Tag Archives: Facebook

4 Business Skills You Need to Master for Social Media Success

18 Apr
Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco has a great company culture and story--one of connection.

Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco has a great company culture and story built on human connection

“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something…In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” – Anthony Robbins

As a social media strategist I get a lot of questions from business owners about what social media is, and how they can use it to build their businesses. One of the most important tips that I can share is that social media is a relationship-building tool and as such it only works if you are interested in building relationships with your potential customers or clients. Below are three skills that you are going to need to perfect if you want to succeed using social media to build your business.

1. LISTEN. Anyone can talk about themselves. The brands and companies that stick out are the ones that take the time to listen to the conversations that their customers and clients are having, identify questions that are not being answered, and provide practical, helpful solutions. A good indicator of whether you are really tuning in to the conversations that your customers and clients are having is whether you use your social media platforms to ask questions that will help you better serve your fans. I am not talking about asking questions just to get engagement up on your page. I am talking about asking questions that you already KNOW your clients and customers will want to respond to because you have your finger on the pulse of your industry and you know what issues are hot. The good news is that if asking great (read: interesting, relevant & engaging) questions is a skill that you do not count among your greatest fortes, it is one that you can master with some effort. Michael Hyatt’s article The Power of Asking the Right Question is a great resource to get you started.

2. RESPOND TO THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. If you are wondering which ones are the right ones, these would be the ones that your customers and clients are asking; the ones they need answered. The key here is that your content should answer the questions your customers need answers to, not what you think your customers should be interested in.

3. GIVE WITHOUT EXPECTATION. Sound obvious? It may be, but many businesses are still posting on Facebook or Twitter with the immediate goal of increasing sales. Don’t get me wrong: ROI is important, but what you should be aiming for is sharing content that is so awesome and fostering conversations so engaging that your clients and customers will love your business–so much that they not only purchase a product or service: they also become brand advocates, sharing their experience of your service or product with their friends and colleagues both online and off. Developing relationships like this with your followers takes time and a recognition of the long-term value of all the energy invested on a daily basis, but the benefit of a rock solid group of brand advocates who are out there singing your praises is worth it!

4.TELL YOUR STORY, AND MAKE IT GOOD. This includes elements of the three points above, but in ways it is the most important. If you do not have a GREAT story, or have a great story but are not telling it well, you will never have success with social media. Why? Because you distinguish yourself from the masses by cutting through the noise, and the best way to do that is to share what your company or organization does differently. My favourite (non-social) blog is Chookooloonks, written by Karen Walrond. Karen is so convinced that the key to success is to celebrate what every individual does differently that she has built her entire business (and written a book) around The Beauty of Different.

The photo at the top of this blog post is a the Facebook page belonging to one of my favourite places to hang out with friends: Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco. The company was established to create a space where people can connect. That is the foundation of their story. The fact that they serve superb tea and food in a peaceful, beautiful environment that makes you feel like you are dreaming just adds to the story. Not sure what you do differently? Start by asking yourself the following questions and thinking of ways that you can depict the answers with pictures or videos (and minimal text):

-How did you become interested in your business? Did it run in the family? What is the history behind where your business is today?

-What are the values that are the pillars of your business? How are these reflected in the causes you support, your relationship with employees, company culture, etc?

-What happens behind the scenes in the day-to-day  operation of your business? What is happening at any given time of year? What are some special events that you host annually?

-Who are the people behind the success of your business? What are their stories? What do they love about working for your company?

-Who are your best clients/customers? If this information is not private (ask beforehand!) then highlight some of the individuals, companies or organizations that you have helped accomplish their goals and that regularly promote your products or services.

Keep in mind that not even the most brilliant marketing team will be able to successfully promote your company online if you have terrible customer service on the ground or a product that is not top-notch. Your social media efforts will amplify whatever is happening in the real world, so make sure you have a great story to share.

Do you have any other skills that you would add to this list? Share them below!

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Facebook cover photos: Keeping you up to date

5 Apr

Over the last month we have seen many changes on Facebook. Some of these are obvious. Others are less visible. One change that happened during the last month that is important for businesses is the change to Facebook’s cover photo policy. If you have had a business page for a while you will remember when you could say just about anything in the banner space where your cover photo goes. Then Facebook implemented new policies that significantly reduced what types of things you could do with your cover images. Recently Facebook quietly loosened their policies, allowing businesses to include calls to action and web site addresses in the cover image again. They have kept the policy limiting text in the cover image to 20% of the total area, but businesses can now highlight price and purchase information; list contact information such as a website address, email, or mailing address; refer to Facebook features or actions, such as like or share, and include either text calls to action (CTAs) like “buy it now” or visual CTAs like an arrow pointing from the cover photo to the ‘Like’ button.

This is excellent news for businesses since clear CTAs significantly increase visitor/fan engagement and generate more leads.

That said, you don’t want to use this new announcement as a reason to backtrack in your creative marketing endeavours. There are ways to take advantage of the ability to use CTAs again without simply reverting to old tricks that will look like precisely what they are—used. Be creative. Use some of the new ideas and approaches you have learned by having to accomplish your goals without text CTAs.

If you do switch up your cover photo and add a CTA and/or arrow directing people to like your page, check out this great Facebook image compliance tool that will help you determine whether your CTA is less than 20% of your image area.

Below is an example of a cover image with a CTA in it from Hubspot.

CTA hubspot

Have you come across any others that you find effective?

If you add a CTA to your cover image or use one in a specific promotion/campaign you are highlighting in your cover photo let us know if you gain more leads as a result. We would love to see what new and creative ways you come up with to use the CTA in your cover image, so if you try it out be sure to post a link to your page in the comments section so we can see what you came up with. You never know….we might just ask to feature your business in one of our future blog posts!