Monthly Archives: October 2012

How to Improve Your Exposure in Facebook’s News Feed

A hot topic of conversation surrounding Facebook is that business pages are not showing up as frequently in the News Feed. You’ve probably seen posts asking you to add a fan page to an Interest List on Facebook in order to make sure you see all of that page’s posts. Many people are complaining that Facebook wants you to pay for “promoted posts” in order to ensure your post is seen by most of your fans.

Although your first inclination might be to go ahead and pay for certain posts to get better exposure, there are ways you can improve your page’s exposure in the News Feed.

Post Photos

It’s no secret that photos receive the best engagement on Facebook. We live in a visual, time-crunched society. And because of time constraints, photos outperform videos and status updates on Facebook. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be posting videos or status updates, it simply means you should focus more on sharing photos.

Use Photos to Increase Visits to Your Website

Most marketers and business owners like to use Facebook to drive traffic to their website. You can use photos to increase the likelihood of your fans clicking on a link you post on Facebook.

If you’re linking to a page on your website that has a photo, Facebook will pull that photo and display it, but it’s not a very large photo. As an option, you could post a photo on Facebook, and in the description of the photo you can add the link to your website. Many marketers are now posting links in this manner and are finding better success.

Midwest Living Facebook Post

 

Use Photos to Encourage Comments

When you want to get a response from your fans on Facebook, be creative with the way you use photos. For example, when you want to ask your fans a question, rather than simply post the question into the status update box, you can use a photo to ask the question. Upload the photo and in the description, ask your question. You’re more likely to get a larger number of responses.

When you post a photo, you can also try including a “fill in the blank.”  Post a photo of a scenic pond and waterfall and ask fans to fill in the blank. “This backyard oasis makes me feel _______________.” Responses will range from relaxed to heavenly and more.

 Better Homes and Gardens Facebook Post

 

When you start employing some of these methods, take note which ones gain the best response. Also, as you view other business pages on Facebook, pay attention to how they’re using photos. You’ll gain new ideas and will better understand how to engage your audience. As more people start commenting and liking your posts, it will improve your exposure in Facebook’s news feed.

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Why You Should Change Your Facebook Cover Photo

Most of you Facebook users are familiar with changing your profile picture and you swap it out when you want to express something new about yourself. But what about your business page’s cover photo? Have you changed it since Facebook rolled out its new timeline?

The cover photo on Facebook is like the header photo on your website. It’s the first thing people see when they come to your page and says a lot about you and your business. In fact, it’s the first step toward marketing your business on Facebook.

When choosing your cover photo, think about the message you want to send. Since the page I manage is all about water gardening, I want to showcase the beauty of a water feature in the landscape, and I want that photo to draw the person in and inspire them to add a pond, waterfall, or fountain to their own landscape.

Once you choose your cover photo, make sure that your profile picture complements it since they are shown together at the top of your Facebook timeline. Here’s an example of a creative cover/profile picture combination:

Pretzel Crisp Facebook Cover

To add interest to your Facebook page, update your cover photo from time to time. You could choose to go with seasonal themes, swapping out a summery pond photo for a colorful autumn pond photo. In the winter, a snowy scene works well since it shows your customers the beauty of a waterfall with ice formations. If you don’t have winter photos, try an evening photo of a pond with night lighting that sets a serene scene during the shortened days of winter.

Facebook cover photos are 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall. But if you’re clueless when it comes to editing photos, Facebook makes it easier by giving you the opportunity to drag and reposition your cover photo after you upload it.

Aquascape Inc on Facebook

You can also add text to your photos before uploading them, however, Facebook has some restrictions on what type of text you can add. For example, you can’t promote a sale with your cover photo, but you can add a quote or similar.

For more information, read Facebook’s guidelines on cover photos.

