Mike Brcic - Social Media Marketing 101 (Finding Friends, Fans, and Funds on Facebook)


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Mike's Social Media Marketing 101 handbook as part of his Facebook session.

Love it or hate it, Facebook is the #1 social media site in the world, with more than 200 million active users. A growing number of companies and organizations are using Facebook to connect with their stakeholders and build community. In this workshop, you’ll learn simple, easy-to-implement techniques for using Facebook to connect with your audience, including:

- Facebook Groups and how to grow them
- Raising funds through Facebook Causes
- Creating Facebook events that sparkle and shine
- Developing a fan base with Pages
- Maintaining promotions and contests
- Other techniques for taking Facebook to the next level!

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Mike Brcic - Social Media Marketing 101 (Finding Friends, Fans, and Funds on Facebook)

  1. 1. Social Media 101 The Basics of Social Media Marketing by: Mike Brcic, president/owner, Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays www.sacredrides.com ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  2. 2. Social Media 101 The fundamentals of Social Media. An introduction The world of social media can be a bewildering, overwhelming and scary place. I know – I was one of those bewildered people a few years ago. Prompted by frustration in seeing my revenues steadily whittled away by marketing campagins of questionable effectiveness, such as magazine ads, trade shows, and publicists, I began researching the possibilites that the new world of the internet was creating – a world that was initially dubbed “Web 2.0” but whose tools are now more commonly known as social media. I run one of Canada’s largest adventure tour operators, Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays (www.sacredrides.com). We run small-group mountain bike adventures on four continents and in eight different destinations, with a focus on social and environmental responsibility. I also am the founder and director of Bikes Without Borders, a non-profit organization that uses bikes as a tool for development in marginalized communities. In the past I relied on fairly straightforward, traditional marketing techniques: taking out ads in newspapers and magazines, postering, going to adventure shows, even taking out the odd radio spot. All with mixed results. Thankfully, an attention to developing excellent trips and word of mouth kept me from wasting all of my profits on these old marketing modes. In 2006, I began delving into the world of social media in earnest, exploring the tools at my disposal. I wanted to engage my customers on a deeper level than just blaring marketing messages (“buy, buy buy!”) at them. The results of my foray into the world of social media have been nothing less than astounding. Using basic social media techniques at first, and then delving progressively deeper into the realm and its possibilities, I have had astounding results. In the two years since I first started using social media techniques I have: • slashed my marketing budget by over 80% • fired my publicist and her expensive monthly retainer • increased subscribers to my monthly newsletter by 50% • almost tripled my revenues • increased profits by over 500% What are ‘social media’? Social media are “primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  3. 3. Social Media 101 presented, depends on the varied perspectives and quot;buildingquot; of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.” [source: wikipedia] Basically, social media are new online technologies that allow users to connect, share and communicate in new ways in the online world. They range from websites such as YouTube that allow you to share videos, to news-sharing websites like Digg, to bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us that allow you to share your favourite sites with others. Why are social media important? Social media are where the conversations of the 21st century are taking place. They are transforming the nature of the information age: how we access information, how it is disseminated, and who ‘creates’ information. In short, social media are completely transforming the cultural landscape of our planet in the 21st century. Why is social media important for my business/organization? Imagine going back to the 1950s as a black box called the television is taking over families’ living rooms across North America. Every night they are crowded around the tube, eyes glued to the Ed Sullivan show. Once or twice a night, a Maytag repairman interrupts Ed to tell you about how lonely he is. Now imagine being in the washing machine business and your main competitor is Maytag. Imagine writing TV off as another ‘fad’ and refusing to consider television ads as a marketing tool. Over the next few years, you watch your market share steadily decline as a whole generation of North Americans gets to know the lonely Maytag repairman and believes in the durability of Maytag washing machines. Social media are the TV of our generation. They are an important part of how the people of the world engage with one another, and holding off on getting involved in the social media conversation can have drastic consequences for your business/organization as your competitors increasingly take advantage of the new technologies. ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  4. 