In a world where we expect things to be better, faster and more entertaining than ever, we want a lot of things to happen in a very short time frame. This is why Vine, a social media app owned by Twitter that allows users to create and share a 6 second video, is a big deal. Is it right for you? Maybe! Let's find out!
Wait, what? What's "VINE?"
Back in October of 2012, Twitter purchased the mobile app. It debuted soon after in January of 2013 and it's been growing ever since with roughly 40 million users. With it, you can create and share short videos at a maximum of 6 seconds each. It makes sense that Twitter was interested in it since it's kind of like a tweet in video format. Vine allows you to start and stop filming so that you can change locations or do stop motion videos easily. The videos play on an endless loop, kind of like an animated GIF.
Do you belong on Vine?
Just like with any social media site, if it doesn't fit your demographic, you'll be wasting your time with it. Vine's main demographics are 57% women ages 18-20. Twitter and Vine go together very nicely. Vine videos can be shared to Twitter easily, so the audience that is most likely to consume Vines would be those who enjoy short-form networks like Tumblr and Twitter. If that's your demographic, Vine is a great place for you!
Getting set up
Before you set up your account, make sure you're able to keep up with it. Creating Vines takes some creativity and a bit of time to make something that will catch attention. If you're willing and able to nurture it, you'll get great results. The first step is to download the app onto your mobile device. If you have a Twitter account logged into that device, you just have to give Vine permission to access your account. It's as easy as clicking a button that says "ok." A few simple steps later and you're up and running.
Make sure you include a short description about who you are and what you do, just like you would with your Twitter account. When you're ready to make your first Vine, the app will step you through what to do. It takes some practice and experimentation, but you'll get the hang of it in no time at all. You'll even find it to be a lot of fun!
What to create
Now that you're up and running and you've experimented a bit, you're ready to think about what kind of content you'd like to put out there. Even though 6 seconds is a short amount of time to get a message across, don't forget that you have a space for a written caption to go with your video. The length isn't limited and you can use hashtags to help people find your content, so don't be intimidated by the six seconds. That said, here's a quick list of ideas that can help you convey a lot in a little bit of time:
1) Time Lapse
Time lapse videos are great to help make a very short story flow nicely. You can highlight your products and services here or post a message about a promotion or sale.
2) Share what's new
If you've got something new and great coming up, you can announce it on Vine. Did you get a new intern? Film them at work! Are you launching a new product? Announce it on Vine! It's a perfect place for a teaser promoting a blog article or special event you're having too.
3) Make it fun
Since your audience here is on the younger side, your video can be more casual and fun. Creativity, humor and originality are key here. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there to get attention on Vine. Get silly, think outside the box and be fun!
4) Cross promote
Don't forget that you can broaden your reach by sharing a link from Vine on Twitter, Pinterest or any of your other social media platforms.
5) #, #, #
The best way to get your videos noticed is to do some hashtag research and find out what hashtags folks are using that are relevant to your video. Hashtags are absolutely essential to maximizing your content so don't skip them!
When you use Vine correctly, you'll see great ROI. It does take a bit of practice to get the technique down and then after that some creativity to create fun and engaging content, but the results will be well worth it and you'll have another great marketing tool to use!
It doesn't matter if you think Kim Kardashian is a frivolous cheese ball or if you worship her every breath. You cannot deny that a person with 31 million Twitter followers and 29.9 million Instagram followers has made some great moves to make hers one of the biggest social media presences out there. She even has an app that has been downloaded over 28 million times. Impressive, right? Here's how you can keep up with Kardashian.
1) Be authentic and stay true to your brand
If you follow Kim Kardashian on any social media channels, you'll notice that her posts are always consistent with her brand. She strives to maintain a certain image that projects her personality and her values in a way that's relatable to people. Even while she's sporting an obnoxiously expensive handbag or showing off her legendary bum, fans love what she's doing and live vicariously through her. When planning your social media posts, make sure you are representing your business well and that your customers will find your posts relatable. People also love a little peek behind the curtains, so without giving away your secret sauce, show the people a little bit about how you do what you do.
