Articles tagged "social media"

Learn What the Experts Know in Internet Marketing

by David Williams

Ventura County Now Staff
May 7th, 2012

THE FINAL CODE

Stand Out in the Crowd!

Trade Secrets Revealed! Learn What the Experts Know in Internet Marketing for Free! Smart Internet Marketing = Big Return on Investment!

When internet marketing is concerned, the biggest investment can be the time spent in research to determine how to launch and maintain a success campaign. There is a lot of information regarding internet marketing that can be confusing, and overwhelming.  Questions like, what is SEO? What is the difference between organic SEO and pay per click? Why is social media important? What are back links and why are they important? What is the difference between a dynamic site and static site? Do I own my own URL? What is web hosting? How do get the most out of video on my site? Do I need e-commerce? How do I launch an e-mail marketing campaign? What is the best way to capture customers? The list goes on and on and many throw their hands up in the air and give up.

The Final Code helps make internet marketing and production simple with concise and easy to understand steps that anyone can assimilate and put into action to create a steady stream of new customers.

The problem is if a business gives up on internet marketing or don’t market effectively, “in the know” competition will gladly take the lion share of online customers. The bottom line is internet marketing is hot and it’s only getting hotter. Those with the knowledge and know how will win and their business will grow and thrive while there competitors are left in financial despair.

Be “In The Know.” The Final Code is a local internet marketing and production firm that is dedicated to help local small businesses “crack the code” to the sometimes intimidating world of internet marketing. Local small business owners will now have the opportunity to attend FREE classes on how to effectively market on the web in a cost effective, easy manner.

“Our goal is to help local businesses tap into the incredible business generating world of internet marketing”, says Dave Williams, Marketing Director for The Final Code. “We have found that many small businesses have not launched a success internet marketing campaign simply because they didn’t fully understand how to do so or they were intimidated by the cost. We are focused on creating an avenue in which any business, even with the smallest of advertising budgets, can launch a powerful web presence. Let’s face it. Many customers are passing by local businesses because today’s customer searches for goods and services online. If a potential customer can’t find a business online they will bring their dollars to a business that does.”

The fact is not enough nowadays to simply create a website. It is essential that a website is properly promoted through search engines like Google, Bing, You Tube, Yahoo, and through Social Media avenues like Facebook, My Space and Twitter.  In addition there are many other effective and affordable methods of internet marketing.

The Final Code desires to share trade secrets with local businesses so they can effectively compete in today’s fast moving internet market place.

That is why The Final Code is now offering free classes in downtown Ventura for local businesses. Topics in the classes range from Internet Marketing 101, where small business owners can learn the basic workings of internet marketing, to Search Engine Optimization, Blogging and Social Media marketing which provides the attendees valuable insights in creating new customers online.

Space is limited to these free classes. Contact The Final Code at 805-243-8321 for more info and to reserve your spot today!

Social Network Comments Fuel Offline Behavior

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
October 17th, 2011

Comments on social sites about brands and products are encouraging users to take action

 

Social networks are becoming a part of everyday life for many users, and their offline habits are affected by their participation.

In November 2010, the Pew Internet & American Life Project surveyed US social network users for the “Social Network Sites and Our Lives” report, released in June 2011, and found that 31% of social network users are on Facebook several times a day. Additionally, 21% of respondents use the site about once a day. This is followed by Twitter, which 20% of social network users check several times a day and 13% use about once a day.

As consumers use these social sites several times a day or week, they are also commenting on posts from friends just as often. The Pew study found that 26% of female Facebook users and 17% of male Facebook users comment on Facebook posts at least once a day. Further, the study found that 57% of female Facebook users and 48% of male Facebook users comment on posts at least once a week.

 

Frequency with Which US Facebook Users Comment on Facebook Posts, by Gender, Nov 2010 (% of respondents)

 

But social network users are not just responding on social media. The April 2011 “S-Net: The Impact of Social Media” study by ROI Researchfound that 60% of US social network users were at least somewhat likely to take action when a friend posted something about a product, service, company or brand on a social media site. Only 18% were not at all likely to take action.

The study doesn’t elaborate on what exactly respondents would do, but another question asked specifically what actions US social network users would be more likely to take after following a company or product on Facebook or Twitter. On Facebook, 53% of respondents said the top activities would be purchasing the brand or company’s product and recommending the company or product. For Twitter, the top activities were talking about the company or product (61%), recommending the company or product (59%) and purchasing the brand or company’s product (58%).

 

Activities that US Social Network Users Are More Likely to Do After They Follow a Company or Products on Facebook or Twitter, April 2011 (% of respondents)

 

Fans or followers of a brand are influenced by what they see from these company accounts, but they are also influenced by what their friends say about brands or companies that they don’t necessarily follow. It’s another area for marketers to focus on—the reach they have and how their brand fans may influence their own friends and followers.

 By:eMarketer

8 Ways Social Media Has Changed Our Lives

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
October 10th, 2011

As we head into our Social Media Day festivities, we’d like to take a look at the effect social media has had on our daily lives.

We asked you to show us how social media had changed your life through our partnership with CNN’s iReport, and received so many wonderful, honest responses. We selected a few of our favorite submissions to display here, but you can see all of them on theiReport assignment page.

Here’s a look at some of the best photo and video submissions. We encourage you to share your own social media stories in the comments below. You can also see the featured submissions selected by iReport in their post.

“Social media has not only allowed me to change careers, it has allowed me to create a new career — my dream career — that never existed. I had a dream to transition from a design engineer to someone that inspires engineers and helps them break out of their technical shells and enjoy their personal and professional lives. Social media made it all possible,” said Anthony Fasano of Ridgewood, NJ.

“During the Vancouver riots, I was at home and using social media to help people figure out what was going on. It was unbelievable and we were totally embarrassed by it,” Jon Mezzabarba of Vancouver said.

Social media really changed the life by Matt Sky, a web designer in New York City.

Nicholas Pegues works for the Shelby County Election Commission and is active in local politics in Memphis. He says Facebook has allowed him to make connections with others and with notables.

 


About Social Media Day


Social Media Day is a global celebration of the technological advancements that enable everyone to connect with real-time information, communicate from miles apart and have their voices be heard. We invite you to connect with fellow web enthusiasts by hosting aSocial Media Day Meetup in your area. There’s no better way to celebrate the revolution of media becoming a social dialogue than by socializing with your online community offline.

 By:Chelsea Stark

'Like' Button Follows Web Users

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
September 26th, 2011

Internet users tap Facebook Inc.'s "Like" and Twitter Inc.'s "Tweet" buttons to share content with friends. But these tools also let their makers collect data about the websites people are visiting.

These so-called social widgets, which appear atop stories on news sites or alongside products on retail sites, notify Facebook and Twitter that a person visited those sites even when users don't click on the buttons, according to a study done for The Wall Street Journal.

These widgets are prolific. They have been added to millions of web pages in the past year. Facebook's buttons appear on a third of the world's 1,000 most-visited websites, according to the study. Buttons from Twitter and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG - News) appear on 20% and 25% of those sites, respectively.

The widgets, which were created to make it easy to share content with friends and to help websites attract visitors, are a potentially powerful way to track Internet users. They could link users' browsing habits to their social-networking profile, which often contains their name.

For example, Facebook or Twitter know when one of their members reads an article about filing for bankruptcy on MSNBC.com or goes to a blog about depression called Fighting the Darkness, even if the user doesn't click the "Like" or "Tweet" buttons on those sites.

For this to work, a person only needs to have logged into Facebook or Twitter once in the past month. The sites will continue to collect browsing data, even if the person closes their browser or turns off their computers, until that person explicitly logs out of their Facebook or Twitter accounts, the study found.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and other widget-makers say they don't use browsing data generated by the widgets to track users; Facebook says it only uses the data for advertising purposes when a user clicks on a widget to share content with friends.

Facebook and Google, which has a widget for its "Buzz" social-networking service, say they "anonymize" browsing data so the information is not traced to a particular user. Facebook says the data are deleted within 90 days, while Google says data are deleted within two weeks.

Facebook and Google say they use the information to measure the widgets' effectiveness and help other websites attract visitors.

Twitter says it doesn't use such browsing data and deletes it "quickly." A spokesman says the company could in theory use the data to "surface better content" for users in the future.

Revelations about the social widgets come amid growing concern about the privacy of Internet and smartphone users. Members of Congress have introduced at least five privacy-related bills this year, including three that aim to create a mechanism that would let users disable tracking.

Some privacy advocates express concerns, citing prior Facebook and Google stumbles over privacy issues.

"Our reading habits online encompass everything we're thinking about, political and religious views, health and relationship problems," said Peter Eckersley, a senior technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy-advocacy group. "Do you want to have an invisible person peering over your shoulder as you walk through the library?"

Widget makers say the collection of users' Web-browsing activity is an unintended side effect of how the tools work. In order to show a user which of their online friends "liked" a particular article, for example, the widget must know who the user is.

To determine the prevalence of widgets and how they collect information, the Journal asked Brian Kennish, a former Google engineer, to examine the 1,000 most-popular websites, as ranked by Google's advertising network. Mr. Kennish last year launched Disconnect Inc., which offers software to block data collection by widgets.

510socialAwareness.jpg

Mr. Kennish's study examined more than 200,000 Web pages on the top 1,000 sites. He found Facebook obtained browsing data from 331 sites, and Google obtained data from 250 sites, some of it from its Buzz widget. Twitter got browsing information from about 200 sites.

Social-sharing widgets first appeared about five years ago, when online services such as Digg Inc. allowed users to share news articles. At the time, widgets did not cause browsing data to be collected by social sites. Widgets are installed by website owners, who like them because they can help generate more Web traffic.

Last year, Facebook introduced the "Like" button and other "smart" widgets. The widgets work with cookies that Facebook places in a Web browser when a user creates an account or logs in to its site. Together, they allow Facebook to recognize its users on any site with Facebook widgets.

Bret Taylor, Facebook's chief technology officer, says the technology lets websites show visitors what articles their friends liked, for example. "We don't use them for tracking and they're not intended for tracking," he says.

But Facebook says it still places a cookie on the computer of anyone who visits the Facebook.com home page, even if the user isn't a member. Mr. Taylor says Facebook uses such cookies to protect the site from cyberattacks by people who try to break in to users' accounts, among other things.

Until recently, some Facebook widgets also obtained browsing data about Internet users who had never visited Facebook.com, though Facebook wouldn't know their identity. The company says it discontinued that practice, which it described as a "bug," earlier this year after it was disclosed by a researcher in the Netherlands.

 

By: Amir Efrati

Older Facebook Users Catching On to ‘Liking’ Brands

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
September 19th, 2011

Users ages 55 and up increasingly likely to connect with companies

 

It took older web users a few years to begin social networking after it had been popularized by the younger set, but they soon became the fastest-growing segment of users on sites like Facebook. Now it appears they are also growing into a specific social media habit that had been more popular among younger adults: connecting with brands.

As recently as September 2010, based on research from Wedbush Securities, it seemed as if Facebook engagement with brands just might not interest users over age 55. At that point, only about one in four of Facebook’s oldest users had “liked” a brand on the site, compared with 60% of those ages 18 to 34.

By November 2010, over-55s had begun to close the gap, however, and by April 2011, nearly half were connecting with brands. Engagement had also risen among 18- to 34-year-olds as well as the 35-to-54 age group over the period. Overall, 59% of adult Facebook users had “liked” a brand as of April, up from 47% the previous September. Uptake among the oldest users appears to have been a major factor in this rise.

 

US Facebook Users Who "Like" Brands on Facebook, by Age, 2010 & 2011 (% of respondents)

 

Increased engagement among older boomers and seniors suggests that Facebook users of all ages have some interest in connecting with brand pages, rather than appealing only to young adults. Since most older Facebook users still have not “liked” a brand, there could still be room to grow in this demographic. The climbing level of activity among the middle age group indicates that younger boomers could have just as much potential social engagement with brands as millennials and Gen Xers.

Typically, social media users report connecting with brands to get deals and discounts, as well as information about products and special offers. But what brand fans expect can vary. For example, affluent social media users tended to follow brands because of a preexisting affinity for them, and a desire to be kept informed. Many older users will fall into this group, due to the point they have reached in their careers and their longer opportunity to build up net worth.

 

eMarketer

12 Social Media Tools Recommended by the Pros

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
August 31st, 2011

Are you struggling to make social media work for your business? Sometimes a few well-chosen tools are all you need to get your social media marketing working for you.

In our recent Social Media Success Summit, there were presentations that covered all the key topics you need to make your social media marketing easy. In this article, I’ll share 12 of those tools that were recommended by the pros.

Tools to Refine Your Visibility and Engagement

Here are three tools recommended by Mari Smith during her first presentation on increasing your visibility and engagement on Facebook.

#1: Socialbakers

Get useful stats from SocialbakersSocialbakers offers paid services to monitor your Facebook statistics, but it also provides useful free statistics for Facebook and LinkedIn.

socialbakers

Check out the useful marketing data on Socialbakers.

#2: Kurrently

Find out what’s being shared on social media with Kurrentlya free, easy-to-use, real-time search engine for results from Twitter and Facebook. “Companies can capitalize on just-in-time marketing and social CRM opportunities like never before.”

kurrently

You can search through Facebook or Twitter or both.

#3: Blekko

Select the sites you want to search with Blekko. You can create “slashtags” for groups of URLs, friends, experts and communities and you can “slash in” what you want and “slash out” what you don’t want to search.

blekko

With Blekko, you have more control over your search results thanks to the slashtags you create.

Tools to Measure Specific Social Media Goals

Jay Baer gave a fantastic presentation on measuring social media. He clearly identified the different goals a company could have on social media and recommended tools to use to monitor results for each specific goal. Here are three of those tools.

#4: Social Mention

If social awareness is your main social media goal, then be sure to check outSocial Mentionwhich allows you to set up social media alerts so you can measure awareness for specific keywords.

socialmention

"Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information."

#5: Klout

Klout is another tool you can use to measure awareness on Twitter and Facebook.

klout

Check out the different graphs for your score results on Klout.

#6: PostRank Analytics

If customer loyalty is your main social media goal, you can use PostRank Analytics to measure results in improving loyalty.

postrank analytics

PostRank Analytics is a favorite tool of social media marketers.

Tools to Get the Job Done

Frank Eliason gave an overview of how to use social media in business and shared two of the tools he’s found useful.

#7: Blogsearch.Google

Use Blogsearch.Google.com for better search results than Google Alerts. There are many tools to monitor keywords. Don’t forget to use this one!

google blogs

Remember to check out what blogs are writing about you through Blogsearch.Google.com.

#8: Twitterfall

Use Twitterfall when you need to show executives how you can monitor what’s being said about your brand on Twitter.

twitterfall

Twitterfall specializes in real-time tweet searches.

A Useful Tool for Twitter Marketing

Hollis Thomases showed businesses how to use Twitter marketing to grow using this tool:

#9: Friend or Follow

Friend or Follow helps you improve your Twitter marketing. It tells you who’s not following you back on Twitter and who you’re not following back.

friend or follow

Use Friend or Follow to craft a stronger Twitter presence with your audience.

Tools to Make Video Blogging Easy

Steve Garfield always makes video blogging easy for everyone. Here are three tools to create on-the-fly videos to enhance your social media content.

#10: Wetoku

Sign up for Wetoku to make the popular side-by-side video interviews. All you need to do is sign in and send an invite code by email to the person you want to interview.

wetoku

Wetoku is an easy tool to use for interview videos.

#11: Socialcam

If you have an iPhone or an Android phone, be sure to check out Socialcam. Steve says this is the easiest way to share videos with your social networks.

socialcam

Socialcam combines video sharing with social communities.

#12: Stupeflix

Use Stupeflix to integrate after-effects and photos to your videos. If you want to do editing without using editing software, this tool is for you.

stupeflix

Stupeflix is an easy way to make your videos more appealing.

Find the Tools You Need

One of my takeaways from the summit was that you don’t need to use all of the tools available. Businesses have different cultures, different goals and are at different stages in integrating social media into their marketing mix. These social media pros found the tools that worked best for them.

Do you think any of the tools above can make your social media marketing easier to execute? Please let us know in the comments below if you’re going to try any of them.

 

By: Cindy King

Facebook Users Have More Close Friends (Study)

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
August 27th, 2011

A new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals some interesting details about social networking users, debunking the myth that people who hang on Facebook a lot tend to have less real-life friends and contacts.

Someone who uses Facebook several times per day, the study found, has on average “9% more close, core ties in their overall social network compared with other internet users.” Furthermore, Facebook users tend to get more emotional support, companionship as well as instrumental aid (meaning they’re more likely to get help when sick, etc). Finally, Facebook users tend to friend other users with whom they’ve actually met in real life; the average Facebook user has never met only 7% of his/hers Facebook friends.

Since the study was conducted during the November 2010 elections, it revealed that Facebook users also tend to be more politically active than other internet users. A Facebook user that interacts with the site multiple times per day was two and half times more likely to attend a political rally, 43% more likely to have said they would vote, and 57% more likely to persuade someone on their vote.

 

 

 

 

The study also shows that Facebook is, by far, the most engaging social platform out there, as 52% of Facebook users engage with the site daily. For comparison, 33% of Twitter users engage with the service every day, while only 7% of MySpace and 6% of LinkedIn users do the same.

 

 

 

 

The report is based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from October 20 to November 28, 2010 on a sample of 2,255 adults, age 18 and older.

More Facebook Brand Fans Say They’re Loyal Followers

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
August 20th, 2011

Social media friends and followers still say they’re more likely to buy

 

Early research on becoming a fan of brands on Facebook or a follower on Twitter indicated that social media users with brand connections were more loyal and more likely to say they would buy the brand’s products than average. Over the past year, those kinds of connections have become more common, and many brands have grown their fan pages and Twitter followings significantly.

Longitudinal data from ROI Research suggests that growth has not diluted the power of social media connections, which still have a link with customer loyalty.

In 2010, 32% of US social network users told the research firm they were at least somewhat more loyal to brands they were fans of on Facebook. This year, that percentage ticked up slightly, to 34%.

 

US Social Network Users Who Are More Loyal to Companies or Products They Are Fans of on Facebook, 2010 & 2011 (% of respondents)

 

Similarly, 40% of respondents in 2010 said they were more loyal to brands they followed on Twitter, rising to 46% this year. There was also a significant drop in the number of users who disagreed with that claim, from 21% to 13%.

 

US Social Network Users Who Are More Loyal to Companies or Products They Are Followers of on Twitter, 2010 & 2011 (% of respondents)

 

At least half of Twitter and Facebook users said they had become more likely to talk about, recommend or purchase a company’s products after they began following the company on social media. And Twitter users showed a greater level of engagement than Facebook users across all these metrics, as well as in willingness to link to an ad for the product or attend a sponsored event.

Still, many users might want less communication from brands. More than 40% of social network users told ROI Research that brands should communicate with fans only once or twice a month, and another 26% thought weekly communication was sufficient. Only 10% of respondents wanted to hear from brands at least daily.

 

eMarketer

Social Networking Accounts for 1 of Every 6 minutes spent online

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
August 8th, 2011

Social networking use has doubled since 2007, and it’s all thanks to Facebook, Twitter and an array of other social companies reaching record traffic highs.

comScore’s latest numbers are out, and they paint a familiar story: social networking is on the rise. It’s the rate of growth that’s surprising, though.

According to the web analytics firm, the average online user in the U.S. now spends nearly 16% of his or her time on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr or Twitter. That’s up from just 8% in July 2007. In the last year alone, social networking use has increased by approximately 25%.

The biggest reason for the increase in social networking is Facebook and its 700+ million users. In August 2005, Facebook was tiny compared to MySpace, its primary competitor. Facebook attracted less than 10 million monthly U.S. visitors, compared to MySpace’s 20+ million.

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t until May 2009 when Facebook finally caught up with its competitor, and ever since then Facebook has been on the rise, while MySpace has experienced a dramatic fall from grace. In May 2011, Facebook garnered 157.2 million visitors, more than four times the size of Myspace (34.9 million visitors). Facebook now reaches 73% of the U.S. Internet population each month, while MySpace has lost nearly 50% of its audience in the last year alone.

It’s not just Facebook that’s doing well, though: LinkedIn, Tumblr and Twitter all hit record highs in May, 2011. LinkedIn now attracts 33.4 million U.S. visitors, more than Twitter’s 27 million and Tumblr’s 10.7 million. Tumblr is the fastest-growing of the three companies though, boasting 166% growth in the last year. LinkedIn’s U.S. audience rose by a strong 58% in the last twelve months.

The spotlight is shining bright on these companies, thanks to a string of successful IPOs. LinkedIn shares soared during its public offering, while Pandora upped its share price twice due to heightened demand. The light is brightest for Facebook though, which could be one of the largest IPOs in history. comScore’s data contradicts recent reports that Facebook’s growth is slowing down.

Are you surprised by comScore’s numbers? Do you think social network’s growth is sustainable? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

by: Ben Parr

 

Online Coupons Reach Nearly Half of Web Users

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
July 11th, 2011

88.2 million US adults will redeem an online coupon this year

A digital revolution in couponing coupled with the belt-tightening of the recession have combined to make coupons cool among more than just those clipping the Sunday circular. Digital coupon usage is now firmly a part of the online shopping experience of millions of US consumers.

eMarketer estimates nearly half of US adult internet users, or 88.2 million people, have redeemed an online coupon or code for use either online or offline in the past year. By 2013, 96.8 million adults will redeem an online coupon.

“Consumer brands are accustomed to promoting their products in stores and in newspaper inserts,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer principal analyst and author of a forthcoming report on online couponing. “But as more shoppers make purchase decisions online before taking a shopping trip, brands are following them onto the internet.”

US Adult Online Coupon Users, 2009-2013 (millions and % of adult  internet users)

The growth rate for online coupon users is expected to gradually decline through 2013, as most online consumers predisposed to using digital coupons already do so.

Already, household usage of digital coupons has nearly doubled since 2005. Experian Simmons reported that 12% of households redeemed coupons from email or the web that year; it expects that figure to reach 22% in 2011.

Digital Coupon* Usage Among US Households, 2005 & 2011 (% of  total)

“Today’s online coupon users tend to be affluent, highly educated and over the age of 55,” said Grau. “This is valuable input for marketers shaping the different elements of a promotional campaign, such as what products to promote with coupons, where to place the offers and what marketing messages to use.”

 

Keep your business ahead of the digital curve. Learn more about becoming an eMarketer Total Access client today.

Why Your Business NEEDS A Facebook Fan Page

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
July 7th, 2011

Regardless of what your business engages in, either a service or product, it’s a great idea to have an established Facebook fan page.  It all starts with how YOU network through Facebook. Why is having a Facebook fan page important? I’d say at this point, you should really focus more on a Facebook fan page than a Twitter account. Facebook is the largest social network in the world! As the internet becomes more social and Facebook becomes the largest portal on the web, you want your business to have a presence.

I have seen just about every small to large business owners have a fan page online, from local pest control companies to very large online retailers pushing product and branding through Facebook fan pages. The trick, or strategy I should say is establishing a base to then let your fans do the work for you. I think and believe the main reason and objective for a Facebook fan page is to have much better engagement with consumers and in a way, become a more transparent company. In this day in age in media, social media plays a huge role. Companies nationwide and even world-wide are putting more and more resources into the web and the social web(Facebook Ads, etc.)

A Facebook page can create lots of credibility not only with your existing customers but with new customers who are really looking and thinking about why they should trust your company and if its safe to do an online transaction (if you’re an e-retailer.) Let’s not forget, YES, e-commerce grows year after year (except 2009 I believe it was stable) but as e-commerce grows, so does online fraud (identity theft online) and users are becoming more and more weary of this issue. It’s very important and something you have to work on daily to make each visitor feel it is safe to purchase from your website. These portals, such as Facebook and Twitter allow for this because they know once you “screw” them, if ever, they can go right to those portals and announce it to the world.

Once your Facebook page has taken off, it can literally be one of your top resources for traffic and sales. The key to your facebook page taking off is LETTING YOUR FANS AND FRIENDS DO THE WORK FOR YOU AND BEING ACTIVE ON A DAILY BASIS promoting sales, specials, news, and whatever you can do to engage the user and keep brand awareness on a daily basis.

For SEO reasons, your Facebook Fan Page can be a big factor in the SERPs as you can rank really well for your company name (besides your website) for reputation management reasons. Make sure you have a vanity URL to go along with your facebook fan page, i.e. facebook.com/companyname. This can play a big role if you’re trying to push a site out of ranking for any particular reason as this one page can rank really well with Facebooks authority with Google.

By: Pablo Palatnik

HOW TO: Start Marketing on Facebook

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
July 4th, 2011

It’s no secret: U.S. consumers continue to spend increasing amounts of time on Facebook. Consequently, marketers — lured by Facebook’s suite of highly targeted marketing products and the site’s smooth ability to spread information across networks of friends — are investing increasing amounts of capital in the platform.

Facebook‘s proposition is especially attractive to small business owners, and not just because it enables them to hone in on potential customers through highly targeted, paid advertisements. Facebook also allows them to grow their business in a way that is familiar to many of them — through word-of-mouth marketing.

“Ask [small business owners] how they get customers, and they’ll tell you that someone walks in, has a great experience, walks out and tells a couple of their friends,” says Emily White, senior director of local at Facebook. “Now, that word-of-mouth marketing model is happening online, and Facebook is enabling to happen that at scale. Now [small business owners] aren’t just reaching a few customers’ friends, but all of their friends, mimicking these long-term behaviors in a way that small businesses can actually control,” she explains.

With these ideas in mind, we’ve compiled this six-step guide for getting started on Facebook.


1. Set Up Your Facebook Page


 

 

 

 

Setting up a public Page for your small business is as simple as visiting facebook.com/pages/create.php, selecting a category that describes your business and filling out a few basic details, such as the name of your business and, if applicable, its address.

Facebook will then send you to a template of your Page, which you can spruce up with a profile photo, further details such as hours (see Info tab on left-hand sidebar). You can also identify additional Page administrations (see Info > Manage Admins), add more multimedia and events (Info > Apps) and adjust the settings to control how users can contribute to your Page (Info > Manage Permissions).

 

 

 

 

It’s also a good time to post your first status update welcoming fans to your Page. You can share your updates with everyone, or target by location or language — a great option if you run a business in multiple locations.

 

 

 

 


2. Invite Your Friends


 

 

 

 

After your Page is set up, you’ll want to invite your friends to “like” your Page. Once you’ve amassed 25 fans, you’ll be able to set up a vanity URL, e.g. facebook.com/mashable.

Go to the Username page, select the Page name from the dropdown menu and then write in the name you’d like to use. Keep in mind that you can’t change the URL for a Page once you confirm.


3. Customize Your Page


 

 

 

 

There a number of apps to help you customize your page beyond the standard layout, which can be found in the Applications Directory.

There, you’ll find apps that will let you create polls, add more content to your Info tab, offer coupons, showcase your YouTube videos and more.


4. Convert Your Existing Customers Into Likes


Once you’re feeling confident about the look of your Page, your next step, Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow suggests, is to leverage all of your owned media assets — your mailing list, e-mail newsletter and signature, store window, website, business cards, etc. — to grow your fan base. Let them know you’re there, and provide an immediate incentive for them to connect, such as a discount or giveaway.

“This will increase your conversions significantly,” Lazerow says. “Since your Page is a ghost town at this point, you need to give people an incentive to connect at the onset. The best way to do that is to give them a ‘thank you.’”


5. Engage


 

 

 

 

As you build up your fan base, you’ll want to provide a stream of interesting content that will entertain and engage your fans.

Anna Strahs, the owner of a gluten-free bakery in Richmond, VA, attributes half of her business to Facebook. She says she keeps fans coming back for more by posting pictures of the items she’s baked that day.

“When we post pictures of specific items, we immediately get orders for those items,” she says — and it’s no wonder, because they look delicious. Strahs says she will also post little quizzes in exchange for free baked goods, which winners can pick up at one of two farmers market locations two days each week.

Her advice? Post often and make the posts count. She emphasizes that beautiful images with contextual captions go a long way. “The whole point is to get people to comment and interact with your Page so it shows up in others’ newsfeeds,” she explains.

It’s also important to keep content fresh, update in an authentic voice and to evolve your Facebook strategy over time.

Remember to keep track of analytics on your Insights page to see what kinds of posts performance best in terms of engagement. And seek feedback directly from your fans. Are you posting too little or too often? What kinds of things would they like to see?

 

 

 

 


6. Advertise


Once you’ve converted most of your existing customer base into Facebook fans, you’ll want to start reaching others through targeted Facebook ads, which is still the most effective method for increasing your number of “likes,” says Maureen Mullen, chief researcher at luxury think tank L2.

You can target users in your immediate area by gender, age, alma mater, employer, and even those who “like” your competition. You could also target users on their birthdays, offering them a free ice cream cone, for instance, if they stop by your store that day. You can also target existing fans with coupons and other incentives to encourage them to stop by your retail location or place an order.

Facebook also has a Sponsored Stories product that enables you to reach the friends of your current fans. In your advertisement, a user will see that one of their friends has endorsed your company, essentially enabling a fan to market on your behalf.

Convert Boring Old Websites to one's that are Exciting and New

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
June 13th, 2011

Just about every web user has experienced landing on a website that just looks old.  Normally a quick scroll to the bottom of the page confirms the site copyright is from 2007 or worse.  To today’s web surfer, this two to three year old site may as well be a hundred years old.

If you were having guests for dinner, would you serve them two year-old leftovers.  Obviously not.  Why then are so many websites serving up two year-old content?  Two of the biggest reasons are:  First, it used to be enough just to have a website and a static site was fine.  Second, adding content was difficult and could be expensive.

