Is Facebook Losing its Cool? Social Media Marketers Take Note!

Facebook's fading cool factor: implications for social media marketingIf you want to know if something is “cool,” ask a teenager.  You’ll probably get the shoulder shrug or – even worse – the dreaded eye roll (implying, of course, that you are so not cool for asking). 

Eager for their opinion, many marketers are asking teenagers if they’re still using Facebook, trying to answer the question, “Has Facebook lost its cool factor with teens?”

Based on those statistics, many believe that Facebook will soon become a thing of the past as teens continue losing interest in the 9-year-old social media site. At what point will it impact the social media strategy of forward-thinking marketers?

Biased Teens? Biased Facebook Surveys?

Others argue that surveys may be biased because teenagers want to seem cool by pretending they no longer like or use Facebook.  On earnings calls, Facebook has consistently denied the claim that teens are losing interest in the social network site. Mark Zuckerberg – Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook – said, “based on our data, that just isn’t true.” With 1.15 billion users and 699 million people using Facebook every day, he argued that teens have remained steadily engaged with Facebook.

So is Facebook losing its cool among teenagers or isn’t it? 

Zuckerberg contended that it doesn’t matter. In a discussion with The Atlantic editor James Bennett in Washington, D.C., Zuckerberg joked “People assume that we’re trying to be cool. It’s never been my goal. I’m the least cool person there is.”

Zuckerberg said what he does want to create with Facebook is a basic necessity – a ubiquitous utility that will be insulated from trends and, to some degree, competitors. 

Does Cool Even Matter?

He added, “Maybe electricity was cool when it first came out, but pretty quickly people stopped talking about it because it’s not the new thing, the real question you want to track at that point is are fewer people turning on their lights because it’s less cool?” 

Social Media Marketing Strategy Considerations – Our Take

The trends among younger Facebook users should matter quite a bit to social media marketers, and are therefore worth keeping up with. Things can change very quickly in the social media landscape. For example, Google+ (a direct competitor to Facebook) has rapidly gained followers vs. a year ago, and new social media platforms appear with increasing frequency. Today’s cool is tomorrow’s yawn. Given the hurdles involved in reaching fans’ news feeds within Facebook, some marketers feel that it is already becoming less attractive than in the past in terms of achieving a solid return on investment. If it loses enough of it’s cool factor, then younger and eventually older users may begin leaving it in significant numbers for “cooler” alternatives.

This article is based on a post by Josh Constine and Gregory Ferenstein entitled Facebook Doesn’t Want To Be Cool, It Wants To Be Electricity. http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/18/facebook-doesnt-want-to-be-cool/


Facebook Marketing Tips: What Every Business Owner Should Know

From Facebook Marketing Skeptic to Convert

Facebook social media marketing tips for Reading PA, Allentown, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and beyondI’ll be honest: I was a more than a little skeptical about Facebook marketing in its early days. Social media marketing was suddenly all the rage, though few businesses knew how to make the most of it.  Facebook made it look easy, with business pages and affordable pay-per-click and pay-per-impression advertising, but would it really work? And if so, would it work for everyone, or was this a social media marketing and advertising channel best used by a narrow sector of the business community?

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to experiment with Facebook marketing in both its free and paid forms, for businesses of varying sizes in different industries, with efforts targeted to both consumers and other businesses. Here’s what I learned that you should know…

A Very Large Portion of Your Audience is on Facebook

There’s a common perception that social media marketing is great for reaching consumers, but not so good for B2B marketing. But think about it. What attorney or VP of Marketing or Purchasing Manager doesn’t use Facebook these days, whether at home, at work, or both? Approximately 1/8 of the planet is on Facebook, and that’s counting third world countries with big populations and little money for technology. The percentage for US, EU, and other Internet users in developed countries is extremely high. In fact, it’s rare to find someone who does not use Facebook at least weekly, with many spending hours per week or even hours per day on Facebook.  Even if your marketing efforts are exclusively targeting businesses, the decisions are made by individuals, most of whom are likely to be regular Facebook users.

Your Facebook Page is Only as Strong as Your Commitment

Creating a Facebook page for your business isn’t going to do anything to enhance your visibility, improve your image, or increase your market share: but working your Facebook page will.  If you’re half-hearted or non-commital about using a Facebook page for marketing purposes, don’t do it.  Having prospects land on a nearly-blank page or one that hasn’t been updated in months is worse than having them not find a page at all.  Don’t take that step until you’re ready to commit to the effort to update it at least weekly, and to check it daily for feedback.

Develop a Clear Social Media Marketing Strategy for Facebook

Businesses use Facebook pages and Facebook advertising differently, and there are multiple ways to achieve success. You might use your page to interact with your local community, to answer questions about your products or services, to share useful links and information that helps build your credibility as an expert, or in some combination of these ways, among others. A Facebook marketing campaign, like any other social media marketing campaign, requires a vision, a strategy, and specific goals. Take the time to plan before you act.

