Tag Archive: Facebook

  1. Does Your Small Business Need a Chatbot?


    Chatbots for Small Business 

    Siri and Alexa’s notsodistant cousin – the chatbot – could be the team member you needOften seen at the bottom of a webpage as a pop-up window or on a company’s contact page, chatbots conduct online convos with customersUnlike us humansbots are ready to go day and night, rest-free to provide solutions to customer problems. Small businesses are increasingly implementing the reliable form of artificial intelligence (AI) and often, consumers are pleased with the addition. 

    Even if you don’t currently use chatbots within your SMB (small and medium-size business), you’ve almost certainly interacted with oneTo recap, chatbot is an AI program that has the power to communicate with another party. By offering a solution for small businesses that may not have access to extensive resources and staff, they also offer solutions for customers. In fact, a survey by Drift revealed that people primarily use chatbots for quick access to answersAnd with unanswered questions and communication related issues at the top of the list when it comes to customer frustrations, 24-hour access to answers has quite the appeal. 


    Why They Matter to Your SMB 

    Though they aren’t a new concept by any means, chatbot’s capabilities have expanded in recent years. 58% of shoppers say new technologies like chatbots have changed their expectations of companies, so it’s a given that companies of all sizes have taken advantage of the tool. Still, small businesses especially benefit from chatbots positive impacts on customer service and beyond: 

    • We stand firm in our belief that branding takes place at every consumer touchpointBuild customer relationships via chatbot through a conversational, brand-heavy voice and tone that your audience will recognize.  
    • A smaller company usually means a smaller team. And although you’re dedicated to solving customer issues and answering questions, you’re not available 24/7. Chatbots are. 
    • Chatbots record what your customers have to say. From FAQs to common problems and feedback, you’ll gain more insight on your audience’s wants and needs. 
    • Simply having the option for a conversation via chatbot proves to customers that your company values their timeChatbots are known to increase customer satisfaction. 

    Chat services that allow users to communicate with a live person are also positive additions to your customer service front. Seven in 10 consumers say they prefer live chat over email, social media messages and phone calls when getting in touch with a company. Consider incorporating live chat into your customer’s journey if you feel you’ve outgrown email and social inquiries and your team has the bandwidth to manage incoming messages. However, if chatbots 24-hour touch is still speaking to you, we suggest getting to know the AI communication tool on one of the most used social networks of our time. 

    Get Familiar with Chatbots on Facebook 

    One of the best sites to familiarize yourself with chatbots may be the last place you would’ve looked – Facebook. Facebook provides free chatbot and live chat services on its Messenger Platform that business owners report has contributed to boosts in sales and engagement as well as improvements in customer service. The service allows businesses to develop guided conversations, leading curious customers through an automated flow. 

    When communicating with the Facebook-powered bot, the user is greeted with the company name, description, profile picture and cover photo. There is also an option to include greeting text. The user simply taps the get started button to begin the conversation. 

    If you’ve never interacted with Facebook’s bot on the Messenger Platform, imagine an interactive FAQ. In addition to a set of structed text messaging options and text-based message templates, customers can receive or send audio, video and images. Facebook has also implemented quick replies through buttons. With countless customizable attributes to make the feature your ownyour Facebook bot will talk the talk down to every detail. 

    Expanding the Conversation 

    You may already utilize Facebook’s Messenger Platform and want to implement the much-needed feature on your company site. When you’re ready, explore other options you can implement online. Take the time to learn lessons with Facebook to transfer what you’ve learned to your audience’s online experience. With chatbots on your team, you have a dedicated team member answering customer questions whenever they arise. 

  2. Which Social Media Channel Is Right for My Business?

    Social Media

    In this day and age, you’ll be hard pressed to find a brand that doesn’t have a presence on social media. If you’re a brand that’s just starting out or a veteran in your marketplace looking to expand into a new platform, you may be asking yourself: Which channels should I be focusing on?

    Ask many people and I guarantee the answer will be; “As many of them as possible.”

    This, however, is quite often not the case. Social media success is not marked by having your brand on every single platform, nor by haphazardly posting in order to simply fill a newsfeed. Quality is better than quantity, no matter if you are talking about the content you are producing, the time you are spending on each platform, or the number of platforms your brand is active on.


    When trying to figure out where you should be spending your time, try to answer these three questions:


    1. Where are your target personas spending their time?
    2. Where does your message resonate the most?
    3. Can you create relevant content that broadcasts your message efficiently and accurately?

    A financial firm that primarily focuses on B2B marketing would probably see a higher return on their time by writing informational articles and engaging with industry professionals on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter than it would be trying to build an Instagram presence. Why? Instagram is primarily a photo and video-based social media channel, and a financial firm may not naturally lend itself to sharing visually interesting content. Meanwhile, an architectural firm could realistically provide industry insight and project updates on Linkedin and Twitter while also curating an Instagram feed that appeals to an audience who admires the elements of design so prevalent in that field.

