2013 Facebook Cover Photo Guidelines Allow Calls-To-Action

2013 Facebook cover photo guidelines now allow calls-to-action in cover photos.

Previously, Facebook did not allow contact information, pricing, discounts, invitations to like and share and calls to action on the cover photo, many learned the lesson at their expense.

Not so anymore, Facebook simplified the rules and removed many of the restrictions as you can see in the 2013 Facebook cover photo guidelines bellow:

All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines. Covers may not include images with more than 20% text.

The one restriction is the 20% text

What does that mean for marketers?

  • Generate More Leads

  • Promote More Content

  • Improve Conversion

  • Get more value for of your timeline

And if you have not yet customized your cover photo, here is a reminder of the dimensions:

2013 Facebook cover photo dimensions

Best Social Media Marketing Tactics

Marketers are zeroing in on the best social media marketing tactics to accomplish their goals, what their biggest challenges are and how to most effectively track their performance. 
According to a February 2013 survey of marketing professionals around the world by Ascend2, most respondents, both in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies considered customer engagement to be the primary purpose of their social media marketing respectively 43% and 55%). Website traffic also ranked second for both types of marketing professionals.leading objectives of social media marketing professionals in 2013

Lead generation was more important for B2Bs than B2Cs. Twenty-nine percent of B2Bs used social to generate better quality leads, and 27% sought to get more leads with the tactic.

Search engine rankings remain an important part of businesses’ digital strategy, and social media plays a role here too. Approximately 25% of both B2Bs and B2Cs used social media outreach to improve search rank.

Increasing sales revenue was a goal for over one-third of marketers for both B2Bs and B2Cs (33% and 39%).

40% of respondents cited creating articles and blog post content respondents cited creating articles and blog post content as the best way to achieve their social marketing goals. These tactics fall directly in line with driving the goal of customer engagement. Other forms of content creation also ranked high, including research and whitepapers for B2Bs, and video and audio for both types of companies.

B2Cs found advertising on social networks to be a much more effective strategy than B2Bs did.

Most effective social media marketing tactics

The top three most effective social marketing tactics were also the most difficult tactics to execute. These findings mirror growing research that while content marketing is one of the latest and greatest marketing tactics, it is also difficult and time consuming to produce.

Most difficult social media marketing tactics to implement

As to what obstacles stood in the way of marketers achieving their social goals, the greatest percentage of respondents (42%) cited staff limitations—not having enough personnel to create the content or drive the continuous engagement that powers social.

Nearly two out five respondents, the next greatest percentage, said difficulty measuring the return on investment (ROI) of social channels was a major obstacle in their social efforts.

When marketers do set out to measure social performance, the greatest percentage—over 60% on both the B2B and B2C sides—said they looked at website traffic. This metric may be somewhat basic, but it is also direct and easy to measure. The same goes for tracking search engine rankings, which was the No. 2 response. These responses show that even as marketing tactics have become more sophisticated, marketers still turn to tried and true methods to quantify ROI.

Read more at

Social Media Rules for Brands: The 10 Commandments

Ten-commandments

Social media for brands dos and don’ts, the social media rules to know

Fleeting as social media exchanges may seem, they can have a pronounced impact on business and their influence can echo far beyond a simple post or retweet.

While the anonymous, public and often informal nature of Internet dialogue often leads corporations to relax their guard, it’s important to note: Managing a brand’s social media presence is a tricky balancing act. The key to being successful? Keeping things polite and professional, and constantly acknowledging your audience’s voice, while adding value or insight to customer exchanges.

Looking to enhance your corporate social media efforts? Here are

1. Thou shalt be patient and considerate.

While many campaigns seem to go viral overnight, it’s important to remember that businesses rarely experience instant breakthroughs or meteoric audience growth on social media. More important than chasing huge follower or subscriber counts is to consistently and meaningfully engage an audience by creating helpful and insightful content that addresses key concerns or speaks to consumer needs.

Over time, through constant two-way dialogue with users, this commitment will help your business build a loyal and involved following, the influence of which may far outstrip that of larger, less engaged audiences.

Be relevant, generous and sincere. While doing so may not seem as sexy or instantly gratifying as posting a viral video or infographic, it will help you build trust, empathy and, most importantly, relationships, the currency of the modern social realm.

2. Thou shalt not be indifferent to the voice of thy customer.

When you engage in social media, you commit to playing a role in very public customer conversations. This entails consistently having to acknowledge other parties’ opinions, and embracing both the good and the bad, including harsh or critical feedback.

Instead of looking the other way when someone posts something unflattering, take a moment to objectively assess the feedback. Constructive criticism not only presents opportunities to improve our efforts to serve end-users; it also presents a chance to engage in human exchanges, and apologize and appease the situation.

In other words, the goal is to create conversations, not critiques, and optimize the level of customer support and service provided to your audience. Sometimes, simply taking a moment to acknowledge others’ voices, or answer questions directly can bridge gaps that threaten to build a gulf between you and end-users.

