Facebook Wall – #GetReal

Facebook can be a great place for small businesses to build community, loyalty and awareness. It can even level the playing field with larger competitors. It is important to remember, when using Facebook for your small business, not to hide behind your wall or try to make your business out to be something it isn’t. Be authentic, transparent and genuine – get out from behind your wall from time to time because the best online presences are those that reflect, augment and intertwine with your everyday functions.Slide1

 

Social Network Changes – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

This new regular monthly blog post will recap and explain some of the functionality changes taking place in the big social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.

Facebook Changes

1. Scheduled Posts

One of the best things to happen on Facebook for people who manage Facebook pages is the scheduling function that allows you to schedule your Tweets.  You can post Tweets in the past (anywhere on your timeline) or up to 6 months in the future. To schedule a post, click on the clock icon and enter the year, month, date and time you want your post to appear on.  Once you have schedule your post, you can view and change it by clicking on “Use Activity Log” in the <Edit Settings> of your page.  Whilst this is a great addition to Facebook for pages, there are a coupole of downsides: 1) You can only post in increments of 5 minutes 2) You can’t really edit the post itself once it is scheduled, you can edit when you want it to appear but not the content.

 

2. Activity Log for Profiles

Similar to the Activity Log for Pages, Facebook recently added an Activity Log for your personal page too. Click on this to see everything you have shared from today back to when you first started using Facebook.   According to Facebook:

You can do different things with the stories that appear in your activity log, depending on what the story is and where it came from.  You can adjust the privacy or delete anything you post on Facebook. If the story came from someone else (like when a friend writes on your timeline or tags you in a photo), you’ll be able to review who can see it. You can also control whether stories show on your timeline. On some stories, like posts from apps, you can report the post as spam, turn off publishing from the app or remove the app from your timeline altogether.

 Twitter Changes

Twitter recently announced a slew of changes to how their API can be used.  For most users this will mean very little at least in the short term but for Third Party Apps that build on Twitter this is huge.   Read more about the changes on the Twitter blog. Considering how cumbersome the vanilla Twitter can be and the fact that that most power users need to use third party tools to make their Twitter experience manageable, the company needs to be careful to not shoot itself in the foot on this one but the good news is that there will be more control over Third Party apps that are potentially dangerous and more rules put in place to police this.

 

LinkedIn Changes

We manage a number of LinkedIn pages for clients and to be honest the interface and capabilities of company pages on LinkedIn has been a bit of a let down for us, which is why we’re excited about upcoming changes to LinkedIn pages announced in their blog on September 6th.   The changes are currently being rolled out to the big players (Philips, HP and Dell are among them), you can take a look at an example on Hubspot’s page.

For users this will mean that it will be easier to find what you are looking for on a company’s page, company updates will be front and centre and company pages will now be available for iPhone, Android and iPad (not before time as LinkedIn has been sorely lacking in this area).

The changes are rolling out over the next few months and too be honest, they are long overdue.  Company Pages look like a dog’s breakfast right now and leave a lot to be desired.  We’re hoping that more functionality such as the ability to schedule updates and to interact with both followers and other companies will be coming too.

 

An Introduction to Internet Advertising

With online ad spending hitting new highs, Internet advertising is becoming one of the key tools that companies use to attract attention for their product or service online  and online ads are beginning to eclipse traditional advertising.

History

Hardly a new concept is it?  Advertising has been used ever since mass production became possible well over a century ago  as a means to influence an audience with the intention of getting them to buy your product or service.  You just need to read Claude Hopkin’s 1923 book on the topic called Scientific Advertising to understand the importance advertising has had from a business perspective for the last century (and many of his points still apply today).

Recently however traditional media advertising (TV, newspaper, billboards etc) has faced a tough challenges with readership and viewer numbers plummeting, savvy audiences becoming desensitized to traditional advertising techniques and with the rise of alternative ways to influence target audiences (such as social media).

One of the saving graces for advertising is the ability to use the Internet to advertise online.  Online advertising has a few advantages over traditional advertising:

  • Less Expensive
  • Highly Targeted
  • East To Track Effectiveness

There are a number of different forms of online advertising, each with its own pros and cons.

Search Based Ads

Usually associated with search engine  results ads like Google Adwords and one of the most commonly used forms on online advertising, search based ads are predominantly text based and appear as sponsored or paid ads when people search for a particular phrase or keyword online.With search ads you pay or bid on an ad appearing to a searcher (impressions) or when someone clicks on the ad (pay per click).    These ads are highly targeted because they appear only to the people who enter pertinent related keywords.  If you have a new website this is a great way to get noticed by the major search engines, and really useful if you are going after new audiences.  The key to being successful using these ads is to use very specific key terms that you know potential clients will use and to make the most of them in the ad text.

