Monthly Archives: February 2012
Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify. How did they turn a $100,000 prize into $12,000,000 in transactions? In the world of magazine articles, one of my all-time favorite headlines is “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Meta” from the MIT Technology Review, a feature about billionaire programmer, Charles Simonyi. Charles designed Microsoft Office and is [...] Continue reading
Humanitarian organizations are not able to work in the Nuba Mountains. However, here are some organizations that are effective in helping Nuba refugees who have fled into South Sudan: Continue reading
Looks like Facebook wanted to close out February 2012 with quite a bang. In addition to the launch of its new Facebook business page design, which mimics the familiar timeline layout personal profiles adopted over the past couple of months (learn how to set up your page and leverage the countless other feature tweaks in our complete guide), Facebook also announced three new features today that should get marketers pretty excited.
- Facebook Premium Offers
- Reach Generator
- Mobile News Feed and Logout Page Ads
So what are these new features all about? Let’s break down what each new feature does and how it changes how you advertise on Facebook.
Facebook Premium Offers
The Next Web reports that Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg shared the goal of making marketing more social today at the Facebook Marketing Conference in New York, after which Facebook VP of Product Chris Cox took the stage to congratulate marketers for being Facebook’s best content creators, and presumably reward them for it with the news marketers have been waiting to hear from Facebook for a while — Facebook is going to make it easier to get marketers’ content in front of more people (and the right people, at that) more often.
What exactly does that mean? The release of “Facebook Premium Offers,” available now — that’s what it means. In short, you can think of it as the Facebook equivalent of Twitter’s Sponsored Tweets, giving your Facebook premium advertising and Sponsored Stories better placement. Mike Hoefflinger, Facebook’s director of global business marketing, explained that with Premium Offers, a brand can start with a post to their page, and if it’s successful, choose to increase that post’s distribution through Premium Offers. “Over the last few years while testing the efficacy of Premium,” he shares, “it can hit 3X the ROI for brands.“
The release of this feature should be music to marketers’ ears. As Hoefflinger tells it, Facebook fans have been found to be twice as valuable as the general population based on purchase behavior, so it makes sense you’d want to promote your content — think offers, coupons, and landing pages — to the low hanging fruit that could more easily convert into a customer. That’s why Facebook also introduced something called “Reach Generator,” a new product that guarantees that 75% of your fans will see your brand’s content each month. Facebook cited Ben & Jerry’s as a case study who, using these new tools, reached 98% of their fans and increased sales 3 to 1. Right now, less than 16% of a page’s Facebook fans see their posts.
So if marketers know what stories their Facebook fans enjoy the most — let’s say for HubSpot, it’s our educational content about using social media for marketing — we can use the Reach Generator to promote those stories as Premium Offers so they are distributed to more people — 75% more, to be precise. These stories will appear in the news feed right in the mix with all of your fans’ other updates — on desktop and mobile devices.
Reach Generator is now available through Facebook’s premium managed accounts, and it establishes fixed pricing based on the number of fans your page has. It will also help marketers select the posts with the highest potential for success in the new ad placement format.
Mobile News Feed and Logout Page Ads
Wait, did you say ads are appearing in the news feed on mobile devices, too?
Why, thank you for noticing. It’s true, Facebook announced that starting today, news feed ads will be shown on mobile devices, too. But the prominence of ads doesn’t stop there. Users will also begin seeing ads when they log out of Facebook, starting in April. Boy, they sure are aiming to monetize after their S-1, aren’t they?
These stories you’re telling with the new Premium Offers and Reach Generator will now also appear when users log out of Facebook — a fantastic idea, as it turns out, since according to TechCrunch, 105 million people log out of Facebook every month, not to mention that there is no other content to distract users during the log-out process, giving your stories even more visibility. But if you’re a Facebook advertiser, make sure you still create compelling, eye-catching content in these giant log-out ads; users don’t tend to hang around the log-out screen for too long!
As we learn more about these new features (Facebook hasn’t even blogged about them, yet!), we will keep you updated about which tactics are most effective.
What marketing value do you see in any or all of these three new Facebook advertising feature launches? Will you be experimenting with this new functionality, or do you think it’s too intrusive for users?
Image credit: stoneysteiner
Connect with HubSpot:
By Robert BazellChief science and health correspondentNBC News
Not long ago, statins were jokingly promoted by some doctors with a “put them in the drinking water” argument. Physicians and drug company experts suggested that the ubiquitous cholesterol-l … Continue reading
Our social media team had a nice little surprise upon logging into Facebook this morning. We hinted at it last month, but it looks like the day has already come. The new Facebook business page design, which is virtually the same as Timeline, is now available for all businesses to implement on Facebook pages!
