I wanted to share a little tip that will help you to grow Facebook page followers directly from your website.
Until a few months ago, converting website visitors into Facebook fans was inefficient. A prospective fan would have to:
- Click on your Facebook link
- Be intrigued by your Facebook content
- Click the “Like” button to become a fan
Here is how to place a “Like” button on your website that will allow you to add fans directly from your website.
- Log in to your Facebook page.
- Click the “Edit Page” button.
- Navigate to the “Resources” page.
- Click “Use Social Plugins” link.
- Select the “Like Box” option.
Add this plugin to your website by clicking on the “Get Code” button and adding the code to your site.The Like Box is a great plugin you can add to your website to allow users to like your Facebook page, view a stream of recent posts, and see faces of friends who have become fans of your page.
For some, the standard Facebook “Like Box” might work well, but often this plugin is too large to incorporate into existing websites.
Here is the code to frame the Like Box plugin so only the like button displays. The trick is to place the plugin code into a div tag which has the overflow hidden.
<div style=”width:50px; height:24px; overflow:hidden;”>
PASTE LIKE BOX CODE HERE
When you are opening a new location or introducing a new service or business, hosting an event is one way to get people talking and lay the groundwork for future marketing efforts. If it’s a new property, host a groundbreaking; if you are halfway built, have a beam signing or dusty shoe tour; if you are about to open, plan a grand opening.
Here are five tips to get you started:
Pick a good date and time
Make sure there is nothing important happening on the date you choose. You could be overshadowed, or make it difficult for people to attend. Google the date and check the chamber, city, county and local news outlet websites for upcoming events. You won’t be able to ensure everyone can come, but try and choose times that are convenient. The best time for the press is generally between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Invite interesting people to speak
Ask appropriate speakers to say a few words. Local celebs and public officials are great, but think too about other angles. If you’re opening a bookstore, ask a local author to say a few words; if the building design is unique, ask the architect to talk about their vision; if it’s a recycling service, ask the municipal waste department for a representative who can discuss why reducing waste saves money and saves the environment. Keep presentations short, to the point and related to your project.
Be ready – for anything
Do you have a place for people to go if it rains? Where do people park? Do you need a podium and microphone? Should you offer light refreshments? Do you need bathroom facilities? Work from a comprehensive list of planning details. We adapted a planning list produced by the military; they don’t miss a thing.
Send invitations by mail
No, this isn’t a plug for the post office, but in the email barrage, “snail” mail still has a certain cachet. We like to hand address invites, too. You are more likely to get an RSVP for you headcount. Send out invites 2-3 weeks in advance.
Contact the media and provide good details
Before the event, blog, tweet it and send out a press release. Personally invite (write, email or call depending on your relationship) editors or reporters you really want to come. Have press kits ready with background info, facts and details that can help them write the story. If they can’t come, ask if you can provide them with photos and information afterward so they can still write a story. We always hear how newsrooms are understaffed. If you present information, and don’t try to “sell,” many reporters appreciate the support.
If you start to tell the story early, you’ll have more people talking about your project from the get-go. Events don’t need to be over the top, but if well thought out and timed right, they are a nice way to start the conversations.
Sometimes, when you’re in need of photos for advertisements, websites or other visual materials, hiring a professional photographer to do the work isn’t realistic. Cost or time issues can prohibit it. That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck, though. There are a number of easy and less cost-prohibitive ways to get high-quality images, particularly now that digital is the name of the game. Read on for some tips on getting top-notch images without a professional photographer, or even a fancy camera.
Visualize, then shoot.
Imagine the image you want – the light, where the subject is located, where the camera is focused, the color, etc. Then work on capturing what you see in your mind’s eye.
Know your light.
Certain times of day – dusk and dawn – offer the best opportunity for even, flattering light. In general, keep the sun behind you at all times. When you’re indoors, be aware of natural light coming in from the windows – don’t position your subjects in front of that natural light, but rather in a way that allows as much natural light as possible to fall on them. Many cameras have a low-light or night mode that can be useful indoors as well. It’s important to hold your hand steady when using this setting, though, due to the longer exposure time.
