Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Nov 23, 2011

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Have a Safe and Happy Holiday

From Everyone at High Impact Designer

 

Be prepared for more Social Media, Email Marketing and PPC blog posts next week!  Anything you want us to cover? Let us know in the comments.

Google+ Pages…

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Nov 08, 2011

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…Big Let Down for Small Businesses

The long awaited Google+ pages were released yesterday, well not to everyone.  When I attempted to create a page for High Impact Designer I was promptly served with this nice message:

No Page for You

Needless to say I was a little upset, since I like to be on the ‘cutting edge’ of social media. However, after seeing company pages and creating my own Google+ page I had one feeling:

Being completely and utterly underwhelmed

Here are the areas where I think Google+ really fell short (see what my friends at Firebelly thought of Google+ Pages):

No Vanity Urls

I was excited to see the plus.google.com/highimpactdesigner url, but I won’t be seeing that anytime soon. Currently the url for a Google+ page is a string of digits, and anything but personal. This needs to be changed asap, how is anybody going to remember to visit http://plus.google.com/b/117685704984852342159/?

No Custom Tabs!!!

This one hits close to home. Since our Social Page Buil;der tool is a Facebook tab creation tool, we obviously believe in the necessity of custom landing tabs. A custom tab may not be necessary for established brands; I mean if I am visiting the Coca Cola Google+ page I do not need to be persuaded by a nice looking page to follow their brand. They have an established brand already, and don’t need to worry about a totally ‘Unique’ visitor.

I put scare quotes around Coca Cola because I do not want you thinking about ‘unique visit’ as you would when talking about site analytics. Coca Cola is one of the most recognizable brands on the planet, and the move to Google+ will obviously be successful, but what about companies who are trying to establish their brand? Coca cola may not have to differentiate themselves from the Google+ UI, but brands tryign to make a name for themselves sure do.

Contests or Lack Thereof

I wasn’t aware of this until I read the Firebelly blog, but this is awful for social media marketers. Contests are a great way to boost awareness and engage with your community. Read Google’s Business page policy.

One Page, One Admin

This makes it very difficult for marketing agencies to help your business with your marketing efforts. Even if you aren’t outsourcing your social media efforts, only one team member has access to your Google+ page. Not only can there be only one admin (Highlander reference?), but you cannot transfer admins!

Remember that big controversy around Facebook pages being hijacked? This could be far worse, what if a lower level employee developed your Google+ page and then refused to hand over the reins? This is not acceptable and hopefully a fix comes soon.

Needless to say I think Google+ really misses the mark for business pages. I am most upset about the focus on established brands. I have held for a long time that the future of social media and whether it should be considered a viable marketing outlet is by analyzing the success of start ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs on social media.

What do you think about Google+ Pages?

Hijacked Fan Pages

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Expert Designer, Facebook, News, Social Media | Posted on Sep 12, 2011

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Facebook’s Admin Settings Could Adversely Affect Social Media Consultants

I am about a week behind reporting on this issue, but I actively stayed away from it because I thought it was such a trivial matter. To fill in anyone who didn’t hear about this let me give you a quick rundown:

When you add an admin to a Facebook page the new admin is given all of the same admin rights as any other admin of the page.  This is troubling because the page creator no longer has full authority over the page.  In fact, now a new admin can delete all of the other admins, including the original page creator. Contrary to Facebook’s FAQ, a page creator is never to be removed as an admin for the created fan page.

Facebook page creation and outsourced social media programs have become very popular. Some businesses would rather have a social media savvy company, like Firebelly or Micro Media Marketing, to put together their social plan, implement it, and continue to manage their communities over various platforms.

If Facebook were to fall in line with its current FAQ, that would be a huge problem in the social media marketing industry. Rather than hiring an outside source to create and manage your page, businesses will have to become more self sufficient in their social media efforts. Though, in general, people want to interact with the actual people representing the brand they follow or ‘like’, some small businesses don’t have the time to take part in social media.  That is a huge friction point for adaptation by SMBs.

However, studies are showing that social media is being dominated by small businesses. Most owners have stated that social media is an inexpensive way for them to ‘level the playing fields’ with big businesses who have marketing departments with deep pockets. I think it is safe to say that social media is inexpensive to get started on, but it takes a lot of time and money to create something that stands out from the crowd.

We all know time is money, so I won’t go into how expensive it can be to monitor all the different social channels, stay up to date in the blogosphere, and create compelling content that people WANT to engage with. As discussed earlier, there are third party social marketing companies that will manage your entire project. These consultants do great work, but can be costly. If there is any significant fallout from this FAQ issue, it behooves the business owner to keep their social efforts in house.  Needless to say, the SMB has to find the most efficient tools at the lowest price.  Here are  a few things every SMB should keep in mind when developing a social plan:

  1. You need to stand out with your design. If you are not a designer your self and don’t have the pockets to do so, then you should get an all inclusive page builder.  See our Facebook Page builder in action here.
  2. An easy-to-use analytics tool that measures more than just vanity metrics
  3. A clear and consistent company persona
  4. Measurable goals

Personally, I don’t think Facebook will simply fall in line with the stated FAQ. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would let page creators step down as an admin, to prevent future hijacking.  Have you met anyone whose Facebook page got hijacked?

