Peripheral Visions

a blog from SuppliesGuys™ -- Good Guys. Great Buys.

Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

What is Google+ all About

I am not typically an early adopter of any technology.  I have to say I like having other people work out the kinks and then I enjoy the well tested product at the end.  But with Google+, I had to jump on board as soon as I could.  Maybe it was something about the pure boredom of Facebook that I’ve lately been feeling, or the overbearing amount of information I try to consume on a daily basis while keeping up with Twitter feeds, I’m not sure. Either way I must say I am happy I have made that move to Google+.  For once a social media channel in which helps me organize my life, who would’ve thought it was possible?

Google+ is organized by these main sections:Google +1

  1. Stream – Similar to the Facebook Newsfeed.
  2. Photos and videos – Similar to the Facebook photo and video albums, with a little bit extra.
  3. Profile – Very Similar to your Facebook profile page, with a little bit extra.
  4. Circles – The area in which you organize your friends.
  5. Sparks – A way in which you can get up to date information and news about topics of your choosing.
  6. Hangouts – a place for friends, family, coworkers, etc. to just hang out and catch up.

Stream

The stream is very similar if not the exact same thing as the Facebook Newsfeed, the only difference I have experienced is on my android application of Google+. On the android app you have the ability to look at different streams based on your location. At first I was able to read the updates from just my friends, which was fine, but then as I slid my screen to the left and went to the next tab, I was able to see all the publicly shared updates from anyone in my vicinity.  I thought that was a cool idea, I hope that people know by now not to share their exact location but still, seeing some of the status updates from people close by was very interesting.

Photos and Videos

Once again, this is very similar to the Facebook’s section of photos and videos, although I am not too sure on the length limit on the videos.  The interesting additive that Google threw in was the interface with the android app once again, when using my cell phone as a camera through Google+ it will actually automatically upload my photos and videos onto my Google+ account, but will not publish those pictures until I go in there and do it myself.  Not only will it allow you to not publish them it actually will allow you to only let certain groups see them.  Yes, I do realize that facebook does allow you to block certain individuals from seeing your photos, but instead of doing this on a one by one basis, Google+ allows you to just block a whole group of people.

Profile

Not much to say here, it is the same exact thing as Facebook, but has a section to show all the sites you’ve recommended by +1’s.

Circles

As stated in the Photos and Videos section, you can organize your friends in groups aka “circles” and then distribute your updates, photos, information, etc. to selected circles.  You can create all sorts of circles, and I have not yet seen any signs of a limit of  the number of circles one can have. You can also add people to more than one circle, which could be beneficial if say a coworker is also a friend, and you’d like them to see what you’re saying to just your coworkers and your friends.  Facebook definitely is lacking in this area considering you have just a long list of friends, and that’s about it.

Sparks

This reminds me the most of Twitter, with Sparks you can specify certain topics, people, places, keywords that you’d like to be updated about and Google+ will show you information related to these topics.  Not only will Google+ show what people are saying about your interests but also what news channels and other relevant sources are saying.  It is an up to date broaGoogle Facebook and Twitterdcast of all that is happening on the topics of your choice.  I think that this targeted status update is very similar to Twitter, but is a little bit more useful considering you choose exactly what you want to find.  I spent some time testing out all sorts of topics, and I was amazed that all the articles Google+ had showed me was very relevant to the search query no matter what the query was.

Hangouts

This is a place in which people can chat via instant messages, microphones or even webcams.  It’s a place for you and your friends to congregate and just hang out.  I think this could be a cool tool to use for people who travel, very similarly to skype.  Although now facebook has teamed up with skype and has the same offerings.  The only difference is that Google+ can have up to 10 people in a group at a time.  I think that could be pretty cool for families and or groups of friends who moved far away.

There is a lot more that Google+ has to offer, but yet it is not something that you can just read about, I’d recommend to anyone who’s interested to go try it out for themselves, it is well worth it.  Not saying that it will be bigger than facebook by any means, but it’s definitely interesting to see another contender try and compete with Facebook and Twitter.  For Google+ to become a true competitive force in the social media world, it’s going to have to compete with the 700 million users of Facebook, and the estimated 200 million users of Twitter, so it may be a long time before Google+ can truly compete.  Who knows though, it may just be the next multi-billion dollar social media platform.  So what social network is it going to be, are you going to +1, Like, or Retweet this comment?

