter your site’s URL, and choose the conversion you want to track. For this example, let’s track the sale conversion. Click “Continue” and move to set up your targeting.

First, a primer of what to prepare for in terms of pixels. If you have a custom audience pixel, that is the only pixel you’ll need for your site. You can now push events like cart additions, email signups, and even purchases (with values) through the custom audience pixel. It’s a move by Facebook to help speed up pixel firing, reduce page clutter, and to learn more about the websites it is sending traffic to. We still use a conversion pixel but if you’re just getting set up, use a custom-audience-pixel-only installation.

After you hit continue, the ad set targeting options will appear. Add the website custom audience we made. Simply search for “All Web Site” and it should appear. Select it, and you’ll see the audience definition meter change to “Your audience is defined.”

We’re at a crossroads now. You can choose to leave the targeting as is, with just site visitors, the default age, and country. If you want to cast a broad net, this is fine. But a better option is to look at your Facebook page insights to adjust the demographics, as well as your internal data, to add some interests.

Now let’s set up pricing.

You can set the budget at whatever you’d like, but use at least $15 to $20 per day if you want some traction. When it comes to “Optimize For,” leave it on “Website Conversions” and let Facebook choose the bid. If you find your campaign is not delivering, set the bids manually. If that doesn’t work, you can always bid for clicks.

Don’t gloss over the ads. Get creative! Try carousel ads: they’re fantastic for multiple products. Or try a single image spread across.

Once everything looks good, click the green “Place Order” button at the bottom right, and that’s it. You’ve now created a Facebook remarking campaign. It will absolutely pay off.

But remember, you still need to add UTM tags. Head into Facebook’s power editor: Go all the way to the ads you just created, click edit, and scroll down to “Tracking.” Add your UTM code in the “URL tags” section like below, and you’ll be good to go.

While it should be done in moderation and with enough actionable data, you should always test ads, adjust the targeting, change the bids, and more. I’ll often run multiple retargeting campaigns with different ads and targeting settings that operate exclusively of each other, just to get results faster. Remember to stay active with your campaign and never “set it and forget it.”

Talk to us today if you need some assistance with Facebook retargeting.

Geting started with Facebook ads

Geting started with Facebook ads

Facebook ads are the rage lately — and for good reason. If you can supply at least a few valuable targeting components of your prospective customers, Facebook can do the rest and start delivering on your objective.

But consider this word of caution: The results from Facebook might not come instantly. It may take several attempts at a customer model, interest targets, or even changing the design of your site. Keep trying. With perseverance, you can achieve great results with Facebook ads.

Getting Started with Facebook Ads

So, where do you start? When you create your campaign, you’ll see ten different types of campaigns to run. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s often said that providing too many choices can confuse someone from finding the simplest option.

In this post, I’ll help you cut through what you really need. The campaign you want will depend on your end goal. Most ecommerce merchants are presumably after one thing: more sales.

For more sales, choose “Increase conversions on your website.” Before you get started with this goal, however, you’ll need either a Facebook conversion pixel installed, or a Facebook custom audience pixel with a custom event for a conversion.

For this campaign type, I’ll assume you have Facebook conversion tracking installed.

When you select the “Increase conversions on your website” option, you’ll have to enter your website URL, and choose that objective. Remember, make sure this is the pixel of the event you want people to complete, because Facebook will try to complete that. For this example, I’m choosing Sale.

I’ll skip everything else and go straight to the bidding section. There are four options: Website Conversions, Clicks, Daily Unique Reach, and Impressions.

This is important. Always start with optimizing for your goal, in this case “Website Conversions.” Ads optimized for website conversions that drive results work for a reason. They give users a reason to come back to Facebook, since Facebook is showing them a product they want. Facebook will show these ads first.

Because of this value-proposition of sorts, you’ll always pay the lowest for your conversion. However, if you fail to honor that value-proposition, or if Facebook thinks you aren’t honoring it, the gravy train will end, and getting it started again can be next to impossible.