    Finding the right social media platform for your brand is dependant upon the needs of your business and your ability to provide content. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. Below, I have highlighted the best uses of each of the leading social media platforms.



    Facebook has had a tumultuous year but it still remains the most prolific and influential social media network. According to Hootsuite, 1.47 billion people are daily active users and there are 80 million small to medium-sized business pages. With that being said should you have a Facebook page? Short answer: Yes.

    But should you expect it to be a successful way for you to market your business? Well, that depends on how you use it.

    With Facebook’s pivot toward their “Groups” functionality and the importance, it places on “meaningful conversations,” you might find it hard to reach your audience members through all the noise if you don’t engage in paid advertising and boosted posts on the platform. That being said, if you are a business that hosts a lot of community events, relies on community feedback, or you are trying to sell a product directly to consumers, Facebook’s reviews, events, and Shopify integration functionalities are second to none among other social networks.


    As reported by Hootsuite, 75% of B2B and 65% of B2C businesses market on Twitter, and 85% of small to medium-sized businesses believe that Twitter is an integral tool for providing customer service. But with the average half-life of a single tweet being just 24 minutes, how does one ensure that their brand’s message is being communicated effectively through the platform?

    The hard truth is, unless you are devoting a significant amount of time engaging with others and consistently tweeting on the platform you very well might just be screaming into the void. The crux of a great Twitter presence is not necessarily using it as a megaphone to amplify your message but more like a two-way radio to interact with your customers, your community, or like-minded businesses.


    With over one billion monthly active users and 70% of US businesses utilizing the platform, Instagram is the third most widely used social media platform in the world, according to Oberlo. As I explained earlier, if you do not have the visual assets (photography and video), this platform might not be for you. Instagram users want a visual and artistic representation of your brand. This requires a constant flow of new and exciting photo and video content for users to engage with.

    If you can swing it, I suggest utilizing a healthy mix of user-generated content to encourage tagging and engagement, professional photography that really tells the story of your brand, and candid “of-the-moment” shots that give your brand authenticity.

    Over the past few years, Instagram has made it easier for business to see direct ROI from utilizing their platform. From integration into Facebook’s Ad manager, swipe up to link out features on Instagram stories (for accounts with over 10k followers) and direct shopping on Instagram for approved business, there are many opportunities to utilize this platform to benefit your business.  


    If you’re a B2B marketer, LinkedIn is definitely the place for you. According to Foundation Inc., 80% of all social media generated social media leads come from LinkedIn. But like any platform, it’s all about what you post. LinkedIn presents the unique opportunity to position your brand as a thought leader in your industry through posting LinkedIn Articles and thoughtful company updates. But more than that, the platform also allows your employees and executives to leverage their own LinkedIn presence to further bolster your brand’s credibility.

    Deciding where you should spend your time and money on social media is always daunting. However, as long as you set clear goals, understand your audience, and know the best uses of each platform, you’ll be growing your audience and influence in no time. But remember the key principle to social media success: Quality is always better than quantity.

  3. Facebook Ads: The Truth Behind the (Nearly) Mind-Reading, Audience-Targeting Tool

    Facebook Ads

    A couple of months ago, a few members of our client services team here at Findsome & Winmore attended a social media summit with one of our clients. We were so fortunate to have attended and were able to hear from many renowned speakers in the social media world – one of them being Facebook. Though we had many interactive sessions, one that we found particularly helpful was the Facebook Ads Best Practices session. With over 2 billion new Facebook users each month, and 1 billion of those users part of Facebook’s Audience Network, the platform has become one of the most effective ways to advertise your business online. Advertising with Facebook has an unparalleled ability to target audiences based on interests, age, behavior and location. For small and large businesses, Facebook ads can be a game-changer.

    Figuring Out Facebook Ads

    If you have ever been in your ads manager and quickly become confused or intimidated, you are not alone! Ad Manager is an incredible but complex tool that allows you to set up, manage and report on your Facebook Ads campaigns. First and foremost, it is important to understand that there is a hierarchy for each campaign – campaign, ad set and ad. There are multiple levels, grouped in this same hierarchy that advertisers have full control over to impact overall performance. Setting up your campaign is the first step to the ads creation flow and where you tell Facebook your ultimate business goal. There are a number of options such as traffic, engagement, video views, lead generation, etc. Selecting the correct objective for your business is vital, as the delivery options available to you will be customized to this objective. As an example, the most common business objectives are conversions, lead ads and traffic. Common objectives for branding are brand awareness, reach and video views. The next step in the ad’s creation is targeting. This is at the “ad set” level and where you tell Facebook who you want to reach with your campaign. There are three different categories of targeting on Facebook: core audiences, custom audiences and lookalike audiences.

