Facebook has become a very important area for promoting business awareness. It is the hub of business social media where a firm maintains its interactions with the customers and it tries to reach out for the additional potential customers. Facebook provides businesses a platform of more than a billion of active accounts. The first step for the businesses is to capture as many Facebook users as possible. It is done either to spread awareness, promotions, social media marketing, feedbacks, interactions with the customers, etc. The purpose could be anything, but for the beginners, it is mostly done for awareness and promotions. I have laid out a few tips and techniques for the beginners to follow in order to achieve best marketing results on Facebook.
It is important for the businesses to have a good presentable company page. The layout and the tone used for customers reach out should be friendly and convenient. The profile image is the most important feature of the firm’s Facebook page. The cover photo is secondary, but the profile picture must be attractive and compelling. It displays the first impression to the Facebook users.
It is very important for the business to post on its page at least once every day. The consistency should not exceed three to four times a day because otherwise it is possible that the customers might get annoyed with over flooding by the company’s posts on their newsfeed. But the regularity must be maintained to keep reminding the customers about its existence on the Facebook social media.
Since, it has been established that regular posts are required to keep active on the social media; the timings of these posts also play a vital role on its daily activities. The timing entirely depends upon the target market of the business. If the target market is the working class, posts should be done before the working hours and after the off time of the employees. If the target market is student, then it is said that posts should be made before 6pm. The main aim is to post before the peak time of the users.
For any business to start it must have its own website or at least a blog maintained. Although Facebook page is effective enough, it needs to be backed up by an authentic source. The existence of the business should not be limited to the Facebook page solely. On the website or blog, its Facebook plugin must be available and scheduled Facebook posts must be active. Whenever a blog post is generated, its link is automatically shared on its Facebook official page. All the notifications are automatically shared with all the Facebook fans or followers.
The response time must be conveyed on the official page and the minimum amount of response time is preferred. People prefer quick responses as opposed to slow reply time. Being active is everything! Nobody has time to wait for anyone, if the response time is slow, it is possible that the potential customers may run away or they lose interest. An active inbox and quick commenting activity is required.
Facebook is a social media which means an active engagement with the users is necessary. The posts should be made in such a way that encourages customer participation. Introduction of various games and contests increase customer involvement. An offer can be made like “if you share this promotional post to five different pages, you can enter a contest for wining a mobile phone”. This is just an example, but various offers can be made in order to increase customer interest.
Sharing pictures or videos on the page increases customer traffic. It creates more attraction than an ordinary written post. Images and videos are also shared frequently or rather regularly by the users. Winning customer interest is the highest goal in order to generate customer involvement.
A complete product or service information disclosure increases customer awareness and reduces any discrepancies there may be. Many restaurants fail to provide their complete menu on the Facebook page; it becomes a strong reason for not being able to attract their customers well. A little effort is required to provide comprehensive information regarding to what the company is actually offering to its customers.
There is a difference between a normal Facebook page and a “Verified Facebook Page”. A verified page is more professional to display to the customers. It requires at least a million likes to the page to get it to verify without any cash fee. But the company can also verify it by paying a specified amount as required by the Facebook management.
The official page has to indicate the customers to actually like the page on visiting. A big arrow sign that says “Like Us!” provides a clear direction to the users to like the page in order to follow up with the future posts. This is just a reminder to the users to follow the page if they find it interesting. It is better to cover all the directions required to provide to the customers. Leave no room for any obliviousness.
It is one way of looking at the company success through the company’s end, but it is very important to take the customer’s perspective into consideration as well. Many firms encourage customers to put up check-in status for their promotions and reviews and in return give various discounts for their feedbacks. It helps to build up the beginners’ reputation to the outside world. This is how promotions take place.
All of these techniques are just a few of many about how the beginners can go big only through Facebook marketing. These techniques result in increase in customer portfolio and future customer retention. Facebook can become a perfect platform for promotions, but the right techniques are required by the individual businesses themselves.