Start with a Smaller Audience

Starting off, you’ll want a small audience, around 100,000 users. This is good for multiple reasons. It lets you segment your users into test groups, helping you to see who performs better. You might not think that a 5-year age difference among males matters, but it could be a $100 difference in your cost per acquisition.

If you think you’ve exhausted your audience and you want to scale up, be careful. When Facebook starts looking for users likely to convert, the greater number of users increases the number of possible negative matches, which will hurt Facebook’s ability to find legitimate prospects. And time is important to Website Conversion campaigns. If the ads don’t start delivering conversions quickly, it’s a sign to Facebook that perhaps your ad isn’t worthy of that objective.

Finally, feedback is critical to the continued success of the campaign. If you get a large amount of negative feedback, such as people saying they don’t want to see your post, this can also hurt your delivery.

If you can’t initially get a Website Conversion campaign off the ground, don’t worry. It happens to all of us. Some industries or products just don’t work well for that objective. If you can’t make it work, consider optimizing for Clicks. Click campaigns will almost always show on Facebook; you just have watch your bids like an eagle.

Pricing Facebook Ads

When it comes to pricing, for all campaigns you have two choices: automatic (get the most website conversions at the best price) or manual.

Give automatic a try first. If you don’t see traffic, switch to manual. Facebook will always suggest a bid. I typically bid a little above what it says. For example, if it says $10.00, I’ll try $15.00.

And that’s it. There is mystery around the website conversion optimization, which makes it a trial-and-error process. While some of the above tactics may work for you, they might not work for someone else. I’ve had campaigns with large audiences work well, and others not. I’ve had high bids work well and low bids work well — on the same audience! The success of a campaign may appear to have no rhyme or reason when compared to others. But stick to it. In time, you’ll find a setup that works for you.

Are you currently bidding with the website conversions objective? Is it working for you? I’d love to hear your experiences with it.

how often do you post to social media?

how often do you post to social media?

Here’s a digestible and easy to understand infographic showing us just how much bigger brands are posting to their social media channels. Lets call this a benchmark, giving us all a great idea of how much we need to do to be competitive and stay visible


Infographic courtesy sumall.com

New Social Media Commerce Tools Will Have Bigger Role in 2015

New Social Media Commerce Tools Will Have Bigger Role in 2015

The primary attraction for businesses using social media has traditionally been the ability to organically grow their audience and raise brand awareness on the platforms. However, with Facebook’s blunt announcement that organic reach is on the decline, if brands want to be visible on user newsfeeds, they will now have to pay to be seen. Businesses are faced with the reality that dominant social media platforms have become oversaturated with content from businesses of all sizes, with brands generating content faster than users can consume them.


With the increase in sponsored posts and paid ads on Twitter, brands are now also competing with news companies for visibility. This is not particularly surprising coming from Twitter, a company that wants to redefine itself as an alternative news platform, with their combination of personal communication and real- time newsfeed a remarkably useful tool for those working in the media and entertainment industry.


In response, Facebook and Twitter have both announced the arrival of new commerce tools, designed to give businesses a ‘call to action’ option that will help to drive sales through social media. Twitter has also moved to give businesses more flexibility when paying for advertising, and according to Forbe.com’s Jayson DeMers:


“These objective-based campaigns, which are still currently in beta, will offer more flexibility including tweet engagements, website clicks or conversions, app installs, new followers and leads. These campaigns will be particularly appealing to small business owners who want to pay for results, not just for brand visibility.”


It is early days yet, and businesses are sure to be testing this option out this holiday season, however it also represents a shift in how businesses may now view the role of social media in their marketing/PR strategies.There is a new focus on social marketing, with marketers using social media to drive “sales over status updates and commerce over engagement.”