    • Core audiences are segments available to every advertiser on Facebook and are built off first-party data that users provide, including location, demographic, interests, behaviors.
    • Custom audiences are built off your own first-party data (email subscribers, current client information, website visitors, visitors that have engaged with your content across social platforms).
    • Lookalike audiences are, well, lookalikes! This is a targeting strategy that allows you to find those who look and act most like those in your most valuable audiences. Facebook’s algorithm is so advanced that it can take your core audience and find individuals to target that may not have come to your site, but based on their behaviors, would likely visit if they saw an ad.

    The next steps involve budget and the allocation of that budget. A unique feature that Facebook offers is the “Campaign Budget Optimization.” Essentially, Facebook allows you to assign a campaign budget and gives the algorithm the flexibility to optimize delivery towards the best performing ad set. Pretty powerful stuff. The last and final step of this process is creative. There are a number of best practices that should be considered when determining the overall strategy for your campaign.

    • Campaigns using static images plus light motion video achieved 17% higher conversion lift vs. static images alone. That is supported by Cisco’s prediction (Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2016–2021 White Paper, March 2017) that 78% of all mobile data traffic will be video in 2021. Video is a huge consumer trend and we will continue to see an increase in video consumption over time.
    • It’s important to have a clear message and focus. Engaging, concise copy can capture your audience’s attention more quickly, so stay away from too much text.
    • How an ad looks on mobile is one of the most important aspects to consider when designing creative. The ads should introduce the brand quickly, be shorter in duration and designed to work without sound.
    • Use a combination of text and images to help deliver the message as effectively as possible.

    Next time you are served an ad, realize that it’s not magic, digital voodoo or a team of tech-savvy elves working around the clock at Facebook HQ. No, it is an incredibly robust marketing tool that is well worth the time of marketers and social media mavens. By allowing brands to highly target their ads and set specific goals, most any company on the platform now has the power to reap real benefits from this social media giant.

  4. Facebook Best Practices for Businesses

    Marketing on Facebook continues to evolve before our eyes. With the most recent and seemingly ongoing algorithm changes, agencies and marketers are being forced to roll with the proverbial punches as they navigate the uncertain waters of drafting paid and organic content strategy plans and tactics for each new quarter. Businesses are constantly being challenged to increase followers, foster engagement, (ultimately) generate leads, and stay competitive and relevant amongst the changes that Facebook continues to throw our way. All this in an attempt to justify ROI and ensure that the platform is benefiting the business.

    So, what does it take to succeed on Facebook and see results from tireless efforts and the countless (billable) hours of content development and paid ad spends? Starting with a solid foundation and getting back to basics can help answer this question. Throughout the year we’ll be identifying best practices on each platform to assist in your marketing approach to help put (or keep) your strategy on the right track.

    But first, let’s dive into the top five practices your business needs to master in order to get the most out of Facebook marketing.

    Facebook Best Practices

    • Know Your Target Audience: Utilize Facebook insights or a third-party social media management app to get to know your audience demographic inside and out. Doing so will help you focus on developing content and advertising for those who are most likely to engage with and benefit from your brand.
    • Keep It Short and Sweet: Keeping your audience’s attention is critical. When developing content for Facebook, you want to keep in mind that your sole purpose is to educate, inform and entertain your audience about your brand with the objective of increased brand engagement or conversions. While the Facebook character limit caps out at 500, sources suggest maintaining characters at 100 or less. Let the visuals do the talking through dynamic images and videos. Also, remember to keep the hashtags at bay.
    • Be Engaging: This holds true for both the type of content that you post and when responding to your customers. Asking open-ended questions, posting interesting and fun live videos related to trending topics–these are the cornerstones of content tactics on the platform as they exist today. Being social on social media and communicating with your audience is what develops trust and loyalty, inviting referrals and new customers to buy into who you are as a brand and what you can do for them.
    • Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: Taking chances on social is an approach countless brands are making to differentiate themselves from the competition and garner interest and intrigue. Utilizing the tools that boost organic engagement (Facebook Live, anyone?) will put your brand and spokespeople on center stage to reach your audience in the moment with live chats and behind-the-scenes moments exclusive to your brand. Giving users a sneak peek into what you’re all about humanzies their experience and interaction with your brand.
    • Pay to Play: Even with the recent changes to the algorithm, paid advertising on Facebook continues to be one of, if not the most, beneficial and measurable forms of digital advertising. With over two billion users, the opportunity to develop brand loyalty and awareness and eventually acquire new customers and conversions is staggering.

    Knowing your audience, keeping your messaging concise, engaging your fans, experimenting with live streaming, and dabbling in the Facebook Ads platform are all perfect ways to leverage the power of this social media behemoth. Even through the recent controversies over suspicious data collection practices, Facebook will continue to be a valuable resource well worth leveraging for years to come. With these best practices in mind, your business can craft content that breaks through the marketing filter and reaches fans on a more personal level than ever before.

  5. 3 Tips to Help Your Business Handle the Facebook Algorithm Update

    Facebook algorithm

    Ah, social media. Like death and taxes, social media’s constantly changing nature is perhaps the only other absolute in this life. Though unsurprising, the new Facebook algorithm update is absolutely worth digging into, especially if you promote your brand on the social platform.

