How Facebook Graph Search Will Impact Your Business

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Search engines have always used algorithms to categorize data. Unfortunately, people don’t use algorithms to search for things – they use simple words and phrases. This has led to more intuitive search engines like Facebook Graph Search.

Graph Search is similar to other search engines, but it focuses on the careers, interests and activities of Facebook users. The search query can be as broad or specific as needed, but each search generates lots of results. Graph Search also presents a great way to combine SEO, local and social marketing. Read on to see how this latest tool could impact your business.

Greater Visibility

Some businesses create a Facebook page and then do very little to optimize it. That’s never a wise move, but even less so now that Graph Search could put your page in front of thousands of searchers on Facebook.

If anyone has ever liked your page, it may show up in one or more searches. Once people see a page that lacks content or key elements like a profile picture, they don’t bother coming back. Graph Search could increase your visibility, and this in turn will cause you to pay more attention to what you post on Facebook.

More Targeted Marketing

A specialized organization like 12 Keys Rehab relies on local SEO to attract business. However, it can be tough to decide whether to focus on your town, metro area or region. Graph Search automatically lists results by proximity, making local marketing easier.

Enter a generic phrase like “restaurants” and you’ll find dozens of places close to you. This is great when you’re trying to reach out to nearby residents. It also helps people planning a trip to your area. Anyone searching for businesses near you will find your page, and the exposure could lead them to look you up whenever they’re in town.

Better Word of Mouth

How many times have you asked friends to recommend a great dentist in the area? Have they ever asked you? With Graph Search and a sufficient number of likes, potential customers could find you without ever reaching their networks.

Before Graph Search, you had to find new ways to find new leads. Offering incentives to customer referrals was a big part of that. Graph Search makes this step easier, because your customers don’t have to do anything other than like your page. Now, they can bring you a whole bunch of new leads without having to go out of their way to do it.

A Renewed Focus on Content

Enabling leads to find your page is only the first step. Once they decide to visit, they need a good reason to stay. Offering valuable content such as infographics, tips, and videos on your page is the key to bringing in more visitors and attracting more likes.

Follow the same content rules you do with any other strategy. Include a healthy mix of special offers, status updates, news stories and other content relevant to followers. The resulting likes and chatter will make the rest of your Facebook strategy even more effective.

Time will tell what Graph Search does for businesses on Facebook. Now that it’s here, though, treat it like the valuable marketing tool it is.

Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and social media guru. He currently lives in PA and with his wife and son. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington

 

 

 

5 Ways Social Media Has Impacted Retail

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Retail as we once knew it has changed beyond all recognition.

The introduction of online shopping has split brands into one of two camps: those who are thriving, and those who are failing. Those who are thriving have embraced the Internet; seeing online shopping and social media integration as an extension of their bricks-and-mortar offering. Those who are failing have simply neglected to evolve.

One of the most dramatic changes to the way we shop has been down to our increased use of social media.

Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have all transformed the way we see brands, browse products and give in to impulse purchases. We’re constantly exposed to our favourite retailers and their offering – whether at home, at work, or in the car – and the industry has evolved considerably to make room for this new wave of so-called ‘m-shoppers’.

Here, we take a look at 5 of the ways social media has impacted on retail:

1. Customer service

Twitter and other social networks have open brands up to their consumers in a more personal way than ever before. And while this can be a positive for many, it should also come with a word of warning.

Social media is instant; meaning that customers can quickly write rash comments on their accounts and fire them out into the World Wide Web. As a retailer on the receiving end of this kind of criticism, managing customer service can be tricky.

There are some brands that do this really well; ASOS for instance has a specific @ASOS_HereToHelp account where they handle customer queries round the clock. Others fail to respond adequately, resulting in a social media crisis of epic proportions.

2. Push towards ecommerce

Social media and ecommerce are natural companions.

For many retailers though, this takes attention away from their physical stores and is – by association – a negative. For some more conventional brands and retailers, this move towards an ecommerce generation is a negative.

And while it is true that social and ecommerce go hand-in-hand, it doesn’t have to be bad news for your brand. Many consumers will browse products online and then buy them in store, or vice versa. With these two parts of a retail offering working in harmony, brands should be utilising social media to drive sales across both elements.

3. Increased brand visibility

Social media increases brand visibility no end, opening them up to a brand new audience.

