Saturday, 9 November 2013

4 Social Analytics Tips to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

Would you like to find out when your social media followers are most active?

Do you want to know which social network drives the most leads to your website?

There are many social media statistics you can track, but it’s important to track the data specific to your business’s use of social media.

Track the right metrics for your community and you’ll better understand how and when to share information, as well as what type of content drives the most traffic to your website.

In this article, you’ll learn how to track and measure four important social media metrics to help you improve your social media marketing.

#1: Determine the Best Times to Post Updates on Twitter and Facebook


Because Twitter moves at such a rapid pace, tweets get buried quickly. Knowing when your followers are online plays a crucial part in your tweet’s visibility and success.

Luckily there are some great tools to analyze the activity of your followers.

Tweriod looks at the recent tweets of your followers and provides you with analytics and data that show when your followers are the most active.

Once you connect your Twitter account to Tweriod, it runs an analysis and summarizes the best hours of each day for you to reach your followers with your tweets. The report is delivered to you by email or a DM when the results are ready.

tweroid results
Tweriod results show the optimal times for you to tweet.
Besides recommending the best hours of each day to tweet, Tweriod also gives you an overall analysis you can review to get a sense of your community’s most active days.

tweriod analytics
Tweriod analytics show your followers' daily activity.
Tweriod also gives you the ability to synchronize this data with your Buffer account to automatically update your auto-scheduling hours.

Tweriod is free for accounts with up to 1000 followers and offers a monthly subscription if you have more followers or are interested in premium features.

Use the data from Tweriod to adjust the days and times you post on Twitter.


With Story Bump, EdgeRank and the sheer volume of posts that roll through the general news feed, it’s getting difficult to make sure your fans see your page posts. To maximize the lifespan of your posts, you need to know when your fans are most likely to see them.

Facebook Insights offers a simple way to find out when your fans are most likely to be active on Facebook.

To find the best hours to share updates on your Facebook page, pull up the Insights dashboard, click on the Posts tab, and choose “When Your Fans Are Online.”

facebook fans online
The Posts tab in Insights shows when your fans are most often online.

Here, Facebook shows you easy-to-read graphs of your fans’ diversity, including the average number of fans who saw your post in any given hour.

insight graph
Insights has easily readable graphs.

That’s it. Now, you just have to post during your strong hours and highlight your most important posts during your peak exposure times.

#2: Find the Magic Number of Facebook Posts per Day

Many studies show the average brand should post about 1-2 times a day on Facebook. You need to know if that’s true for your page.

Find the magic number of posts to share on your page, and you’ll dramatically affect your engagement and community growth.

Facebook’s new Insights dashboard gives you information about your recent posts and the frequency of engagement. To view the information, click on “See All” from your page to reveal the Overview tab.

insights dashboard
Access your Insights dashboard.
Now, export the Overview data into a spreadsheet file directly from the dashboard by selecting “Data Type: Post-Level Data.”

facebook insights dashboard
A view of the Facebook Insights dashboard Overview tab.
In the spreadsheet, group the posts by day and compare the average Lifetime Post Total Impressions and Lifetime Engaged Users columns.

For each day, look for the lower engagement numbers to discover which post count is decreasing the average metrics you measure.

That is your magic number of posts to share each day.

#3: Measure the Click-through Rate

If you’re active on social media, you’re likely to share a lot of content from your blog, website, YouTube channel or other media platforms.

When you share a link to your various platforms, your goal is to have people click on your link. The click-through rate (CTR) your links receive is most likely your primary metric for measuring success.

To measure your CTR, you need a URL shortener to track clicks.

Bitly is a free URL shortener with a set of tools to create shortened links, share your links and measure the CTR on your links.

You can shorten links from within the Bitly dashboard or use an extension for Firefox or Chrome to automatically shorten and share links straight from your browser.

After you’ve shortened a link with Bitly, click on it from the library at any time to get detailed information on its CTR, click sources, geographic distribution of clicks and more.

bitly dashboard
This Bitly dashboard shows a CTR of 44 and other data on platforms and demographics.
bitly link origination
This map shows where the clicks on a Bitly link originate.

On the Bitly stats dashboard, you get both aggregated and individual statistics about the links you share from Bitly. Aggregated stats show complete global activity on a link and individual stats show activity specific to your shares of the link.

