by Michal Weinstein
Over the past few years SOCIAL MEDIA (particularly Facebook) has become a big part of the services my company MLWDESIGN offers. It was a natural progression considering how it works hand in hand with web design and requires at times customized graphics. So it’s safe to say, between personally being a facebooker and administrating dozens of pages, I have become quite expert in all things FACEBOOK.
This morning, approximately 5am, I woke up and started my day as I usually do…checking up on all my PAGES. I like to see if they went up in fans overnight and if anything new is going on. Because I am able to see behind the scenes of many pages, what works and what doesn’t is very obvious to me. So based on my experience, I’d like to present the top ten tips for a business to succeed on Facebook.
Now I think it’s safe to assume that as a business owner, your number one goal when delving into the world of social media is to increase awareness of your brand, ultimately leading to an increase of your bottom line. In order to successfully accomplish that goal it’s imperative you understand Facebook and it’s nature before jumping in. Your social media strategy should keep the following ten tips in mind in order to succeed, otherwise you will languish with few fans and waste a lot of time and money.
1) DO NOT BE AN ANNOYING TELEMARKETER!
SELL! SELL! SELL! NOT! Let me ask you a question. Imagine your phone ringing 4–7 times a night and each time you answer it an annoying pre-recorded voice booms messages loudly such as this: “Quick!!!! Our cars are on sale today only!!!! Come to our showroom and get a great deal while you can!” or “Just got in a great dress, perfect for the beach! Must see!!!“
Eventually you screen your calls carefully or even stop answering your phone. Now imagine the calls were different. It was from an actual human being. Maybe someone you know from the neighborhood establishment you frequent.
Could be Raphael the hairstylist from your salon or Warren the Shihan from your local dojo.
“Hey. How’s it going? Can you believe this heat? How you handling it? How are the kids now that schools out? Oh, you feel overwhelmed? I hear you. Well feel free to drop them off at the Dojo anytime. We are having a camp thing going on this week.”
” Hey just checking up on you. How’s that smoothing treatment we did holding up? Great! So glad. After the summer you will need to do it again but for now enjoy your friz free hair. ”
This my friend is the difference between a successful sell and a massive fail.
Facebook works the same way. People are not on Facebook to buy buy buy. They are there for the social experience. To connect. To keep up. To bust boredom. To see how others live. To learn more. To laugh. In a nutshell to be entertained! So do you understand now the approach you need to take to be successful? Do not be that annoying telemarketer. Give your clients what they are seeking and as a result they will become more loyal and your bottom line will increase.
2) BE A FRIEND!
Let’s talk about a few of my most successful FB clients and friends. Bits of glitz, an online costume jewelry store that sells great, glitzy, fun, glamorous, costume jewelry. Owner Chaya is a mom working from home and she has managed to amass almost 7,000 fans. That’s right you heard me…7,000! She did not do this overnight. She worked hard for her fans. As a fan of her page you feel like you really know her. She is her brand and her frequent posts reflect that. She doesn’t just sell sell sell. She posts sayings, inspiring images, funny quips. Her personality oozes through her choice of words. And when she does sell you are already hooked on her and it feels like its coming from a friend. A friend you want to hang with. Hate to break the news to you but FACEBOOK is a popularity contest with the most interesting, cool, hip, fun, funny, pretty getting the followers. Don’t be a wallflower. Don’t post nerdy things. Don’t pick your nose while posting either…..just be friendly and try and make friends.
3) STIMULATE YOUR NEW FRIENDS!
Yes giveaways help you get more fans. The bigger the better. However rather than ask your Fan to just like and share to win… Yawn! Why not do interactive giveaways that allow your fans to utilize their creativity and brain power. People like that. They feel like they are working for their prize and it s much more satisfying than just sharing and hoping you get lucky. It’s like the difference between winning a scratch off lotto ticket vs. winning an academy for your work and having the world acknowledge your brilliance. A great example was a campaign I helped run for JEN K DESIGNS where fans had to guess the number of stones in a jar. Or 100% kids current campaign asking people to come up with a new name for their company. The interactive responses are amazing and the numbers of fans going up don’t lie. So be creative and don’t jut take easy way out by asking your fans to share.
