Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tips for successful marketing through Facebook

In this guide:

Using Facebook to market your business

How Facebook works

Who uses Facebook?

Benefits of Facebook for business
Tips for successful marketing through Facebook
How your business can avoid pitfalls on Facebook
Creating a business page on Facebook
Print entire guide
To market your business successfully on Facebook, you need to understand Facebook's unique opportunities, and how it differs from other media. Just as you wouldn't run a radio ad on television, you shouldn't market on Facebook the way you'd market in a magazine or on your website.

Don't use Facebook for the 'hard sell'
People regard Facebook as a fun social space where they chat to friends, check out photos and videos, and relax. You need to join conversations and become part of a community, rather than being a business 'outsider' who tries to sell aggressively.

Hard-sell tactics - such as using advertising slogans, posting repeatedly about a particular product or service, or providing lists of products and prices in isolation from any related conversation - will result in other users 'unfollowing' you. They may even post negative comments about your business.

Have a clear goal and strategy
It's important to have a clear goal for using Facebook, and a strategy to achieve that goal. For example, a coffee shop might decide that its goal is to increase sales generated by Facebook by 10% in the next 6 months. Their strategy could include:

creating a post every morning featuring a special of the day, using a coupon code so that the sale can be tracked to Facebook
posting a daily photo featuring a customer who is its 'Coffee King or Queen' of the day
encouraging users to post their own photos of them enjoying a coffee.
Setting a goal and strategy gives you direction for your Facebook marketing and a way to measure your success.

Create a human voice for your business
Facebook users like to talk to other people - not to an impersonal business. Whoever manages your Facebook page must be able to write in a voice that sounds real and likeable, using a style that suits your business. They also need permission to express things in their own words, not in the company's jargon or 'official line'.

Post regularly
Unlike traditional media (such as magazines or television), or other online media (such as web pages), social media are built around frequent updates.

Statistics show that around 50% of all Facebook users check their page at least once a day, and they need to see that you are regularly posting new material. Some guides recommend posting at least once a day, but the core principles are to post when you have interesting content, and to judge how often your audience wants to hear from you.

Encourage comments and reply quickly
Encourage other Facebook users to respond to your posts or to post their own comments about your business or a topic that's of interest to them and you. When they do post, respond quickly - within 24 hours is best. Failing to respond will weaken your Facebook friends' willingness to engage with you, and they will gradually drift away.

Use pictures and videos
Pictures and videos are a major element of Facebook's appeal. Use them frequently to keep your friends engaged and entertained. For example:

a clothing retailer could post photos of new stock as it arrives
an architect or builder could post day-by-day pictures of a house under renovation
a personal trainer could post an instructional video of how to do a particular exercise.
Get interactive with offers, contests, games, surveys, etc. People like it when Facebook is fun, and when it delivers something that they can't get any other way.

Research shows that discounts and giveaways are the most popular reason for a customer to follow a business's Facebook page. Likewise, contests and games can be used to liven up your page.

Facebook can also be used to distribute customer surveys. If you do this, make sure that you keep surveys short, and provide a survey link that users can easily click, ignore or share with their friends.

Nurture your relationships
It takes time to build good relationships with other Facebook users, so be patient. Engage sincerely in conversations, provide useful content, and develop rewards for loyal customers to help foster positive relationships.

Promote your Facebook page
If you have a Facebook page, promote it throughout your business so that your social media works hand-in-hand with more traditional marketing methods. Provide your Facebook address on your letterhead, business card and website, in store, in advertisements, and in your email signature.

Use Facebook Insights to learn more about your customers
Facebook Insights can tell you more about the people who choose to like your page. Once you know your Facebook friends' characteristics, you can tailor your posts and offers to meet their needs and interests.

For example, if you're a book store that caters to customers of all ages, but most of your Facebook friends are aged 18-25 years, your Facebook offers might concentrate on books suitable for that age group (while your in-store offers are broader). Or, if you're an online seller who never meets your customers, you might be able to get a clearer picture of what they think and feel by reviewing their interests, ages and locations on Facebook.

Source

Tips for successful marketing through Facebook

In this guide:

Using Facebook to market your business
How Facebook works
Who uses Facebook?
Benefits of Facebook for business
Tips for successful marketing through Facebook
How your business can avoid pitfalls on Facebook
Creating a business page on Facebook
Print entire guide
To market your business successfully on Facebook, you need to understand Facebook's unique opportunities, and how it differs from other media. Just as you wouldn't run a radio ad on television, you shouldn't market on Facebook the way you'd market in a magazine or on your website.

Don't use Facebook for the 'hard sell'
People regard Facebook as a fun social space where they chat to friends, check out photos and videos, and relax. You need to join conversations and become part of a community, rather than being a business 'outsider' who tries to sell aggressively.

Hard-sell tactics - such as using advertising slogans, posting repeatedly about a particular product or service, or providing lists of products and prices in isolation from any related conversation - will result in other users 'unfollowing' you. They may even post negative comments about your business.