4. Social Media 101 Social Media Techniques 1. Facebook Facebook is the Internet’s #1 online social network. If you’re not on Facebook you’re missing an incredible opportunity to connect with your customers (when I say “customers” I’m not strictly referring to customers in the traditional sense: they could be donors to your non-profit, other organizations in your field, your competitors, etc…). What is it? Facebook is essentially a tool for you to stay in touch with your friends, find out what they’re doing and where they’re going, and stay connected via photos, videos and events. How does it work? The meat and potatoes of Facebook is the news feed. This is the page you see when you log in: it contains a snapshot of everything your friends are doing over the past few hours or days. It may contain status updates, a list of events your friends are attending, photos and videos your friends have uploaded, groups and causes they’ve joined, or friends they’ve added. Getting Started The first step is joining. Go to www.facebook.com and register. You’ll need to provide an e-mail address and name. Use whatever name you are most commonly known by, as this is the name people will use to search for you. Making friends Once you’ve registered, it’s time to start making friends. Use the e-mail address book searcher to see which of your friends are on Facebook. The application will send these people a friend ‘request’ and once they accept they are now your Facebook friends. You’ll be able to view their profiles, send them messages, post on their walls, and more. You can also just search in the search bar for people you know and send them a friend request. Once they’ve confirmed you’ll receive an e-mail confirmation. ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  5. 5. Social Media 101 Facebook Ads Although the early adopter window has long since passed, along with its bargains, Facebook Ads are still an effective way of reaching your customers. This is essentially still the old ‘pay per click’ model, however it is much more effective than Google Adwords or similar advertising techniques because the ads are so effectively integrated into the Facebook experience, and you can target your ads much more effectively. 1. Scroll to the bottom of your home page and click on ‘Advertising.’ 2. Click on ‘Get Started.’ 3. Decide what you want to promote: do you want to send people who click on your as to your organization/company’s website, or do you want to send them to a Facebook group or cause? Generally sending them to your website is preferred since you can provide richer content on your website. 4. Create your ad: remember to use compelling language and a strong call to action (visit our website today! Save a life today! etc…) Unless you don’t have one, always upload a picture. 5. Select your target audience. This is where Facebook really shines: you can tailor your ad so that it only shows to people who would be interested in it. You can choose your geographic region age range, and then select keywords based on your company/organization. e.g. I would enter “mountain biking” or “adventure travel” into the keyword field. 6. Set your budget based on how much you would like to spend per day, and how much you would like to spend per click. I suggest setting this 10-20% lower than the recommended pay per click. If you are not getting any traffic you can easily go back and raise the PPC cost, but this is a way you can avoid overpaying for clicks. 7. Add your credit card information. 8. Monitor your ad campaign frequently and make changes as required. You can try testing a few different ads to see which one has a higher click-thru rate. Once you’ve narrowed it down to your top 1 or 2 ads, then delete all the other non-performing ads. ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  6. 6. Social Media 101 Facebook Groups and Causes This is where things get interesting, and where your company/organization can really make use of the Facebook world. Groups are essentially just that: online groups where like-minded people gather to connect, discuss and entertain or enlighten themselves around a given topic. They are an excellent opportunity to bring together people who might be interested in your business or organization. Because every time that someone joins your group their friends’ will receive an update (“Mike Brcic joined the group ____________”) along with a link to that group, it’s very easy for groups to grow extremely quickly. Creating a Group Under the applications menu on the right hand side of your screen you’ll see ‘Groups.’ Click on this, then click on ‘Create a New Group.’ When you are creating your group, try not to use the name of your company or organization. Instead, think about the people who would want to join your group: what interests do they share? What are they passionate about? So if your organization works with homeless people in Toronto, call your group ‘Canadians Concerned About Homelessness’ or ‘Canadians United Against Homelessness.’ In your group description, be upfront about your aims and objectives with this group. Don’t hide the fact that this group is tied to your organization – this will only make people angry if you try marketing to them later. The number #1 rule of social media marketing is honesty – if you are deceitful and dishonest about your marketing aims, people will see through your deceit and make you pay for it. After you’ve finished adding the details, you’ll need to upload a picture. Feel free to use your logo here (remember the honesty rule!), and don’t forget to add your website URL. ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  7. 7. Social Media 101 Inviting people to join your group The next step is to invite people to join your group. If you’ve been on Facebook for a while and have a group of friends, you can easily invite them using the menu on the right. You can also add e-mail addresses to invite people who are not on Facebook, either by importing them from your e-mail, or by adding them manually. Customize your invitations with a few personal words – this will go a long way to getting people to join your group. The next step Now you’ve created your group. The next step is to create a reason for people to join your group, visit your group page, and to keep coming back. Add some photos and videos, create compelling discussions, and check on your group often so that you can respond to people’s posts and create ongoing discussions and relationships with your customers. The beauty of Facebook Groups is that you can easily send messages to all the members of your group at once, updating them on what is going on with you company/organization. Unlike e-mail, where SPAM filters will often block e-mails sent to large numbers of people at once, Facebook messages don’t have a SPAM filter (since members of the group willingly joined and can leave any time), so you can effectively reach a lot of people at once. Events Once you have a group, you can create related events for your group. 