The average holiday consumer is now more likely to go to social media for information that will influence their purchasing decision, and Facebook and Twitter’s new ‘buy’ buttons would help facilitate smooth online transactions. If Facebook and Twitter’s new commerce capabilities prove to be useful for marketers, this may help to counteract the growing difficulty of organic reach experienced by businesses this year.




(Source: Daniel Green, socialmediatoday.com)


Using Social Media for your Restaurant Marketing


For as long as there has been social media and camera phones, people have been taking photos of food.

For Restaurants and eateries, such trends work in their favour. This may seem like a no-brainer, but here are some handy hints on how to use social media (for more than just food-photos) for your Restaurant. Obviously, the focus here is on visuals, but try to also engage with your followers as much as possible.


Instagram is such a powerful tool for restaurants in particular. You have so many things you can be showing off visually in a restaurant.

Take photos of your daily or weekly specials to share with the Instagram world, take customers behind the scenes in the kitchen with how you prepare or make some of your menu items, educate the Instagram world on different fun facts on how you are sustainable. Ideas for Instagram are endless for the food venue and one of the most valuable tools you can have.

Also, as you know, Instagram has a wide range of people that LOVE sharing photos of what they eat. Have fun with this through a contest or by encouraging your customers to snap a pic of their meal and re-share these using apps like Repost.


The way Twitter sets up its news feed allows you to really show off visuals that will stand out as your followers are scrolling through their feed. Share similar photos and things that you’d share on your Instagram account and encourage those to Tweet along with you, including your staff.

Jump into conversations that are happening around you, and ENGAGE. For example: If someone is tweeting asking their followers where they should go for dinner tonight in Toronto, jump into that conversation and let them know how they can make a reservation with you.

The key to Twitter is not to wait for people to come speak at you; seek out those people that you can speak with yourself!


Much like Instagram and Twitter, your success on Facebook thrives on visuals. Make sure you have some great pictures that you can use and try not to recycle them too frequently.

Also, use Facebook to jump into local Facebook groups where you can chat with people of your community about your specials, and why you are awesome. Make sure not to spam anyone, but put a personality behind your brand and chime in when the time is right.

Facebook is also a great tool to gather customer feedback. Since there is no word cap on Facebook you can encourage your followers to review your restaurant, offer advice on new menu items, or just gauge general feedback on how you can improve!


Many people forget this falls under social media. Make sure you are regularly monitoring your review pages such as Yelp, Urban Spoon and Trip Advisor. It’s important to know what people are saying about you and jumping in when people have a complaint or are even just really happy can really show customers that you care about what they have to say.

Reviews are essentially what are going to make or break your restaurant. Your community is going to trust what other customers have to say before you, so make sure to monitor these, applaud happy customers and try to convert the haters. This is one of the most valuable tools for any restaurant small or large.

So now what? Take this advice and use when moving forward with a strategy for your restaurants online presence. Take a look at what other restaurants are doing and observe what you like and don’t like. Just remember, don’t jump on social media just because you feel like you have too. If you don’t have the time or commitment to put forth in your social media efforts, it’s almost better to not be online at all!


Source: socialmediamarketingtoday.com


How Social Media benefits SEO

Ten years ago, search engine optimization was fairly straightforward:

Make sure the search engines can crawl your site, use the right keywords, and get lots of links. As the engines become more and more sophisticated at delivering personalized results, these traditional SEO signals are no longer enough. Social media, however, specializes in the signals that search engines crave: identity and relationships.

Search engines are working on making their results ever more personalized so that their search results will contain more content directly relevant to you, either based on location, past behavior, or from people you know or are likely to trust.

How Social feeds SEO:

By understanding that identity and relationships are important to search engines and therefore to SEO, we can begin to change our marketing behaviors so that we’re positioned to benefit as the tide swells.

But blasting Facebook posts out that link to your site won’t give you an ounce more link authority in the search algorithms. All reputable social networks strip the link authority from the links off to other sites by using 302 redirects or nofollow attributes. So where exactly is the value to organic search?