There are other tools to measure your CTR, but Bitly’s analytics give you more detail than most, for free.

click through rates
Bitly shows you click-through rates on every link you shorten.
Spend some time analyzing the data behind your Bitly links to find trends in CTRs and shares that will help you deliver content suited to the needs and interests of your community.

#4: Compare Lead Sources and Conversion Rates

Most brands’ social media strategies use more than one social media platform to drive traffic to their websites and generate new leads.

Although each platform has its place in your strategy, you won’t receive an equal ROI from each one. You’ll want to find out which platform generates the best ROI so you can put more effort into your marketing on that platform.

UTM Link Building and Google Analytics can help you track the leads and conversions from each social network. UTMs are tags you add to a URL that make it easy to track and monitor in Google Analytics.

Use the Google URL builder to create a measurable URL that Google Analytics can segregate into campaigns.

google url builder
Google's URL Builder.

Google’s URL Builder page has some helpful hints on how to use each of the UTM parameters:

  • Campaign Source. This helps Google Analytics identify the source of your traffic as a search engine, newsletter or other referrer.
  • Campaign Medium. This specifies whether the link is used in an email, a CPC ad or another method of sharing.
  • Campaign Name. This associates your URL with a specific product promotion or strategic campaign such as a spring sale or other promotion.

Build unique URLs for any landing page on each of the social networks used in your strategy. You’ll be able to differentiate among leads that come from your Twitter bio, your tweets or Facebook.

If this seems too complicated, you’ll want to get the help of someone with the appropriate technical skills.

To see which social network provides the most leads or conversions for a specific campaign, go to your Google Analytics dashboard and check out your campaigns.

google analytics campaign
Google Analytics Campaigns overview.

Set up your goals, then look under Traffic Sources > Campaigns to see which source and medium drives more leads to your various landing pages and the conversion rate from each of them. Eventually, you’ll see which source (social network) brings you more leads or more signups or sales (conversions).

Anytime you share an inbound link on social media, measure it with custom UTM parameters to get full ROI information on leads and conversions.


You can track many metrics on social media, but the metrics you choose to measure should reflect your business goals.

I recommend tracking these social media metrics because they give you the information you need to better market your business and products.

What do you think? What metrics do you track to measure the success of your social media efforts? Are there tools you have found to be helpful? Join the conversation below and let me hear your thoughts!

Author: Lior Degani

Sunday, 22 September 2013

8 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Engagement

Are you looking for fun ways to get your Facebook fans engaged?

Wondering how other pages are developing their posts to increase likes, shares and comments?

In this article I’ll show you eight examples of how to create Facebook posts that drive more engagement on your Facebook page.

#1: Solve Problems With Photos

Posts with a simple image and a caption that shows fans the solution to a problem or a way to improve their daily lives receive marked engagement.

Whole Foods uses this post tactic to encourage fan discussions about product-related solutions to common problems.

whole foods lifestyle tips
Whole Foods boosts engagement by sharing lifestyle tips.

Tips for posting images to Facebook:

  • Larger images tend to get more likes, shares and comments. Use the Upload Photos/Video function to publish photo files directly into your post instead of posting a link that shows a thumbnail.
  • Optimize images for the 403 x 403 pixel display in the timeline. Larger images display from the center of the image, and some of the edges may not appear in the news feed unless a user clicks through.

Find a great selection of socially recommended how-to’s on Snapguide or Reddit’s Life Pro Tips.

#2: Give a Shout-out to Your Customers

People love to see their content and their friends’ content shared by brands.

Use your fans’ content instead of your own to give your post a viral push through specific communities that are close to the content creator.

Starbucks showcased a talented customer’s drawing as their cover photo, then provided a shout-out to this dedicated customer by including a link to the artist’s Instagram profile in the image description.

starbucks customer cover photo
Starbucks uses customers' art in their cover photo.

Every few weeks, Walmart creates a new seasonal cover image with photos of real people from their fan base.

Check out a recent one below:

walmart fan photos
Walmart using fan photos for its cover photo.

Tips for customer shout-outs:

  • Cross-promote your Facebook shout-outs with Instagram and Twitter to extend your reach and impact.
  • Call attention to fans who show off your products or promote your brand.
  • Capitalize on brand-related content from clubs and teams with many members to boost your shout-out exposure.

