You Don’t Need a Website – Just Facebook, NOT!!!

web-vs-fbI recently read an article online (so you know it had to be true) that said, “You don’t need a website, only Facebook and LinkedIn.”  The article went on to say with all the changes to SEO and the cost of creating a website, why not put all your marketing eggs in the Facebook and LinkedIn basket.   After reading the article, my response, “Are You Freaking Kidding Me?!?”

 

While Facebook and LinkedIn are important marketing channels, why you would even consider putting all your marketing efforts into channels that you don’t control?  Case in point, January, 2014, Facebook announced that many posts by pages will no longer show up in the news feed of individuals, even though they have liked the page.   And this is not the first time they have made changes that negatively affect business marketing and it won’t be the last.

 

As business owners, we tend to look at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the other social media sites as marketing opportunities.  But except for LinkedIn, all the other social channels were created and continue to focus on individual, social relationships, not business and marketing.  We are the ones that diligently try to use them to create marketing opportunities.

 

I will agree that with all the changes Google has made over the last few years, it can be frustrating for a website owner to keep up with the factors that affect the ranking of their website.  And while many of the tricks and techniques that once worked, no longer do, Google still emphasizes one thing every website owner can control – content.  Correction, quality content.  And this is the one factor that will never change.  Google’s mission has always been to create the best search results anywhere.  Quality content will always fulfill that mission.

 

Back to the article I read, the bottom line was that the author was ultimately trying to sell their Facebook and LinkedIn system.  I am certainly not opposed to programs that teach you how to maximize your Facebook and LinkedIn efforts (like my Ninja Marketing Dojo).  But a balanced approach is a must.  Having a website and blog, plus identifying  and utilizing the social media channels where your audience hangs out should comprise your online marketing plan.

 

If your Facebook page has thousands of likes, with a Post Reach well above 50% and Engagement numbers that closely parallel your likes, then take the gamble and ignore the need for a website.  Otherwise, you’re playing Russian Roulette with a bullet in the chamber.  There’s a pretty good chance, the results will be disastrous.

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo. The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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You Like Me, You Really Like Me – Facebook Likes

Facebook LikesYou Like Me, You Really Like Me. Now for those of you Jim Carey fans correcting me that the quote is “You Love Me…”, the original quote was by Sally Fields at the 1985 Academy Awards. And the sentiment has made a comeback today in social media.

How many times (a day) do you see someone saying “Like my page?” “Like us on Facebook”. Likes are the new currency of the web. It’s the measuring stick for social media effectiveness. Or is it?

Like the Tot board at a telethon, you watch the “Facebook Likes” milestones click away. 30 likes and you get “Insights”. 100 Likes. 500 Likes. 1000 Likes. You celebrate each one as if it meant more money in your pocket. The advertising mentality says “more exposure equals more sales”. But your friends that liked your page only thought they were doing you a favor.

When evaluating the importance of Facebook Likes in your social media analytics, consider these 5 Facebook metrics first.

1. Post Reach – This is the measure of how many people actually saw your posts. Remember, with Edgerank, just because someone likes your page does not mean they will see your posts.

2. Fan Demographics – What is the makeup of your fans compared to all of Facebook. Are you creating posts that appeal to your audience? Is your audience your target demographic? If not, focus on reaching that group.

3. People Reached – Not only is it important to understand your fan base, but it’s also important to compare the demographics of the people who saw your posts.

4. Posts Performance – Each post is listed by type and includes the reach of the post as well as the engagement. Monitoring the most popular posts for engagement and create more content like that.

5. When Are Your Fans Online - Knowing what day and times your fans are online will determine when you should be posting.

Remember, likes don’t equal engagement. If you are not creating engaging content, it doesn’t matter if you have 20 or 20,000 likes. It’s still like putting a billboard up in the desert – it may look great but no one will see it. When you content is engaging, the actions of your fans will be screaming, “we like you, we really like you.”