The Internet is ripe with great images and quotes and funny thoughts. Become more aware of things your fans would appreciate and share it. Remember this is all part of being entertaining. You don’t have to be computer savvy. You just have to know how to save images, cut links and paste. Very Basic skills. If you don’t know how…time to ask your kids to teach you.
Take advantage of blogging. Ideal scenario is for your company to have a blog for the sole purpose of search engine optimization. Google loves blogs because they are rich with great key words. The more you update your website with these rich key words the higher your ranking on google. Blogs are great too because they give you a platform for selling but in an informative entertaining way. Similar to Facebook but the only difference is people have to come to your blog whereas your fb posts go to your fans. So sharing your latest blog articles on Facebook or if you don’t have time or skills to write your own, sharing someone else’s blog article (giving them credit), is a great way to entertain and provide a service. Note: Make sure those articles are geared towards your audience. A fashion site does not want to hear about nuclear science advances.
6) DON’T FORGET YOUR ROOTS!
Fashion-isha, AKA. Sharon Langert, a dynamic mom from Lakewood is an example of a blogger who uses Facebook magnificently. She too has a healthy number of fans in the thousands. It is obvious she started blogging about fashion and lifestyle for the refined woman because of her passion to share her knowledge and talents. Along the way businesses noticed that when she writes people listen and so her blogging has opened up many great business opportunities for her. But it is clear she has not forgotten what brought her here in the first place. Her blogs continue to be entertaining, meaningful, educational, peppered with her promoting things that target her market. As a fan I always am interested in the latest shoe company she discovered or event she’s involved in because she’s offering me way more than just trying to get me to buy. It’s no different than a magazine that sells ads but provides juicy content. That’s my friends is what Facebook is all about.
7) BE IN IT TO WIN IT!
If you are not in it than don’t expect to succeed. How on earth do you expect to understand Facebook and what works if you are not on it yourself? And if you are against being on it than do yourself a favor and hire someone else to run your page or get a relative or employee who is on it to do so. But I will warn you: nothing replaces the real owner. People are not stupid and can feel the diference between a hired company that tries to post personable stuff vs. the real deal. So if you are the business owner I strongly suggest being more hands on.
8) DUH! TELL PEOPLE YOU ARE ON FB.
This one is obvious but you’d be surprised. Add your FB page to your business cards, website and of course promote it in your place of business. Let people know you are on FB. I recently came across a great site that sells clothes that I love. Naturally I fanned them because I know if I don’t I’ll forget about them. Your customers will want to be your fans, but sometimes you have to remind them or nudge them. Also if you are on FB push your friends to FAN your page. Even if it means inviting them frequently. If they’re your personal FB friends they should want to support your page…otherwise you might as well DEFRIEND!
9) YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I’LL SCRATCH YOURS.
Give frequent shout outs to others on FB who please you be it the place you just did your child’s party at (SHOUT OUT TO BREEZY’s WHO DID A FAB JOB ON MY DAUGHTER’S BIRTHDAY PARTY!) or the beautician who gave you a great facial (SHOUT OUT TO LEAH’S BEAUTY CONCEPTS!) . By sincerely complimenting others you are spreading goodwill and in return you may just get a shout out too. And that’s the best form of advertising. Unsolicited shout outs!
10) FINALLY…TAKE A CHILL PILL!
Stop complaining that it’s hard and that you don’t have enough fans. Understand that nothing is without effort. Sure you can buy fans… There are services for that. For $25 you can get 1000 fake fans to boost your numbers and make you look more important. But let’s be real…nothing compares to building quality fans one by one and developing a connection with them that will both give you personal satisfaction and ultimately lead to an increase in your bottom line.
And isn’t that what it all comes down to in the end?
Michal Weinstein is owner of mlwdesign, a full-fledged web design and graphics firm that specializes in social media. If you’d like to reprint this article you can do so by giving credit to michal weinstein of mlwdesign.com.
Posted by: Biserka Anderso
Social media has become the de factomarketing tool for companies of all stripes and now we have stats to back this up – 94% of businesses now blog, tweet, pin and post, according to MBA Programs who have visualised the data in this nifty infographic.
