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Archive for February, 2011

Top 5 Reasons Your Company Should Have A Facebook PageI recently wrote about why a company should have a facebook page instead of a profile – however I noticed that many people visiting the blog had been searching for reasons why their company should have a Facebook page at all.

 

So in this follow up blog post I highlight 5 main reasons for having a company Facebook page.

 

1.  Reach

 

  • There are 600 million users on Facebook (nearly twice the population of  the US);
  • 50% of users login every day;
  • The average user spends 55 minutes on Facebook every day;
  • 70% of Facebook users are located outside the US; and
  • Facebook is available in 70 different languages.

 

It is therefore highly unlikely that none of your target demographic or customers are using Facebook. So by clinging to the excuse that your “customers aren’t on Facebook” and not having a company page, you are missing out on an opportunity to reach both your current and potential customers.

 

2. Engage

 

Facebook offers an important way to engage with your fans on a platform of their choosing.

 

It also allows you communicate on a less formal level; you can discuss news items relevant to your industry or upcoming events, as well as answering direct queries or highlighting particular products or services.

 

Remember however, that Facebook is a completely different platform to Twitter, so don’t set up your tweets to auto publish to Facebook. A high frequency of tweets is important to get yourself seen in the Twitter news feed as generally people on Twitter follow so many people. However on Facebook you should keep the posts to once or twice a day, enough to allow yourself show up in your fans’ news feed but without annoying them by high jacking their entire feed.

 

3. Track

 

Facebook allows you insight into your fans in a way a website just isn’t able to.

 

By using the analytics available through Facebook pages you can see your fans broken down by gender, age, location and languages.

 

You can track your fans interactions with your page to see likes, comments and daily active users allowing you to see which of your posts provoke the most interaction and therefore post more similar items in the future to encourage even more interaction.

 

4. Target

 

You can run adverts which are much more highly targeted than those available on other platforms.

 

Facebook adverts allows you to target specific people based on gender, age, location, education and interests. So for example, if you run a cocktail bar with a ladies night special you might target those who have ‘liked’ Sex & The City or Gossip Girl.

 

Adverts can be used for anything from simply announcing your page and inviting people to like you, to drawing attention to a special offer or inviting people to an upcoming event.

 

5. Search Rank

 

One of the most important reasons however is the impact on SEO (search engine optimisation).

 

As Facebook pages are public they are indexed by the search engines. And, as the search engines have now advised that they are treating ‘social signals’ such as comments, fan numbers, likes etc. as indicators of importance, the more active you are on these social platforms, the better your chance of ranking above your competitors in the search results, meaning more web traffic and more potential customers.

 

 

So what are you waiting for? Go get your company a Facebook page!

 

 

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blog content ideasMany companies now realise just how important blogging is for their business, but can find the idea of regularly coming up with new posts extremely daunting. I previously wrote a post with advice on ways to come up with content for a new blog.

But, coming up with new content after the first few months can potentially be even more daunting than starting a blog in the first place, as all that “low hanging fruit” has already been picked.

Here are 9 easy ways to get you unstuck and help you develop new blog posts.

1.     Repurpose Content

Your company has already produced content in one format or another over the years, so take a whitepaper and turn it into 4 or 5 blog posts, each dealing with one aspect of the paper. Or, publish an old article commenting on the content and how the industry has changed since then.

2.     Keywords

Blog posts are a great way to rank for long tail keywords.  Review your web traffic and see what long tail keywords are bringing low volume traffic to your site and turn it into a blog post.

3.     Solve Problems

Think about what problems your customers have that you can solve for them. Talk to staff and customers to see what new problems are being faced and write about how they can be solved.

4.     Events

I’ve written a few blog posts about webinars I’ve attended and they always get great traffic. Write about a seminar, trade show or conference you’ve attended, giving a synopsis and your own views on the event.

5.     Interviews

Interviews are a great way to develop a post as you can just write the questions and then your interviewee gives you the rest of the content. Interview someone in your industry, or even the manager of one of your departments, about trends in the industry or common problems faced by your target customer.

6.     Polls

New, or unexpected, data can make for great blog content. Take a poll among industry experts, or customers, and write about your findings.

7.     Current Events

Be quick to capitalise on events. For example, bloggers who wrote about the new Facebook page changes within hours, or even a few days, of the changes going live would have received a lot more traffic from people looking for answers that week, than a few weeks down the line when most people have gotten used to the changes. Write about sudden changes in your industry and what they mean for people.

8.     Lists

Numbered lists always make great blog content, not only for the reader, but search engines love list. Compile list of the top trends, changes or people to watch in your industry.

9.     Other Blogs

Reading blogs from your industry can not only help keep your finger on the pulse, but can help develop content for your own blog. Perhaps you disagree with a recent blog post from an industry leader? Write about their post and why you disagree. Or simple discuss an article you did agree with, but add some extra insight.

