Facebook & Google+ marketing tips and strategies for small businesses

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What is it that makes a post stand out in someones Facebook news feed? Learn here everything.

What Will I Learn?

How to improve your post engagement on Facebook?

Two recent studies, by Buddy Media, who surveyed the Facebook posts of their 200 top brand clients over a two week period of time, and by the social media management provider Vitrue, who analyzed 1,500 brand streams over a three month period, sought to answer that question. Here are their collective takeaways on the most effective ways to increase engagement with your content on Facebook:

Short is better, both for URLS and post size – Buddy Media found that posts of 80 characters or less improve engagement rates by 27%. Additionally, posts that use a full URL, as opposed to the type of URL shorter that are popular for Twitter get 3 times as many clicks.

Image posts generate the most engagement – 22% more than video posts and 54% more engagement over text posts.  In all, its recommended that you use posts with images or quality video. Posts using just text are ineffective.

It doesnt work while theyre at work – 60% of the posts tracked by Buddy Media went on Facebook between 10am and 4pm Eastern Time. If you post earlier in the morning like 7am, after people start coming home from work around 5pm, or around 11pm, engagement will increase around 20%.

Day of the week matters – Both studies found that day of the week is important, but which day you should post on varies on what topic youre posting about. For instance according to the Buddy Media, Sunday is the best day for Automotive and Sports posts. However, according to Vitrue, Consumer Packaged Goods posts performed the best on Thursdays; 51% better than on Sundays. Still, there are some general conclusions that can be drawn. Monday is universally bad day thanks to oversaturation, and Sunday is the most underutilized day relative to when people are active on Facebook. Overall, posting is most effective on Thursday and Friday.

Use Softer sell phrases People on Facebook respond better to softer sell language such as win and winning, as opposed to  contest, promotion, sweepstake, or coupon.

Ask a question Facebook posts that end in a question have a 15% higher engagement. Among questions, asking where, when, should and especially would is a good idea. People dont respond well to why.

Additionally, back in February, Facebook very quietly changed their default news feed settings, so users are only seeing items posted by friends or business pages that they interact with the most.  That means posting with regularity is just as important as which day of the week your status messages are updated. Its recommended that you focus on sharing quality content at least a few days a week, making sure the optimal day for your topic is always one of the times you share.

For Kontera Publishers looking to promote their websites, theres no question that Facebook is an increasingly valuable tool in growing your audience. A recent comScore study found that nearly 1 out of every 8 minutes spent online in America is spent on Facebook, and by focusing on SEO alone, youd be missing out on one of the most effective ways to connect with potential readers.

Just remember to be very alert in monitoring the success of your tactics; what people respond to on Facebook is a fluid situation, and what works now might not work in 6 months!

Facebook ‘Like’ Button Making an Impact and Publishers Reap the Benefits

AFacebook Like buttonre you up to speed with the latest count: Facebook recently announced that over 350,000 websites  worldwide are now using Facebook’s social plugins introduced last April – the most familiar of which is the ‘Like‘ button.

This piece of information ties in to another “fun fact”: Nearly 65 million users ‘Like’ something through Facebook every single day.

Clearly, people like to ‘Like’, and thousands of publishers already reap the benefits sharing their news and content via the popular social network site.

The reason the ‘Like’ button has been so effective for so many website owners isn’t exactly a secret. With one mouse click, a link to your latest post or article will instantly appear in the News Feed of your friends’ Facebook accounts. It’s a great way to grow traffic and create a buzz around your website: For every additional person that hits the ‘Like’ button on one of your website pages (including yourself ); an exponential amount of their friends will see what you’ve been raving about.

With over 500 million active users each month (and counting!), and with each user having, on average, 130 friends – there’s a vast audience for the right content to go viral.

As a publisher, you’re naturally interested in increasing your website traffic. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to consider adding the ‘Like’ functionality to your website or blog. If you’d like to get the Facebook ‘Like’ plugin for WordPress, you can do so here, or for Blogger here. And if you’d like to learn more about implementation in general, here’s the Facebook Like Button Page.

Also, don’t forget to ‘Like’ this post. As you can see below, Kontera most definitely practices what it preaches

Google+ Latest Tips & Tricks

Google just unveiled +1, a new feature similar to the Facebook ‘Like’ that will allow you to recommend stories and websites directly from their search engine. A small +1 icon will appear in the upper right hand corner next to a search result, and if you click it, when a friend makes a similar search, they’ll be able to see how many of their friends endorsed the same link.  In this context, “friends” means your Gmail, Buzz, and Reader contacts.

So what does this mean for Kontera Publishers? For the time being, not much – the feature is still only available to a very limited amount of users. Additionally, while Google is planning to expand +1 so you can use it directly on a website, at present you’d have to scroll back and endorse the article on your search results page, not something many are likely to do.

Still, going forward +1 has a variety of different implications:

  • It could affect Search ranking While Google has made it clear that’s not currently the case, they’ve strongly implied that +1 endorsements may be considered in ranking future search results. That would effectively make the application an addition SEO Tool.
  • Rank order becomes slightly less important – That said, +1 will make getting that top search page result on Google slightly less critical. While being listed on page one of Google results could still make or break a website, apart from that individual order will no longer be the deciding factor in what people click on. For instance, if five friends hit +1 on the third highest search result, even though it’s not the highest result, it now becomes the most likely one to be clicked on.
  • More Gmail contacts means more exposure When you post your article, as always, the people who bookmark your website or subscribe to your RSS feed see it. However, now, if they +1 your article the hundreds or thousands of their friends will now have your article appearing in their search results and that cycle will continue. This possible search engine snowball effect signifies the importance of expanding the size of your Gmail contacts and social network.

If you’d like to opt into +1 at this still experimental stage, you can check it out by going to (http://www.google.com/experimental/index.html). It is fairly simple: sign into your Google Account, join the experiment, then just Google search and start +1ing.

Even when +1 is enabled for websites, it’s unlikely that it will have the same transformative impact that the Facebook has had with ‘Likes’ because Google has no central place like the Facebook news feed  to view friend’s recommendations. Still, viewed as a complimentary feature rather than a game change, +1 has at least the potential to be another valuable tool in your efforts to promote your website.