Monthly Archives: July 2012

Facebook’s Marketing Tools You Might Not Know About

Among the plethora of social networks, Facebook, with more than 900 million active monthly users, might represent the biggest marketing opportunity for companies large and small. But marketers who think that creating a Facebook page and walking away is enough should think again. From advertising opportunities to finding new customers, a lot goes into successful Facebook marketing.

Facebook keeps small-business owners in mind when it rolls out new products and services. “The more that Facebook can help small businesses grow relationships with their customers and increase sales, the better,” says Sarah Smith, Facebook’s director of online operations. Smith, age 35, oversees the social network’s small-business growth team based in Austin, Texas.

We chatted with Smith about how marketers can make the most of Facebook for business. What follows is an edited version of our exchange:

Entrepreneur: What’s most important when using Facebook for business?
Smith: Be real. People want to hear from the authentic you and have fun interacting with your business. Your customers are already on Facebook, checking out photos of their friends and videos of their niece’s first steps. They’re also eager to hear the story of what’s really happening in your business.

Entrepreneur: For business owners, what’s the most important metric to measure?
Smith: All businesses should be paying attention to the number of “People Talking About This” and friends of fans reached in their Page Insights page in your Admin Panel. Understand what types of posts are resonating with your fans and how you’re getting your messages to go viral. Ideally, you should have some sort of promotion that gets customers telling you that they heard about you on Facebook, so you can start to link your sales with your Facebook activity.

Entrepreneur: What Facebook tools are underutilized by small-business owners?
Smith: Page Insights is one, which offers free market research for your business. Use it to find out who your customers are, what type of posts are getting the best response from fans and how your advertising is driving new fans, new shares or new app installs.

You can also like the facebook.com/marketing page to get updates from Facebook on products and tips. Go to facebook.com/classroom to check out some of the new webinars we’ve just started rolling out.

Entrepreneur: What does an entrepreneur need to know to get the most out of Facebook advertising?
Smith: Play around with Facebook targeting. People put their likes and interests on their Timelines, so advertising can granularly target people who would be more interested in hearing from your business. If you’re running a health-food store, for instance, target people in your area who have “Vegetarian” in their profiles or health-related interests.

You can find broad categories such as expectant parents, moms, iPhone users, golf enthusiasts and even other small-business owners. Broad category targeting can help you find exactly who you want more quickly.

There’s also the new Promoted Posts. From your Page, you can turn those “must see” posts — say, for example, a celebrity comes into your restaurant — into ads to reach more of your fans. When you see in Page Insights that a post is getting really good response from fans, you can promote those posts quickly and easily.

BY

Lazy Eyes :: How we read online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re probably going to read this.

It’s a short paragraph at the top of the page. It’s surrounded by white space. It’s in small type.

To really get your attention, I should write like this:

  • Bulleted list
  • Occasional use of bold to prevent skimming
  • Short sentence fragments
  • Explanatory subheads
  • No puns
  • Did I mention lists?
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What Is This Article About?
For the past month, I’ve been away from the computer screen. Now I’m back reading on it many hours a day. Which got me thinking: How do we read online?

It’s a Jungle Out There
That’s Jakob Nielsen‘s theory. He’s a usability expert who writes an influential biweekly column on such topics as eye-tracking research, Web design errors, and banner blindness. (Links, btw, give a text more authority, making you more likely to stick around.)

Nielsen champions the idea of information foraging. Humans are informavores. On the Internet, we hunt for facts. In earlier days, when switching between sites was time-consuming, we tended to stay in one place and dig. Now we assess a site quickly, looking for an “information scent.” We move on if there doesn’t seem to be any food around.

Sorry about the long paragraph. (Eye-tracking studies show that online readers tend to skip large blocks of text.)

Also, I’m probably forcing you to scroll at this point. Losing some incredible percentage of readers. Bye. Have fun on Facebook.

Screens vs. Paper
What about the physical process of reading on a screen? How does that compare to paper?

When you look at early research, it’s fascinating to see that even in the days of green phosphorus monitors, studies found that there wasn’t a huge difference in speed and comprehension between reading on-screen and reading on paper. Paper was the clear winner only when test subjects were asked to skim the text.

The studies are not definitive, however, given all the factors that can affect online reading, such as scrolling, font size, user expertise, etc. Nielsen holds that on-screen reading is 25 percent slower than reading on paper. Even so, experts agree on what you can do to make screen reading more comfortable:

  • Choose a default font designed for screen reading; e.g., Verdana, Trebuchet, Georgia.
  • Rest your eyes for 10 minutes every 30 minutes.
  • Get a good monitor. Don’t make it too bright or have it too close to your eyes.
  • Minimize reflections.
  • Skip long lines of text, which promote fatigue.
  • Avoid MySpace.

