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Photos by Brian Tietz

 

 

 

By Diana Leadley

Digital Marketing Coordinator

 

Who’s celebrating Social Media Day? Pushing the Envelope is! And we’ve actually been celebrating all month long. Have you noticed the hints we’ve been dropping on our social channels and blog?

With everything and everyone going digital, social media marketing is a virtual must-have for all businesses nowadays. From Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and more, it can be hard to keep up. But, with a few tools and tips, we’ll help make life a little easier for you. So without further ado – and in celebration of Social Media Day – PTE presents the top 3 best practices for social media marketing!

Choose Your Channels

Each industry has its own unique audience, and it’s our job as marketing and communication experts to figure out where that audience is when it comes to the virtual world.

If you’re selling clothes or any type of visual product, then you definitely want to consider channels such as Instagram and Pinterest – both visual and shop-friendly sites where people will be looking to buy products that stand out on a visual platforms.

For an event venue or convention center, consider having a Twitter account to give short and quick updates on upcoming events.

Of course Facebook is the mother of all social media and most industries can utilize this all-encompassing platform, which includes pictures, videos, links, ads, custom tabs and much more.

Schedule Your Content

At PTE, we’re all about efficiency and saving time and money. That’s why we use special programs and platform features to schedule posts in advance. As Rev. Run says, “If you aren’t consistent, you’re non-existent” and posting regularly on Facebook is important to stay top-of-mind with your audiences. There are many scheduling programs that support the most common social channels, but the two that we tend to favor are HootSuite and Buffer. Facebook also has its own feature to schedule posts. Use these programs and set aside a time to schedule all of your posts for the next week, month or few months in advance. It’s a pretty refreshing feeling knowing that the posts are scheduled and your time is freed up to working on other projects and enhance your client’s businesses!

But don’t think scheduling posts is all you need to do. Social media is all about being social and interacting with your followers, which brings us to our next tip…

Engage with Your Audience

At the end of the day, what is your goal? To increase your client base and sale leads, of course! But filling your social accounts with sales pitches and ads is not necessarily going to give you the results you’re looking for. Social media is a place people go to connect with others emotionally. When is the last time you logged into Facebook to buy something? It’s probably not your first instinct. Chances are, you’re there to see what’s new with your friends and family – not to be bombarded with promotions and new products. Because of this, we recommend following the 4:1 promotion ratio rule. For every four posts, make one of those posts a promotional, self-serving post that advertises a service or product you offer. The other three posts should be content shared from other pages, industry-related news and fun, feel-good memes, images or articles that pertain to your business.

As part of your internet and digital marketing efforts, it’s important to check your social account daily and answer questions, share/retweet posts and respond to messages. You don’t want to miss opportunities to build relationships with your audiences. Everyone wants to feel important and be heard. Check out brands like Taco Bell (https://twitter.com/tacobell) and Totinos (https://twitter.com/totinos) for some inspiration – and a few good laughs. Whoever runs those accounts is hilarious!

To Learn More…

You’re probably wondering, “That’s it?” Of course not! There’s so much more that goes into social media strategy and implementation and PTE is here to help you maximize your efforts and increase your ROI. Give us a call at (239) 221-2858. We’re happy to answer your questions and develop a social media marketing strategy that will achieve your business goals!

 

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samantha scott, apr, public relations fort myersBy: Samantha Scott, APR

Social media day is coming soon (June 30!) and to celebrate I’d like to offer eight key elements of an effective social media strategy. Using social media to market your business can be tricky, especially if you’re working in-house and wearing lots of marketing hats. That’s why we’ve created this outline as a reference guide to make sure your social media strategy is on point.

1 . Setting Goals from the Start

The first step of any strategy is actually having one. Have a plan! The adage, “failure to plan is planning to fail” holds true with social media marketing. That includes having goals for your efforts. Without knowing what success means (increased web traffic, leads, audience growth) how will you ever know if you’ve made it?

