Tag Archive | "small-business"

Sequoia-Backed Behalf Buys Stuff For Small Businesses Looking To Grow

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On-The-Go Freelancers Get A Business Management Tool With PocketSuite

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Is Facebook personalizing ad options based on activity?

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Remember when there were only a few hundred workplace targets on Facebook?

You could only target people who worked at big companies. If you were a B2B marketer, you might not be able to hit any of the niche companies in your vertical. But potentially, you could stilltarget folks who worked at Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas (their headquarters) or executives who work at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and like a certain interest group or job title.

Back in early 2014, suddenly, the number of workplace targets exploded. We could hit the tiniest of companies, creating a bonanza for PR companies, start-ups, and small businesses that had the chops to run $1 a day micro-targeted campaigns. The results were stunning– resolve your customer complaints, land that whale client, get newspaper coverage, play a fun trick on your friends, make your boss think you’re a celebrity, and so forth.

You could even target Dennis Yu!

And then in July 2014, most of these small audiences just disappeared from workplace targeting. Sure, if you wanted to reach customers of Infusionsoft, a small business marketing tool, you could still hit Infusionsoft as an interest target. But if you wanted to reach their executives, targeting fans of the page who live within 25 miles of Chandler, Arizona, just wasn’t as powerful as selecting Infusionsoft as a workplace target.

In the last week, this has quietly changed.

Check out this ad that I made today.

Screenshot 2014-09-07 08.43.17

If you can’t read the fine text, I apologize. There are 35 workplace targets in this ad.

Most are for companies that have only a couple employees.

These are companies that I’ve visited or interacted with in the last couple years. So we know for sure that Facebook is personalizing your ad options based on your activity.

Perhaps they had too much negative feedback from people being explicitly micro-targeted?

We could speculate that they opened back up some targeting to people who have engaged with you or the page before. You used to be able to start tying “social media” into the workplace targets box to trigger the auto-complete. And then you’d be able to select from dozens of workplace targets– hitting the organizers of various organizations and conferences.

One my my favorites was typing in “Times” or “Daily” to get a list of newspapers.

What this means for you is that if you’re not engaging in social, your ad options will be limited.

You have all the more reason to build strong social connections so that Facebook will let you amplify these via ads.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

The Facebook marketing free ride is over

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If you want to grow your business through Facebook marketing, you will very likely have to pay for advertising.

That is the new truth.

In years past, many pages on Facebook could do all right in terms of driving sales and traffic to websites without using advertising. But now, as more pages become serious Facebook marketers, you’re battling for diminishing space in your audience’s News Feeds. Demand for impressions, views and clicks is higher than ever, while the supply of News Feed space hasn’t grown to keep up.

So while Facebook is financially free if you want to chat with friends and look at cat memes, if you are using Facebook as a tool to grow your business, advertising needs to be part of the plan.

When Facebook went public two years ago, the game changed for marketing. Facebook had to prove to shareholders that the site was a viable advertising vessel. The company worked hard to create ad models that are easier to use than before, trying to get more advertisers onto the platform. As Facebook was being publicly mocked for its stock price, the company avoided failure by turning to mobile as an ad beacon.

Since Facebook has gone public, the site has also gained considerably more small businesses with Facebook pages. Last year, Facebook’s Director of Small Business Dan Levy told Inside Facebook that there were 16 million small businesses with a page on Facebook. Now that total is 30 million and growing. Every single business on Facebook wants to reach fans, but those people aren’t spending enough time on Facebook to account for the increased friend connections and pages to like.

Facebook, despite what you may think, is not decreasing reach just to mess with small businesses and non-profits. Facebook as a company has to continue to look appealing to shareholders, and therefore continue to become a serious advertising platform. If you’re marketing on Facebook like it’s 2011 and expecting to build an empire on rented land for free, you’re going to be angry about the drop in organic reach. If you’re marketing on Facebook like it’s 2014, you’ve gotten smarter about targeted advertising and are reaping the success of being ahead of your competitors.

However, trouble could be on the horizon. Just like how organic reach dropped considerably for pages, paid reach will likely suffer in the future as Facebook attracts more and more advertisers.

So then what? Diversify your plan and incorporate marketing of other social channels — utilizing, but not being completely reliant on Facebook.

Unlike display advertising, the nuts-and-bolts of Facebook advertising change rapidly and continually. It does take effort, time and money to build and grow your Facebook presence now. But people who are smart about utilizing Facebook know that it should be used in concert with other social channels — Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, or whatever makes the most sense for your business. Brands that build a targeted cross-channel strategy are the ones that succeed. Using Facebook as a crutch for lead generation or brand notoriety is like building your house directly over a fault line. The landscape has changed and will continue to change — you can either adapt or complain.

