5 Facebook Contests That Increase Holiday Engagement

Opening Presents

There’s no better time than the holiday season to give back to your fans and add a theme to your Facebook content. Closing out 2013 by using Facebook to show off your brand’s personality, offer holiday discounts to fans, and spread holiday cheer is a great way to engage your fans and get momentum for 2014.

Recent data shows that holiday campaigns on social media are both effective and easy to set up:

  • 63% of Facebook users say they’re likely to share a link to a holiday contest or giveaway
  • Fill-in-the-blank status updates receive 182% more engagement than other kinds of status updates
  • It takes 30 seconds to set up a contest using a fill-in-the-blank status update
  • It takes 10-20 minutes to set up a photo contest on Facebook — and 20-40 minutes to set up a multi-day giveaway

~ Information courtesy of our friends at ShortStack

Here are a few ways you can get started today:

1. Fill-in-the-blank contest: You’ll want to use holiday themes here. But even with just holiday topics, there are countless fill-in-the-blanks you can use.  For example:

  • The first Christmas song that pops in my head is _________.
  • The first thing I do when I get up on Christmas morning is _________.
  • The one word the best describes my family during Christmas is _________.

Status updates reel in the comments — and there are no wrong answers. We recommend using a fill-in-the-blank question for daily giveaways whenever possible.

Pro Tip: Our Status Ideas Engine has seasonal suggestions (many of them being perfect holiday contest templates) and a whole category devoted to Timeline Contests.

2. Photo contests: Use an app like ShortStack to host a photo contest. You can have the winner decided by votes or just pick one randomly. It’s a great way to reward fans, and has the added benefit of providing you with tons of user-generated content for further promotions. Make sure to give the contest a theme:

  • Best awkward family holiday photo
  • Best Christmas decorations
  • Craziest holiday weather photos

3. Giveaway a day: The social media equivalent of Oprah’s famous “favorite things,” this type of contest takes place over multiple days. It requires a new prize each day, but you don’t have to be Ellen and offer Beats by Dre or luxury vacations to see the entries pour in. For example, Perfect Balance Therapies banded together with other businesses in their shopping center to give away a daily prize and every post received tons of comments, likes and shares.

4. Nominate a friend: Everyone has a special person in their life whom they’d love to spoil during the holidays. Help your fans do that by hosting a “nominate a friend” contest. Allow them to submit a short essay or photo of the person to enter. Then let people vote on the entries or just pick a random winner.

5. Unlock a coupon: This isn’t a direct contest so to speak, but using an app that allows fans to enter their emails to unlock a coupon code is still giving them a gift, and it could deliver you ROI. Of course, this only works for companies that sell products.

The deciding factor in many of these contests is how much time you have as a community manager. If there isn’t time for your brand to build an app for holiday contests, don’t worry! Keep it simple and just focus on a Timeline contest.  Your fans will thank you for it.

Are you running any holiday campaigns? Comment below with details!

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Facebook & 3 Concerns With Video Ads

Facebook Video Advertisements

As it seems, Facebook is climbing onboard the video ad boat and it is a move that is actually very fitting. With such a large audience to consider with this particular website, it was only a matter of time until videos would start to constantly appear on the newsfeeds of users. This is a great financial move on the part of Facebook but I have to wonder how much this move will impact the user base at large. While these concerns have been confirmed, they are concerns with the upcoming change nonetheless.

