Rachel Melia


5 Great Summer Facebook Campaigns

eBay Superdad Facebook SweepstakesSummer is here and the big brands are running fun seasonal Facebook campaigns. Here are several of my favorite current Facebook campaigns, contests, and sweepstakes.

1) eBay “Superdad Sweeps”

Just in time for Father’s Day.. tell eBay what makes your Dad a Superdad and be entered to win a home entertainment package or gift card.

Why I like: It’s timely and fun for Father’s Day

2) Nivea USA “Rihanna Live”Rihanna Facebook Sweeptakes

Enter to win the Grand Prize – round trip tickets to NJ, two tickets to the show, and a meet and greet. Or, be entered to win tickets to a local concert.

Why I like: Who wouldn’t like to win a VIP trip to see Rihanna in concert.

3) Ford Explorer “Go Do Adventure”

Tell Ford the Go Do Adventure that you and your family or friends would like to take in an Explorer for a week in the US and if selected Ford will foot the bill and make it happen.

Why I like: With Summer here, and a tough economy, a week vacation on Ford is appealing.

Budweiser Grow One Facebook Campaign4) Budweiser “Grow One”

Campaign to save 1 million gallons of water by asking guys to make a pledge to stop shaving for as long as they can.

Why I like: You have to stop and look at this clever and fun campaign. Plus it has a World Environment Day tie-in.

5) Corona Light “Beach Getaway”

Rescue the Corona Beach Bottle from the sand castle to win a trip to Mexico.

Why I like: Another fun vacation giveaway, with an entry twist.

Are there any current Facebook campaigns you like? Share them here.


19 Twitter Tips From Top WIC Twitter Users

Twitter

If you are a Twitter user or want to get started, here are 19 great tips.  The tips are from many of Women in Consulting’s top Twitter users – some are social media experts, and some use Twitter for their business.

Read on… and let me know if you like these tips or have a tip to share in the comments section at the end of the article.

1.      Jen Benz – http://twitter.com/jenbenz

Share ideas and resources freely, show your personality and be clear about your point of view.

2.       Jen Berkley – http://twitter.com/jenberkley

I use TweetDeck to help me better manage the flow of information.  It’s helpful to set up columns for various topics that I’m monitoring which allows me to keep up-to-date on topics and trends in my field.

3.       Susan Bernstein – http://twitter.com/WorkFromWithin

Use Twitter for strategic networking by using the Search feature. Type in key words (example: “executive development”).  Scan the interesting tweets and find the people behind them. Add interesting people to your targeted lists  (like my http://twitter.com/#!/list/WorkFromWithin/working-well list). Scan the posts in that list daily. You’ll notice patterns in who tweets helpful or intriguing tweets. Over time, send a direct message (“DM”) to those people. Ask to talk to them by phone and nurture new professional friendships.

4.       Pam Fox Rolllin – http://twitter.com/PamFR

You can create up to 20 Twitter lists, which can be public or private. For example, I created a list of WIC members on Twitter: http://twitter.com/PamFR/womeninconsulting-sfbay Lists contribute to your branding (people can easily see what I care about from my lists), help others find you and your favorite associates, and are gold for making the most of time on Twitter (for example, I have a private list of clients who are on Twitter, so I can easily check their tweets).

5.       Nancy Friedman - http://twitter.com/Fritinancy

Be a beat reporter for your followers. I’m a former journalist, so when I heard this piece of advice it immediately clicked. But we’re all beat reporters—your beat is simply what you know best. My own beat is brand names, so you’ll see me tweeting about business and product names, weird names, and verbal branding in general. But I also mix it up. A related bit of advice: Don’t be boring!

6.       Karen Goldfarb – http://twitter.com/kareng7

Use a combination of automating the process via tools such as Tweet Spinner and old fashioned hands-on management in order to grow your base. Tweet Spinner will let you follow and find Twitter users by keywords, as well as mimicking the Twitter followers of users who are similar to you. I also highly recommend you still take an active role in reviewing who the tool chooses for you to follow and manually customizing the list. Last but not least, once you’re following those folks, engage with them like a real person. Automation is all well and good but it, like Twitter, is just a means to an end, the end being to grow your network of real contacts who are interested in what you say and do and, heck, may want to hire you.