    To help guide the way through this substantial update to the top-secret Facebook algorithm, I’ve enlisted two of our digital marketing maestros to help wrap our heads around what this change means for how we market and interact on the platform. Did Zucks (yeah, we’re close like that) and co. hit a home run or strike out? Along with Heather and Robyn, I’ve set out to see if it’s a change worth “liking.”

    Three Ways Your Business Should Embrace the Facebook Algorithm Change

    Quality (Content) Over Quantity

    Anthony Charmforoush, Digital Marketing Manager

    The newsfeed algorithm change comes down to something we have always preached: quality over quantity. Facebook has started prioritizing content that creates “meaningful interactions” between its users. So what does this mean? Long gone are the days of posting in order to fill a feed, and say goodbye to those vanity-likes. Welcome to the age of meaningful engagement.

    If you want to get noticed you’ll have to devote time to creating content that is highly shareable and starts conversations with your audience. Focus on content that is actionable but be careful not be perceived as comment or share baiting. You will want to double down on your audience insights to ensure that your content subject matter resonates with and is relevant to your readers. When crafting content, it is no longer about whether or not a page fan is likely to “like” it but rather, are they likely to comment on it or share it with a friend.

    Facebook has stated that live content is one of the main drivers of engagement on the newsfeed. With this algorithm update, that is even truer. If you’re a brand that can leverage live events then you’re already a step ahead of the rest. If not, you might need to become more creative. Things like hosting a weekly live blog or influencer takeover are just some of the ways that brands like Adobe have taken advantage of the Facebook Live feature.

    With this emphasis on user-to-user interaction, now more than ever, you are driving your own reach on Facebook. This will initially reduce the amount of your brand’s content that is consumed directly on the newsfeed. However, by focusing on creating content that gets your audience talking, you can ensure that your brand is better positioned to overcome the latest Facebook hurdle.

    Influencing the Algorithm in Your Favor

    Heather Britt, Digital Marketing Manager

    As defined by Sprout Social, influencers are “power users who can help your potential customers make a buying decision through social networking”. Influencers can come in a variety of formats, from celebrities to experts to hyperlocal bloggers. Regardless of why, influencers have a wide reach to an audience who is important to you and your brand.

    Traditionally, we know influencers to be pivotal in marketing on Instagram, Snapchat and maybe even through their own blog. However, the Facebook algorithm change has created a new need for influencers on Facebook. Facebook users with a large number of friends or followers can help garner attention for your brand now that brand posts are essentially receiving less exposure in overall Facebook newsfeed reach.

    Here are a few reasons why an influencer’s post could see more reach than a post from a brand page:

    • Real people’s posts are automatically going to reach a higher percentage of their followers than a brand page’s post would.
    • More people trust the opinion of a person, even if it’s a brand evangelist, rather than a branded account.
    • Oftentimes, posts by real people and celebrities create genuine interactions–comments and conversations, likes, and shares. These types of interactions are what Facebook is currently optimizing towards, which will dramatically increase reach.

    If an influencer campaign seems like a lot to take on as a smaller brand, that’s because it is. Finding the appropriate influencers for your target audience is no small task. An easier method for a brand looking to dip its toe into the influencer strategy pool, is to start with a brand evangelist program. Brand evangelism can be as simple as setting up an in-store selfie station (see Riley Rose) or creating a hashtag for your customers to share their experience with. Even brand evangelism will help defeat the Facebook algorithm change blues. While unpaid consumers may not link directly to your brand, you can be assured that there will be additional brand impressions outside of your page.

    Double Down on Ads

    Robyn Guokas, Digital Marketing Manager

    The jury is still out on the effect that the Facebook algorithm change will have on social advertising in the near future, but with brands fresh into 2018, the main questions are: “How will this change affect my business and bottom-line?” and “How can we ensure that our fans and followers still see our content?”

    There is no doubt that Facebook’s main wealth generator will continue to plug along unscathed and could (now) be more important than ever. We are well aware that Facebook has pushed down organic reach to almost zero, and is funneling brands into pay-to-play x 1,000 to achieve meaningful growth and (hopefully) engagement. If you wish to continue to achieve on Facebook, it would be wise to master the art of ads to reach and engage with your community and new audiences–testing, optimizing, and investing in what you know works. With demand high and inventory low, the right fit could take a few tries to get on track.

    Along with website click and conversions, brands would be wise to adapt “brand awareness” as a new and vital addition to their social media marketing vernacular. Diversifying your ad spend and traffic sources to locate your audience through different avenues won’t hurt either.  


    What does the new Facebook algorithm change mean for your business? According to the educated opinions of my colleagues and myself, quite a lot. Whether pivoting to social media influencers, putting a new emphasis on quality content or renewing your efforts in Facebook ads, actions must be taken in order to keep your brand up to speed on this rapidly updating platform. Though change is inevitable, the most important thing you can learn from this blog is that you don’t have to fear the change–that is, as long as you’re willing to be flexible with your social media strategy.

