Quick Facebook Advertising Tips for Beginners

FBADS Quick Facebook Advertising Tips for Beginners

It occurred to me that I’ve never written up a detailed breakdown of how to do sponsored posts on Facebook. Being that this is a social media marketing company, that pretty much encompasses everything we do!!

Facebook sponsored posts aren’t right for everybody, but they are definitely worth a shot considering how targeted you can make them. Plus, since people scroll down their feeds obsessively, ad placement isn’t such a big deal. So, if you’re ready for that, follow these basic best practices for newbies!

Whittle Down the Demographic

Your brand may or may not appeal to the biggest Facebook demographic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hone in on the demographic you’re looking for.

Facebook’s sponsored ads allow a ton of customization for ad saturation, so make use of it! If you’re pretty sure 16-year-olds and 73-year-olds don’t want anything to do with your brand, weed ’em out! Empty impressions don’t help you, so make sure your ads are only going up in front of people who are actually likely to engage.

Multiple Variations

Don’t think you have to “define” your market so harshly, though. It’s a good idea to create multiple ads for multiple demographics to test the waters. So “whittle” one ad down to a very specific group, then do the same for a few more ads and assess from there after a week.

Picture Perfect

The most important aspect of a sponsored FB ad is the image. It isn’t huge, so you can’t get too detailed with it, but if it doesn’t arrest the eye it will fall flat.

Since it’s so small, limit the text to a couple words, if any. It might be better to leave the slogan and gripping phrase to the headline to let the image speak for itself.

Speaking of Headlines…

Since you are paying for each click, you don’t want to mislead people and waste that expense. Headlines should be gripping, but still descriptive. If you’re offering something free, it can be really effective to lead off with that word, or at least include it. If it’s a low price or a sale, include that figure in at least one ad variation.

Nice Bod

Facebook ads have an interesting body structure – 90 characters, period. No excessive/weird characters or anything like that, so you have to let the excitement generate itself from the copy. This is where you have to get really descriptive so as to not mislead anyone into an empty click, and always end on a call to action like “Click here to learn more” or “Get your $1 domain here.” This should tie in directly to what you want the ad to do: get people to visit your website or splash page, promote a sale, increase likes on a Fan page, etc.

That’s about everything you need to get started. Testing and assessing should go a long way from here.

 

Got some more Facebook ad tips? Lay ’em on me in the comments!

Social Media Spring Cleaning Tips

SMSPRINGCLEANING Social Media Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring has sprung (for most of us!) and you know what that means… time to take out the old and bring in the new! And the same goes for your social media marketing campaign!!

One thing to remember about the SMM world is that it’s always changing – what worked a couple years ago might not be working now. Plus, having clunky, outdated social content doesn’t help your cause at all. So let’s get your social presence sparkling clean!

Clean Up Your Local Citations

If you’ve got some sketchy citations floating around the internet (some of which may have been user-submitted or put up haphazardly by bots), it’s time to take some time to improve local citation SEO. Google weighs this in SERPs now, so it can hurt your visibility to have a poor/low-quality presence.

Scrub Those Blackhat Practices

Okay, so we all make mistakes… and if you used to do some under-the-table kind of marketing stuff, it might catch up to you if Google finds out. Any backlink-farming or local citation blasts or blog spamming can bite you in the butt down the road – if they haven’t already. Google will work to crack down on this stuff more and more, basically ’til the end of time, so they WILL find OuT!

Update Your Info on ALL Channels

When is the last time you really had a look at your social profiles? This stuff isn’t just set-and-forget… you HAVE TO keep it up-to-date. That means all of it!!

From Twitter to G+ to even the little guys like SlideShare, if people find differing information about you when they do a search, they will get confused and see it as unprofessional. Social media should never cost you a lead!

A good place to start is basic information, then deleting any irrelevant images and replacing them with new ones. And if you have new, awesome accolades like big-name clients, awards, or publications, you’ll want to throw those into your bios, too.