2. Listening

Relationship therapists have long touted listening as a key element in successful relationships. As a business with customers, you have many relationships to maintain. Listening is a key component. It involves monitoring conversations about your brand, business, locations, etc. and protecting it.

3. Consistent, Fresh Content

Don’t let your channels get stale… Is the last video on your YouTube channel from 6 months ago? When was the last time you tweeted? To keep your audience interested and ideally engage them (likes, comments, shares) it’s important to post consistently and provide new, interesting, value-adding content.

BONUS TIP: Keep in mind the etiquette of each channel as a guide for your posting frequency. On Twitter posting up to 10 times a day isn’t uncommon, but on LinkedIn that would be overload.

4. Research your Audience

It’s hard to communicate with someone you don’t know. Other than basic demographic information, what do you know about your customers or prospects? Research them to determine the social media channels they use, their online and buying habits, their preferences and peak activity times, then connect with them there. If you already have an audience and contact information consider distributing a survey (Survey Monkey is free to use for up to 10 questions!) to ask for their feedback and interests.

5. Genuine Approach

Don’t be that cheesy car salesman with your content. Be real! People connect with people, trust people and buy from people. Make sure your content, responses and general presence on social media is genuine. If your content sounds canned or scripted your audience won’t respond to it and will be turned off.

BONUS TIP: When replying to reviews try to include the reviewer’s name and specifically mention at least one element of their comment. It proves you read it and care about their opinion.

6. Empower Your People

Every business or organization has ambassadors. Unfortunately most don’t realize it, let alone fully leverage them. Each staff person, board member, customer, etc. has the ability to be your ambassador. Are you empowering them to tell your story? Get your staff involved by sharing the links to your social media channels with them and asking them to follow/like them. Use your board members’ sphere of influence and encourage them to engage with your channels and share them with colleagues and friends.

BONUS TIP: Don’t just ask your ambassadors to post. Give them suggested content and/or memes to share. Give them the tools to complete the task. They’re more likely to do it!

7. Engage the Eye

The average attention span is 2.5 seconds! That’s it…. At a time when everyone and every thing is vying for your attention, it’s important to communicate quickly. Graphics offer an easy way to communicate your message. Plus, engaging and/or funny graphics are more likely to be shared than plain text posts. Get creative, take photos, share the experience of your brand/product/service.

8. Budget to Promote

Social media for business isn’t entirely “pay to play,” but if you want to ensure your posts reach your target audience members you need to budget accordingly. Even channels with thousands of audience members are struggling to have their content seen. Advertising expands reach and helps you control the audience (so the right people are seeing your brand). We recommend starting with just a couple dollars a day, measuring as you go and then refining as needed.

These eight key elements are sure to help increase the effectiveness of your social media efforts. Try employing them and see where it goes. If you can’t do it all at once, start small and add on. As with anything else, just be sure to set your goals and stick with it!

 

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Photos by Brian Tietz

 

 

 

By Diana Leadley

Digital Marketing Coordinator

 

Facebook Is Doing What Again?

Third time is a charm! Starting in the beginning of the 2015 New Year, Facebook is changing its algorithm once again, this time making an impact on businesses that advertise through the social media platform. This particular algorithm will limit the number of promotional posts that appear on users’ pages. Facebook had a similar and fairly recent change, but the difference in this algorithm is that it’s not only regulating the number of ads a person can see, it is recognizing and monitoring promotional posts.

Example posts are those that push people to buy a product or install an app, enter promotions and sweepstakes and posts that repeat the same content from ads. So the next time you want to post about the super savings going on at your store next weekend, Facebook will recognize it as content that could potentially make users unhappy.

Why Is This Happening?

After asking hundreds of thousands of Facebook users their thoughts on content in their News Feed, Facebook determined that users would rather see stories posted by friends and Pages they care about, with less pushy, sales posts. This is all a part of Facebook’s goal to show users what they want to see.