7.       Kathryn Gorges – http://twitter.com/kagorges

One of the best ways to get unexpected visibility for your blog is to set up hashtags when you use Twitterfeed to automatically tweet your blog entries.  Your hashtags give people a way to find you when they search in Twitter for topics they’re interested in.  Make sure you choose ones that correspond to all your blog posts because they’ll be attached to every tweet from your blog!

8.       Avery Horzewski – http://twitter.com/averyh

Use TweetDeck or similar tool to manage your tweets. TweetDeck is easy—no real learning curve, and it’s robust. Schedule Tweets or post immediately. Auto-shorten URLs. Track numerous lists. Use groups to categorize the people you follow. And manage multiple accounts, to name a few. I monitor and manage my own account, WIC’s, and several clients all from within TweetDeck. And it’s accessible from my notebook, iPad, and Droid. TweetDeck is a must.

9.       Rachel Melia – http://twitter.com/rachelmelia

Tweet during conferences for additional insight and to build your followers and lists.  I like tweeting behind the scenes at conferences (in-person or online) to see what others are saying about the content.  And, other attendees will follow you, possibly re-tweet your tweets, and add you to conference or industry related lists.

10.   Lucie Newcomb – http://twitter.com/NewCommGlobal

Leverage the potential of a RT. Instead of saying, “thanks for the RT” (even worse as a DM), use it as a springboard for dialogue and appreciation. I usually find one of the RTer’s tweets and lead with RThx (RT + Thx = RThx) to show my appreciation and demonstrate some attention to them and their tweets.

11.   Adrian Ott – http://twitter.com/ExponentialEdge

I limit twitter to no more than 15 minutes a day.  I use Rescuetime to track how many minutes are spent and it sends a warning if I have exceeded my time limit.

12. Linda Popky – http://twitter.com/popky

Share content that is high value and relevant. This can include observations on current events or your market or industry, as well as re-tweeting (RT) great things you’ve seen others say. Use Twitter to follow people who say interesting things so that you can find good material to pass on. But mix it up: Tweets should be a mix of your observations, others’ thoughts, and useful links with a bit of tasteful and *well thought-out* humor thrown in on occasion.

13.   Sherry Prescott – http://twitter.com/MarketThis

I’m starting a new Twitter mini-campaign “90-Days of Marketing Intelligence” around the launch of my book to e-book format. To drive awareness and create momentum, I am leveraging my existing book content! I try to take a bite-size chunk of content from my book and talk about it daily on my blog. Then, as a follow-up, I try to post to Twitter on a daily basis leading back to my blog on my website so people can read about my tip from the book. In addition to this mini-campaign effort, I try to follow at least 10-20 new people weekly and I also try to post articles and interesting news trends that I think my followers would want to read about.

14.   Karmen Reed – http://twitter.com/kickofftopic

Create a free Twitterfeed account where you can setup any RSS feed to be tweeted automatically from your Twitter account. You can customize each RSS feed with a specific post prefix or suffix, set keyword filters, set your update frequency and more. I use this to auto-tweet all WIC blog posts and some of my favorite social media blogs.

15.   Jan Richards – http://twitter.com/MrsRoadshow

Contribute. Provide resources and ideas that you think others will find useful. Retweet (“RT”) generously.

16.   Carla Schlemminger - http://twitter.com/@Socialbrite, http://twitter.com/carlainsf

1. Every employee is now in customer service. Empower them through training on best practices & tools. 2. Aim to address someone’s question about what product to use, etc, by first being helpful <as opposed to pushing your product out of the gate>. 3. Address issues that come in through Twitter initially on that platform, then quickly move to a more private space. 4. Define customer’s influence more broadly than a large number of followers. 5. Measure efforts against business goals.

17.   Tracy Sestili – http://twitter.com/tracysestili

Get more fans by establishing thought leadership and showing you are an expert in your area of expertise by posting a daily tip. Be sure to use a hashtag such as #SMTIP (social media tip) or something that is relevant at the end of your tweet. If your daily tip is on your website and you are promoting via a blog post, be sure to not only use the hashtag but use a url shortener so that you can track clicks.

18.   Sandi Smith – http://twitter.com/brainhappy

To get the highest match on following prospects in your ideal-client category, find people on Twitter who are serving your ideal client and follow their followers.

