Monthly Archives: October 2011

Using Facebook for your Business

Now that Facebook has become almost ubiquitous in our society, it is not only silly but potentially harmful to not use it for your business. With over 750 million active users and growing, Facebook is second only to Google as the most popular website in the world. Simply put: never underestimate the importance of Social Media Marketing. These days if you don’t exist on Facebook you almost don’t exist.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a facebook profile. Perhaps you use it every day, or maybe you only visit a few times a month, but you’re probably not harnessing the full potential of Facebook for your business, or using it at all. So how do you go about creating and maintaining a successful facebook presence? Read on…

The Facebook “Edge”

In order to understand exactly how effective facebook ads can be, you must understand how they work.

Facebook has an EdgeRank Algorithm which determines which items are displayed on a users’ news feed. Instead of displaying every single piece of activity from every friend a person has, this algorithm determines what to display based on the number of interactions, or “edges” that item has. Edges can be likes, shares, comments, tags, etc. This algorithm compiles frequency of posts, relevance (number of friends interacting with posts) and the user’s history of clicking and messaging within facebook, and uses all of this data to determine what shows up in your news feed.

This means that every little thing you do on facebook helps to determine whether or not your page or group will actually be seen. Having a Like button on your site and blog, asking questions, posing interesting articles, and creating contests can all help you be found.

The Goal…

  1. Connect and engage with current and potential customers.
  2. Be found by people who are searching for your service or product.
  3. Create a community around your business.
  4. Promote sales, new products, and content you create including articles, webinars, etc.

Let’s get started.

 

Your Business Page

You must create a page (or group) specifically for your business, but you cannot do this without first having a profile. Because you most likely have a profile we’ll skip it here, but if you don’t have one, get one now.

It is important to keep your business page separate from your personal profile. Keeping a division between yourself and your business will help to protect your privacy and to maintain a more professional business identity. The bottom line: do not treat your business page like your profile, or vice versa.

Additionally, profiles and pages each have features which make them perfectly suited for their intended purposes, so take advantage of them:

  • Pages are capable of allowing multiple administrators, meaning you can have several people maintaining and managing the account, and no one person has total control over the public face of the business.
  • Pages are public by default, and are gaining ground in facebook searches, as well as general searches outside of Facebook.
  • Pages have categories which help with the relevancy of searches.
  • No administrator acceptance is required, meaning anyone can instantly become a fan of a page.

Create a business page

Like just about everything else on Facebook, creating a page involves a cute little wizard which guides you through the process. Go to www.facebook.com/pages/create.php (you must be logged) to get started.

  1. Choose a classification. You’ll likely choose one of the top 3 options. Choosing the correct category will help you rank in more relevant searches and provide relevant information fields on your page.
  2. Choose a name and category for your page. This should be your company name, or possibly a brand name.
  3. Click Get Started to create the page.
  4. Set a profile picture. This should be a logo, or possibly a store front. It should be something consistent throughout your business and memorable.

Congratulations, you now have a Facebook business page!
Now, what do you do with it?

Promote your Page

There’s not much of a point in having a page unless people find it. So…

  • Create an engaging Page; give users a reason to become a fan your page, and then keep them coming back. there are numerous applications you can use to make your page more engaging such as a discussion board or the YouTube video box.
  • Take advantage of the viral nature of social media marketing – the News Feed. Every time there is activity on your page, it is published on your fan’s news feed. Stay on your fan’s minds by frequently posting interesting, relevant information.
  • Connect with your existing network in a new way. You probably already have customers and business contacts, and possibly even email or blog subscribers. Let them know that they can now follow you on a site they probably already visit every day. This can be as simple as putting facebook icons with links to your page on your site/blog/newsletters, or as in-depth as writing a blog article about your new page or emailing your subscribers about it.
  • Make your Page public and searchable. By default all pages are public, but if for some reason you notice your Page isn’t showing up in searches, make sure you have set it to be publicly indexed. Go to “Edit Page,” click “Manage Permissions” and make sure “Page Visibility” box is un-checked. This will make it publicly visible.