And don’t forget, when you publish is just as important as what you publish:

  • The best time to publish is in the morning;
  • Blog posts shared on social media in the afternoons are retweeted most;
  • Posts published on Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays get more views and links; and
  • Posts published at the weekends get more comments.

 

If you have any great tips of your own  for coming up with blog content, please share them in the comments below.


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Call Centre Burn Out: Cold Calling Is A Waste Of TimeYesterday I received an (unsolicited) email from a marketing firm telling me how great cold calling is. They assured me that “cold calling is very effective for sales lead generation when executed properly” and “it is a known fact that the phone is still a powerful and effective lead generation tool.”

 

This is a firm who say they have been in marketing for 15 years and yet they:

(1) emailed me without permission (don’t get me started – permission marketing is a post for another day)

(2) had a link to ‘top tips’ and ‘white papers’ in the email which was broken (and further search on their website revealed neither to exist); and

(3) they not only seem to believe that cold calling is still the way to go, but apparently, it’s a “known fact” that it’s the best way to generate leads.

 

There were so many things wrong with the email from top to toe – and from a marketing company to whom others outsource their campaigns no less! – but today I’m going to deal with the supposed effectiveness of cold calling.

 

The Joys of Cold Calling


I think even those who champion cold calls will agree that:

 

1)     Putting together call lists are either very time consuming or expensive (or both);

2)     Most of the time the caller doesn’t want to talk to you – and often you can’t even get past the gatekeeper;

3)     Making so many calls is extremely time consuming (and disheartening); and

4)     Cold calls have a very low success rate.

 

You even run the risk of annoying those who could have been potential customers had you approached them in another way.

 

A little internet surfing revealed that the stats for cold calls were not encouraging:

 

I’m not saying that with perseverance, and a lot of time, you can’t secure some meetings through cold calling, but at what expense? Staff have spent time and energy convincing a handful of people to agree to a meeting and that’s it, there’s no guarantee sales will come of it and there’s little to show for all that effort.

 

The Alternatives


It’s time to leave behind outbound marketing and embrace inbound marketing.

 

Stop annoying and interrupting people with unsolicited phone calls, advertisements and emails. Start attracting them to you instead.

 

3 key methods for attracting inbound leads are:

 

1)     Search Engine Optimize (SEO)

Optimize your website for your company’s keywords so that you turn up in the search engine results when people are searching for exactly what your company offers.

 

2)     Blogging

Write a blog about your industry and become a recognized source of valuable information. This will attract visitors, inbound links from other websites – which will help improve your search engine rankings too – and inbound queries.

 

3)     Listening

Get involved in the online conversation, in forums, social media platforms, wherever your target potential customers hang out. Listen to what they’re saying and learn from it. Get involved and offer something of value.

 

A blog post in particular can last forever, once it’s been indexed by the search engines it’s there, waiting for someone to call it up by searching for your keywords.

 

Just imagine if your salespeople spent the same amount of time creating content for a blog as they did talking to people with no interest?

 

Think of how many great articles you could have on your website, articles that can be read by any number of visitors – unlike that sales call pitch which is only reaching one person at a time.

 

In short:

 

Create valuable content and you will attract visitors and people who will link to your content from their own site.

 

More visitors and links will in turn boost your search engine rankings, thereby drawing in more potential customers all of which will translate into inbound queries.

 

The phone will ring and emails will arrive, all from people who actually want to hear from you … now wouldn’t that make a nice change?

 

Bonus Feature:

 

HubSpot, the champions of inbound marketing, have a great skit to highlight the point, check out the video below.

 

 


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looking at graph data under magnifying glassRegular readers may remember that back in December I did a post 12 Quick Tips On Blogging which covered a great webinar given by Dan Zarella of Hubspot.

 

Well this morning I listened to Dan’s The Science of Email Marketing webinar and once again came away with some great information and a wealth of actionable ideas.

 

Dan started off by telling us that 88% of people do not have separate work and personal email addresses, something that definitely emphasises the point that even in the B2B world you are still communicating with people; businesses are consumers too.

 

Email Sending Stats

1.    Weekends get higher click through rates

Difference in CTR was actually negligible for weekdays.

 

2.    Thursday is lowest day for unsubscribes

Tuesday was the highest.

 

3.    Click through rate is highest between 6-7am

Lowest at 4pm, but…

 

4.    Emails sent at 4pm have the lowest unsubscribe rate

Highest is at 6am.

 

5.    80.8% of people read email on their mobile phones

So make sure you’re optimising your emails for mobile viewing


6.    More links equals a higher click through rate

More chances that one of the pieces of content you’re providing will be of interest to your readers

 

7.    More links equals a lower unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe link doesn’t stand out as much if it’s not the only link in the email!