Facebook is giving page administrators the chance to preview, tweak, and publish their new design immediately, but the new design won’t be forced on you until March 30, 2012. In other words, you have until May 30 to play around with the new design without publishing before it must go live. Here’s what you need to know to make the most out of the new design and all the features it has to offer.
How to Set Up Your New Facebook Page Design
Upon logging in and accessing your Facebook business page as an administrator, you’ll be presented with the following message:
Start Tour: Click the green ‘Start Tour’ button to get started.
Step 1A: Set Your Cover Photo
In the ‘About’ section of the tour, you’ll first be prompted to choose what’s called a cover photo for your page. If you’re familiar with Timeline for personal profiles, this is similar to the large banner image that is shown at the top of the page. For pages, the cover photo dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels. Choose an image that is representative of your brand, and don’t be afraid to get creative with it (here are some great examples from Social Fresh to spark some creativity). You can change it as often as you wish, but you should also adhere to Facebook’s policies regarding cover photos, which states that cover photos cannot include:
- Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website.”
- Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
- References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
- Calls-to-action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
- Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property.
No calls-to-action? A little bit strict, Facebook … don’t you think?
Step 1B: Set Your Profile Picture
Once you click ‘Next,’ Facebook will prompt you to adjust your profile picture, which is the image that will get shown next to each of your updates on your wall and in users’ news feeds; it will also appear with any sponsored stories or ads that you run. A logo is a good choice here, but you can choose any image that is representative of your brand. Choose an image that fits 180 x 180 pixels and also looks good when scaled down to a thumbnail size of 32 x 32 pixels.
Step 2: Organize Your Views & Apps
The new design features photos, likes, and apps at the top of your page below your cover photo. Photos are automatically featured in the first spot, but page admins can rearrange the rest to feature the most important ones first. Overall, a total of 12 apps can be shown here, which can be viewed when page visitors click the dropdown arrow (highlighted in orange in the image below). Admins can also customize the images that get shown for each app in this toolbar using the ‘Manage’ >> ‘Edit Page’ dropdown via the ‘Admin Panel,’ which is accessible at the top right of their business page.
Step 3: Star, Hide, or Pin
In step 3 of the tour, Facebook will prompt you to modify the items in your page’s timeline. By hovering over individual stories, you can make them wider, hide them from your timeline with the pencil icon, highlight them as important with the star icon, or delete them entirely. A great new feature to note here is that you can pin/anchor a specific story to the top of your timeline for up to 7 days. This means you can highlight specific posts such as remarkable content, calls-to-action for your best marketing offers, or other events/promotions you want to feature. Pinning it to the top of your page will prevent it from getting buried by more recent updates. Perhaps Facebook is offering this functionality in an attempt to make up for its strict cover photo guidelines.
Step 4: Explore the Admin Panel
The new Admin Panel which, as we mentioned earlier, page admins can access from the link at the top right of their business page, allows admins to track all of the activity on their page in one convenient place. From here, admins can easily respond to comments, edit their page settings, access Page Insights (i.e. Facebook page analytics), create new ads, and even change the name of their page.
Step 5: Enable Messages
The Facebook guided tour ends with information about messages, a brand new feature for business pages. Admins can now allow users to send them personal messages. This makes it much easier for admins to have private conversations with their fans. Use this feature when you need to discuss a topic or customer service issue in more depth, and when you’d prefer the conversation not be made public for all page visitors to see. We don’t recommend limiting methods of communication available to your fans, but admins can also choose to turn off messaging capability by accessing the Admin Panel, choosing ‘Manage’ >> ‘Edit Page’ >> ‘Manage Permissions,’ and unchecking the ‘Messages’ box.
In addition to the new features we’ve covered in the tour above, there are several other features available in the new page design that you should also know about.
About: Although the ‘About’ section of your Facebook page isn’t exactly a ‘new’ feature available with these updates, it’s still worth mentioning due to the prominent placement it gets in the new design (see below). This section gives you the opportunity to briefly explain your business and let new visitors quickly understand what your business is about. Keep it brief so the description doesn’t get cut off, and include a URL to your business’ website.
