Are You Using Facebook The Right Way?
Friday, 01 June 2012
Although at the moment Facebook doesn't exactly look like a great financial investment, it certainly can be a great tool for your business if used correctly.
Facebook gives you a great platform to find and gather new customers, promote your products or services and provide a simple and easy way to interact with your target market, however there are some do's and don'ts that will make your Facebook experience much better.
Post to your Facebook page regularly. An active page is a good page and you're more likely to gather more "fans" if people see things happening on your page.
Keep it relevant. Make sure that anything you post to your page relates to your business or your industry, and ensure its information your fans will be interested in.
Respond and Interact. It's important to make sure your fans feel loved; after all they can be gone in a click. Make sure you respond to any comments or posts on your page, both good and bad - especially if they're bad. There is nothing worse than someone with an issue feeling like they're not being heard. How you respond says a lot about your business.
Keep your information up-to-date. If you move offices or change phone numbers make sure you update it on your Facebook page, and post about it to let people know.
Follow the rules.
With the introduction of the timeline layout for business pages back in March Facebook brought in a few new rules that you should follow.
You would have noticed that on pages now there is a large image across the top of the page - this is called the Cover Image. Although I see many pages that break these rules Facebook state that cover images must not contain:
- Price or purchase information, such as "40% off" or "Download it at our website"
- Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page's About section
- References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
- Calls to action, such as "Get it now" or "Tell your friends"
Although these rules have been in place for a while now I still see many people who break them - surprisingly there are many global brands who do, and even more surprisingly is the number of so called Facebook and Social Media "experts" who have call-to-actions in their cover image (I won't name and shame, but you'll find many examples if you Google around).
Make sure you don't SPAM your fans. Your fans are there because they've either done business with you, had some interaction or because they find your business interesting, so don't destroy this by constantly doing the hard sell or posting the same information.
Make sure your page it setup correctly. I see many businesses setup as a personal account rather than a business page. This is not only against the terms of Facebook but it adds so much more admin work for you managing friend requests.
Take and not give. I see pages that are constantly asking for fans to sign up to this, that and the other. While it's great to build your database, from time-to-time you need to just give your fans something for nothing - make them feel loved.
Keep it business related. There should be a clear separation between business you and personal you. Don't post personal views on your page - you have your personal Facebook for that.
So give some thought about how you're using Facebook for your business, or if you're not currently using it think about how it can help boost your business.
The 7 Aspects of a Successful Website
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Recently I gave a presentation to a room full of business people about how you can make the most out of your website and to work at staying ahead of your competitors. The topic of the presentation was The 7 Aspects of a Successful Website, and the presentation was well received so I thought I'd share it with my wider community.
I've just listed the main points of the presentation here to get you thinking about your website and business.
1. Set Your Goals
What do you want to achieve?
- Increase sales (online or offline)
- Build brand/product awareness
- Drive customers to your physical location (shop, office, workshop, etc)
- Grow your customer database
2. Know Your Ideal Client
Who are they?
- Age/sex/location/social status
- What is your current relationship with them (if any)
- What are their buying drivers
3. Key Point of Difference
Why me and not my competitors?
- One-on-one personalised service
4. Call to Action
What do you want them to do?
- Sign up for our free ebook
- Act now! Offer expires ...
- Join for exclusive member benefits
5. Content is King
Its been said before and I'll say it again!
- Use keywords in your copy
- Sprinkle call-to-actions through the copy
- Keep it fresh and up to date
6. Email Marketing
Keep in contact
- Email regularly (but not too often)
- Make it relevant (share, educate, sell)
- Include links to your website
Make sure people know about you!
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+)
- Pay Per Click advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads)
- SEO (use an expert SEO copywriter)
- Print/other media advertising
So give these 7 points some thought and see how you can apply them to your online presence to stand out from the crowd.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
We've all pretty much heard of PayPal, the online payment solution for buying and selling things online, and most of us probably have a PayPal account that we use now.
What I love about PayPal is that I can make purchases online with money from my bank account (or credit card) without the need to have my banking details handy. I can also accept payments via credit card without needing an expensive merchant account from my bank.
Over the years PayPal has grown from being only available in the USA to being available in most countries around the world and in your local currency, and like all good businesses they're constantly adding new products and services to their bag of tricks.
The latest product offering is called "PayPal Here", which is a mobile solution for accepting credit card and debit card payments anytime, anywhere.