  • Indirect link earning. If no one sees your content, regardless of how amazingly awesome it may be, no one can link to it. Social media can be a powerful way to expose masses of customers to engaging content. The more people that see that content and enjoy it, the more likely it is to earn reshares that expose even more people to your messages. Increasing the number of exposures logically increases the number of people who are likely to link to the content on a blog or another site that does pass link authority back to your site.

Recent studies have shown a high correllation between the numbers of Google +1s and Facebook Likes compared to high rankings. Naturally some speculate that social data is already being used in web ranking algorithms, but Google and Bing both deny it. Most likely the rankings are a result of the afore mentioned increased exposure/increased linking relationship.

  • Personalization. Social relationships also create opportunities for your content to show up in individual customers’ personalized search results. For example, If Sally uses Google+ to +1 an informative tips and tricks page on your site, and Sally is friends with Susie, the next time Susie searches for similar tips content she will likely see that Sally liked your tips and tricks page enough to share it.

Your page may display in Susie’s search results purely because Sally shared it, when it wouldn’t have normally been displayed in search results. And the search result will be visually augmented with Sally’s picture and the notation that she shared it. That personalization benefits your ability to rank, your visual appeal to increase click through, and boosts trust based on the relationship between Sally and Susie.

Multiply this interaction by 100, 1,000 or 10,000 and you can understand the widespread impact that personalization based on participation in the right social networks can have. For Google search results, the social network that matters most is Google+. Don’t roll your eyes, there are several very good reasons to participate in Google Plus.

source: practicalecommerce.com

2014 Social Media Marketing Report

Mike Stelzner over at Social Media Examiner has published the 6th Annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report based on a survey of over 2,800 marketers.


It’s a pretty robust report at 50 pages and covers the gamut of social media marketing topics from the most important social platforms for marketing to the most important social content types to the ways marketers will be changing their approach to social media in the future.

Some of the highlights include:

  • 92% of marketers say social media is important for their business (up from 86%)
  • 58% of marketers say original written content is the most important form of content
  • 68% of marketers plan on increasing their use of blogging
  • 61% of marketers plan to increase Google+ activities in 2014
  • 6% of marketers are podcasting and 21% plan to increase podcasting activity
  • Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most important social networks for marketers
  • 64% of marketers plan on increasing their use of LinkedIn

There’s a lot to digest and a lot of insights to be gleaned so be sure to get your copy of the report over at Social Media Examiner.


SEO For Google Plus: How to Optimize your G+ profile.

If you want to explore the full potential of some of the most influential social media platforms, you cannot afford to ignore G+ (Google Plus), with its ever-growing popularity or its plethora of amazing marketing opportunities. Facebook and Twitter may be trending these days, but keep in mind that they aren’t the only channels that you should focus on when it comes to creating and applying a successful set of off-page SEO strategies.

Julia Mccoy, from socialmediatoday.com has some handy hints on how to capitalize on SEO results using G+, outlined here:

Not many people are aware that Facebook and Twitter actually stop Google from accessing and utilizing a great percentage of their data. On the other hand, G+ doesn’t keep any secrets. This is only one good reason why you should work on your Google Plus optimization efforts as soon as possible. Here’s an experiment done by the Moz blog on the topic:

“If you use Google+, perform a search for your name and check the domain distribution of first 100 results. The graph below shows what happens when searching my own name.


Even though I use Twitter and Facebook far more often, Google+ dominates the search results. Google+ even beats SEOmoz and my own blog. Multiply this for 100’s of millions of people, and you can begin to comprehend the scope of Google’s platform.”

Creating a winning strategy for Google Plus, in 5 easy steps:

1) Optimize Your Profile and Profit from Limitless Editing Power. Start by optimizing your Google Plus profile. This means that you have to complete all fields (profile image, website URL, business details and so on). All in all, your profile should be a mirror of your interests, capabilities, goals, vision, mission and purpose in business. Getting your Google Plus page verified by the mighty Google also helps, since it allows you to build credibility and trust. You should know that Google Plus allows you to erase and rewind. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, this platform offers you the chance to profit from limitless editing power. Therefore, you can go back to your old posts and fully edit them, anytime, anywhere.