3. Thou shalt be true to thyself.

You’ve spent ample time crafting your brand’s mission and values across your website, marketing materials and advertising efforts. Now is not the time to abandon the positive image you’ve worked so hard to cultivate, or forsake professionalism or propriety in the name of popularity.

Given the medium’s more personable nature, social media exchanges should certainly be more human than formal. But all should be respectful of customers, audience needs and the positive image you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. It’s important not only to respect followers’ time and intelligence, but also to be consistent with your branding and messaging across all platforms. That way, fans and followers know both who you are and the values that your business stands for.

4. Thou shalt think before you post.

Trade secret: Every post or status update you share should add value for your audience, regardless whether that value comes in the form of enlightenment, entertainment or an uplifting exchange.

Therefore, make every share unique, and think about how to ensure it counts – i.e., what can you add to the conversation that others can’t? As a simple example, retweeting posts of note is an excellent way to share information, but adding your own opinion or links to further resources is an even better use of time. Likewise, if you post every single little detail or update about your brand, industry and products, fans may become fatigued. Respect your audience and think about how to make posts superlative, singular and of notable worth before sharing.

The key question to ask yourself: What’s in it for them?

5. Thou shalt be brief.

Remember to keep it short and sweet on social media. You have only a few seconds to catch someone’s attention, and even less time to keep it. Therefore, make sure your posts have an immediate impact and utilize concise language, links, references or (better yet) visual assets, such as photos, videos and inforgraphics. These quickly convey key information at a glance.

Look for ways to distill an idea down to a single statement or elevator pitch that clearly and quickly communicates subject matter, tone and target audience, and provides further points of reference should audiences wish to dive deeper into the topic.

6. Thou shalt not hog the conversation.

In many ways, social networks serve as the world’s largest cocktail party. But no one wants to be stuck with a self-centered conversation hog.

The same rule applies to your social media presence, where it’s important to listen before speaking – doubly so, as the dynamics of conversation and rules of online behavior differ depending on context and parties in attendance. Dedicate the majority of your time proactively engaging your audience, then split the remaining time between content your audience will care about and promoting your brand.

7. Thou shalt do good.

Think of social media as the world’s largest megaphone or amplifier – it can project your online voice louder, farther and faster than ever before.

Always be engaging and upbeat (negativity never reflects well on the poster, especially online, where conversational subtlety and nuance are often lost in translation), and take advantage of the opportunities presented to promote positivity. Material you post online should be less promotional than beneficial in nature, designed to help viewers save time or money, enhance learning and awareness, or offer key opinions and insights. From securing support for charitable ventures to offering deeper looks at evolving trends to helping fans and followers make valuable connections, consistently look for ways to aid, assist and uplift your audience.

8. Thou shalt keep it strictly business.

While color and personality are always welcome online, business and pleasure seldom mix well in social media contexts – personal and corporate accounts are best kept separated. Remember: Users following business accounts do so because they identify with the brand, and expect content in keeping with its core image and focus. Posting anything outside of this realm may prompt confusion, surprise or indifference, and has the potential to reflect poorly on your brand.

Communications should universally be polite, professional and on-topic. Where the risk of misinterpretation or controversy exists, play it safe and skip posting. Keep your tone and voice upbeat and respectful – avoid complaints, negative comments and stabs at the competition at all costs.

9. Thou shalt respect the hashtag.

Twitter hashtags are great vehicles for highlighting topics of relevance, drawing audience’s attention and fostering fan engagement. However, they can also be dangerous when used incorrectly – i.e., too frequently or in inappropriate contexts.

Oftentimes, brands overuse hashtags or place them in unrelated posts to drive added visibility. But doing so may leave viewers feeling cheated, especially if those hashtags add no relevant context to conversations or potentially alienate readers. This can cause a negative reaction to your online voice and ultimately your business, which will not only hinder fan acquisition but potentially detract from your brand.

10. Thou shalt not lie.

Skip the temptation to embellish, fib or inflate the truth online, especially since it can easily backfire or even lead to potential legal repercussions. Likewise, be honest with your audience. If fans and followers have questions about an evolving scenario – e.g., a potential PR crisis -– sometimes, the best answer is simply a prompt: “Apologies, but we don’t know. However, rest assured we’re working on it, and will let you know as soon as possible.”

Trust is the foundation of any relationship – real or online, and its loss can have a marked impact on both your brand and customer perception. As Benjamin Franklin once pointed out, it takes many exchanges to build a positive reputation, but only one mistake to undo it.

See Article

FTC latest online ad rules

Advertisers should think twice about placing promotional messages on mobile and social media platforms like Twitter if those ads require disclosures or disclaimers to avoid being deceptive or unfair, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.

The updated guidelines for online advertising represent the commission’s attempt to catch up to more than a decade of fast-evolving new technology, from the advent of the mobile revolution to an explosion in social media like Facebook and Twitter.