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo.  The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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The Effect of Negative Feedback on Facebook

EngagementNegative Feedback to a Facebook page can now affect the page’s visibility. For several years, I’ve been preaching, to my Ninja Marketing Dojo classes, “Engagement” as the key to a successful page. Until recently though, there was no penalty for negative feedback. That’s about to change.

When Timeline launched, Facebook segregated the News Feed by adding the News Ticker to accommodate the bombardment of activity that once clogged the News Feed. While all activity from both users and pages appears in the News Ticker, only the “most important” information appears in the News Feed. For the most part, all posts made by friends do appear, but not so with posts made by pages the user has liked.

FB-EdgeRank-Algorithm

To make that critical leap from the News Ticker to the News Feed, page managers need to understand Edgerank, Facebook’s content algorithm. It’s a combination of 3 factors – affinity, weight and time decay. Affinity refers to prior interaction with a page’s post. The more users engage with content from a particular page, the more likely that page’s posts will appear.

Weight is based on engagement – likes, comments, and shares. Shares carry a larger weight factor than comments; comments carry more weight than likes. Post type, such as regular posts, pictures, videos, etc, are also considered in weight. For example, if someone shares photos, then more photos will display.

Time Decay is the 3rd factor in Edgerank and refers to the life of a post. The most recent and relevant content will take precedence over older content.

Now, Facebook is inserting a 4th factor into the Edgerank algorithm. Negative Feedback actions include hiding a page’s post, hiding all content of a page, reporting a page as spam or unliking a page. Simply stated, Negative Feedback is any clickable negative engagement action a user takes.

Negative feedback averages roughly 0.03% per post, but every page will experience some kind of negative feedback. Based on EdgeRankChecker’s study of 5000 Facebook pages, 76% of negative feedback comes from hiding the post, 16% from hiding all posts, 8% report as spam and only 1% unlike the page.

By now factoring in Negative Feedback in the algorithm, it has become increasingly more important to create engaging content that is attuned to the pulse of your audience. Use controversial content with caution. While it might result in engagement, it may also result in Negative Feedback which would have the reverse effect. Overusing sales messages can also have a negative impact. Sure, everyone wants to make sales but is one sale worth reducing visibility to nothing.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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New Facebook Plugin for WordPress

Facebook has created a new plugin that works directly with WordPress sites, either WordPress.com sites or self-hosted sites.  When you create a new post, the plugin will allow you to mention a page, which will add the post to the timeline of the page you mention.  It also allows you to mention friends in a post and have it show up on their wall as well.  Since the post are created via a Facebook App, it comes from within Facebook and your post gets the Edgerank benefit.

The link to the plugin is https://developers.facebook.com/wordpress/.

More details will come shortly.  I will do a video shortly with the details.

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A Big Week of Changes for Facebook

Not only were the financial officers of Facebook busy this week but so were the programmers. Three significant changes were launched to Facebook.  While they may not be considered major by some, they are significant changes. Here’s a recap of what changed.

Page Administrator Levels – Up till now it’s been possible to have multiple administrators Facebook business page. You simply had to be a friend of the page and then the owner of the page (the first admin) could assign administrative privileges to you. Those permissions gave every admin full control of the page, including the ability to remove admins and make changes. While this is very convenient especially when employing a social media firm to manage your business page or assigning the task to a employee, it was not the most secure practice.

Now page owner can assign one of five different levels of admin privileges, ranging from full administrator privileges down to insights analyst. The chart below explains the different levels and the amount control given to each level.

 Facebook Admin Levels

To add or change his administrator, go to your admin panel, account settings select Admin Roles from the list on the left.  You will see each person that has it admin privileges, with their default role of Manager. Click the down arrow beside manager and select the level you want to assign to that person. Remember, initially anyone with admin privileges can change anyone else’s role so I would advise you, if you’re the page owner, to set everyone else to Content Curator or lower.

