5 Steps for Creating a Killer Facebook Post

Are you making the most of your posts on your Facebook page?  It’s easy to get a lot more bang for your buck by following a few simple steps. I’m taking a recent Facebook post by Matt Konecny of Aquascape Inc and breaking it down into 5 steps for creating a killer Facebook post, so that you can do the same!

How to Create a Killer Facebook Post

1. Include an Image. When people surf their News Feed in Facebook, their eye will always be drawn first to images on the page. So it makes simple sense to include a photo in your post.

2. Create Mystery. The post above purposely eliminated the beautiful “after” photo of this landscape transformation. It could have easily been included and people would be impressed and then move on. But by leaving out the “after” photo, they are compelled to explore further by clicking on the link.

How to Write a Killer Facebook Post

3. Tell the Reader What to Do. This is what’s called the “call to action.” What do you want people to do when they see your post on Facebook? In this case, “View Transformation” stands out and it’s crystal clear that you want the reader to click on the link provided.

4. Encourage Other Ways for People to Connect with You. In the photo example above, the link points to the transformation photo on Pinterest. The reader is likely to follow you on Pinterest if they like what they see. It’s just one more way to get your business in front of people.

5. Provide Additional Value. In this particular Facebook post, a third link is added. If the viewer enjoys the transformation photo, they’re invited to see even more photos like this in a Flipboard magazine. Once again, you’re creating one more opportunity to engage with the customer.

In summary, a simple photo would’ve been nice eye candy, but Matt punched up this post by engaging the reader with a call to action, and an additional link that provides even more value. It only takes a little bit more of your thought and time to create a killer post on Facebook. Simply follow the 5 steps above and you can’t go wrong!

You Came, You Saw, You Conquered – Flipboard and Chicagomonium!

Our party started on St. Paddy’s Day with more than 100 of you pond contractors and some of your wives scurrying into the Chicago airports to attend Chicagomonium, an exclusive Aquascape business training event for the best of the best in the pond industry. My role? To teach you rugged yet savvy group of water feature experts how to create and use Flipboard magazines to promote your business.

Flipboard Training at Chicagomonium

Was I shakin’ in my boots? Absolutely!  Although I’ve taught plenty of social media sessions, Flipboard magazines are new to me and I had to acquire a certain level of Flipboard mastery before introducing it to all o’ ya’ll (that’s plural for ya’ll) at Chicagomonium. Not to mention my apprehension about securing robust internet connectivity for almost 200 of you squirreled into a room at Navy Pier. Adding flame to the fire was the reality that everyone would be using different devices to learn the program. Aye Yi Yi! Talk about stress!

So unbeknownst to you until now, I double-dosed my anti-perspirant for the day, hopped in President Heitzler’s Toyota for the ride to Chicago, and hoped upon hope that all the wireless hubspots would work their magic in the room. Don’t get me wrong, I have complete faith in Matt Reibe, our adorable network administrator. It’s the hardware and technical stuff I don’t trust.

What happened the afternoon of St. Patrick’s Day with all of you blew me away, and as I write this, I’m still reeling just a bit from the enormity of what transpired during Chicagomonium. Each and every person in the room created their own Flipboard magazine. A few of you over-achievers created multiple magazines! I had wondered if our group of rock-slinging pond builders would crash Flipboard’s system but it held up just fine – as did the wireless hubspots and my anti-perspirant.

What really impressed me though, was the energy and enthusiasm that each of you radiated in embracing this rather new technology. I don’t think I heard a single moan or groan (well, maybe just one but I’m not naming names). But it was more than that … everyone seemed to grasp the potential that Flipboard magazines can offer; from educating and inspiring your customers to promoting your services and products.

I fully realize that you would rather be out in landscapes across America (or even overseas) creating works of art from rock and water. But you were patient, studious, and diligent while hovering over those glowing screens and got ‘er done!  Yep, each and every one of you was a conqueror that day!

A couple days and a few breaths later and I’m back to my normal dose of deodorant.  But my head is still spinning, mostly from ideas that came out of conversations with you over the potential of using not only Flipboard, but all of social media to grow your businesses and the entire water gardening industry!

Now that the party’s over, what’s next? I can answer by saying the party ain’t even close to being over … it’s only just begun! I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep flipping, posting, pinning, and tweeting!

I know, I know. Pond season is upon us and you’re gonna get busy … but now’s the time when your customers are most interested in outdoor living. Now, more than ever, is when you need to keep engaging them and cultivating those relationships that will grow your business.