19.   Melissa Stacey  - http://twitter.com/melissastacey

Don’t allow Twitter to be a “time sucker” – Set a time limit to post updates, read your twitter feed and connect with others.  Using a timer is a great way to track your time so you don’t go over your limit.

Do you like these tips? If you have a tip of your own, share it here!

*This article was originally posted to the Women In Consulting blog.


5 Favorite Facebook Welcome Tabs

KOA Facebook Welcome tabAnyone who has read my blog or spent much time talking with me about Facebook knows I am a big fan of Facebook Welcome tabs.  Welcome tabs are a great way to give new visitors to your Facebook page a feel for what types of content they can expect on your page as well as a clear call to action to Like the page.  I tend to like Welcome tabs that are clear, concise, and have a strong call to action.  Five of my favorites are profiled below.

But first, for those that like stats, here are some numbers that support having a Welcome tab … Research from BrandGlue found that fans converted to Like a Facebook page at a rate of 47% with Welcome tab versus a conversion rate of 23% without a Welcome tab.  I don’t think all brands can expect these results, but I would expect some lift, and think Welcome tabs are a good best practice.

So, here are some of my favorites..

1) Kampgrounds of America (KOA) – This is probably my favorite all time welcome tab.  It’s cute, to the point, has a clear call to action, and matches the branding of the website.

2) Udi’s Gluten Free Foods – This one is welcoming, informative, and has a clear call to action.

3) St. Supery Vineyards and Winery – Beautiful image evoking peacefulness of Napa Valley and clear call to action.

4) Mint.com – Clear reasons to join the page as well as an extra incentive to click Like.

5) Sprouts Farmers Market – Explanation of what a person will find on the page, request to interact, and fun way of pointing to Like box.

As I mentioned, I tend to like simple graphic Welcome tabs and think these are often the best way to achieve the objective of an increased conversion to Like.  There are lots of other things that can be done on a Welcome tab – fan-only content, contests, email opt-ins, videos, and more.  I highlight some examples of Welcome tabs in this post, and will highlight more in upcoming posts.

Do you have any favorite Facebook Welcome tabs?


Top Social Media Tools For Consultants

There are so many social media tools available it can be overwhelming to choose which to use and how to allocate your time.

Here are my thoughts on which tools are the best choices.

The big four are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs.

Facebook is by far the largest with over 600 million users worldwide, and 51% of the US population using the site each day (Edison/Arbitron).  LinkedIn and Twitter are much smaller, used by 9% and 8% of the US population, respectively (Ediston/Arbitron), but are highly relevant for business professionals.

Given its massive reach, Facebook is a great place to be, but not appropriate for everyone.  For example, if your business model is to sell to many, Facebook might be appropriate, and if your model is to service only a few clients, then maintaining a Facebook page is most likely not worthwhile.  Facebook is a great tool for maintaining and strengthening relationships, staying top of mind, increasing thought leadership, and ultimately selling a product or service (but this shouldn’t be your primary goal).

While LinkedIn isn’t as huge as Facebook, it’s a must do for most consultants.  Many check LinkedIn profiles after meeting a person for the first time, and those hiring often check a person’s profile in the hiring process.  So it’s important to have a robust profile with a good number of connections, complete information, and recommendations.  Other ways to showcase your thought leadership and expertise are to link your blog and Twitter feed, as well as SlideShare account.  Beyond having a LinkedIn profile, consultants can gain information and network on Groups, and highlight expertise by providing Answers.  And of course there are many job opportunities on LinkedIn.

Twitter is similar in size to LinkedIn, and while not appropriate for everyone, can be highly useful to many.  A recent Jay Baer article quoted Morgan Stewart of Trendline Interactive saying “Comparing Facebook and Twitter is like comparing shopping malls and fashion shows. Malls, like Facebook, have mass appeal and are an expression of larger culture. In contrast, while only a small subset of the population actually attend fashion shows, the interactions that happen there influence the larger culture. Twitter is where online influencers congregate and share new ideas, and that alone is significant.”  I thought that was a great analogy.  Influencers are on Twitter and are fairly accessible.  This makes Twitter a great place to be if you want to get your message out to a broader audience.  And, if you are in marketing or PR you should probably be on Twitter to show that you understand the marketing medium.