2) Make Sure Your G Plus Title Tags Are Optimized. The very first sentence of your G plus posts becomes a part of your title tag; therefore it can impact your rankings and maximize your click-through rates. Opt for the most relevant keywords and note that the title is the first thing that people analyze before reading your post. Your title tags should be short (around 65-75 characters), compelling and concise.

3) Get in Touch with Influencers. Be sociable and always give people something to talk about. Make new connections. Add new people to your circle; ask other users to add you to their circle, share a post with a few influencers, tag them in a photo, mention them in posts, start meaningful conversations, invite them to an event and so on; just make sure you don’t cross the line. Strangers who are a tad too friendly on Google Plus are often cataloged as spammers and get banned till the end of times.

4) Count on a Killer Author Pic. Cyrus Shepard from Moz has conducted an experiment with his Google Plus profile pic. The results were amazing and predictable to some extent: in a world in which looks are extremely important, your profile pic says a lot about you and your competencies. A perfect (real), professional-looking picture of yourself taken in a very flattering light can boost your website traffic.

5) Stay Active. Whatever you do, do something. Inactivity is one of the capital sins when it comes to social media marketing strategies. You don’t want to be one of the many inactive users that have a Google Plus account, but refuse to put it to good use for one reason or another. Give your readers at least one good reason to use the 1 button. According to Business2Community, you can accomplish this goal by simply:

  • Posting quality content on a regular basis
  • Creating and updating content based on the needs, interests and expectations of your audience
  • Connecting Google Plus to your website and all your social extensions

Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget to connect your web content to your Google Plus profile via Google Authorship. This is the simplest method to reaffirm your authority, increase your influence and enable readers to identify your content in no time.


People Power

As the ‘Protectors’ out at the Bentley Blockade prepare for the imminent arrival of Police in the next few days, It is inspiring to see that people power can still move so many to action and unity. Nextwave proudly support all the people on the front-line, the volunteers, workers, and organisers of the camp, as well as the farmers and landowners. This amazing demonstration of people power just goes to show the passion and integrity of the majority of the Northern Rivers when it comes to protecting and preserving our natural environment.

Although the Blockade has been there for weeks, mainstream media have rarely been mentioning it. But who needs mainstream media exposure when you have social? SHARE IT, BLOG IT, POST IT, TWEET IT. The power’s in you!

Facebooks Organic Reach Decline: How to Respond

Brands that use Facebook for marketing have seen a sharp drop in engagement.

Coupled with recent changes to the news feed algorithm, marketers are finding it harder and harder to generate organic buzz. Speaking of the News Feed, no one really knows for sure how Facebook decides what appears on it, but some elements are well known as weighing factors:

  • Post types that receive the most user interaction
  • Posts that users hide or report as spam
  • How a user interacts with Facebook ads
  • The device that is used to access Facebook and the speed of its connection

Facebook has told marketers that they should consider paid distribution “to maximize delivery” of their messages in news feed. Translation: You must pay to play.

The team at Offerpop, a social marketing platform that enables users to create and launch Twitter and Facebook campaigns, compiled the infographic below to illustrate at a high level how brands can combat Facebook’s reach decline by revamping their digital strategy.

Timing Can Be Everything.

If good content is posted on social media and there’s no one around to see it, will it make an impact?

Knowing the best times to reach your audience is one of the trickiest aspects of maintaining your brand’s social media strategy.

To build an engaging social media presence, you must of course have a very engaged audience and to create this engagement, you must reach your audience at a time they are most likely to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and whatever other social channel you have a presence in.

Every social network experiences a “peak” time, which is the busiest time of day for the network, during which the most number of people are actively using the site. Timing your social media posts and publishing your content during this peak time is going to make it visible to a larger audience.

