How to Avoid Turning “Likes” Into “Unlikes”
June 22nd, 2011
In the social networking world, whether your business is keeping in touch with its customer base using Facebook, Twitter or e-mail marketing, your message is only as effective as the number of people who read it. One of your primary objectives, therefore, must be to build your base of likers, followers and subscribers. Concentrating on Facebook business pages, although it should not be looked upon as Armageddon, you should do your utmost to avoid forcing those folks who have “liked” your page from changing their minds and “unliking” the page, effectively cutting themselves off from your marketing messages. The best way to maintain your base of fans and followers is to understand the type of content that they want and expect to see, and to understand the predominant reasons that people choose to leave.
Let’s start by looking at what people want to see in your Facebook posts.
• First of all, they want to see information that either directly or indirectly relates to your business AND ties in to their interest in your business. Try to be the first to present this information. If the information that you post is exclusively presented to your Facebook fans, that is even better. If it includes a special offer, incentive or coupon, that is best yet. Do not post irrelevant information about Lady Gaga, just because you think that she is of popular interest (for some reason that I could never possibly understand). Stay focused, topical, and on target.
• Secondly, as much as we all like to be informed, people respond in a more positive manner when they are entertained. They are also more likely to share entertaining content, expanding your sphere of influence and growing your base of fans. If you can present useful information in an entertaining manner, you have hit upon a winning formula! You will know you are on target when your posts generate a high percentage of “likes” and – better yet – comments that generate a conversation between you and your fans … and among your fans.
• Next, people want to feel that they are part of an active “in” place to be. If they visit your page, and the latest post is three weeks old, your page appears to be unattended, uninteresting, and unlikeable. You must post content on a regular and ongoing basis. The same thing, incidentally, applies to groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn.
How to generate more “likes”.
Forget the nonsense about building a ball park in a corn field. You have to seek out your prospective fans and hold up the Welcome sign. Here are a few random tips:
• If you are willing to spend a little money on Facebook advertising (which, incidentally, can be very cost-effective!), run an ad campaign that targets Facebook users who like your product or service, like your competitors, or like related products, services, or organizations. Send them to a landing page that offers them a coupon or other incentive to want to stay in touch with your company.
• When logged in as your business page admin, find and “like” related pages. For example, if you run a local tourism business, you may “like” your local chamber of commerce, tourism agency, or an annual event. By doing so, you may now post comments on those pages that will be of interest to their fans while subtly promoting your own page and business. If you run a campground, and an upcoming local event draws visitors from beyond the local area, you may want to post the fact that you have cabins or sites available for that weekend.
• Contact admins of groups that are related to your page. Provide them with news that will be valuable for them to share with their readers. Because of the manner in which information is shared within groups, this may allow you to reach people who would otherwise not see your message.
• Promote your Facebook page on your website, but also promote your Facebook URL in itself. To do this effectively, you should have a Facebook vanity URL. When you create your business page, it will have a long, cryptic URL that ends in a series of 15 digits that nobody will ever remember. As long as your page has at least 25 “likes” (enough to convince Facebook of its authenticity), you are entitled to a Facebook vanity URL that will make your address memorable and easy to share. Go to:
• Cross-promote your content across the social media, but beware of overdoing it. A perfect example of how to do things right is the “People of Walmart” music video produced by Jessica Frech, a talented, Nashville-based college student, singer, songwriter, and filmmaker. Her video was released on May 5, 2011, quickly went viral, and had over 1,000,000 views in less than 2 weeks. Above all else, it was the quality of the production that earned its accolades. As I write this post, it has now gotten over 2,770,000 views and has generated its own series of challenge videos! If you have not seen this excellent music video, enjoy it now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvxNgdFeWqM. The end of each of Jessica’s videos includes a self-promotional message that encourages viewers to download her MP3 and to visit her Facebook page, which now has nearly 5,000 fans. Bear in mind that this represents less than 2/1,000 of 1% of her views on YouTube that have translated into Facebook page likes. Social media cross-promotion is challenging for even the best of sites!
How to avoid “unlikes”.
People can “unlike” a page on Facebook just as easily as they can “like” it. If your content fails to meet their expectations, they will do so.