To cope up with the rapidly changing world, marketing has become a vital need for the businesses to keep themselves alive in the active market for maintaining customers. Various mediums are used to attract people towards the product, service or a cause. Advertising, print ads and various others are just a few methods of marketing, but what the current market demands is going for the innovative ways of attracting a vast customer base in an efficient and effective manner. Cross promotion is considered a new prevailing marketing technique that is used in various forms according to the needs by specific businesses. It is marketing a product or services to the customers of other related products. Cross promotions are usually done with firms having a common goal or values so that it can be ensured that both the firms are striving for a common benefit. Due to its cost effective nature, it is best suited for small businesses, but large firms can always make the best from cross promotions. Following are some of the ways how you can make the cross promotions actually work for boosting up your business.
Co-promotion is done when your business collaborates with another related business to execute a promotional plan with a combined input from both the firms in order to gain a common benefit. Running a marketing campaign alone can be effective, but not quite entirely efficient. Joint promotion helps a firm to increase its existing customer base by including in the customer exposure of the partner marketing firm as well. With the increased customer exposure, the future sales are bound to increase for a business to keep its roots to a greater market base. For example, a toothbrush brand collaborates its promotional activities with a toothpaste brand. They can execute a combined promotional campaign for healthier and better teeth if people adopt the perfect combination of that precise toothpaste with the specific toothbrush brand. Now, the toothbrush business has gotten a hand over the customers of the toothpaste and similarly vice versa. This technique can be taken as a mass media marketing practice for smaller firms and a strong partnership for larger firms in the market. But the choice of the perfect candidate for the joint promotional campaigns should be made wisely, because it greatly effects the business’ professional reputation with the customers.
Advertisements are highly effective but they incur a lot of cost to the firm. Another form of cross marketing technique is combined advertisements for two or more firms. This technique is a cost effective solution for firms who wants to have a strong customer base by putting in less money but requiring greater attraction. Firms can come into agreement by producing a joint advertisement and complementing each other’s products in order to create a combined and cost effective marketing tool that is appealing to the customers. In case of the commercial ads, each firm shares the costs and produces an ad that attracts people from both the firm’s customer pool. For example, breakfast Cereal Company collaborates its ad with a milk company. Both the firms are enhancing each other and in the process, are producing a combined cost effective ad, catering both its customers, i.e. cereal customers and the milk customers. Now, in case of the combined print ads, two or more companies buy an ad portion in the newspaper or a magazine and share the ad space together.
Joint referrals in cross promotional marketing can be defined in simple words as “word of mouth through businesses”. Two or more businesses can collaborate together and establish a relationship of providing reference of another firm to its customers. This gives credentials to the customers that the firm referred to them has the good enough capability required. It is just an authenticated word of mouth. The main risk that arises in this marketing technique is that the reputation of the firm comes at stake. If the company does not prove itself to the expectations of the customers, the repute of the firm providing the reference comes into jeopardy. For example, a gym refers its customers some supplements for their healthier exercises. If those supplement brands do not provide the promised result, the reputation of that gym also becomes doubtful. But the right fit benefits both the firms in terms of increasing sales and maintaining long term customers. Also, an element of encouragements can also be added to joint referrals. A company gives special benefits to the customers who reference the company’s partner. This helps in creating a good network of strong customers.
Businesses can increase their exposure by launching joint events and contests in collaboration with other firms. Sponsoring events helps firms in creating goodwill to the society or a group of people. Joint sponsorship helps in executing a successful event cost effectively. Customers acknowledge businesses during the events launched by the businesses. They can also launch educational seminars or promote CSR together. With greater goodwill created, greater are the chances that customer retention shall be maintained effectively. Effectiveness is obtained by the joint expertise by the firms and efficiency is attained by the cost sharing and greater customer exposure. An educational institute can collaborate with a few firms from different industries in promoting joint events and contests for cost effective marketing.
These were only four of the many innovative techniques that cross promotions offer. Many firms testify that their theoretical marketing plan is always different from the execution phase in which the actual collaborated marketing is done. There are many aspects that needs to be analyzed before actually commencing a successful campaign. Your job is to identify the key strength factors of your business and look for the enhancing features that your partnering firm has to offer. It is very important that both of your strengths must complement each other if you want your business to get a boost from cross promotions. Once the strengths are analyzed, the customer portfolio is next in line to assess whether the partnering firm is offering your potential future customers or not. The customers must have similar demographics, mind-set, taste, or any quality that is important for making them your future clients. Cross promotions are definitely effective and efficient, but a perfect fit has to be identified for a successful cross promotional marketing.