There’s still a lot that Facebook can do for your page for free, but if you’re looking for in-store sales or conversions, the new reality is that some form of intelligently planned and targeted advertising needs to be in your plans.

Readers: Agree or disagree?

Image courtesy of Juan Novakosky / Shutterstock.com.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Facebook to small businesses: Content is still king

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The most influential post that Dan Levy, Facebook’s Director of Small Business, ever saw was an ad for a house in Palo Alto. He said clicking on that ad led him to actually purchase the house pictured.

Levy spoke with roughly 350 small business owners, employees and entrepreneurs Tuesday morning at the final Facebook Fit event at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. This was the finale of the five-city tour, where Facebook spoke with 4,000 business owners across the country about how to find success via the social network.

As reach becomes harder to come by, small business owners on hand to speak said that the most important thing was creating engaging content and utilizing advertising to get that content in front of those who would be most likely to convert or sign up.

Levy discussed how many small businesses are seeing great return on investment from smart, targeted Facebook ads. He pointed out that Morgan Miller Plumbing, near Kansas City, Mo., has seen a 39x return on ad spend. Kay’s Designer Consignment in Florida has experienced a 30 percent lift in sales from Facebook advertising in the past 9 months.

Levy talked with attendees about how, with tools such as an enhanced mobile Ads Manager feature, Facebook wants to make it as easy to market through the site as it is to be a regular, everyday user:

We really want Facebook to be as easy to use (for business) as using Facebook as a person. You can just snap a picture and be on your way, getting back to your business.

Facebook also invited a few prominent small business owners to talk with those in attendance. Andrew Chau (Boba Guys), Julie Shenkman (Sam’s Chowder House), Amy Norman (Little Passports) and Nadia Aly (Scuba Diver Life) shared their experiences both marketing and advertising on Facebook, and how they were able to grow their business through the site.

All of them faced a common problem among marketers: how do you maintain a business presence on Facebook as reach dwindles? Norman said that she’s seen a decrease in organic reach on Little Passports’ Facebook page (which has spent $1 million on advertising through the site), but she’s not bothered by it:

I have seen a decrease in the organic reach and I’m completely OK with it. The reason for that is Facebook is changing its algorithms to make sure that people see the material that they want to see. If people aren’t clicking on my organic posts or sharing them, it’s because it’s not a great piece of content for them. As a Facebook user, I see things come through my feed that I really don’t want to see. If peoples’ feed is flooded with content that they don’t want to see, they’re not going to pay attention to the good content. For me, as a business owner, I’m OK with it. When I pay to advertise to get in front of everybody, it’s ROI-positive.

One of the main takeaways from the event was to keep content timely, engaging and relevant to your audience. What works for one business may fail for the next. Facebook representatives at the event suggested using A/B testing and trying out different post types to figure out what your audience wants to see most — then put some advertising dollars behind that.

Readers: If you manage a small business, what is your content management strategy?

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Timely Turns Your Calendar Into A Time Tracker

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Timely app

Apple Spent Over $3B With 7,000 U.S. Small Business Suppliers In 2013

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GoDaddy Acqui-hires Founders Of Smart Calendaring App Canary

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Varun Shaun2

Facebook’s Dan Levy On Small Biz Outreach — And How He Became A Homeowner Thanks To FB Ads

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Dan Levy - Director of Small Biz, Facebook

Facebook’s one-column page timeline available worldwide this week

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Facebook’s latest page timeline design — more closely imitating a user’s personal timeline — started popping up in March, but the company announced Wednesday that it is rolling out the design worldwide.

By the end of this week, all pages should have access to the new design, which places tabs in the sidebar and eliminates the post shifting when a user scrolls down.

Facebook announced this in a blog post:

In March, we announced that Pages would be getting a streamlined look to make it easier for people to find the information they want, and give Page admins easy access to the tools they use most.

Earlier this week, we announced that Facebook now has 30 million active small business Pages worldwide. And now, starting later this week, all existing Pages — including the 30 million active small business Pages — will have access to the refreshed design, as well as more control over the functionality of their Pages.

Scared about tabs? Read more about tab placement here.

Page admins, if you haven’t seen it already, will see a prompt to switch over to the new design and take a tour of the features. Regardless of the decision page admins make at this time, the design changes will take hold 2 weeks after a page admin takes the tour.

NewPagePromptFacebook stresses that the new timeline design puts more control in the page owner’s hands, as they’re able to customize the order of the sidebar (after the people and about info sections, which are stuck at the top automatically). The new design also places key stats such as notifications, page reach, and new likes in a right-hand sidebar.

When the page design was first announced in March, Facebook put out an FAQ section for page admins and marketers.

Readers: If you’ve had access to this new design, what do you think of it?

October 2014
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