Categories: News

Engaging Loyal Customers on Facebook

Your small business has finally made the jump to Facebook by creating a Page, adding some initial content and finding some ways to attract likes (previously known as Fans). What comes next in your plan to add value to your company through Facebook? Once you have your customers connected, this social media outlet really provides the greatest opportunities to deepen and maintain relationships with loyal customers.

Facebook is not the place to simply throw up some basic operating hours and product information and then expect that your business page is complete. Interaction is the key to a successful Facebook presence. Your Facebook page allows you to add genuine value to your brand and engage with customers like never before! Customers do not want a one-sided, passive experience – they want to see new content, to have a place to give their opinions and to receive personal attention for their valuable feedback.

Here are four ways you can engage your loyal customers through your business page:

Draw people back to your page from the news feed. Customers are going to be much more apt to visit and spend time on your page if they see new, fresh content pop up on their news feed. Promotions may be one of the quickest ways to send people to your page, as well as posting pictures, upcoming events, links to your blog, and tidbits of information about employees and new products or services. Catchy, short phrases in statuses for many new kinds of content can add value and spur people to click through to your page. For example, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has an effective way of getting comments- posting a high quality picture of their food product and a fun description: “Pictured: Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream–a gem of the Bakeshop Collection. Ohio blackberries and black raspberries and oven-toasted streusel (handmade in our kitchen), blended with our divine vanilla ice cream. An outstanding Valentine’s Day option, don’t you think?”

Give something back. You need a strong incentive to bring customers back to your Facebook page. Your customers live a busy life – why should they spend precious minutes of their day looking at your Facebook page? One way to get your loyal customers engaged is by showing your appreciation of them. Homage, a Vintage T-Shirt retailer, wanted to “pay homage” and give back to its loyal customers by announcing that once their Facebook page surpassed the 10,000 “like” mark, they would be giving out “something awesome to celebrate.” When the announcement came in that the t-shirt retailer would be hosting a 24 hour buy one, get one (BOGO) sale – their fans buzzed like crazy using Facebook and Twitter to spread the news. The BOGO sale was announced on a Monday through their HOMAGE Facebook page (the post got 116 likes and 16 comments). That Wednesday, the BOGO sale went live at 12:01 AM EST (that announcement post got another 82 likes and 65 comments).  From the day the sale was announced (Monday) to the day after the sale (Thursday), the Homage Facebook page grew from 10,000 likes to 11,517 – that’s 15% increase in just 4 days! One can only presume that the company generated new business from this sale in addition to the business from loyal customers.

Showcase your knowledge of the field. Posting links to relevant business content in your field demonstrates knowledge of current events and once again, gets your name in the news feed. Sure, the link won’t directly take people to your page, but frequently posting interesting links establishes you as a good source for information in your field and that will have people coming back for news on your page. For instance, COSI Columbus’ Dynamic Hands-On Science Center! posts links to articles with descriptions such as: “Superbowl snacks too tame? Spice them up with some science!”

Ask questions to get conversations going. This is a quick and free way to gather useful information about your products and services. You can ask for feedback on current areas of your business, solicit ideas for the future, or even just ask things for fun. BalletMet Columbus is an example of a non-profit organization that often asks for feedback from its fans, such as with this question that ended up with 40 responses: “We’re thinking about the 2011-2012 season already, can you believe it?! What would you like to see next season?”

These are all great ways to interact with your loyal customers through Facebook.  With some regular effort and time to keep your page up-to-date and the conversations flowing, Facebook can be a helpful tool to build deeper relationships with your most loyal customers.

Categories: Business Tips

Attracting New Facebook Page Fans

Whether it be Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, it’s no secret that using social media is a hot trend for small businesses.  Social media can be a huge advantage to your business; it helps you get your name out, reach a new audience and even boost sales of your product or service. Social media can have a positive impact on your business if—and that’s a big if—if you use it correctly. One of the biggest challenges small companies face when it comes to social media is how to use it to your fullest advantage. In this post, I’ll give you a few tips how to increase your web presence using social media, specifically Facebook Pages, in the most efficient way possible.

Creating a Facebook Page for your small business is a great way to get your brand name out there. But how are you going to get people to look at it in the first place? Facebook lets you become a “fan” of a page. (Note, the folks at Facebook have recently changed it to “liking” the page, but for the purpose of this blog “fans” and “likes” will be synonymous)

Getting the fans in the first place is the hard part—so where do you start? It’s a very simple answer: use your own network first. Reach out to family, friends, employees, vendors, partners, even customers and invite them using the Facebook “suggest to friends” button. Then encourage them to do the same. Creating this exponential growth will start the waterfall of people visiting your fan page. Next, use widgets to embed your Facebook fan page on your own website and or blog. You can find a number of Facebook plugins here. If you can’t find the perfect placement, use social media icons to direct users to your fan page. This will drive users who are already interested your company to take a look and hopefully like your page.