 

Klout, do you have it?

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Aug 17, 2011

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What’s Your Social Influence

With so many social platforms it may be hard to tell if your message is getting out there.  Do you ever wonder, on average, what is the true amplification of your information over your different social networks?  Are you trying to build a personal brand or company on social media and want to know just how influential you really are?  Well get on Klout!

Klout is a ranking system from 1-100 and it  takes into account your activity over the social networks that you give Klout access too.  Up until recently Klout had only managed Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Currently, these are the only networks I use for my Klout score.  Now Klout has added several more networks, most notably is FourSquareRead about the rest of the social networks added to Klout HERE.

Klout looks at three different parameters when evaluating your score:

Network Influence

Klout looks at the size of your network and the people who are in your network.  If other top influencers are in your network this will increase your score.  If top influencers are interacting, responding, and reposting your content, then your Network score will increase.

Amplification Probability

Klout measures your posts and how many people respond to them and pass them on.  On twitter this would be through mentioning your tweet or retweeting you.  Any sort of activity on your content will be measured in your amplification score.

True Reach

This is the number of people you actually influence.  Klout will filter out spam and bots and focus exclusively on people who are interacting with you and the content you post.

On top of analysis being done in theses three areas, Klout also gives you your ‘Klout Style’.  The style is based on the type of content you post , how often you post, and the reactions your posts get.

Other Cool Features

Another really cool feature on Klout is that you you can compare your self with your friends.  I mean who doesn’t like a little friendly competition?  Best of all, if you see one of your friends/colleagues doing better in one area you then know who to ask to help increase your social influence.

Now if you start to increase your Klout, you will start to get ‘Klout Perks’.  Companies like Spotify gave members with a high enough Klout score a early invitation to use their service in America.  Other companies like ScoreBig, Sharpie, Subway, One Kings Lane, Metromint, and many more have offered exclusive benefits for people with high Klout.  Being a social influencer has its perks, literally. In fact I just scored $25 at Scorebig.com with my Klout Score, sign up and find out if you’re eligible.

 

Overall, Klout is a really slick application that helps you understand your social media influence.  I don’t think it should ever be considered the be all end all of social media, but they do have a fair scoring system. If you haven’t signed up yet, it is definitely worth checking out.  Connect with Klout Here.

We Love Local Small Businesses

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Jul 25, 2011

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Local Restaurant Anna’s Taqueria Catered a 50 Burrito Lunch at TemplateZone.

At TemplateZone (the creators of High Impact Designer) we are small business advocates. We tailor all of our products so that a small business can look more professional while saving time and money. Being located in Cambridge, Ma we are surrounded by amazing small businesses from amazing restaurants, small coffee shops, rocking start-ups, and any other mom-and-pop shop you can think of. Today we wanted to showcase one of the many great small businesses in the Cambridge area as a ‘Thank you’ for catering our lunch today!

In celebration of their 15th year in business, Anna’s Taqueria held a raffle for a 50 burrito lunch for other local businesses. Our Director of Business Development, Kyle, put his business card into the raffle and we won! Anna’s has been around since 1995 and has won numerous awards and distinctions in the city of Boston. We are very happy that they have had so much success over the past years and wanted to thank them for the delicious lunch.

Oh and to the people at Anna’s we saw that your Facebook page is in need of a nice Landing tab, we would be more than happy to put one together for you with Social Page Builder like the one below:

Facebook Sponsored Stories

Posted by Justin Rondeau | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Jul 13, 2011

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Sponsored Stories are Facebook Ads on Steroids

When I visited the AFExpo in San Francisco a few weeks ago there were three main topics discussed:

  1. Community and Content Creation on Social Networks
  2. Facebook Credits
  3. Facebook’s Sponsored Stories

Here on the High Impact Designer blog we cover lots of ways to create content and engage your fans, and frankly I am skeptical of Facebook Credits (especially with them being forced on developers), but Facebook’s Sponsored Stories really caught my eye.

I am guilty (like many) of being late into the Facebook ad game, and to be completely frank was not very impressed when I started using Facebook ads. The only time I really saw a rise on our page’s ‘likes’ was when we sent a mailer out promoting a Free gift when someone ‘liked’ the page.  Granted our Facebook ads were not as efficient as they could have been, though I learned a lot at AFexpo that made our ads much better (look for a Facebook ads best practice post next week).