1. Click on ‘Create Related Event’ in the right-hand menu 2. Enter information about your event. 2. Send a group invitation to all the members of your group, to your Facebook friends, and to people in your e-mail address book. Causes A Facebook ‘cause’ is much like a Facebook ‘group’ except that it is limited to causes: charities, NGOs, non-profits or just organizing groups of people rallied around a common cause (e.g. animal welfare). Causes can be tied to specific charities (e.g. SPCA) and 1. Click on ‘edit’ next to the Applications menu on your home page. 2. Click on ‘Browse More Applications’ 3. Click on ‘Causes’ 4. Click on ‘Go To Application.’ 5. Click on ‘Allow.’ 6. Click on ‘Find Causes’ ! ‘Start a Cause.’ 7. Follow the steps to create your cause, and start inviting people to your cause. ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  8. 8. Social Media 101 You can also invite people to make a pledge to invite people to your cause when they sign up for your cause. e.g. when someone signs up, they make a pledge to invite 100 people to the cause. This gives your cause the potential to go seriously viral if people resonate with your cause. If you are a registered charity, then you can click on ‘select a beneficiary’ to select your charity as the beneficiary of this cause. This will allow you to raise funds online through your cause. More Facebook Techniques Status Updates One of the most effective techniques I use to promote by business and my non-profit organization is the Facebook status update. This is the ‘What are you doing right now?’ box at the top of your Facebook home page. How do I use this? First off, I encourage my customers to add me as their Facebook friend, or I’ll search for them using the search tool and send a friend request. I don’t do this for every one of my clients – just the ones I’ve either had extensive phone conversations with or have gotten to know personally. Once they are my Facebook friend, they’ll get daily updates from me in their news feeds: photos and videos that I post, links I share, and the aforementioned status update. So how do I use the status update? Let’s use a real-life example from spring 2008: I had a new trip to Croatia and Slovenia that I wanted to promote. I just posted ‘Mike is looking for a few people to join him in Croatia and Slovenia for a week of amazing mountain biking and swimming in the Adriatic.’ Lo and behold, within a day I had 8 people send me a message or write on my wall, asking for more information. I wrote them back (on their wall so that everyone sees – read below) and told them the URL where they could get more information. Within two weeks I had filled the 5 spots available on the trip. Total promotional cost: $0. Total time investment: about 20 seconds to write my status update. Of course, I had to spend the few hours adding Facebook friends so that people could read my Facebook status updates, but this is also free and not terribly time consuming. The Writing on the Wall Everyone on Facebook has a ‘wall.’ This is a spot on your profile where messages that people post to you are available for everyone to see. This differs from a ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  9. 9. Social Media 101 message, which is private and only you can read. The wall can be extremely useful – and dangerous if you aren’t careful. For instance, if I get some really excellent customer testimonial – say one of my customers had a really fantastic trip and sent me an e-mail to thank me – I’d like the rest of the world to know about it. If that particular client is on Facebook, I’ll ask if he/she can copy the e-mail thank you and write it on my wall. This way, his/her comments will not only show up in all of my friends’ Facebook news feeds, but will also show up on that client’s friends’ news feeds as well. All of a sudden, hundreds of people (potentially thousands depending on how popular my client is) are reading about what an amazing time this person had on my trip. Once I receive the wall message, I can then comment on it and even leave the URL of the trip in the comment. A caveat: the same process also works for negative criticism of your organization. If someone had a bad experience with your organization, then there is nothing stopping them from writing about it on your wall and exposing their negative comments to those same hundreds or thousands of people. The moral is: deliver a good product to your clients, one that they will rave about and be careful who you make friends with on the world wide web! ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  10. 10. Social Media 101 2. Blogs A blog (a contraction of the term quot;Web logquot;) is a website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Unlike most other websites, blogs facilitate engagement and interactivity by allowing comments and are typically updated frequently (at least the popular ones…). Popular topics on well-known blogs can often get 100 or more comments on a particular topic. As of December 2007, there were over 112 million blogs on the Internet. Because they are timely and topical, blogs typically get preferential treatment on search engines, particularly Google. Whatever your company is selling or service your organization is providing, you can bet that there at least a dozen blogs – more likely hundreds or thousands - on the internet dealing with subject matter that is of interest to your customers. Starting your own blog If you feel that you have something interesting to add to the online conversation and that your customers would find relevant/interesting, you should consider starting your own blog. You should be prepared to update your blog regularly, however – at least once or twice a week. Your blog doesn’t have to necessarily deal with your product or service; in fact, sometimes it’s better to write about something For instance, if you are an environmental organ There are numerous free blog services on the Internet. Two that I recommend are Blogger (www.blogger.com) and Wordpress (www.wordpress.org). Blogger is excellent if you are new to blogging, whereas Wordpress offers the option of integrating into your existing website. 