This year, as in the last report issued in 2000, the FTC holds online advertisers to the same standards of honesty and full disclosure as newspapers and television.

But the limited space available on mobile platforms maintained by Twitter, Facebook and others means that it is difficult to place appropriate disclosures close enough to the ad, or prominently enough, to ensure users see it.

“Advertisers should make sure their disclosures are clear and conspicuous on all devices and platforms that consumers may use to view their ads,” the FTC’s Lesley Fair said in a blog post accompanying the 53-page report.

“That means that if an ad would be deceptive or unfair (or would otherwise violate an FTC rule) without a disclosure — but the disclosure can’t be made clearly and conspicuously on a particular device or platform — then that ad shouldn’t run on that device or platform,” Fair wrote.

And the FTC discouraged the use of pop-ups for disclosures since they are so often blocked.

“Most webpages viewable on desktop devices may also be viewable on smartphones,” the FTC said in the report. “Advertisers should design the website so that any necessary disclosures are clear and conspicuous, regardless of the device on which they are displayed.”

Twitter already requires celebrities and others who endorse products to disclose that they are being paid. Facebook had no immediate comment.

“Many of the themes about social media were already surfaced (by the FTC) a few years ago,” said Eric Goldman, Professor of Law and Director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law.

He said the FTC’s guidelines placed the burden more on advertisers and users who take payments, than on platform companies such as Twitter or Facebook. “I don’t see anything that specifically tells Twitter, Facebook or other platforms how they have to design their platform.”

“The guidelines don’t have the force of law. but the FTC is trying to let industry know what it expects industry to do, and when the industry doesn’t do what the FTC wants, the FTC tends to get cranky.”

Original article

Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram Differing Social Media Demographics

Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram are popular with differing demographics

eMarketer estimates that by the end of 2013 there will be 163.5 million social network users in the US, and unsurprisingly they are a diverse group.

A December 2012 study of social networking demographics from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that Hispanic internet users were most likely to identify themselves as social network users, at 72% penetration, vs. 68% of black and 65% of white internet users. Pew also found that higher concentrations of women than men were social networkers by a margin of nearly 10 percentage points: 71% vs. 62%.

Social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest seem to be attracting a particularly diverse coalition of users. Black internet users, for instance, were significantly more likely than average to use Twitter—while 16% of internet users overall said they used the service, 26% of black internet users said they did so. Hispanic internet users were also slightly overrepresented: 19% reported using the service.

Twitter US demographics

Pew found this phenomenon even more pronounced on photo-sharing service Instagram, now owned by Facebook. Black internet users were nearly twice as likely to use it as the average internet user: 23% vs. 13% overall. Hispanic internet users overindexed as well, while whites were slightly less likely than the average internet user to be found on the site. Pew also found Instagram’s users skewed slightly female: 16% of women said they were on it, compared to 10% of men.

Instagram US Demographics

The study confirmed Pinterest’s reputation as skewing largely female: Fully one-quarter of female internet users said they were on it, compared to just 5% of male internet users.

Pinterest US demographics

Pinterest is also diverse in another way: While most emerging social networking sites skew heavily toward younger users, Pinterest attracts internet users in a broader range of age groups. With its friendly interface and visual orientation, Pinterest is popular with the 18- to 29-year-olds that frequent most social

 

Original article

Social Media Disrupting Your Sales Cycle?

The Art of Social Selling: Does Social Media Disrupt Your Sales Cycle?

SellingHow do you sell in a world where you no longer have an informational advantage over customers? In 2013, many of your customers are likely as knowledgeable about your products as you are. They know who your other customers are, who your competitors are, the product specs and how they compare to competitors, and they’re all talking.

Fortunately the same tools your customers use to learn about you and your competitors are just as open for you to learn about them. Social selling gives you the resources to find high value customers, learn what they’re looking for, and sell to them more effectively than ever before. Join as we explore:

  • How to combine CRM automation and other new technology with inside sales to develop a competitive strategy
  • Whether social media can replace other strategies to fill your pipeline.
  • Key points in the sales cycle where social media has replaced traditional strategies

Listen to the panel discussion

Social Media Helps Life Technologies Improve Business

Life Technologies’ global senior e-marketing manager for search and social, Robin Smith, explains how the deep relationships the company makes with its fans help influence the products the company makes and how it does business. Their approach is a sustainable way to actively make business better with social media.

Some of her key points:

  • Customers relate to a person, not a company. Making real, human relationships with individuals, as individuals, is key to earning your fans’ trust and opinions. Smith says Life Technologies works hard to let employees have their own voice in social media.
  • A lot of employees shy away from engaging online because they’re afraid of screwing up. Smith explains how the brand helps anyone from an executive to a product manager feel comfortable contributing
  • Social media can change how you do business. Smith talks about how social helped the company launch a product and even come up with a name for it. She explains how your social media fans can be a great resource if you take time to cultivate great relationships.