Blogs are also a great tool for consultants.  Blog articles can be syndicated to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and showcase expertise and build thought leadership.  People like to share valuable content, so creating quality articles will get your message to a larger audience.  Lastly, it is totally appropriate to showcase your products and services on your blog or drive people to your site for that information, hopefully closing a sale.

What social media tools do you think are the most valuable for consultants?

*This article was originally posted on the Women In Consulting blog


Blogging Q&A With Ann Evanston

Blog Q&ARecently Women In Consulting hosted Ann Evanston of Warrior-Preneur for a live Q&A on WIC’s Facebook wall.  As WIC’s Online Marketing Director, I oversaw the event.  Leilani Madrazo Yau, WIC’s Facebook Coordinator, did an amazing job planning and running the event.

Here are the questions and answers from the live Q&A.  I have consolidated some answers a bit so they read better as an article (vs. many short comments on the Facebook wall).  To see the entire Facebook Q&A go to the WIC Facebook page and look for the event that took place on March 17th from 10-11am.

Q: I own a travel and e-commerce website. On my blog I post about everything from our broken education system to “do kids need recess and exercise?” I also blog about travel  – travel tips, my favorite places, etc. Is this OK or will people who visit my blog be unsure about what I actually “DO”? Is there some point in the future where my blog posts should only be about what I do or should I continue blogging about things I am passionate about?

A: Honestly it isn’t what you write about that’s the problem on your blog, it’s all the clutter that detracts from what you do. Write about what you are passionate about, but clean up the clutter and make it EASY for people to see your portals.

Q: If one knows nothing about SEO, how can they make sure they have keywords in their blogs to help them with page ranking?

A: Make this your best friend: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal  First make a list of words you THINK are key – then look them up and see. Use keywords in titles, categories and anchor text on every post.

Q: Mine is not a question, but a blogging concern. My concern is with having enough content to post a lot because I know you’re supposed to post a lot to get up there in the rankings. And also, where do I get content that fits my niche?

A: I find when I really work with clients they have TONS to write about.  So a few things to think about: Post 3 times a week until viral, then less because blogging comments keep you in search engine rankings.  Consider the length of your posts, most are TOO long, aim for 250-400 words. Better to do more posts on the same subject matter than one long post to keep them coming back.  Your blog should also be about more than what you do – it should also be about who you are.

Q: I am in the process of converting my personal blog to a .com site. My business blog has the .wordpress.com tail on it. I can’t change that to a .com site unless I rename it which then kind of messes with branding. Do you see it as a problem in the future to have the business blog as a WordPress site?

A: If you go buy your URL hosting takes care of naming it, so why not buy the URL for what comes before the WordPress? I only recommend WordPress blogs to my business clients – it’s the best.  I 100% own warrior-preneur and it’s all on WordPress.

Q: Is there a best day of week/time of day to post new blog articles?

A: Tues-Weds-Thurs, and the SAME time of DAY, EVERYDAY, every TIME you post. It doesn’t matter the time of day, morning is relevant in a global economy, just consistency on when you post – readers come to expect it. As an fyi, Wednesday afternoon is the busiest on Facebook, Tuesday morning on Twitter.

Q: Is there a “perfect blog” that we can go look at to get an idea of what ours should look like for optimization?

A: No, no such thing really. It is best to know your brand and your target market and design for them. A 20 year old student is attracted to different things than a 45 year old mother of two small children.

Q: Whom do you recommend for hosting a blog?

A: Host monster.  I have been using them for a year.  It is reliable, has great customer service and affordable.

Q: What is the best way to attract people to reading my blog?

A: Things that impact readers on your blog: 1 – you moderate, 2 – no call to action. You should allow comments to post without moderation.  Also I find that engaging in the blogging community is the FASTEST way to get readers and a consistent following of fans.

Q: What are the advantages of doing video blogging? Do you have any “best practices”?

A: Video allows you to “double dip” into the LARGEST website – YouTube – another social media site. Same rules apply – keep videos short (2-3 minutes) and packed full of great information. I had a client that did one that was 4 minutes long.  We surveyed it and found most people did not finish it because they thought it was too long. Let’s face it – the social space is about great information in “sound bites”.

Q: Everyone I know who is an expert on building your own website says to buy the domain name from GoDaddy and then “marry it” to your hosting account. But host monster hosting comes with a free domain – should I still buy it from GoDaddy, and what are the advantages?

A: Well they are going to go buy it for you basically, which means they own the URL. I tell all my clients to buy and OWN their URLs. Don’t let anyone else own them. So buy from Go Daddy, then route to blog or website.

Q: Do you recommend creating some sort of content/editorial calendar for your blog?

A: I do! HUGE time saver actually, and it helps you prep your mind about “what” to write about. Mine is done for the year!

Q: What’s a good bounce rate? And what should you do if you have a high bounce rate?

A: This is a REALLY complicated issue.  But typically a high bounce rate means what you have set up for SEO which leads to clicks, is not what those people are looking for, so they leave immediately. But many other factors can play a part, design, flash, clutter, etc…

If you have other blogging suggestions, feel free to share!

*This article was originally posted on the Women In Consulting blog and has been modified to run here.


February Social Media Tips

Every several days I post a social media tip on Twitter.  Here is a summary for the month of February with more explanation than can be included in Twitter’s 140 characters.

#1 – If your FB page has 25 Likes, get a vanity url

All Facebook Pages should have a vanity url (also known as a Username), but surprisingly not all do.  To get a vanity url your page needs to have 25 Likes.  Then, just go to www.facebook.com/username to select your vanity url.  Be very careful as this cannot be changed.  When you have a vanity url you can easily tell people how to find your Page on Facebook and include the url in marketing materials like your email signature, business card, presentations, etc.  Also, sites with vanity urls are more searchable within Facebook and on search engines.

#2 – Email is still the most effective way to publicize social media

There are many good ways to promote your social media – Facebook’s Suggest to Friends feature, icons on your website, urls in your email signature and documents, and signage, just to name a few.  These are all good ways to promote your social media, and should be done.  But if you want to increase Likes quickly and efficiently, email is the way to go.  Create an email with information about your social media properties that includes links, and send to your friends, family, and your business email list.  And ideally, find reasons to do this regularly.

#3 – If you have a FB page promote via tag parties

Tag parties are a great way to promote your Facebook Page.  Generally you want to be careful when sharing your Page on another’s Facebook Page.  If you do this wrong, you will be perceived as spammy.  Tag parties are an open invitation to share your Page.  Mari Smith has periodic tag parties where she allows everyone to share their Page with her 35k+ followers.  Many other Facebook Pages also have periodic tag parties.  And, look for ways to share your Page off of Facebook.  For example, the Social Media Marketing LinkedIn group has an ongoing Discussion allowing people to share their Facebook pages.  Happy sharing!

#4 – You can track the same link 2x in bit.ly.  Add / at the end of the url (or take away).  Click Options/Edit and add name to differentiate.

Bit.ly is a great tool to track clicks on your social media properties.  Unfortunately, bit.ly creates one short url for each url provided, so it is impossible to differentiate clicks on different social media properties.  Here are two workarounds: The first option is to create different bit.ly accounts for each property.  This solution works well when you have multiple properties, the drawback is you have to log in and out of the different accounts.  The other workaround is to add a / to the end of the url that you want to shorten.  When you do this, bit.ly will create a second url.  Or, if there already is a / at the end of the url, take it away to create a new url.  The drawback to this solution is that you can only create two urls, so can only track two properties.  To differentiate, click “Options/Edit” and add the property name, for example “Twitter”.

#5 – Create a weekly/monthly content calendar for your social media efforts.  Then schedule time 2-3x/day to implement.

Social media can be very time consuming.  And, it can be inefficient if every day you are wondering what to post.  So, create a content calendar and post this next to your desk so you can easily reference what to post each day.  A simple Excel spreadsheet works just fine.  The content calendar can include original content like blog posts, tips, questions, promotion of your products, etc. and can also include other people’s content like articles.  It is helpful to set aside a couple blocks of times each day to implement.

I went over each tip quickly, so if you have any other thoughts, please share!

And if you want to receive my Twitter tips, follow me.


How To Measure Your Social Media Efforts

You have likely dipped your feet in the social media waters.  And maybe you have been at it for a while and are experiencing some success.  The next step is to implement ongoing reporting.  After all, what gets measured gets improved upon. 

In this post I am going to focus on no-cost and low-cost reporting solutions that make sense for consultants and small businesses. 

The first step is to decide what to measure.  Here are some important metrics:

  1. Audience size – Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, LinkedIn group Members, blog subscribers etc. This allows you to see the rate at which your properties grow organically and the rate at which they grow with various efforts.
  2. Interaction – Facebook Likes (Likes of articles), Comments and wall posts, Twitter Retweets and @Mentions, LinkedIn Likes and Comments, blog comments etc.  This allows you to see how interaction is affected by the different types of content you post.
  3. Your activity – Facebook posts, Tweets, LinkedIn Discussions, blog articles, etc.  This allows you to correlate your level of activity with growth and interaction.
  4. Clicks – Use a free url shortener like bit.ly to track clicks from articles, blog posts, events, etc. that you post to social media properties.  The number of clicks gives you an indication of the types of content that is appealing to your audience as well as number of people you are driving to registration forms, website content, email opt-ins, etc.
  5. Actions – You can track various actions like registrations, e-mail opt-ins, and revenue by using a pull-down menu in your form, or setting up tracking urls for each property. Use Google Analytics to track how many people come to your site from your social media properties.
  6. Unique visitors, visits, and page views – Track these metrics on your blog using Google Analytics.

The second step is to develop a template.  Here is a sample template:

Social Media Reporting Template

If you are a consultant and this looks like more than you want to do, then scale it down to the most important metrics of growth, interaction, and actions.  If you have more resources to devote to measurement, you can dive deeper into other metrics available on Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.  And, if you have a small budget and want to cut back on the manual labor you can use tools like Hootesuite’s Pro version that is only $6/mo and provides stats like link click-throughs, as well as integrates with Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.

The last step is to decide how often to measure.  In my ad agency days, we pulled client reporting weekly.  For consultants and most small businesses, I think monthly (or even less if time is an issue) is just fine.

Now you are ready to measure and improve upon your social media efforts.

If you have other metrics you measure or helpful social media measurement tools please share as a comment!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


How to Promote (and Cross Promote) Your Social Media Properties

social media business cardIf your business has a social media presence, you likely want to grow your following. Here is a list of ways you can promote your social media properties using your existing channels as well as by cross promoting your properties. I focused on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as use of a blog, but many of these tactics are relevant for other social media properties as well.

Promote via your existing channels

1.Add links to your social media properties on your website – these can be simple square icons, larger logos that include the full name of the property, or links with text (for example “Join the conversation on Facebook”)
2.Add social media icons to email and newsletter templates
3.Send periodic dedicated emails letting people know about your properties
4.Add links to personal email signatures
5.Add urls to business cards
6.Add signage with icons or urls in physical businesses
7.Add icons or urls to presentations
8.If you do events, add social sharing to your registration form, if available

Cross Promote via your social media properties

Facebook

1.Add urls to “Detailed Info” on Info Tab and to the text box on the left side of the Wall. You can also include urls in your Wall image (which can be up to 180×540 pixels).
2.Do periodic posts mentioning other social media properties (“If you like the conversation here, join us on Twitter”)
3.Post blog articles (automated or manual – I usually recommend manual)

Twitter

1.Add urls to a custom background
2.Use Selective Tweets to send tweets to Facebook
3.Do periodic tweets mentioning other social media properties
4.Tweet about blog articles

LinkedIn

1.Do periodic posts mentioning other social media properties
2.Post blog articles

Blog

1.Add social media icons
2.Add Facebook Like Box to increase Likes without leaving the blog
3.Add Facebook Like Button to articles to drive traffic to Facebook page
4.Add a Twitter stream

These are my favorite ways to promote social media properties through existing channels or via cross promoting. If you have other favorites, please share!

*This article was originally posted on the Women In Consulting blog.


Getting Started Using Facebook for Business

Is social media part of your business strategy? A recent study by Access Markets International reports nearly 70% of US small businesses use social media, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. If you haven’t jumped in yet, you are at a competitive disadvantage. At around 500 million active users (60% larger than the entire US population), Facebook has the largest audience of the social media destinations and is a great place to do business.

There are a few ways you can use Facebook for business, so let’s look at the options. First, you can use your personal profile. Facebook makes it easy to set up lists within your list of friends, so you can set up a list for business and post information to this list.

Or, you can set up a Group or business Page. Pages have become much more popular than Groups. The benefits of a Page include: posts show up on the Walls of people that Like your page, posts appear with a business image versus an individual’s personal profile picture, and Pages show up in search engine results. You may want a Group if you want to limit membership to a select group (anyone can Like a Page).