Below is a graph of our daily likes from June 1st to July 12th.  We were running a very lackluster ad campaign prior to June 29th when I optimized our ads and began to use sponsored stories.

As you can see we have had tremendous result so far by utilizing sponsored stories. Facebook ads have gotten a horrible reputation with their notoriously low CTR, many believe getting .1% to be a huge accomplishment for Facebook advertisers.  We have already surpassed the .1% mark with our sponsored stories and our social reach continues to grow.

Why use sponsored stories?

Simply put, people are ad blind on Facebook.  People know the left hand margin is where they can access their applications, choose to edit their pages, interact with their group, or chat with some of their friends and they know the right hand margin is where people are trying to sell them stuff.  The incredible amount of users on Facebook, 750 million, and the incredible ad blindness and cynicism toward advertisement is what causes such atrocious looking CTR on Facebook ads.

Sponsored stories seeks to remedy this by giving your page or advertisement the human touch.  I had the luxury of hearing Katie Faul talk about Sponsored Stories, and she couldn’t have sold this advertisement tactic any better.  In general, we trust our friends (though some more than others).  When we see that a friend of ours ‘Likes’ a particular page, that humanizes the advertisement experience and will increase your likelihood of clicking that particular story.

Above is an image of a sponsored story that showed up while I was monitoring the High Impact Designer Facebook Page.  The two Facebook friends that are shown with Intel’s sponsored story (you should probably follow them on Twitter @hylamolander and @audiencemachine), are two people I respect as Internet marketers. Seeing that they are endorsing Intel, makes me want to ‘like’ it even more.

This is the simplest type of sponsored story, but I think it is the most effective.  It looks exactly like a status update, but it is found in the right hand margin.  By humanizing advertisements, and connecting a product or brand to people you trust, Facebook has created an amazing way to market your page and products.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s sponsored stories?

 

Google Plus Business Wish List

Posted by Dylan | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Jul 12, 2011

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A few things we’d like to see when Google+ launches a business service

Google Plus

Google+ is now out to much a aplomb and cheer from the tech world. I outlined the major differences between Google+ and Facebook in this post. However, that was examining the differences between the more ‘civilian’ aspects of the social networks, namely how regular people will use the networks. But if you’re reading this you probably want to know how Google+ is for businesses. Sadly, right now Google isn’t allowing businesses onto Google+ and is shutting down profiles that don’t belong to individuals, although it says that the feature will be present by the end of the year. In this post I’m going to go through a ‘wish list’ of what Google+ for businesses should have. Obviously a lot of features of Facebook business pages would be welcome so I’ll start with those.

One of the foundations of Facebook business pages is the ‘like’ button, which is now ubiquitous on the web. This simple button allows consumers to show their loyalty to a particular company. For businesses, the ‘like button’ allows for vast marketing and advertising, to both their ‘likers’ and to the friends of ‘likers.’ Google+ needs something similar because even with millions of users, if you can’t engage them effectively there’s no point. The +1 button (Google’s offering) has become more popular lately, and can easily be added. Furthermore, Google’s blending of Facebook friends and Twitter followers could make it easy for businesses to reach even larger crowds, assuming Google goes down that route.

Almost everyone in the internet industry has heard of Google Analytics, even if they have not used it. Google has made its name partly on top of big data, and has used its skills to create a fantastic analytics suite which gives you more information than you could ever want about your visitors. Google could very easily integrate this into its business page offering allowing businesses to track exactly who, what, where, and why their visitors are there.

Lastly, and I think this is one of Google+’s biggest advantages, Google is already fairly entrenched in our lives, such as having over 90% of the search engine market. A lot of companies also use gmail as their corporate email, and perhaps even more use Google Docs as a collaborative tool. Tying these services into Google+ would be a great way to include a more social aspect into business tools.

All in all, Google+ is a great start, and with the right tools its business offering could be even better. If you have any things you would like to see in Google+ for businesses, let us know in the comments.

The Social Media War

Posted by Dylan | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Jul 11, 2011

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Google attempts to move into Facebook’s Territory with Google+

Facebook vs. Google

Image Credit: Sunil Jain

As you may have heard, Google has put forth its third attempt at breaking into the ever popular and lucrative social sphere (after failing with the overly complicated Google Wave and the privacy breaching Google Buzz) with a powerful full on social network simply titled Google+.

At first glance (literally, compare the two pages side by side) the two services share a lot of features. I think that Facebook has come up with a very effective and efficient way of presenting information, so I don’t follow Google at all for not reinventing the wheel when it comes to the general user interface. In addition, given the number of people on Facebook, most people on Google+ will have used Facebook, so a similar UI is a smart decision on Google’s part, to get their users up and running as quickly as possible. Like Facebook, Google+ has the concept of friends, though it is much more complicated as I shall explain shortly, and allows you to create posts, comment on posts, upload photos, ‘like’ things (called ‘+1’ on Google+), really anything you can do on Facebook you can do on Google+ with a very slick and streamlined interface.