#3: Involve Customers With a Question

Every customer wants to be heard and questions let them use their voice in the form of comments.

Ask your fans to share about consumer preferences, help you name a product or describe memories and moments associated with your brand.

When Skittles asked fans to describe the moment they opened a pack of the candy, the post received over 5,000 interactions.
skittle asks questions
Skittles asks questions to engage their Facebook fans.

London Drugs asks their fans to weigh in on either/or questions.
london drugs photo
London Drugs' "Crafty or Tacky" photo.

Tips for asking questions on Facebook:

  • Keep your questions simple.
  • Relate questions to specific consumer lifestyles, such as where or how they use your product.
  • Monitor your customer feedback on Facebook posts and comments, Twitter mentions and emails to find question topic ideas.

#4: Let Them Fill in the Blank

Use a short sentence with one word missing to generate a significant amount of comments, likes and shares.

Pringles used a fill-in-the-blank post to connect their chips with a relaxing summer holiday. A bonus of this tactic is that Pringles got a snapshot of their fans’ product preferences by monitoring the comments.

pringles fill in the blank
Pringles markets using fill-in-the-blank posts.

Tips for fill-in-the-blank posts on Facebook:

  • Use fill-in-the-blank posts as a two-pronged engagement tactic: interact with your online community and get to know them better for future marketing campaigns.
  • Use the post tactic in conjunction with a specific event, such as a summer holiday or a family ski trip.
  • Awkward or funny situations get people to engage on a more personal level.

#5: Crowdsource Photo Captions

Photo caption posts combine the allure of photos with people’s love of interacting with brands they identify with.

Think about the emotion you want to trigger and choose an image that makes participating irresistible. Upload your image and write a short description that invites fans to provide a caption.

In keeping with their core 125-year-old brand, National Geographic posts the world’s best photos from experts and amateurs alike. They interact with their Facebook fans by asking for captions. This one post had over 250,000 interactions.

national geographic invitation
National Geographic invites us to do what we've always dreamed of—contribute to its photos.

Tips for photo captions on Facebook:

  • Use inspiring, provocative or humorous images for captioning.
  • Find photos on Reddit’s Pics, Flickr Creative Commons, Shutterstock and iStockphoto. Remember to mind copyright if you share images that aren’t in the public domain.
  • To add a boost to your photo caption engagement, offer an incentive through a photo caption contest.

#6: Share Quotes

Quotes are great for engaging people’s “Me, too!” feelings. On Facebook this is especially powerful as the Like button makes it easy for fans to express that feeling. A quote can associate your brand with good feelings and create a deeper connection with your market on Facebook.

Just like Apple used imagery of iconic 20th-century personalities in its “Think Different” campaign, you can use quotes from icons to reinforce your company’s brand.

Disney uses quotes from their feature films to inspire, relate to and create funny moments with their audience. Each quote is posted with a full image to increase engagement.

disney shares a quote
Disney shares a classic quote to connect emotionally with their audience.

Tips for quotes on Facebook:

  • Tie your brand to quotes that support your campaign goals.
  • Use visuals and memes with your quotes to increase shareability—a few good sites to create memes are Quickmeme, Imgflip and Memecrunch.
  • Find quotes on and The Quotations Page, or use a #quote hashtag search on Facebook or Twitter.

#7: Gather Votes With Like vs. Share

Ask your fans to like a post to vote for option A, or share the post to vote for option B. Because vote counts are visible, fans are motivated to participate.

Walmart frequently uses the like vs. share post with a mashup of two competing images and a small graphic overlay of a like vs. share icon. They post the full image with a brief description that tells fans how to participate.

walmart asks for likes and shares
Walmart directly asks for likes and shares by giving their fans a face-off.

Tips for like vs. share posts on Facebook:

  • Use controversial choices that evoke strong emotions within your community.
  • Integrate your product or brand in the posts.
  • Use digital image editing applications like Photoshop, Photofiltre or to create your image with a graphic overlay that shares simple participation instructions.

#8: Use Hashtags

A relatively new addition to Facebook, hashtags use categorized terms behind a # symbol to increase brand, product and campaign awareness to wider audiences.

Sephora uses the hashtag “#OneQuickQuestion” to open up engagement for a campaign beyond the reach of their current fans.

sephora uses hashtags
Sephora spreads its reach with #hashtags.

