ONLINE COMMUNICATION

17 Great Ideas for Facebook Marketing

facebook-iconFrom Kim Garst & Boom Social

1. Pose a problem and ask for advice

can-you-help-signPeople LOVE to answer questions and to help solve problems.
Also, if you ask a question that may also help THEM with a problem, they will be grateful for the help!

2. A contest post

Everyone loves a good contest! And there are a ton of great contest apps out there that you can use to run your contest AND grab emails to add to your list as well!

3. Run a poll

Polls are great not only for generating discussion but for gaining valuable insights from your audience.
Here is a link that will take you directly to Facebook’s poll app.

4. Share the results of your poll!

If your poll collected data that would be interesting to your audience, share the results in a separate Facebook post. One strategy I have seen some business owners using is offering the results in a free downloadable report (in exchange for an email address, of course!).

5. Share inspirational images

If you follow me on Facebook, you know this is a strategy I use every single day! There is so much negativity in the world (and on Facebook).

6. Fill in the blank

I am not exactly sure what it is about fill in the blank posts, but people just love them! You can rephrase just about any question as a fill in the blank, and they often receive more engagement than basic questions. Test this out for yourself!

7. Follow Friday

Give your fans the opportunity to share a link to their website or Facebook Page; not only do they get the chance to showcase their business or products, but they can meet new people and make new connections.

8. A seasonal post

Share a holiday picture, quote or greeting centered around an upcoming holiday. Try to add a personal touch, if possible. This reminds your fans that you are a real person!

9. Blog post excerpts

I see many business owners posting links to their blog posts, without including any additional context. When sharing a blog post, be sure to include a backstory or short excerpt from the post so your fans know what to expect when they click on the link.

10. Fan-only discount

Offer your Facebook fans an exclusive discount, just for being a fan!
Use an image to promote the discount, if possible. These are better for grabbing the attention of your fans and for getting more shares.

11. Cross-promote with someone else in your niche

Team up with a business that offers a complimentary product or service, and help cross-promote each other. Tag each other in Facebook status posts, recommend that your fans ‘like’ each other’s Pages, or simply share each other’s content.

12. Fan challenge

Post a group challenge for your fans…sometimes doing something as a group can feel less overwhelming than doing it alone! Some examples include:

  • 30-days to a more organized house (post a daily organization tip)
  • Gain 1,000 fans/likes/comments/followers – give actionable tips for increasing followers and comments

13. Link to a tutorial

Give your fans a step-by-step guide or tutorial for how to do something.
These types of posts are GREAT for getting engagement, especially click-throughs and shares!

14. An expert tip

Share a tip from an industry expert for solving a common problem or overcoming a challenge.
The expert could even be YOU!

15. A personal post

This is where you, as a small business owner, have an inherent advantage.
Don’t be afraid to post a personal photo or story from time to time to differentiate yourself from the big brands your fans also follow.

16. Be imperfect

Who ever said we need to perfect in order for people to like us?
Don’t be afraid to share struggles or vulnerabilities from time to time to show you are a real person.
This is a great way to make your brand more personable and more relatable!

17. Share a picture of your business, employees
or office…

…makes your business so much more relatable!
Knowing there are real people behind your brand will go a long way to building trust and relationships.

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5 Tips for Driving Traffic to Your Blog

woman-relaxed-reading-tablet-happy-female-model-ipad-bed-relaxing-410169591.    Consistently publish interesting content

  • Plan your posts to appear at regular intervals
  • Create an editorial calendar and pre-schedule topics and themes
  • Use images, videos, quizzes & questions, and judicious reblogging to keep your reader interested

2.    Make sure you have a SUBSCRIBE feature

  • Display it prominently on your blog, sidebar or footer
  • Collect emails and add them to your master list
  • Understand the difference between “subscribe” and “Follow”
  • Explore the WordPress Reader and Follow other WP blogs, ask them to follow you.

autosharing

3.    Automate your blog to post to your Social Media accounts

Use the Publicize settings found under SETTINGS/SHARING/PUBLICIZE
Also encourage your readers to use Social sharing with available buttons
found under SETTINGS/SHARING

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • And more

4.    Promote your blog in your email marketingconstant-contact-stacked

5.    Maximize Social Media impact

    • Post to relevant pages & groups on Facebook et.al.
    • Use an automated scheduling tool like Tweetdeck, HootSuite, Buffer to repeat social media mentions
    • Take advantage of reblogging offers and special #hashtags and events on Twitter

Are You Blogging for Business?

