Get that Connection: 7 Tips on How To Better Reach Your Fans On Facebook

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First you made your Facebook page exactly how you wanted it; it was all set to be consistent with your brand and you were ready to promote your business.

Then Facebook users started liking your page, essentially subscribing to everything you would post. You get to share your great content with them, and they don’t have to pay. That’s great!

But what happens next?

It can be difficult enough trying to get people to your page and then to like it. The work isn’t over then, though. You have to continue to keep users engaged, and even more importantly, make sure that your posts are reaching and being seen by as many fans as possible. Here’s 7 tips how to do that, organically and paid.

1) There’s a Decline in Organic Reach

This, unfortunately, has been a consistent and steadily increasing reality.

Even with all the paid methods, organic reach isn’t necessarily a bad approach if it is used as part of your whole plan.

I say part of your plan however, because pages only organically reach a very small percentage of their fans. By part, I mean a small part. It shouldn’t be ignored, but marketers are now going to need to be willing to utilize other tactics as well.In April of 2012, it was announced that only 16% of fans were reached organically.

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This number has been continually falling since 2013 (which Facebook has blamed on lack of space in the newsfeeds). This article discusses how the trend of it falling will continue.

When it comes to Facebook and your fans, organic reach refers to the amount of people seeing the content you post; they do so in their newsfeed, without it you paying anything to advertise the posts to them, such as through boosted posts or promoted posts.

With more and more content—especially great content—being generated and shared every day, your page has a lot more competition than it used to. It is both easier for users and more engrained in our day to day lives.

Six years ago, how often did you see people taking pictures of their dinners at restaurants? Now you walk into the Chilis and everyone is taking pictures of their burgers on their smart phones, uploading it to Facebook. It has become part of our culture, and our newsfeed gets easily drowned out.

Not only is the newsfeed more congested, it is also affected by Facebook’s algorithm to determine what content is most relevant to individual users. Even if a user likes your page, maybe the algorithm has decided that one of your fan’s other 152 likes is more relevant to display in their newsfeed.

If you want to increase your organic reach, you can read this article for some ideas on how to do it, but again, organic reach should not be your main strategy. 

Long story short: utilizing organic reach in order to connect with your fans isn’t what it was a few years ago. It can help you reach a very small percentage of your fans, but you didn’t spend all that time (and money if you hired someone) to build your page, content, and likes to only reach a few of them.

The idea is to connect with as many people as possible.

Making sure your page can reach people organically is a good thing, but it should no longer be your main strategy. This article contains a few strategies that fit in with both paid and organic reach.

Knowing that you will likely be investing some money into some portion of Facebook’s ad system is an important realization, just as it’s important to remember that if you do it right, you’ll get a higher return of investment.

2) Post When Fans Are Online

When a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

That’s one of those lifelong debatable questions. What isn’t debatable, however, is the fact that if you post something on Facebook and no one sees it, it has no impact or point. You’ve potentially wasted great content and time.

In order to make sure your posts are seen as much as possible, you should find out when your fans to tend to be the most active. Under your page’s Insights tab, this information is waiting just for you.

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Try to upload posts on the days and times when your fans seem to be most active. Whether you’re using other strategies/ad platforms or not, this is a good trick to increase visibility.

3) Maximize Each Post for Engagement

The days are over that generating enormous amounts of decent and even pretty good content was enough to be considered marketing effort.

Not only could users start to feel spammed, but putting out a ton of ok content on your page makes it harder for users to see the great content that you put out.

It’s hard enough competing with everyone and everything else that’s already drowning out newsfeeds; you don’t want to have to compete with your own page, too.

This doesn’t mean that posts should be few and far between, because you still want your page to be consistently maintained and looking active. Socialbakers recommends one post per day, but no more than two.

It does mean, however, that those great (and potentially slightly fewer) posts that you put out need to be optimized for user engagement. Content that will generate questions, likes, comments, and shares will make an enormous difference.

When you upload each post, the goal should be to get the most interaction as possible, every time.

Part of this means targeting the right audience (see step #4), but part of it means reconsidering the content being distributed.

4) Target the Right Audiences

Yes, just about everyone who legitimately liked your Facebook page could be considered your target audience. Inside that one big audience, however, are all types of subgroups that can be broken down and targeted more specifically.

Facebook Ads has improved drastically over the past few years, constantly adding new features so that you can best reach whatever audience you decide to target.

We talk about the importance of targeting the right audience here at our site. It’s more true than ever.

Using different types of audiences, including Custom Audiences, can help each post and ad reach the most ideal portion of your fans and potential audience. If you’re sending out an ad to your fans asking them to download an app, wouldn’t you want to target (and pay to advertise to) those who hadn’t already downloaded it? Custom Audiences lets you do that– use it.

5) Use Promoted Posts

Promoted posts is one way to essentially push your posts into the newsfeeds of some of your fans.

Promoted posts are something you pay for, but have frequently provided worthwhile results. As with other types of Facebook Ads, you have the option of setting a budget per day or paying cost-per-click. You can switch between the two.

If you want to promote a post, you can do so through the Ads Manager or through Power Editor.

Once you go into create an ad, you will be asked to choose an objective.

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Choose Page Post Engagement, and you will be given the option of which posts it is that you want to Boost. You then go through targeting audience section, and you are good to go.

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Promoted posts, especially if targeted to the correct audience, can result in a substantial boost in your reach.

By promoting your post, you increase it’s visibility, which often increases engagement in turn. As engagement increases, more of your posts will be seen by more users in the future.

To show the incredible results that can come from a successfully promoted posts, I’ll use our site as an example. You can see the impact the promoted post had—having a reach of 400 or 500 before and then skyrocketing to 28.9K, taking engagement along with it.

This screenshot was taken from our Insights page under the "Posts" tab
This screenshot was taken from our Insights page under the “Posts” tab

Want to know the crazy part? It didn’t break our bank in order to promote that post and get those great numbers. It only cost twenty dollars.

Promoted posts work best on your biggest and most exciting news. If you have a new product, for example, that you are excited about and want to talk about, a promoted post would be one good option to broadcast it (in additional to traditional ads).

6) Use #Hashtags

Using hashtags is something we’ve talked about in other blog posts, and it’s something that can be relevant when you’re looking to expand your reach.

Hashtags have heavily started infiltrating various forms of media. Even watching TV now you see hashtags every five minutes on some TV shows (I’ve noticed this trend especially with competition and reality based TV shows like The Voice).

The reason why? Because hashtags link every post about that topic together, sometimes across multiple platforms. After all, we are talking about Facebook here, and hashtags originated on Twitter. Cross-platform advertising is a good thing, especially when looking to expand reach.

Hashtags on Facebook alone lump all posts about a topic together. They turn topics into clickable links. If you’re running a special Black Friday sale, don’t be afraid to hashtag it—someone looking for deals just may stumble upon it. Your post won’t just appear in on your page and in your fans’ newsfeeds, it will also appear on the page of the hashtag you’ve chosen.

You can use hashtags to reach new fans, as well as to encourage engagement and conversation with new fans and old fans alike.

7) Use The Data in Insights

Your page’s Insights (separate from Audience Insights) has a section where you can evaluate how well you’re doing in your attempt to reach your fans on Facebook. You can see your organic reach vs. your paid reach, combined in graphs for overall total reach. Especially with organic reach decreasing overall, your paid reach will likely be much higher than your organic reach.

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Under your “Posts” tab, you can also evaluate the reach of each individual post, as well as measuring its engagement, as we saw above in the promoted posts section. It’s here where you can also access when your fans are most often online.

Using Insights will help you measure how effective your campaigns are as well as how far your reach as extended. As you try different methods to better your reach on Facebook, evaluate their success on Insights.

Target Customers with Facebook’s Custom Audiences

We’re always talking about how to best reach and connect with  your target audience. So much stress is placed on making your Facebook pages and landing pages strong enough to convert first time visitors into long time clients. We are putting huge emphasis on finding new members for our audience, expanding our reach, and continuing to grow.

This is obviously an important task. That’s why there is so much focus put around it.

But what about the audience that you already have? The people who have already signed up for newsletters, subscribed to your blog, or are long term clients: what about them?

You definitely don’t want them falling into the distance. You want to keep the momentum going.

Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool helps you to target the people who are already interested in your business, and may have even made purchases from you in the past. With Custom Audiences, the goal isn’t to target new members of your target audience, it is to get people you are already familiar with to your page. You are further cultivating and strengthening those relationships.

With Facebook Custom Audiences, you get to target individuals who you are already connected with, including those who have just visited your site (see Custom Audience from a Website below). You upload a file with your clients names and phone numbers, or names and emails. It is a relatively unique feature that has no true rival in any other platform as of yet.

You have 100% complete control of who you target individually instead of targeting a random group within a specific demographic theoretically, which is sometimes the case when you’re taking a stab with a broader targeting system (even a really great one like Facebook’s ad system).

For an overview of Facebook’s Custom Audience tool in video form, you can watch our video discussing Custom Audiences here on our youtube channel.

How to Make a Custom Audience

First, figure out who it is that you want to target. This can be clients that are on your e-mail list or have subscribed to your blog, clients that have purchased from you in the past, or even clients who purchased a particular item in the past. If you want to target those who have only visited your website, we’ll get to that in a minute.

Regardless of who you choose, you should try to have at least 1000 users in your custom audience in order to ensure meaningful reach. In this case, the more people in your audience, the better the potential of the ad may be. You want more than a couple dozen users.

After you have decided who you want to target in your custom audience, create a .CSV (this is very important) excel document, which contains the users names, as well as phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook user ideas, or mobile advertiser IDs depending on what works best for you and is most relevant.

When it comes to the formatting of the file, there needs to be a single column of data with no heading.

