Report: Facebook Pages More Effective Than Websites


Hey Gang! I want to share an article with you by David Cohen titled “Report: Facebook Pages More Effective Than Websites“.  Normally, I prefer to paraphrase articles and put in my own two cents, but Cohen’s article is so succinct that I have decided to reprint it in it’s entirety. Here it goes:

Who needs a website when you can have a Facebook page? A recent survey by market-research firm Lab42found that 50 percent of the 1,000 social media users who were polled believe Facebook pages are more useful than brands’ websites, and 82 percent feel that pages are good places to interact with brands.

However, brands must be judicious about their posts, as 48 percent of respondents have unliked pages that post too often.

Other findings from Lab42include:

  • The top three ways people interact with pages on Facebook were: To print or redeem coupons or discounts; to like posts or comments; and to learn about new products.
  • Besides posting too frequently, other reasons cited for unliking brands were: stopped liking the brand, and bad customer experiences.
  • It’s no secret that people like saving money, but 77 percent have done so as a result of liking brands on Facebook; 66 percent have saved $20 or more in the past 12 months; and 17 percent have saved more than $100.
  • 35 percent of respondents felt that brands were more responsive to them on Facebook than elsewhere.

Lab42 CEO Gauri Sharma said:

A common social media goal for companies is to increase their number of Facebook likes. Our study sheds lights on the ever-present question increasingly considered by brands: What is a Facebook like worth? Companies have devoted significant time, money, and marketing resources in an attempt to answer this very question. Rather than guessing, we decided to go straight to the source and ask consumers about their Facebook liking habits and opinions.

Readers: Did any of the findings by Lab42 surprise you?

How do you sell social media to your superiors?


Lack of measurement leads to the dark side: ego driven websites and social media.

Whether you like it or not, data is important. I have heard the arguments about Google Analytics and the rest don’t tell the whole story about your audience. The question is: if you are measuring nothing, how can you make any comparisons or determine success and failure.

Lack of measurement leads to the dark side: ego driven websites and social media. This is when the website content is based on the whims of someone – usually whoever is in charge – with no quantifiable reasons for the decisions made. It basically boils down to, “I don’t like Facebook, so it is not worthwhile,” or “My wife told me she didn’t like our landing page, so we should change it.”

Beware the Uneducated Boss

In his article “Social Media Measurement: The Numbers Suck Because the Models & Metrics are Wrong,” Sean Carton notes that “Currently only 16 percent of CEOs participate in social media themselves.”

This is huge problem, because people tend to think that things they don’t like aren’t important. Carton also notes, “Most companies (2/3rds) didn’t have any clear way of measuring what they were doing social media-wise and most weren’t bothering to measure the performance of their activities against their social media objectives. Most weren’t even measuring revenue generated by social media efforts.”

With the amount of people on Facebook alone, it seems crazy not to add social media to your marketing plan, but there have to be some ways to measure.  However, with no types of measurement of success, all it takes in a non-believer boss to turn their back on social media, and you are missing the chance to reach millions of potential customers.

No measurement is perfect, but you must pick something! At least then you can set a benchmark.

Pick something

As I mentioned, there is no perfect metric in web and social media analytics, but you have to pick something – some way to show that your efforts are paying off.  A few suggestions:

– Sell the idea of affinity. Try to show the social reach of your posts, noting what works and what doesn’t. This can give your boss the idea of the power of social media.

As Carton says, “The reason that nobody clicks on Facebook ads is because they get in the way of why people are on Facebook: to talk to each other, not to find products and services. “Marketing” in social media has to be about facilitating conversations, not interrupting them. Measuring the impact of social media has to move beyond the idea that it’s going to drive clicks and move toward measuring influence, participation, engagement, and, yes, delight.”

Rather than looking at how many products you sold in a limited amount of time, look at how many people are talking about your posts? The average person on Facebook has 190 friends, so anyone who has interacted with your content has broadcast (hopefully) good vibes about your company to 190 people.

You can measure Facebook Insights right from your page, or you can use a tool like HootSuite some cost) or ThinkUp (free!) to measure it for you and put it into nice, pretty reports.

– If you have made your website a destination, perhaps by posting news articles or blog posts on a regular basis, you can use Google Analytics to track where your visitors are coming from. Share with your boss the amount of traffic coming from Facebook and Twitter posts.

Facebook = Free Focus Group

– Note the idea of free focus groups.  As I mentioned in this post, large companies like Frito-Lay are eschewing focus groups and taking R&D right to the people.  You have your audience right in front of you. Don’t be scared to interact. It’s called SOCIAL media. Be social.

As mentioned before, there are no silver bullets for social media measurement, but if you arm yourself with some type of facts and measurements, you will easily defeat the ego-driven, information-free powers that be.

What is your social media strategy?


What is your social media strategy?  Are you a bigmouth? A “like” weasel?

I was reading a Social Media Dudes post called “5 Types of Social Media Strategies” and they have really hit the nail on the head about the varied types of approaches that are taken to Facebook marketing.