Tips for #hashtags on Facebook:

  • Use tags to create awareness and engagement for specific marketing campaigns such as contests or product sales.
  • Use common terms such as #socialmedia in your hashtags to increase post dialogue and visibility.
  • Search for hashtags being used by your customers, competitors and partners to find keywords and conversations you can participate in.

Your Turn

These are just a few examples of posts that can be adapted to help you connect with your customers and drive engagement on your Facebook page. Incorporate them to help you build long-lasting relationships, extend your post visibility and learn more about your customers’ preferences.

What do you think? How do you intentionally create interactive posts on your Facebook page? What successes have you had? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tags: engagement, facebook, facebook engagement, facebook page, facebook post, fan content, hashtag, krista bunskoek, post engagement

author: Krista Bunskoek

Thursday, 19 September 2013

5 Ways to Sell With Social Media

Do you want to convert your fans and followers into paying customers?

Are your social activities working?

In this article I’ll show you 5 simple ways to tweak your social media updates for better sales conversion.

Some social media updates can go further toward bringing in sales than others. And they can do this without detracting from the spirit of social media.
sale sign
Some social media updates can help with sales more than others. Image source: iStockPhoto.

#1: Incorporate a Clear Call to Action

Your customers and fans visit your social media pages for a variety of reasons, but generally speaking, they want to do something or learn something.

Some people are looking for information about your company, some are looking for details about products and services, some want access to special deals and coupons, some want to see if you have any contests or promotions running and some may be looking for expert tips and how-to tricks.

If you don’t give them what they’re after, they won’t return. Use status updates to give them what they want and what you want: a sale.

Post calls to action like “Click here for a Facebook fan exclusive coupon,” or “Enter to win…”

Here you see how Target offers daily deals on Twitter.

target twitter account
Target has a Twitter account where followers can see deals the retailer has in stores.

But remember to stay true to the 70-20-10 rule: 70 percent of your page’s content should be information that’s valuable and relevant to your fans; 20 percent should be content that comes from other people and 10 percent should be promotional.

Once you know why your audience wants to interact with you on social media, be sure to give them the types of information they’re looking for.

#2: Convey a Sense of Urgency

Due to the ticker-tape nature of most social media platforms, you have a very limited amount of time to catch the attention of your customers/fans/followers. If they see an update with verbiage that compels them to “act now,” you win.

Using words like “For a limited time” or “On sale this week” or “Own it first” will catch the eye of your visitors.

You can also offer incentives for booking or buying immediately instead of later. Depending on your business, you could waive shipping fees, offer an extra week of your service or even a buy-one/get-one, etc. Ideally, post different time-sensitive offers on different networks.

For example, “The next 10 people who retweet this will receive 10% off their next purchase.” On Facebook you could use an app to make an offer like, “The first 10 people to share this on Facebook get $25 off a $50 purchase,” and so on.

Here, Chili’s uses their Facebook cover photo to connect and offer a deal.

chili facebook photo
Chili's uses their cover photo to announce a limited-time offer.

This is one way to use the instant nature of social media to your advantage.

#3: Offer Followers and Fans Exclusive Deals

This idea is similar to the previous one, but you want to make sure that your fans know the deals you’re offering are for fans of a particular network only.

To grow your following on a variety of networks and inspire loyalty, offer deals that are exclusive to each network.

Kate Spade New York always has something special cookin’ for their Facebook fans. Periodically offering special deals is a great tactic for a business that wants to keep its fans coming back again and again. And doesn’t every business want that?

kate spade new york
Kate Spade New York offers Facebook fans exclusive deals and coupons on a regular basis. It keeps them coming back again and again.

This is a great way to reach out to specific audiences within your social media strategy.

#4: Encourage Sharing

It never hurts to ask your fans and followers to retweet, repin or share. Ideally you’re offering such a great deal that your fans and followers will want to share it anyway, but a little nudge is okay.

If your update is about a Facebook contest, you can even let your followers know that if they share the news about your contest, they’ll get an extra chance (or chances) to win.

National Builder Supply uses Pinterest to give fans a chance to win a chandelier.

repinning contest
National Builder Supply gives fans a chance to win a new chandelier by repinning their contest image on Pinterest.

When you ask your audience to interact with your content, they’re more likely to do it.