Friend Activity: When people visit your new business page, they will now have a more personalized experience because they’ll see how their personal Facebook friends have interacted with your page. In other words, if a user tags your business page in one of their posts or checks in at your business’ location, the people they originally shared with (i.e. their Facebook friends) will see these stories highlighted for them on your business page’s timeline if they visit it. You can learn more about your page’s visibility settings here and what people can see here. In a nutshell, this means that your page will now include more elements of social proof; if a visitor to your page sees that he/she has friends who have interacted with your page, they might be more enticed to stick around and become a fan themselves.
As you can see from the screenshot below, the new design shows me how many friends of mine are fans of the HubSpot page. I can also see a post one of my friends made about the HubSpot page.
Milestones: The new design also allows admins to feature what are called “Milestones” on their page. This allows page admins to highlight some of their business’ biggest accomplishments, such as fan growth, award wins, product releases, etc. Milestone images are set at 843 x 403 pixels. You create a new (or past) milestone via the status update box, which will prompt you to input the following information about your milestone.
When complete, it will look something like this on your timeline:
Activity Log: Your activity log allows you to view, manage, and organize all the posts on your page (even the ones you chose to hide from your timeline). With this page, you can filter stories by date or story type (see “All”), view spam vs. photos vs. comments vs. posts by others, and the list goes on. From this view, you can also hide, delete, or star (highlight) individual stories, as well as change dates of stories on your timeline. To access the activity log for a page, page admins should visit their Admin Panel and click ‘Manage’ >> ‘Use Activity Log.’
Best Practices For the New Page Design
In addition to the tried and true Facebook marketing best practices you’re likely already used to, here are a few additional ones to add to your list, brought to you by the brand new page design.
1) Publish More Visual Content
Facebook’s new timeline page design places more of an emphasis on visual content like images and videos, so use that to your advantage. According to an internal Facebook study, “posts including a photo album or picture can generate 2X more engagement than other post types.” Because these images will now appear larger and more prominently on your page, make it a point of posting your best visual content to your Facebook page, or make more of an effort to make the content you already create more visual. Think photos, charts, infographics, and other content visualizations. And hey — you can always use it on other visual-oriented social networks like Pinterest and Google+, too!
2) Feature Custom Tabs in Views & Apps Toolbar for Lead Gen
Unfortunately, with the new timeline design for pages, Facebook no longer allows you to set a default landing tab for your business page. All new page visitors will automatically be directed to your timeline. This means that for those of you using the HubSpot Facebook Welcome App, you can no longer make it so that new visitors see that tab upon visiting your page for the first time. That being said, you can feature the app (or other custom apps/tabs) in the Views & Apps toolbar below your cover photo. As we mentioned in step 2 of our setup steps above, be sure to rearrange your Views & Apps icons to show your top tabs to highlight tabs you’re using for lead generation.
3) Edit Images That Appear in Your Views & Apps Bar
To build off our last best practice, you’ll also want to make sure you choose the best images possible to represent the items in your Views & Apps toolbar. To customize the way these apps appear on your page, visit the Admin Panel, click ‘Manage,’ and choose ‘Edit Page’ from the dropdown menu. In the ‘Apps’ section, click ‘Edit Settings’ for the specific app image. Then you can upload the new image you’d like to use to feature that app (dimensions should be 111 x 74 pixels). This will enable you to turn your featured apps into compelling calls-to-action, as HubSpot did in the image example above to highlight its HubSpot Welcome App tab. Use these to call attention to your premium content to support Facebook lead generation.
4) Make Sure Your Best Posts Appear on Your Timeline
Make sure to expose visitors of your page to your most important content. To do so, make your default setting ‘Allowed on Timeline’ by checking ‘Everyone can post to HubSpot’s timeline’ in the ‘Manage Permissions’ section of your page settings. To highlight posts you want to give prominent placement on your timeline (they’ll take up the full width of your timeline), access your Activity Log and select ‘Highlight on Timeline’ to star particular posts.
5) Pin New Featured Promotions Every 7 Days
As we mentioned in setup step 3, admins are now able to pin content to the tops of their pages for 7 days at a time. Use this to anchor updates about the promotions you want to feature (e.g. events, new marketing offers, other awesome content, etc.) to the top of your page to make them as visible to page visitors as possible. Pinned stories will appear right below the status update compose box. Update your anchor pin every 7 days once the old one expires. To pin an update, hover over a story, click on the pencil icon in the top right corner, and choose ‘Pin to Top.’
Conclusion & Additional Resources
As you can tell, there’s a lot to learn and get used to with the new Facebook page design. Use the next month to experiment with your timeline, and achieve the look you want before you publish it to the world. In the meantime, we’ll keep the helpful content coming and do our best to uncover any new best practices as we find them.