  1. The change will not bode well for the faltering teen demographic. As it’s been reported in the past, those within this group have utilized the site less and even Facebook itself confirmed the matter. While some of this could be considered a result of young men and women wanting to get away from the vigilant eyes of their Facebook-using parents, it can also be argued that they have started to see more in the way of advertising on a site that is meant for social engagement. If there’s one things teens enjoy, it isn’t a litany of advertisements, in video form or otherwise.
  2. These videos may not be too friendly to older computers. Your typical laptop is not going to sputter out of control and combust if only one website is open but think about the common Internet user. Is that individual going to have one tab alone open on their browser of choice? When that individual is moving from page to page, they expect a smooth experience. While videos can come together as arguably the greatest platform for marketing, it’s reasonable to worry about how much bandwidth it will consume.
  3. No one really asked for video ads on Facebook. Yes, it is true that the videos on a user’s newsfeed will play silently at the onset, which is a smart move that any Long Island advertising agency can support. That being said, Facebook stated that, “Compelling sight, sound and motion are often integral components of great marketing campaigns.” While this might be true, is there a chance that Facebook will implement a change where videos are no longer mute to begin with? The idea of this social media mogul forcing video advertising in the faces of its users will do more bad than good in the long run; this won’t apply to only teenagers, either.

When considering the idea that Facebook will sell these ads for $2 million a day, it’s clear that the company stands a great chance of coming into money. Companies have to understand that this site is where most individuals on the Internet frequent. The idea of utilizing video content for awareness is understandable. Hopefully I am wrong about the concerns listed above and that these ads can benefit everyone.

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Automotive Social Media Image Marketing

Good and Bad Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

Automotive Social Media Image Marketing

If you’re reading this, you’re probably failing at social media image marketing. That’s not me being cynical. By examining dozens of business social media presences every week, I get to see what so many are doing and the unfortunate fact is that 9 out of 10 are doing it wrong or not doing it at all. I’m being conservative with that estimate.

The “unfortunate” fact really isn’t that unfortunate, especially for those who are reading this. You see, you can actually do it right, which means that you’re going to have a leg-up on the competition. When things are too easy or too well known, they have a tendency to become universally good. When they’re universally good, that means that everyone is average.

Image marketing on social media is not about taking advertisements and posting them as images. It’s not about talking about your big sale next week in the form of a banner that you post to Twitter or Instagram (though there’s a way to do that which I’ll demonstrate below). It’s not even about taking pictures of happy customers in front of their latest purchase jumping in the air with the caption, “Oh what a feeling!”

Proper image marketing should accomplish some of the following goals listed in no particular order:

  1. Improve branding
  2. Promote an upcoming event
  3. Demonstrate a lifestyle advantage associated with your product
  4. Connect with the community
  5. Make a statement
  6. Drive traffic to a landing page

It doesn’t have to do all of these. It can do one of them really well, a couple of them very well, or knock out three or four of them with a single post. To highlight this, I’ll use examples that I found in my Twitter feed just in the last couple of hours. This does not only apply to Twitter; Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Facebook can all work nicely here.

It should be noted that size and aspect ratio are extremely important and arguably the biggest miss by most. Twitter has an aspect ratio of 2:1 while Instagram is 1:1. Small images don’t do as well. on any of the platforms. Pinterest is the only platform that does vertical images well. Appearance on mobile is more important than appearance on desktop. These and other technical aspects of image marketing will be covered in a future post. For now, let’s just look at the content…

 

Bad Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

These ones are bad. Don’t do these. I blocked out the business that posted one but I kept the one posted by Ram only because as a manufacturer, they should know better by now…

Bad Twitter Image Marketing

The image quality is poor. The car is cut off. There’s no visible branding for the dealership in the image. Overall, it’s extremely boring. This is not going to get anyone’s attention and nobody who sees it in their feed will care.

* * *

Bad Twitter Image Marketing 3

It’s a nice image of a mountain. Wait. Is that a truck at the bottom peeking up over the edge? It’s good that they are getting their fans involved, but the picture should have been edited to appear properly on Twitter before posting it. This is the lazy way out and accomplishes none of the goals.

 

Decent Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

These aren’t bad. They aren’t good, either. They’re good enough to get listed here just to show the differences between them and the ones further below so you’ll know what mistakes to avoid.

Decent Twitter Image Marketing

The attempt by Nissan is pretty strong. They’re trying to do well on Twitter and they’re doing an above-average job at it. This particular piece is missing something: impact. The message in the image means nothing other than stating a minor incentive. It gives no reason for people to actually click through to the landing page other than the boring message itself. With image marketing, you need to make a statement in order to get clicks. They should have put more creativity into the messaging rather than state the offer plainly.