The democratization of media empowers us all to be publishers, if we choose,  of everything from top 10 lists to serious think-pieces for your industry.

Blogging has evolved to become an essential marketing tool. In fact, businesses that blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

Publishing valuable content on a consistent basis positions you as a source of solutions, and helps prospects understand what you do.

If you haven’t waded into the blogging stream, it’s easy to get started without a huge investment of time and money. I often recommend that you start with a free WordPress.com blog (it can be linked to your site) because of the huge universe of WordPress bloggers who read, comment and reblog each other.

There are simple ways to leverage your blog posts across social media to boost impressions and feedback. If you’d like more suggestions, leave a comment, ask a question or get in touch.

Click here for 5 types of blog posts that have proven performers: 5 Breeds of Posts to Promote Your Business 

 

Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row

What should bloggers know about copyright law?

copyright-symbolQuite a bit, it turns out.

As a blogger, content marketer, writer, designer, course creator, you are constantly generating valuable intellectual property assets as you build your business. You really want to protect your key content. Your proprietary content is found in self-published books, infographics, online courses, workshops and speeches should be protected from copyright infringement.

from copyblogger:

When you federally register your copyright, you obtain the following advantages over common law copyright:

  • You alert the world that you are the creator and owner of the work, which makes it hard for infringers to claim they didn’t know the work was yours.
  • You obtain the right to bring a federal lawsuit; registration gives you the right to file a claim of copyright infringement in federal court.
  • You get to seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees in that lawsuit — the infringer has to pay all of your lawsuit costs.
  • You have an easy and official way to sell your ownership of the work.

How to avoid this mistake
Register the copyright for all of your prized content — namely, your work that makes you the most money, like your online courses, self-published books, and award-winning copy.

Registration is fairly easy and inexpensive. You don’t even need an attorney. You can register online by submitting some basic information and uploading a copy of the content to the U.S. Copyright Office website.

The fee is either $35 or $55, depending on what you register. You can also register multiple pieces of content at once, such as all of the articles you’ve posted on your blog since 1998, or the epic writing course you launched last year.

THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE mentions other legal moves you should be aware of. Check it out and make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row!

WEB-ducks-in-a-row1

Advertising an Issue, Then & Now

While we can laugh at the 70’s style , the ‘crying Indian’ ad is still legendary in environmental circles. It rallied a nation to care about their environment, and to support creation of clean air and water regulations.

What strikes me today is how light the pollution and litter look.

The Issue has Changed & So Has Marketing

Compared to what washes up along the Potomac River today, the video’s litter looks cute. At this year’s annual river cleanup, volunteers removed over 300,000 pounds of plastic bags and bottles, foam cups (all light weight materials) in three hours. Walk the shore a week after and it’s covered again; the tide of trash is relentless.

The Ferguson Foundation has been working on river cleanup for 28 years. When I first took part in 2003 they called their effort “Trash-Free Potomac 2013.” They’ve since dropped the date. But the work goes on, and it really engages people to care about the river.

But there’s worse things fouling the waters. Excess ‘nutrients’ from farms, sewage, run-off and lawn fertilizers are choking our streams, rivers and bays with aquatic plant overgrowth and algal blooms. This disturbs and eventually ruins habitats, and can even create dangerously toxic conditions. 

Few people take time to consider how lawn chemicals, street run-off or farm waste are affecting their natural environment. There are campaigns to educate the public, but they aren’t as widely seen as the public service campaigns of the 70’s.

This video by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is probably only viewed by people on their mailing lists or or those who seek them out. Too long for TV, it’s not likely to reach as broad an audience as our Indian, above.

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years. Habitat destruction, poaching and pollution have eliminated half of the living creatures on the planet.

“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is a consequence of the way we choose to live. Nature, which provides food and clean water and air, is essential for human wellbeing.”

That we need marketing to convince us the the natural world is essential strikes me as absurd, but in our busy-busy world it’s somehow become the norm to take the natural world for granted.

One of the biggest challenges today is the multitude of media channels, unimaginable in the 70s. Network TV no longer reaches families – people from multiple generations -watching the evening news together at the dinner table.

Messages must be targeted not only in content but especially by delivery. I recently marketed a musical event relying heavily on Twitter and Facebook, and missed a swath of an older audience. Not a mistake I will make again!

If you had to mount a campaign to protect your favorite cause, where would you start?