Groups vs. Pages

There are two types of business-friendly profiles which might be beneficial to your business. While all businesses should have pages, some should also have groups. Should yours?:

Overview:

  • Groups – Community of people with a common interest
  • Pages – Represents a brand or entity of which there are “fans”
Messaging Members/Fans
  • Groups use Messages – emails members and sends to Facebook Inbox
  • Pages use Updates – shows up under Requests on user’s homepage and sends to Facebook Inbox
Visibility on Profiles
  • Groups are publicly indexed and searchable (single page only)
  • Pages are publicly indexed and searchable (each Page‟s tab); Pages may show up in fans’ public search listings
Visibility in Public Search
  • Groups are publicly indexed and searchable (single page only)
  • Pages are publicly indexed and searchable (each Page‟s tab); Pages may show up in fans’ public search listings
Distribution in News Feed
  • Groups – When members join or engage with the group, action is distributed in News Feeds
  • Pages – When users become a fan or engage with the Page, action is distributed in News Feeds Updates / content shared by the page
Administrator Visibility
  • Group admins listed on Group; When Group admins engage with the Group (send a message, respond to a discussion thread), it comes from the admin’s personal Profile
  • Page admins are the behind-the-scenes managers of the Page; When Page admins engage with the group (send an update, post content), it comes from the Page (business) – unless changed in settings
Applications Available
  • Groups – Basic applications including Events, Discussions, Wall, Links, Photos, Videos
  • Pages – Almost all applications (tens of thousands)

If you want to create a group, here’s how:

Create a Group

Go to http://www.facebook.com/groups.php, and click the “Create a New Group” button in the top right corner of the page. You will be led through a wizard similar to the one used to set up a page. Fill out the group information, invite friends, and set the group privacy settings. For a business-related group, you’ll most likely want to set it to “open” to maximize visibility and access.

 

Advertise on Facebook

As with any ad, Facebook ads allow you to promote your business, get more fans for your business page, and drive more leads for your sales team. Facebook ads allow you to advertise a website or content you manage on Facebook (a group, page, event, etc.). Creating and managing an ad is similar to using Google AdWords.

Types of Ads

There are two different types of paid Facebook advertisements, Ads and Sponsored Stories. While ads have unique content and are fairly similar to any advertisement, sponsored ads take advantage of the user-driven content aspect of Facebook and appear when someone has liked a group or page on that persons’ friends’ news feeds. These two types of advertising are best used together. (for more information on Facebook Ads, see this e-book.)

To create either of these types of ads, go to http://www.facebook.com/advertising, click “Create an Ad”, and follow the setup wizard. (you must be logged in)

Create an Ad

  1. Choose your destination tab. This is the landing page that your ad will point to.
  2. Choose your ad’s title. Choose an eye-catching, concise title.
  3. Create ad copy for the body. Create compelling copy to promote your ad.
  4. Choose an image. Images are highly recommended, as they increase your ad‟s click-through rate.
  5. Preview your ad. Then make changes as you see fit.

Create a Sponsored Story

  1. Choose your story type. You can select a “Page Like Story,” a “Page Post Story,” or a “Page Post Like Story.” Click the question mark icons on Facebook next to each option for further clarification.
  2. Preview your story.

Targeting Options

Naturally, your ad is going to perform better and continue to run successfully if it’s being displayed to users who are most likely to be interested in your service or product. This is where targeting options come in. These settings allow you to target users by their location (country and even city), demographics, likes/interests, and connections.

Unfortunately, Facebook ads aren’t free. The final step is to choose your payment type and set a budget for your campaign. This wizard also provides you with the most current information about the bids which are currently winning in the auction among ads similar to yours.

Manage Ads

Once you have reviewed and submitted your ad. Facebook’s built-in analytics (Ad Manager) will start tracking your ad performance in terms of impressions, clicks, and click-through rates. It is recommended that you run multiple variations of an ad at the same time and use the analytics to determine what yields the best results.

So, is it Working?

One of the greatest things about Facebook is that it lets you know exactly how much your efforts are paying off. While it is best used in conjunction with other analytics software like Google Analytics, Facebook provides its own analytical data, called Facebook Insights. Insights will report the number of likes, page views, and engagements with content your page receives. You can also view these points of data in a timeline, allowing you to determine exactly which types of posts and interactions are succeeding in generating page traffic.

Lastly, Insights lets you view the number of un-subscribes which can be very useful in determining exactly what your fans don’t like. Are you posting uninteresting things too often? This handy little function will let you know. Naturally, maintaining and increasing your number of active users can help drive traffic and leads to your business, so once you have generated a fan base, make sure you keep them happy.