Facebook is all about people and enhancing user experience of the site. It is no wonder that the company is always two steps ahead in its research and knows what users are going to need before they even know it themselves.
It is going to be ten years by the late end of this year, since Facebook became available to the public. Even after such a long time, the site tends to be the most contemporary thing on the internet and in the digital world. There has never been a time when Facebook looked old or lost its place in social media world. The biggest reason behind such tremendous success is its new features; options that it provides users to customize their timeline and wide range of settings that let you post content protect your privacy just the way you want.
Although some of the features like change in interface of user timeline received very strong opposing views from users, it did not make them quit or delete their accounts. With the passage of time, everyone has adjusted and gotten pretty comfortable with using it.
I am going to list down some of the features that the website introduced in last year,
1. Profile Videos: Facebook announced the launch of short profile videos last year, where users “(sic) will be able to film a short, looping video clip that will play for anyone who visits the profile.” Do not confuse it with .gifs although it is a kind of similar thing, except for the fact that you still cannot upload a .gif file as your display.
The idea is being tested on few profiles of users based in United States and United Kingdom, who own iPhones.
2. Profile Picture Filters: Another feature that has been introduced by Facebook is availability of built-in filters that people can now use while uploading a picture. This, of course does not take away the option of uploading a pictures that has already been edited by an outsider third party software.
This might look a little like an inspiration taken from Snapchat that only allows users to take pictures from its own camera using the limited number of picture and video filters like puking rainbows, breathing ice and few more.
The filters on Facebook however are more than just regular filters, which are used to enhance your picture. These are temporary filters used on special days or events where there will be a time limit, and after the limit, filter will automatically be removed. In a blog post Facebook wrote, “When more than 26 million people used our Celebrate Pride filter, it was more apparent than ever that people use their profile pictures to show who they are—even if it’s just for a moment in time”. The only problem is changing a picture after short while might raise the question of the user’s commitment to the cause as it might appear that he / she is “done supporting it with the profile photo.”
To remove users from getting into such complexities, filter will be temporary and will be removed automatically after a certain period of time.
3. Call to Action Buttons: The buttons are a way to ensure a free two-way connection between business and customer in real time. Instead of going on the website or googling a business that you found on Facebook, you can contact them directly there. The “contact us” button appears right under the cover photo and was recently updated to appear bigger, clearer and brighter.
The other call to action buttons include “send message” and “call now”. Facebook is working on bringing more such buttons to increase engagements of users with businesses.
4. Shop and Service Section: These two sections are an absolute jackpot for business that sell products and services. The sections are a recent addition to new features on Facebook and aims to promote e-commerce. These features will directly help retail businesses to sell off their product immediately and effectively, as research has proven that more than half the time, people make buying decisions while using social media.
The products and services will be listed under the sections respectively, which Facebook believes will give users a better idea into the business or product a company is selling.
5. Page Layout: Research showed that people spend more than 14 hours a month browsing Facebook on their mobile app. The apps has over 1 billion downloads on smart phones. This means that approximately one billion people access their Facebook profile through the app.
These results have motivated Facebook to work on the mobile friendly interface so it is easier to navigate through pages.
6. Targeted Product Ads: Facebook advertisements are the best way to promote your business to right audience in a very cost effective way. You can use these ads to simply spread awareness or deliver content inside the potential and targeted audience’s feed.
Products ads are however, a new feature added inside Facebook ads. The only difference is that instead of promoting your whole website or brand generally, you can now shift your focus on products.
This means having the convenience of uploading you whole product catalogue at the same place with separate campaigns for each. Using all the information provided, Facebook will show the specific products only to the people who are or might be interested in it. This method is not only effective but creates easiness for customers who would not need to go through 100 of products before they find the one, they are looking for.
7. Live Video Streaming: Visual Content has taken over each and every single social media site. These visuals range from simple images to infographics, illustrations, Gifs, short videos and talk shows. Visual media tends to have a better effect on audience and people interact more when the post is in imagery or moving post.