Interaction with Your Social Media Followers is Critical

Once upon a time, most people who’d “liked” your page would see every single one of your page posts in their feeds and be reminded of your business. They’d have an easy opportunity to “like” a post or share it or comment on it, which in turn would appear in their feeds and be seen by their friends. However, this has changed, and now not all those who have “liked” your page will see all of your posts; instead, the amount of exposure you will receive has become more limited, and is influenced by multiple factors, including the amount of interaction between your company and your followers (comments on your posts, and your replies to those comments, among other factors).  You must engage your readers to spread the word, since their “likes”, shares, comments and other interactions will still appear in their friends feeds and tickers.

Facebook Advertising: Affordable, Highly Targeted, and Too Good to Ignore

It’s been suggested that the changes (reductions) in Facebook page visibility are a result of Facebook’s desire to encourage (some would say strong arm) you into their paid advertising offerings. That’s fair in a sense because it’s a business, but many found the change to be abrupt and game changing.  Regardless, Facebook advertising can be effective when used in combination with your Facebook business page and your website.

Facebook advertising is easy to set up and manage, affordable, and allows you to target specific demographics in ways those selling other forms of advertising can only dream of. Targeting uses information based on what Facebook users like according to their Facebook profile, and also by what they like based on their Facebook activity. In addition, you have the benefit of geographical, demographic, and many other available filters.

As with search engine advertising, you have the option of paying for your Facebook ads based on exposure (pay-per-impression) vs. paying for actual clicks (pay-per-click). Facebook advertising is worth exploring both as a way to generate “likes” and interaction with your page, and as a means of directing traffic to a specific landing page on your website.

Facebook Marketing in Summary

Like many social media marketing options, Facebook provides a great opportunity to reach a large audience at an affordable price. Your success will depend on developing an effective Facebook marketing strategy combined with a willingness to engage on a regular basis.

Need help with your social media marketing strategy? Contact us for a free intitial consultation for qualifed organizations.

Social Media Marketing & Bonding: Turning Clients Into Friends

Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Instragram. Whereever you go people are talking about a picture they saw on Facebook, a funny video on YouTube or an amazing photo they found on Pinterest, but why is social media so popular, and how can social media marketing help your business thrive?

Creating a Bond is Key to Successful Social Media Marketing

How to form stronger customer bonds through social media marketing strategyThink of it this way, although the Internet is making the world smaller by the day, people are spending less time together in person. However, they are spending more time connecting electronically via social media. To prove the point, think of how you or your family members have connected with long lost friends through social media, something that would otherwise have been much less likely to occur.

Regardless of the social media channel used to contact each other online, we all have a human need for “real” relationships.  No one wants to say, “Hey, check out this product that this (nameless) guy on Facebook told me about.” No, they want to say, “Check out what my friend recommended.” Your clients will be much more loyal and dedicated if they feel they can trust you as their friend to provide the best quality products and solutions for them. So knowing this, how can you turn your clients into friends?

The basic answer is simple.  Create a bond that makes your clients know you care about them and are not taking them for granted. One way to do this is to offer special perks to friends of the company (for example, to those who have “liked” your Facebook page or opted in to your other social media). These perks don’t have to break your bank, but they can go a long way to solidifying a bond that inspires brand loyalty.

Testimonials and Likes are Good for Your Business and Your Customers

If a client shares information about your business on Facebook or Twitter or goes out of their way to provide a testimonial, consider featuring it on your Facebook page. It shows your clients that you value their input and provides some often-appreciated attention. Responding to and implementing their suggestions drives home the fact that you and your company care about what they have to say, and therefore take their suggestions seriously.

Another way to create a bond is to show your loyal customers you value their business by offering them special pricing.  For example, if they paid $2.99 a month for your newsletter subscription in the past, consider locking in that rate for a long time to come (and letting them know about the special rates they are receiving each time your regular price increases). Their loyalty to your business can be worth many times the “cost” of discounts.

Create Rewards Programs with Real Benefits

Demonstrate your appreciation for your clients by creating a rewards program that provides REAL benefits. Nothing miserly like “60 days money back instead of 30.”  Instead, consider offering complimentary services, discounts or other tangible, valuable prizes or rewards.

One potentially low-cost way to provide a valued reward is to team up with other non-competing companies who offer services related to yours that will benefit your clients. Own a photography studio?  Work out special pricing arrangements with make-up artists and hairstylists you trust, and then send special offers on those related services to your clients. Share the spotlight with your network of related service providers and ask them to do the same for you in an effort to turn their friends into your friends, and vice-versa.

Gratitude Can be the Best Marketing Strategy

Most importantly, be grateful for your new friends.  Show them regularly how much you value them and they will reciprocate. Be creative and let your personality show, whether it’s donating to your favorite client’s charity of choice, giving away a free product or service, or just by saying, “Thank you for your support”.  Your clients will appreciate it and in turn will remain loyal, spread the word about your company, and will often choose your brand over an equally good competing brand just because they like you.

Make it Personal

Remember, your clients may respond well to an offer to connect connect with you and your business in a more personal way. Using social media marketing to develop a stronger bond can give current and future clients the confidence to choose your business over the competition.