Link Check

If you post backlinks to your social outlets (which you SHOULD be!!), then there’s a chance you might have some 404s on your hands. Google doesn’t like broken links, and neither do users. On social media, this is an easy fix – check out my post on how to check for and fix broken links.

Link Up Any New Profiles

If you’ve added new social profiles over the years/months, make sure they are all connected where applicable. If you check out the PuTTin’ OuT Facebook page, you’ll notice icons and links to our Pinterest, RSS, website, etc. right at the top, making it easy for users to connect across channels.

 

Have some more social media spring cleaning tips? Let me know in the comments!

Is Your Website User-Friendly?

USERFRIENDLY Is Your Website User Friendly?

Over the years, we’ve revamped the PuTTin’ OuT website quite a bit, and longtime followers might even recall times when it was a little less than easy to use. (And it’s still a bit of a work-in-progress!)

Your website is your business’s and brand’s most essential asset. If it isn’t making it easy for users to peruse it and learn more about you, it could be doing more harm than good.

The Danger of Low User-Friendliness

Let’s say you see an interesting link and follow it to a website you’ve never been to before. After a few seconds it’s still loading, and you still don’t see anything. You’re probably already gone, but let’s say you stay until it loads. Scrolling is clunky, there are ads in the middle of the content, a pop-up appears suddenly, a video driver crashes… yeah. You’re never coming back.

The New York Times reported in 2012 that users will “visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by 250 milliseconds” – that’s right. MILLIseconds. Just think about FULL seconds.

Users Come Before Marketing

More than your flashy auto-play videos and your “Sign up here!!!!” adds throughout the content, what’s really going to get people flocking to your site is a great experience. Without the trust and usability that comes from a quality website with quality content, your marketing efforts mean nothing. Is anyone really going to sign up or buy from a site they can barely use or find too cluttered to even read? Probably not.

Check It Out

So put yourself in the visitor seat. Google your website, then enter it like a real user. Surf around a bit and see where it’s lacking and where it’s troublesome – if you find it annoying or cumbersome, your visitors will, too.

Then, have a look at the hard data. Get your marketing team together (which might just be you!) and have a good long look at your Analytics reports followed by a deep assessment of where people are losing interest. Get specifics and work to improve user experience in those places before you do any marketing for them.

Once you’ve got user-friendliness ready, make sure you’re using the website marketing best practices for SEO to help ensure people can actually find it.

 

Have more tips for checking and improving user-friendliness? Lay ’em on me in the comments!!

The Real Problem with Foursquare

4SQUARE The Real Problem with Foursquare

Let’s face it – Foursquare has a problem. It isn’t that there’s a technical issue that reduces functionality, it’s not like there’s anything fundamentally wrong with the application, there’s no seedy addiction they’re hiding from their friends and family members that’s destroying their relationships (that I know of). Nothing like that.

The benefits of Foursquare for local business should be huge, but they’re a little underwhelming, frankly. The problem with Foursquare, in all actuality, is the people it’s supposed to be helping.

Local Marketing Isn’t Irrelevant Yet

We’re beyond the days where it’s a surprise that social media holds professional value. The case studies are there, the infographics have been seen – people get it. Online and social marketing are necessities. Fox News reported that a whopping 97% of businesses use social media for marketing purposes, which is great (especially for people like me who run SMM firms!).

What’s not great is that that same survey showed an almost equally un-whopping 17% of business use location-based promotions like the one in the title of this post – but not because local doesn’t matter. Google is using local citations for higher search rankings, and over 3/4 of people who use local search make purchases.

So what’s the hold-up?

Commitment Issues

The short of it is, businesses just aren’t committed to Foursquare, even though the app has made huge strides in improving its ease of use. Seriously – they have an entire page of their website devoted to icons you can put on your site to promote check-ins, plus instant incentivization.

All this really started to hit me as I read Jon Thomas’s piece on his awkward check-in experience. The solution to local business marketing is, frustratingly, also it’s problem.

Foursquare is, unlike Facebook and Twitter, a direct social business aid. I love all social networks and believe any can be used to boost business, but this is Foursquare’s entire point for existing. Local businesses just have to believe in it and commit to it.

