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How Businesses Can Benefit From A Branded Foursquare Channel

This month Foursquare launched self-serve pages for brands and organizations. Before, Foursquare created pages for a variety of companies by hand each and every time, which wasn’t scalable. Now that this is an option for your business, I suggest creating a page of your very own to have more branding options, to promote your tips and get more followers. Here’s LunaMetrics’ Foursquare page, as well as MTV’s and The New York Times’ as examples of what your brand’s page could look like.

LunaMetric's on Foursquare

Where to Begin

Start by visiting Foursquare’s create a page resource and create your brand’s page by signing in with Twitter. Be sure to associate your Foursquare page with a company account, meaning an individual Foursquare account login not associated with any one person, so that your company always has access to the account.

Branding

Create a page title for your branded page. LunaMetrics’ page title is simply LunaMetrics. Then add a logo for the thumbnail for your page, using a GIF, JPEG or PNG under 100KB. Next upload a custom banner for your page that incorporates your branding/logo with some mention of the Foursquare platform or a reminder for followers to check in. This banner is the most important piece of your page branding-wise because it is what users see first when visiting your page. The banner should reflect why this page is a resource for your followers and potential followers.

Foursquare Sidebar

Copy

From here fill out the location of your business or headquarters of your brand. Add a catchy sidebar title and then create a keyword rich description of your brand with an explanation of this page as a resource. Be descriptive, yet concise at the same time. Lastly, link your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, your website or any other combo of 4 websites that are important to link up on your branded Foursquare page. This copy on your Foursquare page is an essential way to connect your audience on Foursquare with your other social profiles, while providing browsers with a quick snapshot of who your brand is and what you’re doing on Foursquare.

Foursquare Tips

Tips

Tips are the biggest benefit of having your own page for your business. Start by writing 5 tips either about your business, surrounding businesses/locations or a combo of the two. I suggest writing a few tips about your business to help spread awareness about what you have to offer. Whenever anyone checks in within the same general area of your business a tip of yours will pop up on their Foursquare account directly after they’ve checked in. For example, if you were a seafood restaurant putting up a tip that said something along the lines of “Try our 5 dollar crab cakes every Tuesday,” it would help spread awareness of your specials, offers, products, services and about your business in general every time someone checked in around the area. Be sure to leave your own tips about other businesses as well because many are willing to return the favor, which is a more legitimate tip than a tip about yourself that you wrote yourself.

Newly Launched Lists

This feature launched yesterday and is another big benefit for businesses with their own page on Foursquare. You can begin to group your tips into lists based on any categories you want. For example, you can make a list of your favorite Italian restaurants in a particular area or the best bars for outside seating. This allows brands to organize their tips in a concise way, giving users an easy-to-access list of beneficial tips that they now associate with your business.

How to Use LinkedIn Today & Mashable Follow for Content Ideas for Your Blog or Elsewhere





Everyone has those moments when they want to write something, but can’t seem to find anything in the world to write about. It happened to me when I wanted to write this blog post. I ended up logging into my LinkedIn account and upon arriving at the home page I remembered some of the better resources for developing content creation ideas, LinkedIn Today and Mashable Follow. LinkedIn Today is LinkedIn’s version of a social news platform and it’s generated directly from the network you’re connected to, which helps bring you the most relevant news about the industries and topics you care about. Mashable Follow is Mashable’s version of a social network that allows you to choose which stories and activities of certain people you would like to follow.

Let’s talk about:

Mashable Follow

How to Specify What News is Important to You

The best thing about both of these services is that they act as a means to filter the content that you find most important right to one place. Many people choose one over the other to get their news based on their interests, but nevertheless the fact that both services are catered to your needs is what makes them powerful resources. There are thousands of news sources out there, but only so much time in the day. Specifying what you want to see is key to getting the most use of these services.

LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn Today offers you the content shared by over 100 million members of LinkedIn, based specifically off of the professional connections to your account, alongside the industries and sources you wish to follow. Begin by logging into your LinkedIn account and then visiting LinkedIn Today. You’ll see that you’ve already have a sleuth of headlines at your disposal. These are based off the content your connections and your connection’s connections have shared on LinkedIn. These articles are pretty relevant to you as a user, but for the complete experience begin by following industries and sources you find most valuable to your needs.

LinkedIn Today Screenshot
Now go to the top right hand corner of the LinkedIn Today home page and click the little grey arrow, circled here in red. This lowers a drop down menu and shows you a few options, click Follow/Unfollow. This will give you many industries to choose from such as Design, Construction, Banking and more. Choose which you’d like to follow or unfollow, repeating the same thing for the sources section. This section contains many online media outlets like Mashable, AdAge, the BBC and more. After selecting the areas you’re most interested in your work is done for now, giving you the most relevant news about what you actually care about.