Want to learn more? Contact us for assistance in developing a creative social media marketing strategy to help grow your business.

Social Media Marketing Tip: Ride the Coattails of Popular Bloggers

An Inbound Marketing / Social Media Marketing Parable

Imagine you are visiting a county fair in the heat of the summer.

Walking with your refreshing cup of lemonade, you hear someone talking over the loudspeaker.  You take a look and there is a crowd gathered around a stage, listening to someone speaking.

How to leverage popular bloggers to enhance your social media marketing strategy. Serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Allentown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Harrisburg and beyond.Now, imagine every one of the people in the crowd is someone in your target market.  You would love to have the same kind of attention from these people that the speaker is enjoying.

What is the logical question that comes to mind?

What is this person saying that has this crowd so interested?

You would be foolish not to walk over and join the assembly to hear what the speaker is talking about.  It is a tremendous opportunity to strike up a conversation with individuals in the crowd.  Create a conversation around the speaker’s message and add your own insights.  Tell them how you can help them, and invite them to stop by your office.  This is also a wonderful opportunity to answer questions posed by the speaker, thereby revealing your expertise to the crowd.

What’s the Lesson for Your Social Media Strategy?

If this is true in our little parable, it can also be applied to our inbound marketing and social media marketing strategy.  There are bloggers in your industry who your customers and potential customers are following and reading. How can you ride their coattails to a more successul marketing strategy?

Increase Your Social Media Marketing Effectiveness by Learning and Applying the Following:

 

  • Who are the popular bloggers in your industry?
  • What are their website addresses?
  • What are they writing about?  What topics are they not writing about?
  • How often do they publish?
  • How many fans or followers do they have?
  • How frequently do people comment on their articles?
  • What do the comments reveal about the concerns and knowledge of the readers of the blog?
  • Are any of the bloggers local?  (Is there an opportunity for you to become the local expert?)
  • How can you add comments to the blog posts in a way that enhances your reputation?
  • Can you contact the blogger and recommend a mutually beneficial connection?
  • Does the blogger have more expertise and experience than you?  How can you strengthen your knowledge and expertise?
  • Are you a fan of the blogger’s social media pages? Did you subscribe to his or her blog so you know when new content has been posted?

 

Visit Google Blog Search and take a few minutes to search for blogs in your industry.  Answer the questions above and identify new opportunities to reach out to potential customers in your target market.

Do you have a solid marketing plan for your business? One that combines the best traditional and online marketing techniques to form a smart, cohesive marketing strategy? Contact us to learn how we can help with our unique approach to gaining more leads and more customers for your business. Contact us today.

Content Marketing Tip: 4 Ways to Boost Traffic by Commenting

Someone Commented! Time to Buy a Lottery Ticket?

It is a Monday morning.  You bought your coffee at the local convenience store on your drive in to work.  After checking your email, you meet with your staff to go over the issues facing your business this week.  You make phone calls to clients, suppliers, and consultants.

Content Marketing tips to boost your website, blog, and social media trafficThe last thing on your mind is to check your social media and website for comments to an article you posted last week.  Why bother?  You have come to expect that people don’t add comments to your articles.  Lately you’ve been questioning your content marketing strategy and the effort required to create original content.

However, you decide to check anyway.

You discover an authentic comment about your article submitted by someone representing another firm. It is clear from the wording of the comment that the author read your article and is responding to the thoughts you shared.  This is not spam.

Think about it.  What would you do?

You would want to know who the author is.  You would visit their website.  The business professional effectively generated traffic to their website by thoughtfully commenting on the article you wrote.

So Many Lonely Pages Just Waiting to Drive Traffic to Your Website

There are millions of lonely websites and social media pages on the Internet.  This fact creates opportunity for you to drive traffic to your website.

Develop a plan to regularly comment on the social media pages and websites of other businesses.

Where to Post Comments to Drive More Traffic

Consider posting comments on the websites and blogs of the following:

  1. Customers
  2. Prospective customers
  3. Former customers
  4. Suppliers and consultants
  5. Local business and community leaders
  6. Local charities and community organizations

Commenting Ideas & Guidelines

What are some of the things you can comment about?

  1. Thank them for the information they shared in the article, making sure you reference actual content or else you could have the appearance of a spammer.
  2. Ask a question about a specific point they made in the article, giving them an opportunity to share more of their expertise.
  3. Tell them how you are going to use the information they shared in the article.
  4. Recommend other organizations or types of organizations who may benefit from the article.

Apply the Golden Rule of Commenting

Are you discouraged by the level of traffic coming to your website?  Perhaps you need to apply better and more consistent online marketing techniques.  However, there is also a world of opportunity to generate traffic by “doing unto others” what you would have them do to you.  Visit their websites and provide some encouraging feedback by commenting on their posts. Stay at it and over time it just may come back to you a hundredfold.

Need Help with Your Online Marketing Strategy?

We can help you formulate a smart, efficient, and cost-effective online strategy to grow your business. Please Contact Us if you need assistance. The initial consultation is free for qualified customers.