So you have some fans. How do you keep them? By keeping your page and posts up to date and interactive your fans will stay interested in the content you are posting. Interactive posts include:

  • Contests- Giving away things, or even just enticing your users need for competition will almost always allure them to participate in the fun. In this example from (614) Magazine, they encourage their users to quickly respond leaving them at the edge of their seat clicking refresh to see if they’ve won: “Let’s kick off November with a FREE Breakfast Giveaway! Tell us your favorite part of this chilly month for your chance to win breakfast for 4 at Danny’s Deli. Don’t forget, the November issue of (614) Magazine hits stands TODAY…GO!”
  •  

  • Trivia: Using trivia will not only get more information about your company or product, but also keep your fans interested in learning more. Here’s an example from United Skates of America : “Skateology Trivia- Did you know the term “Rollerblade” is a company name. They are technically called in-line skates. It’s kind of like calling a tissue a Kleenex. ”
  •  

  • User specific coupons: If you offer coupons to your fans exclusively, they will be more likely to come back look for any more deals they can find.  Here’s a perfect example from Nurtur The Salon, : “If you’re voting today Nurtur is offering 50% off of a haircut or hair color service with our talent level stylists. Just show us your “I Voted” sticker!”
  •  

All of these tips are perfect ways to keep your fans coming back for the latest information. Doing so will also encourage your fans to share your page with their circle of friends.

We could go on and on about creative ways to get more fans, but starting out with a solid foundation is key.  For more ideas, there’s an awesome article done by the Social Media Examiner called 21 Creative Ways to Increase your Facebook fanbase that will help you expand even further. Just remember, using social media  the best way to get your name out there and expand your business’ audience, but only if you use if effectively.

Categories: Business Tips

The Secret Behind Facebook – How Does it Effect Your Small Business Fan Page?

If your company has a Facebook page, you may be familiar as to what kind of work it takes to maintain the page on a daily basis. Some tasks include continuous monitoring of comments left by fans, responding accordingly, posting relevant status updates to engage fans, posting photos and videos, linking to blog and/or Twitter, acquiring more fans, holding contests, downloading relevant apps, and I’m sure the list could go on even longer. The point is, having a Facebook page for your small business has become a near necessity for those involved in social media. But what is Facebook doing to help you reach fans?

According to an article on TechCrunch, it appears they’re not helping out too much. The article, titled “EdgeRank: The Secret Sauce That Makes Facebook’s News Feed Tick,” gives an inside look at Facebook’s algorithm, known as EdgeRank. EdgeRank controls which posts users of Facebook see in their News Feeds, as not every post from every friend shows up in your feed, which can be a good thing (hello, information overload!). Depending on various factors, EdgeRank has a secret equation that determines who sees what. Parts of the algorithm are shared in the chart here:

via TechCrunch

As seen in the chart, EdgeRank takes note of interactions between the user and their friend making the post (edge), the level of the post (comment, like, status updates, etc. each have a different rank) and the time factor depending on when the post was created. Basically, if a person is your friend, but you’ve never exchanged an “edge” with them, or clicked through to their profile, it’s likely that you won’t see many, if any, of their status updates, posts, etc.

So, how does this all tie in to Facebook Fan Pages?

TechCrunch says “if you want your posts to show up in News Feed, make sure people will actually want to interact with them.” And just because a person has “liked” your page, that doesn’t mean your update is a shoe-in for their News Feed. Thus, administrators must become even more creative and discover tactics that will land them in front of their fans. (But isn’t that what friending, fanning and liking is for in the first place?!)

To me, it seems as if we’re being fooled by Facebook, but without knowing what our fans see, we’ll never know who passes the EdgeRank test. Take a moment to think about your Facebook account. Is it mainly the same profiles adorning your news feed? Are the same handful of fans consistently commenting on your fan page?

There’s much that could be said about Facebook’s algorithm and the ethics behind it all, but first we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  If this is how it truly works, what are some tactics fan page admins can put in to place to enhance interaction?

Categories: Business Tips

Get Adobe Flash player