2) Ask questions to increase engagement
Every once in a while, you'll see Kim ask Twitter a question like "where can I get something to eat in this town?" and the crowd goes wild. Most people enjoy giving input and sharing their experiences, so any time you can engage your followers by asking for their input, do it. It adds a personal element to your social media posts that creates a natural conversation between your brand and your followers.
3) Be unapologetically glamorous
Kim Kardashian would never post something that makes her look sloppy or disorganized, and neither should you. Make sure that everything you put out there is polished so that your brand looks smashing. Fill out your profiles and about sections thoroughly. Make sure your information is all current and give people a reason to keep coming back. The Kardashian sisters are known for fantastic giveaways, which is a great way to get some Facebook traffic. That is certainly something you could test out.
4) Say it with pictures
With an Instagram following topping out at almost 30 million, clearly she's rocking it out hardcore with the Instagram crowd. In an increasingly visual world, communicating through photos is becoming a great way to promote a brand. In keeping with her personal brand, her Instagram photos mostly highlight her glamorous lifestyle, which is a way to constantly promote and reinforce her brand message. You can do the same thing without even posing in a bikini or making a sexy duck lips face. Try taking photos of your newest products, happenings around the office and maybe even a few fun, but totally safe and appropriate personal things like a bike ride on a nice day, or your participation in a community event. Hashtags are of utmost importance on Instagram, so make sure you have at least one with every photo you post so that your photos link back to you and bring in more followers to your Instagram feed.
5) Tell people where to go and what to do
Once you have your brand messaging nailed down and your social media and website pages are polished up and pretty, you'll need to promote yourself to gain followers. Make sure you have your website and social media pages listed on your business cards, email signature, and printed collateral so that people know where to find you. Include a call to action like "follow us on Facebook for great product updates and giveaways!" to encourage people to like and follow you.
Being consistent, authentic and communicative with followers are all ways that Kim Kardashian has managed to build such a tremendous following on social media. She has a clear brand message and reinforces it frequently. Her omnipresence has and continues to keep her relevant and participating in the conversation, which in turn brings her opportunities she might not have had without such a strong presence.
Getting your social media content right can be a moving target. What once seemed to resonate with your audience now doesn't get a single like, comment or share. Fear not, GLAD WORKS friends. Maybe all you need to do is come up with some fresh ideas. Here's a quick list of a few things that we have found to engage an audience.
1) People dig quotes: Whether they are humorous (and of course in good taste), inspirational or motivational, they almost always get some engagement from an audience. Choose quotes that you think will resonate strongly with your audience and go for it.
2) Trivia: Whether your specialty is medicine or chocolate making, there's a ton of great trivia questions you can ask your followers. People love trivia and they love to show off their expertise. Why do you think Jeopardy has been around for so long?
3) A peek behind the curtain: A few weeks ago, we had bring your dog to work day. It was one of our most enjoyed posts and our audience loved to see the human side of GLAD WORKS. You don't need to give away your secret sauce; just a little taste of it will bring people in. It's also fun to share a little bit about you.
4) Fill-in-the-blank: This can be industry related or just general. Choose what your audience will respond to the most. For example, we recently asked, "what makes you buy an app?"
5) Share helpful resources: One of our favorite things to share are resources that can help our clients put a few best practices to work.
6) A day in the life: This is a chance to highlight the important work a certain individual does each day. If they feel comfortable, include a photo of them hard at work for that added human touch.
7) Throw back Thursdays: This is a great opportunity to share blog content that you've written in the past and put it back in the spotlight. Don't forget to include the #TBT and only do this on a Thursday.
8) Favorite product tips: Do you have a product that you absolutely cannot live without? Why not share it with your followers? Everyone likes to know what's hot and fabulous.
9) Ask followers what they'd like to learn more about: Here's your opportunity to get into your customer's head a little and find out what questions you can answer for them.
10) Share infographics: Infographics are an awesome way to share data in a very visual and relatable way. If you find one that will resonate with your followers, share away!
What types of content have you found to be the most engaging with your audience, GLAD WORKS friends?
