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This is how to configure your company website for 2017

I thought this was a pretty good summary posted by Mungo Park.  You can see the full article here as well.

 

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There are a variety of technologies and techniques you can use to get your website to work harder for you. Structuring your site correctly helps you capture data and followers, produce enquiries, increase your influence and generate revenue.

If you are creating a new website or if you want to improve your current one, here are a few things to consider to optimise digital performance.


Framework

Digital Strategy – Businesses are increasingly ‘going digital’ and this requires a digital strategy that is aligned with your business strategy. Stop thinking about your website as a shop window and consider it as more of a central platform for communications, marketing and sales.

Social Media – Running a successful digital strategy requires an effective social media presence. Social media is the backbone that drives digital performance.

Search – SEO or SEM should be by-products of good content creation and deployment. Put a solid plan in place to make sure the whole business is operating from the same set of rules. Good search strategies require a content-led approach, on-site optimisation and effective distribution.

Domains and Microsites – If you have multiple sites across different businesses or divisions, you’ll need to audit how they are structured and interlinked. Companies often have multiple sites that end up competing with each other and diluting overall performance.

Inbound – “Inbound marketing” is becoming a digital configuration standard for all industries. Whether you sell products online or use communications and marketing to improve your authority, reputation and expand your network – the roadmap to adopting a truly inbound methodology will transform the way you think about digital strategy for your business. We use HubSpot and are an official HubSpot partner.

On-site Optimisation

UX – Define the user journey you would like people to take through your site. If you have multiple persona types (customer, investor, partner, media) then create separate journeys for each user to reach their relevant “destination of interest”.

Responsive – Ensure the user experience works well on all devices.

Alerts – Set up systems to notify the right people of key events.

Social Media Accounts – Clearly present all social media accounts where you have a presence. This includes auto-follow buttons for Twitter and LinkedIn. Present YouTube, Google+ and other accounts too, where relevant.

Marketing and Communications

Email Marketing – Staying in touch with your relevant personas can be an important part of your communications. It also brings people back to your website creating an important cycle which boosts the performance of your site and rankings which then attracts more people to your site organically.

Marketing Automation – Ensure the correct systems are in place to automatically respond to generic enquiries and reduce human interaction for initial enquiries, new follows and entry level contacts where possible.

Video – Video is the most effective medium for communications and marketing online. It generates more clicks, likes, shares and gets people to spend more time on your website, which in turn improves your Google ranking, which then boosts search. It is also more likely to generate an emotive response and be remembered. This is a virtuous circle for any digital strategy.

Verifications – Your website will need to be verified in order to provide a richer experience on many social networks. Twitter requires website verification to provide access to Twitter card. Verify with YouTube for cards that can link back to your site. Google requires you to verify site ownership so it can crawl your site and apps perfectly. Google My Business has postcard verification for all services including Google Maps and Google+.

Metadata and Structured Data – It is important to clearly present all of your content to search engines. Use metadata to specify page descriptions, keywords, document authors, dates modified, and other information. This information can be used by browser, search engines and on social media to simplify how information about your site is read and presented.

Mentions – Set up systems to monitor when your company is mentioned externally to your site or when new links to your site are established.

Data Capture

IP Tracking – Capture as much information as possible from your daily traffic. IP tracking will give you insights into the names of businesses that visit your site and the pages they have visited.

CTAs, Forms and Landing Pages – Alongside your user journey, there should be a series of CTAs (Calls to action), landing pages and forms to get people to sign up – this should be for all aspects of the business including investor relations, newsletter, communications, marketing, partnerships, HR.

Conversion Pixels – You can install pixels or tracking codes to connect your social accounts to your website and collect data from visitors. Twitter, Facebook and Google all have tools that you can use to help collect data (NB LinkedIn does not). This helps you build a relevant audience based on visitors to your site which can be used for remarketing. Tracking codes from content syndication sites like Taboola and Revcontent can also be installed.

Ranking and Analytics – Measure performance and benchmark your results. Using systems like MOZ, Alexa, SEM Rush and Google Analytics can help set the standard for your website performance and rank how pages are performing. Here are a few examples of things you should be tracking and trying to improve:

  • Website visits
  • Organic traffic
  • Mentions
  • Bounce rate
  • Keyword rankings
  • Conversions (i.e. for enquiries, email subscriptions, social interactions and followers)

Final Note…

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation will be coming into force on 25th May 2018. While the date is still reasonably far away it is important for companies to start thinking in advance about how they can be compliant. GDPR regulates how and why companies capture, store and use personal data and will affect most companies. Start mapping out what you are doing with the data acquired through your site from a legal and IT perspective which will need to be clearly documented and easily presented when called upon to do so.