#5: Keep All of Your Social Media Profiles Current

When potential customers land on your various social pages, they should have a clear idea of what your business/brand is all about. At the very least, go through each of your business’s social profiles (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) once a quarter and make sure all of the information is current, because social networks occasionally change dimensions and other details.

For example, earlier this year Facebook relaxed its rules about using calls to action on cover photos, but many companies haven’t yet updated their pages to make the most of this space.

Tip: You can now include price or purchase information on a Facebook cover photo including phrases like “40% off this week only” or “Download our new eBook here,” contact information or other calls to action such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.” The main image should also give customers and prospective customers some insights about you.

In this image, Trunk Club tells you everything about what they do right on their Pinterest page.

trunk club pinterest profile
The men's personal shopping service Trunk Club has a fantastic Pinterest profile that tells you everything you need to know about what the company does.

Never forget to give your social media audience the information they need about your business.

Over to You

These are just a few opportunities for you to connect with potential leads for your business. But together with a strategic plan, they can help convert the quality leads your business is looking for.

What do you think? What kinds of posts and updates have you found are the most effective for making a sale? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

Author: Jim Belosic

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

3 Strategies for Finding Customers With Social Media

Do you need a strategy to reach your ideal prospects with social media?

Are you overwhelmed by all the social media options?

If so, you’re not alone. Social media overwhelm is one of the biggest challenges businesses face.

In this article, I’m going to show you three social media strategies so you can focus your efforts on the channels that best align with your business objective and target audience.

The Simple Solution
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for it: only focus on where your customers are.

Where are your customers on social media? Image source: iStockPhoto.

Once you find out where your customers are on social media, it becomes easier to come up with a strategy that will help you find your future customers.

Here are three strategies you should consider:

Strategy #1: Ask Your Customers

Asking is the low-hanging fruit that’s easy for small business owners to overlook. It’s such a simple thing to do and allows you to further cement the personal connection you have with your customers.

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, when your customers visit your location, ask whether they use social media. If you have another type of business, figure out the best time and place to ask your customers whether they use social media.

If they do use social media, ask them what channels they spend their time on. Is it Facebook? Pinterest? Maybe it’s LinkedIn.

Maybe they don’t even use social media. By asking, you’d know.

If your customers are using social media, take it a step further and ask them how they like to be engaged on those channels. This will give you invaluable insight into how you can best add value in a way they’ll find useful.

You can also take the same approach if your business is online.

Most online businesses have an email list. Send your customer contacts an email and ask the same questions. It doesn’t have to be the subject of an entire email, necessarily; just a simple “P.S.” at the end of your weekly newsletter or part of a quarterly survey you send out should work wonders.
email ps
Ask you using a P.S. in your email.

Implementing this strategy can separate you and your business from your competitors, because so few businesses make the effort to ask. Asking removes any assumptions you may have about where your customers are hanging out online and shows them how much you care.

This is an easy way to get the important information you need to set up a successful social media strategy for your business.

Strategy #2: Use Google Alerts

I’m sure you’ve heard of Google Alerts, but are you using them?

If not, you’re missing a simple and free way to monitor what’s going on in your industry and find where your customers are online.

Google Alerts are updates you can set up in Google that allow you to keep track of a specific topic anytime it’s mentioned on the web.

For example, you can monitor if you or your business is mentioned across the web or keep track of industry news. When there’s a mention of your topic, you receive an email with a link to that search result.

How does this help you find your customers on social media?

Say you’re a small toy company that specializes in locally made wooden toys. You have an online presence but want to expand it and you think that social media might be an effective strategy. You’re unsure, though, which channels your target audience is using.

You could use Google Alerts to find this out.

You decide to enter “birthday gift ideas for kids” as a search query in Google Alerts. And the results show Pinterest boards and articles on “mommy blogs” that are relevant to your business.

When checking out the Pinterest board, you also find several other boards that are similar to your niche. Bingo! Pinterest may be one social channel you want to focus on.

Here’s how to set up your Google Alerts:

  • Go to Google Alerts.
  • Enter the term or phrase you want to monitor in the Search Query field.
  • Choose the type of results you’d like to get in the Result Type field. (I recommend starting out with “Everything.” You can always change it once you see the type of results you’re getting.)
  • Then choose how often you want to receive the results, how many results you want (I recommend “Only the best results”) and the email where you want to receive them.

google alerts

Google Alerts require a little market research, but can get you the valuable information you need to find the social media strategy that works best for your business.

