“Facebook has become the heart of social media marketing for a number of businesses,” blogged John Foley, Jr., CEO/CMO of InterlinkOne and Grow Socially. “The social networking site has taken steps to encourage conversations between businesses and customers by adding a number of interactive features to Facebook Pages, the public profile for businesses.” But taking 10 minutes to set up a fan page doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s being used properly. Content needs to be properly edited and keyword-optimized with meta data for H1 coding.
Plus, “the value must be instantly obvious,” wrote Daniel Burstein of Marketing Sherpa. “After all, sharing your social media content is likely only one of many other objectives your potential customers have when using a mobile device. The value proposition question would be along the lines of, ‘Why should I share your content instead of talking to my friend, walking into that store, or watching the rest of this TV show?’”
Print firms need to leverage their “Likes,” too, advised Foley. Use Facebook to encourage customer reviews, he explained. “The Internet is often the first place people go to leave reviews about their customer experiences,” Foley wrote in Target Marketing magazine. “If you know your business could benefit from public reviews, you should strategize how to incorporate social media. Why? Because social networking is becoming integrated into almost every aspect of email, websites, and more.”
One such interactive feature cited by Foley is Facebook Questions, which “allows marketers to create an open-ended question or a poll for their Facebook networks to answer directly from their news feeds,” he explained in his blog. “This gives marketers the ability to gain instant feedback on particular concerns they may have. One example of using an open-ended question to leverage reviews on Facebook would be asking your audience what services they like most and why,” Foley offered. “This sets up your audience to think about the positive experiences they've had with your business and what they've enjoyed most about it. It also gives them an accessible outlet to quickly share a compliment about your business.”
Some business owners are downright proud of their social media following. Shad Interligi of Real Hit Media, White Plains, NY, told me his firm now has more than 4,200 fans on Facebook (www.facebook.com/realhitmedia). The vehicle-wrap specialist also is active on Twitter and Instagram, posting links to each channel on the bottom of every email he sends.
Snap and Share
Last April, popular photo-sharing application developer Instagram had 13 employees -- and no revenue. Then, seemingly overnight and out of nowhere, Facebook spent $1 billion in a defensive move to acquire the San Francisco firm as part of Team Zuckerberg’s IPO strategy. (Actually, it was Facebook’s second courtship; Instagram had rejected an earlier offer, according to Tribune Newspapers.) Twitter reportedly was in the hunt to buy Instagram, too, but offered “only” $525 million. Why did Zuckerberg’s financial advisors authorize payment of a premium twice that amount? Because the code of viral growth on mobile had been cracked. If the main reason people use Facebook is to share photos, then Instagram was threatening FB’s dominance on mobile, which is where consumer computer usage is going.
In less than two years, the free Instagram iPhone and Android photo effects app had racked up some 30 million users – an impressive number but still representing less than five percent of Facebook’s 700+ million subscriber base. Still, Instagram has placed Zuckerberg’s empire at the forefront of the increasingly critical use of photos as communication online. Snapchat, the 17-month-old photo app with short-term memory -- images disappear seconds after being received -- is hugely popular among teens and 20-somethings. With more than 50 million snaps daily as of late December 2012, it may be the next big acquisition, soon to be gobbled up by Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Yahoo, perhaps, all of which may feel threatened by its skyrocketing usage.
The meteoric growth of this photo and video sharing trend will continue. Pinterest now is the fastest growing online site for social sharing. With 20.5 million unique visitors, the content-sharing service (www.pinterest.com) was the 61st most visited website last June, according to comScore. One in four consumers report that they are spending less time on other social sites in favor of Pinterest, beating out big names such as LinkedIn and Google+. See sidebar to learn more about how businesses are using Pinterest, which allows members to “pin” images, videos, and other objects to their pinboards.