Hope you found it as good a summary as I did.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

 

The Clamour – Microsoft buys Yammer

Microsoft-YammerReports of Microsoft’s intended acquisition of Yammer have been buzzing around for the past two weeks.

Yammer – by definition is to complain peevishly; whine – that is likely not the case since Microsoft on Monday confirmed the rumored $1.2 billion acquisition of B2B social networking firm Yammer.  The Microsoft-Yammer deal follows several other recent enterprise software purchases centered on social media.  Salesforce.com , a San Francisco’s based firm, increased its social-marketing resources through its purchase of Buddy Media Inc. earlier this month, and Redwood City’s Oracle Corp. just recently purchased two companies – Vitrue Inc. and Collective Intellect Inc. These firms assist the management and evaluation of data on social-media sites.

Yammer is an enterprise social network, providing a secure way for employees to communicate, collaborate, and share information.  The business, which is four years old and has five million users, operates like Facebook for communication within companies.  Employees using Yammer can discuss ideas, post news, ask questions, and share links and other information. Yammer also provides a company directory in which every employee has a profile.  What’s more the service makes available a knowledge base where past conversations can be easily accessed and referenced. Continue reading »

There’s a new Google+ interface

Google+ Introduces a New Look and New Navigation: There’s a new Google+ interface. These design changes add more white space, make Google+ easier to use and pave the way for future updates.  Google says the new Google Plus is more functional and flexible. Instead of static icons at the top, Google has created a dynamic ribbon of applications on the left, on which users can drag apps up or down, hover over certain apps to reveal a set of quick actions and show or hide apps by moving them in and out of ‘More’.

The navigation ribbon–One of the first things you’ll notice is a new way to get around the stream. Instead of static icons at the top, there’s a dynamic ribbon of applications on the left. This approach comes with lots of perks, but some of our favorites include:

  • You can drag apps up or down to create the order you want
  • You can hover over certain apps to reveal a set of quick actions
  • You can show or hide apps by moving them in and out of “More”

Google has also made the photo display on Google Plus larger than before and also created conversation ‘cards’ to make it easier to scan and join discussions. There is also a dedicated Hangouts page, as well a new a new Explore page across the Google Plus network.

Check it out!

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Embed Tweets! (short video)

We had some questions on our conference call about our last post, so here is a short impromptu video about how you would embed a tweet.

Hope you enjoy and let us know if you have any additional questions.

You can also view it on YouTube….

How to Embed a Tweet on Your Blog or Website
If you miss the original post, check it out here  Embed Tweets!

 

 

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Embed Tweets!

Twitter now allows users to capture embed codes for their favorite tweets. This means that rather than taking screen shots of tweets and uploading images to our blogs and websites, we can embed tweets so that users can interact directly from our site. Of the new introductions, I believe this feature will have the most impact on sharing your content. What’s so great about that? Let me show you!

Overview

Embedded tweets allow you to take a tweet or a conversation and post it on your website or in a blog post. This feature allows you to share your Twitter conversation with a more extensive audience. The most significant aspect is the embedded tweets have interactive features. From an embedded tweet, a visitor to your website or a blog post reader can:

      1. View the Twitter profile of the tweet author.
      2. View the Twitter profile of the tweet recipient
      3. View tweet replies by clicking the tweet date.
      4. Reply to the tweet and join the conversation.
      5. Retweet and Share the conversation.
      6. Follow the tweet author.
      7. Mark the tweet as a favorite.

All of this happens right on your website. For most functions, Twitter adds a pop-up window so your visitor never leaves your site. It’s like having a little Twitter conversation launching platform installed on your website.

Embedded tweets are prominent on the page because they include graphic elements, so they pull the eyes of your visitors toward the twitter box.  If you embed a reply, Twitter posts not only the reply, but also the original tweet, giving you a conversation view. This puts the specific tweet you might want to share in context so it make more sense.

Tweets with photos from pic.twitter.com and videos from YouTube appear with the media visible. If the tweet includes a media source from another provider, your visitors can click through the tweet to display the image or video.

Approach 1: You can now add Customer Comments and Testimonials to Your Website or Blog

 This is an actual embedded Tweet—You can see all the Buttons and Links work!

The ability to include tweets from satisfied customers will give you spontaneous testimonials to display on your website or blog giving credibility to your brand. Before embeddable tweets, you could use the Twitter widget to add a list of customer testimonials to your website. Now with the embeddable tweets, you can highlight and share a single tweet without creating an entire list.

