What Do You Think of Facebook Marketing Solutions?

What is It?
Facebook Marketing Solutions is a Page run by Facebook’s very own employees. It’s a resource page for brand marketers to share and learn about marketing on the social site. Though the Page was founded early last year, I haven’t really noticed it until it showed up in my ‘Recommended Pages’ box. The Page also some helpful tips on how to build your brand presence, engage your audience and spread your message.

An Interesting Concept
Make sure to check out the Discussions tab to see what people are asking and answering. It seems to be an interesting concept but I see that a lot of topics are overwhelmed with spam. For example, the latest discussion is titled ‘Please Like my FB page’. If this continues, I can see how it will be a lot more problematic than helpful.
Facebook is taking a stand to help marketers get a better understanding of their changing game. As far as I know, Twitter doesn’t have a resource similar to this. I’m not sure how well this would work for Twitter where spam seems to be even more prevalent. I’m noticing a lot more spam accounts that are following the emarketed profile. Schemes like: cash for gold, win a free iPad, vacation home rentals etc.

Things That Could be Improved
There are cool case studies on Coca-Cola and Starbucks but what about the little guys? I think this Page is lacking information for local business and smaller businesses that are just starting out. They seem to be taking suggestions into consideration so I hope they add more info about this in the future. I’d definitely like to see more info for small businesses and less spam.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Guest Post: How to Create Relationships on Facebook

We all know how popular Facebook is in today’s Internet era, but if you own your business, did you know that you can create some great relationships on there? Whether you want to find more customers, or maybe you want to connect with other owners in your industry, there are a lot of things that you can do in order to find the people that share the same interests as you.

Use the friend suggestions: On the left hand side of your screen, you have probably seen the “people you may know” tool. You will want to take advantage of this. Even if you don’t really know that person, check out their profile, and send them a message. What’s the worst thing that they are going to say?

Join the groups: Yes, Facebook has groups. What you can do is find groups that you’re interested in. Let’s say that you want to find people that are into pets. Find groups that relate to pets. The key here is to make sure that you’re active.

Create a fan page: If you have a business, make sure you start up a fan page. It’s free and it’s a great way to communicate with your customers. Put your fan page on your business cards, your website, and if you have some cash, advertise it on Facebook.

Use other websites: Other social sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter are another great way to meet people. On these sites, you can input your Facebook URL as well. This is a great way to connect outside of the social platform. LinkedIn is designed more for professionals, while Twitter is for those looking to connect with just about anybody.

Facebook is a little bit like real life. If you’re going to hide in the corner and not talk to anybody, how do you plan on forming a relationship? You want to be active, communicate with others, and set out to find others that may relate to you. There’s no need to spam, as relationships take time to grow!

This is a guest post written by Elizabeth Cutten. Elizabeth helps run FindBizCards, a business credit card portal, as well as a small business blog helping entrepreneurs on a daily basis.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What Social Media Challenges Do You Face?

Feeling Lost
Many companies who take the big dive into social media can be left feeling a little lost. This is understandable as it can be confusing to organize what to do and who to listen to. If you’re feeling confused, it’s time to do something about it! Many companies and social media resources offer free webinars or white papers for educational use. For example, SEOmoz has resources ranked by difficulty so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed if you’re a beginner. Once you have a better understanding of what you want to accomplish, you can begin looking into social media tactics that can help you pursue this plan. Remember, social media is just another channel where you can extend your reach in the areas of marketing, customer service, partnerships, leads and even hiring.

Spending Too Much/Little Time?

Do you feel like social media helps your brand or hinders it? It depends on how you look at it of course. If you don’t have a plan, things can get messy and you can find yourself spending way too much time on Twitter. Depending on your schedule, you may want to assign yourself a couple minutes (I like 5-10 minute bursts) of time to check your social media profiles. If it gets too overwhelming, ask for help. A big mistake you can make is trying to manage everything on your own, especially if you don’t have the time or understanding. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a Twitter whiz or Facebook specialist.If you don’t know where to look, an internet marketing firm is a great place to start.