  6. It All “Ads” Up: How Do I Use Facebook Ads?

    Facebook ads

    More than just a place to keep in touch with old college roommates and Aunt Joanie (you really should call more, you know), Facebook has become quite the marketing tool for companies around the world. Offering a free marketing channel allowing potential customers the chance at product discovery and fans the ability to interact and share their love for the company and product.

    As a user of the social media channel in your personal life, you may be familiar with likes, shares, comments and other basics of the platform. However, many marketers and business owners don’t know where to begin when it comes to utilizing Facebook ads for their business. Luckily, the process is simple as long as you can define a few simple questions.

    Using our client, Old Town, as an example, we can explore our process and strategy of successfully crafting Facebook ads that work.

    Facebook ads

    • What is Your Objective? This goes beyond making money – you must think a bit deeper in order to make the greatest impact. Was the ad created to get more eyes on your brand? Perhaps you want to increase clicks to your newly rebranded website, or maybe directly improve online retail? Regardless of the answer, your ad starts here. 

      For Old Town, a Central Florida amusement, shopping and dining hot spot, our objective was simple: attract more visitors to the attraction, specifically for the “BBQ Throwdown” event.
    • Who is the Audience? Facebook ads are wonderful at targeting audiences with pinpoint accuracy. Age, workplace, job title, education gender, location, device used, purchase behaviors and personal interests are all factors you can use to define who, exactly, you want to see your ad. Furthermore, though this post is specifically focused on Facebook, Instagram is also under the social media giant’s umbrella, allowing you to share ads on that image-based platform as well. 

      Understanding that Old Town’s audience is largely baby boomers and those who enjoy traditional American fare, we were easily able to target these folks for a free, BBQ-filled event.
    • What is Your Budget? Facebook ads are just as substantial as traditional ads and you must treat them as such. They require just as much well-considered strategy when it comes to budgeting, as well as a real budget to boot. Though Facebook’s internal “bidding process” can seem substantially complicated, the process of budgeting for your ad is made easy, allowing for some flexibility based on daily or lifetime run times (budgeting for single 24-hour periods or as one lump of overall time). Keep in mind, a bigger budget does not guarantee a higher success rate. Throwing big bucks behind an ad that’s simply not engaging to your audience is a waste of money.

      The money that was dedicated to our Old Town ad was distributed evenly across four weeks, each week utilizing the similar text but a different image to attract fresh eyes.
    • What’s Your Format? Facebook ads allow you to choose from a number of different styles, including Photo (utilizing a single image), Carousel (multiple images or videos), Video (a single video), Slideshow (multiple photos for lower connection speeds), and Canvas (a mobile-friendly ad experience) ads. One thing to consider, however, is the growing prominence of videos and gifs as a way to catch an audience’s eye. Carousel is also often utilized, giving companies multiple visuals to share at once and adding a bit of interactive “clickability” to the ads.

      In this specific example for the Old Town event, we used a visual that we knew our audience would eat up (pun intended): a photo of sausages sizzling on a grill. This photo does the job of evoking the summer season and whetting the appetites of their audience for the BBQ event.

    Facebook ads

    Because we took on the task of crafting our Old Town Facebook ad with a clear objective in mind, targeted audience locked in, adequate budget secured and effective format chosen, we saw the ad’s relevancy score (which combines impressions, results, reach, feedback and more) climb into a range we were proud to share with the client.

    With the above four questions carefully answered, you too can design and employ Facebook ads to reach new audiences, drive online sales or simply get your message out there. If you want to dive deeper into learning the basics of Facebook ads, we recommend hearing it from the horse’s mouth. Facebook has some fantastic tutorials and support resources, making the social media marketing platform quite easy to “like.”

  7. How #Brands Can Use Hashtags for Big Wins

    For many, hashtags are an enigma–a social media buzzword along the likes of “virality” and “geotagging.” However, this method of virtually labeling and grouping terms has become valuable enough to warrant the attention of any modern businessperson.

    Though a pop culture punchline, hashtags are an essential tool for multinational brands to small businesses, car manufacturers to fast food chains. Using hashtags effectively can lead to major strategic wins for your company, regardless of size or trade, but only if you give the social media staple the respect it deserves.

    Utilizing hashtags may seem a little juvenile to the unpracticed, but trust us when we say you’ll be #winning if you investigate and implement the right hashtag strategy for your brand.

    Starting With the Basics

    So, you don’t know a darn thing about hashtags. That’s OK–we’re here to make introductions. Say hello to #. That guy is called a hashtag. You may know it from its former life as the pound button, but it has taken on an entirely new meaning in the world of the web–specifically within many popular social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    At the base level, hashtags can be used to “tag” specific key terms involving your post. For example, if Jessica, a proud dog mom, shares a photo of her shiba inu, Charlie, she could hashtag terms like #dogmom, #shibainu and #shibainusofinstagram. She could also start an original hashtag term that allows friends and fans of Charlie to quickly find photos of him on the platform. Such a tag may be #Charlietheshibainu or #Charlietheshiba, as long as no one else is using this tag already (who knows, there could very well already be a shiba named Charlie on Instagram).