Have a clear goal and strategy
It's important to have a clear goal for using Facebook, and a strategy to achieve that goal. For example, a coffee shop might decide that its goal is to increase sales generated by Facebook by 10% in the next 6 months. Their strategy could include:

creating a post every morning featuring a special of the day, using a coupon code so that the sale can be tracked to Facebook
posting a daily photo featuring a customer who is its 'Coffee King or Queen' of the day
encouraging users to post their own photos of them enjoying a coffee.
Setting a goal and strategy gives you direction for your Facebook marketing and a way to measure your success.

Create a human voice for your business
Facebook users like to talk to other people - not to an impersonal business. Whoever manages your Facebook page must be able to write in a voice that sounds real and likeable, using a style that suits your business. They also need permission to express things in their own words, not in the company's jargon or 'official line'.

Post regularly
Unlike traditional media (such as magazines or television), or other online media (such as web pages), social media are built around frequent updates.

Statistics show that around 50% of all Facebook users check their page at least once a day, and they need to see that you are regularly posting new material. Some guides recommend posting at least once a day, but the core principles are to post when you have interesting content, and to judge how often your audience wants to hear from you.

Encourage comments and reply quickly
Encourage other Facebook users to respond to your posts or to post their own comments about your business or a topic that's of interest to them and you. When they do post, respond quickly - within 24 hours is best. Failing to respond will weaken your Facebook friends' willingness to engage with you, and they will gradually drift away.

Use pictures and videos
Pictures and videos are a major element of Facebook's appeal. Use them frequently to keep your friends engaged and entertained. For example:

a clothing retailer could post photos of new stock as it arrives
an architect or builder could post day-by-day pictures of a house under renovation
a personal trainer could post an instructional video of how to do a particular exercise.
Get interactive with offers, contests, games, surveys, etc. People like it when Facebook is fun, and when it delivers something that they can't get any other way.

Research shows that discounts and giveaways are the most popular reason for a customer to follow a business's Facebook page. Likewise, contests and games can be used to liven up your page.

Facebook can also be used to distribute customer surveys. If you do this, make sure that you keep surveys short, and provide a survey link that users can easily click, ignore or share with their friends.

Nurture your relationships
It takes time to build good relationships with other Facebook users, so be patient. Engage sincerely in conversations, provide useful content, and develop rewards for loyal customers to help foster positive relationships.

Promote your Facebook page
If you have a Facebook page, promote it throughout your business so that your social media works hand-in-hand with more traditional marketing methods. Provide your Facebook address on your letterhead, business card and website, in store, in advertisements, and in your email signature.

Use Facebook Insights to learn more about your customers
Facebook Insights can tell you more about the people who choose to like your page. Once you know your Facebook friends' characteristics, you can tailor your posts and offers to meet their needs and interests.

For example, if you're a book store that caters to customers of all ages, but most of your Facebook friends are aged 18-25 years, your Facebook offers might concentrate on books suitable for that age group (while your in-store offers are broader). Or, if you're an online seller who never meets your customers, you might be able to get a clearer picture of what they think and feel by reviewing their interests, ages and locations on Facebook.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Host your own website on Google App Engine

There are quite a few advantages with hosting websites on Google App Engine. First, it should be more reliable since your

site will get served through Google’s own data centers.

Second, if you have a low traffic website, it is highly likely that you won’t have to spend a penny for web hosting. You

get 1 GB of free storage space for hosting your images, HTML web pages and other files and 1 GB of bandwidth per day. If

you exceed that quota, you pay-per-use similar to Amazon S3.

Ready to jump?

With a regular web hosting company, you rend some storage space on their server, you then transfer your HTML and other

files to that server using FTP or cPanel and your website is ready to serve. Google App Engine works in similar manner

except that the file transfer mechanism is a bit different.

Step 1: Go to appengine.google.com and create a new application. If you have never used App Engine before, you might be

asked to verify your mobile phone number before you can create a new app.

Step 2: Give your application a name – it should be unique and may only include lowercase alphabets and digits. For this

example, our app identifier is “thisismyawesomewebsite”.

Step 3: The next two sub-steps may scare some of you but trust me, they simply require you download and run two installers

in the given sequence.

3a. Download and install Python from python.org.
3b. Download and install App Engine SDK from this code.google.com.

Step 4: Download and unzip this file – website.zip – somewhere on your desktop. It contains a basic website with some HTML

pages, images and CSS that we’ll try to host with Google App Engine.

Step 5: Open the app.yaml file with notepad and replace the word ‘labnol’ with the application identifier that you created

in Step 2 above. Save the changes.

Step 6: Finally it’s time to deploy /upload our website to Google App Engine. Open the Google App Engine Launcher program

from the Start Menu, choose File – > Add Existing Application and browse to the folder where you unzipped the website.

Hit the deploy button, input your Google Account credentials and within seconds, your website should become available

online at abc.appspot.com where abc is your unique app identifier. Later, if you add or modify any web page, press Deploy

again and your new /edited files will get uploaded to App Engine.

labnol