A Few Tips on Going the Distance with Foursquare

As I said, it’s all about committing.

Imaging seeing a sign on your table next to the drink specials that says Check in on Foursquare and get a free appetizer when you show it to your server! How easy is that? Promote it and people will use it – and then keep coming back for more!

Second, this means training the staff. It takes all of 5 minutes to gather every server and explain this to them. No more awkward moments.

Third, owners should be training the servers to promote it verbally. Having servers “push” deals is typically standard procedure, anyway.

And if all this leads to too much free stuff to be profitable – change up to something less expensive, implement group deals, or rotate them in one week per month. Then promote that!

Of course this is simply using restaurants as an example, but really any localized industry can do it. Oil changes, new releases, free pedicure, 10% total purchase, free escort, etc. etc.

The more Foursquare is used by a business, the better the business shows up and the more people think to use the app in general, leading to more users finding those businesses on Foursquare. It isn’t complicated, but it works!

 

Have some Foursquare pro tips? Please share in the comments!

Tumblr Terminology Glossary

TUMBLRGLOSSARY Tumblr Terminology Glossary

All you Tumbl-rs out there probably already know the Tumblr lingo – and also that it’s a very unique environment with a TON of memes, phrases, and habits that you’ll only find there. It isn’t for everyone, and some people can even find it offensive. But if your market is there and you’re game to Tumbl around with them, you’ll need to know the basic Tumblr terms to make it happen.

Microblogging

For starters, this is what Tumblr is for. Microblogging for SEO and marketing is a relatively new and bustling world, but users have been doing it for years. Think of it like the middle-ground between Facebook posting and WordPress blogging. Simple feeds, heavy on images, and lots (LOTS) of sharing.

Feed

This is basic, internet-wide verbiage for the stream your posts show up on.

Dashboard

Like any other site, this is where you can easily access feeds, settings, updates, etc.

Theme

A customizable visual/background theme for your blog and dashboard.

Post

Posting is like any other blog, but with a set of possible types: text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, and video, all with separate upload formats.

Blog/Reblog

This is the most important part of Tumblr – heck, it’s what makes Tumblr what it is, and where that sharing volume comes in. People can post updates to their microblog feeds, or they can “reblog” them from others and get them onto their feeds (or have their posts reblogged by others).

Reblog Actions

When reblogging, there’s a set of actions you can pick from a drop-down:

  • Post now for immediate posting
  • Add to queue to line up the post in order
  • Schedule to set a post for a future time
  • Save as draft to think it over
  • Post privately so others don’t see what you say on the reblog
  • Preview on blog to see what your own blog will look like after reblogging

Tag

Add keyword tags to a post/reblog to make it more search-friendly – this is key practice in Tumblr sharing for social marketing.

Like

Just “like” most other social outlets, Tumblr users can also simply “like” a post to support it and store it into a separate collection to look at again later.

Follow/Unfollow

These are increasingly common terms in social media, and it’s essentially the same here as everywhere else. Follow people to get their feeds to show up on your homepage, unfollow to remove them.

User Actions

Hovering over a poster’s screen name will show you a dropdown of actions:

  • Ask a question for a quick inquiry
  • Send fan mail for fancy styles/stationery to compliment someone
  • Archive to view a thumbnail archive of all their posts
  • Ignore to remove them from your life!

Photo Reply

This is an enable-able feature that allows users to reply to each other with images.

Notes

On a given post, this is the complete history, from fist poster to every like and reblog and comment – EVER.

Permalink

Each individual post has its own set URL for sharing and hosting purposes.

 

Got more Tumblr terms I missed? Share ’em in the comments!

Tiny Tweaks to Boost Website Marketing Appeal

TINYTWEAKS Tiny Tweaks to Boost Website Marketing Appeal

Just like a vintage car or a bad back or a nice garden or a fine woman (wink icon wink Tiny Tweaks to Boost Website Marketing Appeal a website requires continual attention if you want to rely on it to be there for you. It’s not something you can just “set and forget,” as the saying goes.