 

You can create custom audiences in two ways: through the ads manager or through power editor.

If it is your first time creating a Custom Audience, you will need to do so via the ads manager.

In order to do this you:

  • Make sure your .CSV excel document (and list of clients) is exactly how you want them (with single columns and no headings).

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  • Go to Ads Manager, and then go to Audiences. Once there, you will select “custom audiences.”

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  • You then chose what type of audience to create. For this type of Custom Audience, we’re going to select Data File Custom Audience.

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  • Enter in the name of the audience, a description, what data type you’ll be uploading (ie, the clients e-mails, phone numbers, etc), and the file. Press “Create Audience,” and voila! Sometimes it takes a bit of time to upload (up to half an hour), but it’s an easy process when it comes to navigation and uploading.

 Uploading Facebook's Custom Audience

If you are creating your custom audience via power editor, it’s a similar process.

  • Create that same .CSV excel file.
  • Go to Power Editor and click download, which will download your most recent data from the ad system from the accounts you want.
  • Select “Audiences” on the navigation bar
  • Just like above, fill in the information and select “Create.”

After you have created your custom audience, you then always have the option to target them with your Facebook Ads, singling them out with specific campaigns designed just for them.

You can create up to a maximum of 10,000 Custom Audiences depending on where you’re getting the sources from, and up to 500 from data files. That’s a whole lot of potential for gropus to be made.

Don’t feel pressured or limited if you’re unsure of an ad being good for groups or subgroups. Just divide them up all over again, and you’re free to edit and revise custom audiences you’ve already created if you find they need a bit of tweaking after reviewing the statistics in Audience Insights.

Why and When You Should Use a Custom Audience

Custom Audiences are best used to deliver highly targeted messages to a very specific group of people.

With Custom Audiences, you can target people who you have a prior relationship and rapport with, whether that’s on Facebook or off of it. You’re are targeting relevant users in an organic way.

In past posts, we’ve talked about why targeting the wrong people with a great ad is just as useless as targeting them with a bad one. Custom Audience takes finding the right audience one step further.

You aren’t just targeting a group of people who are believed to be in your target audience. You’re targeting actual specific individuals that you know– or greatly suspect– would be perfect for your product, your Facebook page, and the ad campaign that you are going to present to them.

Using Custom Audiences is about better connecting with those you are already at least slightly connected with. This is a relevant audience who is already familiar with you.

These are people who you already know are likely you’re ideal audience: they are already interested in you, your business, or your product in some way. Singling them out directly with highly targeted ads just for them could be enough motivation to get them to take action on whatever your call to action (CTA) is.

Facebook’s Custom Audiences From Your Website

Custom Audiences From Your Website allows you to connect with people who have visited your site or blog outside of Facebook. You then deliver a highly targeted message to them via good ole’ Facebook Ads to get them on Facebook as well.

This allows you to remarket to those who have already visited your website and are therefore likely interested in your company or product.

It also gives you the option to exclude groups of people who have already taken action on your message. You will instead be targeting only specific users who have not yet converted on your message, to whom the ad would be most relevant and therefore most profitable.

You could deliver highly targeted messages, for a few examples, to those who:

  • Added something to a shopping cart but haven’t yet made purchases
  • Seemed to idly browse, looking at a few specific products but didn’t purchase
  • Were looking at information on warranties or returns
  • Were looking into loyalty programs or member discounts.
  • Added items to a wishlist

Website Custom Audiences installs what is essentially a tracker on your site or blog, linking it to Facebook to see who was on your site and what they did there. By enabling a Custom Audience through your website, Facebook will automatically upload the users who visited your site to a unique audience you can target further.

So how do you create a Website Custom Audiences, which takes Custom Audiences one step further?

  1. Go to Facebook Ads Manager, and again, select Audiences on the left navigation bar. Click on Custom Audience.
  2. Click on Custom Audiences From Your Website. How to Set Up Facebook's Custom Audience
  3. After agreeing to terms of service, you’ll end up at a lightbox asking for the Audience Name and their visited URLs. You can put in pages, keywords, or URLs where the pixel will be executed on your site.Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 2.05.31 PM
  4. You can provide negative “doesn’t contain” criteria.
  5. You can select how long you want people to remain in this Custom Audience (it becomes automated, though available for editing later). You can keep this window open between 1 to 180 days. Above, I’ve selected 32 days as an easy to spot example.
  6. After doing this, click on the View Custom Audience pixel link. The result can be seen in the picture above. It’s this part of the equation: Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 2.04.24 PM
  7. Copy and paste the entire and complete javascript into the HTML of every page of your website you want tracked. If you do not do this, there is no audience that will be developed, and it will look something like this:Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 2.06.04 PM

With your Custom Audience of a Website already developed, and once the ads are running successfully with large ROIs, you can use them to create Lookalike Audiences, or an audience with the same demographic and interests criteria that your current Custom Audience has.

For any questions about Custom Audiences from a Website, you can take a look at the official FAQ on Facebook, which answers both general and specific questions about the feature.

Don’t Forget About Audience Insights

Audience Insights is a relatively new—but unbelievably incredible— tool that Facebook has brought to the table, allowing you to know anything and everything about a hypothetical audience.

This is true for traditional audiences targeted through the ad system as well as custom audiences. You can read our post discussing Audience Insights here.

Using Audience Insights, you can evaluate how best to continue to reach your desired audience. Using Audience Insights can give you new ideas to target your audience in new, unique ways that improve upon your campaign instead of letting it fall stagnant.

 

Facebook’s Audience Insights: Why You Need It

Facebook’s unbelievable targeting system can help put your ad in front of the direct audience you’ve chosen to be ideal.

Sometimes, though, the results from these ads come up a little short. Maybe there is little to no interaction, or limited conversion. Maybe click through rates are dismal at best. Either way, money and time and effort can all go down the metaphorical drain all too quickly, even if the misstep is only a slight one.
When this is the case, or even when you are having good results but want more insight and profit, Facebook’s incredible analytics system, called Insights, will give you just that, telling you everything you ever wanted to know about your audience.

Facebook has recently added a new, separate tool called Audience Insights, which can be found via your ad manager.

It is a similar but separate tool from its main tool Page Insights. You can see Facebook’s news page about it here.

This feature focuses exclusively and intensively on everything about different audiences. If you haven’t heard about it yet, that’s ok—it is relatively new, just being rolled out this month. It’s a tool you need to get to know, however, because it will provide invaluable information about your audience for free. This is the kind of information corporations and companies pay huge amounts of money for, and you’re getting it free and on demand. Facebook’s Audience Insights is just as useful for the irregular or newbie Ads user as it is for the pros that have successfully—and profitably—implemented Ads campaigns on a regular basis.

For more on helpful tips implementing Facebook Ads, you can see our beginner’s guide right here at our site. The Audience Insights tool gives you direct access to clear, concise data that can revolutionize everything about your campaign and boost it to higher levels than ever.

This is true whether it needs minor tweaks or a major overhaul. There is always room for improvement, after all. For a great video overview that walks you through a view of the screens step by step, check out our video discussing Audience Insights right  our youtube page.

What Can Audience Insights Tell Me?

It can tell you a lot. A whole lot. And everything that it’s telling you is extremely, ridiculously valuable. With Audience Insights, you can:

  • Build a brand new audience from scratch, or open and edit a previously saved audience.
  • Find out who’s on Facebook. You can filter your audience and learn about demographics, interests, and behaviors of those using Facebook in addition to those connected to your site already and those in different audiences you have created.
  • Compare your audience. Figure out the differences and similarities between your ideal audience, those already connected to your page, and the rest of the big bad Facebook world.

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  • Target the right people. You can create ads and target a saved audience designed specially for it. This can lead to increased conversion and click through rates, making sure that every ad lands in front of the people most likely to respond to it.

With Audience Insights, you can select your audiences and view amazing analytics on each one. With each audience, you can view their:

  • Demographics. This includes Age and gender, lifestyle, relationship status, education level, and job title.

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  • Page Likes. This includes viewing past likes per subject area, as well as projection of pages that are likely to be relevant to your audience based on their likes.

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  • Location. You can see your top cities, countries, and languages.
  • Activity on Facebook. You can see what specific devices are the most frequently used by your audience, as well as what actions they take, such as posts shared, ads clicked, and more. See how often your audience is logging into Facebook and what they’re doing while they are there.

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  • Household Information. You can evaluate the household incomes of your audience, as well as whether they own their home, how large the household is, what the home’s market value is, and their spending behavior.
  • Purchase Behaviors. Needless to say, this is a big one when it comes to having successful and profitable ad campaigns. View your audience’s amount of spending, with what frequency they make online purchases, their purchase behavior, and even vehicle purchase information (and yes, this last particular bit of information may not be relevant to everyone, but it’s a good example of how detailed and specific the system gets).

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A ton of companies have spent big money trying to get this sort of information on determining their target audience as well as how best to reach them. They have focus groups or offer rewards and incentives for customers to complete surveys. Depending on who these groups are consisted of, or who is doing the researching, this data can still end up skewed or just plain wrong even after all that money is spent.

When it comes to Facebook Ad campaigns, they’ve eliminated the need for focus groups. They have all of the needed information broken down into incredible specifics on Audience Insights. It is much more error proof than random studies and focus groups.

All of the information is private and anonymous, but you don’t need specific names in order to be successful with this information. Audience Insights takes the best of both world here, however. Customers get to retain their privacy, and you get information about their buying habits as a whole without crossing into any murky grey areas customers could feel violated by.

How to Create an Audience

Facebook’s Audience Insights makes creating and researching audiences a fast and simple process. It will continue to make everything about advertising on social media easier and more profitable than ever.

You can learn just about everything you ever wanted to know about those connected to your business (or those that you want to be connected to your business), all at the click of the mouse.

On the left side of the Audience Insights page is always an area where you can create an audience in order to evaluate their demographics and statistics.

You can evaluate this audience based on location, age and gender, interests, and connections (people connected to your page, or people not connected to your page, amongst others). These are all the basics of Facebook’s targeting system we are familiar with. All of these are important to narrow down your most ideal target audience wherever relevant.

You may just want to go past basic. You might want to get really, really crazy specific.

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You can now do that. After the basic audience builder, you then have the option for the advanced filter, which includes targeting by:

  • Behaviors, which is the same found in the ad targeting section we’re already familiar with
  • Languages spoken
  • Relationship status, such as single, married, in a relationship, and engaged
  • Education, especially high school, college, or grad school and up.
  • Work. Office titles and job positions can be singled out.
  • Financial status
  • Home status. Whether you own a home, the home’s market value, household size, etc.
  • Market segments
  • Whether or not you are a parent, which can also be narrowed down by the age of the child/children
  • US politics
  • Life events. Just recently engaged? Wedding planners, venues, and caterers just might target you in their advertising campaigns.
  • Device Owners. You can, believe it or not, target as specifically as what type of device users log in from.
  • The miscellaneous “more” category, as if all that wasn’t specific enough for your campaign.

You can also start at the top of the page, where it gives you the option to “create new.”

They ask you to choose an audience to start with, your choices being “everyone on facebook” and “people connected to your page.” If you have one available, you can also choose a previously made custom audience.

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By starting out with viewing everyone who is on Facebook, you can get an idea of how far your reach can go, and comparing them with your target audience can help you understand both how your target audience works and even who to target.

You can use Insights to evaluate those who like your page as well as those you haven’t reached yet. You can always take a look at your competitor’s insights by adding in their page in the “connected to ___” box.

Once you’ve narrowed down what you think is your target audience based on all the available criteria, you can evaluate the statistics.

Does that potential audience make purchases online? If they don’t purchase, but instead have high engagement, consider an ad where the focus is getting likes or comments, or even a free app download, on your page instead of a hard sell for a product or service that they’ll be unlikely to be. Even if they click on it, it does you no good if no results come out of it.

Is your potential target audience often on mobile, or almost never on mobile?

Using this information can help you decide how you want to target that audience, and whether or not the content you’ve designed is right for them.

Once you’ve created your audience (and taken a good look at all of the information available on it), you can save it up at the top in the header where the “create new” tab is found.

After saving said audience, you can reopen it at any time. Go to the “open” tab in order to access all past saved audiences. By hovering over the audience name, such as our example of Test1, you can see an overview of details before even opening it under the preview area.

How to Use The Data

By using Audience Insights and evaluating those who are currently engaged on your page, you might not have too many surprises and have been pretty close to the mark when you had been calculating your target audience.

A lot of times, however, even in strong campaigns, there’s always room for improvement. Audience Insights provides strong, clear data that can provide quick, drastic improvements without a lot of research or money spent.

Too often, advertisers aren’t targeting the correct people. They either get too broad or too specific, or just miss the mark entirely. This is especially true to advertisers new to Facebook marketing and advertising in general.

If you go too broad, your ad will not likely end up in front of your target audience, and if you get too specific, you could miss an entire sector of your ideal customers.

If you’re running an entirely online business, but what you thought was your target audience almost always only buys in person at a brick and mortar store and rarely online, some recalculating would need to happen in your marketing strategy. You’d need to reconsider who your target audience truly is.

Playing with the create an audience section on the side and comparing results can help you get closer to an audience whose needs would best align with what your business offers.

Similarly, maybe after doing research you’ve realized that some of your audience fits into an exact niche that you haven’t quite explored yet. You can base new products, or advertise more relevant products, to them using the Audience Insights data.

Sometimes our target audiences are all wrong. Maybe we got the age, location, interests, or demographics not quite right. That’s ok. There’s a lot of guesswork that can happen it when it comes to marketing, and Audience Insights helps to change and alleviate that.

Certain audiences will be more likely to respond to Facebook Offers than they will be to purchase something outright, while others will be more inclined to download an app.

Now you can make specific ads, with potentially varying goals, for specific audiences. This can increase click through rates as well as conversion rates in one fell swoop, as opposed to sending out one general ad to an audience that might not even be the right one. Your money can be more efficiently and profitably spent. Who doesn’t want that?

Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads

It sounds easy enough. You build your Facebook page, set a budget, pick your target audience and let Facebook do the rest. Right?

Wrong.

A lot of people make the mistake of assuming Facebook will bear the biggest brunt of the work. Nope. That’s still on you. Those that make this mistake are the ones sometimes come to believe that they’ll only lose money instead of make it using Facebook’s Ad system, or that the Ads would only work successfully for big companies.

This isn’t true. There’s a reason there’s so much attention focused on Facebook Ads: they work. You just have to know how to utilize them in order to maximize your profits. In this beginner’s guide to Facebook Ads, we’ll talk about how to do just that.

Why You Should Advertise Using Facebook Ads?

Because it works. That’s why over one million companies are advertising on Facebook, even if they can be an expensive investment. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Aside from the fact that it works, using Facebook Ads can help you get your brand, product, and company in front of Facebook’s enormous list of daily active users—over 1.4 billion. At StatisticBrain.com, there are a lot of numbers that speak for themselves.

  • The total percentage of 18 to 24 year olds with a Facebook: 98%
  • Total amount of minutes people spend on Facebook every month: 700 billion
  • Average amount of time a single user uses Facebook in a month: 15 hours and 33 minutes.
Beginner's Guide to Facebook Ads
Graph from http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/29/facebook-is-a-mobile-ad-company/

 

These numbers are only continuing to climb. From the 4th quarter of 2013 (pictured above), Facebook’s activity has risen from 1.228 billion users to 1.4 billion users.

As of March, Facebook has over 802 million daily active users. That’s a lot of people, and not only would you want to get your ad in front of that many people, it’s pretty much guaranteed your target audience will be hiding somewhere within all of them. Facebook Ads helps you do just this, and they help you do this across multiple platforms and devices with no added effort on your part.

How Does Facebook Ads Work?

Facebook Ads, in the most basic sense, works a lot like most other methods of advertising. You create an ad after determining its purpose and who to target, set a budget for how much you want to spend on the campaign, and then run it.

You first determine the purpose of the exact ad you’re creating. Facebook makes it easy. Do you want someone to click to your website? To install an app? To redeem an offer? Whatever your goal is, Facebook has an option for it.

Beginner's Guide to Facebook Ads
Picking your purpose for your Facebook Ad campaign is the first step.

You then upload images that will display with your ad. Your ad will take form and look something like this:

Beginner's Guide to Facebook Ads

You can set either a daily or a lifetime budget, depending on your needs. Jon Loomer has a great article where he discusses how much you should actually spend on Facebook Ads, which can be found here.

The amount of money you’ll need to spend will depend on how large your target audience is, how much competition there is, and how often you want your ad to run.

There are four different bid types, varying in efficiency depending on your advertising objective, which you can find out more about in a Facebook video here.

  1.  Cost per mille (CPM): Best for getting people to view your ad. You’re paying for impressions, and valuing views.
  2.  Cost per click (CPC): Best for getting people to click on your ad. You’re paying for actual clicks to take users to your Facebook page or landing page, and you’re placing emphasis on actual clicks.
  3.  Optimized cost per mille (oCPM): Best for getting your ad to people most likely to respond to it. This is best for trackable action, and is best if you are placing the most value on conversions.
  4.  Cost per action (CPA): Best for getting people to take an actual action with your ad, such as liking it or clicking a link. You are paying for actions, and you’re emphasizing actions. CPA, when available, is often a strong bidding option.

You can choose to run your ad continuously or for a period of time.

You can choose whether you want your ad to be displayed in the newsfeed or posted on the side of the newsfeed.

You can choose whether or not to have your ad displayed on mobile. It’s almost always a good idea to pick yes with this one. With mobile traffic surpassing desktop traffic, you want your ad to be seen by mobile users, too.

Once you have an ad campaign, you can choose to boost posts, for a fee, in order to get them more visibility. You’re able to monitor how many people have been reached, how much engagement has happened, and then decide how to proceed next. We’ll talk about that more later.

How Specific is the Targeting System?

 It’s as specific as you want it to be. You can target college students throughout the United States for an online textbook rental program, or you can target women ages 18-35 in Tallahassee with an interest in fashion in order to attract them to a specialized boutique.

Beginner's Guide to Facebook Ads

When developing a marketing campaign, a large portion of time and money is spent coming up with content that will appeal to your target audience, as well as how to get your ads in front of said target audience. Facebook makes that easier with their targeting system.

Facebook's incredibly detailed targeting system.
Facebook’s incredibly detailed targeting system.

Facebook Ads has an incredible targeting system. You can select every aspect of who your ad will land in front of. You get to select:

  • Age Group
  • Education Level
  • Gender
  • Areas of Interest
  • Languages Spoken
  • Location (as specific or general as you want)
  • Workplace
  • Relationship Status
  • Behaviors

An owner of a jewelry store might target couples in a relationship, hoping to get a big engagement ring sale. A liquor store would—hopefully—advertise to only those over 21, and likely within a close proximity to their store.

You also have the option of using the Custom Audience and Lookalike Audience features. The custom audience option is a private contact list you upload of particular people you want to see your ad. The Lookalike Audience tool will assist you in advertising to users who are similar to the fans you already have on your page, and users similar to those in your custom audience.

Based on the criteria you’ve selected for the audience you want to see your ad, you’ll be given a Potential Audience number. What this number is telling you is how many people would be in this target audience you’ve selected. It does not mean that they are all guaranteed to see it, however. The actual number of users that your ad reaches depends on both the budget you’ve set and how long your campaign lasts.

Thanks to Facebook, advertising has become extremely targeted. Instead of broadcasting commercials on television of the radio, taking a stab at a few of your target audience within a much broader one, you can make sure your campaign is seen only by those most likely to respond to it. This alone makes Facebook Ads one of the most powerful advertising tools out there—if you know how to use it.

 

Where Does the Challenge Come In?

It’s great to have someone click on your ad, but if they click, you pay, and then that’s it, you’re not paying for anything other than a wasted opportunity.

You want results of some sort. If you’re running an ad to get more likes on your Page, then make sure you’re getting those likes. If you’re advertising a product and looking for sales and conversions, you need to make sure that’s happening.

Unfortunately, for some users new to Facebook Ads, opportunities get passed and both money and time are lost.

Setting your budget to an amount you can actually afford, especially if it is a daily budget, is something a lot of people come to neglect. It’s seems like a small one, but this can end up costing advertisers more money than they intended, bleeding a hole in their pocket.

You will have to spend money on Facebook Ads. It’s like most other marketing campaigns, you have to spend mone to make money. If you’re doing it right though, you should be doing just that—getting ROIs that are worth more than what you’re putting into it.

This doesn’t mean that you have to go bankrupt. That’s the last thing you want, spending too much money on anything you can’t afford. It’s about finding the balance.

So how do you get that ROI?

One of the biggest mistakes we see people making is that they’re not targeting the right people. You saw the list above—there’s a lot of options for your target audience, and a lot of room to get overwhelmed and misled. More than that’ they’re unsure of who their ideal customer actually is. A jewelry company making the mistake of only advertising to women, for example, will miss the fact that men are often the ones buying jewelry for women. They may just have missed their target audience.

When it comes to targeting your audience, you also want to find the right medium. Going to broad won’t land you much in the way of results (as well as costing a pretty penny), potentially displaying your ad to people who aren’t remotely interested. Keeping your focus too narrow, however, may mean that you miss an entire niche of your target audience.

Getting exposure from Facebook Ads is great, but more often than not, we’re seeking more than just exposure. We’re looking for conversions, sales, app downloads, social media engagement, or sign ups for our e-mail lists. Having a landing page or a squeeze page to funnel sales and get the results you’re seeking will help you to get them.

Knowing that Facebook Ads can be difficult to profit from, Ryan has created an e-course on his proven Facebook Formula.

Results from our Facebook Formula
Results from our Facebook Formula

For more information on the e-course, you can check out the introduction video and case studies here for a limited time

How to Know What’s Working and What Isn’t?

Want a way to know what’s working without spending tons of money researching it? There’s a tool for that.

That tool would be Facebook’s incredible analytics system called Insights.

Insights gives you free analysis and statistics of everything that’s going on with your page, including with your Ads campaigns. Getting detailed information about who is seeing what? That kind of data can revolutionize your marketing campaign.

As Facebook says, it’s easier than ever to monitor what’s working and what’s not working with your page, helping you to best decide how to better connect with your audience.

Facebook's Insights
Facebook’s Insights

Insights can be found at the top of your page, above your cover photo. It gives you a broad overview of the data, and offers tabs where you can evaluate your statistics on likes, your reach, visits to your page, engagement and viewership of your posts, and who the people are who are following you.

The Likes tab alone will show your trend of likes—in graph form—including whether they were paid, organic, or later unliked. It also shows you were most of your likes come from; did the likes come from on your page, page suggestions, or ads and sponsored stories? Now you’ll know.

The Reach tab will demonstrate how many people who have seen your posts, and again, whether it was organic or paid.

Visits show how many people came to your page, and how they got there.

The Posts tab shows statistics on which posts not only had likes, but how far many people each one reached and how much engagement occurred.

The People tab gives exact numbers on who your audience is—what gender they are, how old they are, and where they are from.

Using this information, you can eliminate tactics that aren’t working and increase campaign techniques that are.

You can gain better insight on who to target and how to target them—maybe your Facebook ads campaign has shown to be hugely profitable, or maybe not. If not, Insights can help you determine whether it’s your ad that needs work or whether you could be targeting the wrong demographic. While trying new strategies and techniques, monitor your campaign on Insights to keep yourself going in the right direction.

 

 

Mobile Traffic Is Overtaking Desktop Traffic Right Now

We have all seen the projections that show mobile traffic increasing like the true juggernaut that it is, projected to skyrocket right past desktop Internet traffic by this summer. It’s official. It’s happened, and it’s happening. It is now here. Mobile and app usage has now surpassed desktop Internet usage. Mobile traffic is overtaking desktop traffic right now.

For just one second, think about how many times we check our phones. We check it for texts, phone calls, emails, social media, music, apps of every kind, the Internet, our bank accounts, and even the time on our phones.

Field expert Jay Baer says that people check their phones 110 times a day on average. On average. That’s not even on the higher end of the median.

It only makes sense that our on-the-go society has grown fond of an inherently on-the-go technology. With data plans getting both cheaper and more popular, this trend has nowhere to go but up, and you don’t want to lose sales and clients because you’re not technologically up to date.

While some companies have great SEO practices with their full, already running sites (and maybe even their newer mobile sites, too) some businesses either need to get their mobile site up and running, or they can consider new ways to make them even better.

Mobile traffic overtaking desktop traffic is a much bigger deal than just a fun trivia fact. It affects your mobile site and even a part of your online marketing. So what exactly does it mean? Let’s find out.

The Facts

It emphasizes that while desktop users are still checking in consistently at high numbers, mobile users have risen dramatically and caught up with (and yes, surpassed) them. Both technologies are important, however, and neither can be neglected.

 

Data and Graph from Comscore
Data and graph from comScore

 

It’s not necessarily true, however, that users will now consistently reach for their smart phone instead of sitting down at their laptop, because they won’t. It just means that they are more likely to grab their mobile devices than before. Basically, mobile traffic has begun to surpass desktop traffic at least sometimes. Mobile devices include smart phones as well as tablets, which are both designed to be taken and used everywhere. We are now connected to the Internet and each other in ways that we never were before. If you’re sitting on a subway or are in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, you are obviously unlikely to bust out a computer. You are extremely likely, on the other hand, to use your smart phone or tablet, whether it’s to check e-mail, news, or take care of business. Then, when you’re at work or at home, you will likely use a desktop in order to write reports, conduct business, or do large amounts of research.

This graph shows what peak hours are for each type of device.
This graph shows what peak hours are for each type of device.

As shown above, smart phones are likely to be used in the morning when users are on the move, while desktops are used most frequently during working hours, and tablets dominate the evenings. The general idea here: all device platforms are important, and nothing can be neglected. However, since most sites have been focused on desktop users for years, it’s the mobile side of the sites that now have to be caught up.

Have Working Sites For Mobile

Yes, this is a little harder than it sounds. Of course you want to make sure your normal, desktop site functions well for all platforms and browsers, but it’s now important to have a website designed purely for mobile users if you can afford it. What this means is two different sites with two different layouts, which are cross linked to combine them for users.

If mobile users arrive at your full site, automatically redirect them to the mobile version, and, vice versa, offer directions to your full site it has features your mobile site doesn’t. Mobile sites often don’t rankly in the top spots on Google yet, leading users to view the fullsite on their mobile devices, which may offer an inferior experience from a mobile device.

What exactly does a mobile site consist of? As Jakob Nielsen explains, it consists of a bit of cutting back. Reducing both features and content to only what is necessary helps mobile sites in the long run. This does not mean to sell yourself short on products. You can shorten the descriptions of a product or service, but never leave off something that your company offers—if a potential client sees ten products, they’ll assume you don’t have anything else, even if you do. They’ll go look elsewhere. Don’t encourage them to do so. The mobile site will likely have slight cuts in content, but it shouldn’t cut anything crucial to your users.

The designs for a full site and a mobile site will be different, even if you have both sites processed through the same HTML code (more coming on that later!). On Mobile sites, Nielsen suggests enlarging interface elements to “accommodate the ‘fat finger’ problem” which seems to haunt us all. I have a size four finger (the standard size for women is a 7) and I am constantly plagued by that dreadful fat finger problem. Making a site easier to navigate should always be a priority no matter what platform you’re on, but it’s especially true when you’re holding a five inch long phone and have to click on millimeter-sized navigational portals. We’ve all been there. It’s no good. Your site being easy to use is one thing that will keep you from driving away clients, and how easy it is to navigate physically as well as visually has now become more of a challenge.

Having a clean, concise site is important, especially when it’s all on a tiny screen. Lots of graphics are great on desktop, where you have anywhere from thirteen inches to several feet of room for the graphics to show up. Itty bitty phone and tablet? Not so much. Not only can it take up valuable room and make your mobile page look cluttered, it can reduce usability as well as increase loading times. Keeping the user engaged and interested in your site is crucial to keeping them there. Waiting so much as six seconds for something to load with today’s quick networks is enough for users to hit the back button and try another site. Usability should trump flash; anything that isn’t all that necessary needs to be considered on the chopping block.

Utilize Mobile Responsive Sites

A responsive web site (always with the same HTML code) is one that changes its appearance, including its layout, based on the size of the screen that it is displayed on. This can be used to make small text larger on small screens, also helping to eliminate “fat finger” problem. Examples of this are shown incredibly well here. This can include formatting a website to have different or limited information while linking the two sites as one to users. What this means is that instead of focusing one two separate sites (one for desktops and one for mobile), you can link them together, and when you update one site, you’ve updated both. In the long run it can save a lot of time.

Responsive sites can also be easier for a customer to use. It’s easier for users to share and interact with content.

For example, let’s say a user shares a link to your mobile site on social media, and their follower clicks it. They wind up on a site that doesn’t function quite right on a desktop since it was designed for a different device entirely, instead of a site that automatically adjusts its size and content (too many graphics on a smart phone=bad idea) to fit the screen.

Or, they may end up being redirected to another site, causing them to wait through redirecting and loading times. Either option runs the risk of becoming frustrating, and it ends with a potentially unhappy or underwhelmed user.

This can ultimately be detrimental to your SEO ranking. Your SEO can also be hindered running two separate sites because you’ll need to run two separate SEO campaigns for each one. That’s double the link building, double the landing pages, double everything. It can be difficult enough to keep up with SEO as it is, can you imagine doing so on two separate sites?

The good news: responsive web designs are not an overwhelming monetary investment. One website to run, after all, is cheaper than two, especially if you have the added cost of paying someone to run and manage it for you. In most cases, your current existing website can be updated entirely so that you don’t have to start from scratch.

Make Sure Google Sees Your Responsive Site

Want a major benefit of turning your site into a responsive site? Google likes responsive sites. And as we all know, when Google likes something your site is doing, that’s a very, very good thing. It is their recommended configuration when it comes to mobile sites; it is a recommendation so strong, in fact, that it comes bolded on Google’s information page about smart phones.

Google strong recommends responsive sites. In bold.
Google strong recommends responsive sites. In bold.

Part of the reason Google probably recommends responsive sites is because it’s easier on them, but that’s ok, because in the long run responsive sites are also often easier on you, too. As the information page on Google says, “it saves resources for both your site and Google’s crawlers.” Google doesn’t need different crawlers to look over multiple sites to ultimately retrieve the same content, they can just glance over one to find it, saving them valuable time and resources.

As always, make sure that your site doesn’t block any crawls from Google, resulting in the content of your page not registering. Having a responsive site can boost SEO with Google, but only if they can register that you have it!

Incorporate Conversational Searches

For a lot of smart phone users, that phone is in their hand so much you would think it was glued there. Increasingly (as this article says) we are using our mobile phones for just about everything, and phones are adding more features to make this easier to do. One of the most popular (and relatively new) features? Talk to text. Siri. Voice searches. Keywords now need to be though of as how they exist within the context of a phrase or in speech, instead of just as singular entities.

Talk to text can be a bit of a struggle. Sometimes it seems to hear you crystal clear, registering exactly what you’re saying and even spelling it correctly, and sometimes I swear I’ll just be trying to set an alarm to wake up the next morning and Siri will provide me with detailed instructions to the local fire department. We’ve all been there. But still, we continue to use it, even when it butchers our words and phrases horribly because it makes our lives easier.

Because we are speaking directly into the phone instead of typing everything out, our phrasing will be drastically more conversational as opposed to traditional writing and searches on a desktop computer. Punctuation is much more likely to be missing since the talk to text app—at least on my own—isn’t advanced enough to hear commas and periods yet.

Searches will be longer, because who needs to save time typing it all out when you can just say twice as much faster? Users will ask their phones “where is the closest clinic” instead of Googling “urgent care + locations.”

Long tail keywords will be extremely helpful, and remembering to use conversational keywords and phrasing in your SEO campaign can make a difference between gaining new clients or losing them. Marketing and SEO has always been about thinking like your customer to determine what they want. That includes how they’re going to search.

Being able to accurately predict that your customer will use phrases instead of technicalities to search for your business can help you find them if you take that knowledge to heart and apply it.

4 Businesses Doing Online Marketing Right

4 Businesses Doing Online Marketing Right– And What You Can Learn From Them

Every concept is simple in theory. Understanding a concept, however, is very different from actually executing it in reality, let alone executing it successfully. SEO and online marketing are not even necessarily easy concepts to grasp, and especially when you’re first starting out, it can be a struggle to successfully see it through. Some businesses have managed to do just that. Here I’ve compiled a list of businesses doing online marketing right, and they’re doing it right now. Using this, you can learn from the best and implement some of their proven strategies in a way that works for your company.

 

Business 1: Zappos and Customer Service

Zappos is perhaps most famous for mastering customer service.
Zappos is perhaps most famous for mastering customer service.

When you’re not operating exclusively (or at all) out of a brick and mortar based store, it can be difficult to get the personal touch of great customer service. Most communications are done online and via e-mail, so there is little human connection for the most part. It is essential that customers don’t feel that they are working just with a computer, however. What if there’s a problem with the order? What happens if they aren’t happy? Customers won’t buy from you if they don’t think you’ll be in their corner if something doesn’t go quite right, and customer service, unfortunately, sometimes goes overlooked in an ecommerce or online business, and wrongfully so.

If you search for Zappos customer service on a search engine like Google, articles after articles and testimonials after testimonials are stacked up one after the next. It seems like customers are more likely to complain when they’re angry sometimes, but the customers of Zappos have nothing but good things to say. Stories of best men being overnighted shoes when they showed up to the wedding without some, of record breaking ten hour phone calls, of the company paying for section of toll road for a span of time so that people would travel with less stress, are scattered all across the Internet. And there’s more.

Zappos has so mastered customer service that there is even an About.com page titled “Customer Service Lessons from Zappos,” which also has strong examples of personal acts of customer service.  The company’s CEO Tony Hsieh has even written a comic book discussing what he’s learned in the industry.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

Not only have they done so well taking care of their customers that the customers keep returning, the whole world is looking to them as a guide for great customer service.

Zappos tries to give the “wow” experience to each client, trying their best to make sure each and every one of them feel like cherished, valued VIP customers. There have been multiple reports of flowers being sent to customers due to hardships in the customers’ personal lives, like a death in the family or a struggle with a medical condition. They also train each member of their 500-strong call center team exactly what their brand and company ideals are. Whether you’re handling customer service yourself or enlisting someone to take care of customers for you, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same level of dedication to clients. There’s a lot of things Zappos does well, but mastering the personal touch of excelled customer service without any brick and mortar stores is easily what they’re best at.

 

Business 2: Old Spice and Social Media Marketing/Brand Building/Original Content

Old Spice
Old Spice

Everyone has seen the Old Spice man. Everyone knows the Old Spice man. He’s the dream, the guy’s guy and a parody of a manly man. He’s what all guys supposedly aspire to smell like. He’s the face of the “Smell like a man campaign.” He’s that guy! You know, this guy!

Old Spice picked an attractive, masculine looking man plopped him into a hilarious commercial that became overwhelmingly popular, one enjoyed by both men and women no less.

Isiaah Mufasa’s character is speaking to women directly, presenting an oyster filled with two tickets “to that thing you love,” which turn to diamonds. He is a stereotype of the perfect masculine man, picture perfect with abs to envy. This commercial is an incredibly strong example of a brand that has been built well. They came up with original, clever, humorous content to brand their product, and it certainly worked well.

Once the concept of Old Spice Man was recognized as being successful, the company took the marketing campaign to social media. They went right to all their social media platforms (Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook), encouraging users to ask the Old Spice Man questions. Users overwhelmingly complied, submitting their questions before voting on their favorite ones. For example, “how does the white house get…women voters back?” The winners got a personalized video uploaded to YouTube, starring Isaiah Mufasa himself as the Old Spice Man, who answered the most popular questions while never breaking character.

To break it down: Old Spice came up with funny, clever, and unique content that caught watcher’s attention because it hadn’t been seen before. By using humor and wit, along with great casting and writing, Old Spice was able to build their brand around one commercial (though more inevitably followed). They then got users to actively engage and interact on social media (not an easy thing to do), and responded to some of them, giving a more personal touch that made the frenzy even more crazed.

Unfortunately, after the campaign was over, Old Spice let some of the momentum down. That’s something we can all learn from. One time success doesn’t mean we can get on auto-pilot—the momentum has to keep going. Gary Vaynerchuck talks about why the campaign’s results fell a bit flat, mostly due to not taking advantage of the high level of user interaction they had achieved.

Regardless, the campaign itself and the immediate results were huge, so taking a note out of their first page of Old Spice’s book is a good way to learn about how content marketing, brand building, and social media interaction can all overlap into one great marketing campaign.

 

Business 3: Coca-Cola and Social Media Engagement/Brand Building

Coca-Cola has built a strong brand through a variety of ways
Coca-Cola has built a strong brand through a variety of ways

You don’t become the biggest and most popular brand in your industry for no reason, and you certainly don’t maintain that status without some serious, hardcore effort

. Sure, when you have an established name to your business, building an audience isn’t necessarily as difficult as when you’re starting fresh from scratch, but it still doesn’t mean it’s easy. One thing that Coca-Cola does well, however, is managing that audience over their different channels of media (especially social media).

The post that you put on Reddit won’t be the same as the one you post on Facebook, and it will be starkly different than the one posted on Twitter, and Coca-Cola has grasped this concept. While Coca-Cola has kept their brand consistent—which is so important to only ever have one true brand—they have delivered different content in different ways to separate media channels. Kevin Shively talks about some of the differing tactics for each platform of social media in his article here. One example that he mentions is how the company has embraced videos on Instagram more than most, stating that the last four videos have averaged 5.5k in likes and about 90 comments each. That’s huge. Yes, they’re a big brand, but even if those numbers are reduced proportionally to a smaller business, those are still huge and potentially game changing numbers.

Regardless of what platform they are advertising on, however, certain things stay consistent. Having direct interaction and responses to visitors’ questions, comments, and concerns is huge when it comes to brand building as well as building loyalty. If you have massive corporation like Coca-Cola thanking you individually for your post, that will earn them some bonus points in the loyalty department. If you have an audience willing and excited to interact with you, engage them! Respond back! It can make all the difference when it comes to keeping their interest and their business.

The company has embraced new media to advertise on, or has adapted with changes in media. In addition to completely embracing—and successfully marketing on—social media, Coca-Cola has also had major success with content marketing and PR building campaigns.

Their “Share a Coke” campaign will be returning this summer. This campaign allows customers in the UK to get a personalized bottle of Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, or Diet Coke. Customers all over the UK joined in the fun at finding a bottle with the name of a loved one or a friend. When it returns this summer, the campaign will have bottles featuring over 1,000 names. They have added personalized touches, some of the bottles reading “Mum” and “Dad.” The bottles are mass produced, but finding a bottle with your name or the name of a loved one makes it feel personal, establishing a bond between you and the brand.

Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke"  Campaign
Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign

Coca-Cola recently had a campaign in which they developed “Small World Machines.” These machines were essentially video chat terminals, which allowed Indians and Pakistanis to connect with each other, live. The machines encouraged members of the differing countries to touch hands via the screen by tracing designs or patterns on the machine. This showed Coca-Cola’s intent to give back internationally. As one of the men in charge, Jeff Benjamin said, “It’s putting love and heart into the world through brands and making that brand stand for something in a way it hadn’t before.” Well said, Jeff.

Showing interest in your community, no matter how far that reach may be, can make leaps and bounds of difference when it comes to brand building. Showing the fruits of your labor via social media networking and truly embracing all marketing platforms while doing so can build a stronger brand. Coca-cola has continually managed to utilize these concepts, and combined with great content, strong customer interaction, and some good deeds, they’ve secured their place at the top of the industry as a magnificently successful corporation.

 

Business 4: Black Dog Café (Tallahasse, Fl) and Brand Building/Social Media Marketing

In a starkly different example from Zappos and Coca-Cola, a great small business example of strong social media presence is Black Dog Café in Tallahasse, Fl.  It’s a small coffee shop on a beautiful lake where I loved to study when I went to Florida State, and I found them through Facebook. They are environmentally friendly and extremely involved with the community. They host events like literary nights, helping them fit into a niche that’s extremely prevalant in Tallahassee, especially with one of the best writing schools in the country.

Post by Black Dog Cafe, showcasing their local events
Post by Black Dog Cafe, showcasing their local events

 

They also keep the community up to date on other events in the Lake Ella shopping strip, reminding followers of Food Truck Thursday and when the farmers market would be available. They are big advocates of buying local food, reiterate those ideals on Facebook. They support the surrounding community’s events, gaining them good favor with everyone in it. Simply put, they have successfully found their niche, build their brand around it, and have learned how to market to it directly.

bdc3

Black Dog is a huge advocate of supporting local farmers and businesses
Black Dog is a huge advocate of supporting local farmers and businesses

 

Added bonus: to anyone living in the panhandle area, Black Dog really does have the best coffee I’ve ever had.

 

It’s Not Just About Big Businesses

Yes, three out of four of these companies are big names, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a mega corporation or that you need their resources in order to implement the ideas behind them. Great customer service can be implemented by anyone willing to go the extra mile and a half for each and every client (and no, this isn’t always an even remotely easy thing to do). These concepts can all be implemented on small scales successfully. Black Dog Café, for example, has a strong Facebook presence that’s well executed and well followed. The concepts are all the same—it’s up to you to customize them to fit in with your field, your clients, and you.

SEO and Online Marketing Changes for 2014

The most consistent part of SEO, as we all know very, very well, is that it is constantly evolving. It’s a simple statement, but it’s a big one that we have to remember to prevent ourselves from getting too comfortable if we think we’re doing it right.

While most of the basic concepts evolve more slowly (link building is still good!), specifics factors within general concepts may be changed (Google can now spot you spamming your own link instead of link building organically). These specifics can directly and quickly affect overall success, especially once the larger concepts start to evolve as well. SEO has already started changing this year—and still is.

Read on to find out what me and my Edmonton SEO company friend have decided will be the SEO and online marketing changes that are happening and what you need to know when it comes to updating your search engine optimization skills in 2014 as well as a few things to keep doing right.

More Traffic is Coming From Long tail Keywords

Individual words used in posts or tags as keywords are called short tail keywords. Long tail keywords are phrases, often detailed in exactly what the page is. Utilizing long tail keywords can help you reach your client more quickly, and can help you end up in front of your target audience more directly.

Example: let’s say you’re searching for a fried catfish recipe. If you Google the word catfish, you get about 10,100,000 results. The first result that pops up is about the Catfish TV show. The second is the wikipedia page for the Catfish TV show. The third is the wikipedia page for the actual fish. On the entire first page is not a single recipe.

The First Page of Results
The First Page of “Catfish” Results

If, on the other hand, you search for “fried catfish recipe,” you end up with about 313,000 results, and what you’re looking for starts at the top of the first results page! Added bonus: Google has sorted through them all, so the most tried and highest ranked recipes even show up first!

The First Page of
The First Page of “Fried Catfish Recipe” Results

As a user who has figured this out after a search or two, would you search for “catfish” or “fried catfish recipe?” You would use the whole phrase, aka the longtail keyword. This part of SEO reverts to the “think like your customer” rule.

Not only does a longtail keyword tend to put you in front of your direct target audience and helps you to not get lost in the abyss of the Internet, there’s another huge and understated advantage to using them.

If someone types “book” into the search engine, they could be looking for anything. They could want a romance novel, a classic novel, a cook book, or anything else ever published. They might not even really know what they want yet. Someone who, on the other hand, searches for “3rd edition Bleak House by Charles Dickens” is looking for something overwhelmingly specific. They know exactly what they want, and they are much farther along in the buying cycle. You want as much traffic to get to your site as possible, yes, but you also want your visitors to be as far along in the buying cycle as possible. Using longtail keywords helps you do just this, telling search engines exactly what you are, what searches your website is relevant for, and what audience to put your page in front of.

You Can’t Trick the Algorithm

The algorithm got smarter. Google engineers are constantly working on improving the algorithm, and they’re consistently doing just that. It’s one of the biggest parts of what makes SEO such a challenge to keep up with over time. You can no longer trick the algorithm into thinking you’ve done some strong link building when you’ve just spammed your site a bunch of times—it can now spot it and actually reduce your ranking because of it.

Google’s current algorithm incorporates version 4.0 of the panda update. It has just recently been released, and was designed in order to prevent sites with lesser quality content from ending up in high search rankings. As discussed in an article by Barry Schwartz,

“Panda 4.0 must be a major update to the actual algorithm versus just a data refresh. Meaning, Google has made changes to how Panda identifies sites and has released a new version of the algorithm today.

Is this the softer and gentler Panda algorithm? From talking to Google, it sounds like this update will be gentler for some sites, and lay the groundwork for future changes in that direction.”

Even if they aren’t uploading major overhauls, Google is constantly applying updates to their algorithms, ensuring that what they consider to be the best quality sites are the ones actually making it to the top of their results page.

Social Media Sites Have Become Search Engines

More and more people are using social networking sites as search engines. Done right, social networking sites can not only successfully drive traffic to your site in high volumes, they can also be essential to helping you build a stronger brand than ever.

Users are now sometimes looking up a company on Twitter or Facebook before they try to Google them. Not only does this reiterate how crucial it is to take advantage of the opportunity that is social networking, it makes a big statement about brand building. Users want to see the personal touch, the up close and personal look into your business that they are (or believe to be) more likely to see on your Facebook page than anywhere else. This is the part where SEO starts to get more personal—when the users want to get more personal and start basing their searches off of that.

Use marketing strategies designed for social networking sites in order to boost interest in your page as well as your social media search engine rankings. I Some experts actually believe that social media marketing may surpass SEO in terms of finding new clients. n the long run, with people using Facebook and Twitter instead of Google, making sure you’re ready for your customers in whatever way they want to reach you can make all the difference in the world.

Target Topics, Not Necessarily Keywords

Again: think like your customer. A customer doesn’t necessarily think in keywords. Keywords, as established by just about every SEO resource available, are still hugely important. I’m not saying not to use them and not to put emphasis on them, because (at least for right now) you definitely should. But we also need to expand our thinking past just using keywords and letting that be it. By focusing on keywords, you are focusing on rankings, which is understandable and not entirely wrong. However, putting more focus on topics means you’re putting more focus on customers.

SEO has always been trying to be ranked the highest for the keywords you choose. That’s still important. Sometimes, however, as Rand Fishkin puts it, this can lead to ignoring content, social, and email marketing opportunities. He has an incredible video (and transcript below) talking about why focusing on a topic instead of individual keywords can help revolutionize your SEO campaign. He discusses using groups of keywords and phrases to focus on one topic, as well as creating good content and improvement instead of focusing on pumping out landing page after landing page.

Content Is Valued Higher Than Ever

This stays consistent with the trends seen in recent SEO history. In order to achieve high search engine rankings, your site absolutely has to be content driven, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Utilize social networking sites to distribute content marketing efforts; if your content is good, users will share it and distribute it on their own.

Again, the new Panda update to the Google algorithm was designed, first and foremost, to weed out poor quality content from resulting in the top search engines. It doesn’t matter so much anymore that you have mediocre content that’s not relevant—it won’t cut it for the top results page.

Blogs are just as essential as ever. Just as with social networking, the key to a strong blog is good content that’s uploaded frequently. Blogs help you build your brand, get to know and talk more directly with your audience, and establish your credibility and expertise in your industry’s field.

It’s also important to make sure your content consistently includes strong keywords. This includes using variations and different phrasings of keywords, making sure your basis is covered no matter how your customers try to search for you. This has been true, but its importance has increased as more and more people are successfully incorporating keywords into their URLS, headlines, and content.

Content shouldn’t just be really good, it should also be of relatively substantial size now. Search engines are increasingly favoring content when there is more of it. Articles and blog posts should a minimum of 1,500 words (1,000 if you’re really stretching). After all, it’s easy to get together a couple hundred words for a post—it takes much more time and dedication to get over 1,000, and priority here is given to time and effort.

More People Have Gone Mobile

I was against smart phones forever (largely due to cost), and I finally even caved in and got one. While I still prefer a desktop or a laptop if it’s available to me, I (like a lot of people today) am constantly on the go and end up using my phone for all kinds of things. I can download a recipe right in the grocery store if I’ve forgotten my list, and use conversion sites to figure out how to make a dinner for six a dinner for three, all in under a minute. More importantly, of course, I’ve made online purchases via my phone.

Technology is changing rapidly, and we’re becoming an increasingly mobile world. An article on CNN  reports that usage of mobile apps has surpassed PC internet usage as of early 2014. It is now mandatory that your site is accessible to mobile devices.

Creating apps for your site can be helpful for customers, but first and foremost test your site. You should either have a version of your site designed solely for mobile users, or make sure that your current site operates on all versions of mobile devices (tablets and smart phones included) and as many browsers as possible (Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc). Not having your site accessible to mobile devices means you’ll lose business, and a lot of it.

When you design your mobile site, use the practices you already do to increase SEO ratings. Utilize link building and keyword heavy text and headlines. Use standard coding (html) and have relevant descriptions of your site.

What To Keep Doing Right

So we know now what needs to be tweaked and toyed with in 2014. What you’ve just read is a list of things to either completely change or adjust a little, depending on where your SEO campaign currently stands. That’s all well and great, but what about everything else we already know about SEO?

The good news is that a lot of factors SEO, despite the reminder that it is always changing, have stayed relatively the same. At least for now it has, anyways!

  • Organic link building still takes time
  • Link building is still important. It still reflects on credibility and quality.
  • Search engine optimization in general still takes time, and there’s no rushing it and doing it overnight. Don’t try. Just don’t. It’s a long process, but a worthwhile one.
  • Website crawlability is still important to ensure your website is ranked well.
  • Keyword research as remained stagnant. We lost Google’s Keyword Tool, which was replaced by Google’s                    Keyword Planner (which is only for those with Adwords campaigns), but there are still lots of other good tools out there like Wordstream
  • You still want to put keywords in a lot of places. URLS, headings, tags, and several times within the content itself. Even though emphasis has to be put in other places too, keywords are still crucial to SEO.

8 Fantastic Ways to Make The Most Out of Google Adwords

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            Google Adwords is a hugely popular method of advertising, and for good reason. Despite other engines like Bing trying to give them a run for their money, Google is still the most popular and frequently used search engine. With search engines dictating Internet traffic, being able to advertise through them and get your business seen holds insurmountable promise.

Google Adwords advertisements are the featured links that pop up on result pages whenever a user hits their search button. The ads pop up first, above the other results, and are easily detected by the yellow box labeling them as Google’s advertisements.

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You pay on a cost-per-click basis, meaning you’re only paying when someone clicks on the ad that takes them to your site (likely a landing page designated for this purpose). You get to reach people quickly (showing up at the top of their queue) exactly when they’re searching for the keywords that would ideally lead them to you in the first place. It’s seems like an obvious choice when it comes to boosting your advertising campaign, but it’s easy to drown when everyone else is rushing to utilize Adwords too. Following these tips can help you make the most out of Google Adwords, optimizing your chance at seeing positive results and making good use of your hard earned money.

1) Use the Right Words

Paying the most money and popping up first in search results that don’t directly match what you’re wanting to advertise is money wasted. When it comes to Adwords, or anything in marketing, you’re looking for the highest conversion rate to sales possible. So what if you get a ton of people to click on your link but none of them are your true target audience and none of them buy? You won’t see any money from that except what’s slipping out of your wallet to pay for the Adwords campaign.

Think like your customer. How would your target audience find you? Would they be searching for something broad or specific? In general, using a mix of broad and very particular keywords can increase profitability, but put the most emphasis on the way your audience will find you? Will they search for “shoes” or “stilettos?” If you sell only very high heels for women, it doesn’t help if people click on your link when you’ve advertised “shoes” and they’re only looking to buy kids’ sandals. That was a hopeless click, one you’d paid for but will see nothing profit from—almost guaranteed.

Using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, or a tool like Wordstream, you can appropriately plan search network marketing campaigns. The Keyword Planner is a free tool; you simply need to log in to your Adwords account to access it. You can see how many people are searching for different words and phrases, along with how many competitors may be using them. Picking the right combination of words (often lower competition search words, which cost less and increase your odds of appearing higher) that your target will search for is key.

2) Use The Tools Available To You

If you want to be successful, you always want to use the resources available to you—especially if they’re free! I mentioned two of these resources above.

The Google Adwords Keyword Planner has essentially replaced what used to be Google’s Keyword Tool. You can search for keywords and phrases to get an estimate of how well they will succeed as a Google ad. It can help you get creative with new ideas and restructuring old ones, and it can help you decide what bids you want to place and how to budget your campaign. All of these are extremely helpful features worth investing some serious time and consideration into, and the Keyword Planner makes it easy.

The Keyword Planner is free, but again, only accessible to those who have already signed up for an Adwords campaign. While this is all well and great if you have, in fact, signed up for one, it’s not much help if you’re just considering whether or not to make the leap. For those who are just starting to consider it or for those who are looking for extra research to expand upon, there are other tools available. Wordstream (again, mentioned above) lets you test out 30 keywords for free. It can help you to group your keywords, or to reduce the results into your niche market.

Keyword Spy is another tool that will actually reveal your competitor’s seemingly most profitable keywords, allowing you to skip a few steps and learn from their past mistakes and current successes. When it comes to competitor research, this is a knowledge goldmine. While they only offer ten free results, getting the edge of your competitors and an inside glimpse at their copy may be well worth a few extra dollars.

3) Location, Location, Location

You can now utilize the Geo-targeting feature to display ads solely to users searching from a specific region. You can make this a city, a zip code, or a radius surrounding a location. If you have a car wash in Alabama, it’s likely not going to be too profitable to display your ads to users in Wisconsin. Especially if you’re a local business with products difficult or expensive to ship, take advantage of ads displayed by location.

Adversely, you could utilize the geo-targeting feature to target users outside of a certain region. Are you looking to expand your client base outside your current region? Test advertising special promotions, giving them an incentive to give you their business.

4) Quality Will Always Be Important

Part of how Google decides your ad’s rank is keyword match, and part of it is based on the amount of money you’re bidding on a keyword. Those factors are easy concepts to grasp, and ones that are relatively easy to control. Quality score, however, also affects how Adwords will prioritize your ad, and it can be a much longer process to get a good one than it is put money on a bid.

Quality score is important for a lot of reasons. It determines your cost per click. Once you multiply your quality score with your maximum bid, your ad rank is determined. Your score is dependent on multiple aspects, such as landing page quality, relevance (of keywords, landing pages, ad text, etc), click-through rates, and the history of your Adwords campaign. The click-through rate (CTR) is thought to be the most important part of the equation, but the exact algorithm is unknown. Regardless, you’ll have higher CTRs if your overall quality is high and you’ve chosen your keywords and ad text carefully. Even a small change in quality score can have a huge impact on your ad’s ranking.

Overtime, getting your ad in front of people who click on it will make a huge difference. When they see that your ad is getting people to click, Google rewards you with lower costs and higher rankings. Until then, however, focus on the quality score (which is probably what gets people clicking in the first place!) to get you to a place of higher ranking and higher conversion rates.

5) Set Limits to Your Budget

You can set your budget on a daily basis. Do this. Especially if you’re running more than one campaign, it’s easy to watch a few pennies turn into a wad of dollar bills emptying from your bank account. Be realistic about what you’re willing to spend in a given month. What can your company afford, especially if there ends up being – for whatever reason – little profit from the Adwords campaign? Adwords will automatically show your ads more on days where they calculate there will be higher traffic, but the added cost will be balanced out on a slower day they will display your ads less.

Adwords even has a helpful page talking about budget. You can see examples of how they recommend breaking down a budget based on desired results.

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Adwords offers suggested budgets (which you can choose to ignore as you wish), but regardless of whatever budget you use, don’t go on autopilot and completely forget. Not only will your campaign need revamping in the form of keywords over time, it will likely also need a reconsidered budget (if only to tie in to the new keywords). If you set your daily budget and mentally walk away, you could end up losing money on ads that aren’t being profitable, or you could have your budget too low to do you any good and lose business because of it. Either way, check in frequently to reevaluate whether or not an adjustment in your budget limit is needed.

6) Try Day Parting

The practice of day parting is running your ad only during specific times or on specific days. Some businesses prefer to have their ad displayed only during their own business hours, finding that it leads to higher conversion rates (this is only true for some businesses, not all). Running ads during peak hours or on peak days will lead to higher conversion rates, and turning them off can help keep business running smoothly if you get overwhelmed at those times already. Often, Adwords campaign users utilizing this option choose to run ads at peak times in hopes of getting more traffic as well as higher CTRs and conversion rates. It’s all about the demands and availability of you and your business.

7) Have Your Landing Page and CTA Ready

Having a quality landing page is not only important for the quality score, it’s also important because a good landing page will hopefully increase conversion rates. Having a page designed for the sole purpose of a potential customer starting right there on your site is crucial to capturing their interest (or information for a long sell). Your landing page needs to be accessible to home computers as well as tablets and other mobile devices—the world is going mobile, and being incompatible with different browsers or devices will cost you business. Place a clear, concise call to action (CTA) on the page, telling the customer exactly what it is that you want them to do. Make sure that the landing page is not only outstanding quality, but also relevant. You can have the most beautiful landing page in the world, but if it’s not the most appropriate one that’s tied to the ad, you’ve just wasted both an opportunity and money. The landing page is the first glimpse they’ll get of your site and possible your company and product—it has to be what they searched for, or they’ll go looking somewhere else.

