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In-Depth: A Closer Look at Facebook’s “Stimulus Plan”

Our Lunchtime Links takes a daily look at some of the top stories in social media for small business. Here, we’ll look at one of those links a little more In-Depth:

This week, Facebook announced that it is launching a program to help small businesses grow their social media presences, target their potential customers and therefore improve their marketing strategies. According to Cotton Delo’s Adage Digital article, “Facebook Launches Program to Help Small Businesses With Their Pages and Ads:”

“The first step is to circulate webinars, case studies and tips, which will be made available starting this week, but Facebook also intends to sponsor a series of road shows in cities across the country starting in October to promote its “Small Business Boost.” The third piece of the program will kick off in January 2012, when Facebook will look to award a $50 ad credit to 200,000 businesses, amounting to $10 million in free advertising. According to an eMarketer report, 44% of small- and medium-sized businesses used social media as a marketing tool in August, and 59% spent less than $100 on social-media marketing.”

Though Facebook debuted a page this summer that is dedicated just to providing tips for businesses who are looking to maximize their options on their company pages, many small businesses still struggle with effectively and successfully managing their social media presences. So, Facebook has come up with its own “Stimulus Plan.” By entering into a partnership with the National Federation of Independent Business and the US Chamber of Commerce, Facebook undertook its first step toward helping small businesses improve their marketing strategies in hopes of possibly stimulating today’s tumultuous economy. With small businesses lying at the heart of America’s future and out hopes of economic growth, Mark Zuckerberg and his team are endeavoring to use the social platform to do their part in contributing to the bettering of the economic climate. Facebook will do this by embarking on teaching tour of sorts, helping small businesses create better, more accurately targeted pages and advertisements on Facebook.

Why is the Facebook team doing this? Because, though many business owners know that Facebook is where they need to be in order to get in front of a large potential customer base (with recent reports putting Facebook’s number of users at 800 million), those businesses often don’t know what to do once they get there. After creating their pages, small business owners are often at a loss as to how to best optimize their pages, how to use targeted ads the correct way, and how to engage with Facebook “likers” and convert them into customers.  

This fact is reflected in a statistic mentioned in the article, which proves that there is a large gap between the number of business who create pages on Facebook and those who actually use the resources Facebook offers to market themselves: “…9.2 million small businesses in the U.S. have pages on Facebook, but only 3.2 million of those pages have active engagement.” Hopefully, by providing these educational resources – webinars, case studies, and tips –along with road shows and ad credits, Facebook will be able to help small businesses help themselves and will, in turn, stimulate America’s faltering economy.

Filed under Facebook eMarketer Ad Age Stimulus Plan Launch

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7 Days Lunchtime Links – September 30, 2011

When is the last time you weren’t working through lunch? When is the last time you weren’t on your commute home catching up on all the day’s industry news? Welcome to the 7Days Lunchtime Links, offering seven stories we think you should read, every weekday. Let us help you make that little extra time even more productive.

This daily post will try to focus on current issues small businesses face when using social media. In many cases, we will go into more depth on a number of these articles on the site, but this post will serve as your primer for what people like you — people like us — are reading and discussing.

• If your small business has a section for online customer review how would you stack up? Are your customers happy and satisfied with your business or have their been issues? There is a lot you can do to harness the power of online customer reviews wouldn’t you agree?

• When you reads about simple steps on how to achieve something doesn’t it make it much easier to tackle? We couldn’t agree more and we’re happy to see that Social Media Today listed their 10 simple steps to social media success. We’ve listed 2 of the 10 below.

  • Identify Your TARGETS. These should relate to your key business objectives. Be as specific and quantitative as possible (e.g. “100 new engaged Twitter followers a week,” “$5,000/month in new online sales,” etc.)
  • Emotionalize Your BRAND. This is what makes your business venture so special/unique/worthy of advocacy. It should be a few sentences and should resonate with your target demographics, so that they are inspired to share it with others. Remember, hit people with your features and benefits, and you win their minds. Infuse them with your cause or your mission, and you win their hearts.
  • • Whenever we come across a good infograph we feel it is our duty to share it with our listeners and this one is no exception. Mashable released on that has some interesting stats on small businesses. According to the infograph 4.7 million LinkedIn users are employed by small business owners such as yourself. Isn’t that a staggering number?

    • What is your business doing to maximize your ROI on social media? There are three good ways Ad Age suggests your business can make sure your social media investments count.

    Find a social-media “point person” and cultivate that person’s reach and influence so it extends to both the marketing and public-relations teams. This individual is typically an employee in the marketing or public-relations team who really understands the company and the business.

    • It goes without saying there is a lot of buzz around the new Facebook that is about to launch. How is it going to affect your business if you are currently using it as one of your social media platforms? There are some important things to keep in mind and remember change is hard but overtime you will come to like the new features.