Now that we got this party started, let’s keep it going by sharing our Flipboard magazines and using social media tools to welcome others into our wonderful world of water gardening! Who are you going to invite?

Stay in Touch with Facebook Fans when You’re Crunched for Time

As a small business owner, do you often find yourself crunched for time? Are you wondering how you’ll ever maintain a consistent posting schedule on Facebook? Well good news is here! Simply schedule your posts on Facebook for up to months in advance! It just takes 15 to 30 minutes to schedule several posts, keeping you in touch with your customers.

How to Schedule Facebook Posts

How to Schedule Facebook Post
Write your status update as you normally would on Facebook, adding a photo or link if desired. Then, click on the clock icon in the lower left. Choose the current year from the drop down menu. Once you do this, a new drop down box will appear allowing you to select the month you want the post to appear. After choosing the month, you’ll then be able to accept the hour and the minute. Minutes are offered in 10 minute increments. You don’t have to choose a minute option if you don’t want to. Once you’ve chosen the correct date and time for your post, click the Schedule button. It’s that easy!

Editing a Scheduled Post

How to Edit Scheduled Facebook Post

If you decide you want to delete or change a scheduled post, you simply need to access your Activity Log. At the top of your page, click on the Edit Page menu and then choose Activity Log. You’ll then be taken to your list of scheduled posts. To the right of each post is a small drop down arrow. Click on that and then choose to Change Time, Publish Now, or even Delete Post depending on what you want to do.

How to Change a Scheduled Facebook Post

Scheduling posts on Facebook allows you to line up your posts for the next day, or even the next week (or month for that matter). Simply take some time in the evening or on the weekend when you’re not working and line up several posts. Be sure to check on your page a couple times to respond to any questions or comments that your fans might have posted. You’ll save a lot of time by scheduling posts in advance and it’s reassuring to know your Facebook page is working for you even when you’re unplugged.

Do You Have a Social Media Strategy?

I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want to think about a social media strategy. You want it to just happen. You’re hoping a social strategy just means posting some stuff on Facebook, pinning photos on Pinterest, and writing 140-character tweets on Twitter. You don’t really want to take time to think it through. After all, social media is supposed to be fun, right?

strategy definition

What if I told you that you don’t need a social media strategy? I want to share a concept with you that I just read about this morning. It’s a thought that has been floating in my head for quite some time now; I’ve just never heard anyone verbalize it … until now.

Jason Falls Quote

Simply put, your social strategy should walk in lock-step with your business strategy. This approach should actually make social media easier for you to execute. Hopefully you do have a business strategy and your social media campaign will simply echo that strategy. Once you have your business strategy in place, simply determine what social media outlets you’ll use to “socialize your business.”

You might find you have different audiences in certain social networks. For example, Aquascape’s Facebook audience is primarily consumers. On Twitter however, our audience gravitates more toward the wholesale market. The information we share on each is slightly different and is packaged in an appropriate message, but all content is aligned with our overall business strategy.

As we move through 2013, be sure to plan an effective strategy to help your business succeed and make sure you employ specific tactics to execute for reaching your goals. Then socialize your business through a variety of social networks best suited for your target market.

Tips for Asking Customers to Give Your Business a Review

Great reviews from your customers can go a long way in providing credibility for your business, products, and services.  But not all business owners are comfortable asking for a review. They don’t want to bother the customer further or they may feel like it’s rude to ask for a review. It’s time to put an end to that type of negative thinking!

If a customer is happy with your work, they’re going to want to talk about it. We’ve all had a friend or neighbor rave about the great remodel they had done on their kitchen. People like to share the fact that they picked the right person to do the job. It means they did their research and made a smart choice. So you should never feel apprehensive asking for a review from a pleased customer.

What you can do, however, is make it easy for your customers to give you a review. You can send them a letter or email asking for the review, and then provide links to locations where they can submit their review. If you have a business listing on Yelp, Merchant Circle, or Google+ Local, include the links to the review page of your account. Likewise, if you have a Facebook business page, customers can write recommendations there.

Facebook Screen Shot

 

Peer reviews are highly prized by today’s consumer.  According to a new study by Nielsen, 92% of consumers “trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.”

Once your customer provides a review, you can use it in other marketing materials such as print brochures, on your website, and more.  A good review will go a long way in providing valuable credibility for both you and your company.