When prospective customers browse your website, they are looking for reasons you are better or different from someone else offering the same services or products. Actual tweets about your business or service make the website come alive and could generate more leads and conversions.

Approach 2: Prolong a Twitter Conversation in your Blog Post

For bloggers often a Twitter conversation becomes the insight for a particular blog post. You can embed part of a conversation into your blog post and reach more people than the original Twitter conversation.

Think about choosing a Tweet that includes a question. Each person who reads your post can join in the Twitter conversation directly from your blog. It’s a great way to develop your network and invite people who missed the original conversation on Twitter to join in.

Just to avoid the obvious reply…it even captures your typos like “imput”, oh well…

Approach 3: An automatic Call to Action

In our previous articles, we have discussed the importance of making sure you have a Call to Action.  You may or may not know how to create ads or Calls To Action (CTA) tabs for generating leads. You can now have the option of using an embedded Tweet instead and achieve the same result. You might create an embedded tweet to offer a free report or eBook on a topic in exchange for their contact information to build your email list. Not only can you grow your email list, but the prospect walks away with information and is likely to return to your site for more instruction, information, or additional resources.

Moreover, the customer is likely to spend more time at the website or blog when there is an embedded Twitter widget. This means that any ads, deals, announcements and other website content will get more exposure.

Approach 4: Event Round-up comments

Many conferences and trade shows today have a Twitter screen display that shows the comments and conversations going on among attendees. People often write enthusiastic tweets during events. You can capture their excitement by embedding those tweets.  So you just left a trade show and heard excellent feedback on your brand or product(s).

You can capture selected comments and share them on the event website, a daily wrap-up blog post, or event wrap-up post using embedded tweets. This will help you both get more followers and encourage them to share your summary posts on the event. Maybe you’ll even find some new prospects out of this?

If you are a larger company and host Twitter meetups, or Tweetups as they’re commonly called, you can capture tweets made during your event and share them on your website or in a blog post about your event.

Approach 5: A mini-guest blogger – Add views and thoughts from Others to Your Blog Posts

Many bloggers invite Guest Bloggers to post articles on their blog.  In turn they include opinions and quotes from those guests and often other people in their blog posts. Take that practice a step further and now you can embed tweets from other people into your blog posts.

 

Using your blog as the platform, the embedded tweets allow your readers to connect with new people on Twitter and jump into the Twitter conversation.

Approach 6: If you provide Training Classes, Webinars or Speaking Engagements- Share Audience Questions, Answers and Comments

Most live events broadcast live streams as well in order it involve excess capacity.  Typically, Twitter is used to solicit questions and comments.  Some of the most unprompted compliments about your business products and services occur during these conference sessions or webinars. You can capture these tweets and embed them into your blogs to demonstrate what people enjoyed about past conference gatherings.

When speaking at an event, audience members often share the highlights of your talk on Twitter along with their compliments of your talk. You can share these tweets on your website speaker page as testimonials of your presentation success.

Approach 7: Add a Tweet to Your Email Signature

In your business email signature, you have a small space to make a big impact. You can now embed a tweet in your email signature. How cool is that? Say you get some great feedback from a Twitter follower; Why not embed a tweet of that glowing customer comment to help you seal the deal with a potential customer? You can display that tweet in your email signature for the day or week. Add a tweet about an upcoming event or special.  Change it up as often as you’d like. Fun and easy.

In summary, Twitter has been a very powerful, real time communication, media filtering, and news filtering tool. Now Twitter is a portable power tool. Specially selected and embedded tweets will help to keep visitors at the website for a while. News can be shared easily when there are multiple websites. Finally, visitors can still get the benefits of Twitter without full immersion or having to go back and forth between the website and Twitter.

You can read more about embedding tweets in your website here.  But below is a quick overview:

WordPress Tweet Embed Plugin

WordPress is widely used by beginner and intermediate web developers, so it seems fitting to start with a plugin for your WordPress site. The WordPress Tweet Embed Plugin is the easiest model to embed a tweet. If you can copy and paste, you can use this method. Download and install the plugin as you do any WordPress plugin. When you see a tweet you want to embed, click on the link to open the full article. Copy the URL from the address bar of the web browser and take it to your WordPress dashboard.

Open your New Post page in the Visual tab where you would normally write your post and paste the URL on a separate line from other text. Then you can format it –Center, left, etc…

Click Save Draft and Preview how it will look in your post.

