37 Apps You Should Know About to Enhance YOUR Facebook Page (Part 1 of Part 2 Blog)

 Monday, January 31, 2011
 
Facebook and Social Media changes on a daily basis. Be in the know and be sure to use these applications to enhance your own Facebook page. Become the Leader in Social Media. 

There are thousands of Apps to help you engage with your fans. Here are 75 to become familiar with. These Apps show you how to customize your landing tabs, add videos and photos, add a blog, add chat, add contests, polls, relocation, email, ecommerce, scheduling and much more. 

 Why Facebook Apps? 

By using Facebook Apps you can enhance the experience users have on your page. You will be able to keep them engaged and coming back. You will also be increasing your viral visibility, which means every time someone interacts on your page; it posts on their page, showing their friends that they were on your page. This is FREE advertising! 

You can find the Apps in the Facebook App Directory 



There are literally thousands of apps so make sure to click Business on the right hand menu to narrow your search. Also make sure to focus on Apps that actually publish content to your page. This will help people find the Apps. 

There is also appbistro.com that allows you to browse their comprehensive directory of Apps for businesses. 

With Facebook not allowing us to have custom content/apps on the Wall tab (left column), we need to become more creative to ensure the content on the tabs is actually seen by viewers. 

 A great tracking App via Facebook Insights allows you to see which of your tabs gets the most clicks. 



Focus on the Apps that publish content to your own Fan Page stream. Which would be the page wall and news feed of your fans. Add a few Apps that allow for more engagement at specified times, such as a live streaming video and live chat Apps that are listed below.

Custom Landing Tabs 

It’s important to have a custom branded landing tab that visitors see the first time they go to your page. Jeff Wildman, founder of BrandGlue reported on InsideFacebook that having a custom landing tab doubles conversion to fans: 

 “We ran an A/B test just four weeks ago to guesstimate the efficacy of a landing tab. We drove visitors to the fan page of a major brand using ads. Those ad-driven visitors converted to fans at a rate of approximately 47% WITH a landing tab. When we turned off the landing tab, those same ad-driven visitors converted to fans at approximately 23%. A VERY noticeable loss in conversions over the course of the campaign.” 

The most popular App for creating your custom content is the Static FBML App. You are able to design your own landing pages using html code. Below is an example of the EXHIB-IT landing page: 



 There is also TabSite: They offer a free version as well as two paid versions where you get step by step help designing your own pages. 



 These sites offer easy-to-use templates for putting together your tabs: 

These Apps offer suites of Apps including custom landing tabs. Some of these Apps are free, while others have a fee. 


These are hands on customization services for designers/developers that will essentially do the work for you with affordable rates:

Custom Fan Page Designs 
FanPageGenerator 
HyperArts 
KickApps 
Likeable Media 
SayItSocial 
140ology 

Ways to incorporate YOUR blogs into Facebook: 

A great app for importing your blog onto your Facebook page is Networked Blogs 



Once you add the App to your page, you place the widget on your blog and you can track how many followers you have on your blog. Try adding the Networked Blogs App to your personal profile in addition to your Fan Page. 




RSS Feed and Content Publishers – see these Apps that can easily import any of your content that has an RSS or Atom Feed. You can import your Twitter favorites and Google reader shared items by using the RSS Graffiti App. 

RSS Graffiti 
Social RSS 
Involver – RSS Feed (free version posts to your Tab and a Pro version post to your wall) 
North Social – RSS Feed 
Objective marketer (complete publishing platform – used and recommended by a great marketer named Guy Kawasaki). 

 Twitter 

Selective Tweets – This App allows you to post your tweets to your Facebook page by including #fb at the end of your tweet. 

To publish your Facebook content to Twitter, use the Twitter App



 Another great Twitter solution is to install an App that pulls in all your tweets onto a tab but does not publish in the stream. Not sure if you want to do this since a primary goal of tweeting is to view the tweets in your news Feeds to your fans.

• Involvers Twitter Facebook App 
• North Social Twitter Feed Facebook App 

Flickr Photos - Display photos using Flickr Tab App

SlideShare 

If you have presentations on SlideShare, you can display them on your Facebook page by installing the SlideShare app. 

You can also set up your SlideShare account so that when you publish new slides it will automatically post the like to your wall. In the next blog we will cover more Apps to use in Facebook! 

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author 
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts 
www.exhib-it.com 
Full BRAIN Marketing 
www.fullbrainmarketing.com 
 



Want to Make YOUR Brand Social?

 Monday, January 17, 2011
 
It is impossible to have a social brand unless you become a social business. So you may be asking, why and how? 