Using Twitter Lists to Keep Tweets Organized

Twitter is intense. No doubt about it. If you’re following hundreds of people on this microblogging site, it’s near impossible to keep up with the conversations. For example, I follow over 4500 people on our Aquascape account. There’s no way I can read all those tweets in one day and still get the rest of my work done. In fact, in the time it took me just to write this first paragraph, I received over 90 new tweets in my feed. So what’s a girl to do? Use Twitter’s List feature to keep incoming tweets organized (if you don’t know what a “tweet” is, it’s simply what someone types and posts on Twitter).

To access the List feature on Twitter, click on the drop down arrow to the right of the Settings icon and then click on Lists from the menu. You’ll then be taken to your List page where you can create and manage lists. You’ll also be able to find out what lists you’ve been added to by others.

Twitter List

Once you’re on your Lists page, simply click the Create List button to create a new list and add people you follow. In the future, you can continue to add Twitter accounts to this list … or even remove them if need be.

I’ve created a few lists of topics that are important to me and then continue to add folks to these lists when appropriate. For instance, I’ve created a “pondering” list that includes people I’m following in the pond industry. With a quick click on the title of the list I can see what peers in the industry are saying and doing. No need to scroll through thousands of tweets, which would be far too time-consuming.

Twitter Listing

I also like to see what lists Aquascape has been added to … it’s my opinion that if people are adding me to lists, they think I’m posting helpful information. It’s useful to see what type of lists I’ve been added to … there might be a group of people who can provide networking opportunities I hadn’t previously considered. And I might find a few new folks to follow on Twitter.

Twitter List Screenshot

In addition, Twitter shows you lists you’re subscribed to … typically the lists you’ve created. To see what lists you’ve been added to; simply click on the “Member of” link to the left of the Create List button. Anyone on Twitter can add you to a list. If you want to subscribe to a list someone else has created, simply click on the title of that list and you’ll be taken to that list’s page. Then click on the Subscribe button you’ll find on the left hand side. This is a convenient way to follow information important to you without having to follow more individuals on Twitter.

For more information on using Twitter’s List feature, simply check out the List section in the Help Center.

 

 

 

Use Facebook to Create a Vision of Life

Aquascape WaterfallRecently I heard someone mention that businesses should use Facebook to create a vision of life for their customers. I couldn’t agree more! Create an experience with your Facebook page and you’ll be far more successful than if you’re simply peddling your wares.

I cringe every time I see a business post something like, “Need a good plumber? Call Joe at blah blah blah.” Before I call Joe, he better give me a good reason for calling him. For example, has Joe spent time on his Facebook page providing helpful plumbing reminders like turning off the outdoor water spigot before winter rolls around? Is Joe answering questions on his Facebook page that customers are posting? Has Joe shared a photo of an oversized tub filled with bubbles surrounded by candles? Something that inspires me to upgrade my bathroom?

Take a look at your own Facebook page. A critical look. Are you creating a vision of life for your customers on your page? Are you showing photos that draw them in and make them want to be a part of that photo? Do you provide tips and knowledge to improve the quality of their life? Or are you simply broadcasting why they should tell all their friends about you?

Make sure you’re providing value and having authentic conversations on Facebook. For example, if someone complains about algae in their pond, provide feedback on why they might be having that problem as opposed to saying, “call me and I’ll fix it for you.” Once you provide them with knowledge and insight, they’ll grow to trust you. And once you have their trust, you’ll likely have their business, as well.

 

Aquascape Fish PondPond builders and retailers have the ideal opportunity for creating a vision of life for customers. Photos of children playing in a waterfall, families dining on their patio by the pond, butterflies and frogs visiting a water feature, the family dog sticking his nose in the pond to play with the koi … all of these images create a vision of enjoyment and relaxation for your customers.

On occasion, it’s okay to promote your business, just don’t let it hog the conversation. Follow a 70/30 rule of thumb for your Facebook posts. 70% of your posts should create a vision of life … the other 30% can be promotional. If you keep in mind that Facebook is a community site where people connect and share life, you’ll find you have greater success.