Direct HTML

You create an embedded tweet by inserting special HTML code into your website, blog post, email signature or anyplace that accepts HTML code.

Note: Before you get the HTML code, make sure you know where you are going to insert your embedded tweet and know how to insert HTML in that tool.

To get the HTML code to create an embedded tweet:

  1. Locate a tweet on Twitter.com that you want to embed. Hover your mouse over the tweet and click the Open option.

2.  Click Details.

 

3.  Click Embed this Tweet.

Twitter displays the Embed this Tweet window.

4.  Choose the alignment option for your tweet (left, right or center).

Twitter adjusts the HTML code for the alignment option you choose.

5.  Click inside the HTML code box to highlight the code. Note as above I choose “Center.”

Copy the HTML code (CTRL+C or Command+C) and paste it into your website, blog or other destination. Copy the code and paste it into your HTML tab, to the position where you want the tweet to show up. Click Preview to see it displayed in your article.

Once you experiment with options, you will see it’s very easy to do! Give it a try and be proud of yourself for tinkering with code and get your content shared through another avenue. Let us know how it worked out for you!

Precisely.

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Ten Timeline 4 Biz Talking Points

Timeline for Facebook Brand Pages is officially here, and will be rolled out for all Facebook Brand Pages by March 30th 2012. As a result, many marketers are wondering how to incorporate all the new features and functionality into their campaigns. While it certainly does take some getting used to, this will allow you to get more visually creative and tell the stories of your brand history a bit more effectively.

This modification has actually forced you to use your brand’s Facebook timeline to tell the story of your brand. There is some wisdom…real marketing is also about effectual storytelling and not necessarily only about promotional-loaded, traffic capturing, and hard selling.  Review the changes below and strategize how to use your brand to connect with your fans.

Begin working on your pages now.  You have the option to preview, tweak, and publish their new design immediately, but you have until March 30th before the changes are officially seen!

1. Default Landing Tabs are Gone

Facebook has removed the ability to create a default landing tab, a favored feature for many savvy brands.  You can still put a fan gate on applications and content, but not on the cover image.

Up until now the default landing Page was one of the primary ways to control the first (branded) impression a user encountered. Given that there are no more tab Pages, there is no way to set one as a default. This will significantly change user first impression when they visit a brand’s Page. So everyone who lands on your page sees the same thing, fan and non-fan alike.

2. Cover Photo

Cover Photos are a great way to welcome the community to your page and announce campaigns.  Without the Landing Pages, you can now use your Cover Photo and Pinned (see below) stories to drive users to your application pages.  (It is also still possible to link directly to application pages from posts, ads and out of Facebook.)  The Cover photos are 850 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size. The image you upload must be at least 399 pixels wide.  So you should start right away on designing an image that captures the nature of your brand and causes an instant desire to like your page.

Cover photos are fantastic ways to engage your fans. Since there’s no longer an option to fix a default landing tab for your brand page, your brand’s cover photo will be the first piece of content your potential fans will see. You should make your cover photo a talking point.

You will likely need to rethink your strategy and Facebook ads for brands will become more important, as ads will be one of the major ways brands on Facebook can control a user’s experience. Setting up an advertising campaign for a Facebook promotion or creating a new application will be the only way to guide new and clicking users directly to that application since landing on this Page cannot be achieved by default.

Make a note: a call to action is against Facebook’s terms and conditions, so this technique is risky, and not advisable.  The cover photo can be up to 850px by 315px but may NOT contain the following:

  • Calls to action, such as, “Download it Here”, “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.
  • You cannot point to or reference user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
  • Pricing or purchasing information, such as, “Two Day Sale Only”, “Get 30% off” or “Download it at our website”.
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.

The possibilities are endless. Think outside of the box and make use of this valuable feature.

3.  About Section

The about section has always been a part of your Facebook page, but now it’s more notably featured at the top of your timeline. It’s important that you update this section of your timeline.  There are two versions of the about section.

  • Local businesses: If your timeline is associated with a physical location, then it this lists the subcategory, address, telephone number and hours of operation.
  • No physical location: If your timeline features a brand without a single physical location, then the section lets you add a description of up to 255 characters. It’s essential to be extremely clear and concise.  You want to provide first time visitors a clear understanding of what your timeline is all about.

4. “Pin” your favorite post to the top or “Feature” it

Pinning is one major new feature that marketers will love.  It is the ability to “pin” certain posts to the top of the Timeline. This is great! As an admin you can control what goes at the top of your page.  Be sure to pin something at least once a week.  You’ll see a small orange flag on pinned posts. Click the pencil icon in the upper-right corner of your Page’s post. Then select “Pin to Top.

