Facebook Verifies (Some) Pages & Profiles

What is it?
After many recent interface updates, Twitter has been accused of stealing profile ideas from Facebook. Now, the tables have turned as Facebook has announced Verified Pages and Profiles with a large followings of Fans. Some examples of people with verified accounts would be: celebrities, journalists, government officials, popular brands and businesses. Read more here.

Establishing authenticity
This process seems to be subjective and left completely up to Facebook, as users can’t actually request for their Page or Profile to be officially Verified. How convenient! You can however, report falsely Verified accounts. Just like with verified Twitter accounts, you can distinguish Facebook’s Verified accounts by a small blue check mark. This check mark will appear on Pages/Profiles and also in Graph Search results next to the name of the Page/Profile.

Good for business?
As a business or notable figure in an industry, Verified accounts will help brands stand out from other Fans, haters or spammers trying to cash in on using their business name. For example, many celebrity fan Pages will often have similar pictures and layouts to the authentic Page in order to gain more clicks and views. The theory is that Verified accounts will help push more Fans and customers to the real Page instead of an unofficial Page.

What’s in store for the future
For now, Verified accounts seem to offer the most benefits to big brands and celebrities. After all, they’re the ones spending the most on Facebook and making the most off Fans. Stay tuned by Liking the Emarketed Facebook Page and joining in on the conversation.

Showing Twitter Love this Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. While you’re off being romantic today, don’t forget about showing some Twitter love! Here’s some inspiration for all you lovers out there:

Photo apps: Instagram is all the rage, but it’s not exactly Twitter-friendly… seeing that they’re owned by Facebook! Take a look at some alternatives including: Snapseed and Hipster.

Get visual: Looking to add some spice to your header image? Take a look at this gallery of creative photos to get some inspiration for your own profile.

Mind your manners: It’s not polite to spam your followers, constantly ask for new followers or ignore others who communicate with you. Apply the “Golden Rule and Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Take it off Twitter: Have you ever thought of embedded Tweets? This is a great way to continue the conversation, cultivate relationships and build credibility. The best part is that you’re directing followers to your website and developing relevant content.

See the bigger picture: Twitter isn’t just for fun and you should think of it as another element in your overall marketing plan. This also means not just relying on Twitter (or social media for that matter) to grow your business but to use it for its strengths.

Would You Pay With a Tweet?

Would you post a Tweet in exchange for a whitepaper, ebook, song or any other digital good? That’s the exact idea behind Pay With a Tweet. With this “social payment” system, consumers “purchase” by tweeting about a certain “product”. By doing so, they create more buzz surround their purchase amongst their personal social network. If others are interested, they will do the same and further spread the promotion of your business. It’s a win/win situation for both parties!

So, does this really work and why would people click links anyway? A recent article by Dan Zarrella shows that accounts that tweet a lot of links are correlated with a high number of followers. And more links = more chances of clicks, which will help bring you more traffic. It’s no wonder that viral marketing comes to mind with this type of promotion. People will go click-happy over free things, especially if what you’re selling is good.

How exactly? The band, The Teenagers, have used this to start their own viral promotion of a new single by asking fans to pay with a tweet. Who doesn’t like free music?! But this service is also works outside the entertainment industry. Besides selling content, you can also get creative, as the site suggests: trial runs of your service, a sneak peak of an ad, or even samples your portfolio.

Pay With a Tweet also works with Facebook so you can pay with a Facebook update. What do you think and have you tried this free service yet?

Twitter’s New Photo Search

Picture this: you’re out with your friends or at an event – how often do you pull out your phone to take a picture and share it with your social network(s)? If you’re like a majority of mobile users, the chances are that you do this a lot!

Twitter recently unveiled a new search feature that emphasizes tagged photos. Although Twitter’s search result algorithm is less complex than Google’s, this puts them one step closer to pulling more relevant search results and showcasing the most popular ones. In the world of social photo sharing, this will bring users closer than ever to each other, as well as their favorite brands.

As Twitter puts it: if a picture is worth a thousand words, a hashtag can be worth a thousand pictures! What does this mean for your business? First off, I think it’s another great opportunity to share and be creative. Instead of just replying to hashtags with more hashtags or words, you can now incorporate a visual element and who doesn’t appreciate that? This opens a new element when it comes to learning about your customers, your industry, and your own promotions (hello, photo contests). This new feature can help your business be more sociable. Because whether you like it or not, social media can’t be treated like any other form of internet advertising. It all boils down to the social aspect of a community.