For the majority of businesses, a Page is the way to go. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Develop objectives. Is your goal to establish yourself as a thought leader within your field, increase leads, build community, sell product, provide customer support? It is important to create objectives so your strategies map back to business objectives.

2. Choose the Page name and set up the vanity URL. The vanity URL makes it easy for people to find your Page. When you have at least 25 fans you can set this up. For example, your vanity URL would be something like http://www.facebook.com/businessname. Be very careful about choosing your vanity URL as this cannot be changed.

Mari Smith Facebook Page3. Pick an image for the Wall. This image will show up on the top left of the Page and the entire image, or a portion, will be used for the thumbnail when you post. For ease, you can select a square image. The thumbnail uses a square image, so if you choose a square image, your thumbnail can be your entire image. Or, you can select an image up to 180×540 (but make sure there is a square portion that will be suitable for your thumbnail).

4.Develop a content strategy. A good rule of thumb is to post once a day. If you have more or less to share, you can post more or less frequently. The most important thing is to post content that is valuable to your subscribers. Mix up the posts. Posts can include links to blog posts, relevant articles, tips, special offers, new products or services, events, pictures, videos, etc. Mix it up and get creative.

5. Promote your Page. Users generally don’t find Pages from searches. Instead they learn about Pages from sites and other promotions. The best initial way to promote your Page is to use Facebook’s tool and suggest your friends Like the page. Some other ways to promote your Page include adding a Facebook icon on your website and blog, adding an URL (or link) on all marketing materials – business cards, email signatures, email and newsletters, presentations, direct mail, and adding your Page link to your LinkedIn profile. Advertising on Facebook can be very effective as Facebook offers highly targeted ads at often low rates.

6. Increase interaction. For your page to go viral you need people to comment and Like your posts, and write on your wall. Interaction is also important because you want to appear on the “Top News” tab versus the “Most Recent” tab, and Facebook favors Pages with higher interaction. Tips include posting highly relevant content, phrasing posts to entice interaction, and including images.

7. Develop a conversion strategy. If a primary goal is to increase Likes, you can add a Welcome tab where visitors Social Media Examiner Welcome Tabland that tells them about the page and asks them to Like. Other conversion tactics might include adding an email sign up form and promoting live events. More advanced tactics might include providing a store front and running a contest. Facebook really is a game changer for small businesses. It offers free access to a huge population of active internet users. Many small businesses are benefiting. So why are you waiting? Jump in!

Rachel will be speaking about this topic at the Midpeninsula Professional Alliance 9/21 breakfast meeting at Scott’s Seafood in Town & Country Village in Palo Alto, CA.  The meeting is open to all.  Click here to register.

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Get Creative with Facebook Landing Tabs (Pics)

*This article was originally posted on the Women In Consulting blog.  It is posted here with a few modifications.

If you have a Facebook page for your business, you might want to consider adding a landing tab.  A landing tab is a tab people land on if they have not “Liked” your page yet. 

Most often, businesses use these as “Welcome” tabs.  The intent is to give people more information about the business and what they will find on the Facebook page with the goal of an increased conversion rate to “Like”.  A recent BrandGlue study found a 47% conversion rate to “Like” with a landing tab vs. a 23% conversion rate without a landing tab.

Here are some examples of “Welcome” tabs.  Note that most ask the visitor to “Like” the page, offer some information about the business and the Facebook page, and many have short videos.

Texto Graphic Design – A graphic rich landing tab.

Social Media Examiner  and EzineArticles – These are straight forward with simple messaging and videos.

Mari Smith – Tab of the Facebook guru Mari Smith.  With the primary objective of an increased conversion rate, herMari Smith tab includes a video, letter about herself and her page, and more.

Businesses are using landing tabs in other creative ways as well..

Diet Coke has a simple and inviting entry way.

Papa JohnsDunkin Donuts and Papa Johns are promoting contests.

Threadless and Carters are selling products on their landing tabs.

Starbucks and Dominos are promoting Rewards programs.

And still other businesses use this tab as a social media hub.  See Carnival’s “Carnival”Carnival tab complete with email opt-in, videos, Twitter opt-in, photos, polls, and more.

Does your business have a Facebook landing tab? If so, share the link here.  Of if you have any favorites, share those too!

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