Content Management Systems to the Rescue
Because of the rapid increase in social media applications such as blogging and sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace, website visitors expect something more than three year old content.  They expect to see fresh relevant content, to be able to create content and form communities.

Six Ways to improve your Website

  1. Add a blog.  Blogs are one of the easiest ways to generate new, relevant content and establish the website owners expertise.  Furthermore, comments provide interactivity.
  2. Convert the current static design into a Content Management System (CMS).  Converting to a CMS will make adding new content as easy as writing an email.
  3. Web users today want to build communities and collaborate with other users.
  4. Add Twitter and Facebook feeds. Social media is here to stay and is a great business tool. As was the case with websites several years ago, customers are beginning to expect that your web presence extend beyond your website. Twitter and Facebook are great ways to interact with your current and future customers.
  5. Add a shopping cart. If you sell products that could be ordered online, but don’t offer this service, expect to see reduced revenue. Add a shopping cart and allow your customers to buy your products at exactly when they want too.
  6. Add relevant content feeds from other sources. The web is now a huge content generating machine. So you don’t have to create all the content. Find reputable experts in your industry and feature their blog postings on your site.

If your business needs help with any of these needs please contact us today. Ventura County Now is a co-op of local businesses: web design, video production, photography, seo, programming, and marketing. Our services are designed to fit any business owners budget. We take the guess work out of the web and are here to build for you.

Give us a call today 855-826-2999.

3 Reasons why Twitter is important for business

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
June 6th, 2011

Twitter is used by millions of people each day who share, connect, promote and brand their business image. If you, like them are still not convinced, here are 3 reasons why Twitter is important for your business. 

Connect
Imagine having a captive audience waiting for your information every minute of the day. By positioning yourself as an industry expert, you can grow a small community of followers who will have a direct connection to you and who recognize your name and business brand! You can also barter, search for independent contractors or find employees. Twitter provides a great platform to connect with the right people to fit your business needs. 

In addition, this is great way for existing customers to provide feedback. 

By connecting with similar companies will enable the sharing of idea, best practices and opportunity to gain insight on improving your business. 

Market
Most small businesses have a very small marketing budget which results in continuously looking for low cost and innovative ways to leverage their products or services. Twitter is a free social network that can be a rewarding marketing tool for your business. A few examples: 

  • Your message will appear across the Twitter board over and over by your followers who will retweet your message to their followers. Can we say ‘viral?’
  • Stay abreast of industry trends to market effectively to potential customers.
  • Publish your Twitter handle on all email newsletters, direct mailings, on your Web site and all other marketing channels.
  • Promote your latest blog posts and newsletters

Still having doubts? Well, let’s say you manage an online specialty athletic shop. You can:

Sales
Increasing your sales and profit margins are imperative for success and a matter of survival. By using twitter to announce upcoming sales or events, you will drive potential customers to your website or physical location. For example, I assisted a client who owns a Mexican Restaurant, with setting up her Twitter and Face book Fan page. Every day, she posts daily lunch specials. Last year, she reported a 9% increase in sales from travelers who used social media to find a local restaurant. 

The point is, with little effort and signing up for Twitter’s free social network, you can drive prospects to you by sharing relevant information about your business. 

LinkedIn IPO Is Set for Thursday

by Fernando Maxilian

Ventura County Now Staff
May 18th, 2011

LinkedIn is set to go public May 19. The business-oriented networking site hopes to raise as much as $274 million this week in what will be one of the first major social media IPOs.

LinkedIn will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNKD. Its shares are expected to trade in the $32 to $35 range and 7.84 million shares will be available. The company will likely be valued around $3 billion after the IPO.

LinkedIn announced its intention to file for an IPO in January. At the time, the company was valued at $2.51 billion based on shares traded on secondary market SharesPost.

The eight-year-old company hit the 100 million user mark in March and became profitable in 2010 with a net income of $10.1 million and net revenues of $161.4 million in the first nine months of 2010. In Q1, LinkedIn’s revenues hit $93.9 million, a 110% increase from the year-ago period. Net income was $2 million, compared to $1.8 million in Q1 2010.

LinkedIn is the first of a slew of anticipated social media IPOs set for the next year or so. Others include FacebookZyngaGrouponPandoraKayakYelpRovio and ZillowRenren, billed as the “Facebook of China,” went public this month and raised $743.4 million.

 

By: Todd Wassserman