Scheduling Page Posts – One of the most needed features in Facebook has been the ability to pages. While there are software programs like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck `give you the ability to schedule a post, Facebook did not always give those posts the same importance as a post made within Facebook.

But it was also important that your post you made during the times when more of your fans would see it. So that was not always possible with your schedule. Many of us opted to trade the potential penalty to our posts in favor of timeliness.

Now posts can be scheduled up to six months in advance from within Facebook. You now have the control of the day and time of the post and have it recognized in the Edgerank considerations.

Facebook Scheduled Posts

From your status update, you will see a new clock icon in the lower left-hand corner. Clicking the icon, you will be prompted to add a year, then a month, date, and finally a time. The Post button turns into a Schedule button. Your schedule posts can be viewed in your activity log from your admin panel.

 

Individual Status Update Insights – While you have always had the ability to view the Insights for your business page, now each status update has its own insights displayed below the post.

 Facebook Post Status Insights

This can be very helpful, especially since many people check their FB Page Insights infrequently. With this, now you can see how well each status update you make performs. This instant feedback should help you craft more engaging posts.

What do you think about the new changes and how will you use them?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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What Would Beethoven Think – Traditional vs. Today’s Marketing

Last week, my wife and I attended a concert by TransSiberian Orchestra of their CD Beethoven’s Last Night.  Besides the incredible theatrics and pyrotechnics, the music was phenomenal.  But what really got me think was, “What would Beethoven think if he heard his music performed today by a rock band?”  I would have to think he would be amazed  as well as pleased to hear how it has survived for 200 years.

That started me thinking about how the online marketing channels have changed and evolved.  Our marketing message is the same, developing customer trust and brand recognition.   But the presentation and the delivery of the message has changed.  Old school thinking is to have an elaborate presentation (tv commercial, print advertisement or radio spot) and blast your message out.  Today, interruption marketing (traditional advertising) is not nearly as effective as permission marketing using social media.  Why should your prospect trust your ad, when within a matter of minutes, they can have dozens of friend recommendations for what you offer.

To bring this back to my TSO concert experience, would I be writing this article had it been a traditional chamber orchestra performing the same music.  Not likely.  Not because the message of the music was any less extraordinary.  The difference is in the delivery of the message.  Being an old rock and roller, I associate with driving beat of the drums and bass guitar, the roller coaster of emotions from the melody and the soul piercing vocal performance.  There’s a good chance I would have slept through a chamber orchestra.

Know your audience and choose the message and channel that’s right for them.  In old school marketing, advertisers didn’t run tv commercials for laundry detergent on ESPN.  Their audience isn’t tuned in to that channel.  If you audience is B2C (business to consumer), LinkedIn may not be the place to connect with them.  On the other hand, if your target audience is executives and CEO’s, Facebook may be a waste of your time.   While it seems like a no brainer to be where your audience/customer/clients are, oftentimes, business owners get caught up in the hype about a specific social media channel, then wonder why it didn’t produce any results.

Target your message to the channel your audience is on.  If you do it well, you will be a rock star in your industry and the standing ovation you get will be the ringing of your cash register.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Is Your Facebook Business Page Irrelevant Now?

With the new change to Facebook’s layout, the updates from your Facebook business page may be getting lost in the news ticker. Where once the Most Recent view on your Facebook newsfeed would give a chronological listing of every action and every update from all of your friends plus the business pages you like, now that option is gone.  Your business page may have just become invisible!

Facebook’s new layout uses the Edgerank algorithm to determine the top stories like it always has, but now the recent stories are being filtered as well. As a result many business page updates are only visible in the fire hose of the news ticker. Unless the business page update generates likes, comments or shares, it’s not going to have what it takes to escape the ticker and make the main news feed.

Does this mean Facebook business pages are no longer relevant? Given the way many businesses treat their business page updates, the answer would be yes. Posting information that does not encourage interaction is going to be lost. Creating a post just to be seen will no longer work. Unless someone is watching the news ticker when a post is made, like Twitter, the update will flow out of sight quickly.