Back to the Jungle
Nielsen’s apt description of the online reader: “[U]sers are selfish, lazy, and ruthless.You, my dear user, pluck the low-hanging fruit. When you arrive on a page, you don’t actually deign to read it. You scan. If you don’t see what you need, you’re gone.

And it’s not you who has to change. It’s me, the writer:

  • One idea per paragraph
  • Half the word count of “conventional writing”! (Ouch!)
  • Other stuff along these lines

Nielsen often sounds like a cross between E.B. White and the Terminator. Here’s his advice in a column titled “Long vs. Short Articles as Content Strategy“: “A good editor should be able to cut 40 percent of the word count while removing only 30 percent of an article’s value. After all, the cuts should target the least valuable information.”

[Ed. Note: Fascinating asides about the writer's voice, idiosyncrasies, and fragile ego were cut here.]

He’s Right
I kid about Nielsen, but he’s very sensible. We’re active participants on the Web, looking for information and diversion. It’s natural that people prefer short articles. As Nielsen states, motivated readers who want to know everything about a subject (i.e., parents trying to get their kid into a New York preschool) will read long treatises with semicolons, but the rest of us are snacking. His advice: Embrace hypertext. Keep things short for the masses, but offer links for the Type A’s.

No Blogs, Though
Nielsen may be ruthless about brevity, but he doesn’t advocate blogging. Here’s his logic: “Such postings are good for generating controversy and short-term traffic, and they’re definitely easier to write. But they don’t build sustainable value.”

That’s a debatable point. My experience has been that a thoughtful blogger who tags his posts can cover a subject well. But Nielsen’s idea is that people will read (and maybe even pay) for expertise that they can’t find anywhere else. If you want to beat the Internet, you’re not going to do it by blogging (since even OK thinkers occasionally write a great blog post) but by offering a comprehensive take on a subject (thus saving the reader time from searching many sites) and supplying original thinking (offering trusted insight that cannot be easily duplicated by the nonexpert).

Like a lot of what Nielsen says, this is both obvious and thoughtful.

Ludic Reading
Nielsen focuses on how to hold people’s attention to convey information. He’s not overly concerned with pleasure reading.

Pleasure reading is also known as “ludic reading.” Victor Nell has studied pleasure reading (PDF). Two fascinating notions:

  • When we like a text, we read more slowly.
  • When we’re really engaged in a text, it’s like being in an effortless trance.

Ludic reading can be achieved on the Web, but the environment works against you. Read a nice sentence, get dinged by IM, never return to the story again.

I suppose ludic readers would be the little sloths hiding in the jungle while everyone else is out rampaging around for fresh meat.

Final Unnecessary Thought
We’ll do more and more reading on screens, but they won’t replace paper—never mind what your friend with a Kindle tells you. Rather, paper seems to be the new Prozac. A balm for the distracted mind. It’s contained, offline, tactile. William Powers writes about this elegantly in his essay “Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Why Paper Is Eternal.” He describes the white stuff as “a still point, an anchor for the consciousness.

Thanks

By

The Secret to Return Facebook Visits

The trick to Facebook is not just winning fans; it’s also about keeping them coming back. After all, what good are fans to you if they hit up your page once and then never return to see any new promotions or products?

A new report from Facebook marketing software provider Wildfire Interactive offers some advice on how to ensure repeat visits from people who have Liked your business page.

1. Tap into fan passions. You already know what your customers are passionate about (don’t you?), so your Facebook page should be a place for them to express that. “If you market for a fashion brand, talk about design, style, and haute couture,” says the report. “If you’re a food brand, ask for favorite recipes and opinions on food trends.”

Wildfire cites the example of online boutique Rue La La, which hosts a regular “live chat” on its Facebook page with a featured fashion stylist. Recently, the brand hosted a stylist from Elle.com, and added the stylist’s photo “both to make the post more personal and engaging, and to increase its EdgeRank weight.” (EdgeRank is the Facebook algorithm that determines what is displayed and how high in the News Feed. For a primer, click here.) Meanwhile, HomeAgain Pet Rescuers, a microchip and recovery service for pets, frequently shares videos of animals from YouTube or cute pictures from fans—but the posts that get the most engagement encourage people to answer questions about their own pets. The question, “Why and how did you choose your pet’s name?” spurred 432 Likes and a whopping 1,086 comments.