    Engagement, and especially engagement over time, is more important– The relationship is the thing. And this is nothing new. But the changes will force us to come out of our complacency. Just posting occasional updates to your Facebook page won’t cut it. With the new structure, if you want a better chance of rising up in the newsfeed as a top story, you will need to post thoughtful updates that get a decent amount of “likes”, comments, and shares. Ask questions. Post polls. Share great content. Again, this isn’t anything new, but it’s now more important than ever. And as you engage with individuals over time, it will help create a cohesive conversation that shows up in their new profile timeline.

    • By 2013 what do you think Twitter’s ad revenue will be? eMarketer is noting in their recent article that the amount will be around $400 million. Crazy right! Twitter will earn $139.5 million in global ad revenues this year, up 210% from $45 million in 2010, according to a new forecast from eMarketer.

    • Is there such thing as a deadly sin when it comes to social media? Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? Some feel very strongly about some huge mistakes a.k.a. sins you could be making. What do you think these sins are? The Social Path lists what they believe to be the 7 deadly social media sins.

    Filed under Facebook LinkedIn Social Media 10 Simple Steps 7 Deadly Social Media Sins Twitter em eMarketer

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    7 Days Lunchtime Links – September 26, 2011

    When is the last time you weren’t working through lunch? When is the last time you weren’t on your commute home catching up on all the day’s industry news? Welcome to the 7Days Lunchtime Links, offering seven stories we think you should read, every weekday. Let us help you make that little extra time even more productive.

    This daily post will try to focus on current issues small businesses face when using social media. In many cases, we will go into more depth on a number of these articles on the site, but this post will serve as your primer for what people like you — people like us — are reading and discussing.

    • It’s that time of year again, when we all start to see lots of political advertisements. Well social media will definitely have a huge role in the campaigns. And to kick off Twitter has announced that it will sell political advertising. Do you think this will be a good move for each candidate?

    The ads will appear as Promoted Tweets, which come up under certain search terms or in the timeline of Twitter users who follow a political campaign. Campaigns can also pay to appear on the top of search trends or to appear as suggested accounts to follow.

    • This week the high holidays begin and with that social media will be apart of this too. Did you know that last year 14,000 computers were logged in to celebrate the Jewish High Holidays with the first and largest online synagogue, OurJewishCommunity.org? The fact that social media has such a role in the Jewish holidays goes to show how far its reach is.

    • If you were asked “does Facebook really care about you" what would you say? The social media giant has made lots of changes in hope to really improve user ability but as a result has seen much backlash. What are your thoughts on all of the changes?

    • As a small business what have you done recently to engage customers with your brand through social media? Facebook has transformed brand marketing by giving brands an opportunity to engage with their audience to maximize engagement to its full potential. Could you mirror some of the marketing efforts of big brands for your company? Absolutely, the more you know the better off your business can be.

    • Revenue for Facebook this year will double according to eMarketer. Total revenues at Facebook, which include those from advertising as well as Facebook Credits and other sources, will reach $4.27 billion this year. That’s more than twice as high as the $2 billion Facebook is estimated to have earned in 2010. Ad revenues will make up 89% of the total this year, down from 95% in 2009.

    Within the US, Facebook ad revenues will surpass $2 billion this year, accounting for just over half the worldwide total. US ad revenues will continue to rise at a rapid clip, but overseas ad dollars will represent 50% of the pie next year and a slight majority by 2013.

    • Do you think the world will be more socialas a result of the changes Facebook has made recently? As the new updates unfold and more applications are added, sharing will become second nature to users within Facebook. The integration of these new features might just encourage users to be more social online across the world.

    • As massive as Facebook is could the social media giant be missing out on a few big opportunities for brands? iMedia Connectiondiscusses this very subject. Amongst the missing pieces international pages and geo-social marketing are listed? What else do you think is missing?

    Filed under Twitter Facebook Small Business Social Media Ad Revenue eMarketer Political Advertising Jewish Holidays

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    7 Days Lunchtime Links – August 30, 2011

    When is the last time you weren’t working through lunch? When is the last time you weren’t on your commute home catching up on all the day’s industry news? Welcome to the 7Days Lunchtime Links, offering seven stories we think you should read, every weekday. Let us help you make that little extra time even more productive.

    This daily post will try to focus on current issues small businesses face when using social media. In many cases, we will go into more depth on a number of these articles on the site, but this post will serve as your primer for what people like you — people like us — are reading and discussing.

    • Could the social media platform of Twitter be compared to our all-time favorite hero - Superman? If you think about it Superman was fast as the speed of light well so is our dear friend Twitter. Every time you watch a show or read a newspaper you hear mention of follow us on Twitter or for the most up-to-date information go to Twitter. It’s hard not to compare the two.

    • There was rumor that Facebook was going to get rid of its location-based product. Well you can put the rumors to rest - the social media giant has no intention to do that. Rather it is making some major changes to it. The new location-based features look less like a Foursquare wannabe and more like an all-inclusive product that better reflects the way users actually use Facebook.

    Check-ins are essential to Facebook because they create an opportunity for advertisers and marketers to know where users are going and to offer savings, deals and coupons based on those check-ins.

    • More than half of the adults online use social networks, can you believe that? We certainly can. According to Search Engine Land, who reported on a Pew Internet Study, 65% of online adults use social networks. If your business isn’t on a social media platform why wait any longer?