PS: This post is just a little taste of our awesomesauce social media e-book coming out in January 2015! Wait for it...
So the Ice Bucket Challenge has lasted WAY longer than anyone could have ever predicted, yes? Just when you think it's over, there's two, three, four more popping up in your newsfeed on the daily. Some people are all over it, but some are annoyed by it. Whatever side of the fence you may fall on, there's no denying that for marketers, it's a bit of a phenomenon and something we can all learn from. As a result of the campaign, ALSA has experienced an 800% rise in donations. We need to listen to what this thing is telling us because, whoa.
1) Make it easy and fun
Lots of campaigns make it a bit of a struggle to get involved. There's some special place to go to to upload your video or there are lots of restrictions or forms to fill out. The Ice Bucket Challenge has proven that if you make it really simple, it will catch on faster and stronger. This is the ultimate easy thing to do—even a little kid can pour ice into a bucket of water and dump it! So ask yourself, can a four-year-old do this? If the answer is "yes," proceed.
2) Keep money a secondary concern
As soon as people feel like they're about to be obligated to give money, they tend to run away. So, doing this challenge has been kind of an interesting thing since you do the ice bucket instead of giving money, but most people end up donating as well.
Even people who don't donate, let's say that they don't have the disposable income, can participate anyway without feeling badly that they can't afford to help. Maybe they can do the ice bucket and tag a friend who is likely to donate? The Ice Bucket Challenge makes it possible for everyone to contribute in any way they can.
3) Make it so, so, social
When you can find a way to call your friends out on something kind of silly and potentially embarrassing, you jump at it, right? It's all in good fun of course and the Ice Bucket Challenge is genius in that challengers are encouraged to tag three friends to do it too. It's practically impossible to ignore it when someone you know has called you out to do something in front of your social community. Turns out, it spreads like wildfire when you do that.
4) All aboard the train!
The campaign was not something that the ALSA started. Someone else simply started the challenge, just to get people to donate to a charity—any charity. Someone else simply decided to donate to ALSA and it stuck. ALSA jumped on the train and got behind it once they saw that so many people were doing it.
There's nothing wrong with tagging along on a conversation that someone else already started.
In fact, there's another campaign sort of like the Ice Bucket Challenge that just fired up about a week ago. It's called Doubtfire Face for Suicide Prevention. The idea is to stick your face in a pie or get it all full of something (shaving cream, whipped cream, etc.) so that you look like Mrs. Doubtfire in the scene where Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire stuck his/her face in a cake to conceal his/her identity. The campaign was launched by Michael Scotti Jr. to help the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention raise a goal of $500,000. So far they have $3,836. Will they meet their goal?
We think they have a good shot since they've hopped aboard a steaming locomotive!
5) Tell people what you want them to do
Ultimately, all of the things we just mentioned won't work unless you tell people what you want them to do. Make sure your call to action is lively, entertaining and motivates through a sense of urgency:
"Your help is needed now! Take the Challenge today!"
We predict that by the end of the year, we're going to be seeing a lot more challenges being thrown down on social media as more and more marketers pick up on what we can learn from this whole ice bucket phenomenon.
Now we'd like to open up the floor to you, dear GLAD WORKS friends: If you could throw down a challenge like this, what charity would you choose and what would you have people do?
You've been hearing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) this and SEO that for ages. It used to be that you could just have a popular website by having good content and keywords that would get you some good search engine results. But that's not good enough anymore. Those things are still absolutely important, but you've got to start taking a look at how social media sites can help you. It's a whole new bag now, GLAD WORKS friends.
The good ol' days
SEO used to involve two things: the right keywords and authoritative links that led back to your site. And now, social media is taking over and changing the game on us as search engine results have started bringing social signals (1+s, retweets and facebook likes) to help inform search engine results.
(For an explanation of SEO and why it's important, we will refer you to a post we wrote a little while back. Things have even changed since we wrote that post, but it will still give you some important basics.)