Featured Starred Content is also offered. This will extend the content or image across your entire page width wise; making it more prominent.

Hover over a story and click on the star (star icon) to make it wider, or on the pencil (pencil icon) to pin it to the top of your Page, hide or delete it entirely.

 

 

You can pin only one item at a time, and the pinned item then exists in two locations; as the top item on the Timeline itself, as well as within its chronological place. A post that is pinned to the top of a Page will remain there for 7 days. After that, it will return to the date it was posted on the Page’s timeline. Posts from people who like a Page are not eligible to be pinned posts. Page administrators can only pin posts created by the Page.

You can unpin the post automatically when a new item gets pinned, or again if the item has been pinned seven days.  Once the post is unpinned, the post returns in the chronology of Timeline posts, there is no visual history that it was pinned in the past.

Since you can no longer create a default landing Page, pinning items to the top of the Timeline will become every marketer’s go-to strategy for stressing new and interesting content. You should consider designing posts specifically to be pinned, whether it is a well-designed call-to-action, a declaration about brand value, images, or a message calling for the user to click one of the tab panels under the cover photo. After the Facebook Cover Photo, this is the next best way to reach out to potential fans.

Don’t forget to use the Star to widen a post: Hover over a story and click on the star to make it wider. This is great to highlight your best pictures.

5. Recent Posts by Others

Timeline now provides a section at the top right that exhibits a list of recent postings from fans.  You should leave this visible to show activity and engagement across your timeline.

In the event that you find it confusing or consuming, you can turn it off and hide the box. You can do this in the same area where you control page and post visibility on the permissions page. To get there click the manage button>> then select edit page>> followed by manage permissions.  You can uncheck

 in the area labeled “post visibility”.

6. Fan Page Messages

Now people can contact you privately using messages. Notifications about new messages will appear right in your administration panel. This allows for more profound consumer interaction, and will also enable Page managers to take extended customer inquiries off the Timeline and into a private message. This is grand for being able to handle a side discussion, particularly one that you don’t want show to all fans, such as an unhappy customer service issue.  It also will prevent clutter to your Timeline with multiply customer or lengthy inquiries.

When you’ve published your new format, make sure you announce this new feature to fans.  It is turned on by default, but if you want to turn this off, go to ’Manage’ >> ‘Edit Page’ >> ‘Manage Permissions,’ and uncheck the ‘Messages’ box.

7. Photos, Likes, and Apps at Top of Page

Photos, likes and apps are now at the top of your Page. The “Photos” app will be required on the left, but you can change the order of everything else so people see what is most important. You can select any three to put on the right: Likes, Videos, Events, Map and a Page’s custom apps, etc.   You can show a maximum number of 12 apps, so again make sure to put your most important ones first.

This is a big win for page owners who want to highlight custom apps.  Put your key apps or content here.  ALSO, update your App icons and names to describe the app’s purpose.  Simply click the drop-down icon to the right of the tiles, click the ‘+’ button to import your custom apps, and then hover over them and click the pencil to move them around.  This is where your old fan gate or landing page application will now live, making it obsolete as a way of converting new visitors into fans because it won’t be the first thing that’s seen when you land on a timeline. So, you can put a real fan gate on your other applications and content. Encourage users to LIKE your timeline before they can access the sought apps or content. We highly recommend this.

This is likely the most pressing update for page owners. As these are the first tabs users will see, they will predictably be the first to be interacted with, or completely ignored if not optimized for the new experience.
 You will want to exchange which tabs are visible  “above the fold,” according to current company objectives or recent project popularity.

In order to move your apps around, first click the down arrow.  Then, click the pencil icon.Then select the app that you would like to swap positions with. As mentioned, you cannot change the position of the Photos app.

You can change the photo that appears for the app and you can rename the app to give a call to action.  To change your app photo, again follow the same procedure above.  Scroll down to the Edit Setting selection and from there you can add a custom tab image.

Or, you can select the Mange tab and select Edit Page.  Select Aps and pick the appropriate app for change.  Either way you will get to this screen and select Change.

 

The custom tab image is 111 pixels by 74 pixels.

8. Add Milestones

Let’s tell your story.  One of the most interesting aspects of timeline for brands is the ability to go back and add past events related to the history of your organization.  Similar to your personal profile, including these past events helps create a concise story-line for your brand.

Since you are challenged with using the timeline interface, you should use it to the fullest. Merely go to where you would normally post an update to begin posting past milestones.

