Concerns With Social Media Protection

Facebook Graph Search

It’s not uncommon for employers to look at the social media pages of potential workers. After all, they want to know that the people they are looking to hire will not only be professional but won’t find themselves in trouble outside of the workplace. One can argue that this is invasive but considering the unpredictable nature of the working world, it’s understandable that very few want to take that risk. However, for the sake of protection on the Internet, there are limits.

Recently, Oregon joined a total of 11 other states that decided to stand up in the name of protection on social media at large. Basically, employers can require applicants to give them access to their passwords and networking pages, whether it’s to protect trade secrets or what have you. One can make the assumption that something like this is illegal, which would seem that way on the surface. However, if there isn’t a form of legislation, this activity can be done and it does nothing short of making the aforementioned applicants feel uncomfortable.

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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 Ads

Are You Using Facebook Ads to Generate New Sales Leads for Your Business?

Facebook Ads

You should be. It’s easy.

This article will discuss optimizing your Facebook Ads for capturing leads. I’ll give you ten best practices on optimizing your ads for engagement, and then focus on lead capturing strategies – and why Facebook Ads’ targeting tools are changing the way we’re generating leads online.

Let’s get started.

 

Optimizing your Facebook Ad for Engagement

Let’s get this over with so we can get to the good stuff. If you’re not already implementing these ten strategies below, do it now, and watch your Facebook Ad click-through-rates increase.

Image best practices:

  • Pictures of people (specifically a smiling, wholesome woman) generate more engagement than anything else
  • Pictures of animals and babies take 2nd and 3rd
  • Odd-looking or humorous images cause Facebook users to do a double-take, increasing their chance of reading your headline or body copy text
  • Avoid complex images. Keep it simple and devoid of text

Headline Best Practice:

  • The word ‘free’ and dollar values work to grab the eye of Facebook users
  • Focus on attracting the eye, let your body copy convince the user to click

Color and Detail Best Practice:

  • Avoid blues and whites as they’ll cause your ad to blend into the existing Facebook color scheme
  • Use red, green and orange: bright colors that attract the eye. Red encourages click-through as it makes the heart beat faster (giving the illusion that time is passing faster than it is). This encourages people to act impulsively
  • Don’t be afraid of borders. If your ad’s landing page image is blue, keep the same image, but throw a colorful border around it
  • Details, like borders, shadows (even increasing the green and yellow gamma on your image) have proven to increase click-through-rates. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

 

Lead Capture with a Contest or Landing Page

Okay, on to the fun stuff.

Integrate your Facebook Ad with a corresponding contest or landing page to generate qualified leads. Use the ad to get them interested (with an awesome value proposition, CTA, and image) and a solid landing page (with USP, image and list of benefits) focused on the email generating call-to-action.

Contests

Contests are a fantastic way to generate qualified, valuable leads, provided you optimize them intelligently and offer the right prize.

Choosing a prize is about finding the happy medium between putting your business out of… business, and offering something nobody wants.

I recommend gift cards. No, they’re not the sexiest thing ever, but they work. A gift card allows you to promote your business as a whole. Anyone interested in any of your products will engage – and only people interested in your products.

Yes you’ll get results with a cash prize or an iPad, but I strongly recommend not doing this. You will, of course, generate a bunch of leads, but how long do you think they’ll stay subscribed to your email list after the contest is over?

A gift card ensures the people who enter your contest are actually interested in what you’re selling. Ask yourself, do you want 1000 leads who have a 2% chance of converting, or 500 leads who have a 10% chance of converting? (For those who hate math, the answer is 500…)

Landing Pages

Traffic Facebook users to a landing page optimized for lead generation. This means offering a reward for the lead, like an ebook or a white paper.

Ebooks are a great way to generate leads. Your business is probably already generating content (you should be, if you’re not). Compile this content, whether it’s a blog article, case studies, or a how-to-guide on balancing your own checkbook, and email-gate it.

Email-gating is simply requiring a visitor to your landing page to provide an email address before getting access to your awesome content. Your landing page should be built around selling this content.

Remember, you’ll get better click-through if your unique selling proposition (USP), value proposition, and image are the same in your landing page as they are in your Facebook Ad.

A/B Test both Facebook Ad and landing page to see what strategies work best for your target audience.

 

Targeting an Audience of Awesome Leads

Facebook Ad targeting is what makes Facebook Ads worth doing – it’s what makes the ROI make sense for small businesses. Facebook Ads can be targeted with a previously-unheard-of specificity. I’m talking targeting an ad at Facebook users who have just sold a used truck. Or targeting not only people in a relationship, but people at different stages of their relationship, or who have just gotten engaged, or who are doing long distance.

Target your Facebook Ad intelligently and you could be seeing a CTR of .1% or higher. Don’t target it and don’t be surprised when you’re getting .02.

For lead generation, we don’t want to target Facebook users by their car-history. Instead…

Target by lookalike audience

  • Import a contact list of current customers, leads, or previous contest entries from your CRM or database
  • Create a lookalike audience, in which the characteristics of your original list are matched with Facebook users who have never met your business
  • Target your Facebook Ad at this audience of people similar to those you know are interested in your product, service, or offers

Targeting by lookalike audience not only increases Facebook Ad CTR (as its made up of people very much like your existing customers) it also gives you a valuable, qualified list of leads more likely to convert in the future.