How to baste your social media with SEO Awesomesauce
It all starts with content. If you have good quality content, you'll have a solid launching point for successful SEO. This is because Google pushes high quality content over high quantity content. You can have a ton of stuff out there, but if it's not great, you're out of luck. Google wants to send users only to the best content, not the them most content.
Write love notes to Google
No, we don't mean writing such romantic poems like “roses are red, violets are blue, there's no other search engine better than you.” We mean that there's a way to write to get Google's attention. That means writing how you speak. People perform searches in their own words, so if Google can find that, you'll come up in a search. This is why the internet tends to be a bit more informal and colloquial. It's how people talk and talking to people is what it's all about.
With that in mind, it follows that if you write high quality content in words that people understand, appreciate and get value from, they're more likely to share it on social sites like facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. This connects your brand to a wider network of people and allows your message to spread. All you have to do is be clever about it and let the sharing begin!
Getting people to share your content
Getting people to share your content may seem like a daunting task, but it's actually not. You can customize your social media buttons on your website to make it easier for them to share in just the click of a button. Have them at the bottom of every page or blog post so it's right there in front of them. The goal here isn't to get more “likes” on facebook. You're looking for shares and retweets. If a reader feels like your content is shareable, then their friends are likely to read it and, perhaps, share it with their friends and so on.
Don't make your posts all about you
A great way to reach people is to talk to them about them. Don't go on and on about your fabulous product. Understand and address your customer's pain points. Give them a solution and they'll be pleased as punch to help spread the good news for you.
If you want something, just ask!
Sometimes people don't realize that the next step is to share what they've just read. Maybe include something like “If you liked this post, share it with your friends today!” Having a clear call to action is never a bad thing.
Everyone likes images and because of that, they can be great SEO bait, so never overlook the power of an image. Content is super important, but images impact SEO and can be optimized many different ways like in the way you caption them and describe them.
Google + is a biggie
If you were Google, who's social posts would you favor to come up in search results? That's right! You'd favor your own! That's why Google+ is a powerful tool and a great place to post links to your content. Being active there will help you a lot! You can even toss in a few keywords to make it extra attractive. Just make sure you don't sound like a robot. Nobody likes a spammer.
It doesn't end with just posting things
You have to measure what's working. Use your analytics to see where your traffic is coming from and what's working and what's not. Be at the ready to change your tactics because things can change on the daily. Google Analytics is a great place to start tracking the impact your social media traffic is having.
This is just a quick overview of things that you can do to make social media your SEO partner. Are there any topics mentioned here you'd like us to go into in more detail about?
Leave it in the comments below and it shall be yours. Let GLAD WORKS be your guide!
This week, we have the second installment of last week's post about Pinterest Promoted Pins. They're not available yet, but they will be very soon. Now is a great time to start strategizing so that when they're open for business, you are ready to hit the ground running!
Why do you care about Pinterest?
Bottom line? Pinterest shoppers generally spend more per checkout. The numbers average from between $140 and $180 per order compared to shoppers on Facebook and Twitter who spend $80 to $60. Pinteresters are generally people who are searching for ideas and inspiration or just dreaming about how lovely their homes/wardrobes/bodies/emotional lives can be after a little investment.
Given that tidbit, this move by Pinterest is good news for you. What's more is that you'll be able to see what people are pinning from your website and what pins are driving the most traffic over to you. With great analytics available, you'll know what pins to put your ad money behind in order to boost their reach. Basically, this is awesome if your business is well-suited to the Pinterest audience.
How to make the most of Promoted Pins
Before you can start promoting pins, you need to know what you're doing first, so let's spend some time thinking about how to use pins. Last week, we started talking about how to create your business account and how to thoroughly fill out your profile and get a great image to go with it. Go back and read about that if you missed it.
Once you've created your account and you log in for the first time, you'll be asked to choose five boards to follow. Choose boards and categories that are relevant to your business. These are fellow pinners and potential followers and customers for you so choose wisely.
