The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Tiger Escaped

Infamy is all about being famous for all the wrong reasons.

Previously, we’ve looked at businesses who made themselves Twitter infamous.

You don’t want to do that, right?

Here are two simple steps you can follow to make sure your sterling reputation remains intact. As it should be.

Verify Before You Share

News spreads fast on social networks. These days, stories often break on Twitter before they hit the headlines. It’s well known that journalists scout out social networks to find stories.

The trouble is, rumor spreads as fast as news.

Back in 2011, London was engulfed in riots. The streets were in chaos, with vehicles and buildings being set on fire. Rioters smashed open stores and looted their stock.

London-based DJ Twiggy Garcia decided to play a prank in the midst of all the rioting. He tweeted:

#LondonRiots hearing reports that london zoo was broken into and a large amount of animals have escaped. Too far! Thats not cool :-(

Thirty minutes later, Twiggy’s friend Ty Evans Akingbola followed up the prank by tweeting a blurry photo of a tiger accompanied by the tweet:

The story was retweeted, and spread at lightening speed. It was even picked up by a Russian TV news station.

Eventually, the story was exposed as a fake. The picture was a 2008 photo of a tiger who’d escaped from an Italian zoo.

So, remember: verify your sources. If in doubt, don’t publish.

As Abraham Lincoln once said:

“The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.”

At least, we think he might have done.

Put Out Fires Before They Spread

According to a survey by J.D. Power, two thirds (67%) of consumers have used social media to receive customer service.

In the same survey, 87% of consumers said their interaction with a brand online “positively impacted” the likelihood that they’ll make another purchase from that brand.

You’d think the message was clear. Get onto social media, look for complaints about your brand, and deal with them.
Here’s the shocker. Seventy percent of businesses ignore customer complaints on Twitter.

Make sure you’re one of the good guys. Put out the fires before they spread.

That’s what’s good for your customers, and ultimate it’s good for your brand.

Facebook Tips from the Masters

Want to rock it on Facebook?

You can’t go far wrong by following these ten tips we’ve collected from ten of Facebook’s finest.

We’ve linked to sources, because that’s the right thing to do, and so you can dig deeper and find even more goodies.

1. Write Posts Like You’re Talking to a Friend

Amy PorterfieldCheck out your last 10 Facebook posts. Ask yourself, “Do I sound like I am talking to a friend or do I sound a bit stuffy and corporate in my posts?” Also, ask yourself, “If I saw this post in my news feed, would I want to like, share, comment or click?”

If you don’t feel compelled to engage with your own post, I can guarantee your fans won’t either!

Amy Porterfield, The Risks of Running a Business Without a Facebook Marketing Plan.

2. Grow Your Professional Network With Graph Search

Joshua WaldmanPreviously, it was very difficult to know what companies were represented in your network and extended (friends of friends) network. Now you can see what companies you have connections to, locations you might have acquaintances in and even brands your network prefers.

So if you are targeting a company to work for and want to know if people in your network (friends or friends of friends) work there, you can. And with Facebook’s pay-to-message feature, you can pay to have your message delivered to their inbox.

Joshua Waldman, How to Use Facebook’s Graph Search to Supercharge Your Professional Network.

3. Post Outside Peak Times

Kevan LeeInstead of posting when the majority of your audience is online, try posting when the majority of your audience is offline.

[This is called] the late night infomercial effect. Basically, it works on the assumption that when there’s little else being shared online, your content is more likely to stand out.

Kevan Lee, The Complete Guide to Growing Your Organic Facebook Reach.

4. Ignore Reach and Escape “Reach Fury”

Jon LoomerReach means very little because it is rarely a good indicator of success.

If you’re an advanced Facebook marketer (and I know you are!), you measure things like traffic to your website, leads and purchases that came as a result of your efforts on Facebook.

If you follow your metrics closely (and I know you do!), you know that a high Reach doesn’t guarantee these things.

Jon Loomer, Why Our Obsession with Facebook Page Post Reach is All Wrong.

5. Make the Most of Audience Insights

Ben HarperIf you’re running Facebook campaigns, it’s time to forget about how you’ve run them in the past. Audience Insights allows you to put data first and truly understand your audience in order to target in the best way possible. By understanding your audience at a new level of depth you can begin to analyze what else they are interested in, how likely they are to buy online, and their brand affinity. This lets you find targeting opportunities that are less competitive, and more relevant for the audience you most want to capture.

Audience Insights, if used correctly, should lead to an overall reduction in cost per click rates, and a reduction in cost per acquisition figures (from an increase in conversions) as you are using the new data to hit the right audience first time.

Ben Harper, What Facebook Audience Insights really means for advertisers.