More importantly, the offer itself is designed specifically for those who already plan on buying a Rogue, so the incentive is in the reservation itself. At first (and second, and third) glance, this appears to be another rebate offer because it looks like another rebate offer. There are brighter minds than mine that could have fashioned a better message, but it should have been less statement of the facts and a bit more mystery and uniqueness to draw people to click.

  • This Rogue wants to be reserved (and it will pay you to reserve it)
  • What do reservations and $250 have in common? The 2014 Nissan Rogue.
  • Early Bird gets the cash on their Rogue
  • No Reservations Necessary (unless you want an extra $250)

* * *

Decent Twitter Image Marketing 2

This isn’t bad because it does accomplish one goal – making a statement. The only thing keeping this at decent rather than good is that the message is a personal one and should have been delivered in a personal manner. While the picture is cool and the message in the text is strong, it would have been better to have a member or former member of the military (there’s probably some working at the dealership right now) by a car or the dealership’s sign with an American flag in hand. This is a bit generic but a good attempt – still better than 9 out of 10.

 

Good Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

Here are some good ones. These are nearly great but are missing a couple of minor components. If you did your marketing like this, you’d be ahead of 99/100 others.

Good Twitter Image Marketing

Great aspect ratio. Hot car. Good message and most importantly there’s a link to the inventory search for the vehicle itself!

* * *

Good Twitter Image Marketing 2

This one is much like the previous except a different variation for two reasons. First, it uses a stock image, which is only good if the image is as good as this one. The thing that brings it up from “decent” is that the link takes you to a vehicle specific landing page which is more appropriate on Twitter than a straight vehicle search. Remember, if they want to search, they will. Putting them on a page with information about the vehicle is better for higher-funnel customers that you’ll get through social media.

 

Great Examples of Social Media Image Marketing

These are the best that I’ve seen so far… after searching four hours back in my Twitter feed. There are better ones. There are plenty of worse ones. They aren’t perfect but they’re pretty darn close.

Great Twitter Image Marketing

This one hits goals 1, 5, and 6 nicely but it really nails home #3: Demonstrate a lifestyle advantage associated with your product. It doesn’t need to show the whole car. It doesn’t need a beautiful background. It has a simple, elegant four word message that can reach the target audience where it hurts.

* * *

Great Twitter Image Marketing 2

Remember, it doesn’t have to nail several goals to be effective. This time, it does a wonderful job of branding but keeps it touching the community with the localized weather factor. This is exceptional and if the following is engaged, it’ll resonate.

* * *

Great Twitter Image Marketing 3

Simple and powerful. This is what Nissan missed when they promoted their message. Well done, Mr Potratz and Mr Ziegler.

* * *

You don’t have to be a professional photographer or a creative genius to get it right with social media image marketing. You just need to have a good strategy, solid execution, and a willingness to know the “rules” well enough to break them ever so slightly.

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Facebook Ads and the Internet Sales 20 Group

Facebook Addiction

Next week, I’ll be discussing Facebook advertising at the Internet Sales 20 Group in Los Angeles. Even before traveling to the event itself, I’ve already received a couple of questions about the topic itself. The most important one was, “What value can we get out of this if we don’t use Facebook advertising?”

My response was not what she expected:

“What value can you get out of Facebook without advertising?”

Of course, she shot back a handful of things that are important about Facebook that didn’t require advertising. My reply surprised her once again.

“Now take everything you just told me about the value in Facebook and multiply it by 100. That’s the difference between Facebook with and without advertising.”

It’s unfortunate but expected that Facebook has become a “pay to play” endeavor, but it’s the truth. I hate it, really, but that doesn’t change the facts. I’ll let you all know how it goes during the IS20Group.

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Thumbs Up or Down? Facebook is Killing the Thumb.

New Facebook Like Button

The iconic thumb is dead (well, dying at least). Facebook has removed the thumb from most of their standard like and share buttons, replaced by the Facebook logo itself.