 

Best Practices

Here’s a simple list of the top 10 things you can do to ensure Facebook Marketing Success:

  1. Be interactive, fun, and helpful. When people reach your Facebook page, they are looking for some kind of interaction. Don’t disappoint them. It’s important not to let your page become stagnant, or it will simply disappear.
  2. Embed videos on your Facebook page. There is no reason to send people to YouTube to watch your videos when you can keep ’em right on your page!
  3. Create a connection between Facebook and the outside world. Promote your sales and events through Facebook updates and photos.
  4. Create contests; they are a fun and engaging way to encourage participation from fans and even generate new fans. Have people comment on a post to enter a drawing or create a scrambled frenzy by rewarding the first person to answer a trivia question correctly with a prize. The possibilities are endless.
  5. Integrate Facebook into your traditional advertising. Because the Facebook icon/logo is so well known, adding it to your print ads will promote your Facebook presence. Use traditional ads to promote contests that encourage people to sign up on your fan page.
  6. Use Facebook to grow your email list, and vice versa. Use your email newsletter to boost awareness of your Facebook page. In addition, promote your email newsletter to your existing Facebook fans. The end result will be growth in your email list and your Facebook fan base.
  7. Introduce new products on Facebook first. People who sign up to be fans of your Facebook page are likely your most loyal evangelists and customers. Reward them by giving them information about a new product/service/feature before everyone else. If you do it right, they will help you promote it to others.
  8. Welcome new page visitors. This can be as simple as sending a friendly little message to new fans or as intricate as installing an elaborate third party welcome page. HubSpot customers, for example, can install the free Facebook Welcome Application.
  9. Integrate social content on your Facebook Page. Facebook is the gateway to the Internet for many people. As much as an eighth of all time spent on the Internet is now spent on Facebook. Extend the life and reach of your page content by incorporating content from other social channels like YouTube and SlideShare to your page.
  10. ‘Like’ other businesses’ Facebook Pages. Liking the Pages of business partners, valued vendors, and customers will notify the administrators of those Pages, and often they will appreciate it and like you right back. The reciprocal like is the first step to creating an online community; think of this as leveraging Facebook for co-marketing efforts.

Q & A with Bob: Email Server Transfer

We recently had a client ask about transferring email to our servers. The question was:

“We want their email to transfer to your server. We also want the transfer to be a seamless so they do not lose any email. Can this be done, and if so, how?”

Bob’s answer was full of important email hosting information, and we’d like to share this information with you:

Point your Domain:

If a client is having a new website created and they have an existing website hosted somewhere with email, the easiest thing for them to do is to point their domain nameservers to NS3.ProFusionWebsites.com and NS4.ProFusionWebsites.com. They do this at their domain registrar.The way this works is you type in a domain name in your browser bar, this name is verified at the Domain Registrar who then tells the user where the website is located. Same thing if you send a domain based email message; the Domain Registrar tells the mail server where the Mail server is located.This is done by sending a request to the Nameservers – effectively asking “Hello, do you know where XYZ.com is located?” – the name servers reply with “Sure, go to this IP adress to get to the website.” Same thing with email.

Modify the MX Record

You can leave your DNS at the Registrar and modify your A record – for the website – and the MX record – for email. This requires a bit more technical knowledge and requires the domain owner to get involved if there are any changes at the hosting company level.If the Domain Name Servers are pointed to our servers at the Registrar level, when that request comes in to the registrar, they respond with “that information is located at “NS3.ProFusionWebsites.com” and a back up is located at “NS4.ProFusionWebsites.com” – go there to get your information.This allows us to control where things are. So if we need to move things around a bit we can do so without involving the domain owner. We are free to make changes as needed.

So…

When the Domain Name Servers are pointed to us, and we have already set up the A record and MX Record, the world immediately knows to get the website from the IP address we have set and get email from the Mail Server we have set. This means that the old location of email will no longer be valid. Any email sitting on that server prior to or during the change over will no longer be available to the email account owner, unless there is a way to access this email via a web service.This is why we have the domian www.safesecurewebmail.com where users can go to check their email. They can do this as long as we have their email set up on our mail server, even if they change mail hosting, they can get to our mail server by going to www.safesecurewebmail.comand entering in their full email address and their password. This give them direct access to our mail server even if their MX record is pointing elsewhere.The problem with this is that if we do not remove their old account in a timely manner, anyone else who is on our mail server that sends an email to this user’s account still located on our server will not get the message unless s/he logs in to the webmail server. This is because mail sent from one mail account on a mail server to another mail account on that server will never have to leave the system to ask “Anyone know where this email account lives?”

How long does the transfer take?

This transition from Old server to New Mail server is generally quick. A matter of minutes to an hour depending on how frequently the hosting company refresehes their DNS. For example, we refresh our DNS every 15 minutes.Email sent during the transition can sometimes bounce around a bit and get delayed, but usually gets delivered sooner or later. If it does not, then the sender will typically get a response that the mail he sent was undeliverable as addressed.

One more thing…

Your client needs to reconfigure his/her Outlook or mail client to pull from the proper server.This can sometimes be a problem when a user has been using web-based Exchange servers as these are not always cleaned out quickly and these IP addresses are likely cached in the user’s system.So you should probably find out what kind of email client your customer is using and how they access their email currently – via web access, POP3, IMAP, etc.