But while blogging is businesses’ fourth most favourite social media tool (unsurprisingly, after Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), it looks like it is in decline in the business world, with the share of companies with blogs dropping from 50% in 2010 to 37% in 2011.
This is a worrying trend, not least because it brings to the fore all the opportunities non-blogging businesses are missing out on – raising brand awareness, increasing online visibility, establishing their reputation as thought leaders, to name a few. It also goes to show that while they have grasped the need for social media in general, some businesses still don’t understand the massive value a regularly updated company blog can bring to a business or brand.
Check out the data contained in the infographic and tell us what tangible benefits you’ve seen from corporate blogging. We particularly recommend the six mini-tips at the bottom of the infographic – worth printing, cutting out and pinning on your office wall for reference.
My original design for this site I did several years back looked like the first image below. Since then it has gone through some changes in order to accomodate new features that were not around years back. But the look has remained true to my original design. I particularly love how the logo came out.
Let me start by saying that when I put my mind to something, anything…I go all out. It’s just how I’m wired and who I am. So August 19, 2007 when this new website fell into my radar called facebook, I joined.
In those days few of my friends were on and I was still trying to figure out what the idea was all about. Was it another MySpace? I never really got into MySpace. Was it a “social” LinkedIn?
A month into my new Facebook membership I deactivated for a bit since I still didn’t get the point of Facebook, but that quickly changed when more and more people caught on. At some point I started feeling “left out” so I reactivated.
Fast forward 5 years, 873 friends and dozens of Facebook pages later I somehow became known as the “Queen” of facebook or in more unflattering terms “addicted” to facebook.
My first 2 years on facebook I was learning the ropes. I’d post here and there, share some family pictures.…facebook was more personal with only 100 or so friends. Eventually I’d come across an old high school name or someone from college. It would be fun to see what they were up to. It was in 2008 when I did “Couture for a Cause Kids” when I got my first taste of the power of Facebook for promotion. It felt great utilizing this new tool to do good. The moment in time when the power of FB came to a massive head for me was in 2010 during the Ilan Tocker story. There is no doubt that without FB’s ability to generate the buzz, the prayers, the challah baking, the cookbook sales, the ticket sales for event etc. the story would be different. Not saying it saved him, but it would be a different story.
Through the years I found I had a nack for posting insights, humor and sarcastic observations and I went with it at full force. It helped that I’d start running into FB friends all over who went out of their way to tell me they enjoy my posts. I always loved writing so I started FB blogging here and there and it always amazed me when people actually read, commented and enjoyed. I began to feel like a quasi FB celebrity in my own little world and I felt pressure to keep being witty and interesting.
Through trial and error I started developing my own FB rules.
1) I limited personal pictures of my family. I believe that started after the Leiby tragedy.
2) I never posted pictures of others unless I knew 100% it was ok with them. I never posted pictures of other children.
3) I only accepted friendships with people I knew or who had so many mutual friends that I had to know. That is why in 5 years I only amassed 870 friends. As Queen of facebook I could’ve collected far more but I wanted to know who my friends were.
4) I learned the privacy setting very fast and limited quite a few of my 800 friends so they saw nothing but my name. I had reasons for each one.
5) I viewed FB as a great business tool and plugged my business at every opportunity but I also knew that if it was all business I’d get boring pretty fast.
5) My posts were NEVER allowed to be personal, stupid, boring, annoying. I worked hard to be as entertaining without giving away anything real…unless it was my political view or opinion about something that I thought was ludicrous. Then it’s fair game.
From a business perspective, I added FB and social media to my services. Not a week went by without at least one business lead from FB. I began helping people with Pages and at my peek I was managing over 30 pages. There was no greater feeling than helping businesses amass great numbers of fans and watching formerly FB clueless owners get into it. Almost all my clients attributed an increase in awareness and sales thanks to FB.
So my FB story sounds like quite a success story…I figured out how to utilize this great tool to entertain, to showcase my writing, to spread good deeds and increase my bottom line. I met some incredible people (you know who you are) I otherwise would never have met. Those people inspired and enhanced my world in many ways, and for that I am grateful. Other than a few “hecklers” who enjoyed teasing me about being addicted, most of which clearly spent a lot of time stalking and not posting…what could be bad?