1. Visit either of the two services outlined above (of the two I prefer Blogger) 2. Register for a free account at blogger. com or download the software for WordPress. 3. Start blogging! ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  11. 11. Social Media 101 Pimp your blog Blogger gives you the option to easily customize your blog. In your control panel, you can add items to your blog such as links to outside websites, an ‘about me’ section, polls, blog archives and more. Visit www.feedburner.com for ways to optimize your blog. You should start by creating a ‘feed’ for your blog in Feedburner, so that users who use a blog aggregator service (essentially a tool for quickly searching all the blogs a user subscribes to, such as Google Reader or Bloglines) can access your blog this way. Feedburner will create a Blog feed for you, which you can then post on your website and on your blog to allow people to subscribe to your blog. One of the simplest ways for readers to receive your blog is via e-mail. Feedburner offers a free blog-to-e-mail service. This provides a snippet of code that you can add to your blog, allowing visitors to subscribe to your blog via e- mail. This makes it more likely that readers will stay with you and read your blog often because they won’t need to remember to return to your website. Publicize your blog Simply starting a blog doesn’t mean that anyone will ever visit it. Relying on people to just find you among 112 million blogs is wishful thinking. You need to actively find the people that will take an interest in your blog. The best way to publicize your blog is to go to the places where your customers are congregating. The best places to target are other blogs. Here are a couple of tools to help you identify other blogs you may wish to target: Google blogsearch (www.blogsearch.google.com) is a great place to start. It’s a tool for searching the blogs (see below for more on blogs) and people that are talking about the topics that are of interest to your customers. Google Alerts is a tool that will send you e-mail alerts (daily, weekly or monthly) that list all the places (websites, blogs) where people are writing and posting ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  12. 12. Social Media 101 new content about a particular search term you provided. It’s a great tool for keeping on top of the conversation around a particular topic. 1. Go to www.google.com/alerts 2. In the search terms field, enter the keywords you would like Google to search for, select ‘comprehensive’ as the type, select your frequency and enter your e- mail. (www.technorati.com) Technorati is a tool for searching and ranking blogs (more on blogs below). Technorati allows you to search the blogosphere and find out what blogs are out there writing about your topic. You can also rank blogs by ‘authority’ – this is a ranking that shows you how many other blogs are reacting to a particular blog: the more people that are reacting to a blog, the more popular it likely is and the more people read it. To use Technorati, just enter your search terms into the search field on the home page. On the results page, look for the blogs with the highest ‘authority’ ranking and target these. These are the most popular blogs and are most worthy of your attention. Also on the results page, you can scroll down and on the bottom right you will see a graph with ‘mentions per day’ on your topic. This is a useful tool for getting to know the scope of how many people are talking about a particular topic. If this number is low, you should consider entering a different search term. Technorati supplies you with a list of related ‘tags’ at the top of the search index. These are a good starting point, however you can also try your own related search terms. Once you’ve identified the other blogs and websites that are offering content that is of interest to your customers, you should rank them according to three criteria: 1) activity level: how often are they posting 2) reader involvement: how often are people commenting on the blog 3) traffic volume: use www.alexa.com to help you rank blogs by traffic volume. -- After you’ve identified your top blogs, there are two main ways to begin building up a reader base for your blog: Leaving relevant comments on other blogs Great blogs thrive on commentary. Having lots of comments means your visitors are engaged, interested in the topic, and willing to take the time to join the conversation. They are also a great way to publicize your own blog. However, ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  13. 13. Social Media 101 you should avoid cheap attempts at publicity such as copying and pasting formulaic content such as “visit www.mywebsite.com for more information on ____” This type of posting adds nothing to the conversation and will ultimately make a bad name for you in the blogosphere (the old adage “any publicity is good publicity” is not something I would recommend adopting as a social media strategy). Unfortunately, good commenting takes time. Your comments have to be relevant, interesting and be adding something to the conversation. You shouldn’t hesitate to add your website’s URL to your comments, however you should preface it with interesting, relevant comments. For instance, let’s say you run an environmental products business and maintain a blog on the environment and environmental solutions. You may have recently posted a writeup on hybrid auto technology. The next step is to visit other environmentally-slanted blogs and leave comments: you may visit a blog on hybrid cars and leave a