How to Create Interest Lists on Facebook

Similar to using lists on Twitter to keep conversations organized, you can also use lists on Facebook to organize people and topics. It’s easy to set up once you know how to get to your Interests page, and I’m guessing some of you might not even know you have an Interests page on Facebook.

Interest-List

To access your Interests page, you can either click on “INTERESTS” in your Facebook bookmarks sidebar on the left, or you can simply log onto https://www.facebook.com/bookmarks/interests. If you already have lists created or have subscribed to any lists, they will be shown on this page.

To create a new list, click on the +Add Interests button in the upper right hand corner. You’ll be taken to the Add Interests page where you can click on the +Create List button in the upper right hand corner. Please note that Facebook will provide suggestions of existing lists for you to follow.

interest page

After clicking on the +Create List button, you’ll be asked to choose the people or fan pages that you want on your list. So if I’m creating a list of pond contractors, I would choose them from my existing friends and liked pages. When you’re done selecting people and pages for your list, click on the “Next” button in the lower right hand corner.

choose list box

Type the title of your list into the text box provided, and then choose who can see your list. You can make it viewable to the Public, to Friends only, or you can make it completely private so that only you can see it. When you’re finished, click on the “Done” button in the lower right hand corner. Your new list will now appear in the bookmarks sidebar to the left of your Facebook news feed. If it doesn’t appear, click on the “More” link to see it.

List Name Box

Aquascape has created a list of our company’s fan pages and we’d love to have you subscribe to it so you can stay updated on all things related to the pond business. Log onto https://www.facebook.com/lists/10151143825819474 to see the list and then click on the “Subscribe” button in the upper right hand corner. Once you subscribe, the link to this list will appear in your bookmarks sidebar.  When you want to view it, simply click on the link that says Aquascape Fan Pages.

You can create lists on Facebook for a variety of purposes to help you wade through all the status updates on Facebook. You could group your family into a list, or keep restaurants and favorite stores organized in one handy list. Lists allow you to see all updates from your favorite friends and pages without having to scroll through your news feed or visit each page individually. We think you’ll find it quite useful once you start using it!

Are You a Good Social Listener?

Most of you understand the importance of marketing your business on social media sites, but have you stopped to consider if you’re a good social listener?  Are you watching what people say on your Facebook page? Do you ever read conversations on other Facebook pages … specifically the pages of businesses in your industry? Have you ever taken time to conduct a Twitter search on a topic relevant to your business? Do you ever look to see what topics are trending on Google+ and other social sites? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re on your way to becoming a good social listener.

You might think it’s more important to market your business than to listen to social conversations, so let me give you a couple examples how social listening can benefit you.

Solis Quote

Awhile ago I was curious how many people were talking about rainwater harvesting on Twitter. Specifically, I wanted to learn if rain barrels were a relevant and trending topic in regards to water conservation. In Twitter’s search box I typed the words “rain barrel” and found quite a few individuals were talking about it. One particular person stood out from the crowd … an editor for Hort magazine tweeted a request for a rain barrel product to include in the magazine. I immediately emailed a couple photos and a product description of Aquascape’s RainXchange® rain barrel to the editor and she included it in their publication.

Another example of effective social listening pertains to Hometalk, the up-and-coming home-related site for contractors and the DIY crowd. I looked through the site and then hopped over to their Facebook page. That’s where I noticed a pond photo they had shared was getting a lot of positive feedback. The photo was from a project that a homeowner posted on their website and people were lovin’ it … giving it a lot of Likes and Comments on Facebook. I also noticed that the pond was a preformed pond with plastic waterfalls. Not very natural looking. I realized that if people loved that water feature, they would love Aquascape’s water features even more (not meaning to be egotistical, but Aquascape does pride itself on creating very natural-looking water features).

After listening to all the conversation surrounding that preformed pond, I posted several pond photos on Hometalk’s site and was rewarded with immense social activity. Hometalk shared several of our pond photos on their Facebook page, which greatly increased our exposure on both Facebook and Hometalk. I’m happy to say that our website received more referrals from Hometalk than it did from either Twitter or Facebook for the next 2 months! I’m confident this trend will continue.

Social listening is critical to your success on social sites. You don’t want to be viewed as merely a broadcaster. Listen to what your customers are saying and answer their questions. Also take note of what potential customers are saying on other sites and then optimize your presence on those sites to gain additional exposure. You’ll find it’s time well spent!