1)      The bigmouth. The bigmouth never shuts up about themselves. This is the company where every post is a one-way broadcast of marketing messages. This means non-engaging posts about new products and content that includes links to watch your new commercial.

A great example is the Hyundai page, whose idea of engaging content is “High-five your screen if $0 down, plus bonus cash savings on Sonata and Sonata Hybrid sounds awesome.” Huh?

Don’t be a Bigmouth!

2)      Like Weasel. This is the company where every post is a “like if.”  This is the most shallow way to share your message.  Sure you may get people to fall for it, but the result will not build lasting engagement.  I can see using a like-grab every so often, but you need to dedicate your page to creating value, not to generating hollow likes. If your content is good, you shouldn’t have to prompt people to share it.

3)      Promotion. Hotels.com can’t shut up about the deals they are offering.  How about building a little engagement so people don’t stop following your page, like I did?

Don’t be a social media hoe!

4)      One Hit Wonder. This is the prompt that says “help us get to 1,000 fans” or “help our video take off.” The problem here is that you are getting clicks based on getting your fan count up.  What then? Are these people going to buy from you? Probably not.  You haven’t created any bond between customer and company. You’ve become a social media hoe!

5)      The ones who do it right. Please read this great post from Valeria Maltoni.  A quote: “Getting started in this way of thinking is simple: put a big post-it next to your workspace that says, “how does this help the user kick ass?” and then ask the question about everything. Every feature consideration, every paragraph, every slide. Never quit asking. You will begin to know when you have deviated into something that makes YOU look like YOU kick-ass, because your justification will sound weak even to you :)”

There are a lot of ways you can create value for your user, which I have gabbed about endlessly in previous posts. You don’t need to tell them how great you are if you’re providing value, they’ll figure it out. Now shut up about yourself!

Selling your ideas


Always Be Selling – Your Ideas! Talk them up whenever and wherever you can!

As you attempt to move your business forward, creating new social media avenues and improving your website, there are usually going to be several people you will need to convince that the project is worth doing.  That may be the big boss, the people in marketing or whoever controls the money. This is when your online success depends more on politics than on creative vision.

It is almost inevitable that you will meet some resistance.  There is at least one guy at your company who still thinks TV buys and press releases will get the job done.  However, it is time for your company to move forward and to break the shackles of the old rules of marketing.

Arm yourself with information before you try to sell your ideas!

Here are some thoughts on what to do when it is time to start convincing others that your ideas are the right ones.

  • Arm yourself with information. The naysayers will try to find reasons not to change things, so you have to convince them that things need changing.  I have found that most company decisions are made based on the whims of the decision makers, and rarely on any sort of measurements. Web analytics will give you a ton of insight into your company. You will have hard data about what kinds of people are coming to your website, where they are coming from and what they like to see.
  • Present the information in a dynamic way.  Be ready with a PowerPoint, but not a typical PowerPoint presentation. This should include images that convey feeling – Who is the customer? What will your new approach do for them? How will this help the company? Don’t use a bunch of wordy slides, use sparse text and plenty of imagery.  DO NOT READ OFF OF YOUR SLIDES!!!
  • Know your customers. Have some personas created in advance. Show the crowd that you know who you’re company is selling to. I know it sounds crazy, but many people have not thought out their target market beyond “the general public.”
  • Don’t hide your ideas. People often keep their good ideas under wraps.  Make sure you talk about your ideas as often as you can and to many different parties.  Start the movement from the ground up. Again, being prepared with facts and figures will help other buy in to your argument.

These are a few thoughts for today.  There are still a lot more factors to consider – like dealing with the naysayers – but the road to changing your company’s culture starts with you.  Don’t miss your opportunity!

Fritos and the Facebook focus group


I think you would find this article in The New York Times to be rather interesting.  If you are too lazy to click the link, the article, “Social Media Are Giving a Voice to Taste Buds” notes how Frito-Lay is using Facebook to test new flavor ideas in lieu of costly focus groups.  Frito-Lay has developed an “I’d Eat That” button that allows Frito-Lay to measure the popularity of various proposed flavors in different parts of the country.

This is an example of a company unlocking the true potential of social media.  Think of how much it would cost to hold focus groups in California, New York, and Chicago to find out what flavors were popular in each region.  And if a mega corporation like Frito-Lay (which can certainly afford focus groups) decides it is just as good to use Facebook, think about what good news this is for your business!

The article, written by Stephanie Clifford, notes, “While consumers may think of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare as places to post musings and interact with friends, companies like Wal-Mart and Samuel Adams are turning them into extensions of market research departments. And companies are just beginning to figure out how to use the enormous amount of information available.”

Another great piece from the article:

“When Wal-Mart wanted to know whether to stock lollipop-shaped cake makers in its stores, it studied Twitter chatter. Estée Lauder’s MAC Cosmetics brand asked social media users to vote on which discontinued shades to bring back. The stuffed-animal brand Squishable solicited Facebook feedback before settling on the final version of a new toy. And Samuel Adams asked users to vote on yeast, hops, color and other qualities to create a crowdsourced beer, an American red ale called B’Austin Ale that got rave reviews.”