Follow Unfollow Drop Down Menu
Mashable Follow

Millions of people read Mashable everyday as their #1 news source for all things social, tech and web related. One thing many don’t know is that Mashable Follow is Mashable’s version of a social network that helps filter content based on what you specify. To begin specifying what content interests you the most, create an account with Mashable. You can simply log in with your Twitter or Facebook account to setup your Mashable account. Now from here you begin to fill out information in your profile and connect your other social networks to this account, however this isn’t necessary.

Mashable Sign-in

Now go to the top of the menu bar and click on either People or Topics to begin following who or what concerns you. Once you’ve began following topics like Facebook or Social Media and people like Pete Cashmore or Ben Parr, you’ll begin to receive updates at the top of your screen under My Stories and Activity. What does this mean? You can still browse through Mashable as you would regularly, but now with an added relevance to what you care about most. If you look under My Stories there will be a propagated list of articles based upon the topics you chose to follow. Under the Activity tab you can begin to view the activities of the people you chose to follow, like their comments on articles or the articles they shared on their social networks. This gives you a wide variety of articles to read and browse based on who you trust and what industries relate to you. It’s like the Facebook news feed but filled with only articles you’re concerned about.

Mashable Activity

How to Come Up with Content Ideas From Both Sources

Now that you have both custom news sources specified to your needs and interests, it’s time to troll them for ideas for your blog or website. The 5 ways to use these custom news sources are for:

  1. Product Updates: You’ll be one of the first to learn about the latest and greatest product updates and releases as they pertain to you in Mashable Follow and LinkedIn Today. With this knowledge of a new iPad or Zynga release, you could write a blog or article about a currently unexplored aspect of the new product. Many articles are released about the various features and uses of a new product, like Google+ for instance. Taking an existing story about a product and giving it a spin of your own is a great way to garner the same level of interest the original article achieved.
  2. Company Innovations: Just like the amount of news there is available to asbord in one day, the number of companies with important developments is expanding each and every day. Start by looking at companies with the biggest market share and multiple mentions on both platforms. By following certain people in Mashable Follow, you can see which companies are generating the most buzz by the people you trust. See what one of your favorite companies is accomplishing and write about how it will affect the entire industry, your company or the way we think about a particular product or service. Mashable Follow allows you to follow certain high profile companies, stay updated on their progress to see what information you can pull from them in the future.
  3. ‘How To’ Ideas: Similar to taking your own spin on a company or product innovation, looking at an existing ‘how to’ article can help spur ideas for your own version of these step by step guides. While using LinkedIn Today, I discovered this ‘how to’ guide for 5 Terrifically Brilliant Uses of Tumblr, from here you could begin to think of ‘how to’s based on the pros and cons of different blogging platforms, how to decide between WordPress or Tumblr, how to misuse a Tumblr, etc.
  4. Finding Photos, Images & Infographics: Mashable Follow’s topics sections are wonderful for discovering professional and user-submitted images, alongside infographics. Find these various types of imagery and write an article about them. For instance, an infographic about the history of mobile use is a wonderful example of an image you can write a lengthy blog post about. You could even troll both custom news sources to find a series of images from a variety of sources and come up with your own top ten list, the opportunities are endless.
  5. Developments in Pop Culture: Lastly, look how different innovations in pop culture affect your industry or interests. Take a different approach to a movie release’s social media campaign or how news in the entertainment world can be spun to have more practical uses. There’s a lot of opportunity here as well, as long as you look at what people you value are sharing and make it your own.

What Makes A Successful Facebook Ads Campaign?





Prices of Facebook advertising have risen 40% in cost-per-click, according to a marketing report on the first quarter of 2011. This clearly shows that the rise in the cost of Facebook advertising is attributed to the growth of the popularity of using Facebook advertising overall. With the introduction of sponsored stories, it appears Facebook truly feels it has the room to raise the cost of its social ads. Since the prices are rising, it’s important to get the most bang for your buck. Begin by understanding what the best practices are for a Facebook ad campaign. What’s better than seeing examples from who’s doing it right?

7 Best Practices for Facebook Ad’s Campaign

1. Social ads work 3x better than traditional Facebook ads. With the addition of Sponsored Stories, many advertisers have seen higher click-through-rates, brand lift, ad recall and increased likeliness to recommend due to the social aspect of these new ads. Users can Like the content of the ad directly on the ad, comment, share, see which of their friend’s already likes the ad’s content and more. In the end, these ads make it easier for word of mouth to spread via the recommendation of friends and for users to interact with and share their content.