How would you prioritize the audience? What channels would you choose to reach them, and why?

Twitter Demystified

Twitter can look like a stream of chaos or frivolous chatter to the untrained eye. But there’s gold in that chaos. Strategic use of Twitter can harness the power of Social Media like nothing else.

Hashtag2The secret is the #Hashtag, a special keyword that allows you to follow a thread conversation within all the noise.

A hashtag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic. For example, right now if you type #CivilWar you will gather thousands of tweets about the latest Marvel movie, Captain America – Civil War, rather than the 19th century American war between the states.

Other examples

#aCreativeDC is a hashtag to promote arts, events and artists in Washington, DC. #Preakness2016 is for the upcoming Triple Crown horserace. Don’t confuse it with the ‘@‘ sign— that designates a Tweeter. Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist has his own Twitter account: @TheNyquistHorse and my Twitter handle is @ClearlyCreate

Some are just fun: go try #RemoveALetterSpoilABook for some laughs.

Twitter has some good tutorials on the basics, and here’s a bit more on marketing with Twitter.

Go experiment with hashtags and see what kind of conversations you can follow, like a favorite TV show or movie. Discover how businesses are using hashtags to promote their products by following a few B2B and B2C companies.

And feel free to ask questions and share your stories!

Brand Responds to Social Media

upforwhateverAnheuser-Busch’s effort to engage social media got them in  hot water. Tapping into that legendary ability of alcohol to reduce inhibitions, Bud Light printed this on their labels:

the perfect beer for removing ‘no’
from your vocabulary for the night

No doubt it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Part of the #UpForWhatever campaign, the slogan is one of 140 different messages that are followed by “The perfect beer for whatever happens.”

The twitterverse erupted in criticism, citing issues of consent and college rape, as well as drunk driving and other questionable behaviors that the tagline could be condoning.  Ere long, Anheuser Busch issued an official statement within hours of widely read Mashable post:

Bud Light Vice President Alexander Lambrecht delivered a statement to Mashable stating that “The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”

However, no effort was made to remove existing bottles from circulation. The New York Times suggests they might become collectibles.

According to the Washington Post, former VP of communication Franzine Katz, who resigned in 2009 and sued the brewer for sex discrimination (she was paid far less than half of the male VPs), learned of the faux-pas from her 20 something daughter. Her reaction?

“Oh my God, are they kidding?”

The current communication head, also female, engaged in twitter bickering, calling the slogan “an honest mistake.”

US Lagging in Broadband Access

The US Ranks 16th Among Developed Nations for Broadband Penetration

Data Suggests It Will Continue to Fall Behind

From BROADBAND NOW: According to the 2013 analysis by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) an international organization designed to stimulate world trade, the US now ranks 16th (down from 14th in 2010) for wired broadband penetration behind Korea, Canada, and New Zealand.[1]While there are several factors that can skew these statistics such as geography and population density, the problem of the US falling behind in broadband penetration is only exacerbated by inadequate competition.

Based on further data collected by the OECD, the US now ranks 24th out of 31 participant countries when it comes to the speed as which broadband penetration is increasing. [2]

Change in broadband penetration across OECD countries between 2010 and 2013.
Rank Country Penetration 2010 Penetration 2013 Percent Change
1 Switzerland 37.1% 43.82% 6.71%
2 Greece 18.71% 24.7% 5.99%
3 France 31.4% 36.99% 5.58%
4 New Zealand 24.49% 29.45% 4.95%
5 United Kingdom 30.48% 34.89% 4.41%
6 Portugal 18.92% 23.15% 4.22%
7 Finland 26.36% 30.46% 4.1%
8 Belgium 30% 33.99% 3.99%
9 Hungary 18.66% 22.25% 3.59%
10 Czech Republic 13.73% 17.02% 3.29%
11 Germany 31.26% 34.53% 3.26%
12 Slovak Republic 12.02% 15.16% 3.14%
13 Spain 22.22% 25.3% 3.08%
14 Ireland 20.31% 23.31% 2.99%
15 Canada 30.06% 32.84% 2.78%
16 Austria 22.96% 25.64% 2.67%
17 Korea 34.43% 37.05% 2.62%
18 Chile 10.21% 12.75% 2.53%
19 Poland 13.07% 15.44% 2.37%
20 Denmark 37.34% 39.69% 2.35%
21 Norway 34.24% 36.59% 2.34%
22 Netherlands 37.78% 40% 2.21%
23 Australia 23.43% 25.64% 2.2%
24 United States 27.11% 29.27% 2.15%
25 Iceland 33.28% 35.12% 1.84%
26 Mexico 10.09% 11.87% 1.78%
27 Japan 26.28% 27.83% 1.55%
28 Turkey 9.43% 10.66% 1.23%
29 Italy 21.32% 22.41% 1.09%
30 Sweden 31.75% 32.33% 0.57%
31 Luxembourg 34.11% 32.65% -1.47%

