Tuesday
Apr222014

Linking your Facebook business page to your personal Facebook profile

I’m in a lot of groups on Facebook and they are a great way to network, meet new people, and find potential clients or service providers.  I often don’t want to become friends with someone that I see in a Facebook group, but based on something they’ve said I’m interested in what they do for a living and want to find out more.  So I click on their name, then click on about and whatever the link to where they work there is, only to find this:

 

Is your Facebook page linked to your personal account?

That suitcase is what is created when you just type in where you work into Facebook and is what you’ll find many people have in their about section. It doesn’t link to a business page and I’ve often wondered what the point of those suitcase pages are at all.

If you have a business, or are using social media to network, you need to make sure that you link an actual Facebook page into your about section. This will help people find you, connect with you, and allow you to build relationships with them.

How do you link a Facebook page to your account?

1) Setting it up so that your about section links to your Facebook page is quite simple if you know where to go or that you should be doing that in the first place.

Go to your personal profile and click on the pencil to the right of the About section in the left hand sidebar and select update info.

 

2) Start typing the name of the Facebook page you want to link to and select it.

 

3) Fill out all the pertinent information and click “add job.”

 

That’s it!  You’ve now added a link to your Facebook page from the about section of your personal Facebook profile (and I’ve added an older job to mine :) and if someone wants to find your place of work without adding you as a friend, they can now do that.  

We have a new freebie for you!  Sign up for our newsletter and get a copy of our Daily Social Media Checklist, a guide to help you spend your time online efficiently.

Monday
Apr142014

Are you freaking out because your Facebook reach is down?

If you’ve noticed that your Facebook reach is down, you definitely aren’t alone.  It’s frustrating – no doubt about it!  Less people are seeing your content than in the past. 

What this means for you as a page owner is that you may need to shift the way you’re doing things and how you think about Facebook as a tool.  Because of this change we’ve been having this conversation with people a lot so today I’m going to share some reasons I think it kind of makes sense that you’re seeing less, and a few things you can do to try to improve the situation.

Why is this happening?

1. Facebook’s Algorithm

Facebook’s algorithm is designed to show people what they want to see. As much as I enjoy knowing what my favourite brands are up to, I definitely want the ratio of friend to brand content to fall heavily on the friend side. That means our Facebook pages are showing up less in personal feeds.

2. Volume

There are over 1.25 billion Facebook accounts sharing more than 10 billion messages daily. If everything that was shared showed up in your timeline chronologically (as it does on Google+ or Twitter) then you wouldn’t see any more from a brand than you are now. There is simply no way for people to see everything being shared on Facebook.

3. This is no different than with other media

You don’t hear every ad that runs on the radio or every comment/conversation by the DJs. You don’t see every ad that plays on TV. Why would you expect to see everything one brand or person posts on Facebook?

TV and radio are a great analogy for a lot of what’s going on with Facebook, in my opinion.

When TV was a newer technology, brands could buy an ad on one of the big three networks and because the choice of channels was so limited, the chance of their audience seeing that ad was fairly high. This is very much like the early days of Facebook when people were only following a few brand pages and didn’t have hundreds of Facebook friends.

When people choose to watch TV now, they have hundreds of channels to choose from, or they can choose to fast forward through all the commercials or go straight to streaming Netflix and avoid commercials altogether. The chances of a brand’s commercial being seen by the public simply because it’s been put on TV has significantly decreased because of all the content available out there. The same applies to Facebook.

While many people like to talk about Facebook being a bait and switch situation with a free service that worked well now being one that has little reach, the landscape of Facebook is simply no longer what it was a couple of years ago. As the pickup within a medium increases, the reach is bound to decrease.

4. Revenue

People talk about how Facebook just wants your money a lot. I agree. They do.

I also think that makes sense. You can reach your audience for free on Facebook with a certain level of effort (like getting media attention using public relations) or you can pay for advertising (just like people do on TV, radio and newspapers) and get in front of more eyeballs. Facebook is trying to make money and their business model is one that includes advertising. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable thing for them to want the brands who are reaching their audiences on their network to pay for a some of it.

I don’t want to just spend my time justifying why your reach has decreased though, I want to offer some ideas on things you can do to bump it back up again.

What can you do?

Post regularly

Are you posting at least 1-2 times a day on your page? You should be posting at least that many times, if not more.

The more regularly and consistently you post good, valuable content, the more likely your audience is to see and interact with your content. That means they’ll be seeing your content in their feed more often in the future.

Analyze your content

Check your insights regularly. At least once a week, go and see what people are reacting to and take that into account when creating more content.

Is your audience clicking through on your links? Are people liking, commenting on or sharing the pictures you post? There is a ton of information in the insights that will help you make your content exactly what your audience is looking for.

What time is your audience online?

In the Facebook Insights section you can see what time your audience is online. Make sure that you’re sharing content throughout all of those times and not just the same times over and over again.  Then check to see if certain times are working better. (Building your Facebook presence requires patience and a willingness to test and tweak.)

There are certain times of day that are really popular. Your audience may be online but it’s harder to reach them because so much more content is being pushed out at that time (ads are more expensive during drive time radio for a reason). You may be better off posting at a time that is slightly less popular (9pm maybe?) and getting through to more people. Test it out and see what works!

Enlist your brand champions

You have a loyal following. There is nothing wrong with asking certain people to be more engaged on your page because it helps get the reach up. Ask them to turn notifications on and let them know you appreciate the support they are giving your page. It’s also nice to be willing to do that for a few other pages.

I have notifications turned on for about 5 business pages and I try to like, comment and share content on those pages as much as possible, because I know it’s helpful and valuable to a business that I believe in.

Pay for advertising

I mentioned this a bit earlier when I talked about Facebook wanting revenue. I think it’s reasonable to spend a bit of money on Facebook advertising. In fact, I think it’s a really good idea.

I’ve paid for advertising in print. Facebook advertising is dirt cheap in comparison, but you can target so specifically it’s amazing - done right, Facebook ads can deliver far more value than print ads. Don’t think that because you’ve heard boosting posts is a waste of your money (it definitely can be) or because people are complaining about Facebook advertising that it isn’t something worth doing. I’ll admit it takes time to learn how to do it really well, and you may want to enlist someone to help you do that that, but Facebook advertising DOES work and is something every business should consider and not just scoff at.

Reset your expectations

Things have changed. We may have gotten up to 50%+ reach on some posts in the past and we aren’t getting that any more. But if you think about the fact that people ARE seeing your content, that you’re providing value to the people who really want it, and you’re able to grow that audience at incredibly low cost, instead of just looking at the decrease in numbers you’ll see that spending your time on Facebook is still worthwhile.

Set some very realistic goals and expectations and see if you can meet them. Work to improve your engagement and reach from where you’re at now instead of looking into the past. Be consistent and provide quality content and you’re off to a great start. Just don’t forget to TELL people to come to your Facebook page and like you. And WHY. Why is it worth their time to offer you real estate in their packed Newsfeed?

So there you have it - my thoughts on the Facebook reach situation. To summarize it all quickly - yes, it’s happening. I don’t think it’s surprising or awful, but I do agree it’s frustrating and disappointing. We all just need to do our best by creating great content and putting our audiences first to make the time we spend on Facebook as worthwhile as possible.

Do you think Facebook still has value or has the algorithm destroyed its value for businesses? Leave a comment and let us know!

Monday
Apr072014

It doesn't take much to create a great customer experience

Last week I was in Toronto for meetings and I got into a cab and the very first thing I noticed was that there was a console in the middle of the back seat and it had packs of gum, candies, bottles of water and a few other things I didn’t explore.  My impression? “Aw, that’s nice!” 

Creating a great customer experience

The first thing the driver told me after I told him where I was going was that I could help myself to anything there, it was for me.  I immediately started thinking about how it really is the little things that can make all the difference in a great customer experience.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot

The cost of what was sitting in the console next to me was, tops, $10.  I helped myself to one candy, which probably cost 5 cents. Just the fact that I COULD take anything I wanted made me feel like I was having a great experience.  So I told him so and we had a great chat the rest of the way to the airport.

He pointed out the extra features he had in his cab.  There were nice, new, and crisp magazines in the pouches of the seats in front of me that I could read if I wanted, there were pillows on the back window that I could use if I wanted to get more comfortable (he said they were used a lot to prop up arms, especially on longer drives to the airport) and he told me about an arrangement he had at a hotel where he could pick up bags on behalf of customers.  He also told me about the car wash membership he paid for quarterly, never giving himself an excuse not to keep his cab in tip top shape.

We went on to talk about how the majority of his work comes from people calling him to pick them up and how many people tell him they prefer to get rides from him because it’s such a nice experience.  When the price of a cab ride can’t be changed because a meter is in charge, he stands out by creating a great experience; an experience that doesn’t cost him much at all but I BET gets him lots more in tips than his competitors.

It works offline and online

While this story is all about something that happened in person and not online, the lesson carries over to all spaces when you’re a business owner.  When you create friendly customer experiences, when you make people feel good, when you go above and beyond what you HAVE to do, you build relationships with people.  When you build relationships with people, those people will come back to you, even if it’s a bit more inconvenient or costs a bit more.

The cab driver gave me his card and told me if I ever needed to be picked up at the airport to just text him before I got on my flight in Ottawa. His card is safely tucked in my wallet now because I have a feeling I will do just that.

 

Have you had any great customer service experiences that were low cost but had big impact? Are there any little things that you do that do this? Leave a comment and tell us what they are!

Thursday
Apr032014

Spin Sucks - four topics every business owner needs to understand

Karen shared our #wwcbookclub book for April earlier this week and I’m writing about the same book again because there’s just that much to talk about with this book. Plus, we’re so excited for our friend Gini’s book launch! :)

In 2000 I started the Public Relations program at Algonquin College. I was freshly home from Korea, where I’d gone to spend almost a year teaching English after graduating with a BA in Psychology I wasn’t sure what to do with. 

I clearly remember one of the very first things the program coordinator said to us on the day I started this program.

“Public relations is not about being a spin doctor, but that’s what people think it is.”

It’s stuck with me for almost 14 years now because it’s true, people do think that people who work in PR are just “spinning” a story, but that’s really not what well-done PR is about.  Which is why I love reading Gini Dietrich’s blog and her books – she talks about and teaches PR the way it needs to be done so that people can understand it.

 Her lastest book, Spin Sucks, just launched and I was thrilled to get my hands on it early.  Now that I’ve read it (from cover to cover – rare for me!) here are my four reasons I think you should read this book, whether you’re a PR professional or not (though if you ARE a PR professional or student, you should just get it no matter what!)  Ok, they aren’t reasons exactly, they are topics I think all business owners need to understand: 

1)  What’s your media?

Owned, paid, shared, earned, what is the difference and which ones do you need?  Things have changed and you need to understand what kind of content you can have, what you currently do have, and what you want to have.  And while you’re at understanding all of these, what are the right and wrong ways to try to get each kind.

2)   Crisis communications 

I’m a big believer in being prepared and the book helps you know what to do when something bad happens to you or your business, whether it be a big incident or a small one.  No matter how much we’d like to protect ourselves from people saying things about us online we don’t want them to, we unfortunately don’t have the power.  There are some really solid suggestions on how to do deal with that in the book.  I’ll give you a hint on the most important part – don’t try to hide things.

3)   Storytelling 

People love a good story, and your story is the most interesting one of all when it comes to your business.  The book has some really great examples that showcase the importance of storytelling and points you to some of your favourite novels for inspiration.

4)   Google and Search Engine Optimization 

Gini covers the topic in a way that gives you ideas on what to do or not do to help your rankings in search. While I would love to keep writing 300 word posts, I now know that I really should be keeping the posts between 500-800 words or so, and I’ve been putting in a lot of effort to make that happen (and totally nailed it on this post! :).  Understanding how Google ranks your web site is so important and this book really taught me a lot and have brought a lot of things back top of mind for me. 

So there you have it, a bit of a taste for what I think you can learn from this book.  Check it out as soon as possible because if you take advantage before Saturday you get all kinds of awesome extra free stuff - and who doesn’t love free stuff? (answer: not me. *I* love free stuff)

BUY YOUR COPY OF SPIN SUCKS BY APRIL 5TH AND GET AMAZING EXTRAS!

MEET GINI AND HEAR HOW MUCH SPIN SUCKS LIVE!

One last note, for our Ottawa and Toronto readers: Gini’s coming to town next week (Karen and I will both be there)! She’ll be inToronto (#3tyyz) on Monday, the 7th and she’s coming to Ottawa (#3tyow) on Tuesday, the 8th.

April #WWCBookClub Twitter Chat

Mark your calendars, because April 24th from 9:00-10:00pm, we’re going to have a chat about #SpinSucks and everything you’ve learned! So, be sure to go buy the book now: Amazon.ca PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).  

Tuesday
Apr012014

Spin may suck, but the book is really useful (April #WWCBookClub pick)

Normally when we announce our book for the month, neither Lara or I will have read it. This month is a bit different, because we both volunteered to be ambassadors for the launch (THIS WEEK!) of Gini Dietrich’s brand new book, Spin Sucks. Many of you may already know that Lara and I are big Gini fangirls - especially me. Remember this from last year’s Social Capital Conference when Gini came to speak?

Gini is a lovely person, but she’s also really, really smart. That’s why I have followed her blog for years now - and why I was even more excited when I heard she was going to be releasing a book. I’ve found Gini’s blog, also called Spin Sucks, to be full of wisdom and actionable content that any business can use to raise their profile using digital marketing. Sure, she’s in PR and perhaps you’re thinking that’s not relevant to you or your business. The truth is that if you’re using social media, you’re practicing public relations, whether you realize it or not. We just aren’t all doing it well; that doesn’t mean we don’t need to use the (good) tactics. 

So, here’s what I got out of Spin Sucks (affiliate Paperback, Kindle) and why I’m so excited that you get to read it this month for #WWCBookClub!

Gini tells it like it is - no sugar coating

As a business owner, I have such an appreciation for people who ask me hard questions and tell me what I truly need to hear. Diluting the truth will only hurt you in the long run. This book wouldn’t be as useful as it is if it didn’t clearly state the challenges that can be faced.

“You no longer have control of your brand - or perceived control. You can no longer worry just about your marketing messages. You have to be in tune with what the customers say your brand is and how they define it to their friends, family, and social networks.”

This graphic of another great truism is courtesy of Christina R. Green.“Your competitors know the exact recipe to your secret sauce, but no one does it as well as you do. It’s your secret sauce. It was created with your people, your thinking, your culture, your passion, and your vision.”

Lara recently asked a company that’s doing really interesting things with their social content if they would mind doing an interview with us so we could share some of their creative work with our audience. The response was quite surprising. They didn’t want their competitors to know their strategy. It’s one of the false beliefs about social media - that if you have a degree of transparency that you’ll tip off competitors and they’ll take away your business.

The truth is that your competitors are already trying to imitate you. They can figure out your strategy through observation - they don’t need to see your editorial calendar or other planning documents to know what it is. But they won’t succeed for the reason that Gini stated - they are not you and they never will be.

Amazon.ca PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).A plethora of practical application

Have you ever read a book that had a subtitle of “how to…” that really didn’t tell you how to do anything? Spin Sucks is not that book. I’m reading this book again with our book club this month for the sole purpose of identifying as many items that we need to work on as possible. I got quite a few the first time around, but I know there is so much more. This quote reaffirms one of things I tell my clients all the time:

“When creating content, the question “How often should I post new content?” almost always comes up. The answer depends on your goals, but from a search engine perspective once a week is sufficient. What you really want to be focused on is consistency, and quality versus quantity.” 

You’ll find lots of easy to implement SEO tips, and some that you may need some technical help with, but are worth doing to get the additional metrics. 

Above all, Gini will give you a roadmap to telling your story in a way that is compelling and valuable to your audience. We couldn’t have picked a better follow-up book to Youtility!

Buy your copy of Spin Sucks by April 5th and get some fantastic extras!

Meet Gini and hear how much Spin Sucks live!

One last note, for our Ottawa and Toronto readers: Gini’s coming to town next week! She’ll be in Toronto (#3tyyz) on Monday, the 7th and she’s coming to Ottawa (#3tyow) on Tuesday, the 8th.

April #WWCBookClub Twitter Chat

Mark your calendars, because April 24th from 9:00-10:00pm, we’re going to have a chat about #SpinSucks and everything you’ve learned! So, be sure to go buy the book now: Amazon.ca PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).

*****

I received a galley copy of the book in exchange for doing a review as a Spin Sucks Ambassador (though I bought it anyway). Then I bought it again. So these opinions really are my own.