Problems with Consistency
Many companies need help and motivation in keeping consistent with participation on social media sites. Think of this task like a project for a client or a personal goal. You need to establish time lines and can start realistically. It might be a long shot to aim to write 10 blogs a week, so why not start with every third day? You can always build yourself up without any pressure. Just like all the good things in life, social media success doesn’t come without hard work and dedication. The misconception is that people get frustrated with their progress because the services are “free”. But remember, you get out what you put in, so plan accordingly. Set aside some time to set targets for your blog, tweets, Facebook Page updates and you’ll be glad you did!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

New Viral Marketing Campaigns Spread Excitement

I always like to hear about the latest viral marketing campaigns and see how big brands are trying to outdo each other.

Papa John’s Pizza Mania

First off, p-i-z-z-a! Papa John’s unveiled an online contest this week asking fans to share their special recipe. The contest, dubbed “Papa’s Specialty Pizza Challenges”, encourages pizza aficionados to submit their special recipe along with a short blurb about why their pizza is so special. Ten semi-finalists will get a chance to have their recipe tested at Papa John’s HQ. From there, three finalists will have their recipe featured on the Papa John’s menu in August. But the excitement doesn’t stop there! Of the final three, Papa John’s will hand out a $1000 budget for marketing.
The recipe with the most sales will get a permanent spot on the menu! The grand prize also includes free pizza for life and an appearance in a Papa John’s TV ad. Go to Papa John’s Facebook and take a look for yourself. I never thought that people could be so excited about pizza but as fan Diane writes on the Page’s Wall, “I don’t care for American Idol. But, a pizza right now sure sounds good.”

Honeymooning with Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn also launched a campaign this week targeting newlyweds who are looking for a good deal for their honeymoon. Appealing to members of their rewards program on Twitter, Holiday Inn’s month long “Honeymoon on Us” contest will give out free prizes. With wedding season around the corner, this is the right time for the InterContinental Hotels Group to focus their efforts on vacationing couples. The grand prize is pretty great too – a complete wedding registry!

Papa John’s and Holiday Inn are just two examples of how big brands are using social media to the fullest extent. Nike also just set a record with their new viral ad. Do you have any other examples you’d like to share? It doesn’t have to be a promotion that’s currently running.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Does the New Facebook Make You Miss the Old MySpace?

Privacy Concerns
Facebook’s privacy shuffle is not quite done as founder Mark Zuckerberg reveals that new settings will be coming very soon. Great, just what we need!
Facebook’s integrity may be unraveling as many users are angered by privacy violations, profile bugs, and Zuckerberg’s pompous behavior. A recent source reveals that Zuckerberg called users “dumb f****” when a friend asked why users would trust a stranger with their information.

Profiles Lacking Personality

Privacy is not the only thing that Facebook user profiles are lacking – what about the personality? Remember when you could make your interests “unique”? Maybe you enjoy ‘music to sleep to’ or some other obscure band or activity. Thanks to the site’s new feature, you can’t even add something you’re interested in to your profile unless it already has a presence on Facebook (via Group, Page, Community etc.) On top of that, adding an interest to your profile instantly connects you to other users who like the same thing, whether you like it or not.

Now everyone is stuck with a boring, generic profile layout and you can’t even add an interest that Facebook doesn’t like. Remember when you could add your favorite song to your MySpace profile or change your background layout to match your mood? No, we aren’t talking about the obnoxious animated gifs. What if you just wanted to simply change the background color and font? Not possible with Facebook. Although my MySpace account has been laid to rest many years ago, the new Facebook makes me miss it sometimes. Facebook’s features seem to be getting more problematic and restricting. That’s not to say that MySpace didn’t have privacy issues of their own… but still.

What’s Next?

Thousands have already pleaded to commit social suicide and quit Facebook by May 31st, will you join? I’m also looking forward to Diaspora, an alternative to Facebook, which is set to launch September of 2010.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Social Media: What’s in a Name?