Free marketing and promotion is almost impossible to come by, so retailers should be jumping at the change to engage with their customers in a completely new way.  The drawback arrives when brands realise they need to invest a great deal of time into building up a following, and keeping them engaged.

For the brands that nail this though, social media can be a great way of boosting their retail presence and engaging with customers in a completely new way.

4. Reverse showrooming

Showrooming – the act of researching a product in a physical store and then buying it at a cheaper price online – has long since haunted retailers. With the help of social media though, retailers are actually encouraging these m-shoppers into store.

Brands are sharing images of their products on their social accounts, and directing customers in store. This act of ‘reverse showrooming’ is actually having a positive impact on retail through the building of customer relationships, brand engagement, and the driving of sales.

5. Sales and promotions

Another positive impact of social media on retail can be found within the running of sales and promotions. It is now easier than ever for brands to engage with their customers – and encourage them to spend – by running a social media promotion.

‘Retweet to win’ type campaigns are hugely popular; not only because they work, but because they also grow brand awareness. Retailers can drive customers to their online stores, or even provide offers that can only be redeemed in store.

Simple and effective, social media is a great way of raising awareness about a brand. For retailers, it is imperative they embrace the social media age. Those who failed to adapt are now missing from our high streets entirely.

Social media’s impact on retail doesn’t have to be negative; when a campaign is run correctly it can have huge rewards.

Clare Evans works for Green Room retail, one of Europe’s leading experiential creative practices, specializing in retail store design, visual merchandising and point-of-sale design. Speak to them today about transforming your store.

How Charities Should Use Social Media To Further Their Cause

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Social media offers the perfect platform for charities and non-profit organizations to mobilize their supporters, increase donations, share information, and engage actively with a global audience. As the popularity of social media continues to grow, numerous charities have started to incorporate social media platforms into their promotional strategies. However, while several charities have fully embraced social media, some of them are still reluctant to take the plunge. This might be due to several different reasons, from lacking the resources and time to not really believing the advantages of using social media to further the cause.

There are several advantages of incorporating social media channels to your marketing mix, and a report by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide proves it.

For example, take a look at success that Mater Prize Home has had 5 years ago, when they were likely the first in the industry to implement an online marketing strategy. Today, they are likely the best known lottery charity organization in Australia.

To begin with, 41% of non-profit organizations accredit their success online to developing a detailed social media strategy.

Second, 47% of Americans hear about various causes via online channels.

Lastly, health, wellness, animals and children are the most talked about and shared causes on social media.

If you are to go by these statistics, then social is definitely the place to be for charities.

Turn Awareness into Action

If properly executed, multimedia and good storytelling on through social online channels can compel offline engagement.

Contrary to the popular “slacktivism*” myth, surveys show that social media can indeed be used to motivate masses of people to contribute to various causes beyond simple clicks, “likes” and “retweets”.

55% of the survey respondents who have engaged with a cause on social media have been motivated to take further action. Out of the 55%; 68% donated money, 53% volunteered, 52% donated food or personal items and 43% participated in or attended an event.

*Slacktivism myth is the one that suggests people “like” and “retweet” and otherwise interact with causes just to show their friends how cool they are, and after that they forget even the name and type of cause they’ve “liked”.

So what exactly inspired them to take further action? 56% of the respondents indicated that they read a compelling story on social media that inadvertently made them want to contribute more. 41% said they were inspired by online videos and 40% were motivated by photos. 39% saw family members and friends taking further action and decided to do the same. The remaining 45% who are yet to take additional action are not limited by any specific beliefs of perceptions of impact or effectiveness, but by a lack of supplementary resources to offer. Most of the people who didn’t help a cause lacked money to support it, while a slightly less percentage of people said that they simple didn’t have enough time on their hands.

Facebook Causes

Currently, Facebook has over a billion active users per month, and this number is growing. Nonprofits should take advantage of this growing number of Facebook users by setting up a cause and putting the interaction and activity in the hands of the followers.

Not only do Facebook causes and gifts enable charities to co-ordinate petitions, collect donations and actively interact with their followers; but it also allows followers to take farther action by actively engaging in recruiting more followers and getting donations for the cause.

The aspect of Facebook causes guarantees that followers will not only display their support for a charity, but also become key participants within a community.

Integrated YouTube Campaigns

Visual elements such as photography and video play a major role in charity campaigns, mostly because they tend to provide vital insight and snapshot into a cause that cannot be delivered by any other form of media.