If you have not already posted a milestone about when your organization was founded, you will have to do that initially.  After you do that, then you can create other milestones.

9.  New Administrator Panel

Keep track of your Page activity from the admin panel. You can reply when people write on your Page timeline, and view your latest insights.

Notifications, Messages, New Likes, Insights and Page Tips are easily accessible.  The Manage and Build Audience tabs also provide flexibility. You can visit your activity log to review all your posts and activity.

 

In addition, during the month of March, new admin controls will be released. This will let you set different permissions for each page admin.

10.  Other Opportunities

Facebook Offers-Certain businesses, brands and organizations can share discounts with their customers by posting an offer on their Facebook Page. Offers are like coupons and don’t cost anything to create. When someone claims an offer, they’ll receive an email that they can show at the Page’s physical location to get the discount.  Only a few companies have access to Facebook Offers currently, but it will be rolled out soon. According to Facebook’s Offer Help section, they “expect to make Offers available more broadly soon.

The offer is sent through the news feeds of your fans, and thus much more visible. There are easy ways to share the Offer, both through the post itself and then when the Offer is claimed. Fans get the Offer by clicking the Get Offer link, see the terms and then click the blue Claim Offer button.  Since Facebook has everyone’s email address, they have the ability to email your Offer to the specific person who claimed it. Although the page does not have access to those emails through which the Offer was claimed, in any case the word is spread about your Offer.  We will just wait and see when these are rolled out in the main.  Then other opportunities and concerns may appear.

Advertising changes- The ads will be bigger. Make sure your fans see your stories using the Reach Generator. This “always on” packaged solution makes it easy for you to regularly reach and engage 75% of your fans with meaningful content from your Page. You focus on creating engaging content on your newly designed Page, while we ensure that your fans see the stories you are telling.

  • Reach Generator is trouble-free and simple to use.
  • You post good, relevant content on your Page, and Facebook will automatically distribute it to your fans.
  • Facebook guarantees you will reach a majority of your fans and see grand results.

Use Premium on Facebook to drive awareness for events and activities. Premium on Facebook is designed to deliver your stories to new connections and will be shown on the right side of the home page.  It will also appear in the news feed, in mobile streams and when someone logs out of Facebook. For example, use Premium on Facebook for a product launch, movie premiere or sales event.

Where can I learn more about how to use the new Pages?

There are multiple places to learn more about Pages:

  • Tour key features with Facebook’s product experts in the Pages Learning Video
  • Learn about new features; download the Pages Overview Guide from here.
  • New to Pages? Learn how to get started, check out Facebook’s full Pages Product Guide by downloading it here.
  • Specific questions, visit Facebook’s Help Center

The new Fan Page Timeline will surely shake things up for social media marketers who pursue making an impact on Facebook. Notwithstanding, there is one thing that is certain: The manner in which content is shared and viewed within a Fan Page Timeline is extremely important. Owners that constantly create attractive and engaging updates and share important milestones will remain at the forefront of visitor’s attention. Create and alternate new apps for maximum engagement, pin pertinent and timely content, and update your status with user-friendly conversations and discussions.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Develop Your Campaign Strategies using QR Codes and MS Tags

We discussed some of the basics regarding QR Codes and MS Tags, so let’s think about our QR code campaign strategy.

To create a winning QR code campaign, it is essential to(i) identify with your target audience; (ii) have clear purposes; (iii) and above all else provide incentives to convey a favorable user experience.  First let’s keep in mind the bigger picture and keep it simple for starters… Communication – There’s no boundary to how, or even how much, you can share with QR codes or MS Tags.  A video, squeeze page, or landing page is easily shared and common. You could go further and share an entire eBook and even multiple pieces of content that share a common link, or pay with PayPal.

QR code “Like” button JJ Duling International, Inc. Facebook page.

Your Social Network is build through communication and sharing, and one of the favorite places for doing this is Facebook.  You can use Likify to create a QR code that links your mobile device to a fully functioning LIKE button for your Facebook page.

This really makes the process of assimilation your other communities with your Facebook page much easier since it is all accomplished in one click.  The “thumbs-up Like” signature clearly suggests the purpose of the code.

Every website should have a call to action, a response you want users to complete.  After building a social network, the next logical step is to rally them to take action.   Do you want users to complete a contact form, signup for a newsletter, opt in for a free eBook, or volunteering their time?  Whatever are you trying to accomplish, the call to action is key.  Below you can combine your Like code and direct them to an opt-in /Like page to build your list.