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer to this. The nature of social media marketing is such that it is entirely dependent on human behaviour. So while there may be theories on what works and guidelines on best practices for timing your social media posts; ultimately it all comes down to knowing and understanding your own audience.

The greater use of Mobile devices like tablets, has shaken things up a little these days. 37% of consumers on mobiles and tablets now check their social media presence first thing in the morning and 42% do so just before they go to bed. Also, mobile traffic is known to peak after 5pm and as well as on the weekend therefore marketers need to consider how this impacts timing of content distribution to maximise effectiveness.

Of course, times are not concrete – and each may vary depending on your target market, and the Industry in which they operate. In fact, I haven’t seen 2 infographics that are similar, hence why It’s so important to customise your timing for your audience. Variables such as International time-zones, context and goals can result in complete misfire. Most stats are based on Internet users as a whole, not on your specific target audience – but they can provide a starting point for anyone looking to gain more traction with their social media posts, once some market research is done.

I was going to attach an example of a ‘Best Post Times’ Infographic here, but the importance of tailoring your marketing, and the range of misinformation, is so great, that I decided against it. Stephan Hovnanian sums it up beautifully in his article: “The sad truth about ‘Best Time to Post’ Infographics” here: https://www.websighthangouts.com/best-time-to-post-on-social-media-infographic-mistakes/

You know your audience better than anyone else so a time slot that works for someone else might not work for you at all. Your best bet is to experiment with a few different time slots and monitor the activity on your posts to see which time performs the best.

Peak interaction times will vary depending on your industry and your most active social network, and you’ll learn by trial and error. A study by Buddy Media in late 2012, found that most companies are posting content at the wrong time so by paying attention to the timing of your posts, you can already be a step ahead.

The Importance of Visual Content in Social Media Marketing

From memes to infographics to instagram images, brands big and small are already getting huge engagement from visual content, and 2014 will be the year that visual content truly takes over in social media marketing.

Simple, easy to digest content often receives the highest volume of engagement. For example, the image below from Social Media Examiner was one of the most popular posts ever to grace their Facebook page.

According to research from Social Media Examiner, 70% of marketers plan to increase their use of visual assets in 2014; will you be one of them?

How much social media advertising will $500 buy you?

With online advertising spend having overtaken TV advertising spend for the first time, knowing best practices when investing your money into social media has never been more important.

The big question is, how much should you spend and where will it take you? Social media campaigns are attractive for two key reasons – cost effectiveness and laser-sharp customer targeting. In essence, each cent you spend will go to potential customers who are interested in your brand, so there’s no wastage, no big bill production costs, and therefore no huge spend.

For instance, $500 in traditional advertising could buy a small print ad or perhaps a few radio ads with limited ways to track your return. It could also buy you a month of an entry-level SEO package or perhaps one to six weeks of Google advertising, depending on your market.

That same $500 in social media could be effective for up to 14 weeks and will result in an engaged audience where the ROI can be tracked in real-time. Here’s the breakdown by social media platform.
Facebook is arguably the most effective social media tool to engage your business with prospects. One new Like will set you back between 20 cents and 40 cents, which in comparison to traditional media is significantly cheaper. Importantly, your rate of spend will vary depending on the size of reach. For example, a page with 100 Likes may struggle to spend $5 per day, whereas a page with 1000 Likes may spend $15 per day, but with significantly better results.
Twitter charges on a Cost Per Engagement (CPE), so you only pay when someone clicks, retweets, replies to or ‘favourites’ your promoted Tweet. Costing is usually between $0.75 and $2.50 per click. If you’re promoting your whole account, Twitter will feature it on ‘Who to Follow’ more or less often depending on how much you bid. The average is currently $2.50 – $4.00 per follower.
Instagram introduced advertising in the US in late 2013 and will undoubtedly debut in Australia in the coming months. Working similarly to Facebook, ads will target the most relevant based on Instagram and Facebook activity. Watch this space! This is predicted to be hot in 2014. Based on these numbers, $500 will last between six and 14 weeks and result in 125 to 2,,500 clicks, impressions, retweets, replies, favourites, likes or followers, although the average is in the lower half.
LinkedIn runs on minimum budget structure, although your daily spend may not be reached if competition is heavy or traffic is low. As a basic guideline:

– Minimum daily budget is $10/day.
– Minimum CPC bid is $2.00/click.
– Minimum CPM bid is $2.00/thousand impressions.
Why choose social media marketing?
Social marketing is the new word-of-mouth and is an effective method for all businesses alike – from start-ups to established multi-national companies. It has proven successful in building brand awareness, trust and a loyal community around your business. It also allows you to test an idea, gauge a market or solicit feedback, with instant feedback available through open conversation with your prospect and customer base.

Social media is also important for small or new players in hugely competitive markets, for instance car loans. Competing head-to-head with pay-per-click advertising at up to $18 per click with less than 1% of clickers converting to a sale is not viable for small businesses.

Social media marketing on the other hand can help the smaller players compete online.

While the potential for social media advertising is endless, it is important to start small and build up from there. Get to know where your market is online and test and measure the results.

10 product discovery and sharing sites worth paying attention to!

In 2010, branded content was one the largest trends among retailers and brands. In 2011, branded content shifted to branded entertainment. Now, in 2012, we’ll look toward content cultivation and aggregation.

By creatively using Pinterest and Tumblr, brands are becoming enthralled with consumer curation, primarily because these types of curated sites create non-linear paths to purchases.

First, retailers post visually appealing images and ideas that are accessible to the online user/consumer. Then, consumers post those images to curated sites. From there, retailers can build brand awareness by directly linking to product pages and encouraging purchase conversions.

“We’re demonstrating the power of peer-to-peer shopping search,” says Buyosphere’s Tara Hunt. “Algorithms are a long way off from picking up nuances that a person can. And personal taste is full of nuance.”

The future of ecommerce, search and social marketing is now tied to personality-influenced consumer curation.

Here are 10 product discovery and sharing sites worth paying attention to

How to use Facebook to promote your business

With Facebook predicted to reach one billion!! users by August 2012 that is a lot of potential customers! As many users openly display their interests, you would have thought that Facebook would be heaven for marketers.

In reality, very few companies are successfully exploiting the channel to promote their business, and many of those have big budgets. So why and how should an SME or start-up think about Facebook as a marketing channel?

Forming a Facebook fan page is often viewed as a fantastic way to engage with the public, and if you do it right it can be hugely successful.

Coffee chain Starbucks has more than 26 million members on its Facebook fan page, and is by far and away the most successful brand on Facebook. But for small businesses the challenge is that much harder as they don’t enjoy the same level of brand awareness. For example, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of Facebook fan pages have less than 1,000 members.

Why do it?

So why should small businesses form a Facebook fan page? Creating a Facebook page provides the opportunity to directly interact with potential and existing customers. 850 million users – and growing – simply cannot be ignored. Some of these people will be in your local area and they may be searching for your product or service.

As well as a way to sell and generate brand awareness, Facebook groups provide a free way to carry out market research – you can poll your fans, gauge their reaction to ideas before you implement them.

Content is Key

The clincher when it comes to attracting and retaining Facebook fans is what you offer them. There is an infinite amount of interest groups that Facebook users can join, so you need to make yours stand out from the herd. Most groups probably fail to reach 1,000 members because they fail to offer compelling content and, worst of all, do not interact.

So, think of video, audio, blogs and other interesting content that would appeal to your target audience. You can then use tools such as ping.fm or your blog RSS Feed to syndicate that content with minimal manual input your end. Have a look at car hire firm Zipcar’s Facebook page to see how innovative content has helped a small business generate a following of nearly 70,000.
Most of all, it’s a community, so INTERACT!

How promote it?