If you’d like to check out what a timeline page looks like in the wild, we published HubSpot’s new page design this morning. It’s still a work in progress, but take a look!
Facebook has also published a few helpful resources you can access for even more information:
- Interactive Course on Facebook Pages
- Facebook Pages Overview (At-a-Glance PDF)
- Facebook Pages Product Guide (Detailed PDF)
Are you excited for the new Facebook page design?
Connect with HubSpot:
What we’re following:
- Mitt Romney wins Michigan, Arizona GOP primaries
- 4 killed as tornadoes roll through Midwest states
- 1 dead, 3 missing after Coast Guard helicopter crashes
And did you see…
- Fears grow of Israel-Iran missile shootout
- U.S. Continue reading
Since the recent explosion in popularity of Pinterest, many marketers have been experimenting with how they can take advantage of it for business. And as evidenced by the success of HubSpot’s new ebook on how to use Pinterest for business, which has been downloaded by over 37,000 people, it looks like a lot of you are interested in figuring out how to leverage this new social channel for your marketing efforts, too, regardless of whether you’re a B2C or a B2B company.
It’s no surprise. At HubSpot, we’ve been noticing some very interesting trends from our own Pinterest presence. We compared the conversion rate of our presence on Pinterest to that of another fairly new social network you may have heard of: it’s called Google+. And in the month of February, our visitor-to-lead conversion rate for Pinterest has been nearly double than that for Google+: 16% from Pinterest vs. 8.4% from Google+. Turns out traffic from Pinterest converts pretty darn well for us, even though we’re a B2B company.
But a recent comment thread on one of HubSpot’s pins — interestingly, a pin of our new Pinterest ebook we just mentioned (how meta, right?) — has raised a fascinating debate. Should websites like Pinterest be off-limits to marketers?
The Pinterest Marketing Debate
First, let’s take a look at Pinterest’s Etiquette regarding self-promotion:
Sounds pretty vague and lacking a definitive stance on whether/how marketers can use Pinterest, right? Just the fact that Pinterest calls these guidelines “etiquette” rather than something more concrete like “rules” or “policies” implies a lenient point of view regarding how the site should be used. And if you focus on the keywords “try” and “purely” highlighted by us in red above, you might start to realize why Pinterest isn’t exactly slamming down on marketers’ presence on Pinterest. And there are quite a few out there.
If you’d like to read the whole comment thread debate that resulted from HubSpot’s controversial pin, which has accumulated 40 comments in the past 5 days, you can do so here. The gist of it is, there were a few people who believed that because the nature of Pinterest is to “curate and share things you love,” the site is meant for users to share content they come across on the web, not for marketers to share their own content. And because HubSpot posted content that was deemed by some users to be violating Pinterest’s etiquette of “avoiding self promotion,” those users were disapproving of HubSpot’s behavior.
Opponents of brands on Pinterest aside, many other Pinterest users came to HubSpot’s defense. They raised the point that HubSpot wasn’t pinning images of its paid product, but rather of its free, educational content. They also mentioned that HubSpot wasn’t using Pinterest purely for promotional purposes, pointing to HubSpot’s other pinboards of non-promotional content that are used in alignment with the Pinterest vision of sharing the things you love with people who share your interests.
As one commenter pointed out, what is the difference between HubSpot pinning its valuable content and hairstylists pinning images of their beautiful hairstyles? Hairstylists may seem to have a more acceptable presence on Pinterest because their styles are more visually appealing than, say, an ebook cover; however, it’s no less promotional, which seems to be the crux of the issue. And for a Pinterest user who could care less about hairstyles but loves reading educational ebook content, following HubSpot’s pins would provide more value to them individually. In other words, value is the eye of the beholder, and as another commenter said:
The debate on HubSpot’s pin is just one example to illustrate a larger, more interesting discussion topic: Should certain websites or channels be off-limits to marketers? Even more so, can channels that are completely devoid of marketing ever exist? The short answer? Probably not. Here’s why…
Social Media Sites Need a Way to Monetize
As we’ve seen with most other social networks, marketing tools aren’t usually built into new social networks right off the bat. Just look at some of the most popular social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn … all of these social networks now provide tools specifically designed to enable businesses to better leverage those social networks’ marketing potential (e.g. internal advertising platforms, business branded pages, etc.); but none of these social networks launched with these tools available.