The next thing to consider is pinning strategically to turn your followers into customers. Your boards can be anything you want them to be, so choose ones that you think represent your products the best and give them a cool (yet easy to understand) name. You can even create an inspiration board that combines many different products together in one pin. For example, if you are a clothing retailer, you can assemble outfits. If you own a gift shop, you can create gift set ideas for holidays, weddings, showers, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Make your pins fun and inspiring and you cannot go wrong! But for the love of all that is Pinterest, make sure your photos are REALLY NICE and that they're in jpg, png or gif files only. Pinteresters love pretty pictures. If your picture is bad, they won't even look at it.
A few suggestions for what/how to pin
- Pin product images. If you offer a service, you can show pictures of people using your service.
- Pin and repin. Just like with all other social sites, this is a two way street. You cannot just pin all the livelong day and not pin anyone else's stuff. Give some, get some.
- Popular posts rule. Use the search feature at the upper left and click on "popular." That's how you know what pins are trending at the moment. Get on it and pin something that relates to what's hot right now.
- D-I-Y. Pinterest is all about do-it-yourself type stuff. If you can pin a few photos and instructions into a tutorial, do that. It's a great way to get repinned.
Repins, you want them.
A repin is just like a share on Facebook. The more your pins are shared, the more they will spread and be seen by Pinteresters. So, what to pin is important, but the goal is really going to be getting repins.
There is a ton more to say about Pinterest, but we're already running out of time. To learn more about how to use Pinterest for your business, go straight to the source, right here. And as always, if you need some help getting started, give us a ring. We love Pinterest!
It might seem like an easy task to create a video to put on YouTube, but they take quite a bit of planning and even some trial and error in order to make them flow naturally and get a point across. Sadly, so many videos out there leave something to be desired because the planning time just wasn’t there before the camera started rolling. In an effort to rid the world of unfortunate videos, we’ve put together this list of tips for making a great one.
Get ready for your close up!
Create a storyboard
The first thing you need to do is have a clear goal for your video. Do you want to sell a product, improve your engagement on YouTube, or demonstrate a skill? Whatever it is, you’ll want to create a storyboard that maps out the following:
- How long the video will be
- The order in which things will happen
- What will be said in the script
Not all videos will need a script. If you decide that yours doesn’t need one, it’s even more important to have a storyboard before you turn that camera on. It’ll help keep the flow of your video on track and act as your guide during filming.
Writing your script
If your video does require a script, make sure it’s written in language your audience will understand and relate to. For example, if you’re demonstrating something technical, but your audience is the general public, you’ll want to explain things in layman’s terms. Your script should say exactly what each person in the video will say, word for word and who will say it.
When the script is being read, it should sound natural and the people who are speaking should appear to be relaxed on camera. If folks in the video are nervous or aren’t sure what to say, it’s going to come across poorly, so try to choose someone who well prepared and comfortable in front of the lens. Practicing with a few dry runs with the camera turned off before filming is helpful in soothing the jitters too.
Get your visuals together
While you’re working on the script, think about what kinds of visuals you can add to your video. Any time you can use charts, photos or other graphical elements, your ideas will come across more easily. Visual elements will help reinforce your message so use them as much as you can. You can even script in some things to include in postproduction.
Include every detail
Even details like wardrobe, shooting locations, camera angles and types of shots belong in your script. Also, don’t forget to include the actions the folks in the video take and what kind of music or sound effects will be played.
Scriptwriting takes patience
Don’t be surprised if your script takes a lot longer to write than you thought it would. That’s totally fine. It’s a skill that takes a long time to master and some people spend their whole careers working on it. So, don’t worry and don’t be in a rush. Invest the time so that your script presents your message in a way that’s compelling and to the point. After all, you only have a viewer’s attention for a short time. Make it count!
Small business owners are always looking for a way to make a splash. You need something that will make a lasting impression without taking up a whole lot of your resources. Vine might just be your answer. It’s a new free social media app owned by Twitter where you can upload and share six-second video clips that play on a loop. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but in just six seconds, you can educate and engage your customers in lots of creative ways. Today, we’re going to talk about whether or not Vine is right for your business and how you can get started if you decide to give it a whirl.
Is Vine right for you?