Be aware of the background.
A cluttered and busy background distracts from what you want your viewer to focus on. Be aware of what is behind your main focus and declutter if necessary.
Try different angles.
With digital photography, it’s tempting to take the same photo several times with little variation, hoping something will turn out all right. Instead, take a few shots from each angle – landscape and portrait, from above, and from below. Try framing the subject differently as well – instead of capturing them straight on, consider positioning them to the side in order to capture a different angle.
All in all, experiment.
Memory cards can hold hundreds, even thousands of images. Play with the various aspects that affect your image, from the light to the angle to the framing and more. For every 20 shots, you may only have one or two usable images, but that’s what makes digital photography so great – you can just delete the other 18!
People look for products and services on the Internet. If they don’t actually make the purchase online, they are certainly vetting your company and learning what others think of you online. There are three main areas of the Internet where this is being done.
Search engines: Most searches online are conducted via Google. People find it easier to search and sift through online information to get their head around what they want and what they need. When people search for you online via search engines, make sure you have a website that you will be proud to have them visit. Good sites are specific to your target audience, easy to navigate and have good calls to action.
Blogs: People also gather information through blogs. While we used to gather information about our industry through trade magazines, more and more these are folding, going online or the trade industry experts have branched into the blogosphere as independent voices on subjects. You can either host your own blog – but make sure you can commit to the work before you start – or monitor the online conversation so you are not being misrepresented.
Social media: Finally, people learn and shop through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp and more. With the tremendous amount of clutter and noise out there, social media is becoming the most trusted source of referrals for business products and services. If you need a dentist or a plumber, wouldn’t you ask your friends (social media) versus just going to Google or yellow pages for a random pick?
To “get found” through these channels, you need to be present. Pivot works with a mix of clients on organizing websites, blogs, and social media strategies. Let us know if you’d like to discuss your situation.
No company is immune from problems. Whether you are a river-rafting company, health care provider or dry cleaner, your business is susceptible to problems, sometimes predictable and sometimes not. Issues can run the gamut, such as upset customers, employee wrongdoing, criminal investigations, regulatory reports, natural disaster, rumors, product failures and much more.
Ignoring the reality that some issue, at some point, is going to create headaches for your firm is unwise. Instead, your leadership team should carve out time to meet at periodic intervals to go into “what if” mode.
Whether you meet monthly, quarterly, twice a year, or annually, it is essential you set the time and do it. Other day-to-day tasks and responsibilities can displace this planning, but if you postpone it, you will regret it when an issue spirals out of control. The ramifications to your reputation could be far more costly in the long-term than setting aside time for planning.
When you meet, work on the following:
- Identify realistic issues that could affect your company.
- Outline the potential repercussions of these issues.
- Develop a handful of key messages for each.
- Name a working crisis team that can be assembled on short notice. Don’t forget to include subject matter experts on this team for specific issues. If you are a health care provider for example, and the potential problem involves patient care, add your clinical director as part of the scenario planning team. Do not create a team that is too large or you’ll bog down. Only include people who can help you respond to issues quickly and intelligently.
- Review your liability coverage and adjust it if you find issues you are not covered for.
- What would you do if a reporter from 60 Minutes jumped out of the bushes? It’s cliché, but it happens. If you don’t have a basic response in place, it could be very damaging to your company.
- Make sure your planning group considers all audiences – employees, vendors, suppliers, local officials, media – so you don’t miss communicating with a group when it hits the fan.
- Outline channels of communication you use – intranet, internet, email, phone, and so on – so you pick the appropriate channel, depending on the issue and audience you need to reach.
- Discuss your working relationship with the media. Know who your friends are if trouble arises, and consider reaching out to them first if your issue requires a response to the media.