This is a smart move. The thumb was getting old. People are starting to see the Facebook logo pop up everywhere and the thumb was a little ambiguous to some. While the majority of people knew what it was and who it represented, now there’s no doubt what social activity you’re doing with a post when you click the button.

I like it. Do you?

Here’s the report from The Verge:

Aside from design, Facebook is also pairing its Like and Share buttons in hopes that websites will include both. Most people might not know the difference between them, but Bao emphasizes that there’s a distinction. The Like button instantly posts content to Facebook, while the Share button lets you add a comment before posting, or lets you share the content in a specific place like a private message. In Facebook’s tests, the new buttons got clicked more often than the old ones, possibly because they’re a bolder, more visible color. As the web gets flooded with more ways to share links, it turns out even one of the most popular websites in the world still needs to stand out.

Read More: The Verge

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The 30 Minute Social Media Management Schedule

30 Minutes

In an ideal world, you’re the social media and content manager for your company. You spend eight hours a day harnessing the power of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ while developing content for your blog and YouTube channels. It’s tough, but you’re making it happen.

In the real world, you’re probably responsible for a ton of different things and social media was tossed onto your pile of work. How can you cope? Is it possible to have a strong social media presence without devoting a ton of time to it? Yes and no. Yes, you can have a pretty decent one, but 30-minutes as detailed below is the bare minimum to be considered truly active. I’ve seen people do it in about 2 hours a day and have a super strong presence.

For those of you who are having to hold it together until help (or more time) arrives, here’s a great infographic that can work as a daily checklist of activities that you need to accomplish to maintain the minimum level of social media power, courtesy of Pardot.

30 Minute Social Media Infographic

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Facebook Wants to Track Your Cursor

Facebook Cursor Tracking

There are heat maps that show where people click. That’s not good enough for Facebook. They want to see where your cursor goes on the screen. This extreme level of data collection might not make much sense, but from a marketing perspective, it’s an important thing to know.

They already have a good idea about whether or not you’ve seen something on your screen, but they want to improve that as well. Right now, they present a virtually infinite number of posts on news feeds, but different people scroll different lengths as they progress down the page. They want to know exactly what made it into the visible part and what did not.

This will help them understand user interaction (or lack of interaction) to better serve content that is more relevant to a user. For example, if you’re presented three ads three different days by the same company and you did not interact with it at all, scrolling passed it or ignoring it, then they know you’re less likely to find it valuable and will start serving you ads from someone different. This is why you should never, ever waste a Facebook post. They all count.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal reports:

Facebook Inc. is testing technology that would greatly expand the scope of data that it collects about its users, the head of the company’s analytics group said Tuesday.

The social network may start collecting data on minute user interactions with its content, such as how long a user’s cursor hovers over a certain part of its website, or whether a user’s newsfeed is visible at a given moment on the screen of his or her mobile phone, Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said Tuesday during an interview.

Read More: Wall Street Journal

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The Three Numbers to Watch on Facebook Posts

Tracking Your Facebook Posts

Understanding success or failure of marketing on Facebook can be broken down to the basic element: the post. Judging the effectiveness of your posts is clear and easy with Facebook Insights.

While the platform (finally) has a robust dashboard that allows users to dive deep into the effectiveness of their page, there are three numbers to monitor for each individual post that can help you know if you’re truly finding success.

 

Post Clicks

This is the easy one, but it’s also the one that needs a clear understanding. “Clicks” on a post are different depending on what type of post it is. Any link associated with the post counts as a click, so whether they click the name of the page, the date, the link if it’s a link post, the play button on a video, the image itself on an image post, or the “more” button to expose more of a status update, it counts.

This number has to be viewed in relation to other posts of its kind. For example, getting 50 clicks on a link to your website is more impressive than getting 60 clicks to an image because images get clicked a lot more often than links. Comparing how links perform relative to other links is the right way to look at these numbers.