With so many different social media channels out there, it can be incredibly overwhelming to decide which ones are the most important for you to be on. You can’t be everywhere at once, so it takes careful consideration before choosing what’s best for you. But the cool thing about Vine videos is that they’re easily sharable on Facebook and Twitter, so you don’t need to start a whole new account and be active in an entirely different place. You can use Vine to enhance what you’ve already got going on! Since Vine videos are so easy to share on your existing social media sites, we think just about any business can use it efficiently.
How to use Vine for business
Here’s where things get fun! Vine videos literally take only a few seconds to create, so don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with it. Even though they’re easy to make, it might take you a few tries to get it just right before you’re ready to share. In terms of what kind of videos you can create, the sky’s the limit! Big guys like Ben and Jerry’s, General Electric and Lowe’s have all found ways to use Vine to entertain engage and enlighten their customers. If they can do it, so can you! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Give your customers a behind the scenes look
People LOVE to get a peek behind the scenes. Ben and Jerry’s used Vine to do just that in this Vine video. Lowes has also used vine to show quick home improvement tricks.
You don’t have to give away all of your secrets, but just a little peek at how the magic is made will tantalize your customers.
Run a contest
Persuade customers to comment on your Twitter, Facebook page or website by having your viewers guess what’s happening in your Vine video. The winning guess gets a prize or a special discount!
Display your work
Did you create something you’re really proud of like a gorgeous confection or a really cool bag? Use Vine to show it off!
Introduce your team
This is a great way to establish a bond with your customers. By showcasing a member of your team who’s hard at work or just acting a little goofy for the camera, Vine viewers will have a chance to get to know and love your staff.
Share your good works
Is your team volunteering at a local animal shelter or collecting school supplies for kids in need? Make a little video showing them in action, doing good for the community.
Get more bodies through the door
Take a video of something fun and special that’s going on at your place. Do you have live music in the evenings? Are you doing a wine tasting? Share it with Vine and spark some interest in coming to visit you.
We think Vine has a million great uses and we’re noticing that many big brands are taking full advantage of its potential to engage customers. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!
Oh, and here's our Vine video! :)
Last month, Facebook announced that status updates can now include hashtags that you can click on and search for. Of course, folks have been using hashtags in other places for ages, sticking them in their posts as a way to summarize and describe their thoughts in one or a few words. Hashtags are a great way for users to track conversations on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google +, so it’s only natural for them to be on Facebook now too; even though Facebook is a little late to the #party. Today we’re going to talk about what hashtags are (because we know some of you out there are scratching your heads right now), but we’ll also talk about how brands are using them and how you can too! #LetsTalkHashtag!
GLAD WORKS, what’s a hashtag?
We’re so glad you asked! A hashtag is a word or phrase with a # in front of it. Any combination of characters led by a hash symbol is a hashtag. Hashtags are useful because messages can be tagged and conversations can be tracked through them. So, for example, if you used #SummerFunRI to start a discussion about fun stuff to do in Rhode Island this summer, people looking for that kind of thing would search for #SummerFunRI to view or join the conversation. Hashtags have all sorts of uses ranging from advertisements and promotions to talking about current events.
Hashtags on Facebook turn topics and phrases into links you can click on in your posts on either your personal timeline or brand page. When someone clicks a hashtag, they’ll see a feed of posts that include it. They’ll also see some hashtags that are related to it at the top. Hashtags are searchable in the bar at the top of any page on Facebook.
How do I use hashtags to promote my business?
Marketers are already all over this looking for ways to use hashtags to their highest potential. We have already seen Starbucks’ using the hashtag #strawsome where fans can tag fun pictures of drinks they created with fun straw art. Other companies are using them to designate a special event or date. Some are using them to rally support for a cause. Use your imagination and you’ll certainly come up with a creative use for them!
Tips for getting started
Keep in mind that not everyone has hashtag capability yet, but you can certainly start putting them in your public Facebook posts on your profile or page. Everyone who does have the feature will be able to see your hashtags as clickable links.
1. Make them stand out: Try to create hashtags that will stand out and that aren’t too general. A hashtag like #seminar isn’t specific enough and won’t do much to inspire a conversation about the special seminar you’re giving. A better hashtag would be something like #GWSeminar2013. That way, it won’t get lost in the hashtag sea.