References and Footnotes

  1. 2013 Data Set: http://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/1k-BBPenetration-GDPperCap-2013-06.xls
  2. 2010 Data Set: http://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/39574903.xls

Communication Takes the World Stage

I give you but a few of many thoughts on the mediasphere since the terrorist acts in Paris of last week:

Artists respond to the attack on Charlie Hebdo:

Former Nun asks “What Does this Serve?

Terry Nicholetti, actor, author and founder of Speak Out Girlfriend has worked in women’s empowerment and human services since leaving the convent years ago. She’s a dear friend of mine and woman of deep compassion and love for humanity.

As we discussed the Charlie Hebdo shootings, she asked: “what purpose does it serve to publish a cartoon that deeply offends and outrages the religious sensibilities of the largest religious group on the planet?” It’s a good question.

My answer is that the purpose is satire, for stimulation of debate in the public sphere. Terry was persistent in her concern is that publishing material known to be outrageously offensive is going to have predictable, and devastating, results. Does the presenter of such speech bear responsibility for the dreadful result?

Indeed, Pope Francis spoke to this very idea during his trip to Manila on Thursday:

“You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people’s faith, you cannot mock it,” the pontiff said. “Freedom of speech is a right and a duty that must be displayed without offending.”

“People who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others are provocateurs,” Francis said, and went on to draw a parallel to his friend insulting his mother. “He can expect a punch. There is a limit.”

To those used to America’s free speech tradition, which champions the freedom to give offense over the right to be protected from it, Francis’s statements may sound uncomfortably similar to victim blaming. But they are actually very close to many European countries’ positions on the limits of free speech. [from VOX] 

While I am most likely to take the side of the artists in this instance, another

A Feminist Muslim’s take on Charlie Hebdo

Steph is a writer who as a teenager was a forced convert to Islam and live under as she describes it religious mysogyny. In her post on the Charlie Hebdo shootings, she speaks about the burden of those silenced by radical religious ideology enforced by violence.

I spent a good chunk of life controlled by a radical religious ideology, and another chunk too scared to talk honestly about it. My experience, and the experiences of many who are marginalised, controlled, and silenced by radical Islam, is that the figures of authority responsible for spreading the rhetoric of terrorism do indeed have power and privilege. They aggressively tout misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic dogma, and they control individuals, families, communities, and sometimes whole states through fear. So, personally, I find living in a society where I’m free to ridicule terrorists who want to dictate the terms of free speech, and have me stripped of my autonomy and my right to laugh and poke fun, a very comforting thing indeed.

You can read her entire fascinating and provocative post at her blog,  ReImagining My Reality.

 

The West Should Examine its Conscience

In an article on CNN.com, noted philosopher Noam Chomsky challenges the eWest to examine the hypocrisy of our outrage, considering a string of reprehensible acts such as the 1999 NATO attack on Serbian media and the US led ‘War on Terror,’ which Chomsky called “Barack Obama’s global assassination campaign targeting people suspected of perhaps intending to harm us some day, and any unfortunates who happen to be nearby.”

Read the entire op-ed piece at CNN.com here.

 

One Last Thing…

5 Ways to Reap Social Media Value

Here are five useful ways of thinking about social media and it’s potential to empower your business.

IBM’s ambitiously-titled Center for Applied Insights ran a study and produced this video that brings focus to five key areas where Social Media creates value for business.

Most of us marketers are pretty familiar with #3, but the other four concepts have loads of potential.

Many of us who are virtual workers miss the spontaneous collaborations in the hallway, elevator, water cooler. The creative power of quick collaboration opens up new ways for those sparks to travel. How can you use your social network to:

  • Collaborate with colleagues you don’t just ‘run into’ anymore?
  • Reach out to encourage and support less experienced team members?
  • Inspire customers to get more value from your products?
  • Source expertise from all your communities – users, colleagues, prospects and maybe even competitors?
  • Create new avenues of feedback and improvement?

Share an example in the comments of how your business benefits from Social Media.