The QR code above takes visitors to a Facebook page welcome tab where the calls to action are Liking the page and a List Registration opt-in below.

The QR code above takes visitors to a Facebook page welcome tab where the calls to action are Liking the page and a List Registration opt-in below.

Here are some ideas and considerations to help you get started building your strategy.

Prepare and map your QR or MS Tag strategy.

Identify with Your Target Audience:

  • Will consumers have to change their behavior to accommodate QR codes, or is it part of their journey?
  • Does your audience need instructions about the use of QR or MS Tag codes?
  • Does your audience need to use a specific type of code reader?
  • Where will the codes be scanned…i.e. indoors, dark (restaurant) or light room or outside, is there an internet connection?
  • Will this alienate consumers who are not digital-savvy / do not have smart-phones?
  • You can also get an easy to memorize short URL from bitly or other traffic tracking URL shortening tools
  •  Does the content you are linking to ADD VALUE to the customer?

Have Clear Objectives—Here are some possibilities:

  • Cultivate your social network
  • Grow your email list
  • Increase Likes for your Facebook page
  • Increase your blog subscribers
  • Grow you subscription site
  • Improving customer communications

Provide Incentives—Here are some options:

  • Download a free eBook or MP3
  • Offer a discount for paying with QR Code
  • Contest- enter to win different prizes
  • Provide a discount coupon for a service, meal, or subscriber
  • Talk to a live agent
  • Provide a virtual tour
  • Use a Video to demonstrate a product or service
  • Provide Special access to a certain area…i.e. Training

You should always provide an incentive, if you are attempting to improve your email list or your Facebook LIKES.  The one thing your strategy needs is for you to understand that the person scanning the code expects something more.

You can, but don’t send them to your website. You can, but don’t just send them to your Facebook page. Send them to the next step in something grand.  Send the user to insightful informational content about the product in question or the company itself.

Have a code on your menu? Send them to a list of exclusive recipes. Have a code on your business card? Send them to a video that explains the benefits you get from signing up for the company e-newsletter, and then have a link there to let them opt in to receive it. Have Tags implemented on caps or table toppers? Send the user to informative content about the product in question or the company itself.

If businesses fail to deliver value with their QR code campaigns, consumers in general will become bored with them and more reluctant to scan them in the future. This will make it increasingly necessary to provide clear incentives and deliver on them.

Produce quality codes and make sure they work

While there are a variety of 2D code formats, we have mentioned the two most commonly used worldwide; QR codes and Microsoft (MS) tags. Both of these technologies are free, your selection of which to use will largely depend upon your audience and other market factors.

The QR code technology is free to use. This gives QR codes the benefit of being in the majority with regard to use around the world, and that familiarity is currently working to their advantage.

The MS tag technology is proprietary, which provides for absolute control over the entire user experience of generating, reading and tracking the tags. MS tags are also easily tailored and customized. One can embed images or logos into the codes using a number of options like Photo Shop or Microsoft PowerPoint.  See my logo.

As you would expect the widespread application and use of the QR technology has attracted lots of developers who want to cash in on the trend. Bear in mind, when technologies are open like this, there is always the risk that generally accepted standards will not be followed. QR code generators and scanners are only as good as the developers creating them, so you have to do your homework. If your QR codes don’t work, your reputation and brand are damaged.

Here are some fundamentals that will maximize your success with QR codes and MS Tags:

  • Make sure your QR code is not too complex and contains too much information.  If your code is complex it will generate comparatively smaller pixels and many QR scanners on lower quality smart-phones may not be able to read it properly.
  • Test your QR code to see whether it is working properly using various QR Code readers and on various devices and also make sure it can be tracked in your web analytics tool…
    • If you are using coupon codes, make sure they are properly working.
    • If you are pushing the QR scanner to a specific URL, make sure the URL is properly working.
  • Use link shorteners to create clean codes.
  • Avoid using colors that do not provide sufficient contrast—a potential problem with both QR codes and customized MS tags.
  • Make your codes at least 1″ x 1″—larger is better.
  • Provide a sufficient white space around the code.
  • Steer clear of using 2D codes on highly reflective surfaces.
  • Consider where your codes will be scanned.  Is there is an Internet connection.
  • Use a quality QR code generator. My favorites are ZXing Project and BeQRious. Another that has worked well for me is Kaywa, a site created by Datamatrix.  You can use these enhanced generators to create QR codes that link to a web page, text, phone numbers, or SMS.  One with even greater capabilities, including customizing the color and format of your codes is Kerem Erkan.
  • Use a quality scanner or reader. Some excellent choices are QR Reader for iPhone, QR Scanner, Qrafter and i-nigma. Qrafter is unique in that it is both a code generator and scanner in one app. The QR code reader app that works well on my iPhone is the i-nigma.  It accommodates virtually any type of camera phone. For the android, you can also try Barcode Scanner. If you already own the popular price-checking app Red Laser, they’ve recently adapted their technology to accommodate QR code reading.