8) Test, Adjust, Repeat

You know how shampoo bottles always tell you to lather, rinse, and repeat, and the repeat is entirely unnecessary unless you decided to go swimming in mud? It’s not here. Repeat over and over and over again after you’ve tested and modified your keywords.

Keywords campaigns start, at their best, as really smart guesses. They may be backed up by data and research and tests and your own personal experience, but the truth is that you’re taking a stab at something in the dark. Time and testing will be the only real indicators of what’s working and what’s not, and continuing to test is crucial because what’s working right now might not work next week. Even the ads that have the highest CTRs might not have the highest conversion rates. Again, it doesn’t matter much if someone gets to your site and they will never buy.

Adwords and tools like Google Analytics (which is an outstandingly helpful tool you should absolutely take advantage of, regardless of your Adwords campaign) give you all kinds of information that will allow you to determine which keywords are leading to the highest number of clicks and conversion rates. Figure out which keywords are converting best, and either adjust the ones that aren’t working or get rid of them all together. Even if you think your ad is perfect, test different versions of it and see which has the most profitable results.

Build Trust in Your Brand Using Social Media

Building trust and rapport with customers (and potential customers) is crucial when you’re creating and reinforcing your brand. It converts visitors into new clients and existing customers into loyal ones. Social networking sites are more up close and personal by nature, and constantly updating Facebook and Twitter with blatant advertising isn’t the way to build trust in your brand. Using social media, you can take advantage of the personal touch it provides to build confidence and faith in your brand and your company, ensuring that you’re taking yourself accountable for creating a great company and fantastic products.

Good Content

This is the ubiquitous rule when it comes to any kind of marketing campaigns, especially with social networking sites, and it’s true when it comes this. Having good content is essential when you’re building your brand as well as when you’re building trust in it. Having meaningful content posted on your site will keep people checking back. The more they know about a company, the more they will likely grow to trust it, assuming you’re able to hit some other areas of this list.

Tell a Story

This applies to good content. Telling a story can help shift a perspective from statistics to examples. Most people don’t bat an eye at the statistics because all they see is numbers. With a story, however, people become quickly and deeply invested in the life of someone else; the statistics have names and faces and whole lives and families. If you walk into a jewelry store looking to have your grandmother’s diamond reset into a custom ring, you don’t want to necessarily hear that they do three custom pieces a week. You’d feel much better, however, if you saw pictures of the three carat, pear shaped diamond pendant the jeweler made from scratch the week before, especially if the happy owner was wearing it and grinning from ear to ear. Posting these pictures and the customer’s story on Facebook (maybe she just had her 30th wedding anniversary!) will give viewers confidence in your product and see that you care about your clients enough to care about their anniversary. Win-win.

Overtime, your customers will hopefully start to share their stories, likely (hopefully) posting a thank you note or a picture at the bottom of it. Other clients indirectly assuring new or potential customers that you’re company is worth doing business with is a huge asset for you. Make sure you take advantage of it, graciously thanking the customer for their post.

Be Transparent

Honesty is the best policy. Or at least, being transparent with clients is the best policy. The Internet has officially changed the world, and nothing is really private anymore. News and ideas spread faster than ever before. Even the not so important ones, like the “Had such a craving for a diet Pepsi!” tweets and status updates we’ve all seen. This, like the story telling, can help people see your brand and your company as having real people behind it. Whether this happens through story telling, apologizing for mistakes, or encouraging customers to share their experiences (thanking them for praise and offering solutions and apologies for the bad), transparency creates trust.

Perhaps the most difficult struggle with transparency comes into play with the critical remarks that surface about your product or company. You will almost certainly be criticized, whether it’s justified or not. Unhappy people are more likely to go on the Internet to speak their minds than those who are content and happy. While it’s never easy to hear negative remarks about something you’ve put your soul into, it’s better to guide that conversation towards something productive instead of snowballing into something truly harmful.

Be Involved

It’s important to show that you care about more than just selling your product. Being part of your community is crucial to building a community for your business. People like businesses that show social responsibility and give back, whether it’s time or money. It doesn’t have to be on such a monumental scale you go bankrupt, but make sure it’s an effort proportional to your business and brand. Large chains like Kay Jewelers are able do this on a massive scale (last year providing St. Jude’s with a check for 4.8 million dollars). Every time a customer makes a purchase, they are asked if they want to donate to St. Jude’s, and at several points during the year, small gifts (like stuffed animals and mothers day cards) are sold with the profits going entirely to St. Jude’s.

On the scale of a small local business, Sizzors Hair Salon in Florida hosts events like purse auctions, where women drop off their “gently loved” handbags and they are auctioned off. Drinks are provided, participating members get a discount on their next haircut, and all the proceeds go to charity. With a little effort, you’d be surprised what events or products you can dream up to help both a charity and your marketing campaign at the same time. After all, if people check in at your event or mention it, that’s free advertising.

Make sure that on Facebook, you’re not only posting pictures, thank you’s, and success stories for these efforts, but also that you’re advertising them. It can increase your success, and it can show how much effort you’re putting into helping your community. If you make it easy and beneficial to participate, everyone will be just as excited about it as you are.

Be Appreciative

Thank your users for answering questions (even if it’s a general post). Thank users for kind comments or tweets on your page. Thank coworkers or fellow experts who assisted you in any way. Thank you to everyone who came out to your event for charity. Showing gratitude and sharing credit where due is a good way to show potential clients that you value everyone who’s helped you get to where you are and everyone who is helping you now. People like to be appreciated.

Say thank you. It’s really as simple as that.

Interact With Users

Social networking sites are designed to be social. In other words, for people to interact with each other.

People don’t get on Facebook to choose where they want to buy their insurance or to find lotion. They go on social networking sites to be entertained. They want to have fun, so give them something fun! Make sure that you’re updating frequently to keep their interest, but quality is always valued over quantity. Create videos (posting them on all of your social media sites for best access) that are entertaining for people to watch. If you have apps, share them and advertise them (but not shamelessly or repeatedly). Offer information on new products in a fun, lighthearted (nonaggressive) way. Every so often, have a contest or a sweepstakes where people have the chance to win a prize if they do something in return for you. People like to be entertained, and everyone loves getting something free. When someone responds, respond back. Turn it into a conversation instead of a post. All of these methods encourage users to interact with you.

Being able to incorporate both cleverness and humor can be hugely helpful in gaining customers interest. Being able to make someone laugh helps give your brand a more personal feel, and being on social media shouldn’t overtly be strictly about business. Getting people to laugh can build relationships and rapport, which is an enormous step in getting someone to have trust in your brand.

Share Plans

Let’s say you and your significant other need a new car and have decided to go with a Prius Hybrid for the gas mileage, but your significant other shows up two days later with a Mercedes (which, yes, is a beautiful car, but not so nice on the gas). Are you going to be particularly pleased? No. No you’re not.

If your company is ready to make some changes, let the world know and be excited about them. Maybe you’re going to expand and open more stores. Maybe you’re going to start carrying a new line of products. If you share the news, customers will feel more in the loop and instead of feeling like something has been sprung on them. Sharing your news yourself also lets you guide the conversation and pick the tone you want to go with instead of letting someone else choose it for you.

Teach Instead of Sell

Social media is not the place to attempt the hard sell. You’ll get yourself unfriended, unliked, unfollowed, and blocked faster than you can ask if they’d like to go ahead and make that purchase today. Repetitively spamming followers with the “exciting opportunity” to make purchases is exactly what you don’t want to do.

By taking the time to advise and teach your followers instead of trying to sell them something, you’ll gain more of their trust. You are, after all, helping them out by giving them reliable information when someone else is just trying to get money from them. Provide links to your blog that answers questions, make how-to videos, answer questions with thought and detail, and create how-to videos. Not only does this show your interest in helping your clients, building that relationship and that trust, it also demonstrates your expertise and reaffirms your expert status in your chosen field. Having customers trust your advice because you’ve proven yourself is a massive accomplishment, so take advantage of the opportunity to do so.

Learn What Customers Want

When you have your target audience right in front of you, wouldn’t you ideally want to ask them what they’re looking for in a company and a product? I would certainly hope so, at least. Everyone loves to be asked what they want, especially if they think they might get it! This goes for products as well as content, and getting direct, honest feedback from your already interested target audience is priceless information that some companies spend exorbitant amounts of money to attempt to get. Cherish it and take advantage of it.

Ask Questions (For a Variety of Reasons)

Part of this, yes, is to learn what customers want. Just as importantly, however, asking questions openly (and often successfully) encourages other users to respond. Getting customers so engaged they actually answer your questions is a sign of interest, and getting them so engaged is opening a door to building their trust.

It’s flattering to be asked your opinion, even on a large scale, and a lot of people aren’t able to resist. Asking for feedback, asking what customers want in the future, or asking what users are doing for Christmas are all equally valid questions to ask (though some may be more beneficial to your business directly, all of them help your brand). Not only does it show that you care about your customers and what they want, it gets people talking with you instead of about you, giving you the chance to create a discussion. Again, it’s all about engaging people and interacting with them, not talking at them, and having an earnest exchange is essential to building rapport. Your company starts to be seen as people, not as a business just out for profit.

Don’t Forget About Appearance

When you go to a slow, lagging site that has “Coming Soon!” written under every thumbnail, you may lose interest and trust in the company. If they can’t keep their website up to date, how would they take care of you as a customer?!

Don’t make this mistake. Keep your pages looking clean and fresh. Keep content updated often. Customize a background and/or layout if you can, depending on the social media platform. Respond to people who have posted. Make sure your site itself is up to date, so when people inevitably follow your link on your social media back to your business’s main website, it looks clean, free of grammatical and spelling errors, and exactly like what you want your brand to be. Having a consistent and well-kept appearance is a big step in customers gaining faith in your brand.