 

8.    Best and worst words to use in a subject line

Most clicked included the words:- post; jobs; survey; week’s; e-newsletter; issue; digest; bulletin; edition; giveaway; tips; video; news; monthly: headlines; latest; and updates.

Most abuse reported for those including the words:- confirm; features; upgrade; magic: raffle; requested; rewards; christ; follow-up; 10%; coupon; 15%; discount; savings; and offer.

 

Your Subscribers

9.    People like to feel special

Give people an exclusive reason to subscribe to your email list and then continue to remind them that it is exclusive.

 

10.  Don’t be afraid of sending emails frequently

Once you go over sending emails 4 times per month, there is not a huge reduction in CTR or unsubscribe rate going all the way up to sending emails out 30 times per month. So start communicating more!

 

11.  Newest subscribers

They have the highest click through rate and the highest initial unsubscribe rate, so be sure to treat them well and send them great content.

 

12.  Most people will not share a commercial email

Better to ask people to follow you than focus too much on getting them to share your email.

 

Anyone interested in reading more, check out the #emailsci hashtag on Twitter – 20,000 people registered for this seminar so there was a lot of tweeting!

 

 

Take home message?

Rethink what you thought you ‘knew’ and get testing your campaigns – different times, different days, more often, different subject line words. You never know what will work for you until you try.

 

[UPDATE: The recorded webinar and slides can now be viewed here]

 


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facebook iconOn Facebook people have Profiles and organisations, brands and businesses have Pages.

Why?

1. IT’S IN THE FACEBOOK RULES

According to Facebook’s Terms of Service,

Profiles represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook.

If Facebook discovers you are violating their terms by having an organisation’s page up on Facebook as a Profile they can delete your account and you would lose all your friends, postings etc.

2. PRIVACY FOR YOUR FANS

If you have a profile for your business you may find less people will chose to ‘add as a friend’, because if they do it means they are giving you access to their profile page including comments, friend lists, photos etc.

Although there are some options for people to set up different privacy lists, to allow them be your friend without allowing you access to their full profile, it can be complicated and so most fans won’t want to go down this route. It’s a lot of hassle and probably not worth it for them.

But if you have a Page for your business, allowing fans to ‘like’ you, then they are not giving you access to the activity on their profile page.

3. PAGES OFFER ANALYTICS

Unlike Profiles, Pages offer analytics, allowing you to see how many likes and comments you received each day, as well as demographic breakdowns.

This data will allow you to better understand your fan base and therefore post wall posts which will get the best reaction.

4. UNLIMITED FANS

Profiles have a limit of 5,000 friends.

Pages have no upper limit.

5. SEO CREDIT

Pages offer the means to embed a Like button on any webpage you maintain. So when you post an article on your company blog you can embed the Facebook Like button.

The advantage of this is that likes are now being taken into account by search engines in a way that links are, so by having fans like your Page and your content, you are allowing SEO credit to be passed onto your website from Facebook which will improve your rankings in the search engines.

6. MULTIPLE ADMINISTRATORS

By setting up a Page you can have multiple administrators maintain the Page.

Pages are not separate Facebook accounts and do not have separate logins, but those with personal Facebook pages can administer them from their own account.

Those who choose to connect to your Page won’t be able to see that you are the Page admin or have any access to your personal account.

Still not convinced? Reread reason one.


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Twitter users may have noticed a ‘new’ section was quietly rolled out late last week.

 

The new section, located to the right hand side of profiles is called ‘Connections’ and has replaced the ‘Followed By’ and ‘You Both Follow’ with the newer ‘Also Followed By’ and ‘You Both Follow’.

 

Same information, new name, new location.

 

connections screen grab

 

According to Mashable Twitter advised “We launched this to make it easy for you to see the connections that you have in common with other users … We want to make the Twitter experience easy and enjoyable.”

 

Personally I don’t find the new ‘Connections’ section any more informative than the old set up, it’s just more promptly visible.

 

Twitter seems to be trying to catch up with Facebook, and other social networks, with a greater level of network connection transparency, but it has a long way to go to catch up with the sophistication of Facebook which provides the user with a full page of all interactions with a connection, including when you became friends, the events you both attended, comments, photos and so on. Even the new LinkedIn InMaps which I discussed last week gives a user more insight than ‘Connections’ does, despite the tool being slammed somewhat for its numerous shortcomings.

 

Twitter is a great tool, and is still growing rapidly with 95% of accounts having only been set up in the last 2 years. They appear to be constantly working on their set up as evidenced by this new ‘Connections’ feature and other changes, including ‘new twitter’, a reformatted profile which was rolled out last year.

 

While ‘Connections’ leaves a lot to be desired, at least it is evidence they are looking to improve the transparency of how accounts link to easy other, something which would greatly enhance the Twitter user experience.

 

Have you noticed the Connections section? Do you find it useful?

 

 

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