Check out the video for a detailed look at Twitter’s new search feature.

The Many Faces of Social Media

When you think about the purpose of social media, what first comes to your mind? Nowadays, I don’t think there’s one “right” answer because social media is useful in so many ways. Let’s take a look at the different faces of social media:

The microblogger – When Twitter first came out, it was all about microblogging this and microblogging that. Today, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn are amongst the many that have their very own microblogging service. If you don’t have enough time devoted to blogging, this is an excellent alternative.

The customer service representative – Another great thing about social media is that you can keep tabs on what customers are saying about your brand and respond quickly. Did you know that customers can skip the waiting (and awful hold music) by tweeting their problems? Time Warner Cable, for example, has a team of staff members solely for this purpose.

The salesperson – The immediacy and wide audience of social media sites give you the ability to promote your business 24/7. Sort of like a salesperson who never sleeps and isn’t as annoying. Well, maybe. Even though social media sites give you the opportunity to self promote, it doesn’t mean that you should overuse and abuse it.

The promotion team – Customers love to be appreciated as much as they like good deals. This is where your social media strategy can focus on promotions. From coupons to contests, this is the best way to drum up some good publicity and create customer interest in your brand.

The social butterfly – Sometimes, social media is just that – social. Have you ever wondered why trending topics on Twitter seem so random? It’s because it’s a result of some tedious, strategic marketing plan but rather, an organic outcome of what happens when people communicate together online. Savvy businesses are the ones who use this to their advantage and join in the most-talked about conversations.

In the end, social media doesn’t necessarily have to play all these roles for your business. There’s a lot of room for flexibility and growth so that you can find out which suits you best. Which one do you think is most important and why?

3 Thoughts on Social Media Marketing

Are you feeling overloaded by social media marketing news? If you find that there’s just too much to keep up with, here are 3 recent stories that caught my eye:

Yahoo News Like Log StudyThe Like Log Study by Yahoo! Labs

WHAT: This is a study that is a must read for statistics-fanatics and social media lovers alike. Over a span of 3 months, Yury Lifshits compiled an overview of Facebook Likes, comments and shares of some of the biggest websites and provides insight into what it means.

WHY: Did you know that social media engagement sharply after the first day it’s posted? Timing is everything and it’s possibly why social media optimization is becoming more important.

Is the Twitter RT Irrelevant? by Joel Postman

Twitter Retweet

WHAT: Is Twitter becoming so overflooded with Retweets that they’re actually becoming meaningless? In terms of “usefulness” and originality, RTs may be losing their weight, but what about when it comes to etiquette?

WHY: Last month, we dug a little more into retweeting. This article is thought provoking as we delve into netiquette and how it plays into interacting with your peers.

Brands That are Winning with Multichannel Marketing Strategies by Courtney Boyd Myers

social media best practices

WHAT: A quick overview of how successful brands are playing the social media game. It’s never a bad time to look at some best practices and to see how others are using the multi-channel strategy.

WHY: As much as we’d like to “win” solely using Facebook, Twitter, SEO, or PPC. It’s probably not going to happen. Diversifying your online efforts will give your business better leverage when it comes to amplifying your brand message.

So, after browsing these three stories, what do you think? Are there any other stories that have caught your attention and why?

How Do You Retweet?

Twitter RetweetRetweeting is a great way to share a interesting facts, shocking statements and little nuggets of wisdom. Even though there are countless types of messages to Retweet, there are two basic ways to do so. Twitter has an official Retweet button but some users still prefer the “old” style, by manually typing a RT in front of a tweet.

But does it really matter how you choose to Retweet things and here’s a better question, “Do Retweets make a difference in your social marketing campaigns?”

Manual RT Versus the Button

RT: When I mean the “old” style of Retweeting, that means copy and pasting a message after adding “RT @user” to the front of your message. This method allows you to answer questions, fix spelling mistakes and add whatever comments you’d like. Pros include customization, searchability (your RTs will show up when searched for), your username will be included in the message as others you want to credit. The downside is that makes your message more limited and can be more time consuming.

Official RT Button: If you use Twitter’s official button, your account will show up along all the other users who have Retweeted the same message. In a way, I feel that this is similar to ‘Liking’ a Facebook update. Your RT will not be counted as an individual message but rather, it will give that post more prominence. Highly Retweeted messages show up near the top of Twitter search results and that’s a good thing.

Why Does Retweeting Matter?

Either way you do it, Retweeting is an important part of the social aspect of Twitter. What makes a RT so important is the potential to reach a greater audience that what your account has alone. If one friend Retweets it, their friends will also be exposed and so on.

