Tag Archives: facebook

Brick-and-Mortar Retail and Social Media: Making It Work for You (Part II)

In our last post on social media for brick-and-mortar stores, we explained why a social media strategy matters and how it can build your customer loyalty. But where to start? As with any effective marketing strategy, the best way to start is by defining the target audience, which in the case of brick-and-mortar stores, will be tied to one particular area. The next step is to determine what social network your target audience uses most.

Part II: Choosing Your Social Media Platform

Facebook is a safe bet. With a community of over one billion, Facebook is a likely to host the largest number of your potential customer base. Facebook is also fairly business-friendly. Not only do they have a business page template to make it easy for companies to engage their customers, but they also offer detailed analytics (called “Facebook Insights”) on your community and how they interact with you. This means you can see what posts and photos promoted the most excitement and self-correct your strategy. Facebook also offers a paid-ad service that can target just those users in your geographic location.

Twitter also has a very large community of active and widespread users. The format is much sleeker and posts tend to be much simpler – not to mention always shorter than 140 characters. This might be ideal for someone who wants to keep their presence low-maintenance and to the point. That said, content posted on Twitter tends to have a very short shelf life. While posts on Facebook may still be seen and commented upon hours or even days later, Twitter posts tend to receive the most engagement within a few minutes, so posting several times a day is more effective on this platform.

Pinterest is a relative newcomer to the social media network party, but it’s certainly made a huge splash, especially amongst clothing, jewelry, home goods, and crafts dealers. A beautiful interface combined with “Like” capabilities make this a great community for sharing photos of your latest items, especially if you are focusing on attracting women to your store.

Yelp can be the best friend of a retailer or the bane of their existence. If you haven’t already, check to see if your business has a page on Yelp. This means someone has already reviewed your store. Unfortunately, if you have not been reviewed, you cannot make a business page. However, once you are reviewed, you can unlock your page, which gives you the capability to offer deals and even message your customers through Yelp.

Instagram has a few distinct advantages over the previous networks. First, it’s dead simple. It’s just about sharing photos with your community. Secondly, the Instagram app adds creative enhancementsto your photos right from your phone. It even works in low light! The downside to Instagram is that the community is relatively small compared to the previous networks. Because of it’s built-in integration with Facebook and Twitter, though, you can easily use Instagram as a great camera app and just push your photos to the more popular networks.

If you’re still not sure where you want to begin building a presence, make it a point to survey your customers about where they would connect with you directly. Ask your customers to fill out the following card at checkout:

Most people will be willing to check a box while they wait for you to run their credit card.

The next post in this series will cover tips for breaking into the social space, building an audience, and having meaningful engagement with your social media community.

If you’re looking for Part I and III of this series, here they are!

Happy Holidays! (And Facebook Tips)

It’s hard to remember a Christmas in recent years when someone hasn’t made reference to Facebook. “According to her last status update, Jane went into labor 20 minutes ago!”

If you’re known as the family geek, chances are you’ll be asked for a Facebook tutorial. If not, it can break awkward family silence at the dinner table. So, we’ve put together a list for you (think of it as your Christmas present) of what we think are some important guidelines for those just joining Facebook.

Top 5 Facebook tips to share with Grandma:

    facebook requests

    Too Many Requests!

  1. Know the difference between Facebook messages and wall posts – and use it.
  2. Don’t friend people you don’t know.
  3. Don’t overload with invites to groups, games, or events. (Simply because it’s annoying).
  4. Know your privacy settings. Who sees your information?*
  5. If privacy settings disappeared and everything on Facebook were suddenly public to the world, make sure none of that content would ruin your life.

Facebook Privacy

*You can also assign each friend to a list you create. Make a list for family, colleagues, friends, etc. to ensure that what you share is received by the appropriate people. You might end up quite embarrassed if you are not careful. See the following photo for an example:

Make a list!



For a comical collection of disasters, refer to Facebook Fails. We recommend setting up a projector screen and searching through this as opposed to watching Home Alone. Happy Holidays, everyone.

Facebook gets serious about mobile.

We tuned into today’s Facebook event live via http://apps.facebook.com/facebooklive.

Amazingly, the last three months where we’ve had a Social Expedition breakfast, Facebook has also released big news. Today is no exception and boils down to three main points:

  • Single Sign-on for mobile
  • Location API’s
  • Deals

Here are the key takeaways:

Single Sign-on for Mobile

Think Facebook Connect, but for mobile. Here’s how it works (on your phone): login to Facebook, and then access Foursquare (or other participating app) without having to type a unique username and password for Foursquare. This same functionality has existed on the desktop for a while, but hasn’t existed with mobile apps until now. This saves a huge amount of login frustration.

Location API’s

Big news here is that you’ll be able to see where your friends have checked-in near your current location. Example: You’re standing outside of LunaWeb wondering where to go for lunch. You’ll be able to see that lots of your friends have previously checked in at Memphis Pizza Cafe…

Deals

For anybody following Proximity Marketing over the past few years, here’s a major step forward. Merchants can create deals and make them available to you based on your location (the deals are proximate). So using the above example of standing outside LunaWeb, in looking at Deals you’ll see that Asian Bistro up the street is offering a free appetizer with the purchase of two lunch specials. (Prediction: this will soon evolve into you being able to specify the types of deals you’re interested in and if you’d like them pushed to you, which is one of the original promises of proximity marketing… steps away.)

Also, Facebook is giving Android devices more attention than previously (this comes on the heels of news that Android is less than 10% away from iOS (iPhone) adoption and closing). In fact, the brand new Facebook for Android app is released today.