In the social media world, going viral is gold. It’s hard to get people riled up about something and when it happens, the spontaneity of word of mouth is unstoppable. Today, we’ll take a look at how some notable name changes have helped in going viral. Sit back, take some notes and get ready to change your name.

Making a Splash for a Good Cause
Courtesy of this short clip, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian shows us how effective the right name can be. As he explains it, social media helped out for a worth cause in 2007. Greenpeace held a contest to name a humpback whale and raise awareness about protecting these gentle giants. Mister Splashy Pants won out above the other names and helped attract attention to this cause.

A Foodstuff Gets More Fans than The Worst Band in the World
Can this pickle get more fans than Nickelback? Yes, it can. If you haven’t heard, Nickelback is arguably one of the worst bands in the world. An anti-Nickelback enthusiast decided to create a Facebook Fan Page and gather fellow fans for this cause. You may have seen it pop up on your friend’s page and it’s too funny not to follow! Here are some other things that this Pickle beats: MTV, Glenn Beck, and naps. As of now, the Pickle is still in the lead.

Shameless Self-Promotion
Are you a fan of Chad Javon Johnson? Maybe Chad Ochocinco of the Cincinnati Bengals rings a bell. In 2008, the football player legally changed his last name to match his jersey number 85, in Spanish. The word “Ochocinco” is actually displayed across his uniform. There were some rumors that Chad wanted to change has last name to “Himself”. Just picture the announcer saying, “And Johnson throws a pass to Himself”. Hilarious, but no. Chad has recently announced that he is planning to change his name to “Hachi Go” – which roughly translates to 85 in Japanese.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Social Media Things to Keep in Mind

Going Overboard

Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. Blogger. Tumblr. WordPress. Vimeo. MySpace. People can tend to go a little overboard when it comes to social media nowadays. It’s not a bad thing to be everywhere, but you may be spreading yourself thin. Instead, examine the right platforms for your campaign. Having a Twitter or WordPress is pretty useless you’re active. No one said it was easy, but it does take time and effort.

Overlooking Google Profiles

With all the profiles you currently have, who as the time to consider their Google Profile? It is always worthwhile to take advantage of free resources to make sure that your latest info is updated. While Google may have failed with Orkut, they have many social innovations that have grand potential. Google Wave is a favorite among web designers and other busy professionals, while Google’s What’s Popular is looking to rival Digg. There are new social media sites coming out all the time, but it’s especially worth it to keep your eye out on Google products.

Someone’s Always Watching

A little creepy? But yes, we should all be a little more careful with our personal information on all these social media sites. It’s common sense and yet, it can’t be reiterated enough! Facebook’s founder recently claimed that we’re no longer in the age of privacy. According to Zuckerburg, he would make all private info public, if he launched Facebook today. Although many oppose his remarks and Facebook’s recent privacy changes, the best we can do is guard our online identity. Another sketchy source came out saying that Facebook knows who you stalk. Not sure how you guys feel about all this, but I just like to be aware of what’s going on.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Who Uses Facebook’s Marketplace?

New and Improved

Earlier this year in March, Facebook re-launched its Marketplace that is now powered by Oodle. If you haven’t heard of it, the Marketplace is a classified ads section where users can list and respond to advertisements. The Marketplace gives users the ability to buy, sell, and trade all their goods with other Facebook users.

Marketplace Features

So, who really uses the Facebook Marketplace? You may have seen friends trying to sell their used chemistry books or their extra phone. But, did you know that there’s also a section for housing and free stuff? That’s what’s so great about this application. Originally created in 2007, the new Marketplace is revamped with a user friendly interface. While it is like Craigslist in its free listing of classified ads, but it also integrates an important social factor that Craigslist lacks. Wouldn’t you rather buy something from a friend or a friend of a friend than a complete stranger?