As you can see, the # 1 reason that people unlike a page is because the company posted too frequently. One of the pages that I follow on Facebook is The David Wax Museum, a talented musical duo out of Boston. Last night, they posted 25 (yes 25!) consecutive “events” on their Facebook page, which monopolized quite a bit of real estate on my wall. This was not a good idea, and something that easily could have led people to unlike their page. (I was more tolerant, at least this first time.) Another way to wear out your welcome? Re-tweet to Facebook. At first glance, this may sound like a good idea that will help to broader your reach, but the fact is that the frequency of posts on Twitter and Facebook are entirely different. What is more than acceptable on Twitter totally crosses the line on Facebook.
The # 3 reason for unlikes is repetitive or boring content. Again, provide stimulating and useful content. One of the pages that I follow (but which disappoints me) is for Florida’s Natural Orange Juice. I want discount coupons for their product. Instead, I get pointless, self-serving posts such as “LIKE this if you need to go grocery shopping!” and “Do you call it Orange Juice or OJ?” Somebody on the company’s marketing staff is totally missing the point! The company’s posts also tie in with the # 5 and 6 reasons for unlikes: Did not offer enough deals, and posts too promotional.
Examine this chart and the survey results carefully, and then ask yourself whether your Facebook presence is working to generate “likes” (not “unlikes”) that translate into an ever-growing and loyal customer base. Treat your fans with respect, meet their expectations, and you will reap the rewards.
This post was written by Peter Pelland
An Award Is an Award, or Is It?
June 11th, 2011
We all know that there are some very legitimate awards and competitions. Probably the first to come into mind are the Nobel Prizes. Since 1901, the Nobel Foundation, presents awards for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. The Nobel Foundation has a nominating committee, and recipients receive a significant cash award (that many recipients, in turn, donate to charitable causes). There may be public disagreement regarding the worthiness of individual award recipients. For example, I find it incongruous for Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat to have been awarded the same Peace Prize as was far more deservedly presented to Mother Teresa and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. That aside, the Nobel Prizes are very real. If you are a journalist, the Pulitzer Prize is the ultimate recognition. If you work in the film industry, it is an honor for your film to be presented in a major film festival from Cannes to Venice to Tribeca to Sundance, and one of the ultimate honors is to be presented an Academy Award.
Yes, there are many very legitimate awards; however, for every legitimate award, there are probably 100 scams, and scams breed on the Internet. The scams have been proliferating recently. If you are told that you or your business is being nominated for an award – or is being presented with an award – it is probably best to think twice before you run out to buy a new tuxedo or evening dress.
How do you know if an award is a scam?
Follow a few guidelines, and ask a few questions.
Who is presenting the award? Do a Google search for the award. As you are typing in the name of the alleged award, is Google suggesting that it be followed by the word “scam”? I remember being called a few years ago (not coincidentally, during an election cycle) and being told that I was a small business leader who had been selected to be part of a recognition ceremony to be held in Washington. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Not exactly. It turns out that the “award” had been concocted by a PAC (political action committee) that was designed to generate support (in other words, financial contributions) for the National Republican Party. (Anybody who knows me realizes that dog was barking up the wrong tree!) Ironically, I know people who fell for the “award” and took the trip to be exploited in Washington, DC.
Is there an entry fee? We received a direct mail piece a few weeks ago, inviting us to enter our work for the Davey Awards. The direct mail piece looked like it was designed by an untalented 9 year old, but that was just the first tell-tale sign that something was fishy. To enter the competition, you need to pay a $99.00 single entry fee, a $185.00 campaign entry fee, or $270.00 to enter a so-called integrated campaign, or go all out and pay $305.00 to enter a marketing effectiveness category. The “final entry deadline” is July 29, 2011; however, you can request a deadline extension (presumably as long as you are capable of paying the entry fee or fees). Adding insult to injury, if you win one of the dubious awards, you will be billed a $175.00 “acceptance fee” for your statuette and certificate. We also received a similar direct mail piece from the Telly Awards. According to their website, they received 14,000 entries last year from small agencies that were hoping to promote their businesses, each paying a minimum entry fee of $85.00. Do the math. That means that this questionable award generated at least $1,190,000.00 for its promoters! Want to, once again, add insult to injury? If you “win” one of these dubious awards, you will be automatically charged an additional $170.00 for your award statuette (probably plastic) and your certificate. I guess this is a bargain compared to the Davey Awards, since the minimum entry fee is slightly less, and you will pay $5.00 less for your statuette if you “win”. It is no surprise that, if you search for “Telly Awards scam” on Google, there are currently 24,400 search results. The Telly Awards and Davey Awards are not alone in preying upon start-up companies that are eager (or desperate) to broaden their exposure. They are joined by the Webby Awards and many, many other questionable enterprises that appear to be in the business of generating entry fees and selling statuettes. Do you think that anyone who wins an Emmy, Academy Award, or Grammy pays for their award?
