Google+ and your brand

Google+ Brand Pages have finally come! We’ve been extremely excited about this launch, and even received early access to Google+ Pages (circle us here!), that we’ve already dug in deep to learn all about it. A lot of people and businesses alike ask “how will Google+ Pages be different from Facebook? How will it be better?”. We believe Google+ Pages has the potential to be huge. With only our second day in, we’ve seem some amazing differences with some similarities. Here is what Google+ Brand Pages are like:

 

 

1. To go from your personal Google+ page to your Brand Page is fairly simple. The new homepage has also added features, like a new search toolbar for YouTube and the option of creating your own page. Compared to Facebook, the Google+ homepage is much cleaner. To go directly to your brand pages, you would click on “Manage your pages” as shown to the left. How is Google going to be making money on this? There are no spaces for advertisements at this time, which by any means is great for the viewer, but how is Google going to make this profitable for them?  It does have the capabilities to do something great with advertising 

 

 

2. After the click on “Manage your pages”, you will be directed to your pages list. It is MUCH cleaner than Facebook’s. You can have multiple people manage your pages just like Facebook.

 


3. After going to the homepage of the Brand page, you have the capabilities to see who has your brand in their circles. Something great that Facebook does not do is that it gives you the ability to put your followers into a group you create. This is great for marketing for many reasons. It gives you the ability to market to specific demographics like sex, occupation, local, etc. 

It gives you a chance to post something to a specific group only.
4. To go back to your personal page, it is exactly the same way you got in. Like under your profile photo and click on “You”.
Overall, we love Google+ Brand Pages. It’s simplicity, functions and capabilities are just amazing. Here are our top three reasons why we love Google+ Brand Pages.
  1. Ability to post something to a specific targeted demographic.
  2. Easy, great functional way to manage your followers
  3. As a marketer, a great way to manage campaigns to specific demographics
Now it comes to should your business be on Google+? The answer: not all of you. Google+ is a social network. And just like we do with all of our clients, you need to analyze Google+ and see if it is the right social network for your business. Now if you are interested in starting a Google+ Brand Page, here are our top three reasons why your business should have their own Brand Page:
  1. Great opportunity to create contests, giveaways, and surveys and disburse them through different demographics
  2. A great opportunity to improve your SEO
  3. An opportunity to Hangout with multiple people on a conference call. (Google Hangouts is a video chat with ability to have multiple people on one call)
If you have any questions on Google+ Brand Pages, contact us at info@creativestrategyagency.com

Social Researching: what your consumer want…now.

Have you participating in social researching? Social researching is the combination of marketing research and social media. It’s a way for businesses and brands to know what their current customers want, how they want it, and when they want it.

You’ve either participated in a survey or conducted one. If you’ve taken a survey before, was there a reason for it? What did the business need with the results? Did they entice you to take the survey with a discount on their product or service? These are questions you, as the consumer, need to ask yourself. There is a reason why you are being surveyed. Businesses, are you tracking and measuring your survey? Utilizing social media to survey your current following allows you to see what their are thinking and potential find future wants and needs.

You can post your surveys online… and off. By using a QR Code, you can create a link to your survey for your customers to take the survey via mobile in house (find out more here). So how can a business fully utilize social researching? Here are some ideas:

  1. Restaurant/Bar can utilize social researching to find out what food/beverages their customers like the most, customer service expectations and which events they would be interested in attending.
  2. Salons/spas can utilize social researching for customer service and future offerings their customers are looking for.
  3. Nonprofits can utilizing social researching by reaching out to those who’ve donated in the past and sending them with a short, simple survey with the possibility of donating again.
  4. Retail stores can also utilize social researching by surveying customers on customer service, product offerings, sales and more. The survey can be done in house or online as well.
There are many reasons a business should tap in to social researching. What are your current customers thinking?
For more information on social researching, contact us at info@creativestrategyagency.com

How to utilize social media during a storm crisis

This past weekend, western Massachusetts (tCSA home base), as well we other parts of New England got hit hard by a nor’eastern… in October! As crazy as that sounds, it happened. The aftermath of the storm brought power outages, roadblocks and many civilians without a warm place to sleep. In the time of power outages, social media was the number one news source basically because of mobile devices.

There were several businesses that were lucky and didn’t lose power and opened up to serve the suffered communities as well as staying past normal operating hours. Some businesses were even opened by installing generators. One thing that many local businesses didn’t fully utilize during the power outage weekend was social media. Whether they had any networks they actively used or not, many were unable to release information to the masses.