If you spend time talking through these and other “what if” questions, you will be better prepared to respond to problems. While no organization can plan for all scenarios (Really? Someone just walked into our mall’s fountain and hurt themselves because they were texting?), what you’ll find is that your response – guided by your working plan – provides a flexible starting point and the right frame of mind to analyze and respond appropriately.
And finally, a shameless plug. It may even help to have a third-party company (like us) help facilitate the planning process. A consultant will be objective to the egos in the room, can drive planning forward, and have experience developing useful plans.
Reporters, news editors and others in the media are constantly inundated with pitches from business owners, public relations professionals and everything in between. What can you do to make sure your pitch isn’t quickly shuffled to the “Trash” box? Hint: exclamation points aren’t going to help your cause. Read on for several tips to crafting a pitch that might, if you’re lucky, catch a reporter’s eye.
Identify the key points, and know what you’re talking about.
Follow this simple guideline: if I were a reporter, what would I want to know? Well, you’d want to know what makes this product/event/announcement worthy of valuable newsprint. Also ask yourself why a reporter’s readers would care about this topic. Is it a local take on a national trend? A unique or wacky event or photo opportunity? Explain.
But don’t explain for too long.
Imagine you have about .3 seconds to capture a reporter’s attention. If you were a reporter, would, “I’d like to share with you a truly fascinating story about a unique paint drying event,” capture your attention? Hopefully not. Cut to the chase – there’s no need to explain what you’re going to explain. There’s also no need to use superfluous adjectives and crazy punctuation. Just jump right in, be straightforward, and don’t go on very long. A single short paragraph is usually enough.
Know who you’re talking to.
Would a book editor be interested in the latest tech product? No, but a technology reporter might. This gets back to point No. 1, where we covered the importance of explaining why a reporter’s readers would care.
Provide accurate follow-up information.
Make it very clear to the reporter/editor/etc. who the proper contact person is and make sure that person is available. Nothing kills a potential story faster than an automated “Out of Office” response from the pitch contact, who just so happens to be on vacation.
Don’t nag, but do send a follow-up email or make a call a few days after you send out your pitch. Ask if they received it and if they’d like any other information. Strive to make their job easier, but don’t be pushy. A reporter isn’t an extension of your sales team. They aren’t interested in promoting your business; they’re interested in their readers. Show you understand that.
With so many social media platforms, review sites and business listings out there, controlling your online presence can feel like plugging leaks in a dam with your fingers.
Since consumers increasingly rely on the wisdom of the crowd to make decisions, businesses need to know what the crowd sees and thinks. This is especially critical for restaurants, retailers and service providers, but useful for other industries as well.
Here are four reasons why you should understand and control your online image.
1. Put accurate information out there.
If you are not in control of your content on sites such as Yelp, Foursquare or Google Places, your customers can and will put up information about your business that they believe to be true. “We don’t manage our page,” will not mollify an angry customer who showed up an hour after closing based on faulty information on Yelp.
By claiming your Yelp Business page or managing your Foursquare Venue page, you can ensure customers have accurate information about hours, location and services provided.
2. Track and engage.
On sites with check-in features, such as Facebook and Foursquare, managing the business page lets you see how many people are checking in at your business. Each check-in promotes your business across the site to the user’s friends.
With a review site like Yelp, claiming the business page lets you receive alerts when site users post reviews. A savvy page manager can engage with customers by sending them private or public messages about their reviews, encouraging feedback and being first on the scene to remedy misunderstandings.
3. Online advertising platforms.
Both review sites like Yelp and social media platforms like Facebook and Foursquare offer unique opportunities for targeted ads and promotions. Knowing how to fully utilize these sites means that you can market directly to users who will actively engage with your business.
4. It’s easy and informative.
On most sites it is easy to register and free to manage the business page. Most sites also offer tracking to help you learn more about your customer – for instance, Foursquare breaks down users who check-in by gender and age, and Yelp allows you to see what other businesses reviewers are visiting.