There are two tiers that fit into each other for the social business part 

1. External information where you get bloggers to talk about you, monitor the things done on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social marketing and getting advocates to talk about you. 

2. Internal information which tend to be the things that get neglected such as the information that is being posted, the culture change in your company, and how to get out in the open without hurting your brand. 




 Here are some tips on how to prepare your business for social media: 

  • Create a social media policy 
  • Train your employees on what is acceptable and what is not for a common goal 
  • Create an open corporate culture 
  • Think high level strategy 
Here are some reasons why you should start with small projects on social media: 

  • Using small projects is a way to test the waters, to see where your target marketing is at in social media. 
  • Using social media for sharing customer experiences to build a know, like, trust community. 
Many view social media ROI as an excuse for inaction not to do things. People think that social media is not measurable when, in reality, it is but just in a different way than before. 

How to identify more economic metrics other than sales: 

  • Everyone is focused on sales and sales is not the only economic metric in social media. 
  • What are people saying about you in social media? You can measure if you influenced a behavior – is someone saying positive things about you versus negative? 
  • Communicating via social media versus making so many calls or sending so many emails that go unread. You can share how you shifted money in social media strategy and streamlined by making less calls and send out less emails by using social channels and share how this was measured. 
  • Measure how many times something was shared in the social media circles. Example: how many times did something get tweeted and did the information get carried in other blogs and posts? 
  • Another economic metric is sharing how you prevented a crisis and how much did you save? 
It’s all about the Quality of your posts and not the Quantity of your posts. 

What success is for businesses on social media: 

  • Creating a social experience creates an emotional response from people and can in turn create customer loyalty. o It’s not just about being entertaining, it’s about being helpful and creating an emotional bond with clients. 
  • Having the ability to create fresh and relevant content everyday. o In the future social media may incorporate into customer service becoming a social experience. 
  • We may be going back to a new way to handle customer service with a customer’s experience.
  • Create ambassadors for your social media output for developing customer experiences. 
Why is it critical to have the ability to create a social experience? 

  • Customer service will become a social experience. 
  • The ability to engage in public will become key to a company’s success. o Everyone will have to become a spokesperson. 
DJ Heckes, CEO & Author 
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts 
www.exhib-it.com 
Full BRAIN Marketing 
www.fullbrainmarketing.com



Establishing Expertise for Businesses in Social Media

 Monday, October 18, 2010
 
The term "Social Media" can mean different things to different people. To some it refers only to  social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Digg.  Really, social media refers to anything that allows social interaction online including not only sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, but also article comments, blogs, forums, groups, etc.

It is important to note that not all types of social media are right for all companies. Pursuing the wrong strategy can waste a lot of time without getting much return on your invested time. But having the right strategy can quickly turn into your most valuable marketing channel.  

Social media can be an excellent tool to establish yourself or your business as an "expert" in your industry. A good way is to start by making thoughtful comments on popular articles, blogs, forums or groups. When posting a comment, be sure that you compliment or acknowledge the writer and add to what the writer is saying.

No matter how important you think your work is, your organization needs to be notable, according to Wikipedia’s guidelines.


To build this criteria, whenever possible, ask to be a guest blogger for a relevant blog or publication. The idea is to build your credibility as a knowledgeable source whenever a potential customer or client is researching a particular topic.

If you have your own blog, be sure to include that website address when prompted by the commenting software to create a link so that readers can learn more about you from your blog. Many people are afraid to comment before they have built a reputable blog or professional site. Don't let this hold you back from making comments online! You can also link to your twitter account such as http://twitter.com/DJHeckes] if you feel that you don't have enough on your site to link to it yet. Another option is to link to your LinkedIn profile instead.  See examples below. The important thing is to start getting your name out there and then to provide a way to let interested readers find out more about you.






In addition to commenting in various communities online, be sure that you are a member of relevant groups in Facebook and in LinkedIn. Try to be an active member by listening and providing knowledgeable answers to questions asked by other members and on LinkedIn Answers.

Establishing expertise can be beneficial for businesses with one or more of the following characteristics:
•    sell large-ticket products or services
•    sell to relatively small, knowledgeable, and close-knit customer base 
•    sell to a broad geographic area

It's less helpful for companies that have one or more of the following charateristics:
•    Sell inexpensive, high-volume products 
•    Operate in a small geographic area
•    Don't need to demonstrate a high level of expertise

DJ Heckes, Author & CEO
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com



Make Guest Blogging a Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy

 Monday, October 11, 2010
 
When you give away something for free, you often get a lot in return from fans or customers. One of the benefits of becoming a business guest blogger is that it establishes trust and thought-leadership. For example, even though EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts is a trade show exhibit business, we share lots of free advice on marketing for the small business. 