comment to the effect of “you make an interesting point about hybrid cars, Jonathan. However, I think restricting the conversation to how we can make cars more efficient misses the point. We should be talking about getting cars off the road and making our cities more people-friendly. I recently wrote about the efforts that Portland, Oregon is making to reduce the number of cars on the road in its downtown core. If this topic is of interest, you should check out my blog at ______” Let’s say you leave this comment at a popular environmental blog that has over 50,000 daily subscribers. Perhaps 10% of them might read your comment and another 10% might be interested in car-free cities. That’s 500 potential new visitors to your blog and a lot of potential new subscribers. Serving as a guest blogger on another blog. Often bloggers will serve as guests on other blogs as a way to boost their blog’s popularity and help provide free content for other blogs. Again, the same process is involved: find other relevant blogs, rank them, and then target the top blogs. Once you’ve identified the top blogs, send them an e-mail to this effect: “Dear ____: I’m a regular reader of your blog, and I believe it’s one of the best sites about ____. I’m writing to see if you would consider having me as a guest on your blog on October 31 to discuss ____. I’m hoping to have a dialogue with your readers. I believe my expertise and opinions in the field of ____ would be of great interest to your readership. If you approve, I’ll take a day on your blog, make an opening statement, and respond to comments as long as they keep coming. ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  14. 14. Social Media 101 I hope you’ll give this a try. I’ve prepared a guest column in a Word document and attached it to this e-mail. Thanks for your consideration, ______” Not everyone will go for this, but for those that do, it opens up a possibility of a longterm relationship with that blog’s readers and possibilities for return visits. 3. AddThis AddThis is a simple, easy tool that you can easily add to your website. It consists of a small ‘button’ that you paste into your site’s code. The button gives visitors to your website the option to easily share your website with a number of social media platforms, including Facebook, MySpace, Del.icio.us, Digg, Newsvine and others. 1. Go to www.addthis.com 2. click on ‘Get Your Button’ 3. Select the button type you would like. 4. Create an account 5. Copy and paste the HTML code into the page on your website where you want the button to go (or ask your web programmer to do this for you). 4. Effective Newsletter Writing A regular newsletter can be one of the most effective tools for marketing your business. Done properly, it will engage your customers and make them want to continue to engage with your company. Done poorly and it will be a massive waste of your time. A newsletter should me more than just a boring, bland list of services and products your company or organization has to offer. Your newsletter should add value to people’s lives: it should give them information and entertainment that they might not otherwise have found. Offer a signup form on your website, and offer them a reason to join: special offers that non-subscribers don’t receive. The e-mail service we use is called Aweber, and it is particularly excellent at offering all kinds of reporting and delivery tools: www.aweber.com ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com
  15. 15. Social Media 101 Components of an Effective Newsletter • pictures: Use engaging, attractive images • ease of use: Clear and easy to follow and understand at a glance • table of contents: Allow readers to skim the contents and jump to a topic of interest • interactivity: Allow people to interact with you and your newsletter. Add a poll, make it easy for people to comment on your newsletter, give them something to think about and respond to. • multimedia: Do you have a new video to share? Post a screenshot with a link to the video (most e-mail programs won’t allow you to view embedded video) • stories: People like to hear and read stories. Give them engaging, interesting stories to read. Even if they’re not ready to purchase your product yet, they will want to keep reading your newsletter because of the stories. One day they may decide they’re ready to act. • information: Give people information related to their interests. For instance, I know that most of the people who sign up to my newsletter are mountain bikers, and I know that most of them like to travel. So I post information related to mountain biking – like maintenance tips, riding tips, etc… - and travel – how to prepare for an international trip, what to pack, etc… • ease of sharing: make it easy for people to share the newsletter with a ‘share this e-mail with your friends’ link, as well as a ‘subscribe to this newsletter’ link for people who have been forwarded the newsletter. An Overview The preceding are just a few examples of how your business can use social media to start a conversation with your clients. There literally hundreds of tools at your disposal in the social media world to help you engage with your customers. An approach that integrates all of these techniques – rather than a piecemeal approach that leaves each strategy distinct and separate – is the ultimate goal. For instance, visitors to my blog can subscribe to the blog as well as my monthly newsletter, and can visit my facebook page, where they’ll be able to view videos from my YouTube page, which links to my Flickr page, etc…, etc… Please note: if you are interested in having me prepare a detailed social media strategy tailored to your business/organization, please call me at 647-999-7955 or e-mail me: mike@bikeswithoutborders.org. I especially enjoy working with non-profit organizations, adventure travel companies and social entrepreneurs. I will work with any budget, and am open to bartering/trades. ©Mike Brcic/Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays 647-999-7955 ride@sacredrides.com