Seeing the Potential in the Marketplace

Marketers are warming up to the market place as they see ease and convenience of its features. With every listing, you can promote the sale of your goods and services by adding pictures, putting it in an appropriate category and even sending out personalized messages. Such custom settings make it easier for those looking to buy and sell real estate. Because Facebook thrives on the social thread, word of mouth will still be important. If your friends have had a successful transaction with a certain seller, they’re likely to spread the word. Before you brush it off, not everything on Facebook is a time-waster. In the past, Apple has even posted a listing looking for iPhone engineers on there!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Comparing Facebook Groups and Pages

The Facebook Fundamentals

Establishing your presence on Facebook is an important task whether you are promoting yourself or your business. Some may find that the process is not that straightforward. The first obstacle you will encounter is deciding whether to create a Group or a Page. For some businesses, choosing both is a possibility. So, before you put your time and effort in maintaining your new social media profiles, take some time to consider the pros and cons of each:

Facebook Groups

An easy way to think about Facebook Groups is that they are like any other group or club. A group administrator is in charge of providing members with information, news about events, and more. Other members can also be appointed to help facilitate information. Establishing a group is a great way to gain quick attention for a cause or event.

Pros
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Promote with ads
+ Create events and send reminders
+ Privacy controls (public, private, or closed)
Cons
– Not given any weight by search engines
– Unattractive URL
– No visitor information
– Limited to 5,000 members

Facebook Pages

In some ways, Facebook Pages are more informal than groups. There is no public administrator and users are called “fans”. With Pages, there are more options to track visitor information. Facebook pages are similar to normal Facebook profiles. But instead of a person, these pages are designated to represent a brand or celebrity. Some businesses opt for a Facebook Page to maintain a long-term relationship with fans.

Pros
+ Vanity URL
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Indexed by search engines
+ Ability to extend your SEO efforts
+ Can have over 5,000 fans
Cons
– Cannot send reminders for events
– No privacy controls, everything is public

Making Your Decision

Hopefully, some of these points have helped clear up any confusion. Experts generally agree that Facebook Groups are better for organizing users around a cause or upcoming event. Facebook Pages are useful for a company or celebrity to strengthen their online brand presence. Some argue that users feel more active as a Group member than an observing fan of a Facebook Page. Search marketers usually prefer using Pages because of their advantages in user statistics, while others may use a combination of both.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Small Businesses Benefit from Facebook

How to Take Advantage

Large corporations may have a bigger brand presence on social media sites but that doesn’t mean that small businesses cannot also benefit. Setting up a Facebook page for your business is a cost effective way to keep up with the latest customer trends. Facebook is an easy to use forum which allows customers easy access to upcoming news or events. Additionally, creating a strong online presence can help you rank better in search engine results and bring more relevant traffic to your site. An example of a small business that uses Facebook to its maximum potential is the Beverly Hills based Sprinkles Cupcakes. Founder Charles Nelson relies on building buzz through the Sprinkles Facebook page instead of traditional paid marketing efforts.

Stay Connected with Your Fans

Sprinkles uses Facebook to create a unique and engaging
relationship with their fans. They have even come up with a fun code system which gives the first customers with the secret phrase of the day the opportunity to get free treats! This is a great way to build word of mouth advertising, as well as bring customers to the store. A part of social networking sites is being just that, “social” – and being active can help small businesses succeed in this area. The key is to engage customers by providing help and insight or offering incentives and other promotions. By having a Facebook page, you can monitor the good and bad that is being said about your business. This is better than knowing nothing at all about how your company is perceived. It is even an effective tool that will give you the opportunity to fix those problems.

Using Other User-Friendly Sites

Local references and review sites are popular amongst customers who are looking to try new things. Yelp and Yahoo! Local Listings are perfect examples of these popular sites. Although there are many social networking sites out there, it is important to practice restraint and don’t overdo your efforts. Like any other investment, it takes patience to see a return on your hard work. Whether it is Facebook or any of these other sites, the key to strong staying power is steady maintenance of your page. It is foolish to put in numerous hours one day and then completely stop your efforts. Instead,  view it as a long-term project and set aside a couple minutes every other day to monitor your growth.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.