Are winners asked to make purchases? In addition to obvious scams like the Telly Awards statuettes and the RNC PAC, there are many other so-called “awards” where the winners are presented with the opportunity to spend money with the award presenters. Among my favorites are the various Who’s Who directories. Do not be thrown off by what appears to be a recognizable and once-respected name. For years, I have been asked to validate my nomination to “Who’s Who among Executives and Professionals”. The congratulatory letters read, “The Publishing Committee selected you as a potential candidate based not only upon your current standing, but focusing as well on criteria from executive and professional directories, associations, and trade journals. Given your background, the Director believes your profile makes a fitting addition to our publication. There is no fee nor obligation to be listed. As we are working off of secondary sources, we must receive verification from you that your profile is accurate. After receiving verification, we will validate your registry listing within seven business days. Once finalized, your listing will share prominent registry space with thousands of fellow accomplished individuals across the globe, each representing accomplishment within their own geographical area.”
I do not know a single successful businessperson who needs to be included in a directory of this nature. Despite what the promoters say, there will be a fee to be listed and, of course, you will be presented with the opportunity to purchase one or more of the (very expensive) printed directories. As useless as these directories are in these days of online reference sources, even public library reference departments no longer purchase these worthless volumes. About the only buyers are the same suckers who are proud to be listed therein. Go to Wikipedia to learn more about various Who’s Who scams. There are also 21,100,000 search results for the term “Who’s Who scam” on Google.
Does the award require a reciprocal link to the award website? If you remember the early days of the World Wide Web, there were an abundance of website awards that stroked the egos of early webmasters. Others attempted to enhance the SEO of the award-winning sites. In fact, in its early days, my own company presented the “Campground of the Month” awards. These were only presented to our clients, and they helped to enhance the recipient’s search engine ranking “back in the day”. We discontinued this site years ago. Today, if you search for “website awards” on Google, there are 350,000,000 search results. Most of these awards are totally worthless, randomly selecting “winners” who are encouraged to “proudly display” the award badge on their website, linking it back to the award website. Basically, these award sites are link farms that are trying to enhance their own SEO through a network of links. As time goes on, Google and the other search engine robots have gotten much better at ignoring these sites – and even penalizing the sites that are linked to or from them.
Is the award organizer the primary recipient of value from the award? Many regional newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations present annual “Best Of” awards, covering a wide range of categories. The categories all happen to consist of potential advertisers, and the awards are almost universally run by the advertising departments of the publications or broadcast organizations. The awards that are compiled based upon the votes of readers or viewers at least carry a bit of credibility. Even in those instances, the voting process may require a visit to the sponsor’s website (and all of its accompanying self-promotional messages). In almost every instance, the business that is presenting the awards will supply certificates that winners are encouraged to display at their places of business, badges that may be displayed on their websites, and award icons that may be added to their print advertising. All of that awareness does more to promote the businesses that are presenting the awards than the award recipients themselves. Is it any surprise that these awards have been concocted by advertising departments, and that winners are encouraged to buy advertising to help to promote their awards? This type of award is not an outright scam, but I would caution recipients against being overly manipulated in the process of engaging in their own part of the self-promotion.
Is the award presenter and the award recipient the same organization? There are also many thinly-veiled attempts to cross-promote one’s business ventures by having one organization present an “award” to what is essentially another arm of the same organization. This is somewhat along the lines of having General Motors present an award to its Buick division as the “Automobile Manufacturer of the Year”. Nobody would fall for that. Or would they?
Let the Winner Beware
The bottom line is that we all like to be recognized for our efforts, but beware of being exploited by people who prey upon that fact. At my company, our efforts are acknowledged on a daily basis by the success that we generate on behalf of our clients. This is the best recognition possible … and all that we need.
This post was written by Peter Pelland
The Multiple Powers of Facebook Comments
June 3rd, 2011
Presuming that your business has a Facebook Business Page – as it should – there are some powerful tools at your disposal. One of the most powerful of these is your ability to comment and respond to comments posted by others. One of your key objectives should always be to build your number of followers (you may prefer to refer to them as “fans” or “likes”), particularly followers who have a true interest in your product or service and who will be likely to engage in ongoing conversations. These conversations will take the form of posts, allowing you to further a rapport with your followers in a manner that enhances your marketing efforts in a very subtle yet highly effective manner.