Live video streaming feature allows people to communicate in real time with a person sitting in front of a phone on the other side of word.
Videos are also more attractive and effective way to influence people. They give a genuine feeling to the user and builds a healthier relationship between brand and viewer.
8. Trending: When a word or phrase is repeatedly used by users and is mentioned in Facebook news or posts frequently, it becomes a trending topic. The trending word is mentioned above the post that is related to it.
It initiates the interesting point of views around topic and you can create content on the trending topic to stay in the news and inside your followers’ newsfeeds.
9. Facebook Lite: The Android supported app is a lighter version of Facebook that runs easily on phone with low memory or old hardware. One of the best thing about this is that you do not need to install messenger separately because it is included inside the app.
10. Facebook Sports Stadium: The Company recently has launched a virtual sports hub on Facebook, which is like a social media version of sites like ESPN. Any big sporting event happening anywhere in the world can be followed via sports stadium.
Data shows that sports remain to be top social media topic that is able generate discussions and engagements. When it comes to live events and posting second by second updates, Twitter is the most effective platform. Limited number of characters also make it more efficient and concise. Snapchat also covers some major sporting events happening inside western world and America mostly.
Facebook interface is built in a way where live content might not work that well. The feature is currently only available in U.S on the iOS app and covers American football games only. Facebook is however working towards expanding the feature not only into the other parts of the globe but also aims to include more sports like basketball and cricket.
In a blog post Facebook said, “Sports is a global interest that connects people around the world. This product makes connecting over sports more fun and engaging, and we will continue listening to feedback to make it even better.”
Worst Marketing Fails of 2015:
2015 was the year when marketing industry not only boomed but also took a dark turn at the same time. We saw some troublesome advertisements and scandals spread all over the internet and every single social media. The thing about digital media is that it is scrutinizing your every move every second, and when someone messes up, it never forgets.
Let’s take a look back at the most cringe worthy advertisements and marketing failures of 2015 and learn from them by avoiding them in 2016.
One of the most famous brand in America outdid itself when they came up with a fun and harmless activity for children. The idea was to promote events throughout the week in a certain location of United Kingdom, during the weeklong school break.
Unfortunate for Krispy Kreme, Wednesday’s event was called Krispy Kreme Klub (KKK) that created an uproar in the media, people started making memes and photo shopped image of Klu Klux Klan members on the ad. The media office for Krispy Kreme later issued an apology but the whole thing was a nightmare for the brand.
When Target introduced the shipment of new sweaters for Christmas, they had something unusual about them. Instead of normal Christmas themed sweater, Target decided to go a different way and printed “Obsessive Christmas Disorder (OCD)” on the sweater. Although it was meant in good humor and to lift people’s spirit for Christmas, public was not amused. People immediately responded and called Target insensitive of the people who are serious victims of the disease.
Target was also accused of trivializing a serious psychological disorder just to soar its sales. Even with all the backlash, the brand stood strong and kept selling the sweaters. However, the spokesperson for Target, Josh Thomas did say that the company “apologizes for any discomfort.”
When Airbnb wanted to improve their image after vote, on whether Airbnb should regulate the rentals more strictly or not, it did not turn out so well. The company put up a couple of passive aggressive messages in the form of billboard and bus stop advertisements.
The ads came across as suggesting the people of San Francisco to do their civic duty. People did not take that well. It is fairly normal for giant brands to pay giant taxes, so when $12 Million amount of tax money was highlighted; it attracted a lot of attention. The company soon realized its mistake and apologized by saying the messages gave out the “wrong tone.”
Bloomingdale’s is one of the top names in fashion and departmental store industry in America. People on social media were pretty upset when an ad from the company was published with tagline saying, “spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.” A male and female model are featured in the ad, with the female model looking away while the male model is looking at her.
People protested that the date encouraged rape culture and suggested male population to make a move on the girls when they are not paying attention or noticing them. As the attention drew, Bloomingdale’s issues Twitter apology saying, “We heard your feedback about our catalog copy, which was inappropriate and in poor taste. Bloomingdale’s sincerely apologizes.”
