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

Who is it You’re Talking to?

Customers come in different flavors.

And each customer type has their own specific culture. Think of your favorite hardware store. Imagine a few customers who come in the door one afternoon. The Gardener sees your business from a different perspective than the Young Family, The Contractor has different needs than Dad who takes care of house and yard.

CUSTOMER LIFESTAGE NEIGHBORHOOD PURCHASE
 urbanhomeowners New Homeowners  20-something couple  urban rowhouse latex low-VOC trim & wall paint, rollers & tray, baby-proofing latches,
 contractor Contractors 40 yr old business owner  close-in suburb  5-gallon paint, drop cloths, pro brushes, solvent
 FixitDad Home Fix-it Dad  48 yo homeowner  small city/town  toilet parts, faucet washers, screen repair, 2 cycle oil, weed whip refill
 emptyNester Serial Re-Decorator female empty nester   midscale burbs new vanity, decorator paint, faux finish supplies, garden center items

Target Marketing Power

When I worked for a company that invented Market Segmentation I learned how distinct Target Markets help you aim your marketing campaigns. There is a great deal of subtlety to be found in consumer data. Because you scan your loyalty card at the grocery to get discounts, we know you prefer roast beef to pastrami, Perrier to Pepsi. There is data about what we buy, read, watch, and do,, making full scale Segmentation incredibly predictive.

“But…” you protest “I don’t have 75k to license to those tools! How does this apply to a small business person like me?” Excellent question.

To Get More from Social Media, Think like an Anthropologist

This article in Harvard Business Review encourages us to think like an anthropololgist, (def. one who studies the norms and values of societies.)  The author points out the shortcomings of a strictly big-data approach to studying customers on social media, pointing out that: “the internet was made for people, not for companies and brands.” And, that by only studying data, one could miss the meaning.

As a small business person, your ability to Listen is incredibly powerful, since your customers are talking via social media. You can invite them into conversation with a poll or survey. You also have the Insight to understand how your particular customers fall into clusters based on their lifestage and interests. Which is essentially their culture.

So go ahead, think like an anthropologist! Sketch out your target groups and imagine what they’re like. Let me know what you see, or ask any questions about how to take it further. I’d love to hear what you discover!

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!

Christmas Time Blessing to All

Advertising can indeed be a thing of beauty.

Enjoy this beautifully told tale of friendship, gifts and shared holidays:

This animated holiday ad was created for John Lewis,the UK retailer by Laurent Simon and Aidan McClure of DDB Worldwide. I highly recommend watching the Behind the Scenes video. It’s a combination of stop-motion and hand drawn animation that’s quite extraordinarily detailed.

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.

The Eyes ARE the Brain

I’m a lifelong fan of the power of the visual mind. An artist since I was a child, the power and richness of imagery has always captivated me.

Although we seem to value text and numerical data over mere ‘pictures,’ over 90% of all information processed by our brains is visual. Since we perceive the world in rich, colorful moving three-dimensions, a great deal of processing is required to sort all of that data into information we can make sense of. That’s why over half of our brain is dedicated to visual processing.  The retina and optic nerve are actually extensions of the brain itself, conducting massive amounts of image processing.

The near-instantaneous speed and broad bandwidth of our visual thinking is what gives advertising and movies their mesmerizing power.

Here’s a section from a cool infographic from NoeMam Studios that does a great job of telling that story:

imageprocessbrain

Click on this image to see the entire Infographic

 Why is this important?

If you’d like to learn more, here’s a great article on the miraculous visual nervous system and how it takes the raw data of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation (what we call ‘light’), collects it, and assembles it into the coherent visual world we take for granted. It really gives one a profound appreciation for the sheer processing power at work in our very own grey matter.

Stop and See the Roses

Take time to appreciate what your visual cortex does for you today, when you notice the fall colors, enjoy your child’s smile, or find your attention captured by an advertisement or book cover.

And don’t neglect to harness this awesome power in your marketing.

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If you’d like to talk about custom infographics for your business, please get in touch.

Creativity as Dialog

According to the New York Times, we are watching the end of the lone genius. I’ll be the first to agree that the isolated creative is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Too many depictions of a tormented Vincent Van Gogh, a drunken and depressed Hemingway, even Newton as the singular discoverer, who was building on the work of others.

An article by Joshua Wolf Shenk in today’s NYT, The End of Genius, deftly unwraps the modern construct of our mythical loner. (Shenk writes more about the brilliance of creative pairs in the Atlantic, HERE.) The word originally meant “a tutelary god or spirit given to every person at birth” – a Muse as it were. In our modernity we have apparently absorbed this creative god and ascribed its qualities to our individual selves.

 

Now the creative network is emerging as a more useful model of the process.  Certainly  the internet and virtual communication has enhanced our ability to collaborate in teams and groups. We have crowd-sourced encyclopedias, music written and produced by partners who have never met, and ease of collaboration via the media that gives us instant contact.

Of course, this is nothing new.  All creative work builds on what came before. But we are  thinking about this differently. We’re evolving the way we inhabit our creative identity.

So let’s talk about it:

  • Do you work with a creative partner?
  • Do you use technology to collaborate?
  • Does the media influence your creative product?