The way it works is once you've signed up PayPal send you a card reader device that connects to your iPhone or Android Smart Phone, you then download the "PayPal Here" app and you're ready to go. When you're out and about selling your wares you can swipe your customers’ credit or debit card and get paid instantly into your PayPal account. With the simple fee structure that PayPal offers this is a great solution for sole traders or a small business.
In the US PayPal also offer a PayPal Debit Card so that you can access the funds in your PayPal account without needing to first transfer them into your regular bank account. They offer this service in partnership with MasterCard, so given PayPal's track record of releasing and testing products in the US before rolling them out around the world it surely can't be long before they offer this in Australia. Once they do it could be time to ditch the big banks for good! Why keep using the big banks for your (expensive) business accounts when PayPal could offer you a way to invoice and get paid, mobile payments and a quick and easy way to access your funds?
You can find out more about PayPal Here on their website.
How secure are your passwords?
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
It seems that these days our lives are filled with passwords and if you're like me trying to remember them all can be difficult, especially if you use different usernames too. More and more the importance of having secure passwords is increasing - hackers are getting smarter and our privacy more important to us.
Think about how you and your business would be affected if someone was to find the password to your website, your email, your banking or your computer. It could be disastrous, and there are plenty of news articles out there about things like this happening all the time.
Now think about your passwords and whether or not you think they're secure. Have you used your dogs name or your birthday or simply the word "password"? If so you might want to consider something that is more obscure and complex.
Last year Time magazine posted an article on the top 25 passwords of 2011. Here are the top 5. Is yours listed?
They seem pretty obvious, but people use them. You can read the full article here and see the top 25 - you'll be amazed (I was surprised to see that I am number 24!).
Many, but not all, websites do force your to have some level of complexity in your passwords, for example they might need to be a certain number of characters long, include an uppercase letter or also include a number, but this doesn't stop you using the same password for everything - this can truly be disastrous if your password got into the wrong hands.
So what is the answer to making password management easy? Well there are many password management programs out there that help you out. If for instance use a program called 1Password. This allows me to store all my passwords in once secure, encrypted database that is locked by a master password. The trick is to ensure that your master password is very secure, but it does mean you only need to remember 1 password.
How programs like 1Password work is that when you visit a website you click an icon in your browsers toolbar and enter your master password. It then populates that website with it's own unique username and password and logs you in. Simple. It also works on your mobile devices so you have access to your passwords wherever you are.
So a password management program helps with keeping track of your numerous passwords, but how do you come up with so many unique and complex passwords? Again that's simple. You'll find on the Internet a multitude of websites that are "password generators". These will generate complex, unique and random passwords for you to use, and you can guarantee they'll never appear on the "Top 25 Passwords" list. Here is a link to the password generator that I use.
So give some thought to your passwords and whether or not you think they are secure enough to protect your online information. If not then it might to time to look at changing them and using a password management program, and not like a lot of people do and keep them in a word document or excel spreadsheet!
Talk to your customers using video
Monday, 19 December 2011
These days every business has a website (or they should) so it's getting more and more difficult to make your website stand out from the crowd and entice visitors to your site to convert them to customers.
One way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to use video on your website to "talk" to your customers. Video can be a great way to connect with your visitors on another level, and they can give your business a face and personality in an increasingly anonymous online world.
Here are 3 ways in which you can use video on your website:
- Testimonials or Case Studies. If you've got some great customers why not ask them if they'll allow you to shoot a video of them talking about how your products or services have helped their business.
- Promote your products or services. Why not put a real face to your online presence and have yourself filmed promoting the benefits of your products or services.
- Provide general information. The more information you provide about your business the more likely people are going to convert from visitors to customers. If you have a physical office why not give your website visitors a virtual tour, or use video to introduce your staff.
There are also many reasons why you would want to use video on your website. My top 5 reasons are:
- Engage with your website visitors on another, more personal level;
- They can give you credibility, especially when you have client testimonials;
- Videos can increase traffic to your website, especially if your video goes "viral" on the Internet;
- Videos are searchable via search engines so can help with your websites search engine ranking;
- If you regularly update your videos or provide regular video content you can help create visitor loyalty and keep people coming back.
Those of you who frequent sites such as YouTube would have noticed more and more businesses setting up their own YouTube channel where they post video content for the world to see. It really is a great way to promote your business, products and services.
Here are a couple of our clients who have done this:
Astute Buyers Advocates
If you're considering using video on your website why not have a chat to our friends over at Inspireworks who specialise in creating videos for businesses.