So, if you’re doing “everything” you can to boost SEO, you might want to take a moment to look over this list and make sure you’re doing the little things right, first.

Is It User-Friendly?

More than keywords or meta descriptions or backlinks, this is the most important aspect of a website. If 10,000 people visit it daily but leave immediately because of load problems, slow speeds, lack of responsiveness, clutter, etc., it’ll be for nothin’!

Surf your site – as in the WHOLE THING – and look for problems. Have your team do it, too. Pause your promotion/marketing campaigns while you fix so you’re not attracting new people to an under-construction site.

Image Tagging/Titling

This little tip is deceptively HUUUGE for promoting websites. Not only can proper image tagging for SEO get you an extra kick of RELEVANT keywords, but it can even get you found in image searches!

Drop Duplicate URLs Like They’re…

This is something most users won’t notice, but search crawlers will. Restructuring website URLs for SEO takes some back-end work (I’m sure there has to be a better phrase for that…), some planning, and willingness to give up on some old URLs, but it’s DEFINITELY worth it.

Fix Those Broken Links

If you’ve got 404 errors and missing hyperlinks – and if you’re not sure if you do, then you do – then your search rankings are getting knocked. Don’t worry – fixing broken links is usually pretty darn easy.

Update Metas

If you haven’t paid any attention to your meta descriptions, then they’re probably not pretty. Make sure when people find your website in search results they like what they see and want to know more.

Watch Your Blog

I don’t need to tell you blogging matters a LOT for SEO. Just make sure you’re not making the SEO blogging mistakes we made ourselves. That means you have to really nurture your blog and spend some time (or money) on it. Quality, quality, quality – or it’s all in vain.

Link OuT to Other Outlets

Social sites in particular should have icons all over your website to promote social sharing and following, a major component in Google SEO these days people are still ignoring for some reason.

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for a possible second part to this if you…

 

Have any more tips or questions about little website SEO tricks?! Fire away in the comments!

How I Used Twitter to Rebook a Flight Before Everyone Else

HOWIUSEDTWITTER How I Used Twitter to Rebook a Flight Before Everyone Else

I was on the way from Las Vegas with a connection in Chicago to London Heathrow to visit my husband’s family. Boyd’s mom was taking the train from Scotland to London to meet us at his brother’s house for a couple of days before I was scheduled to be at the Maison Objet tradeshow in Paris.

Literally a couple of days was all we had in London. Train tickets and everything had been purchased from London to Paris so skipping London wasn’t an option. Not to mention, my mother-in-law wouldn’t have been too happy with me! 

As we were in the air headed to Chicago an announcement came over the intercom that we were being delayed and couldn’t land in Chicago due to inclement weather. Image that! It’s Chicago for goodness sake….home of -30 degree temps and snow past your eyeballs.

We proceeded to fly around and then the announcement was made that we were out of gas and needed to refuel. So we landed somewhere in the middle of farmland Illinois. The airport was so small there were no rental cars to get us to O’Hare, so we were forced to stay on the plane for the max amount of time allowed by U.S. Flight Rules for passenger rights: 3 hours, as outlined by the US DOT.

Enter: Rebook Frenzy

Everyone, including my former travel agent hubby, was trying to rebook their flights via phone. I must have been the only one on our flight using Twitter to rebook our flights… and twice, at that! 

Ann, American Airlines’s sweet Twitter customer service agent was remarkably helpful. If only I could say the same for the airline attendant who was yelling at passengers… Fortunately, Twitter paid off there, too. When I showed the flight attendant the tweet advising me to move to the front of the plane so that we could deplane sooner, the flight attendant declined. I told Ann, who then suggested I show the attendant the request again. Then she complied.

Enter: Crap Storm

We got mid-air and were told that we were headed toward St. Lois. This wasn’t helping us reach our already-rebooked flight from O’Hare/Chicago. (EEEErrr…) What made this awful situation better? My twitter friend was keeping me updated on where we were actually headed, and indeed we were headed to Chicago (officially announced 3 minutes later). But there was still one problem…we were NOT going to make the rebooked flight!!! And there were no additional flights going out!