2. Ask simple, closed questions. This is somewhat intuitive: Unless there’s a major reward, would you rather do something that’s super-quick or one that takes time and effort? “One strategy to ensure engagement is to ask fans questions that are a breeze to answer,” observes the report. “The barrier to typing a one-word response…is very low, so more fans respond.” One brand Wildfire says does this successfully: The Verge, an online technology publication. Its questions are things such as “Android or iPhone?” or “What is your current Web browser?” but “because it chooses hot topics…it also prompts a lot of commentary from people who have more to say on the subject.” (For more on the secrets to a perfect Facebook post, click here.)

3. Tell fans what you want from them. Ending a post with “Like this post” results in much higher numbers of fans who do so. For example, Wildfire had to look no further than its own experience, pointing to two posts on its Facebook page with similar content, both with links to outside articles, and both with a similar number of impressions. “But the post with the instruction to “Click Like if you love the tool,” got twice as many Likes as the post without the instruction. This result is consistent with the results our clients get on their pages as well,” the report says. “The lesson: Never leave the next step up to interpretation—tell fans exactly what you want them to do.”

4. Treat your fans like VIPs. Give fans exclusive access to information you haven’t posted to your website, such as internal photographs of your team or company videos that won’t be shared any other way. You could also offer coupons, giveaways and sweepstakes, which get the highest amount of entries on average, says Wildfire. One example: Dunkin’ Donuts gets “week after week of quality engagement” for a “Fan of the Week” sweepstakes that encourages fans to submit photos of themselves with the company’s products. The winner has their picture featured on the Dunkin’ Donuts page, among other treats.

5. Invite one-on-one interactions. Make your relationship more personal by responding to your fans by name when possible, and by answering comments one-on-one. This “proves that you’re listening and are receptive to their comments and feedback,” according to the report. “And that means they’re more likely to keep posting.” This is as simple as it sounds, with Wildfire showing a screenshot of Tide detergent’s Facebook page, responding to a comment with “Awww….thanks Sheila!”

6. Humanize your brand. In some ways this is an extension of the “VIP” idea, with Wildfire’s research showing that people get excited about behind-the-scenes glimpses. (“It works for DVD and Blu-Ray sales, and it works on Facebook fan pages too,” notes the report.) The Holland America cruise line posted about its tradition of lunches for new employees, and Wildfire itself posted about ringing a cowbell, which signifies the launch of a new full-service campaign. (Wildfire’s post received 50 Likes within an hour of its being published.)

 

By Business Writers

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Twitter Backgrounds

This is a post from Blake from You Design It

Twitter is used as a sounding board for brands big and small. One aspect that can’t be overlooked on your Twitter profile is the background. The design and style can speak volumes, sometimes more than the tweets themselves. We’ve put together a list of ten different backgrounds on Twitter to inspire you to create a look that can say much more than 140 characters ever can.

Vectips

vectips twitter backgroundVectips is all about vector graphics. What better place to show off your vector chops than on your Twitter background. It can serve as a canvas for graphic designers to display their work while tweeting their latest announcements.

Go Media

go media twitter imageGo Media added a personal touch with a photograph of the members of their design and development team. This gives a face to their Twitter voice.

RollingStone

rolling stone twitter backgroundRolling Stone is an edgy, trendy magazine that is renowned for their magazine covers of the same vein. Turning their Twitter background into an art gallery of magazine covers is a great way to connect to their followers.

Black Sheep PR

black sheep twitter imageryBlack Sheep PR is a small firm with big ideas. They stand out from the crowd with an elegant but yet contemporary pattern for a background featuring their mantra “Rock Out with Your Flock Out”.

Nike Sports Wear

nike twitter designWhat could be more suitable for the Nike company as a Twitter background than a design that instantly puts the visitor in mind of a sneaker box? Simple and understated, Nike gets their message across without trying to overdo it.

SunDrop

Sun drop TwitterSunDrop wants you to know its taste is crisp and refreshing. The message is received loud and clear with this background. Makes you thirsty doesn’t it?

VH1

Twitter VH1VH1′s Twitter background is cool, fresh, and modern looking. They chose not to feature the logo in the background and it pays off.

H&M

HM Twitter background designH&M knows sex sells. So does pretty women in a bikini. Job well done H&M.

Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush Twitter BackgroundReggie Bush opted for the stylized image of himself. It portrays speed and athleticism. Precisely what he embodies.

Tory Burch

twitter tory burchThe Tory Burch brand is elegant and refined. The framed images in the background collectively emit the same feeling.

These Twitter backgrounds all vary both in subject and style. All are effectively done with relevance and message in mind. The consistency of brands across social channels are important in both content and design. Does your Twitter background say the same thing your tweets do?

Contact 5j Design to get started on a custom twitter background.