Bud Light is America’s favorite beer and is a product of Anheuser-Busch brands. The campaign “Up For Whatever” was intended to raise the carefree, easygoing feelings for people who consume it. However, the campaign turned in to a marketing nightmare when the bottles appeared with an added slogan saying “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.”
People picked up on that and started complaining that this was yet another example of advertising promoting and encouraging rape culture. People responded immediately on social media and started the hashtag #UpForConsent, advocating the importance of consensual sex.
Apology was later issued by Alexander Lambrecht, Bud Light’s vice president saying, “It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.” The statement was posted on the Anheuser-Busch website.
When Heinz introduced QR codes under their ketchup bottles, they had no idea, to where it will lead. One of the German customers scanned the code and ended up on a porn site, instead of Heinz run page, which supposedly had the information about the campaign being run.
Heinz accepted that the URL was previously used by company for a competition that ran between 2012 and 2014. After the competition ended, they gave up the URL, which was later acquired by adult entertainer in Germany. Apology was issued in a Facebook post that said that company “really regrets the incident”. Heinz also sent the customer a personalized Ketchup bottle as compensation.
The giant retail company had a recent set back, when they baked a cake with the dressing of Islamic State of Syria and Iraq’s (ISIS) flag. The story behind the cake is that a person from Louisiana got frustrated when his request for a cake with the confederate flag was denied. He later asked the company’s representative to bake a cake with the terrorist organization’s flag and received the cake without any refute.
Chuck Netzhammer, the person behind the request uploaded a video on YouTube explaining the whole story. The video that received more than half a million views in three days was later removed from the website. He points out in the video holding up the cake, “That’s an ISIS battle flag cake that anybody can go buy at Walmart … but you can’t buy a Confederate flag toy, with, like, say, a Dukes of Hazzard car.“
An apology published later from the retailer’s spokesperson, John Forrest Ales said, “Our talented bakery associates take pride in what they create for our customers. It’s unfortunate one customer thought to take advantage of an associate who did not know the flag and its meaning. This cake should not have been made, and we apologize for the mistake.”
Urban Outfitters made the headlines when they introduced a shirt with white and grey stripes in stores. The shirt reminded people of the holocaust and the way prisoners were forced to wear the design. The shirt also had a pink triangle, which was just like the pink badge to identify gay men.
Anti-defamation League (ADL) called out the company with urge to stop selling the shirts. The letter written by ADL to Urban Outfitters voiced the concerns over the “insensitive design and the company’s periodic use of products within the realm of Holocaust imagery.” The product was later removed from the online stores and website.
The International Pancakes company had a bad day when they tried to be funny by comparing their product to women breasts. The picture was posted on Twitter with the caption, “flat but has a GREAT personality”. Public was offended and called the company sexist and misogynist.
Later that day, the apology was issued via Twitter that said, “Earlier today we tweeted something dumb and immature that does not reflect what IHOP stands for. We’re sorry.”
Innovative Marketing Campaigns of 2015:
The campaign “Wall and Chain” was launched at the 25th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall. A short animated film was shot that brought the story of belonging and global conservation to life. Airbnb highlighted how its customers were helping the German economy by supporting local culture.
Powerful content was uploaded on social media to bring awareness and drive engagements on the film. Along with that, three other videos were shot to introduce “behind the scenes” of the real family.
The campaign was highly appreciated around the world because of powerful story telling technique and aim to build a world where people can “Belong Anywhere”.
If we talk about real marketing campaigns, Adobe won this year on social media, when people went fanatic over the infamous “Dress”. Everyone was determined to prove they knew what the dress’s color (white and gold or black and blue) actually was.
Every small and large brand found a way to promote themselves by using hashtag #TheDress, but Adobe won with one scientific tweet that put the controversial color to rest by getting into the technical details and proving the actual color using “Adobe color.”
The tweet received 800 thousand engagements within a day.
The global campaign “Shot with iPhone 6” was initially a contest on social media where participants were asked to take picture from their iPhone 6 camera and submit on the website. As it started getting the heat, Apple started using the billboards to further promote the campaign, by projecting breathtaking pictures on them.
The reason it got so much attention was due to the direct customer involvement to market one feature of the iPhone 6 i.e. its camera. It also received top honors at Cannes Festival.