Not My Page, Though, Right?

Yes. Unfortunately, this change is affecting all businesses on Facebook, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I’ll tell you why. A company’s true key to success is exceptional customer service. If you can connect, engage with and satisfy your customers, you will stay top of mind and keep them coming back. But, while this change may keep Facebook users happy, it can cause marketers a headache and add to their budget.

Keep reading to find out just what kind of content will keep your fans wanting more…

How to Connect with Page Fans:

We know this is not news you want to hear, but it’s also not the newest of news, as Facebook has changed its algorithm before to cut back the amount of promotional posts users see in their feed. But please don’t give up on Facebook marketing for your business just yet! This platform provides an incredible, easy-to-update (and free) way to establish online presence for all businesses, large and small.

At Pushing the Envelope, we don’t necessarily view this as a bad thing. Think of it as an opportunity to focus on customer relations – building relationships with your page fans and connecting with them on a personal level, rather than filling up their news feed with sales and discounts on your product or service. While purchasing ads will bring more traffic to your page, the rest of your content should emotionally connect with your audience. So, how will you engage with your fans and keep them coming back? Your content focus and strategy will need to change, and Facebook has provided some best practices for businesses.

If marketers want to reach customers they are going to have to pay to play and start buying ads. Step one for these businesses would be to create a new marketing strategy – don’t be afraid to pay for ads every now and then. By investing in ads you have the ability to grow your business’ value. Did you know that most online advertising only reaches 38% percent of its audience? Don’t limit yourself to such a small percentile – invest in ads! Even a dollar a day will drastically increase your audience reach and ultimately lead to engagement and sales leads.

How PTE can help:

PTE and its social media guru team will put together a marketing strategy, from the ad itself to budgets, audience targeting, monitoring, reporting and more to increase your Facebook page reach and engagement. Visit us at getpushing.com to find out more, and of course, ‘Like’ us on Facebook!

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Matt Mernin

By Matt Mernin

Interactive Web Developer

Notification

If there’s one thing you can count on with Facebook, it’s change. Your page may have already been updated, but if not, you will eventually receive a notification (as seen pictured on right), allowing you to update immediately, or wait until the date noted. When this change occurs, there are a few things to note.

In this blog post, I’m going to discuss a few of the most noticeable updates that Facebook page admins can expect to see and some steps you may need to take to adjust properly to the update.

Updated Page Timeline Design

In the current Facebook timeline, an overview of the page manager appears at the top.  That section is where admins can see all of their posts, messages, and pages to watch, to name a few. Rest assured the data you normally see will still be available, but will be accessed differently. With the latest Facebook update, there will be a new menu going across the top of your page with the options: Page, Activity, Insights, and Settings. Below is a quick reference for finding all the data you’ve grown accustomed to seeing:

FB Headings

FB Apps

  • Page – This is the default landing page when your Facebook page loads. You will see pretty much everything as the previous page (current as of May 30, 2014), but with a couple things moved around. For instance, if you have page apps or tabs installed, these can now be found on the left side of your timeline, below the “About” section.
    The center of the timeline will be the News Feed, where you’ll find all of the posts published by your business. On the right, you will notice a shortcut menu showing the current week’s activity, such as Page Likes, Post Reach, and message notifications. Each one of these options is interactive and show more details when you hover your mouse over them.
  • Activity – This page is where all of your messages can be seen, as well as your page notifications.
  • Insights – Here is where you will find all of the data associated with your page with a new sub-menu that appears below the new manager menu. By default the sub-menu option is the summary, including: page likes, post reach, engagement, your most recent posts, and pages to watch. For a more drilled down version of your Facebook Page Insights, you can either click on the title of each section, or simply click on the other options of the sub menu which are: Likes, Reach, Visits, Posts, and People.
  • Settings – This is you can access all of your Facebook page settings that would previously be accessed by clicking the Padlock icon in the top blue bar. This page includes everything from General settings and privacy to apps associated with your Facebook Page.

