Facebook Ads Have Evolved, So Should Your Strategy if You Want to Win

When I heard that the cost of Facebook Ads had gone up 171% in 2017, I knew that I had to do something to help out my fellow entrepreneurs.

Here’s what’s happening… in a nutshell:

  • There’s a war over cold traffic (people who have never seen or heard of your brand). Big brands are spending a lot of money on broad targeting to build their audiences so that they can remarket to those audiences at a lower cost, including using Facebook Ads (more on that later).
  • Inexperienced advertisers are improperly targeting Facebook ads and guessing which audiences are most likely to convert (i.e. to get them to purchase their offers). There is a much more effective way of doing this.
  • People aren’t using the proper tools and ad objectives to properly optimize their Facebook ads. That leads to ads that are trying to accomplish too many goals at one time. Like, trying to increase their audience (Facebook page likes), getting people to engage, and getting people to purchase all at the same time. WHEW… that’s a lot for one ad to accomplish. This used to be possible (like 5+ years ago), but now the game has changed entirely.

Facebook Organic Reach Just Isn’t What it Used to Be

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10 Reasons to Keep Your LinkedIn Account Up-to-Date

LinkedIn is one of my favorite social networks. Why? Because it is a professional network. For this reason, you need to stop what you’re doing and address these 10 things. The most common issue that I find is that people tend to not pay attention to and/or update their profiles until they are looking for employment. Any novice user of LinkedIn knows that this is bad form and that it is a best practice to keep your LinkedIn fresh and up to date, even for your company, like we do.
  1. Update your current position & job description
     If your current position is up to date, take a few moments to update your job description. Be sure to highlight your key responsibilities, and brag about any major accomplishments during your tenure. Don’t be shy, but keep it professional. Spruce up your prior work experience and tailor it so that it is relevant to your current career goals. Even if you aren’t looking for new opportunities, there are recruiters constantly looking for candidates, and its great to see what options you have when you compare yourself to others within your space.

  2. Update your picture
    Putting a current picture on your profile will increase the likelihood of being recognized by previous colleagues. If you don’t have one, maybe its time to take some! Make a note, and update it as soon as possible. Your colleagues would love to see that update in their feed. 
  3. Connect with 10 people
    LinkedIn isn’t a popularity contest, unlike some social networks that shall remain nameless. With that being said, it’s not necessarily about the number of contacts you have. In fact, after you have 500 connections, your profile displays a modest “500+” to show that you are well connected. What IS important about having a number of connections, is your ability to expand your network based on your degrees of separation. For example, if you are looking to connect with someone at your dream company in the future, and you have connections with someone that has a direct relationship with that person already, you can ask for a warm intro, a recommendation, or if you are lucky, you may get an endorsement for one of your skills. Also, people move around, so you never know when one of your connections will become a much-needed asset for a project or to help leverage a big opportunity. 
  4. Endorse 10 people for skills that you know that they posses
    It feels great to get an endorsement, so pay it forward and make someone else’s day. This is one of those random acts that always has a way of coming back to benefit you many times over; you might as well do it today, and every time you login. 
  5. Write a Recommendation
     It feels like CHRISTMAS when I get a recommendation, so once again, pay it forward, and give someone an honest and thoughtful recommendation. You never know, you may get one in return. The more people that can say great things about you, and your work, the better your profile will look. This is especially true if you get a recommendation from a high profile and well-respected figure within your professional space. 
  6. Share a post from the Pulse
    The Pulse is awesome, yet somewhat addicting. I’m grateful that the Pulse content is mostly separate from your main feed, or else I would probably get stuck reading awesome content from various companies and thought leaders around the world for hours. Share a post on your personal feed. This shows that you are engaged within the platform and it shows more of your personality. You may otherwise feel your presence on this platform is under-whelming since LinkedIn is pretty much devoid of any opportunity to customize your profile visually and/or out of the context of your work experience. So share something, in fact, share a few “somethings” when you feel compelled to do so or have ideas that are too good to keep to yourself. 
  7. Add some Media to Your Profile
    You can now add SlideShare presentations to your profile. This is one of the newer features to LinkedIn that I personally love that enables you to post images, videos, and links or upload white papers and case studies that you’ve put together. Trust me, you’ll thank me later when you aren’t having to scramble to find relevant examples of your work. Show your stuff, and give your best work a home on your LinkedIn page. NOTE: Make sure you have permission from your company to share these items! 
  8. Update your miscellaneous information
    Do you have any special certifications? Affiliations to organizations? Honors or awards? Do you support any causes or volunteer? There’s a place on LinkedIn to shed a little light on these extra-curriculars. These areas tend to get overlooked by people, however, companies love seeing the philanthropic side of potential candidates, and the various additional information that LinkedIn provides fields for. 
  9. Follow a few companies
    Your dream company is most likely active on LinkedIn. Follow them, as they may post job openings and inside news. Their posts are consistent with their personality and their inner culture. So get to know them and compare them with other companies that are similar. 
  10. Schedule an hour in your calendar 1-2 months out. Wash-Rinse-Repeat. 
    Pick a day, and time, and spend an hour or two once every month or two at minimum. There are so many social networks, however, this one matters more than you think and with the proper maintenance, you could be proactively preparing yourself for your next biggest opportunity. People are watching you. Don’t believe me? Check the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section.

Content Marketing: A Lesson From Some Heavy Hitters

Still struggling after Lexi gave you a start on your content calendar?  Check out these two case studies on GoPro and Redbull.  If anything, it’ll get your mind going on the endless possibilities that are out there!  If you’re a more visual person, give this video a watch!