Example: Express
Sponsored Story Example

2. Re-targeting existing fans helps increase acquisition and engagement. If you’ve already gotten an existing fan base that’s the size you’re looking for, but wish for more engagement, then using ads to re-engage your audience is a wonderful way to help raise the overall visibility of your Page. By increasing your engagements with fans, you will naturally increase the number of fans that like your Page. It’s also helpful to target your existing fans with ads that sent them to your website or product pages because they’ve already indicated they like your Page. 70% of the time when people like a Page, they truly like your brand and sending traffic to your website in this instance will work much more effectively.

Example: Kreayshawn
Kreayshawn Facebook Ads

3. Simple no brainer copy is the best way to go. Facebook users love to browse through their profile and don’t have time to stop and read extensive content with a confusing message. Keep the copy of the ad short, sweet and relevant for the best CTR.

Example: James Hardie

4. Start wide with your demographic targeting, than alter the focus based on the resulting interest the ad receives. Many advertisers make the mistake of using very specific targeting in the beginning of their Facebook ad campaign. Starting much broader, then focusing the targeting as you proceed has shown to be much more successful overall. In this example, RadioShack has added people’s interest in cycling to the ad’s copy. They are running a different campaign involving cycling right now, so they focused their ad campaign to include the right age range and interest groups for ads involving cycling.

Example: RadioShack

5. Avoid ad blindness by rotating ad images and copy often. This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that Facebook users continue to see your ads among the plethora of other information thrown at them on every page. Different combinations of copy and eye catching imagery will work to help your ads standout from the crowd and continue to spur engagement.

Example: FIAT USA
FIAT USA Ad FIAT USA Ad 2

6. Promote Facebook contests and campaigns with ads to help encourage increased engagement.This technique can help bring more Facebook users to enter your contents or interact with your other promotional campaigns on the network. This will increase the conversions you’re looking to achieve with this original campaign or promotion (like email sign-ups or more Fans) by echoing it through Facebook ads.

Example: Wicked Lasers
Wicked Lasers Facebook Ad

7. Similar to the suggestion to use social ads vs. traditional ads, use Like buttons on ads often. It’s super simple for someone to like something and why make them visit your Page to do so, when it can be done with the same effect on the ad they saw first.

Example: HTC Sensation 4G
HTC Facebook Ad

Why You Shouldn’t Use A Third Party Tool To Post on Your Facebook Page





RECENT UPDATE: Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm no longer penalizes 3rd party tools when they post on Facebook, although it is recommended that you post from both Facebook & third party tools when possible. Here are a few articles on the subject from a variety of industry experts: Social Mouths, EdgeRank Checker & Mari Smith.

Everyone uses them right? Social media tools like TweetDeck, Co Tweet, Sprout Social, HootSuite and others have become widely adopted. They are a great asset for managing your social media presence across multiple platforms and accounts. The main benefit of using these tools is they make managing social media much more convenient. One of the best things about these tools is the ability to schedule your posts ahead of time. I use HootSuite everyday to schedule my tweets and interact with users on our various social media accounts. Many also use HootSuite and the other tools to schedule their Facebook posts on their Pages, which is actually a bad idea. This is one instance when convenience limits the amount of people seeing and interacting with your Facebook Page. It’s a darn shame, even I was mad when I found out because who doesn’t like to make things easier!

Why You Shouldn’t Use Third Party Tools To Post on Facebook

The screen shots below were taken from my news feed today and they help illustrate how third party tools actually hide your posts sometimes. Let’s look at this example from the screen shots. So let’s pretend I’m a typical user, first I log into my Facebook account and see this in my news feed. It’s an update by Sprout Social, a newer social media engagement platform, posting about a test they are performing. I may click the link, like the post, leave a comment or continue browsing. However, if you look directly below the post there’s a link that reads “See 2 more posts from Sprout Social.” Most likely I go about my typical Facebook browsing and stalking, never thinking twice about clicking this See More button. What posts am I not seeing?

Don't Post with Third Party Tools

^This must be clicked to show items hidden from view.

By clicking this button you can see the rest of the recently posted content by the Sprout Social app being used by multiple Pages on Facebook. The algorithm that determines what is seen in Facebook’s news feed bunches together postings from applications on Facebook. To be able to post on Facebook, third party tools create these apps as a means of managing a Facebook Page. Look below to see what content was hidden from the news feed after I clicked the See More button.

Don't Schedule Your Facebook Posts

Voila! Two posts from the lovely ladies at ModCloth were completely hidden from news feed until I clicked that button. If I were a typical user would I have seen those posts? The answer is yes and no. It depends on when I log in as compared to when the update was posted, but at that moment in time when I logged in those posts were hidden. ModCloth and other brands using these convenient functions are well followed and still receive engagement from these posts because they aren’t completely hidden and their audiences are engaged. However, it’s not worth hiding your posts from some possible visitors by adding another click for them to see your content.

Therefore, continue to use your third party tools as you see fit. I use these tools to engage with my social accounts, but just not to post on Facebook. I recommend just posting manually for the time being until Facebook makes a change to the algorithm correcting this problem if they ever deem it necessary.

Update 8/18/2011

One way to get around this issue (that I neglected to mention when this post was previously published) is if you have a custom branded publishing platform created it can help, since no one else would be publishing from this platform. For instance, Target’s Facebook Page uses a branded publishing platform called ‘Target.’

Target

If you look at all of Target’s Facebook posts they say via Target with their logo. This is great for branding purposes, instead of saying via CoTweet or HootSuite. This custom platform created for Target allows them to schedule posts, but prevents their posts from being hidden in the same way via the News Feed. However, posts from Target, since they are through a third party application, are still grouped together in the News Feed. Yet, they don’t stand the same risk of being hidden because they aren’t grouped with posts from other Pages. This ensures that if Target’s posts become grouped in the News Feed, the very first post shown will be a post from Target. Therefore, using a custom third party tool is one workaround. The only downside to this is that it needs to be designed in-house or bought from an agency, which is going to be fairly expensive. However, i’m sure a few agencies providing these kinds of tools have the ability to white label their platform for your brand, skipping the development phase all together.

Was this a helpful insight? Are you mad that you shouldn’t schedule your posts?

Tracking Social Media Engagement in Google Analytics

There are constant conversations about the ROI of social media because most businesses take actions completely based upon dollar amounts. Many associate social engagement on the various platforms as a part of the overall sales funnel, but a lot of the time aren’t able to connect eCommerce to engagement. Google Analytics has recently gotten one step closer to defining this relationship. By adding the ability to track social media plugins installed on your website, Google Analytics can track the actions of a social engaged user and begin to quantifying the relationship between their social actions and their behavior on your website.

Google’s +1s are automatically tracked if you already have Google Analytics code installed on your website. To track Facebook Likes, Unlikes, Shares and Twitter’s Tweets you must install tracking code to each network’s button to make sure you’re reaping the full benefits of GA’s new social section. Previously, event tracking provided a general way to track these social engagements on your website, but now Social Tracking allows for a standardized framework for measuring social actions on your website.

google-analytics-social-media-measurement

This is a step in the right direction for many trying to quantify their use of social media. Many current methods of social media measurement are scattered across different third party tools utilizing the various platforms API. Many of the tools, especially the free ones, don’t have the level of actionable insights many brands would rely on for making enterprise level decisions. Google has some of the highest brand trust among consumers and brands worldwide, that many companies will most likely continue over to include social tracking.

Therefore, Google Analytics measuring how social factors impact a company’s website will hopefully help more businesses and brands utilize social media to its fullest potential. It’s starting to make it easier for a company with multiple social accounts to consolidate their social metrics into one trusted measurement platform. The fact that this rolled out close to the launch of Google+ is most likely on purpose. Google is probably hoping that Social Tracking will drive more legitimacy to its social network, especially from brands looking to measure their efforts, and eventually be able to compete on the same playing field with Facebook.

What metrics do you take into account when measuring social media engagement? What tools have you found to be most effective in delivering results?

The Most Common Social Media Conversions

Here’s a list of the most effective conversions to look for when measuring social media:

1. Engagement is the most common conversion that brands see within their social media profiles and it is often the most easy to achieve in varying degrees. Engagement includes any action a user takes on your brand’s profile. For example, a Like on Facebook, a comment on a YouTube video or even a Retweet on Twitter. This conversion helps spread awareness to a user’s entire personal network about your brand. Engagement that holds more weight in social media are the higher level actions that take more efforts from a user. For example, a Like in Facebook hold less weight than a comment in Facebook does. While a Retweet holds less weight than a mention in Twitter. Any engagement is helpful, its just important to remember some is weighted more heavily than others.

social media conversion

2. E-Commerce as a conversion is still in its infancy in terms of social media, but is growing by leaps and bounds. Having a browser directly convert to a buyer from one of your social media accounts can be extremely powerful because that sale can be instantly shared with their entire network. Whether its through a shopping application on Facebook or through a direct buy from a link on twitter, social media ecommerce comes in a variety of forms. For instance, the ticket retailer for concerts and events Eventbrite has completed a 12 week internal study that estimated that a “share” on Facebook is worth $2.52 in increased tickets sales and a share on Twitter is worth about $0.43 for their company, which is indirect ecommerce. Now this example does not apply to everyone, but its just an example of how converting a user can help you brand earn profit in the short or long term.

3. Lead generation is another common conversion brands receive from their social media efforts. Lead generations also encompasses many different things, for instance gathering the usernames of prominent industry leaders in your Twitter account can help you learn more about your industry and connect with potential partners. While setting up a contest on Facebook that requires users to enter their names and email addresses as entry is another form of lead conversion. Even something as simply searching through current conversations and gauging whether there is interest for your product, services or cause within a specific geographic location is social media based lead generation.

4. Service conversion is best visualized as a 3 step funnel. When a user receives service from your social media profiles it’s a type of conversion that helps strengthen your overall brand awareness in both the short and long term. If that user learns something from the content you shared it will help them associate that type of information with your brand. If a user is made of aware of new services and information about your brand they will also hopefully associate you as the industry standard for that type of cause, product or service. For instance, ING Direct regularly shares True and False investment tips on Facebook that gain a lot of leverage. People begin to come back for more tips, while strengthening their association with ING Direct as the resource for investment knowledge on the web.

social media conversion funnel

5. Traffic to your website is another conversion many brands receive through their social media accounts. Sending traffic to your website can lead a user to read an article on your website, learn more about your business, continue on the sales funnel or help them complete a sleuth of other actions. Many websites you their social profiles for merely news aggregation platforms, not actively monitoring the network, but focusing on letting people know when they’ve posted a new article or resource. For instance, Mashable and the New York Times merely update the majority of their Twitter profiles with new articles they’ve posted, but because they are actively choosing to use the Twitter platform in this manner.

social media conversions GA

6 Benefits of Social Media for Business




Social media is more than just a tool for looking at pictures of your friends and reminiscing about times past. It’s become a tool with measurable and predictable power that truly has a place with almost any kind of business. There are many benefits to using social media for business, but here are my top choices.

social-media-benefits

1. Branding: This is one of the most obvious benefits for most businesses using social media. Whether users directly engage with your brand or not, they will still see your brand name within the networks they use. The more impressions a consumer gets of your business, the more likely they will remember your name in the future. Whether you’re a shoe retailer or a non-profit looking to gain recognition for your cause, brand awareness is vital for your continued success.

2. Reputation Management: Managing your online reputation is essential within social media because your brand or industry is being talked about regardless of whether you take part in the conversation. It’s beneficial to know what your customers think about your products, cause, services etc, and with this input in mind you can react accordingly. Since social media is open to everyone, anyone has the ability to say what they want about your brand. Therefore, making sure what is being said is truthful, not necessarily positive, is key to developing the trust of your audience and influencing them in a positive manner. Feed back from Social Media can also inform your decision about how you deal with your clients or market your business.

3. Customer Service and Feedback: Providing support to your customers is vital to the success of any business and social media is no exception to the rule. When a person reaches out to you, whether their input is good or bad it is extremely important to respond in a timely and helpful manner. Social media provides the platform for consumers to interact on a person to person level, so that they aren’t talking to a faceless representative over the phone or via email. Respond whenever a user reaches out, just not to users acting profane, misleading or hateful. Providing this level of service, which can be something as simple as thanking someone for mentioning your brand, is completely transparent to your entire network, showing how dedicated you are to your audience.

4. Lead Generation: Social media can help act as a means of finding customers for your business, advocates for your cause or as a means to make many other beneficial connections. Like we’ve previously discussed, conversations are happening constantly within each social network and it’s just a matter of you monitoring these conversations and reaping the benefit. These leads can be anything from an idea for an article to an online sale. For example, just by searching through Twitter you get a feel for the buzz in your industry and who’s saying what and possibly interact with interested future customers.

5. Educational Asset: In any industry its important to remain innovative in your field and find the best ways to continue the conversations about what you do. Since you’re here with us today learning about social media, it’s obvious you’re one of the  people looking to stay ahead of the curve on a new form of media. Social media provides your brand with a free source of constant information from other brands, media outlets, friends, coworkers and even your competition.

6. Competitive Analysis: In any industry it’s important to keep pace with your competitors. Social media merely makes this process easier by allowing for complete transparency of the content and conversations your competitors are having on their various social accounts. Social media can help keep you on track with other non-profits, businesses, publications or whoever your interested in keeping tabs on or on the other side of the fence looking to partner with in the future for a promotion, campaign or some other type of partnership.

5 Facebook Tools/Resources You May Have Missed

Staying updated on all the new tools and resources Facebook has to offer seems nearly impossible at times because of the social network’s constant growth. Today, let’s take a look at 5 tools and resources on Facebook that can help a variety of users with different backgrounds and motivations.

Facebook Tools and Resources

1. Facebook Toolbar: The Facebook toolbar allows users to constantly share with their friends in their network while they browse the web. The toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox gives users the ability to get notified about pokes, friend requests, messages, invitations and general notifications. The share feature of this toolbar lets you share the page you are currently browsing by sending it to your friends or posting it to your Facebook Wall. This feature also allows you to upload photos to Facebook directly from your computer, while you continue to browse the web. These features allow you to easily share your favorite blogs, articles and photos with all your friends much more quickly than if you were going back and forth between Facebook and surfing the web. You can download this resource for Internet Explorer and Firefox here: Facebook Toolbar.Facebook Toolbar

The Google Chrome version of the toolbar offers very similar features to the version of the toolbar that is supported by the other browsers and is verified by Facebook. In a similar fashion, it alerts you at the top of your browser whenever a friend likes or comments on one of your posts or something else notification-wise occurs throughout your network. You can download this tool here: Facebook Toolbar for Chrome.

2. Connecting Bing + Facebook: Microsoft’s search engine Bing and Facebook have a long running partnership that is continually evolving and consistently threatening Google’s standing in the industry. Recently, Bing and Facebook have unveiled the roll-out of Facebook Likes across Bing’s search results. Once you connect your Facebook with Bing here, you can start receiving insights within your search results into websites, movies, restaurants, celebrities, music and other things on the web that your friends already Like on Facebook.

Bing + Facebook Connect

People often make decisions based upon the recommendation of their friends and family, and so it makes sense to duplicate this same decision making process across search engines and Facebook. Connect your Facebook to Bing and see what your friends are currently liking.

3. Facebook Resources Page: If you visit Facebook’s Facebook Page (weird, right?) and view their resources tab, there’s a plethora of helpful information on a laundry list of issues you could be having with your business’s page or personal profile. The Facebook Resources tab helps users and marketers do the following:

  • Get Involved: Whether that’s helping Facebook translate the website into different languages or telling your personal stories about how you use Facebook.
  • Site Governance: This section covers everything from ways to share feedback to Facebook’s governing principles and guidelines.
  • Developers: The resource section for developers features links to a variety of tools and forums available to users developing social applications within the network.
  • Behind The Scenes: Looking to follow the bloggers and engineers at Facebook? This subsection leads you to their blogs as well as the career page for Facebook.
  • Need Help: Can’t claim your Facebook Place or upload a photo to your wall? All these day-to-day issues can be dealt with in the help section by posting in user monitored forums or looking through Facebook FAQs.
  • Advertisers: If you’re interested in running Facebook ads or sponsored stories throughout the network, be sure to refer to this section for updates about the process and how to successfully run a promotion using their ad products.
  • Build A Presence: The most important subsection for marketers is this section dedicated to building a successful branded Facebook Page. This last section will take you to a more comprehensive page dedicated to the ins and outs of a Facebook Page, like Facebook Page best practices and examples of other brands’ successes with using Pages.

4. The Open Graph Protocol: This new resource could get an entire blog post written about it because it’s so helpful and cutting edge in terms of marketing on Facebook; however, here’s a quick summary of how this page can help you get started with the Open Graph. The Open Graph allows websites to customize the data Facebook pulls from their web pages to share within their social network. By adding specific meta tags to their webpages, the webmaster can choose how people view the content they share from their website on Facebook.

For instance: A company focused around movies, like IMDb, can add code to their website that alters the Like button they install on their various pages. Once a user Likes a particular movie on IMDb’s site, the information shared on Facebook is customized by the meta code previously installed. The Like will now not just post the content on a user’s wall that is Liked, but it will add the movie to the user’s favorite movies under their info tab and gurantee an image of the movie is shared along with the title, director or any other information you specifiy in the meta tag. This is just one example of the many things the Open Graph can do to help customize what your brand shares on Facebook. Visit the Open Graph Protocol developers page for further insights on the feature.
Facebook Open Graph Example

5. Buddy Media’s Guide to Facebook EdgeRank: Facebook EdgeRank is the algorithm that helps determine what content shows up in a particular user’s Facebook News Feed. The exact formula for what content gets shown is a closely guarded secret, much like the algorithm Google uses to rank websites within the search engine. Buddy Media is a firm that offers a variety of Facebook services and as a result, develops many whitepapers and studies about the Facebook Platform. Download the guide to Facebook’s EdgeRank and start to understand how to get your posts to the top of your fans’ News Feeds over other content.

The Pros and Cons of Merging Two Websites

Many companies often have a few web properties that fall within their brand’s umbrella. In some cases having a few different websites makes sense because the subject matter of these different sites is specific enough to stand on its own. In other instances, the best option is to merge your websites into one because the content of the two sites is similar enough to exist within the same domain. Before completing such a merger of your brand’s websites, make sure to take a good look at your websites and analyze the pros and cons of completing such a merger. Being aware of these factors will go a long way towards making the merger successful and will help guarantee your websites won’t lose any of their existing rankings in search engines.

merging_websites

3 Pros of Merging your Websites

  1. Funneled Link Juice: Every website has a linking profile, which acts as a record of all the websites currently linking to your domain. Each website’s links act as a vote of confidence when it comes to how search engines determine your rankings in search results. Both of your websites have links, but are currently being spread across the two websites. Links are a good thing to have, but if your websites’ content is similar enough to be merged then the consolidation of the two link profiles will greatly benefit your website overall, funneling the link juice from all the links you’ve got into one main web presence.
  2. Consolidated Promotional Efforts: Regardless of your websites’ particular conversion goals, you’re likely to utilize a variety of promotional techniques to spread your content across the web. One benefit of merging your sites would certainly be saving time and money on promotional efforts. For instance, if your websites utilize a variety of social media accounts to leverage content you could be maintaining twice as many social media accounts as necessary. If you merge your two sites, you can focus on the social media related promotion of that one site’s content online and offline. In the end, any kind of marketing of your website would become more focused and a better cost effective means of spreading the word about your brand.
  3. Consistent Branding: Similar to the benefit of focusing your website’s promotional efforts, a merger will help the overall message of your brand remain consistent. Keeping this message linear across the board is important to avoid confusion for your customers and to help keep a sharp focus of what your company does well, which is provide a specific product or service. For instance, if a company created two websites for a very similar product line it would certainly create confusion as to which source a consumer should trust. If there are any inconsistencies in information between the two sites, this could help cause further confusion. Merging websites with a similar focus within an industry can go a long way towards smoothing out any confusion about your brand as a whole.

3 Cons of Merging Your Websites

  1. Possible Loss of Domain Authority: Search engines attribute a great deal of weight to the top level pages of a website, like the home page for instance. If your website is selling many different categories of product lines or services, some of the top level pages may not be able to fully rank on one website as they would on separate web properties. Not merging your two websites would allow you to devote your SEO efforts to a more specific focus on certain key phrases for that service, and also expand into the long tail of those keyword phrases. Therefore, a downside of a merger of your sites is that, dependent on the nature of your content, there may not be enough room to properly optimize content for such a wide variety of subjects.
  2. Extensive 301 Redirecting: When planning a merger of two websites, it’s critical that one website is properly redirected to another using a 301 redirect. This will automatically direct users who type in the old URL to the new site, while also transferring all the link juice to the website from links to the old site. However, dependent on the size of your website, this is easier said then done. Many websites, especially e-commerce sites, have thousand of pages on their websites that need to be redirected to corresponding pages on the new website. This extensive 301 redirect map is extremely important and is actually a benefit in the long term for the future of your website, but in the short term it can be extremely intensive and mundane. Giving each and every page the detail it deserves is necessary, but a very time consuming aspect of merging web properties.
  3. Link Maintenance Monotony: A proper merger of a website, as discussed above, would consist of initiating an extensive 301 redirect map. The current links to your website will automatically send the link juice to the new site, as well as users who click them to the new destination. However, it’s important to take a thorough look at your link profile and begin contacting your most important linkers, a suggestion made by Google’s Matt Cutts. Many websites have thousands of links, so it’s impossible to contact every website and ask them to update the URL of their link to your old site to the URL of your new site.

Pick the most important sites that provide you with the most powerful links and contact them requesting that they update the URL of their links to your new site. This process is the painstaking downside to a site merger, but important to ensure the most accurate linking profile your newly fused website can have.

iFrames for Facebook Part 1: How to Implement

Updated: October 28th, 2011

Customizing your company’s or client’s Facebook Page is vital in terms of branding and encouraging engagement across your network. Until recently, developers created tabs within a Facebook Page using FBML (Facebook Markup Language) to customize a user experience with the brand. As of now FBML is being deprecated, which is a fancy way of saying it will be removed in the future. Facebook Pages already using FBML will not need to worry about updating their customizations because they will remain unaffected if already in use, at least for a few years. Pages that haven’t installed the FBML application before its deprecation must now develop custom applications using IFrames.

iFrames for Facebook
 

iFrames allow designers to use HTML, CSS, ASP, JavaScript, Flash and more to create custom Facebook content for their Pages. With iFrames your web content is maintained on an external server, which is then accessible and viewable on Facebook. This is a helpful improvement for designers and developers because it allows for greater freedom in the design and implementation of the content than FBML would have previously allowed. It’s also a wonderful asset to marketers because of the ability to add tracking code to install analytics, thus being able to monitor traffic and conversions. With frequent updates to the way in which information is presented on a Facebook Page, it’s essential to understand how to implement custom content using iFrames.

How to implement IFrames on a Facebook Page

1) Create an image for your Facebook landing page, also known as a page tab. You can use Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.net or FotoFlexer to develop your images assets. Your image for the landing page must be a width of 520px, but the height is unlimited. I don’t recommend the height of your image going past 800px. Save this image as a JPEG. You should look to make two version of your landing page, one for non-fans and one for fans once they’ve liked your Page. It’s important to include the following on your landing page: a clear call-to-action, an understanding of what your Page is all about and an incentive to like your Page. With that being said, you want to create two versions of this image so it changes to provide value to your users once they’ve liked your Facebook Page.