Once you’re clear on what you want to achieve from your Facebook page, what content you’re going to offer, who’s going to manage it and how often you’ll be updating content and interacting with customers, you need to think about how to attract people to your page in the first place.

Start small – friends, friends of friends, customers. Provide links on your homepage to click through to your Facebook page, offer discounts and other benefits exclusive to Facebook group members. Of course if you have a physical location it can pay to promote your Facebook page at the point of sale, on packaging, in the window or even on your signage. Your popularity will spread virally, so don’t expect Rome to be built in a day.

Assess where you are after one month, two months etc and think about how you could better promote the site if you’re not hitting numbers.

Talk to us today about this growing opportunity.

5 Ways to Turn Social Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

Great article over at Mashable about turning your social customers into evangelists of your brand.”With the advent of social media channels, customer service has forever changed. Consumers are no longer willing to sit and listen to classical music on hold. In today’s age of hyper-responsiveness, customers expect instant responses from support reps on very public online platforms.

Instead of shying away from social media, smart businesses will leverage their social channels to spread a positive brand reputation, to connect happy customers and to step up their customer support efforts.”

Read the rest of the article

Facebook like button soon to include more “action” items

Facebook’s annual f8 developer conference promised a lot of things today, but one cool subset of them takes the most popular interaction on the site and spins off variations.We’re talking about the like button here.

Today, we click like when really a more specific action is involved but the thumbs-up is only option that exists.

So, get ready for buttons that could include:

  • Want
  • Buy
  • Own
  • Listen to
  • Read
  • Eat
  • Watch
  • Work out

Each of these verbs would describe a type of relationship between things that exist in what Facebook has up until today called the Social Graph.

Expanding into all of these other types of relationships ushers in what Facebook calls the Open Graph.

Like its name suggests, the open graph holds many more opportunities for third-party application developers to go to work.

And plugins based on the open graph would enable websites outside of Facebook to make commerce and content more social than ever.

And the open graph will also make people’s news feeds more customized than ever, requiring a more complex algorithm than the one that currently determines what people see on their home pages.

The algorithm that Facebook today calls EdgeRank becomes GraphEdge tomorrow.

What do you think about these new variations on Facebook’s like button and plugins? Will users feel as inclined to click on them as they do with the like button?

Talk to us today if you aren’t ustilisng these valauble social sharing functions.

Get more Facebook fans Tip#1

Using Facebook as a Fan Page

This is by far one of the most powerful changes, in my opinion, to fan page functionality. Why? Before this change, there were only a few ways to share your fan page with people who are not a fan of your brand on Facebook. The first was by sharing the page directly with your personal profile’s contacts. The second was by hoping that your page’s fans would share it with their contacts. And the third was by spending money with Facebook advertising.

Now, with the option to use Facebook as your page, you can do something that reaches out to Facebook users in your targeted audience for free. Here are easy steps on how to get your brand in front of a larger Facebook audience.

How to Use Facebook as Your Page

You must be an admin of the page you want to market before going any further – if you aren’t, then become a fan of the page and ask another admin of the page to add you as administrator.

Step 1. When logged into your personal profile, go under the Account menu and select Use Facebook as Page.

Step 2. Choose the page you want to participate as on Facebook and Switch.

Step 3. Find fan pages that have the same target audience as your brand and Like. For example, if you’re brand sells handmade dog collars online, then your target audience is probably also a fan of PetSmart, Petco, the Westminster Dog Show, and other similar pages.

Step 4. Start interacting on those pages just like you would do with your personal profile in terms of liking and commenting on new wall posts by the page or by the fans of the page. Instead of being linked to your personal profile, your activity will be linked to your fan page. This means if you provide useful, valuable comments, you will be seen as an authority and fans of that page might become a fan of yours as well.

Using Facebook as your fan page will help you get more exposure for your brand’s Facebook page, leading to more likes and engagement with your targeted audience.

Talk to us today about turbocharging your Facebook page.