So what does this teach you? Create a Post Storm Social Media Plan (PSSMP). What is that? a PSSMP is a specific type of social media crisis protocol a business will undergo when the crisis arises. One myth that a lot of businesses tend to believe is that they don’t need a plan. Not true. In fact, you need multiple plans in place. The PSSMP is just one of them. Another is a Brand Reputation Crisis Protocol, giving your business a specific course of action on what to do regarding your business brand and its’ reputation. But this article is focusing on post storms.

Every business should have something in place, especially if you are heavily active on social media. Here are some things that you should consider in including in your Post Storm Social Media Plan:

  • Status of your business: Give your fans and followers an update to how your business was effected. If it was, give them an estimated time of when things will be back to normal. If it wasn’t effected, still let them know. Let them know that you are there for them and ready to provide your services if need be.
  • Status of your local neighborhood: Let your customers know what is going on in your neighborhood. If they have to commute to your place of business or someone from your business has to commute to them, let them know of road conditions, roadblocks, etc to keep them informed.
  • Status of your local community: Let your customers know what is going on in your community. Let them know of any available shelters, gas stations, or open markets for them to pick up some essential needs.
  • Status of other local businesses: Let customers know which local businesses near you are open or closed. You need to keep them informed but giving them a reason to visit your business as well.
There are many reasons why you should have a plan in place. Here are just a few:
  • Engage: Engagement is what social media is for. It connects its’ users to their favorite brands and businesses. During a crisis, you need to be heavily engaged and engaging to your followers. Keep interaction high. On most social networks, you can now see what businesses and brand pages their friends are engaging with. Utilize that to market your business.
  • Market: Marketing your business is a must. With the boom of web marketing and social media, it has become a 24/7 job. Another reason to have a PSSMP is the opportunity to obtain new business. If you are a restaurant, convenience store, grocery market or a place that sells essentials, new customers are very important. You want first timers to come in, be impressed and come back again post devastation. If you are actively using social media during a time of devastation, consumers will know of your business and will be tempted to give it a try.
  • Depend: You want to let your customers and potential customers know that they can rely on you during a time of devastation. If by chance another storms comes your way, those customers will remember what you have previously done. You will instantly create “first time mind”.
In the end, no one wants any sort of devastation. But they happen and your business needs to be prepared for them. If you don’t have a Post Storm Social Media Plan, creating one to utilize now is too late. But creating one is a must. Consult with your marketer and be prepared.
Any questions on Post Storm Social Media Plan or a Social Media Crisis Plan, contact us at info@creativestrategyagency.com

Hiring a marketing firm?

Hiring a marketing firm is a serious business decision that should involve a critical look at your business right now and what it will look like in the coming years. You need to know what is involved, with your business and the marketing firm’s, when you decide to hire a marketing firm, and what your expectations are when they are engaged. Don’t hire a marketing firm without doing your own research first.

The main objective of the marketing firm is to bring your product(s) or service(s) to market. Marketing research, campaigns, advertising, PR work, social media, branding, R & D, trade shows, public sampling and education and other avenues all fall under the umbrella of marketing. Most of this you should already be doing in your business.

We comprised a list of three things to consider when looking to hire a marketing firm:

  1. Expectations. You need to know what your expectations are as far as what you would like to gain from hiring a marketing team
  2. Commitment. Short term? Long term? You can generally hire full- or part-time marketing resources by the hour, week or month without committing to long-term employment. This allows you to cover temporary holes (i.e. maternity leave) or limited workload surges (i.e. a new product launch) without affecting headcount.
  3. Why you should:
    1. Fresh perspective. Hiring an outside marketer can bring new ideas to the table that you may never think of because of your limited knowledge
    2. Small staffs that may not specialize in effective marketing plans.
    3. Save costs. Instead of hiring a full time marketing professional, hiring a marketing firm to handle your marketing can save you money on insurance, worker’s comp and more.

Any questions regarding this article, contact us at info@creativestrategyagency.com

the new Facebook business pages: iFrame and iwipa

So a few months ago, Facebook released that they will be discontinuing their Static FBML Application to assist businesses in creating customized tabs on Facebook. (The app was released in 2007 that was initially started to have businesses create their own apps on Facebook). Well ladies and gents, that time has come.

Here is a quote from the Facebook developers blog from December 3, 2010: “End of Year Deprecations, Page Tab Update: In August, we announced that we are deprecating some infrequently used APIs and FBML tags at the end of the year. We encourage developers to make the necessary code changes soon, because these may be breaking changes. We will continue letting developers create new FBML Page tab applications until Q1 2011, because we are still working on the iFrame implementation. We are also postponing the deprecation of fb:board until we offer the ability to export data”.