Facebook Business Pages Interaction

To escape the confines of the ticker, the business page must become truly social. Businesses should focus on experiences rather than sales messages. Where once it was only possible to “like” something in a post, now any action verb can be used. Now it’s possible to “try” a product or service, “read” a book or an article, “watch” a video or any other action. By integrating action into status updates,  they become more shareable and interactive.

As Facebook continues to evolve into the social destination of the web, more and more emphasis is being placed on applications and advertising. Apps will become the interactive link between business pages and the news feed of those following them.

Will Facebook become like Google where the ability for a small local business to compete will be so complex or costly that it’s no longer effective? While that remains to be seen it is most definitely a case for diversifying marketing efforts rather than solely concentrating on Facebook.

What are your thoughts?

Gary Wagnon is the Sensei of the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a comprehensive online marketing course designed to relieve the frustration business owners and manager face when trying to understand online marketing.  Using a martial arts model, students will build on foundational principals, mastering each level before advancing.

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Ninja Marketing Tip – Have A Facebook Split Personality

Maybe you are Bruce Wayne by day and Batman by night.  Or just maybe, you’re clients and colleagues know you as Professor or Your Honor, but your high school classmates know you as “HotRod”.  Nothing is more comforting to hear than, “Hi, I’m Dr. Hotrod Smith and I’ll be operating on you today.”

Facebook is the great connector.  We reconnect with classmates we haven’t talked to in years.  With them, we relive memories, embarrassing moments and teenage milestones.  Plus, it’s fun.  But sharing that picture of ourselves may not exactly further our professional image.  I’m sure lots of us have those past skeletons (like streaking the quadrangle in college), but we don’t exactly put them on our resume.

 

Enter the new Facebook Friends lists.  Facebook launched their expanded Smart Friend List feature this week.  With this change, your friends can now be categorized into four pre-defined categories, Friends, Family, Acquaintances and geographic location.  You have always had the ability to create lists but the process of posting to a specific list was cumbersome and obscure.  Today it’s prominently displayed next to the share button on your status update.

When the Friends Smart List feature launched, it automatically assigned friends to your local area list.  It also assigns some family members to the Family group (although I had to add a couple of my immediate family members.  They were in the “List suggestion” section, which made it easy to add.)  You will have to initially add people to the other lists.  In the beginning, it may be a little time consuming, but if you add new friends to lists as you confirm them, it will be much easer.

Maintaining Your Two Personalities

I frequently hear clients and social media students ask, “How can I keep my business and personal life separated?”  Smart lists make that very easy.  But more than that, it can be a good practice to enhance your marketing message.  Chances are, your friends may not be the least bit interested in your business marketing content.  And when your professional connections are “eavesdropping” on your conversations with friends, they probably won’t be able to follow along or even be interested.  Either group may tend to filter out your updates since they aren’t pertinent to them.

A better practice would be to target your updates to the group of friends it is directed to.  Create a list of professional or business friends and post only business related content to that group.  Meanwhile, create another list of friends that you post your personal updates to.  Each list then sees content they should be interested in and will be more attuned to each post you make.

There will be some friends that will fit both categories, so assign them to both.  They won’t receive duplicate posts, but they will receive posts anytime you update either list.  Some of your content will be appropriate for everyone.  In those cases you can post to Friends and everyone will receive it.

 

One thing you should know about Smart Lists.  When you post to a list, there is an icon on the “Like  Comment” line below the post.  The icon will either be a globe (Public), friends or a cog (lists).  By mousing over the icon, you will see a message that shows what the update was shared to friends, friends of friends or the name of the Smart List.  For that reason, you may want to be cautious with your list names.

List can be useful in many ways, such as announcing local events.  What other ways have you used the list feature?

Gary Wagnon is the Sensei of the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a comprehensive online marketing course designed to relieve the frustration business owners and manager face when trying to understand online marketing.  Using a martial arts model, students will build on foundational principals, mastering each level before advancing.