 

Likes, Comments, and Shares

This is a no-brainer. Did they engage? Did they find enough entertainment or informative value in your post to do something publicly with it?

If you make statements, you should get likes from those who agree. If you ask questions, you should get comments from people replying. If it’s an image, are people sharing it? These are the pieces of information that you’ll want to track and improve upon when viewing this number.

 

Post Reach

This is the all-important number of the group. Regardless of how many people are interacting with your content or clicking through to your posts or links, are enough people seeing it? The previous two numbers have an influence on reach, but they are usually superseded by the advertising dollars spent.

If you’re advertising, the previous two numbers are still extremely important. Throwing money at bad posts will get you a short-term gain, but it isn’t sustainable. If your advertised posts are not able to get the positive algorithmic benefits of engagement and clicks, your dollars are going to start yielding less. Thankfully, the opposite is true as well.

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Facebook Teens

The Teen Exodus from Facebook is NOT a Permanent Departure

Facebook Teens

There’s a real beauty to Facebook for adults. It allows us to keep track of things that are happening in the lives of those important to us such as friends, coworkers, family, and those who are distant from us. It’s for this reason that the hoopla about Facebook losing too many teens is being misunderstood by many, including Facebook itself.

Here’s the thing. Facebook isn’t cool. It hasn’t been cool for a couple of years. It was cool before more adults started getting on it. Now it’s a drag, at least from a teen perspective. They see their parents spending as much if not more time on it than they were and they simply don’t want to be using the same social network as them. It’s pretty natural. Few teens want to be hanging out in the same places that their grandparents hang.

More importantly, they don’t have to. The people that they want to interact with are the people that they see for several hours five days per week. For the most part, their world is isolated to their friends from school. Facebook brings no additional value to fulfill their lives the way it does with adults. As some flock to Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks, it’s natural to see this sort of exodus.

They’ll be back.

When they graduate and they really want to know more about people than what they can see in 140-characters or less or what they can discover from a 15-second video, they’ll turn to the same place they abandoned. When their friends go off to different colleges, take on different jobs, and move to different states or countries, they’ll want to keep tabs on them in ways that only Facebook can deliver.

This isn’t the end of Facebook. Kids might be the driving force that makes networks popular, but Facebook has reach a self-sustainability point. They are flocking away from it now, but they will flock right back to it in the future. They’ll have to when they can no longer see their ex-boyfriend and who he’s talking to in the lunch line. Businesses must understand this in order to make appropriate decisions about whether or not to invest in Facebook as an advertising venue. As Zach Billings mentioned in a blog post the other day, “If your target audience is an older crowd, then Facebook is still the social network of choice.”

If your future target audience is the teens that will some day be adults, then you should still stick with Facebook.

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Facebook’s Autoplay Video Ads are on Hold

Bud Bowl

There is a revenue stream that Facebook has been dying to tap into for some time now. It’s one that many advertisers cannot wait to get their hands on and it’s the type of advertising that Facebook users are going to absolutely hate. Facebook autoplay ads are coming. They’re just not coming as quickly as expected.

Facebook started playing with autoplay video ads last year and were expected to roll them out by the middle of 2013. Then, we were told that they would likely come out in November. Now, word on the street is that they won’t be available until 2014. The reason is simple. Users are going to despise them. Some will leave Facebook as a result of them – that’s how obnoxious they will be. They will destroy some of the trust that Facebook has built up around its user experience and they aren’t ready to take that chance just yet.

The good news for users – you won’t hear them unless you click on them. The bad news – they’ll play whether you want them to or not. This will be a huge play for Facebook’s profits, but will it do more damage than good in the long run? That’s the question that they apparently haven’t answered yet, thus the delay.

These rumors come from AllThingsD:

Sources tell AllThingsD that Facebook has been advising some advertiser clients not to expect a rollout of the much-awaited auto-play video ad product before 2014. The ad format was originally supposed to make its debut in the first half of this year, but that never happened, and its launch has been pushed back several times since then.

Read More: AllThingsD

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