 

Target by Precise and Broad Category Interest

If you’ve already gone the lookalike audience route, or are looking to change up the details of your business leads (going from small business to middle, or CEO to marketing manager, for instance), target by Precise or Broad Category Interest.

Let’s say you’re using an email-gated ebook (on A/B Testing) for lead generation.

 

Targeting Facebook users by Precise Interest could look like this:

Specific Interests

Provided you’re targeting all english-speaking countries, and your spend budget is set at a maximum of $20 dollars/day, you can expect around 50 qualified clicks. If your landing page is optimized (let’s say at a 20% conversion rate – which is reasonable if you A/B test well and put some time into it) you can expect at least 10 qualified leads each day.

Let’s say you’re using a contest (giving $250 in maternity and baby supplies to new mothers) to generate new leads.

 

Targeting Facebook users by Broad Category Interest could look like this:

Broad Interest

You could also target women with a 0-3 year old baby. This means your ad is only seen by your target audience. The leads you’ve generated (perhaps for an upcoming push into the maternity sector) are perfect for an email marketing and lead nurturing campaign in the coming months.

And once you’ve generated this list of leads, do a lookalike audience on it and start all over again.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully you have a better idea of how to use Facebook Ads to generate leads online. Targeting well ensures your leads are the kind you want. Compare the rate we worked out above with what a lot of lead generating companies charge, and see if this isn’t awesome.

Have you had success, or frustrations, with Facebook Ads? Start the conversation below.

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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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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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Check Your Google+ Pages for the Custom URL Option

Google Plus Custom URL

If you’re like many who use Google+, you may not check your pages very often. With posting and monitoring tools out there, you might not log into your actual account very often. You should. Custom URLs are now available.

For individual users, you should be getting an email if you meet the minimum requirements. These “requirements” are very minimal. Have a profile longer than a month, have at least 10 followers, and have a profile picture. If you can’t meet these requirements, you’re not really trying.

For pages, you have to log into your page accounts themselves. An option will pop up at the top that looks like this:

Google Plus Custom URL Claiming

It’s very easy with pages. With profiles, you have to verify with a text message.

I actually like the way that Google is doing this. I was on a plane when Facebook made the custom URL option available. By the time I landed, my name had already been taken. This method makes it much easier as long as the name isn’t too common.

Businesses that don’t see the option but that meet the minimum requirements should be fine. Just wait and keep checking until it pops up. If your name is common, it appears as if Google is adding location indicators to the URLs to help differentiate.

Keep checking. More importantly, don’t give up on Google+ any time soon. They’re still pushing forward and they aren’t going to be denied just because so many naysayers call it a ghost town.

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The Most Comprehensive Blog Marketing Infographic You’ll See, Ever

Blog

The word “ever” is a bold word. It means that you’ll never see an infographic that’s this long, this comprehensive, ever the rest of your life. Normally, I would never make such a claim about anything. Babe Ruth’s 60-homer season was never supposed to be broken, either.

However, I can say with confidence that this one will not be beaten. It’s huge. It’s so huge that I had to split it up into four parts to have the images hosted on the site, then decided to just keep it hosted on the source site because it really does need to be seen in all of its glory. Hattip to Venchito Tampon Jr from Digital Philippines for bringing this to us.

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Infographic by Digital Philippines

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LinkedIn Tops a Quarter Billion Users

LinkedIn

The king of professional social networking reached a major milestone recently when they broke the 250 million user mark.

Since going public in March, 2011, LinkedIn has had an up and down road. This can be expected from any social media site that goes public (just ask Facebook) but LinkedIn has been relatively stable. They’ve had some missteps. They’ve faced challenges. They seem to come out on top the majority of the time.

Here’s what Mashable had to say about the milestone:

LinkedIn now has 259 million monthly active users, up from 238 million in the previous quarter and 187 million a year earlier.

The latest number, which came as part of LinkedIn’s third quarter earnings results, puts the professional social network firmly ahead of Twitter, which had 230 million active users last quarter according to its updated S-1. However, LinkedIn is still well behind Google+ (currently at 300 million) and Facebook (1.15 billion as of the June quarter).

Read More: Mashable

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BBM Early Access Launch Worked Perfectly

BBM

It might be too little, too late for BlackBerry, but their latest success (though it has been marred by some scandal) is another example of why exclusivity, even for a short time, is often the best marketing tool available. Their wildly popular instant messaging app, BBM, started off as an exclusive “early access only” app. Anyone could download it but it could only be used by the “special” people.

That lasted a week. Now, it’s open to everyone, making one wonder why early access was even necessary. It wasn’t, but that’s not the point. The reality is that people love to have things that others do not. It’s human nature. Every launch should be done with some variation of this theme. Launching to everyone isn’t as effective as launching to a select few and then releasing it to the world. It’s what really made Facebook the better option over MySpace in the early days and it will always work as a marketing technique.

In this case, BlackBerry allowed anyone to download the app, but only those who had requested information about it before were able to access it. That made them feel special, forward thinking, and in some ways mildly visionary. They were rewarded by getting something that millions of other people wanted. Now, after 10 million downloads, it’s open to all on iOS and Android. This all played out well for BlackBerry. Now, if they could only make their phones as effective…

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