Remember, the timeline for a Tweet is very short lived and the message brief (140 characters). That’s why the most powerful tweets will be interesting, useful and/or also contain relevant keywords. So that when they do get Retweeted, that Tweet-juice will be counted in your favor SEO-wise.

Making the Most of Your Social Media Content

content creation

After all your hard work , you want to make sure that your efforts don’t get lost in the sea of online content. From your regular blog posts to  Tweets, here are some ways you can make sure that you’re making the most out of your social media content:

  • Blog – Writing a post-worthy blog isn’t enough to get your content found. Make sure to fill out the Title, meta description, anchor text, tags with meaningful and relevant keywords before you post. You can also edit the URL of your post to make it shorter and more concise (see: the url of this post vs the title)
  • Images – When you add pictures to your blog or website, always remember to add a title or description. Even if it’s just your brand name or a broad description, these words will go a long way!  My pet hamster made it to the first page of Google Images because I optimized a Flickr photo his name in the title, tags and description.
  • Video- It’s easy to optimize YouTube videos. Properly optimized videos are powerful assets that will benefit your brand in the long run because they have a strong staying power (especially if you get them to rank for a specific location/niche.)
  • Twitter- Keep your messages short and sweet and don’t be afraid to include target keywords and other terms you want to be associated with. A fun part of Twitter is that your responses to other users and retweets also count as content.
  • Facebook- This isn’t the place to blast the same messages over again. Neither is it a place to overtly self-promote. With New Facebook Pages rolling out, you can make your fans keep them engaged and make them feel like they’re part of something exclusive by creating unique, well-timed messages.

What are some other ways you properly optimize your social media content?

Managing Your Online Reputation

As Joan Jett famously sang,”I don’t give a damn ’bout my bad reputation.

If you’re amongst the few with this mindset, there’s always room for improvement. One important aspect of social media marketing is managing your online reputation. And that consists of two basic parts:

1) Staying alert about negative feedback
2) Being ready to respond quickly and appropriately

Social Media Monitoring
There are many different tools and services that can keep you updated on what’s been said abut your business. Good ol’ Google Alerts should be the first on your list and it’s also free. Radian 6 and Monitter are a few others that come to mind.

Regular participation on your social media profiles should also help if you get any customer inquires or direct complaints. (Another reason why you shouldn’t just create profiles and let them sit there.) Remember, these are only tools that will help you be more aware of customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Crafting a response is another area to focus on.

Choosing an Appropriate Response

When I see a bad review on Yelp or Facebook, it’s always refreshing to see a meaningful reply from the business owner. Unless, it’s something like this: “Why don’t you come in here and say it to my face?”

As verified business owner, you can respond directly to reviews on Yelp, Google Places or Yahoo! Local Listings. But remember, your online reputation and future business is on the line, so it’s probably not wise to blame or threaten the customer. There are many things you can do in these cases but it’s best to take action first – especially before the complaints pile up. You can invite the customer to a more private mode of communication and help fix their problem. You can also apologize for their experience and invite them to try your products/services again. I’ve seen this happen many times with reviews reversed (from bad to good) when customers are offered a second chance.

Brand monitoring is a key function of social media marketing. Don’t let your little problems snowball into a reputation crisis that you can’t avert!

Tools for Measuring Facebook Engagement and Growth

Measuring engagement and ROI can be tricky topics… but even more so when it comes to your Facebook Page. As of now, there is no definitive answer or “right” way to do it. Luckily, there are many tools and strategies that will help give you a better understanding of the social activity on your Facebook Page.

  1. Facebook Insights – I’m not a very big fan but it does the job. Facebook Insights give you an overview of’ ‘Like’ growth since your Page’s creation, fan demographics, and analytics per post. As Mari Smith puts it, impressions are based on the number of times your post is loaded on someone’s Facebook stream. This isn’t very helpful and also doesn’t take into account unique views.
  2. Google Analytics – If you prefer using Analytics, you can embed a tracking code onto a custom tab on your Facebook Page. Again, it might not be too helpful because it can’t be used to track activity on the Wall.
  3. Manually - Depending on how much time you have dedicated to a campaign, tracking engagement manually can be a cost-effective method.

In the end, Facebook measurements can fall short, so it’s important to avoid getting too caught up in numbers. How do you keep track of your Facebook Page growth?

And before I forget, here are some great (free) tools that you can use to track your social media marketing campaigns: