Archive for July, 2013

Back to Facebook Basics: Scheduling Posts

With all the recent changes on Facebook, I wanted to get back to the basics. As a business owner it is great that you are staying current with all the changes, but you should also keep a firm grip on the older features available through the platform.

Did you know you can schedule your Facebook posts?
This is a feature that can save business owners time during throughout their busy days. Or maybe you will be traveling you can set up post to go out and not miss a beat. This is not a new Facebook feature, just a feature I think many business owners may have been over looking.

You can schedule up to six months of posts through Facebook. If your in an industry that is constantly changing six months may be a little far out, so I would recommend setting up your scheduled posts for the upcoming week. You can add links to articles, blog posts, video, or images in your scheduled posts. There are third party apps that allow you to schedule posts in advance but, Facebook rewards the pages that use their tools with a higher EdgeRank.

In the short video below I walk you through the steps so you can start scheduling your posts. Check it out and let me know how you plan on automating your Facebook Posts.

 

Facebook recently released the Graph Search tool to anyone that uses the social networking site in the English Language. You may be asking yourself, ‘What is Facebook Graph Search?” Basically, it is an improved search bar for Facebook. You now have the ability to perform very specific search queries within Facebook. People can get answers to questions like, what are my friends’ favorite books? Or, what pizza shops do my friends like? You can search individuals, places, and things.

Facebook Graph Search is an awesome tool that anybody selling products or services should utilize for their business efforts. In this post I will cover  how to optimize your Facebook page so your business can be prepared for the change. I will also reveal a few different ways you can use Facebook Graph Search for your business.

Do you remember when Facebook updated their news feed in September 2011? They started using an EdgeRank algorithm. EdgeRank determines what stories appear on each individual users’ news feed. If you are not familiar with EdgeRank or need an deeper explanation, check out my post, Understanding EdgeRank on Facebook. With EdgeRank the emphasis is placed on the importance of offering relevant and engaging content to your fans. Facebook has continued that same principle for the Facebook Graph Search.

Always keep in mind that Facebook favors the posts with the most engagement and in return for providing great valuable content you will rank higher in the Graph Search. The same rule also applies to your page as a whole the more fans that like your page, the higher your page will rank in the Graph Search results. Listed below are the sections in your Facebook profile that you should double check to make sure your Facebook Page is optimized.

Your Profile Page Info

The page info section is where you can edit your profile. You should make sure your contact information is correct and up to date, that includes your website addresses, physical address, and phone number.

The short description field is the text that shows up in the about section (right under your picture) of your page. This section should include important keywords and phrases that someone searching for your business would use. There are additional fields located under your page info section such as mission, company overview, description, awards, and products that you should fill out to the best of your ability. Keywords and phrases should also be used in the additional fields.

A major benefit to using the Graph Search is there are many different search query options and combinations that a consumer can enter to find what they are looking for. Facebook Graph Search allows users to ask very specific search queries like “restaurants friends have eaten” and the results will be a list of restaurants your friends frequent.

Having a completed profile will place your business page in a better position to show up in the results from any one of the the many different search query options that an consumer can search. You also want to make sure your profile communicates to the reader exactly what your business offers.

Through the Graph Search people can find different businesses based on the category, make sure you pick the category that best matches the services or products your business offers. This can drive targeted audience to your page. You want to ensure your business page can be found as easy as possible.

To view and edit your page info section you should:

1. Log into your Facebook page
2. Select “About” ( link is under your profile picture)
3. Select “Edit” next to the “About” section
4. Once your on the “Page Info” section you will see all the different fields and select “Edit” next to the section you want to update.

Now that you have optimized and updated your page now we can cover how your business can benefit from using that Graph Search. The search query options make this a useful tool that can help you connect with your target audience on a whole new level. You can use the Graph Search to explore your target market’s interests, habits, and personas in great detail. There are options to filter your search results and you can categorize your results with very specific or broad parameters.

To use the Graph Search you enter a search phrase in the top left corner of Facebook. Once you start typing you will see the new search options, in the drop down menu. In the drop down menu you will see a few options that include pages, photos, pages, my friends, and people who like. A simple search query can help you discover a lot about your target market, you can use the results to connect with your audience like never before.

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Here are 5 Facebook Graph Search query suggestions that you can use for your business.

These queries will reveal valuable information about your target market and your competition.

1. Search: “People who like YOUR BUSINESS and…”

After the “and” you can include any other business that is on Facebook (i.e., “People who like Antion and Associates and Mashable”). Instead of a business you can insert an interest such as sports or food. Personal information can also be searched like age or college graduate. Use your imagination and really dig deep to come up with different queries. Once you start it will become very addictive.

2. Search: “People who like PAGE NAME and are…”

This search query is more specific than the information that the Facebook Insights option offers. You can put an age (i.e., People who like Antion and Associates that are 42 years old”) Or you can say “older than 26 years old”

3. Search: “Groups of people who like SIMILAR INTEREST and like PAGE NAME”

This is a great query that will reveal what other hobbies and interests your target market is interested in. You can insert a sport, TV show, or activity. With the results you can tailor your status updates to the most common interest of your audience. Maybe a post about the football season it will catch your fans eye and encourage engagement on your page. Even though it may not be directly related to your industry you fan will remember how that you are also interested in the same topics.

4. Search: “People who like YOUR COMPETITORS PAGE”

The results from this query will give you an easy way to spy on your competition and their fans. Insert businesses in your industry that are well known and have a larger following than you. The results will give you the fans that are active and interested in topics surrounding your industry. You can also see what type of content gets the most engagement.

5. Search: “Groups about…”

This search query will help you find groups of people who have interests related to your business Page. You should join relevant groups so you can stay up to date on any changes or common problems in your industry. You can only join groups from your personal profile.

The Facebook Graph Search has revealed many possibilities and options that business owners can use to connect with their target market. The above list is just to get you started. Once you start uncovering usable data your imagination will take over and many more queries will come to mind. Remember on the right side of your search results are options to refine your search based on different demographics. I hope this post gives you a starting point to start  your market research.

 

Establishing an online presence is very important when you are working toward having a successful online business. An effective website can help your business attract the right consumer and convert them from a casual browser to a buying customer. Yes, it is true there are many businesses online but only a handful know how to engage and connect with the consumer.

Websites are supposed to be easy to naviagte and understand. In this fast paced world you have a very small window of oppurtunity to keep the consumer interested in your products or services. If your website is not user friendly the consumer will not hesitate to move on to your competitors website. As a business owner your focus should be centered around building an online community of “fans,” these are the customers that trust you, like you, and are loyal to your products or services. These customers are your number one source for word of mouth advertising. You start building these important consumer relationships by having a website that showcases your products or services professionally and accurately.

To be successful your website must implement the following 5 steps:

1. Be well designed

2. Use keywords and speak in the language of your target audience

3. Establish you as an expert and build creditbility in your chosen field

4. Collecting an email list of consumers interested in your products or services

5. Have a way to generate revenue

The instructors at IMTC teach the most current strategies to get your buiness website up and running. Your consumer does not want to think, so don’t force them to by using tricky navigation, poor design, or difficult to understand copy. Make visiting your website an exciting experience and not a confusing journey. As a business owner, if you make a concious effort to always keep the consumer in mind and think how your target market thinks you will cover each of the 5 steps easily and your online business will be on the way to success.

Visit us at IMTCVA.org to download our career brochure for free and start your journey toward being a successful online business owner.