12 Ideas to Start Your 2015 Social Media Content Calendar

Luckily for American businesses, there are many holidays that trigger content.  When looking to increase the number of blogs, social media posts, campaigns or newsletters you share with your audience, these can act as simple inspiration.  They won’t all necessitate the same actions for all industries, but here are some examples of opportunities for the major calendar dates for you to start marinating on:

 

  1. Monday, January 19 is  Martin Luther King Day.  This is a great day to share a quote that you find inspirational from Martin Luther King.  I love to use goodreads.com for quotes because they pull from a wide variety of sources.  This gem would be a great reminder of the wisdom that the Reverend Doctor shared with the world and could easily be shared on Twitter and Facebook.  “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
  2. Saturday, February 14 is Valentine’s Day.  If you’re in the food industry, you better start planning your Valentine’s promotions TODAY!  Popular promotions include pre-fixed dinners, two for one purchases, and freebies all themed to celebrate la amour. Retailers will often offer specialty items or gifts with purchase, even free gift wrapping can be of value.  If you’re a realtor, this is a great time to send a “We Love Referrals” email as a tongue-in-cheek play on the holiday.  Increasingly, there are Anti-Valentine’s Day campaigns as well.  Hello singles mixer!  These may not work for your audience, but you get the idea.
  3. If all else fails, there’s also the long weekend for President’s Day, February 16.  There is a lot of competition with big-chain businesses offering discounts.  You may be able to capitalize on shopping traffic.
  4. Tuesday, March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day.  If you have a retail store, this is a great time to offer a discount on anything green.  People are looking for items in this lucky color to wear or decorate with at this time of year.  Try to start the sale a week before the holiday to maximize the weekend’s numbers.  This is also a great time to create and promote signature cocktails and Irish dishes.  You could even do a giveaway and capitalize on the theme of “luck.”
  5. Sunday, April 5 is Easter.  You don’t have to specifically celebrate the holiday, though! “Spring is Sprung” campaigns are a nice alternative to religious themes.  US schools also usually choose to time their Spring Break around the holiday.  This is an increased time of travel and family get togethers.  Attention!  If you are a travel agent, this means you’ll need to start offering specials in March.
  6. It’s also a time when people do their spring cleaning.  Whether that means cleaning your home and business up in order to donate items to a charity for positive PR or offering to help with a community event for Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, you can find something worth tooting your horn about this month.
  7. Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day.  The MOTHER of all holidays is always the second Sunday in May, but somehow people tend to forget it.  Why not send out a friendly email blast the week before with some sort of tie in to the next week’s holiday. Whether it is a story about your own mother, a friendly reminder to book a table at your restaurant or a line-up of Mom-approved gift ideas, almost all of us have a mother figure that we like to spoil this month.
  8. Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day.  This three day weekend is informally known as the kick-off to summer.  This is a great time to introduce summer fashions or get rid of remaining winter items.  It’s also a popular weekend for a White Party, thanks to Sean “Puffy” Combs.  Start a new tradition with your staff by having a themed office party and share the pictures on social.  Whatever you do, get geared up for the warm weather to come.
  9. Sunday, June 21 is Father’s Day.  Much more toned down than Mother’s Day, this is a great time of year to celebrate manhood in general.  Think tools, barbeques, camping, boating, workshops, Daddy daycare, men’s grooming and so on.  You can put together an outfit grid to display a great Dad’s makeover to share on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (make sure to hashtag OOTD, short for “outfit of the day”).  Do you offer goods or services?  Consider doing a discount or a two-for-one.  Whatever you do, advertise your special the week before and two days out at least and get your plans finalized by June 1st so you have time to execute them.  If you’ve followed our suggestions, you’re mid-way through the year and you’ve already done 9 campaigns!
  10. Saturday, July 4 is Independence Day.  We are SO lucky that this high holiday falls on a Saturday this year.  Expect big turn-outs in retail the whole weekend long.
  11. Restaurants may be a little light on business this day, why not throw a Fourth of July pre-party on Friday.  This is a great way to juice the lemon.  If you can’t figure out a special for this day, send a simple message to your audience to have a safe and wonderful holiday.  If you’re going to be closed at all over the weekend, send them a newsletter!
  12. Lastly, celebrate YOUR personal milestones!  When did you open your business?  Have you added any staff to your company?  Is there a birthday to celebrate?  Are you opening a new location?  Did you hit a thousand likes on Facebook?  Your communications with your audience don’t always have to be a promotion or sales pitch.  Give people a look at who you are and what you are all about.  This will make them feel like there’s dimension to your company.

As I said before, your company is not a cookie cutter and there is no way to design a one-size-fits-all calendar.  This is just the beginning of a conversation.  Take time to look at a holiday website* and chart out what makes sense for you.  Another great tip that doesn’t cost anything?  Subscribe to a national retailer’s newsletter list today.  Next year, you may be able to use their publishing habits as inspiration.  If you can find a competitor to subscribe to, then do it.  A word to the wise, make these campaigns your OWN.  There is a fine line between flattering imitation and copy-catting, your audience will probably know the difference.

 

What Not to Post

Within marketing and social media, sometimes it is as much the practices you avoid as those you focus upon. Some very simple tips via Dave Kerpen, at Inc. Magazine, that can make the difference between follow and unfollow. Feel free to share any questions or experiences with these myths on our Facebook Page!

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