If you read my post about Facebook’s recent announcement, you know that Facebook recently added group chat and video calling to its arsenal of communication. This is the one area where Facebook was playing catch-up to Google. Gmail has had video calling for years now from within the browser, though Facebook’s implementation might be slightly simpler to use.  Similarly with group chat, Gmail had that as well, and Google+ includes a feature called ‘Hangouts’ in which you can initiate a group video calling session with up to twenty different people. Facebook’s video chat only allows one on one, though they say they are working on group video chat.

The biggest difference between Google+ and Facebook is Google+’s ‘Circles,’ which is  Google’s unique way of organizing friends. Facebook introduced lists a little while ago, but I don’t know of many people who use them, really you’re either friends or not. But on Google+ you have circles, one of which is friends, but there are also ‘acquaintances,’ ‘family,’ ‘following,’ and of course you can add as many of your own as you want. You can add people to as many circles as you want.

Google has obviously put a lot of hard work into Google+ and the only thing it needs now is more people, and only time will help with that particular problem.  As for businesses, Google has told them not to set up accounts because there will be a new business-oriented version of Google+ coming soon. If any of you are on Google+, let us know what you think in the comments!

Facebook’s Latest Announcement

Posted by Dylan | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Jul 07, 2011

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Facebook cleaned up their chat interface and has included video chat

Facebook Announced Video Chat Yesterday

As you may or may not have heard, Facebook gave a huge announcement yesterday to much hype. The announcement was concerned primarily with communication and interaction, which are of course two of Facebook’s biggest weapons in the growing social network wars. Facebook has updated the ways in which both groups and individuals can chat.

New Facebook Chat Features

The first announcement that Mr. Zuckerberg made was that the chat bar at the bottom of each Facebook page now has the ability to talk to multiple people at once, true group chat such as exists in Google Talk and Skype. This will make it much easier to make plans with a group of people to go see a movie, an example Zuckerberg used during his speech. This change has been immediately rolled out and is available to anyone. Along with the addition of group chat, Facebook now detects how wide your screen is, and if it is wide enough, it will put your buddy list on the side at full height. This will allow you to see which of your friends are online much more easily.

Video Calling

The announcement that everyone was waiting for was the expected video calling that will be coming to Facebook. Video calling is of course nothing new as Skype has existed for a long time and Google Chat has had video calling capabilities from within the browser for a few years now. But Facebook’s new video calling, which integrates with Skype, has a far wider reach than Skype or Gmail. Zuckerberg and co. also touted the ease of use of video calling. If someone calls you and you don’t have the plugin, you are prompted to download it, which takes about 10 seconds, and then installs right away, without any restarting your computer or your browser, and you’re automatically connected to the call. It is all very slick.

This service was only announced yesterday, so how well this all works in practice is yet to be determined, but Facebook is clearly making strides to stay at the number one spot in the social network sphere.

Four 4th of July Facebook Tips

Posted by Dylan | Posted in Expert Designer | Posted on Jul 05, 2011

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Some Basic Facebook Tips YOU Should Never Forget

In honor of America’s birthday, I have decided to give you, faithful reader, four 4th of July inspired Facebook tips, so here goes!

Fireworks!

1.  Take Pictures of the Festivities

Maybe you took some pictures of yesterday’s fireworks; at least hopefully you did since fireworks look really cool in photos. But why am I talking about pictures of fireworks? Because you should be uploading photos to your Facebook page. The visual medium is a great way to interact with your fans and can be easier than coming up with copy.  Not to mention posts with pictures generally receive higher impressions than text posts!

2. Grill Up Some Deals

Like any good holiday, July 4th is as much about deals on various things as it is about eating too much meat. Set a fan gated default landing tab with an enticing offer for your new visitors.  This will entice your new visitors to ‘Like’ your page and give them a reason to visit your website (if you like you can do this with the Reveal Page Wizard in Social Page Builder), extending your advertising even further.

 

3. Bring the Community Together

July 4th is a good time to throw a big party and invite all of your friends, even the ones you might not have talked to for a long time. Similarly, take this time to reach out to your Facebook fans and thank them for being fans, and perhaps hint that there is a deal in their future (read the above tip). The more personal you can be the better because you will appear more like a person than a business.

4. Don’t Forget Why You’re Celebrating

The 4th of July is a celebration of the Independence of America, and despite all of the celebrations, re-connections, and grilled food we should never forget this.  Similar to Facebook, don’t forget that you are using it as a marketing tool.  Have clear goals that are measurable, don’t let all of the social buzz make you forget that you are in fact trying to generate new customers!