Sometimes in life you have to come to your own realizations. We know this from our own childhoods when our annoying parents doled out advice that we never took. We thought we knew better until one day we matured enough to realize that maybe Mom knew what she was talking about. Perhaps it was that article that put the bug in my head. It connected facebook activism with narcissism. Am I narcissistic? I asked myself. Sure I enjoy acceptance, attention, acknowledgement…but who doesn’t. And if I do have slight narcissistic tendencies…don’t many who are successful have those qualities. It bothered me but not enough to take a step back. I figured if I’m so narcissistic, I was doing a great job using it for good.
The next Aha! moment came when a friend who has almost 2K FB friends decided to deactivate her account. I was one of the select few in her life who she texted to tell me she was deactivating so that I don’t think she G-d forbid defriended me. (A highly insulting offense in our new world)
I called her right after and what she said to me was very insightful. Though at that moment I wasn’t ready to jump in with her, I respected her choice and wished her luck. In a nutshell, she said she found that while FB gave her this sense of community and connectiveness, it was replacing real life connections she could have been cultivating. She found that by posting her every which activity and event, her friends would take it for granted that they knew what was up…so they’d call less, ask less and as a result connect less. They felt they knew everything so why bother, thus she was losing out on real life communication. She also felt FB was stopping her from working out, from going out, from living real life. Though her real life was full, she had just gotten engaged, she was always involved in philanthropy…she only imagined how much more it could be if she didn’t allow FB to suck her in a few hours a day. She pointed out something else that I found profound. Mark Zuckerberg, KING of Facebook got hitched. How many attended his wedding? Maybe 100. Now you try and make a simcha for only 100 people.…impossible! But Mark, the man who has the most “friends” in the universe was somehow able to mine his list down to 100. My friend pointed out that while he is making billions off the concept of “helping you share and connect with the people in your life” at the end of the day only 100 people between him and his new wife really counted.
I hear you, I said. But I got it under control. I use it for business and to entertain and I go to the gym, I am involved with so much. It’s not an issue for me.
But seeds were planted and throughout the next few weeks I began to be more aware of how much time I spent looking at my newsfeed and how much time I spent reading various articles and posts because of FB. I noticed I would check FB often throughout the day, lost in my iphone while real life including my kids were all but ignored. Any time I was bored…FB to the rescue. During those dead moments, I never allowed myself to just sit and read a magazine, call a friend or converse with somone on line at the supermarket. While I did homework with my kids I simultaneously was on FB, laughing at a witty post, responding. My attention was always lost in cyberspace and not in the here and now. I’d start a job and find myself wasting 30 minutes or more on FB. It meant I would then need to work late into the night. I was literally losing sleep over FB.
I remember how great it felt to have hundreds of FB Happy Birthday wishes from everyone I knew on FB back in March. But then I remembered how much better the texts felt and even more so the phone calls. Nothing can replace live interaction. One needs to make eye contact, hear the vocal tones, see the body language. FB and even texts don’t cut it.
In the month that my friend got off of FB I think I spoke and saw her more than I did all year. I too was guilty of taking it for granted that I knew everything that was going on in her life. I superficially felt like I saw her daily and spoke to her when she was on FB. But the past month I actually had to call her, even meet up with her in order to catch up and nothing can replace that.
And so I woke up one morning and decided that the “Queen” needs a break. Sometimes, like when dieting, you need to go extreme inorder to get back to the middle. For me to really learn how to utilize FB as a great business tool, promotional tool and occasional personal tool without replacing or affecting my real live life, I need to lay off the FB.
I look forward to coming up with other ways to fill those “boredom” moments, even if it means observing my surroundings a bit more. I look forward to getting lost online working instead of reading other peoples updates. And I look forward to sharing my day-to-day foibles and experiences with my friends via phone or in person and not broadcasted for all to see. Summer is here and it’s a great time to develop new habits. This summer I hope to enjoy the world outside of my iphone and imac a bit more, knowing that like chocolate or ice cream, the cyberworld is not going anywhere, but like dieting BALANCE is everything.
So I’m not cutting out FB for life.…God knows me and MLWDESIGN owes FB quite a lot. I’ll be back when I am ready.
For now I’m on a personal NO FB diet. It’s not easy but I know the results will be worth it.