Maintenance of the business page can be as easy as an automated email report in your inbox daily, weekly or monthly. You only have to log in if the business information changes significantly.
Pivot is experienced at managing a variety of social media and review sites. Call or email us to learn more about the importance of controlling your online presence.
Some organizations have in-house PR personnel; others outsource the work and oversee the program; and some do both. Why the varying approaches? In many cases, if the organization feels it has sufficient in-house experience, expertise and time, it will go it alone. Often, there is simply too much to do, and outsourcing some or all of the PR responsibilities to experts helps increase output and the expand capabilities of the in-house team.
If you decide you want to hire a PR team to assist your organization, management will rightly want to know the role and cost of an outside agency. Below are six reasons to share with management:
1. The agency adds an outside, objective perspective to an issue or program. Internal PR, beholden to management, may not push back as readily on a bad idea. A good PR firm will not hold back, using their experience and judgment to provide honest counsel.
2. The firm can add experience and depth. In some cases, we have been working with organizations longer than many on the internal marketing team, so we can provide historical perspective and industry knowledge.
3. Outside PR counsel can be invaluable in a crisis, where resources are stretched and quick, sound decisions must be made. You don’t want to be getting an agency up to speed when problems arise.
4. The agency can help strengthen industry connections and community relations.
5. The agency can conduct research, help coordinate resources, or manage other time-consuming activities.
6. You get more than one person with a firm. We always say an internal person will cost you salary plus benefits. Say a person makes $45,000 plus 30% in overhead and benefits. So, for $60,000, you have one internal low- or mid-level resource – a person with one set of experiences, generally learned inside your operation. That $60,000 could be applied to an agency, where you get a team of professionals who can apply practices and perspectives learned in many fields.
What other reasons are there to hire outside help? Why not?
Developing a successful web design strategy is a lot like playing a smart game of Monopoly. Knowing your plan of attack before the first roll of the dice is the secret to winning in today’s marketplace. Here are six web design strategy tips to consider before you start to build.
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If you haven’t already dipped your toe into the social media ocean yet, you’re not alone. Many companies are skeptical of this relatively new and somewhat uncertain realm. What seems simple – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – can evolve into something much more complicated without the right guidelines and preparation. But say you’ve decided to give it a shot. Before you make your company’s brand new Facebook page public, or start tweeting about the latest industry news, take these pointers into consideration.
Watch from the sidelines. Before you plunge headfirst into the social media ocean, take some time to study the waters first. See what your competitors are doing. What are they writing about? What seems to be working and what is falling flat? Do others in your industry focus on Facebook while avoiding Twitter, or vice versa? Immerse yourself in the conversation, take note of the language and lingo used, and study how others handle discord within their social media channels.
Create some content. You can aim your focus on a number of different strategies here. Consider using social media to answer and respond to customer concerns, and craft content around those common complaints. You can answer their questions before they even ask. Or, you could position yourself as an expert in the industry and offer an insightful and unique perspective on issues within your field. Or, you could use social media to show the personality and character of your company and its people. You could even combine these different approaches, but just make sure you know what persona you’re trying to project and all your social media efforts tie in to this persona. It’s not a bad idea to come up with a single sentence that encapsulates your reason for getting into social media. That way you can come back to that sentence each time you create content.
Assign responsibility. Assigning one person to monitor and engage in social media ensures your company’s message is consistent across all social media outlets. This person needs a clear direction about the content and commentary they are delivering. A process for handling complaints or other issues should be developed and the individual responsible for social media must understand it.
…But don’t get caught unprepared. If the individual mentioned above takes a two-week vacation, are you going to let your social media channels go stagnant for two weeks? That’s probably not the best strategy. Creating a content calendar, guidelines for content and other fool-proof procedures ensures that if your go-to social media person is absent, someone else can step in relatively easily and keep the ball rolling.