You’ve been hidden! What can you do?

Around mid-May, we noted in a Facebook post (with this video) that Insights for fanpages will now show how many people have hidden your updates from their news feed. If it sparked your curiosity, maybe you went and saw how many people have chosen to hide you. But then what? There’s nothing you can do about those lost fans. You can’t send them a reminder that they’ve hidden you or a promise to do better. The best you can do is try to pinpoint a cause for any flux (maybe you were promoting a big event and went overboard). If your graph looks more like a steady incline, though, it might be time to rethink your posting strategy.

Now this isn’t the end-all-be-all list of Facebook Post Categories, but after some consideration, we think posts from businesses fall into one of the following ilks:

  1. Horn-toots for the company.
  2. Horn-toots for an employee or employees.
  3. Horn-toots for clients, partners, or causes.
  4. Links to information.
  5. Requests for response.
  6. Idle chatter.

Now, there is a time and place for horn-tooting. And there’s even more time and place for horn-tooting the merits of others, like local business, your clients, or the latest fundraising campaign. But how much is too much? Dominating your customers walls is not the goal, and certainly being absent is not good either. What is the right ratio of types of posts to frequency that will leave you with lots of impressions, but few hiders?

Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing. Even assuming you are putting out a great ratio of self-promotion to outside-promotion and being an engager instead of yacker, it still depends on your audience. The number of times you appear on their wall varies by how much you post, of course, but also how many friends they have, how often they post, and whether or not they are set to “Top News” or “Most Recent.”

Then, of course, there is your content. How much meaty content can you reasonably expect to have in a given period of time? Is it better to only post good content, or post frequently enough to be a presence in the news feed?

Here’s the good news: you can ask. Ask your customers what they think of your content and your frequency. Ask them in person. Ask them on Facebook. Not only is this a great way to engage your clients, but it’s a great way to show that you care about their opinions. The fact of the matter is that everyone is constantly trying to adjust and update their social media presence. By it’s very nature, social media is ever-fluctuating, and so are the expectations. No one will hold it against you or think less of you for asking for advice on your strategy, because they’re probably in the same boat.

We’ll start. What do you think of our social media life?

Facebook Privacy Resources

facebook-privacy "kpao.org"

facebook-privacy

Last week’s announcement that four NYU students were developing  a Facebook alternative suggests that they want its global dominance to shift: in the name of freedom. The students have more than raised their needed-for-development goal of $10,000 in 27 fewer days than scheduled.

But before the project, Diaspora*, is launched, we’ve found some articles that can be used in the meantime:

1) A timely article entitled “Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative” which discusses the viral, yet ambiguous, nature of its privacy laws, or lack thereof.

2) ReclaimPrivacy’s tool that allows users to scan their profiles for privacy intrusion.

3) Consumer Report’s Facebook rule of thumb: “7 Things to Stop Doing Now on Facebook”

4) SaveFace: A tool that allows users to reset most user settings back to “Friends Only.”

We aren’t against Facebook; we just want our privacy back.

Step Zero: A (once) unwritten rule

With a social media expert or guru at every turn these days, we’re bombarded with rules and best practices and top tips to be the kings or queens of social business. Do this, don’t do that, always say this, never say that. But in the muck and mire of all these bullet points, we seem to forget the fundamental rule.

We’re calling that rule Step Zero.

Step Zero: If businesses become operative within social media without regard to their community, they become irresponsible and oppressive.

"Laptop Megaphone" by jj_pappas423 on Flickr

We’re aware of these boundaries in the real world: an overzealous sales associate who stalks each new customer with nonstop pleas for service:  “May I help you?” “Would you like to try that on?” “What are you looking for today?” A customer is likely to walk out of the store every time. But in terms of the web, it takes a different form: countless fan page requests, despite denial time and time again.  And then there’s the megaphone effect, when businesses use social profiles as a megaphone to broadcast their message, without actually participating in the community.

All other subsequent “laws” hinge upon this idea. We often forget that real world rules and courtesies apply within the web. Bombarding social profiles with requests and suggestions is no way to earn business. Once this intangible, invisible line is crossed, marketing efforts become oppressive.

People are generous to extend some level of accepting interruptions. By connecting with businesses online, customers are granting permission for marketing purposes, but don’t take advantage of this generosity. If business exceeds this level, the community will regard it as being socially irresponsible and insulting.

Mind Over Memphis: Highlighting the Best of the City

Every now and then you run across a group of people working on something truly worthwhile. We think we’ve found a great example in the folks behind Mind Over Memphis. Mind Over Memphis is a group of local creatives dedicated to spreading the word about people and groups doing good in the city of Memphis. Once or twice a month, they release a new episode (available on YouTube and their Web site) that focuses on a different group/person/organization in the Memphis area. Become a fan on Facebook, visit their Web site or check them out on Live From Memphis.

We’ve posted their newest episode featuring Church Health Center below. Help support these guys and all the good they are highlighting in our city!

Latest Social Expedition Podcast up now with Bob Hazlett

If you’ve been hearing a hum in the air, actually more like a buzz, circulating about the new social networking platform/location-based service/catch-all Google Buzz, tune in to the new Social Expedition podcast to get an inside scoop. Listen as Dave, Elizabeth and Matthew give you their take on the new tool, and then as their special guest, digital marketer and blogger Bob Hazlett (@OneHalfAmazing) joins the mix.

Also, hear Bob talk about his recent entry into the iPhone app store with a dedicated app for his blog, OneHalfAmazing.com. Check it all out at on the Social Expedition Web site.