I could be wrong, but it seems like Pinterest’s vague guidelines regarding self-promotion weren’t exactly an oversight. It’s likely that Pinterest wants to see how people naturally use the social network and watch how that usage evolves over time. As one commenter on the HubSpot pin noted:
Pinterest may also have intentions of leaving itself open to future ways of monetizing its site. While Pinterest was unique in that, unlike many other major social networks, it monetized its presence early on through the use of Skimlinks, I wouldn’t be surprised if down the line, Pinterest started offering tools and functionality specifically geared toward marketers, like an advertising platform and brand pages, just as the other major social networks before it have done.
Social Networks are Permission-Centric
As I mentioned, the major social networks that still exist today have thrived because they’ve been able to monetize their existence through advertising. Although some users may like to think that social networks should be void of intrusive ads and outbound-style marketing, these sites simply wouldn’t be able to exist without it. In other words, they require an element of intrusiveness to thrive. That being said, with better personalization and targeting that is evolving around online social advertising, advertising and marketing on social networks can still be less intrusive than other offline, outbound marketing methods.
What was particularly interesting about the comment thread on HubSpot’s controversial pin was the fact that the few people who were against marketers’ presence on sites like Pinterest seemed to be making the point that brands’ organic presence there is already intrusive. And as a company that strongly believes in the concept of inbound marketing, which is built on the principle of permission-based marketing, this point of view was alarming to us at HubSpot.
All major social media sites are built around the concept of following the users you want to follow so you see only updates that are interesting and relevant to you. In other words, you can subscribe to the content you want to see, and avoid the content you wish not to see. Communication like the phone and email, on the other hand, is not necessarily permission-centric. While he or she may be breaking the law in doing so, technically a marketer can email and call you if they have your contact information, whether or not they have your permission. However, with an organic social media presence, a marketer cannot share messages directly with you unless you follow them/their brand and give them permission. Therefore, the social media user is the one in control in social media (it is permission-centric), and that is what makes social media inherently inbound and different from communication methods like the telephone and email.
So how could HubSpot’s organic presence on Pinterest be considered intrusive? If a user has chosen to follow a particular brand on Pinterest or any other social site, is this not permission-centric? If the users who were angered by HubSpot’s pins weren’t following HubSpot’s account, why should they feel so violated? As one user commented:
The fact of the matter is, social media sites are building in content other than what users specifically subscribe to as part of their models. On Pinterest, for example, users can choose to view “everything” that has been pinned on Pinterest, regardless of whether they’re specifically following those pinners or not (although the keyword there is choose).
This is likely how some of the disapproving users found HubSpot’s pin in the first place. Another likely scenario is that those users were following pinners who re-pinned HubSpot’s original pin. A similar dynamic occurs on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter, as users can share and retweet other users’ updates. But is this not the nature of a “social” network? Surely, users of social networks should understand that this is how all social networks generally function, and that it’s under the networks’ — not marketers’ — control.
How Marketers Should Adapt to New Channels
As marketers, we’ll always be on the lookout for new ways to reach our target audience and spread awareness for our business, and it’s unrealistic to think that this will ever change. While most consumers understand that marketing is pervasive these days, the takeaway here is that marketers need to modify and adapt their strategies based on the platforms and channels they’re leveraging as well as how their audience uses them. It’s important to understand that each social channel comes with its own nuances, which require marketers to customize their strategies to suit those individual subtleties. In our introductory blog post about how to use Pinterest for marketing, for example, we advised that marketers use the new network similar to the way people are naturally using it — and the way Pinterest frames its vision — emphasizing that marketers should use Pinterest to highlight the lifestyle their brand promotes, not the products it sells.
Furthermore, when it comes to new channels like Pinterest, marketers should watch how users are adapting and using the site overall. As we mentioned before, Pinterest likely left its guidelines so vague in order to see how the site would evolve and how different types of users would leverage it. So if you launch a brand presence on a new social network like Pinterest, monitor it closely, and be receptive to the feedback from your followers and other users. When we noticed our HubSpot pin had sparked an interesting discussion and debate, for example, we chimed in to learn how we could improve and adapt our Pinterest presence to provide our followers with the best value.
As with any new social network, it will take time for marketers to settle in and find their place, but I doubt any social network will ever be completely devoid of marketing.
What do you think about marketers’ presence on Pinterest? Should marketing ever be ‘off-limits’ in certain channels?
Connect with HubSpot:
Updated at 3:50 p.m. ETBRANSON, Mo. Continue reading
Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET: BRANSON, Mo. Continue reading
With tensions between Israel and Iran running sky high over the latter’s nuclear program, U.S. Continue reading