Banner Ads

Banner ads (or web banners), are for the most part, rectangular image ads that appear on another organisation’s website.  Pop on over the Entrepreneurial Woman’s website and you will see an example of a banner as right at the top of the page. One important consideration with banner advertising is that you should only post your ads on sites that are related to your product or service or that attract your target audience.  Banner ad costs can vary according to the traffic the site gets and can be on a pay per click basis or on a time based (i.e. monthly) fee basis.

Email Ads

Not to be overlooked, more people use email on a regular basis than use any other online tools.  Having a regular opt-in marketing newsletter should be part of every company’s online advertising strategy to promote its products or services.  Email advertising can also include buying placements in the newsletters of related companies.

Network Advertising

Advertising networks companies make it easier for organisations  to advertise on related sites.  Google Adwords  is an example of a tool that facilitate network advertising  and this is a growing area with companies like Tribal Fusion acting as facilitators between publishers of high trafficked content and organisations looking to advertise to their large audiences.

Pop Up Ads

Those annoying ads that pop up on your screen unexpectedly and won’t go away.  Spare your audience and don’t use them.

Online Classifieds

Just like traditional classifieds, online ads on classifieds sites are used for the most part by the general public to buy or sell and by companies that target consumers.  Craigslist and Kijiji are just 2 examples of online classifieds – they are easy to set up and free to use but before you do consider if this is appropriate to your brand.

Social Network Advertising

Many of the major social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter allow you to advertise and these social ads are the fastest growing form of online advertising.  The biggest benefit of advertising using social networks is that your ads can be aimed at a very highly targeted audience and you can get started with just a few dollars per day to test the waters.

Online advertising tools make it easy for companies to use adverts to reach their audience online and can be a huge driver of targeted traffic to your website.   If you are considering your online advertising strategy and would like more information about our services please contact us.

Related posts:

The Future of Digital Advertising, iAds and Promoted Tweets

The Future of Advertising

Create a Custom iFrame Tab for your Facebook Page

Recently, Facebook updated their business pages and in the process they replaced FBML with iFrames for creating custom tabs. This means that instead of using FBML to create custom content on your page, you will now need to create a custom application and use an iFrame. Basically, an iFrame allows you to use content across different web domains through code which tells the website browser to request content from a different location. This enables you to display content from one webpage on another website, such as embedding a youtube video or flickr photo on your Facebook business page. IFrames are a bit more complicated than FBML, but we’ll walk you through the basic steps below.

 

1. Create the webpage you will be integrating with your Facebook page and upload it to your web server – making sure that the page will fit within the 520px wide size limit of Facebook. The iframe application that you will be creating will pull this content from your web server directly to Facebook.

2. Go to the Facebook Developers site to begin creating your application. Click ‘set up new app’ in the upper left-hand corner. This will take you to a screen that looks like the one below:

Fill in your application name – it’s easiest to make this the name of the custom tab you are creating, and click ‘create app’.

3. Now that you have created your app, you will be taken to the About Tab for your application. There are many options with your new application, but for basic custom tabs, our one recommendation is to change the icon. This way an icon of your choosing will show up on your page navigation bar under your page profile picture, instead of the default iframes icon. For best results, make sure the photo you upload is 16px x 16px.

4. Next, click ‘facebook integration’ on the upper left-hand side of the page.

These next steps are the most important in creating your custom iframes tab. It is where the integration happens between your webpage and Facebook. You will see a screen that looks like this:

5. Canvas URL: This is the url where the file you wish to integrate is located – remember to include ‘http://’. However, do not include the actual name of the file here. In other words, fill in everything but the name of your iframe file, instead the URL must have a trailing slash at the end. For example, if you webpage is hosted at http://www.mysite.com/webpage, only include http://www.mysite.com/. (You will fill in the name of the iframe file in a later field).

6. Secure Canvas URL: Re-enter the same URL as above, this time using ‘https://’ instead of ‘http://’.

7. Canvas Type: select iframe.

8. Iframe Size: Select ‘auto-resize’. This ensures that your webpage will fit neatly onto your Facebook page without users have to scroll left to right and up/down.

9. Tab Name: This is the name of your tab, such as ‘Welcome’ or ‘About’, you are limited to 16 characters here.

10. Tab URL: This is the name of the file you wish to integrate with Facebook. It is what you didn’t include in the above ‘canvas url’ field. For example, if your webpage is hosted at http://www.mysite.com/webpage, only include ‘webpage’ here.

11. Save your changes. You have created your first Facebook application!

12. The next step is adding your new application to your page. The screen you should see now includes the information on your new application. Do not submit your application, unless you want everyone to be able to add your custom iframe to their page through the Facebook Application Directory. Instead, click ‘application profile page’.

From here, you will be taken to an empty business page. On the left side under the profile image, click ‘add to my page’ and, if you have multiple business pages, click the appropriate one.

13. Go to the page you just added your application to, and hit refresh. Your new custom tab will appear in the list under your business page’s profile picture. Done!

You can make your custom tab the default landing page by going to ‘edit page’ and clicking ‘manage permissions’ on the left hand list. From here, use the drop down menu to choose your new application in the default landing tab field.

As you can see, iframes are a bit trickier than FBML. If you are looking for more guidance or have any questions, contact us at Out-Smarts Marketing.

A Guide to the New Facebook Pages

Facebook recently updated their business pages, and the changes are overwhelmingly positive for page administrators. Many of the issues with business pages have been rectified with these new changes, and the new pages more align with the look and feel of personal profiles, making for a more streamlined user experience on Facebook.

On March 10th all Facebook pages will permanently switch over to the new pages. Currently, administrators can preview the new profile or choose to opt-in to the new profile. Why not upgrade early? You only live once! Besides, you’ll have to make the change in a few days, you might as well have the new page features figured out before then and be ahead of the curve.

Once you’ve clicked to upgrade your profile, here are some of the new features you will find:

Tabs have migrated:

Your tabs have moved from the bar at the top of page to below your page’s profile picture on the left hand side. This change aligns with recent personal profile changes and promotes a seamless user interface.

Photo Strip:

Similar to tabs now being placed on the left hand side to mirror personal profiles, there is now a photo strip at the top of pages. These highly visible photos can be used strategically by your business to promote your brand and engage fans of your page. They are also easily customizable, so you can hand pick which pictures appear in this strip. If you upload many photos, you can frequently change the photos that appear there to give repeat visitors an ever-changing visual on your page or, ­­­with a spare half hour, you can create an eye-catching montage such as the one below.

Your page now operates as a ‘person’:

You now have the option to switch back as forth between using Facebook as yourself, or as your page. For example, now I can post as ‘Out-Smarts’ on other walls as opposed to only being able to post as ‘Corrie Scott’. Furthermore, if you are using Facebook as your page, you now have a newsfeed customized to your page which you click ‘home’, and you have the ability to ‘like’ other pages as your brand. You can find the option to use Facebook as your page under ‘account’ as seen below or, if you go to your business page, you will find the option to ‘use facebook as your page’ on the right hand side under the ‘edit page’ button. You can return to using Facebook as yourself by following the same steps. This is a very handy feature as it allows you to post as your page on other walls, whereas, in the past you were only able to post as yourself.

Post as yourself on your page:

The opposite of above. In the past, I could only post to the Outsmarts page as ‘Outsmarts’, but now I have the option to post as ‘Corrie Scott’. To post as yourself on your page, click ‘edit page’, then ‘your settings’ on the left hand list, and uncheck the button called ‘posting preferences’. Click ‘save changes’ and now you can post to your page as yourself.

Receive notifications from your page:

You now receive email notifications about your page in the same way you receive notifications for your personal profile. If your page receives significant activity and the notifications are cluttering up your email, you have the option to turn off email so that you only see notifications when logged into Facebook as your brand. To turn off email notifications click to edit your page, click on ‘your settings’ and uncheck the box that says ‘email notifications’.

Featured likes and featured page owners:

‘Featured likes’ are simply a name change – this used to be ‘favorite pages’. Featured page owners allows you to showcase the administrators of your brand’s page. This allows you to further humanize your brand – if you want to connect yourself personally to your business page. To add either of these features to your page you need to again click to edit your page, this time click on ‘Featured’ and click to add either option.

Changes to your wall:

You can choose whether to show posts by just your brand, or allow fans to post to your wall as well – much like before. However, posts will no longer appear chronologically on your pages wall. Instead, posts now appear according to a ‘relevancy algorithm’ where posts that have had the most interaction will now appear at the top of your page. To see posts in chronological order you can click on ‘admin view’ under the ‘wall’ tab now located on the left under the page profile picture. Admins also have the option of deleting spam or inappropriate posts which will be filed under ‘Hidden Posts’ – you can always unhide these posts at a later time if you wish.

No more static FBML:

As of March 10th, Facebook no longer supports static FBML tabs. They will continue to support any custom tabs already created with FBML, but all new tabs must be developed using iFrames.

‘Suggest a page’:

This feature is no longer available for fans of your page. From now on only admins can suggest a page to their friends, instead fans can now ‘share’ a page. This is similar to the way users share other content on the site, and is Facebook’s attempt to be consistent across their entire site.