We landed in Chicago just 45 minutes before the London plane was to depart! Great this is looking good, right? Yes!

Well, that’s until there was no gate (that was a 15-minute wait). Then, we arrived at the gate on the opposite end of the airport from our London gate, which we knew from a tweet. Then, we proceeded to wait another 45 minutes for a gate agent to connect the tarmac from the plane to the airport!

Fortunately, I got a nice little 140-character notice: a “DELAYED” message for the plane to LONDON!

Ann kept me engaged along the way from the moment I took off at the podunk airport to Chicago until I boarded the plane to London that very evening. She was so gracious, supportive, and apologetic. Every step of the way I felt secure knowing she had contacted the gate agents for the London flight, letting them know we were running to make our second rebooked connection.

[Head to the bottom of the post for our complete Twitter conversation! Pardon the typos... needless to say I was a little flustered!]

In exchange, what did my husband do? Upgraded our flights! Would he have done this if it weren’t for our helping hand on Twitter?!!? Absolutely NOT! He would have never had the opportunity, as we would have missed the first and second connections. Instead there were gate agents greeting us with open arms, confirmed seating, and options to upgrade (that we took). 

The Moral of the Story

What can Twitter do for your business? If you’re not there or paying someone to be there for you, you’ll never know! Off of this one conversation it earned American Airlines an additional $500. Considering Ann was the only on-duty social media agent of her small team, I think it’s totally worth the effort for every business to find out. 

Stay posted for our next blog post on Twitter, featuring a client of ours who’s reaching over 60% of her website traffic from simple tweets!

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Got a twitter story of your own? Please do tell. We love hearing your successes!

Very Useful Tips for Tumblr Sharing

TUMBLRSHARING Very Useful Tips for Tumblr Sharing

Hopefully by now you’re already actively using Tumblr (if you’re not, you probably missed my post about why Tumblr matters for social media marketing!!) – but if you haven’t yet mastered the whole microblog thing, maybe it’s time for some tips! I hope you’re EXCITED – because you are going to LOVE Tumblr once you get the hang of it!!

Tip 1: Understand Tumblr

The most important thing you can know about sharing on Tumblr is that Tumblr isn’t for everyone. It isn’t Facebook without all the typing, it isn’t Twitter with more images, it isn’t Pinterest – even though it’s fundamentally a lot like Pinterest.

Tumblr is a community that’s mainly built of young, edgy, tech-savvy internet fiends. To get a better idea of what I mean, check this girl’s blog post about Tumblr – along with some basic terms, there’s also a video at the end where she sums the site up well.

If you’re planning to post inspirational pics for your life insurance company, this probably isn’t the site for you!

Tip 2: Enable Comments

Commenting may be turned off by default on your blog page, so head to the Settings in your Dashboard, and allow whatever level of commenting you’re comfortable with. Know that Tumblr folk are unpredictable, and this may end up with some comments you don’t want.

Engagement is a big factor in successful sharing, though, so after you’ve set this up go out there and start some discussions!

Tip 3: Link Back to Your Site

All the sharing and reblogging in the world does little help if it doesn’t provide interested people a way to get to you. So make sure there are relevant links in your profile and even on original images you post.

Tip 4: Follow Relevant Bloggers

Building a community that benefits you and other bloggers means finding other bloggers to start following who you trust, admire, and could benefit from getting in on their following.

Tip 5: Bookmarklet

This is an awesome tool! Add Bookmarklet by following Tumblr’s instructions at the top of the linked page, and you can share images and gifs you find anywhere online.

Tip 6: Tag It Up!

You want your posts to get found, right? So make it as easy as possible with relevant, visual-oriented tags.

Tip 7: Assess

Check out your Tumblr analytics to improve engagement – how do you know how to improve if you don’t know where you’re slacking?!

 

Have some more Tumblr tips? Let ’em rip in the comments!