Contributing a post to a blog other than your own is another way of giving away something small for free, but also getting more in return. In this blog, I'll share some useful practical tips on how to approach guest blogging and how to get the most out of it.

Benefits of Guest Blogging

Reaching New Audiences
A company blog post will go out to all your subscribers. Those subscribers may even share it with their friends through social media, and you may gain some more interest or additional subscribers. However, being publishing on someone else's blog lets you reach out to a wider and newer audience. A guest post is an opportunity to let a new group of people find out about your blog and your expertise.

Branding & Public Relations
Guest blogging should be a win-win situation for both you and the site you appear as a guest blogger. It should also benefit both you and the blog to which you are contributing. This is how public relations works.  Guest blogging is just another offering to help establish connections. It also puts these connections on public display, which can build your company brand's authority.
By both giving to and connecting with your industry's blogging community, this allows you to also get people to help fill your blog with content. The rule of reciprocity says that if you do something for someone else, they are more likely to do something for you.

Gain Inbound Links
Gaining external links from authoritative and relevant websites is a powerful way to improve your search engine ranking. With your guest blog posts, you should have your bio with a link back to your blog and/or website. If appropriate, you can also add links to other blog posts or resources that your company offers in a guest blog post.

While inbound links are a benefit, this is not the only way to add value or a benefit to your guest blogging.  Becoming a guest on someone else's blog is like being a guest in their home.  You should respect their goals, which may not be to promote your company.

How to Guest Blog
This is not a difficult thing to do. Many blogs have a contact form, and some blog posts may even have an 'invitation to blog' form. You can also join My Blog Guest, an online community that helps you find guest blogging opportunities.



Before deciding to approach a blog for a guest post, be sure the blog satisfies the following criteria:

Relevance
If you are a current blogger already, you should know your own audience. Read a few of the articles and blogs from other sites you wish to become a guest blogger to get a feel for the audience. Your guest posts should never compromise your own goals. Target blogs where there is an overlap between your audience and their audience.

Blog Quality
Gain more credibility when blogging a guest post on a more influential blog. This can be a mainstream blog, or a prominent niche blog in your industry. Either way, you can run a blog through Blog Grader and better understand its influence.



Guest blogging offers an opportunity that many bloggers neglect. Of course, you do not want to lose your focus on regularly producing great content on your own blog first. At the same time, if you follow the guidelines above, guest blogging can become an effective way to improve your brand, search engine optimization, and grow your audience.

DJ Heckes, Author & CEO
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com



6 Quick and Easy Blogging Tips

 Monday, August 30, 2010
 
1.    Create an Editorial Calendar
There are just two steps needed for creating an editorial calendar. First-assign Blogging to time slots that are best for your creative juices to flow.  This is the time you usually feel inspired and productive.  For me, I do this on Saturday mornings.
Focus on building content that can be quickly indexed by the search engines. You can either write on your blog two to three times a week or like me – focus on the content creation and then come in for a few hours and start writing.  Whatever you do, be sure to block that time off!  

Do you need some inspiration? Go into social media and be a passive listener.  Then come up with some ideas that can solve some of the issues or concerns in the social media space.  Try spending two days a week for about 30 minutes reading other blogs posted in your industry and leave comments when you have something of value to add.  This not only gives you more visibility and exposure, but it also can drive traffic back to your own blog and/or website.  It positions you as being an active listener and also brings you to the attention of other people who you may not have known about you before.

2.    Jot down the Types of Posts and Topics You Will Write About
This makes Blogging time more efficient because you don’t have to spend additional time trying to determine what to write about every time you’re scheduled to write.

Make a list of categories that you feel would be of interest to your readers. Review the categories and make a list of 5 to 10 subtitle topics that relate to each category.

For example, if you have 10 primary categories and 5 subtitle topics for each category, it is much easier to develop relevant blog content quickly. You can then add another layer to your planning process by assigning each topic to a style or type of post such as:

•    A How-to List
•    A Top 10 List
•    An Opinion
•    A Case Study
•    A Q&A
•    An Interview

Finally, assign each subtitle topic to a date in your editorial calendar and next thing you will see is a building of four months plus of blog post ideas! This system only serves as a guide, but using this concept has worked for me for both blog writing and finishing my book Full BRAIN Marketing.  Just because you have a blog posting schedule, don’t let this stop you from being spontaneous when a current event or hot topic in your business should must be addressed with a new blog post.

3.    Keep a Current Updated Running List of Blog Topics
The more you blog, the more ideas will come to you. Everything you do throughout each day-conversations, books, articles or blogs you read, all becomes information to use for research for your own blog posts.