Updated Cover Photo Format

Wait, another cover photo change? Really?? Not to worry, though. The change only affects how you should display the content on the photo, not the actual photo size. Here is a quick guide to help with making the conversion.

As I just mentioned, the Facebook cover photo dimensions are staying the same at 851 x 315 pixels, so there no need to change the size. Like the previous version, you the Facebook profile picture will still overlay the cover photo, so keep this in mind when you design it. See example below.

Old FB Cover

In the new June 2014 Facebook cover photo, there are a few things that can affect the design. Previously, the company information was displayed below the cover photo. As you will see in the next example below, the company information is now overlaying the image. In addition, there will also be a few buttons floating on the cover photo. All of these changes may affect your current Facebook cover photo designs, so be aware and adjust accordingly.

New FB Cover

To help with your design needs I’ve put together a Cover Photo Template in Photoshop, and can be downloaded here. Just make sure to hide the layer labeled “hide this layer”.

If all of these changes are causing you to experience difficulty breathing or dizziness, then take a slow deep breath because Pushing the Envelope is here to help. For any of your social media needs, Facebook or otherwise, we have a staff dedicated to all things web-marketing-related for your business’ online needs! Call us at (239) 221-2858, or contact us on our website at http://getpushing.com/contact-us/.

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By: Zach Goodchild

Intern Extraordinaire

Today we’re taking a little tangent into the world of music as Zach, our Intern Extraordinaire, applies social media and online branding as it relates to the music industry. Enjoy!

In the current music business landscape, it’s never been a better time to be an independent musician and have the ability to reach your fan base and appease the masses.  Want to release one song every week to build up anticipation for an up and coming project you have been working so hard on?  How about delivering a mind-blowing music video or a behind the scenes look at your recording process to help promote your new single?  What are you waiting for?! GO FOR IT!  Websites like SoundCloud and of course, YouTube provide musicians with free promotion.  Your career is ultimately in your hands with all of the available resources in the land of the Internet.

Musicians have to be multifaceted with their work and careers, or at least have a team behind them that can maintain and provide assistance on the digital end.  Properly utilizing a Facebook fan page, and your official Twitter account is going to keep your current fan base engaged, help attract the new fans you desperately need, and more importantly, keep you relevant in your respected genre.  When fans can see that you respond to their questions, engage in conversation and are accessible, they are more inclined to pay attention and receive your material on a consistent basis and in the long run, possibly even purchase your music when its for sale in the iTunes store or on the shelves at Best Buy.  (The same is true for businesses!) Musicians have the ability to cross promote new music, videos and promoting future shows and events all through their social networks.  You share it, and the fans will share it as well.  It’s all about paying it forward, folks.

I reached out to one of my peers to get his take on this topic.  He is a person with a passion for the music business, and has a strong stance when it comes too engaging with a current and new fan base.  I bring in the people’s champ, Ben Witherspoon, founder of Your Next Fan and music consultant based out of Orlando, Florida.  Ben states “The Internet has made it easy for musicians to share more media than ever before. Social media marketing is at the forefront for most musicians when it comes to fan engagement. From the biggest artists in the world like Jay-Z, to the kid sitting in his dorm room writing lyrics, nearly every artist has social media as a priority in their marketing plan. And the best part about social media? It’s free! Sure it takes time to develop strategy and to keep your sites updated, but social media can be done without having a large effect on musician’s shrinking marketing budgets. Musicians have to go where their fans are, and their fans are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and Vine.”

So by now, you should have a clear understanding of the message I am delivering here. I hope this has provided you with that spark to get things moving on your digital and social image.  As I wrap things up I leave you with this… Musicians, find ways to build and keep relationships, use the available resources to your benefit, continue to hustle and share your gift and talents with the world.  Nobody ever said it would be easy, you’re on the road less traveled; try to have at least one thing that makes sense… your digital image.

Until next time, this is Zach, signing off.

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