On December 4, 2010, they released: “We want to give developers time to test and get comfortable with the iframe solution before it’s required, but we haven’t finalized the timing yet.”

So here at the creative offices, we updated and created an all new Facebook page for us. (Click here to see our page). In this post, we will go over some of the bigger changes, as well as our favorite things about the new iFrame and iwipa for Facebook.

First off, Facebook now fully supporting the new iFrame. We took it a step further and got into iwipa, which a huge step forward for Facebook business pages turning into micro websites. This means that developers are free to use popular, simple and standards-based web programming model compared to FBML.  The program we used (seen below) is iwipa (explained as Static FBML + iFrame + Welcome tab). There are so many things to be excited about. Here are a few of our favorite things:

Welcome to the microsite. The new “Welcome Tab” is the micro website. Below you will see our new Welcome Tab that will showcase our micro site on Facebook with a customized header (“Are You Creative?”) and tabs within that tab (Welcome, Services, Clients, etc).

Facebook’s iwipa gives a great opportunity to showcase your YouTube and/or Vimeo videos with a simple embed and coding it directly to the app.

Creating sub tabs is a great feature that is a little easier to showcase different photos, docs, jpegs, etc compared to Static FMBL.

It is also another creative way to showcase your other social sites with icons and not a list of hyperlinks in your info tab.

 

 

So how easy was it to create the new Facebook page? Level of difficulty depends on what you know. Facebook does offer great “How to videos” to explain things to you on the way. However, it took us several hours to build the new Facebook page, and if you don’t have the images you want to use, then it will take longer.

So here are our top 7 reason why we love the new iFrame/iwipa:

1. ANALYTICS. You can track your visitors using Google Analytics. All you have to do is setup a Google Analytics profile and use the Facebook domain.

2. Allows for businesses to tag photos and add keywords to their new customized pages, just like SEO practices. At this moment, we’re undetermined if this will effect Google rankings, or effect a new search Facebook may launch in the near future. No matter the reason, it is a great addition.

3. The opportunity to add video as a simple embed through their coding is a great way to enhance your Facebook page.

4. Total creative control of your tabs. The tabs we selected were similar to the original Facebook tabs, but they have numerous style selections to enhance the tab looks and usage. Not to mention, they also allow the opportunity to create sub-tabs/drop tabs (yea, just like in a website!).

5. Cleans up and de-clutters the basic tabs under the photo so the other important tabs are visible and not hidden (events, polls, reviews, etc)

6. The ability to create your own header/footer. It is a great way to make a statement, place your logo, and take your page to a new level.

7. Ability to hide tabs much easier now to people who are not fans. A great way for restaurants to use this to promote coupons to members who are only members of the page.

 

Again to check out the new iFrame/iwipa page in complete use, go to our Facebook page http://Facebook.com/CreativeStrategy

Stay tuned for our next post, we will go over some quick tips on how to get started in iwipa. Any questions, email us at info@creativestrategyagency.com.

The new Facebook business pages

The ever changing business, Facebook, has changed Business Pages, yet once again. I believe that they changed it for the better. There are many new features that were added that enhance page use, interaction, and insight.


The new page layout has changed significantly. Unless you lived under a rock, you will notice that the new page layout resembles the personal pages layout.

There is a new photo section added to the top, the tabs have moved, the ability to sign in under your business name and many other new features that will talk about in this post as been added.

 

First up, Business Pages now has notifications! It is perhaps one of our favorite new features.

Just like in your personal page, there is the icon to see who has friend requested you. In the business page, the icon symbolizes any new people who have recently Liked your page. This new feature is great to see who the latest followers of your page are.

One of the best part of the update is the notification updates just like in your personal pages. This feature allows you to see who has commented, liked, posted, etc throughout your whole business page.

Another great new feature is that you get to “sign in” as your business page. When you do sign in under your business name, you can then click to the home screen, and you will now see a news feed of all your “Favorite Pages” that you have added to your page. It is a great way to see what your colleagues, clients, etc. are doing.

Some other great new features:

1. A business page can now communicate with other business pages, leaving posts and comments under the business name and not under your name. However, they cannot post on a user’s wall or comment on his or her status.

2. The “everyone” filter that brings most engaging and interesting posts to the top of the page.

3. Latest photos have migrated to the top of the profile, just like in personal pages. Used correctly and effectively, they are a new creative way to advertise products and services.

The new design launched this week as a preview for Facebook Page admins. Admins have the ability to preview and tweak what they see before completely switching over. Facebook also releasing a Page Tour and a manual to explain the new design for the people who may have trouble. Admins will have until March 10 to switch over though, before Facebook automatically updates every page to the new design. So jump in, learn and have fun!

 

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