It’s Time To Start Budgeting For Facebook

Andys Creekside Nursery FB pageFacebook’s recent announcement that it is going to reduce the organic reach of brands’ “promotional” page posts caused Forrester Research to “advise (brand) advertisers to abandon Facebook.” While you might not think of your company Facebook page as a brand, you may have noticed the number of Facebook post views has declined since the beginning of the year.

Recently, global ad agency Olgivy reported that in February 2014, large brands’ posts on Facebook reached just 2 percent of their fans, and only .07 percent of top brands’ Facebook fans interact with their posts. Yet, as organic posts interactions were falling by .5 percent per month, Facebook advertising was increasing — up 64 percent from a year ago, same quarter. So, yes, you should probably still use Facebook, but you should expect to have to pay for the reach you had hoped for through likes and shares.

In preparation for this article, I reviewed a dozen or so Facebook pages to see if I could spot any trends. Based on a limited sampling, it was obvious that the use of photos and videos dramatically improved your post reach. Posts with text only were outperformed by those with photos, in some cases by a four-to-one margin. Those with multiple photos (either an album or compilation) outperformed single images, but posts that used the Facebook “Boost Post” feature did roughly 10 times better than non-promoted posts. So, you can see the dichotomy: your basic posts are going to a smaller audience unless you pay Facebook to promote it for you.

I am not suggesting that you dump Facebook, but for improved organic results, make sure it is personal, visual and informative, and avoid using it solely to post promotional efforts. You might also give some thought to budgeting for Facebook advertisements.

5 Steps To Better Digital Marketing

From a purely practical standpoint, if your goal in using Facebook to begin with has been to promote your business, then you can’t ignore the ability to target your audience and expand the reach of your message. Bear in mind this is going to be an advertising model you’ve probably never managed before, and for many, it is simply not going to be possible. So let’s think about some things you can do in 2015 that won’t break the bank. Here are five tips on how to improve your digital marketing efforts.

1. Revise your website to focus on help, images, blogs, contact forms and perhaps a platform for submissions. Create a site where visitors will linger, view and share content. At Sunrise Marketing, we now build all of our websites on WordPress. The flexibility of the platform will allow you to do things you simply can’t do with a typical html website.

2. Blog. There is no need to be daunted by blogging. Just stick to keeping it informative, visual and personal. Keep each blog post to 300 to 400 words. Use text to caption the photo(s) or video unless you have specific events or information. Organize the content by category.

3. Revise your social media strategy. Focus on visuals. Consider adding the effective components of social media to your own site. Encourage visitors to submit questions, photos or even videos. You can review the material and, using WordPress, post those you like. If you haven’t done so by now, you should set up a business Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram account.

4. Go mobile. Forbes recently reported in “Digital Marketing Trends for 2015” that businesses need to shift strategies to incorporate mobile into all areas of their digital marketing: a fully responsive website, mobile apps and separate content specifically for mobile devices. The statistics are pretty gaudy — users now spend more than two hours and 14 minutes a day on their smart phone using apps (Facebook being 17 percent).

Your mobile strategy needs to move beyond responsive websites to a dedicated company app. Consumer usage of apps on smart phones is overwhelming. Flurry Analytics recently reported that 86 percent of the time spent on smart phones is using apps.

5. Don’t forget the mail — snail mail and eMail. The same Forrester Research report showed that U.S. online adults who want to stay in touch with your brand are almost twice as likely to sign up for your eMails as interact with your brand on Facebook. Also note that your eMails get delivered 90 percent of the time, while Facebook posts are sinking. Direct mail is still the preferred channel for receiving marketing from local shops (51 percent), while eMail is preferred for events and competitions (50 percent each).

When you put it all together, build your 2015 marketing message around visuals, highlight staff and play upon the inherent beauty of the product. Expand your digital universe to mobile ready websites, apps and image-driven social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

Gill Nursery PostcardOne Retailer Offers A Personal Touch In Their Marketing

Recently I spoke with Sally Gill of Gill Landscape Nursery in Corpus Christi, Texas, about her shift toward more personalized marketing.

“We saw a 9.76 percent return on our last postcard mailing, which had staff on the front, and it was very well received. We will, from now on, include staff whenever we can! One more idea I am happy we did — we put photos and short bios of our staff on our website. It makes all staff — everyone — feel part of the team. In addition, if anyone is wanting to learn more about our company, what better way than to show off our fabulous staff and their loyalty to their job and commitment to our community.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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