To introduce their new car “Civic Type R”, Honda launched “The Other Side” campaign, which used interactive parallel story technique. The video is about a person living a double life and features the Civic but switches to a parallel storyline featuring the Type R when you press and hold ‘R’ on the keyboard.
Honda was awarded Gold Lion at the Cannes Festival in the category of Interactive Video, and video earned global appreciation.
Barbie’s campaign “You can be anything” had the aim to teach little girls dream big and anything. The message behind the campaign was that women are independent and have choices. Barbie has usually connected with promoting unrealistic body images and idea of perfection for girls. This campaign asked the girls from around the world, what they wanted to be and then incorporated that in the campaign.
When it comes to marketing, companies need to consider the power of social media. Digital advertising has completely change the definition of best and worst. The creative people no longer decide what is best or out of the line. It is up to people and internet communities, whether they approve an ad or not. Therefore, the meaning of best and innovative means “popular among people” and “worst” means what people do not approve of.
Social media is prevailing as the biggest factor behind the individual and business’s success. When used with a defined strategy and understanding of the different platforms under its umbrella, social media gives way to the biggest stars and celebrities on internet in no time. People love to go on internet and connect with people who share same interests and passions as them. Sharing content and exchanging information is the easiest way to build a social media community of people sharing common aspirations.
The important thing to notice here is that you cannot just login on your profile on social media and expect people to read and share the content every time you post it. For that, you need an audience that trusts you and wants to listen to you, and you cannot have a following without recognition and s status among your community.
While building a profile on social media with an aim to be an influencer, you must have the motivation and ability to influence people, but apart from that, some very important steps need to be followed, if you genuinely want to make an impact.
On social media, everyone starts from scratch. Gaining attention of audience and building your network does not happen in a day. You need to be patient and keep looking for the content in your specialty that will resonate. Start by setting up a blog on WordPress or Tumblr and share the content in form of text posts, audiovisuals and graphics. Tumblr is a great way to ensure your presence on social media since most of its users are also part of Twitter and Facebook family. Hence, it can also be used as a merge of blogging and social media presence, serving as an added bonus.
Posting the content that only excesses in quantity is one of biggest mistakes new bloggers make on social media. Focus on quality of the content and the information that matters and then be consistent with it. Keep your blog around the relevant and linked topics so that it looks coherent. For example, if you are interested in social media marketing and feel that you have insights of the topic that you would like to share with your audience, write about topics that are relevant to social media marketing, like “How to devise social media strategy for marketing” or “Basics for starting business on social media”. This not only gives you a very specific and targeted audience but also keeps them interested and wanting more.
Apart from subscribing to other blogs, make sure to share their content on your blog. Keeping tabs of other channels and bloggers helps you in navigating your own channel and plays part in business-to-business interaction. Keep track of case studies and new research published on the same topics that are reliable and worthy of knowledge.
A lot of people and businesses write exceptional content but have problem of getting views against them. The biggest reason behind that is making the mistake of writing content that is not search engine optimized. This keeps your blog buried deep down in the google searches, which in turn results in fewer or absolutely no views, and without viewership and readership of your blog, you really cannot become an influencer.
Once you have your keywords laid out for the blog, incorporate them specifically in the headline of blog. Repeat them in the paragraphs but do not overwhelm your content with the key words only. That way, you will lose focus of all the information that needs to be in the blog.
Instagram is an image and video focused platform only so you will need to convert your text posts in graphics form, or you can opt for audiovisual and videos. Once you start sharing your content across all these social media channels, you will need the analytics to monitor your progress. Analytics are now mostly provided by the platforms themselves, or you always have the option of buying the services of softwares that will do it for you. The analytics are a great way to understand the dispositions of your audience and finding out which media one is top used among them. This way, you can focus on that one platform and use it as your primary channel for influencing, while keeping other as secondary tools for influencing.
While answering the queries, make sure that you use the user name of the asker and tag them, so they receive a notification when you post it. It lets your audience know that you do not take them for granted and take their requests seriously.
Perseverance and strategy are the key to be a social media influencer, but without connections and content, planning does not work. Be well informed on the topic, which you plan to influence people on, and do not forget to check the analytics for your performance.