    The frequency of social networking site usage among young adult internet users under age 30 was stable over the last year – 61% of online Americans in that age cohort now use social networking sites on a typical day, compared with 60% one year ago. However, among the Boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social networking site usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%)

    • Has your business thought of doing a sponsorship for a social media campaign? If you have your not alone. Paying for mentions in social media, or social media sponsorships, has become a more popular marketing tactic. eMarketer reported that marketers are carefully monitoring these mentions and measuring how well they influence sales and business results by looking at quality and sentiment of content, cost-per-click, shares, cost per acquisition and more.

    • Twitter is important, that much is true. But why does Twitter matter to marketers more than ever now? A recent report on Twitter users and a recent development re: Twitter’s functionality should make every marketer sit up and take notice of Twitter, if they haven’t already that is.

    • We’ve got a lot on Twitter today! Social Media Today listed some Twitter stats that will get you tweeting 100%. The stats should show that it doesn’t matter if you are female, male, have kids …if you are wealthy, broke, employed or looking for work – you still have an audience on Twitter.

    Over the last 5 years -

    • There are 200,000,000 registered Twitter users
    • Almost 88% of people have awareness of Twitter and its existence
    • There are 450,000 new Twitter accounts created everyday
    • Meaning there are 5.2 accounts created every second of everyday

    • Do you like to see your pictures in a larger format? Well if they are on Facebook you are just in luck! Facebook has rolled out a new version of its popular Photos app, complete with speed improvements and larger images. In addition to the increased photo size, Facebook is rolling out a revamped photo viewer. The new viewer takes up more screen real estate (since photos are now larger) and reduces clutter so users can focus on the photo and nothing else.

    Filed under Twitter Facebook Superman eMarketer Photo Social Media Small Business

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    7 Days Lunchtime Links – August 18, 2011

    When is the last time you weren’t working through lunch? When is the last time you weren’t on your commute home catching up on all the day’s industry news? Welcome to the 7Days Lunchtime Links, offering seven stories we think you should read, every weekday. Let us help you make that little extra time even more productive.

    This daily post will try to focus on current issues small businesses face when using social media. In many cases, we will go into more depth on a number of these articles on the site, but this post will serve as your primer for what people like you — people like us — are reading and discussing.

    • We have all heard the famous book - Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus but how can we relate that to social media? According to Hinge Marketing, they believe Men are from LinkedIn and Women are from Twitter.

    63% of LinkedIn users are male (37% are female). 64% of Twitter users are female (36% are male). But the male/female ratio was not the only difference. There is also the issue of education. Fully 75% of LinkedIn users have at least a bachelor’s degree or graduate school. The comparable figure for Twitter is 39%.

    • When you think of a successful marketing any specific traits come to mind? How about Customer-First Mindset or Search Marketing Pros? These are just 2 of the 10 successful social marketer traits listed in B2B Marketing Insider. Do you have any of these traits?

    • Would you know how to spot a great Facebook marketing program? New Media and Marketing lists 5 tips they believe work. What tips could you share?

    Self Evaluation - What do I mean by self evaluation ? I mean being able to take off your marketers hat and approach your brand as a consumer and look at every brand touchpoint along the way.  It means an in depth understanding of each segment of customers and prospects and an understanding of what you’re really selling (it’s not product features but often is benefits from a consumers POV).   A great social network marketing program is not going to make up for other bad brand touch points or perceptions.

    • If your business has been doing a blog we commend you - that’s a great way to communicate your brand with customers and potential customers. Are you looking for ways to maybe update this blog or “pimp your blog”? Zoomerang suggests 4 ways to pimp your blog using online surveys and polls. Have you thought of using something like this to create buzz on your blog?

    • As a small business owner have you found yourself wondering how everyone else does it? From growing your business to conducting effective marketing and communication campaigns how do you manage it all? Sirene Media Works lists 5 things that may be music to your ears so read up!

    “I just don’t have time to do everything anymore!” Many -  if not most – business owners start out doing everything to get their companies off the ground.  Their tireless efforts all pay off, and they reach a point where they simply cannot do it all anymore. They need help, and they need the best people around to help them.  Working with a firm like Sirene MediaWorks, businesses can conduct effective marketing campaigns they need to engage and reach even more customers and grow.

    • You’ve heard us say it over and over again, social media should be a part of your business. Well what if your business is completely online? We feel the same way about it. If you are not using social media on a day to day basis you could be missing out on potential customers. If you need further reassurance as to why this platform should be a part of your business plan see what other people are saying about it.

    Social media is an avenue for interaction. It adopts technical but easy to assess communication techniques. It can be executed via two mediums: internet and mobile. The internet since its inception has continued to rock the world so much that virtually everything is done through it.

    • If your business is advertising online would you believe that viewers are up-to-date on industry terms? US internet users are becoming aware of online behavioral advertising and are generally well-versed in key terminology. eMarketer discusses the findings of these stats in their recent article.

    Filed under Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Social Media Small Business eMarketer Venus Mars