6. Re-Cycle Your Top Performers

John HaydonYour content strategy doesn’t have to only include new content; you can also recycle your most successful posts to reengage fans.

To find and reframe your top-performing posts, you need to know post engagement rates—the percentage of people who saw an update and liked, commented on or shared it.

To find post engagement rates, go to your Insights and click Posts. Scroll down to the All Posts Published table, and click the Engagement column to quickly sort your posts by engagement rate.

To really get a feel for which updates your fans loved, export at least six months of post-level data and study it.

John Haydon, 18 Ways to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Performance.

7. Get Into the Media Spotlight

Maggie PattersonJournalists rely on Facebook to source stories and Facebook itself actively promotes the platform as a “Rolodex” with 1 billion contacts for reporters.

Where your company may have relied on a press release in the past, you can now share your story on Facebook. It provides a low-friction way to report the facts in the case of breaking news or to provide comment on emerging issues that will help get your story to the media and your public faster.

Maggie Patterson, quoted in Six Facebook Marketing Tips From the Pros.

8. Share Photos to Maximize Engagement

Mari SmithYour photo should make people laugh, cry, or go “awww!”

Photos on Facebook have always gotten a slightly higher EdgeRank score, which means better visibility in the News Feed. But, don’t necessarily use an image on every single post; keep it interesting by mixing in links, videos, questions (app), and text only updates.

Mari Smith, 7 Ways To Craft Your Facebook Posts For Maximum Shares.

9. Re-create Local Community

Jeff BullasLocal stores are threatened by competition not just around the corner but in the next suburb and across the world. There is one thing the local store can do that a pure online store cannot do and that is provide that local sense of community that combines and synergizes both on-line and offline. Put up local news and provide information on your Facebook page that is relevant to your town or suburb and crystallizes your local community behind you.

Jeff Bullas, 15 Tips for Selling on Facebook.

10. Lay Off the Hashtags

Julia BorginiAre hashtags useful on Facebook?

In a word, no.

EdgeRank did a study on hashtags, analyzing more than 500 Pages that posted both with and without hashtags. After looking at 35,000+ posts, they found only 6,000 had hashtags. That’s only 17% of the posts on Facebook.

When they dug deeper into the numbers, they found that hashtags didn’t have a positive impact on the brand’s engagement levels on Facebook.

Julia Borgini, Are Facebook Hashtags Worth The Effort?.

Twitter Small Business

How’s this for a shocking statistic: Three in five small businesses have seen zero return on investment from engaging on social media. Nothing at all. Nada.

That’s according to a study last year by Manta.

What went wrong?

First, the Good News

In the same study, 39% of small businesses said they are seeing returns from engaging on social media.

The message here is clear. You can get results from social media, if you do it the right way.

Let’s take a look at what that means in practice.

Set It and Forget It Won’t Deliver

Social media has caused a fundamental shift in the way marketing works.

Back in the old days, you paid for a newspaper ad or a Yellow Pages listing, and you watched new leads pour in. You could set it and forget it.

Social media doesn’t work like that.

The old way of marketing was like a guy on the street with a megaphone. You shouted, everyone else listened. They didn’t have any choice about it.

The new way of marketing is about having a conversation, as equals. It’s a two-way street. That means if you want to sell, you have to put yourself out there and talk to people.

Yes, it takes more time. But if you genuinely engage with your customers, you’ll reap the rewards.

There’s No Miracle Cure

With the world of social changing so fast (few people had even heard of social media a decade ago), it’s easy to see social networks as a quick-fix solution. Unfortunately, they’re not.

Social media is about building relationships. That takes time. Even when you’re doing it right, you can’t expect overnight results.

It’s also worth noting that social media won’t cure an ailing business. It can, however, compliment a solid business and bring in more leads.

To Find Leads, Listen

Rather than using social media to shout about yourself, use it as a listening and research tool.

People often use social media to vent. So find people who are venting about problems you can help them solve. These are ideal prospects.

Once you’ve found these people, make contact. Let them know you can help, and do the best you can to help using social media. Don’t push for the sale! You’ve planted the seed, now let it grow.

Need more? We’ve got some great tips for finding leads on Twitter.

Track Your Results

Too many businesses have no clue whether their social media marketing delivers a return on investment. That’s because they’re not tracking their metrics.

Online, there’s no excuse for not following your numbers, because there are so many apps available to do it for you.

You should track:

  • Engagement. How many people are commenting on your social media posts?
  • Clicks. Are people clicking through the links you share?
  • Traffic. How many people are visiting your website as a result of social media?
  • Sales. What percentage of social media traffic results in a sale?

When you track these social media stats, you’ll know whether your social strategy is delivering a real return, or whether you need to tweak your approach.