An effective YouTube campaign enables charities to reach a global audience, while at the same time making it easier for their followers to share the video across other social media networks, thus resulting in a lot more visibility. On top of that, charities can as set-up a YouTube channel where they can manage and customize a page on which all their videos are hosted.

Get Help To Expand Your Reach

Youtube For Non-profits

YouTube channels have added sharing features that are inclusive of links to donation pages via video annotations, buttons and call-to-action overlays embedded within the videos, all possible through Youtube’s non-profit program.

Google Grants Program

Since it was started, Google has managed to grow beyond a search engine to a provider of several web services. It has released several tools that both webmasters and “common” users can utilize.

One of their lesser-known programs is the Google Grants programs. Despite the programs’ specific criteria, many non-profits enjoy free AdWords advertising credits, although their campaign that run through this program are subject to some limitations. If you are eligible for the program and you have familiarized yourself with Adwords, then this is definitely a good way to give your charity an online boost.

Mark is a freelance social media manager among other things. He enjoys working with charities and loves spending time with his family.

The Connection – How Social Care Is Changing Customer Service

social media customer serviceThe majority of businesses in the country already understand how valuable social media is as a marketing tool. In fact, according to a recent study done by the Aberdeen Group, 86% of all companies are already using social media as part of their marketing strategy. Today however, companies are realizing that social media is more than just a marketing tool; it has become a new mode for customer service.

Yet while more businesses are using social media, only 41% of the companies surveyed use it as part of their customer service approach. Social care, or customer service done over social media networks, is an emerging strategy businesses are putting into play to provide top tier online customer service while branding with little to no cost.

Social Care Boosts Your Brand

More than ever before, customers are using social media outlets to post complaints, questions, or comments they intend on companies to read. The 2012 Nielsen’s Social Media Report showed that more than half of consumers said they prefer to use social media over the phone to reach out to businesses. Social media users also expect faster response and resolution to their concerns. So although a social media presence can boost a company brand, without proper management, a company’s brand can quickly be damaged. On the other hand, proper social care can improve your overall company brand by showing customers your commitment to customer service.

Building Customer Loyalty

Including social media as part of your company’s overall customer service approach can also help build customer loyalty. Responding positively to a customer complaint can not only help build a trust between you and that customer, but also lets your other social media followers know that you value their needs. Studies show that customers who actively receive positive online social care from a company will purchase between 20% to 40% more goods and services from that company.

Social Care as an ROI Driver

More than three-quarters of businesses that are considered “socially devoted” believe the implementation of social care services is a ROI driver. Socially devoted businesses are those companies that reply to at least 65% of comments, complaints and questions posted on social media networks. 71% of these companies found that creating a social care strategy saved their business money over the long run.

Tips for Building a Social Care Strategy

The trick now becomes finding a way companies can create a successful social care plan that builds customer loyalty and boosts sales. Here are some quick tips to consider:

  • Respond Quickly to Customer Posts. Studies show that more than half of online consumers expect a company to reply to a post in just a few hours, but no longer than 24 hours. It is vital that you consistently manage your social media sites throughout the day to build customer trust.
  • Use Multiple Social Media Outlets. Customers are not just turning to one social media outlet either. They use multiple social media networks throughout the day. It is important that you check for customer’s comments on all different sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.
  • Hire a Social Care Worker or Hire a Service. More than 40% of business owners feel that the complexity of social care has held them back from integrating this into their standard customer service approach. Other companies delegate these services to the marketing team, instead of treating it as a customer services feature. It is important for the company to either hire a dedicated worker to handle their social care services, or use a professional services company to provide these services for them. 

Social media guru and part-time writer, Michael Gal works closely with companies to craft thoughtful writing on a variety of industry-related topics. In his spare time he writes articles on green issues for a socially conscious magazine and works on his novel in progress.

Digital-Age Customer Service: Trading Phone for Social Media

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Image courtesy of 1to1 Media.

Those seeking customer service are disregarding traditional methods and selecting new ways to get their queries answered. Increasing numbers of consumers are taking to social media in order to get brands and companies to address their concerns.

Recent surveys have found that 31% of customers would use Facebook or Twitter to raise their concerns, but only after more traditional methods have proved inconsequential. The number was higher among 16-24 year olds and it is believed the scale of others that see the complaint force companies to act more efficiently and limit knock on effects, whereas previously customers would only voice their experience of poor service with friends and family. Read more of this post

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