Make sure your codes are Linked to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized sites

One of the more common mistake marketers make with QR codes  and MS Tags is having them resolve to a standard web page that is not mobile-friendly. You must take into account the video format of the site.  You cannot have a code connect to a site with Flash video, which is not supported by the iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) that account for a majority of the code readers in the world.

Mobile-optimized is better than mobile-friendly.  When building a mobile site:

  • Build your site around the desired user experience. Remember to put all the most important information that you want mobile users to see on the top of the page like site search and navigation. It can be time consuming to browse through a mobile site, not to mention tedious to read through. Make your mobile site design convenient for your consumers.
  • Smaller images and solid colors load more quickly. The phrase “less is more” holds true to mobile design. Avoid using unnecessary graphics.
  • Keep download time in mind.  Avoid background images… they can reduce readability in certain lighting conditions. Combine smaller images, like icons, into one file and use CSS to position them on the page. This reduces the number of http requests your device has to make. Lastly, reduce size of images and minify JavaScript.
  • Design for fingers. Click targets should be a minimum of 30-40px in size and use whitespace in between elements to ease click-ability. Size your links and buttons to be touch-friendly.
  • It is easiest if your site is coded using either XML or XHTML, with your character encoding set at UTF-8.
  • Use succinct copy—sentences rather than paragraphs.
  • You have to consider that different mobile devices have different screen sizes. Design and build with a “fluid” layout in mind.
  • Test, test and test again—on iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms. Your site must use CSS for the layout to ensure maximum compatibility. Avoid using tables.
  • Forms can be difficult to use on a mobile device. Since text is time consuming to enter, you may want to offer your user the convenience of radio buttons and lists, which they can choose from depending on what they need. Also, reduce the number of screens a user passes through to complete a form. Form labels should be top aligned rather than left aligned to save space.
  • Forms should require the minimum amount of data input and should remember the data for the next time a user visits the site.

The principal benefit of 2D codes is encouraging action. This can be accomplished by connecting to multimedia content such as video that shows a product or service in action. Other logical actions include activating a phone call or social sharing.

Here’s a list of the most requested features for mobile-optimized sites:

  • Social sharing links.
  • Google maps integration.
  • Tap to bookmark.
  • Tap to call links.
  • Tap to email links.
  • Tap to SMS (text).
  • Links to other mobile-optimized sites like Yelp, Youtube, and Vimeo.

If you are not ready to mobilize your site, there are services available to do that.  DudaMobile is one I have not used, but have heard good reports.  If you are using WordPress, there are some Plugins that do most of the work and provide a great experience.

Measure your campaign-Analyze and examine your scan data with code management systems

The success of the QR code campaign will not only depend on the number of scans it accomplished daily, but worth more while making an user spent some time interacting with your website which helps engaging with the business.  QR codes and MS tags can presently track basic data. However, if you use a QR code management system, you can gather even richer data. These are all in the early stages of their development cycle. Most of these services are free for limited used. According to Microsoft, “MS tags have the capability to accurately determine the location of a scan and report that data in real time.” This sets up a number of code management prospects, such as delivering diverse content depending upon the location of the scan.  One could provide directions to the store or a discount coupon for those in or near the store. It also can be helpful in advertising through online portals, social media, etc. to make a successive campaign. If the number of scans drops, it will be an indication for reduced user experience.

The Consumer Experience Is Ultimately What Matters- Provide value and a positive user experience

QR Codes and MS Tags are just tools, and how you use the tool determines the value derived from it. What is most germane is that you as the marketer are the one who gives your codes value. Provide clear incentives and deliver on them.

QR codes and MS Tags can serve many specific uses for you.  The most prominent would be as a lead generation tool. You don’t have to necessarily replace your current lead generation programs; you can often just modify them. If you can use what is working for you now and make it even better, you are likely on the right track.   If you can identify tangential opportunities and make it more attractive or easier with QR codes or MS Tags, you are likely speeding down the right track. One of the fundamental rules of marketing is you have to meet your customers where they are, and customers today are ever increasingly mobile. A successful mobile marketing strategy using QR codes or MS Tags will place your business there in real time.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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