2 ) Now that you have your images assets, upload it to your server via the FTP access on your website. If you have a WordPress hosted website, simply upload this image to your Media Library. Once you’ve uploaded this image asset, you’ll need to copy the URL from your website where your image can be found. Test this URL, just to make sure it uploaded correctly.

WP Media Library
 

3 ) Once you’re image is uploaded to your website, it’s time to create an image map if you wish for parts of your image to link to different destinations on Facebook or external websites. For instance, if you include a Twitter icon on your iFrames landing page you’ll want it to send people to your Twitter account. By adding an image map, you’ll be able to place a link over that icon, allowing people to click on it and visit your Twitter account. The biggest benefit of these image map tools is that you don’t have to be a programmer to use them and create links throughout your iFrames landing page. Two tools I recommend for image mapping are Online Image Map Editor and Image-Map. Here i’m mapping an image we use on LunaMetrics’ Facebook Page using Image-Map, using the rectangle tool to select an area where I want there to be a link to another destination. You can repeat this as many times as you wish throughout your image using the image mapper. If you end up using Image Map don’t fill out the Title/Alt for this map: field. If you do, it’ll show up funky once your Facebook Page tab is live. I also recommend using Firefox because Google Chrome presented some problems with Image Map.

Luna Image Map
 

Once you’re done adding your links to the image you’ve uploaded, click on Get Code and choose the CSS Code and copy it to bring into your Facebook iFrame tab.

4 ) Paste this code into a text editor like Notepad and save this as an html file to keep for future reference, we’ll come back to this in a bit.

5 ) Now visit the Static Tab 2.0 application on Facebook to begin creating tabs for your Pages. This application, one of many available on Facebook helps you easily create your own tab without needing the know how to create your own custom application. The best part about this application is that it’s completely free, which is uncommon among the other applications that help you perform the same functions. Scroll to the bottom and choose 1st tab to install your first Facebook Page iFrame tab. You’ll return here in the future to add more tabs to your Pages.

Static Tab 2.0
 

6 ) From here choose which Facebook Page you’d like to add this tab to by selecting one from the drop down menu. Once you’ve selected the page, select the Add Static Tab- Welcome Tab for Pages button to add the tab.

Add to Your FB Page
 

7 ) This will now take you to the Page you’ve added the tab to. It’ll be on the left hand navigation menu, labeled as Static Tab. Click on this item in the navigation menu to visit the tab and begin customizing your landing page. If you hover your mouse over the top of the tab, a grey options bar will drop down giving you the option to configure the current tab, add a new tab, view statistics about this particular tab and learn more about this application.  The add a new tab function allows you to add another tab to this existing Page, similar to how you just added this tab to your Page. The statistics function allows you to look at the traffic to this tab over any range of time you define. You can also monitor visits to this tab in your Facebook Page Insights under the reach report. Let’s move on to configure this tab to make a custom landing page, helping convert browsers on your Facebook Page to fans.

Static Tab 2.0 LunaMetrics

 

8 ) Now it’s time to paste in the assets you’ve uploaded and/or you created an image map with. Once, you click configuration you’ll have two fields to paste your code into. Before doing so, make sure to choose Show custom HTML/CSS/Javascript or Load an External URL from the first tab type field. In this example we used the HTML/CSS/Javascript option. Paste the CSS code from Image Map you created in the first box to display the content to fans once they’ve liked your Page. In the second box, paste the CSS code you generated on Image Map to display this content to non-fans viewing this tab on your Page. Once you’ve done this, press Apply Changes.

LunaMetrics Static Tab

9 ) Now view this tab and see if both versions of your landing page are working correctly. To test it, view this tab as a fan and a non fan. After you’ve successfully set up this page tab, it’s time to name it. Go to Edit Page then  Apps and the to Static Tabs. Choose Edit Settings to define the name of this tab, in our case we’ve labeled it Greetings! Don’t forget to save your changes and then press Okay.

Name of LunaMetrics Tab

10 ) You’re almost done with your Page tab, all you need to do now (which is optional) is reorder it in the left hand navigation and set it as your landing tab on your Facebook Page if you wish for non-fans to land on this tab when they initially land on your Facebook Page. To reorder the left hand navigation menu, just click More then Edit to reorder which Page tabs are visible and in what order.

Edit FB Menu

If you wish to set this newly created page tab as the landing tab all non-fans land on when they visit your Page (which I highly recommend)  go to Edit Page, then Manage Permissions and select Default Landing Tab. This field will let you choose which tab on your Facebook Page users land on when they aren’t currently a fan. Once they are a fan, the user will automatically land on your Facebook Wall.

The finished product! Let us know if you have any issues with implementation or have other recommended ways of creating your own page tabs using iFrames!

FB-Landing-Page