While your competitors are still toiling away at the old rules of marketing, you can use social media to engage your fans and conduct market research at the same time.  Use this opportunity to brainstorm ways you can combine research and fun for your fans.

Think about it this way – you spend money on focus groups to tell you what your fans like.  Why not just go directly to fans? The will feel like they have a stake in your company – this builds affinity and allows you the opportunity to connect with fans on a more meaningful level.

When fans buy the new flavor of chip that they voted for, they can say, “I helped make this possible.” Something to think about this weekend!

Until next time…

Blog for business, blog for passion – be the expert


Would Shakespeare be a playwright today or a blogger?

Sure, there are a ton of blogs out there. In fact, you’re reading one right now. That doesn’t mean you don’t have something important to say.

Blogging is a great way for a business to build value to customers.

  • This personal trainer blogs about fitness tips and trends; by showing his knowledge, he is also establishing himself as someone to turn to when you decide to shape up.
  • Babycakes Bakery blogs about recipes, shows baking videos and features celebrity news involving their brand.
  • Leonard’s Garage & Service Center in Austin, TX blogs about keeping your car in good condition.
  • Food blog writer Tim Mazurek began his blog, Lottie + Doof, as a passion project, but it has led him to freelance food writing and photography jobs (see more in this Huffington Post article). Plus, his blog was named food blog of the year by Saveur.com.

Think about your business today and ways in which you could reach out through a blog.  What kinds of tips and stories do you have to share?

No time to blog? It could be your most important business tool, and you can make it easy on yourself with these tips!

Don’t stop yourself before you start

There are some common walls that people put up to keep themselves from blogging.  The following are a few of those common fears, and the answers are from Elizabeth Dunn’s HubSpot article, “How to Squash Anxiety and Kill Your Inner Blogging Critic.”

“You don’t have anything to say.”

Don’t worry, you have plenty to say. But waiting around for inspiration to strike is a notoriously ineffective strategy. The only thing that actually works is sitting your butt down in the chair and getting started. But you can make it easy on yourself. Create a list of topic ideas, and keep adding to it. Ask for topic ideas from everyone you can think of, inside and outside your company. Start with a post for each frequently asked question about your business. Check out your competitors’ blogs to find out what they write about.

To Do: Start a list of 5-10 potential blog post topics and circulate it by email to your coworkers and friends for suggestions. Imply that the best post ideas will be rewarded with ice cream. Lots of ice cream. Apply whipped cream as needed.

“You don’t have time to write — you’ve got a business to run.

Nonsense. Hogwash. Poppycock. Bullnoodles. Blogging is business development.

Businesspeople make time to grow their business, or they go out of business. Writing a blog is a discipline like any other. But it doesn’t come naturally like magic — you have to form a habit. It’s just like going to the gym — you’re going to have to mark it on your calendar and keep these appointments as a sacred debt of honor.

To Do: Set aside a block of time each week to write for your business blog. Commit to publishing them on a set, consistent schedule. Refrain from making lame excuses (Hint: all excuses are lame excuses), as these have been proven to cause headaches, nausea, and unsightly blemishes. Nobody likes an unsightly blemish.

“You need hours of uninterrupted time to write a good post.”

If this sounds right to you, then you’re doing it wrong. Not every post needs to be a long, drawn-out manifesto. In fact, very, very few of them need to be long, drawn-out, and manifesto-ish. Goodness. Who wants to read a manifesto, anyway? Aim for around 600 pithy little words. Try to present just one clear, cogent nugget of thought in each post. Back it up with a little data, add an image, and you’re done.

To Do: Write one post that is about 600 words long. Print it out and stick it on the wall by your desk. Stare at it until you start seeing spots. Then write another.

“You’re a failure because nobody ever comments on your blog.”

Seriously? When was the last time you went to the bank and made a deposit of all of your recent blog comments? Paid your bills with a robust exchange of opinions? Thought so. Blog posts are there to help you (1) get found by the right visitors, and (2) convert those visitors into leads. That’s it. Instead of worrying about how many blog comments you’re getting, worry about how many of your blog visitors are clicking through your calls-to-action (CTAs) to your landing pages. Worry about why you don’t have a CTA at the bottom of each and every blog post. That’s what should be keeping you up at night, not some thinly veiled popularity contest.

To Do:Add a CTA to the bottom of each and every blog post. You did see that one coming, didn’t you?

“You’ll never be as good as [INSERT FAMOUS BLOGGER NAME].”

Well, you’ll never be somebody else, that’s for sure. You can only be you. But that’s as it should be. Don’t waste your time trying to emulate somebody else who’s already found blogging success. Find your own voice, and learn what kind of blogging works for you. Even better, find out what works for your audience. Find out what resonates with your most highly sought-after customers. That’s where the gold is.

To Do: Write a blog post. Now, before you publish it, read it out loud. Read it over the phone to your best friend. Read it out loud to your mother. Now rewrite it, using the voice you speak with. That’s your real writing voice.

One more personal note – don’t give up! You may start out with one reader a week.  The only way for that to grow is for people to find out about you, and that means you need to keep putting out valuable information! Now, what can you blog about today?