    Shiba Inu

    As you’ve probably noticed, these terms cannot contain spaces. They also should not begin with a numerical or symbol, but numbers can be added after a letter.

    Incorrect: #1969Woodstock
    Correct: #Woodstock1969

    Within most social media platforms, clicking a hashtag allows users to see every post that has ever used the tag, which is handy for organizing posts, tracking a trending topic or even entering yourself into a contest.

    It’s incredibly important to understand that hashtags are often used in hot-button issues, political debates and other rather heavy subjects. Before using a hashtag, it is always safer to look up its context before blindly jumping into a conversation in which you do not intend to participate.

    How Using #Hashtags can Help Your #Brand Win

    • Get in on the Conversation: Hopping into the conversation on a trending topic can not only expose your brand to new potential customers, but also establish itself as an entity that keeps up with the times. If the #WorldSeries is trending, you better believe hot dog and beer brands will be weighing in on the game and utilizing that hashtag to reach a wide, targeted audience. However, companies must always be careful not to jump into a conversation that is inappropriate for their brand. Do some research on a hashtag to ensure it’s not being used for dubious purposes, is removed from politics and is something that feels like a natural fit for your brand.
    • Gather a Social Following: Have you ever noticed that most major brands that are active on social media also have a short hashtagged phrase that is closely associated with them? Based on campaigns, the company tagline or a limited contest or event, having a hashtag that fans of your brand can rally behind can help your audience build a community around your product or service. For example, The Orlando EDC has rallied around the hashtag #ThisIsOrlando to display interesting aspects of Orlando life on social media:

    #ThisIsOrlando EDC

    #ThisIsOrlando EDC

    • Create a Contest: Hashtags are one of the simplest ways to conduct a contest. On Instagram, in particular, a common contest involves contestants simply sharing a photo along with a promoted, wholly original hashtag in order to enter. This avoids the use of cumbersome third-party apps or other means that can get complicated and expensive. For example, to support its limited-time ground turkey offering in 2016, our client, Tijuana Flats, concocted the “#GiveYouTheBird” campaign. The company asked followers to post images of people or situations that they want to “give the bird” to for a chance to win free meals. Despite the somewhat risque (yet appropriate for the brand) approach, this not only increased brand awareness, but got customers highly engaged and excited about their company on social media.

    Tijuana Flats #GiveYouTheBirdTijuana Flats #GiveYouTheBird

    A Tool Worth Hashing Out

    Though hashtags first gained popularity through Twitter, all of the major social media players utilize some aspect of hashtagging, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and more. We understand the apprehension–new terminology, new tech and lots of new rules and jargon to throw on the marketing know-how pile. However, if you choose to simply throw your hands up in surrender and ignore hashtagging, you do so at your business’s social media peril. Much like social media as a whole, companies that do not respect the potential utility of hashtags for branding growth and client cultivation will be left in the #past.

  8. What Facebook’s New “Buy Button” Means for Your Business

    Facebook Ads Facebook Ads

    You know that guy with the bagel cart rolling by your office in the morning? You were busy getting started on your business of the day, then this guy rolls up and well, now you’re hungry. “Ok,” you think to yourself. “I’ll grab a bagel.”

    The convenience of the impulse buy is hard to ignore. And more often than not, it doesn’t feel like we’re being sold or marketed to. We usually feel pretty confident that this is our decision. Yes, we didn’t know we were about to make this purchase, but we are totally in control and definitely want it. Right?

    Recently Facebook announced their new Buy Button which will allow your customers to purchase products from businesses without ever having to leave Facebook, mobile included. Your customers will be able to complete their entire order process (even shipping settings and payment) all in one cozy nook of the world’s favorite social media home away from home. Whether this sounds scary or convenient, it’s time to start planning how your business will adapt. Here are 3 things to consider when examining the new Facebook Buy Button, and what it means to you and your business.

    1. Say Goodbye to distracting ads and hello to engaging content.

    If you’ve ever tried Facebook ads to promote your company or goods and services, the buy button is a good thing. Buying online ads are hard to quantify from a success point of view. Sure you can track clicks and click throughs, even track where purchases came from. But these efforts typically work better in concept than application. Here’s the next step. Stop buying traditional Facebook Ads. With the buy button you no longer have to throw money at distracting your customers. You can, instead, connect with them via your content. Content that they’d be choosing to engage with anyway. Have a cool new product you want to get out to market, or even test? This could be where you do that.