4.    Be Creative and Write Several Blogs at One Time
Many bloggers use this strategy and it works well for time management.  As stated earlier, my creative writing day is Saturday mornings and I usually write 5-6 Marketing and also Trade Show Blogs each week.  Use whatever method works best for you.  Maybe you only have one hour a week to focus on blog writing

5.    Find Guest Bloggers 
Occasionally if you’re pressed for time, find someone you know, like and trust to help.  Depending on the purpose and goals of your blogs, this is a great way to feature another voice in your industry. A great example could be showcasing ideas of other members of your team, vendors, colleagues and thought leaders in your industry.

6.    Interview People you Perceive to be Experts
A great way of creating content quickly is doing an interview with an expert that the readers can relate to.  This could be a weekly or monthly feature that you plug into your editorial calendar and stick with.

In order to make this successful, identify 10 to 15 industry leaders who have written books on your subject matter. Prepare a written interview with several questions and invite the expert to respond, and then post the interview on your blog page. Not all of the experts will take the time to respond; but some will.

DJ Heckes, Author & CEO
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com



7 Tips for Creating Quality Content for Blog Writing

 Monday, August 23, 2010
 
Have you gone to write a blog and found yourself suffering from blogger’s block?  Sometimes it can be difficult to find the time to create content for a blog.  When developing your content, be sure to apply these 7 tactics.

1.    Clear & Effective Targeting
The first and foremost rule for creating effective content for a business blog is to completely understand why you are Blogging.  Be sure to have a thorough understanding of your ideal customer’s (your reader’s) profile in addition to your core message as it relates to your business. When you have a clear idea about who you are writing for, it is much easier to write. This allows your blog posts to be on target and have a purpose. This will also keep you from meandering off into subjects that may be irrelevant to your target audience.

2.    Know What Your Readers Need or Want

It makes good practice to always write content with your reader audience in mind. Write a blog as if you are answering a question “what is in it for them?” Readers are constantly asking themselves whether a blog is worth their time to read and you want your blog to be “yes” to that question. You’re more likely to keep readers interested if you take the approach of speaking as if “walking in their shoes.” Be sure to address readers’ major concerns and/or issues. If you don’t know what they are, be sure to ask!

3.    Edit Often

I see many blog posts that start off with generic lead in sentences such as, “Earlier in the week, the other day, I was thinking about…” A blog post should not be thought of as writing an essay and it is definitely not poetry. When writing a blog, be sure to get to the point quickly. Follow the simple rule we all learned in school “KISS = Keep It Short and Sweet!” This means you can actually write less and say more. Start off with writing short declarative sentences and omit all unnecessary words.

4.    Create Keyword Focused Headlines
Write compelling headlines using strategic keywords that pertain to and are relevant to your topic. Keywords are often touted as “gold” by search engine optimization experts who charge a lot of money for their services.
Begin by putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal reader. If the reader was searching Google for information or solutions to a problem, would he or she find you? Compile a list of all the key words or phrases the reader may use to search for you, your business, and solutions. Think of the keywords and key phrases that you want to use frequently in your blog. When writing a headline for a blog post, use these keywords. These key words will alert the search engines, as well as your reader about what’s important in the post.

5.    Write Strong First Sentences
Optimize the first paragraph by using the same keywords used in the post headline. Make your point right away, instead of leading into it. Use clear keywords for search engine optimization in your first sentence of the first paragraph.  Secondly, summarize them again before you close the blog post. Make it a habit of always closing by asking readers for their comments.

6.    Keep Your Blogs Short with Plenty of Space
When writing, try to keep the paragraphs short. Each paragraph should be one or two sentences at most, and then break for a new paragraph. White space can be your friend. Often, one sentence can be as effective as a paragraph. Create lots of white space between paragraphs in your blog.

Remember, most readers are in a hurry and like to scan their content. Computer screen text is harder to read than text on paper. Make it as easy as possible for readers to grasp your message quickly.

7.    Use Bullet Lists for Information
Use bullet points as much as possible. This makes posting much easier:

•    to scan 
•    to read
•    to understand 
•    to retain 

Research indicates that readers prefer blogs to be easily digestible and summarized for them. It’s easier for readers to remember a message if you’ve given the message in a list of three to five items. Many online writing experts recommend keeping a bulleted list to an odd number of bullet points.

There are many ways to ensure great blog posts. These seven tactics above provide a good starting point and a checklist to help you stay on track to create content that your readers will consume and that will lead them to want to take action.

DJ Heckes, Author & CEO
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
www.exhib-it.com
Full BRAIN Marketing
www.fullbrainmarketing.com




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