Strategy #3: Use the Search Function Within Social Channels

Sometimes you may want to take a deeper dive into researching your customers on a specific social media platform. Or you may love using a certain social platform and want to know whether your customers are there too. You can use the platform’s search functionality to quickly find out if your customers use the same one.

Each social channel has a search function that gives you the opportunity to instantly determine whether your customers are using it. And this can be as simple as entering the names of some of your customers in the search box on the social platform.

You can also search on things like your niche topic, relevant industry leaders, brands within your niche and any competitors you might have.

Using the search function is another simple and effective strategy that’s often overlooked, yet it will give you great insight into whether your customers are actively using that platform.

If you have a large customer base, consider pulling together a short list selection of the typical customers you want to reach on social media, and then search for them on a social media platform. This would give you information to work with.

Use the Google+ Communities Search:

google+ community search
Google+ Community search.

Or use the LinkedIn Search:

google+ community search
LinkedIn search.
Twitter’s Advanced Search is especially effective because not only can you search by all the attributes mentioned above, you can also search within a specific geographic region.

twitter search
Twitter Advanced Search includes geographic locations.

Remember to stay up to date with changes on your favorite social platform. For example, there have been developments recently with Facebook Graph Search.

Conducting a little research on your customers using the search functions on the social platforms can help you determine where you should invest your social media marketing.

Finding Your Customers Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Use these simple, effective (and free!) ideas to find which social channels your customers are using.

As a business, if you’re not engaging with your customers on their terms, you’re missing a huge opportunity to add value and ultimately grow your business.

Focus your efforts on the few channels that align with your customers and business objectives and let your competitors be overwhelmed by thinking they need to be on every social media platform.

What do you think? Have you used any of these simple strategies to find out which social channels your customers are using? What other strategies have you used to find where your customers are online? Let me know in the comments below.

Image from iStockPhoto.
Tags: email strategy, facebook graph search, google alerts, google+ community search, linkedin search, rick mulready, social media, social media channel, social media engagement, social media platform, social media strategy, social media survey, twitter advanced search

author: Rick Mulready

Sunday, 4 August 2013

How to Setup Social Media Discussion Groups for Business

Is networking a big part of your job or business?

Have you participated in or considered starting a discussion group?

The good news is LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ all offer options.

In this post, we’re going to look at how social media groups work for businesses and how you can benefit from them as both an owner and a participant.

#1: Google+ Communities

Let’s start with the newest kid on the block for social media groups: Google+ communities. When Google+ launched communities in December 2012, they grew at lightning speed. You can now find thousands of communities that cover every topic.

Benefits as a Member

One of the nice parts about Google+ communities is that you can participate in them using your personal profile or your business page—an option you won’t find on any other social network. This means that you can build your business’s authority on a particular topic within communities.

Google+ page participating in a Google+ community.

The challenge for any member of a community, including businesses using their page, is getting past the Google+ community moderation filter. Most posts within a group that contain links will automatically be put in moderation, and will not be published to the group until the admin or manager of the community approves it.

This means that if you’re considering sharing a link in the community, you need to be sure it’s something that the community administrators will find useful enough to share. It helps to be an active member of the community so if you do share a link, the community administrators will recognize you as a valuable member of the community.

Benefits as an Owner

When your business creates a community, you get some perks as well. For starters, your community will be listed on your page’s About tab so that visitors can connect with you by following your page and joining your group.
communities owned by pages
Google+ community listed on your business page.

In the community, your business will be noted at the top of the right column of the page for all members to see.

communities owned by pages benefits
Communities created by a business page will show the page at the top.

As an added bonus, you can add links to your business on the community page in the About this Community section. This way, every time visitors and members of your community visit the page, they’ll have the opportunity to click through to learn more about your business.

add links
Add links to your community to boost website traffic.

If you want to increase click-through to your website and build your email list, consider creating some free content that is relevant to the topic of the group. For example, Unbounce, creators of the Conversion Heroes community, could market a free ebook on conversion tips that would likely be of interest to all of the members of the group.

#2: Facebook Groups

Creating or participating in a Facebook group is beneficial simply because Facebook is the largest social media network. The only downside is that there’s no way for a business to use its Facebook Page—all group interaction must be done through personal profiles.