    It’s a fact of life that many content owners are now looking to their “readers’ offers” initiatives to build e-commerce into their content sites. – Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2014/07/18/facebook-shopping-button-could-be-amazon-reviews-on-steroids/)

    2. The impulse buy: The next generation.

    This is certainly a whole new (more impulsive) impulse buy. The genius of it is basically this: Remember why that bagel cart concept works? Similarly, imagine a group of yourself and your closest colleagues and friends chatting around the water cooler about the things you collectively are interested in. Coffee, technology, low calorie drinks, impressively sharp knives, a new hybrid car. Now imagine while casually talking with your friends about these subjects, one of them said something like, “Well, if you’re interested I can get you a box of those knives for $20 less than the store.” They don’t have to earn your trust. They already have it. You don’t have to drive out to the store, or search prices online. You don’t have to do anything really. It’s organic digital content for sale. You’re seeing it in your news feed because you’ve already established, digitally, that it’s something of interest to you. This is the benefit of the Facebook Buy Button concept. And this will be the primary reason why it will work.

    Don’t forget to consider when you post also. Since these aren’t traditional social media ads running automatically, you must be conscious of when you post content with the ability to buy. Read our recent blog post on The Perfect Time to Post on Social Media.

    3. The power of viral reviews

    According to Convert With Content 87% of consumers are influenced by positive reviews, and trust customer reviews 12x more than manufacturers’ descriptions. With the new Facebook Buy Button capability, customer reviews will come first and the product second. In a way, customers have already been trained to reverse engineer their purchases online. It’s been going on for years and the new Facebook Buy Button will only sharpen this modern consumer skill.

    You need to understand how this will bring on competition for your sales. Facebook won’t be alone. Already, Twitter has announced it purchased a payments start up for integration in it’s ever-growing platform. Don’t be surprised if more join soon. The time to plan accordingly and add some grey area to your direct and indirect competition matrices is now. Wondering why your customers stopped buying sunglasses from you? Have they evolved where you haven’t?

    The future of online retail may be upon us. LIKE it? Don’t buy it? Tell us what you think with your comments below or let us know on Facebook!

  9. When You See It – Why High Quality Images Should Be a High Priority

    Imagine you’re the customer. You search Google or even Facebook for a local bike repair shop and come across some options. Which are you more likely to click on: a blurry photo of a broken bicycle with grainy text designed across the top promoting a 10% off deal, or a bright, high quality image of a man riding a bike with a text headline in the page content saying something like “For all your bike repair needs?”

    Industry research says, that even though one company offers a discount, most of us will engage with the better quality marketing than the poor resolution effort. For businesses who do the majority of their marketing online it is crucial to understand why this happens, plus how improving the quality of your online marketing efforts will help you Win more business right away.

    A common reason your business might want to use lower resolution photography or creative is website speed and performance, especially in regards to viewing on mobile. Makes sense, right? Since it doesn’t take as long to load the pixels, and the end user can get to the digital content faster, why not skimp on file size in favor of boosting performance? According to Google, load time is still the primary way to maximize page views, citing specifically that a loading time increase from 0.4 seconds to 0.9 seconds decreased traffic by 20%. However, you have to ask yourself if boosting performance is worth a negative user experience. Though it may technically be a solution for getting pages to load faster, you should never substitute quality for performance without knowing what you’re doing. Poor quality usually means poor engagement. 

    So, what’s the solution? There are ways to decrease image file size without negatively affecting the image quality. One way is designing your visual web assets (logos especially) as vectors. Vectors use math to replicate the image by whatever new size specs being applied, so they always stay sharp and in focus. This is different than something in a predetermined pixel ratio which will blur or pixelate when sized incorrectly. You can also make edits to brightness, focus, compression and more, as well as setting specific pixel size ratios when saving your image assets. 

    What if you don’t have a staff of savvy designers and photoshop experts? Don’t worry, there are also tools online for easily editing and creating visual marketing pieces and editing photos for use on your site or social media campaigns. Check out tools like Canva and Piktochart, which are great for simple graphic design that anyone can do, even those always-trending infographics. PicMonkey is a handy tool to resize images to the most popular social media site specifications. Looking for an on-the-go solution? Look in to mobile apps like PicLab HD.

    In addition to the importance of high quality we also have to mention the importance of simply being found. Some simple tips to leverage organic SEO on a highly visual, image-heavy site are easier than you may think. When naming the image files use the you want to attract. This is an often overlooked solution but is a definite factor in increasing SEO. Also if you have a headline or marketing offer, don’t include it only as a designed element in the file. Be sure to include it as page text so Google can find it. You’d be surprised how often this is missed, but take a look around online or the social media pages of your competitors and see if you find any guilty parties of this marketing faux pas. 

    Speaking of social media. One of the easiest ways to ensure your photos and designs are going to look their best on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, is to design them to the correct specs in the first place. Take a look at this handy cheat sheet from Constant Contact for all the current image specs.

    The 3M Corporation revealed in a recent study that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. Utilizing the best photos and designs available will only enhance your online brand experience and customer experience. Low quality images will alienate savvy internet users (probably your best likely potential customers) and can even damage your brand. Remember stay focused. Literally!