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Ninja Marketing Tips – Finding A Social Media Time Turner

I have scoured the Internet, unsuccessfully, trying to find a Hermione Granger Time Turner from Harry Potter.  Apparently they were all destroyed in 1996 in the battle at the Ministry of Magic.  Oh well it sure would’ve been helpful.

The challenge for business owners today is finding time to manage their online marketing efforts & social networks.  A business owner could easily spend 8 hours  a day just doing social media.  But unfortunately most owners wear many hats and marketing is only one of them.  Customer service and the day-to-day operations do take priority.

Here are five time-saving ninja marketing tips to manager your social networks.

  1. Schedule 30 minutes first thing in the morning and 30 minutes right after lunch or in the late afternoon to review your social networks.  Interact with all comments made to your posts and comment or retweet posts made by friends and followers.
  2. Use an aggregator to monitor your social networks.  Programs such as Tweetdeck, and Hootsuite are 2 such services that will pull the feeds from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into one site for monitoring,  commenting and sharing.
  3. Schedule your updates.  One great feature of both Tweetdeck and Hoot Suite is the ability to schedule your tweets or Facebook updates in advance.  Once a week you can plan your week’s updates, and schedule them for the day, time and even the specific site you want them posted to.
  4. Install the Hoot Suite plug-in for Firefox.  If you use Firefox as your browser, Hoot Suite offers a plug-in that makes it easy to share articles and blog posts to Facebook,  Twitter and LinkedIn and even schedule them to post at a more desirable time.
  5. Combine your Facebook and Twitter feeds into Google +.  Even though the aggregator programs have not yet incorporated Google + into their platform, there are G+ apps already that will add your Twitter and Facebook feed so it can be monitored with your G+.

Do you have any other time saving tips?  Feel free to share them.

Are you new to Google + or curious about how to get started?  Download my free Guide to Google + at www.800bizninjamarketing.com. Gary Wagnon is the CMN (Chief Marketing Ninja) at 800biz Online Marketing Solutions.  Using an integrated approach to online marketing (combining web site design, search engine optimization, social media and action driven content), 800biz specializes in helping businesses stand out above the competition and drive more traffic to their door.

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Facebook Announces New Privacy Settings

Whether a reaction to Google + or a planned system improvement, Facebook has added a new local of privacy that is rolling out starting today.  Many of the changes revolve around the way content is shared.

Profile Controls

First change is you greater control to the visibility of your profile.  With each section of your profile such as music, movies, religious preferences or political views, you’re able to choose who can see each of those areas.  The changes are made directly on the profile editing page where previously the changes were made in the account settings.

An in-line cue or icon will provide a visual indication of who can see each element.  Choices are to make the content public, only seen by friends, are customized for a friend list.  A “view profile as” feature has been added so you can see how your profile will look in different situations.

Tagging

Tagging individuals in photos, status updates or location tags is a popular practice.  Currently, individual control is either limited or unavailable.  With the new settings you can approve or reject any tag before they appear in your profile.  This includes photos and status updates.  This can be turned on or off the pending on user preference.

Given the new tagging controls, Facebook now allows the user to tag anyone in a photo regardless of whether they are a friend or not.  Of course the tag will have to be approved unless you set your privacy controls to always allow tags.  The dilemma with always allowing tags means you do not have control over your image.  As a business professional, protecting the image we portray should be vitally important.

Some of the other features you will see are changes to Facebook places and a “Nearby” icon in mobile apps for tagging locations.

The privacy and safety groups are hailing the changes is positive actions.  For business owners it will require some adjustment to the way they interact with other people.  But with everything Facebook, standby.  About time you master this something else will change.

Gary Wagnon is the CMN (Chief Marketing Ninja) at 800biz Online Marketing Solutions.  Using an integrated approach to online marketing (combining web site design, search engine optimization, social media and action driven content), 800biz specializes in helping businesses stand out above the competition and drive more traffic to their door.

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