Benefits as a Member

So how can a business promote itself within a group using its personal profile? The easiest way is to make sure your Facebook Page is linked to your personal profile. That way, when you make an informative post or comment within a group, people can hover over your name, see your business name in the popup and click through to your Page.

facebook groups page link
Link to a business's Facebook Page from personal profiles.

To make this happen, simply edit your personal profile and add your current employment information in the Work section. Be sure that your business Page comes up when you are entering your business name in the employer field.
adding facebook page profile
Adding your Facebook Page to your personal profile.

Your most recent employment listing will be listed on the front of your personal profile as well as in the popup when someone hovers over your name throughout Facebook, including the groups.

Benefits as an Owner

If you want to create a Facebook group for your business, you’ll have to do so using your personal profile. The only ways to promote your business that all members will see is to create a post within the group and pin it to the top.

You can also add a link to the group’s description, but only non-members will see it when they visit your group Page. Once people have joined, they would have to click to the About tab to find the link.

#3: LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn is best known as the top social network for professionals. Therefore, if you’re looking to build business relationships, participating in LinkedIn Groups is a must.

Benefits as a Member

Most people on LinkedIn are there for their business, either to promote it or to find resources for it. By participating in groups where you’re likely to find peers, it can help you build strong business partnerships. By participating in groups where you’re likely to find customers, it can help you build authority in the eyes of those most likely to hire or buy from you.

You can also use groups to build your network of like-minded professionals. If you’re interacting with someone in a group often, you can click on their profile photo to see their group activity page. From here, you can add them to your network based on your mutual group connection.
linkedin connection request
Using LinkedIn Groups to make connections.

If you want to message or connect with a member whom you do not know otherwise, using LinkedIn Groups can be a great way to do it. You can even bypass the need for a premium account since you can also direct message anyone that you share a group with.

These are just a few of the many reasons that Social Media Examiner decided to move the Social Media Marketing Networking Club over to LinkedIn.

Benefits as an Owner

LinkedIn definitely offers the best benefits for businesses that own a group. While you do have to create and own the group using your professional profile, you can incorporate it into your company page by adding your group under the Featured Groups section.
featured groups on linkedin
Featured groups on a LinkedIn company page.

One of the biggest perks for most businesses and marketers to owning a LinkedIn Group is the ability to email your group members. You can set up an initial welcome message template for all new group members to receive, and then you can follow it up by sending weekly group announcements.
linkedin group announcements
LinkedIn Group announcement template.

The key to getting the most out of your group announcements is to tie in promotion of your business with the group topic. Many businesses do this by offering free content giveaways (ebooks, webinars, etc.) that are relevant to group members.

A Recommended Group

Are you looking for a group for social media marketers?

Be sure to check out Social Media Examiner’s new LinkedIn Group: the Social Media Marketing Networking Club.

Social Media Examiner hosts the Social Media Marketing Networking Club group on LinkedIn

It’s a LinkedIn Group for marketers and business owners to network, learn and make connections.

You’ll find discussions around the best ways to use social media tools to help your business.

Your Turn

What do you think? Do you belong to groups? Please share in the comments and be sure to join the Social Media Networking Club on LinkedIn!

author: Kristi Hines

Thursday, 1 August 2013

4 Ways Marketers Can Use Facebook Hashtags

Have you started using Facebook hashtags for your business?

Are you wondering how to best use a Facebook hashtag?

In this article, I’ll reveal four important benefits of using hashtags on Facebook.

I’ll also explore important considerations when putting together your hashtag strategy.

Why Facebook Hashtags?

As you’ve undoubtedly seen, hashtags are now clickable and useable on Facebook.

Using a hashtag # (or pound symbol) in front of a word or phrase turns the word into a clickable link.

When you click on the link, you’ll see a feed of public posts (or posts that are visible to you due to a friend relationship on Facebook) that include that hashtag.

Here’s how you can use Facebook hashtags:

#1: Expand Your Reach

As hashtags gain momentum on Facebook (they’ve been in use on other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+), they’ll help you expand your reach to people who are looking at posts in your topic.

Hashtags have been a great way to help people interested in niche topics find each other and find the conversation.
walking dead hashtag
The #WalkingDead hashtag connects people interested in this show.

By including a hashtag in your post, you can possibly get in front of people who may not have seen your post otherwise.  But you’ll have to monitor this in your Facebook Insights.  Make sure you watch your Reach and Engagement Numbers to see if your hashtags are making a difference in your posts.

reach column
Click the Reach column in your Facebook insights to see which posts are getting the highest reach.

#2: Amplify Your Brand

Branding your Facebook Page with your own special hashtag can help an idea or new product catch on.  By branding all your posts about a new product, you can break this information out into a separate stream of information and give people an easy way to share information about that product or idea.

Think carefully about what types of things others would also be interested in sharing.  If the posts are too promotional and not valuable, you may have a hard time getting people to share them with their friends.

home depot hashtag
Home Depot uses #HDHacks to share fun ideas with their audience.

#3: Cross Social Platforms

If you’ve already been using hashtags in your Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest posts, it’s now more natural to use hashtags in Facebook.  You can save some time by being able to post the same content across several platforms.

While I don’t recommend doing this for every post in Facebook (some people are annoyed by the hashtags entering into the Facebook realm) it does work to your benefit to occasionally cross platforms with a single post.  Plus many people have already been doing this with their own posts from Twitter and now the hashtags are more searchable in Facebook.

starbucks hashtag
The Starbucks #treatreceipt hashtag has been in use on Twitter in the past and is now searchable on Facebook too.

#4: Promote Specials and Events

You can use a special hashtag in your posts to promote something special.  For example, this can work really well for a #contest.

jasons deli
Use a specially branded hashtag to help promote a contest across several platforms.

Realize that you can’t have people enter your contest on Facebook by including your branded hashtag like you can on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.  Because of Facebook contest promotional rules, you can help people find the content across platforms by including the hashtag in your Facebook posts.

If you know some popular hashtags that fit your marketing goals—such as offering a special coupon or deal—then you can include them in your post as well.  I don’t recommend stuffing your posts with tons of hashtags that aren’t relevant because that doesn’t look good and may turn off some of your fans, but a few relevant hashtags are OK.
back to school hashtag
You can also attach a hashtag at the end of your post that's relevant to people looking for special deals such as #backtoschooldeals.

Important Considerations When Using Facebook Hashtags

1.  Privacy settings are still in effect.

If you’re using hashtags on posts on your personal profile, they’ll still have the privacy settings set up according to how you control your privacy on your profile.  Just because you use a hashtag doesn’t make that post suddenly public.  If you add a hashtag to a post that you only share with a certain group of your friends, only that group will be able to see that post.

privacy settings
Your privacy settings are still in effect even when you add a hashtag to your post.

2.  Hashtags have to be all one word.

If you wanted to use #Facebook Marketing as your hashtag, it will need to be posted as #FacebookMarketing or #facebookmarketing (see the next tip).

3.  Capitalization doesn’t matter.

You can choose whatever capitalization you want in the words themselves and the hashtags will show the same results.  #FacebookMarketing and #facebookmarketing show the same search results.

4.  You can make up whatever hashtags you want.

There’s no “hashtag registration” or “database of approved hashtags”, you can make up whatever hashtags you want to use.  Consider your goals.  If you want to brand your own hashtags, you can, but make them short and easy to use and understand.

A hashtag that’s overly complex or hard to read won’t get much traction.  If you’re abbreviating, make sure it’s clear what point you’re going for – a hashtag like #IKPMTTTRWD won’t mean much to many people.

5.  Research your hashtag before you use it.

There have been some recent embarrassing cases of brands using a hashtag that’s already in use for an entirely different purpose that doesn’t align with their company message at all.  Take a look at the social sites where hashtags are in use such as Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ and see if your hashtag is already being used by people.

6.  You can easily look for hashtags on Facebook by URL.

Easily search for hashtags or bookmark their results by using the URL: then just include your keyword on the end.

For example shows you the results of posts that include #facebookmarketing or #FacebookMarketing (or any alternate capitalizations).


I strongly recommend you test out hashtags as part of your Facebook marketing strategy and measure your results.  Use them sparingly (not in every single post) and don’t over-stuff hashtags into your posts.

While some people may not be as excited about hashtags on Facebook, they’re firmly entrenched in other social sites and aren’t going away anytime soon.

How about you?  Have you been using hashtags in your posts?  Are you going to give them a try?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

author: Andrea Vahl