Responding to Posts
Your settings will allow you to determine whether or not you want to allow others to post to your page. Without exception, you want to allow people to post to your page. What happens when somebody who has “liked” your page posts a negative or otherwise unflattering comment? Let me present a few rules of thumb:
1) Use of profanity: In almost all instances, if somebody posts a comment that contains profanity, simply delete the comment. If you leave it there, you are sending a message to others that it is acceptable to follow suit, and you will be presenting your business in an unfavorable light. If you go into your page settings, you can keep this under control without your constant vigilance. Go to Edit Page > Manage Permissions > Profanity Block List, then choose your settings. The options are None, Medium, or Strong. You can also create a moderation block list that allows you to enter keywords that will be blacklisted from posts.
2) Criticisms of your business: In almost all instances, if somebody posts an intelligently presented criticism – even if you vehemently disagree with the criticism – leave the post. Particularly if your page is new or has relatively few followers, you must jump in and respond to the comment as quickly as possible. Remember that you are not trying to engage in an argument. You want to put out – not add fuel to – a fire. Try to see things from the other person’s perspective and use the criticism as a learning experience. You may want to respond with some sort of apology or admission of guilt, even if you were not directly responsible or involved with the incident behind the complaint. In most instances, the fact that you have responded in a prompt and professional manner will defuse a situation which could otherwise snowball out of control. If your page has a large number of followers, it is likely that your followers will jump in and come to your defense, and they are in a position to more strongly rebut the initial comment without the appearance of being defensive.
3) Comments that “cross the line” or a simply vengeful or retaliatory in nature:One of our clients was recently attacked on their Facebook business page by a group of people who had been guests at the client’s campground over Memorial Day weekend. The campers were disruptive, showed no respect for quiet hours, refused to comply with the requests of the park’s security personnel, and had a barking dog. Clearly, these were the type of people that nobody wants at a campground because they interfere with everyone else’s enjoyment. Apparently these folks took exception with being expected to follow reasonable standards of behavior. When they returned home, they began their online assault, “liking” the campground’s Facebook business page specifically so that they could post to its wall. Their comments were highly derogatory, referring to campers who abide by rules as “idiots”, using a mild obscenity, and naming a competing campground as a better place to stay. They continued a string of comments (that were only authored among themselves), with the clear intention of “getting back” at the business. Under these circumstances, the comments were deleted and the users were banned from being able to post. (To do so, simply hover over the posts on a page where you are an admin, then click on the “x” in the upper right of the post.) Had the posts been less inflammatory, it would have been preferable to let them remain, but this was clearly an attack that needed to be nipped in the bud.
4) Spam posts: Delete these immediately, and ban the user from posting to your page.
Responding to Controversy
When the posts were deleted from the page of the client who came under attack by disgruntled campers, the client posted the following message:
Some of the things that our campers truly appreciate are the quiet hours, dog policies, and basic rules of behavior that we enforce, when needed, in order to insure that everybody will have a peaceful and enjoyable camping experience. At (our park), we do everything possible to insure a perfect combination of fun-filled days and quiet nights, without disruption from another camper.
This post received several favorable comments and was “liked” by nearly 20% of the park’s followers. End of controversy! Feel free to paraphrase it if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Posting Comments to Other Business Pages
The situation outlined in the previous section demonstrates the importance of posting comments to your own page; however, are you taking advantage of the opportunity to post comments on other Facebook business pages? Early in the Spring of 2011, Facebook changed its policies in this regard and now allows business pages to “like” other business pages. What does this mean for you? It means that you can broaden your reach to expanded networks of Facebook users who are likely to have an interest in your product or service. For example, let’s say that there is a major event in your area that draws in visitors from beyond the local area. If you are running a campground or bed & breakfast that is located near that venue, you could post the availability of campsites or rooms during the event dates. Sharing useful information in this manner represents the use of Facebook networking at its best. (If you are running Facebook ads, you could also run specific ads in advance of the event, targeting Facebook users who have “liked” either the event or the types of interests that are related to the event.)
Keeping Yourself Informed
As an administrator (admin) of your account, you should receive Facebook Alerts – in real time – anytime anybody posts to your page. Read these as quickly as they arrive, and respond to them in the appropriate manner. Use the tips in this post as your guidelines to success!
This post was written by Peter Pelland