  10. It’s About Time: The Perfect Time to Post on Social Media

    If you’re a business owner, you probably recognize how important a social media presence is and may already be using social media to market your business. But why do some posts seem to work better than others? Why do some posts bring in lots of business, site traffic, sales, interaction, all of the above – while other posts just go flat? While content may still be king, it’s timing that is at war for the throne. Want to be social media royalty? Follow these tips for the perfect time to post on social media!

    Tip 1: Get the Day Right!

    When it comes to posting for your business on social media, not every day has the same rules. You could be posting the sale of the century, but if you’re not conscious about when you post, few people may even see it. For Facebook the highest day for likes, shares and comments is Wednesday. If you’re looking for retweets and follows, you have more options with Twitter. Scheduling tweets for Monday – Thursday will ensure your best results each week. LinkedIn also sees better activity in the middle of the week, while visual platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr do better at the end of the week and on weekends when most Americans aren’t at work.

    Tip 2: It’s About Time!

    Early riser? Well, not all of your fans are on board, but some of them are. Posting before noon will ensure the highest activity on your Pinterest page, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts. Post as late as Midnight through 1:00AM for Pinners, while the 7:00AM through 9:00AM range is crucial for activity on LinkedIn.  9:00AM to 11:00AM is prime time for your Google circles.

    The majority of activity and engagement is on social media in the afternoon. The sweet spot for Twitter is immediately after lunch until 3:00PM. Facebook follows a similar timeframe, but will continue activity online a little later in the day until 4:00PM. LinkedIn surfaces between 2:00PM and 6:00PM, while Tumblr and Pinterest rule the night hours.

    There are also dead times on social media to avoid for posting major announcements and campaigns. For best results on Facebook, try not to post before 8:00AM or after 8:00PM. On Twitter, avoid posting before 9:00AM and after 8:00PM, as well. See a trend? Think about the times you are online or checking your phone. These timeframes are directly connected to the standard American schedule and remain true for most students, as well as those on the clock. Unless it’s breaking news, always post when your fans are listening- not just when you’re ready to talk!

    Tip 3: Know Your Audience!

    Although the above statistics should apply to most brands, businesses, and social media behavior in general, never discount what your audience behavior is already telling you. Catering your posting strategy to your specific audience will have produce exponential engagement right away, especially when national trends will fluctuate more often than your audience behavior does.

    One easy way of testing this out is through Facebook’s Insights tool. From your admin dashboard, Page Insights will provide access to valuable data. Get to know your audience better by exploring the “Posts” tab  and view valuable insight on timing your posts and content to correlate with when your fans are on Facebook  through the “When Your Fans Are Online” tab. Measuring your results is as simple as looking a little further down on this same page. Look for your organic reach, which will confirm if you are in fact getting in front of your fans, and review the data reflecting likes, comments and shares. Once you’ve found the sweet spot for maximizing eyes and action, you have gained a genuine edge over your competition, plus a more effective connection to your audience!

    Note: While Facebook’s built-in tools are helpful, it’s also a good idea to subscribe to a third party service that provides the analytics you need for each social media accounts all in once place. We recommend checking out Hootsuite, LikeAlyzer, Fanpage Karma and Must Be Present.

    Tip 4: Don’t Overdo It (Or Underdo It)!

     To truly see results from sticking to a social media schedule, be careful how often you post as well. Even if you’re posting relevant content during your popular time frames, posting too often or not enough may turn away fans and followers.

    Research suggests that brands should limit their posts on Facebook to once a day. Check out at this chart from Socialbakers showing how often some of America’s mega brands are posting to Facebook.

    They also suggest that 3 tweets a day is the magic number for Twitter. Unless your site is a media outlet posting constantly in tandem with the published content on your site, stick close to 3 tweets a day during your heaviest times of engagement. {Pro tip: the lifecycle of a tweet tends to be less than 18 minutes before it peaks, while the average post on Facebook could reach their midlife crisis at the 90 minute mark. Keep these statistics in mind for maximizing results from your social strategy.}

    It’s wise to employ a multi-faceted strategy, factoring in each individual platform and the insights from that audience, as opposed to syncing multiple accounts together. Yes, it is convenient to see a post published on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all at once, but this form of content scheduling behavior results in churn (your fans unfollow and unlike you).

    Tip 5: Do What They Like!

    Another use for social media insights is to view which posts your audience responds to best, such as links versus images, or posts with text only. Doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t work will save time and resources, as well as increase your social activity. From adding images to including custom infographics,  there is always a way to increase post engagement. Try these cloud-based services for more visual resources: Infogr.am, Piktochart, and Canva.

    Yes, time is money; however, free, organic social marketing should be at the top of your marketing strategy. There is no better way to interact with your fans and customers or to have fans and customers interact with your business. Pay attention to what your audience says and when they’re listening and you will maximize your social media presence towards increased business results.