2. Help them get seen: Promote your hashtags by sticking them wherever you can. Put them on your website, all of your social media channels, add them to your email signature and your marketing materials. If you use your hashtag consistently in a variety of places, people will recognize them and it will trigger a buzz.
3. Find a way to motivate: Make sure you give users a reason to share your hashtag. It could be anything from a contest, an event, a discussion, or a charitable cause. Think of a hashtag as a conversation starter and then start a conversation with it!
4. Control yourself: Hashtags have a tendency to get out of control. Once you’re in the habit of thinking of them, you start coming up with a bunch and become tempted to use them all in the same post. Don’t. The limit is only one or two per post. Anything more could be overwhelming and confusing for folks. Write them down and use them another time. #Andforgoodnesssakedontmakethemtoolongortheyllbetoohardtoread.
Most of what we have suggested here about hashtags can be applied to any social media platform that uses them. If you’re going to experiment with them, use this as a guide but remember to be creative and have some fun with it!
Facebook recently opened up something called Graph Search to all its users in the United States. It’s been touted as Facebook’s answer to search engines like Google and Bing, but that’s not what it is. It’s a way to search through Facebook to see what your friends are doing, what they like, etc. Even if you’re not a frequent facebooker personally, there are a few ways for you to make the most out of Graph Search for your business. Today we’re going to talk about them, but don’t worry. It’s not going to be a labor-intensive thing on your part. It’s just something to be aware of—for now at least.
What Graph Search does
Like we mentioned earlier, Graph Search is not a place where you can search the web. It’s just a way to get access to things like people, places, photos and interests that are already posted on Facebook. You can see things that have been shared by you, your friends, and friends of your friends. If Facebook doesn’t know what to do with the results of your search, then it will refer you to Bing results to help you out.
How to do a Graph Search
Graph Search is not turned on automatically, so you have to activate it. Look for the white “F” Facebook icon next to your search bar up at the top. Click inside the search bar and it should say “New Graph Search is here! Take a tour.” Look at the list of things you can search for that drops down below the search bar. Then, think of something you’d like to search for like “Friends of friends who like ice cream and dogs who live in Providence” and type it into the search. Facebook will then turn up a few new friends for you. It kind of works like a dating website in that it matches up your specific criteria with a person on Facebook.
It’s not a perfect system and it’s still got a long way to go before it knocks your socks off, but it’s still kind of cool. Play around with it for a few minutes so you fully understand the user experience. Once you’ve got that down, you can start thinking of ways you can use it.
How you can use this for your business
This new feature can be neat for business owners in a few ways. Let’s say you own a dog grooming parlor/ice cream shop in Providence and you want to learn more about the people who might be interested in your place. You can do a search for dog loving ice-cream-eating Providence residents and learn more about them. Is it a little stalker-ish, a little creepy? Yes, yes it is, but it’s a great way for you to learn more about your demographic. Besides, you’re going to make the dog-loving ice-cream-eating people of Providence very happy someday because you know so much about what they want and need!
Right now you might be thinking: “how can I get my business to come up in these searches?” Well, the first thing you can do is to make sure your business Facebook page is filled out as completely as possible. Check to make sure your location is clear and that you have indicated what your products and services are. Have a great looking image up too so that when you get visitors, you’ll look spiffy and professional.
Continue to do your very best to engage your customers on your Facebook page because every interaction you have with your fans will form a sketch of your business. If you have a devoted following, you’re going to be bumped up in the search. This is an amazing way for smaller businesses to compete with the big guys. Basically, Graph Search gives you a chance to shine on Facebook that you didn’t have before.
Like we said earlier, this is not perfect and has a way to go before it will knock you off your chair in amazement, but for now, it’s pretty neat and it’s something to be aware of. As always, building engagement with your fans is a great way to ensure success on Facebook. Offer discounts on your Facbook page; respond to comments and post interesting stuff and you’ll be on your way to a successful appearance in Graph Search.