social media

Fun Christmas Digital Marketing Campaign From a Zoo


Last Christmas, Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey ran a highly successful Christmas digital marketing campaign on Facebook, called “Elf at the Zoo”. It played off the popular Elf on the Shelf phenomenon.

Here’s how it worked:

  • Each day Dec 1 – 24, the Elf on the Shelf appeared in different behind-the-scenes locations (usually with animals) in photos on the Facebook page.
  • They posts appeared each morning at 6am — early enough so that moms and dads who were just getting up might have a reminder to move their own elves before little ones awoke.
  • Parents enjoyed showing the posts to their children. Each photo had a fun, Christmasy headline that went with it. They were made into memes that were highly shareable.
  • They sent a press release to the media.Here’s an example of the playful nature of this campaign:
Christmas Facebook marketing campaign example

Example of one of the Facebook posts – incredible engagement! Click the photo to see it on Facebook

In the above photo, the Elf (Clarence – whom the Facebook audience named as another way the zoo engaged with their Facebook audience) is on the head of our Draft Horse, Dante, grabbing his ear. The headline “Oh what fun it is to ride!” is instantly recognizable, but now with a new meaning for the zoo. It’s also an instant smile-maker.

Want to see more? Here is photo 1, photo 2 and photo 3.

Since it was Winter there weren’t as many people visiting the zoo in person, but they could still visit online on the zoo’s Facebook page.

“The main goal of this was to connect with our fans at a time when they are not usually visiting the zoo. Many of our fans already have an “Elf on the Shelf” in their homes, so this added that recognition point. Plus, having the zookeepers all take photos of the elf was energizing from an internal morale-building perspective.”

This Christmas campaign sprinkled magic on the staff and on their Facebook fans. It also really engaged the fans: 38,040 users were engaged over 24 days! It also got attention from local bloggers, which was one of their goals.

In addition to being an award-winning campaign, and more importantly, Elf at the Zoo captured people’s hearts. The elf was photographed with so many different animals, that everyone was really able to see a glimpse of their favorites. Fans were tuning in every day, commenting, liking, and sharing our posts.

What more can you ask for from a Facebook campaign? Hope this inspires yours this year!

Thank you Denise Blasevick @AdvertGirl, and CEO of The S3 Agency for sharing this great campaign!

What I liked besides the heart behind this campaign, is that it was a series. People came back day after day, and it built suspense that increased engagement over the entire campaign.

If you have a Christmas marketing campaigns to share with me, I’d love to feature it. Please contact me or leave a comment!

Facebook Contest Mixes Ice Cream and Guns

Facebook Contest Example

A Utah company that sells soft ice cream with mixins, is mixing in some politics with hot fudge and crushed Oreos.

Farr’s Fresh in South Ogden, Utah (about 5 mins. from my house), likes to do edgy marketing campaigns that feature guns.

Here’s their latest Facebook Contest:

It’s not the first time they’re marketed this way. There’s a day every year they encourage their customers to show support for gun rights. On that day, customers who bring in their concealed carry permits get a $1 discount. On the news story about this unusual marketing (especially by a franchisee), it’s quite popular. The story, from 2013, has over 3k likes on Facebook.

It’s an interesting tactic given that their brand is creating a happy place for people.

Farr ‘s Fresh Mission statement: Farr’s Fresh ® is your happy place and home for fresh serve premium ice cream,
frozen yogurt and custard. 

I don’t see anywhere about it being a place to exert your Second Amendment rights. I don’t know about you but happiness and rewarding people who carry a firearm aren’t a happy combination. In fact, this comment on Facebook expressed my sentiment precisely:


Obviously they are marketing to men, an interesting tactic for an ice cream shop. It looks like it’s working in one sense, it’s being share and talked about. If that’s their goal, they reached it.

It reminds me of another Utah business who has an edgy marketing campaign: A Utah Company Charges Liberals More for Smoothies from the I Love Drilling Juice and Smoothie Bar in Vernal. It looks like business is thriving. Yes, we Utahns love to add politics and religion to our marketing mix.

What do you think? Is this smart marketing?

The Science of Blog Design and Recommended WordPress Plugins

I have learned more about blogging this week than I have in years and I’m anxious to get some issues fixed and then launch a new look. For bloggers it’s Q4, the quarter that usually brings the most traffic and as a result, the most income. I wrote a post for The Blogger Network about plugins and other essential parts of optimizing your blog so you get the most benefit from the extra traffic. It also has plugin suggestions.

Today I added these WordPress plugins. 

Hello Bar – top bar across your blog to ask people to sign up for email updates or for short announcements. What I love most is that you can change it very easily at any time and it gives you stats on your conversion rates. Be sure to test the call to action and button text to see what works for your blog.

Sharebar – to add social media sharing buttons on the left side of every post. Ideally you have just three choices, but again, test.

Social Image Hover – this plugin will show social buttons when someone hovers over an image. Make sure that you open the zip file and install the plugin with the zip file inside of the main file (it’s called tc-social-hover.zip) Cost: $16

These suggestions came from Quick Sprout along with this handy infographic that explains what is shown to be the most effective blog design elements.

The Blueprint of an Optimal Blog Design
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout


How the City of Provo Hyped the Google Fiber Announcement

I’m starting to notice a trend in content marketing and in my own marketing. I spend a lot of time on building solid content, but my ability to build up to the release of that content and continuing to market the content once it’s live, is lacking. So I began to look for examples of people who were good at the art of build up. That led me to remember the announcement that Provo City was the third city in the US to get Google Fiber and the epic way they built up suspense to the news.

viral hashtag

Provo city’s epic marketing – how a hashtag went viral


How did the city build so much anticipation for this announcement, in a way that was unlike any other city who got Fiber? I wanted to know. I requested an interview with Mayor Curtis, who is easier to book than most CEOs. It was featured on Forbes.com, by my friend Cheryl Connor. You can read it here: Power Marketing: How to Make a Hashtag Go Viral. The story that Mayor Curtis got kudos for his social media power on Forbes also picked up by local news station KSL. This type of press has got to make the Mayor look good but even more, it’s not an act. He’s involved and invested in being part of and showcasing the city. He is part of the social scene and activity of Provo both on and offline.

Even though I don’t live in Provo I started to see references to #ProvoEpicAnnouncement show up on Twitter and Facebook. At first I didn’t care, but as I saw it more, I became curious, and later I became hooked. People began to guess what the announcement was and the social media team played into it by sharing guesses and otherwise fueling speculation. I remember my anticipation as I listened to the press conference and followed the hashtag, and how I reloaded the page to see what everyone was saying. They had my full attention and curiosity. They broke through the clutter of my day. That says a lot.

John Curtis and his team are respected for their use of social media, but this news was a high point. Most of his success is from being actively engaged in, being transparent on, and planning for social media every single day. I believe this announcement took their marketing of future news to a higher level. From now on they don’t simply tell the city council or the public something, they market the announcement with teaser video, blog posts or clues. He told me when they announced a $1.1 million deal to keep mining out of Rock Canyon (yay) that they deliberately built up to the news. What was telling is that the press tweeted about it using the #ProvoEpicAnnouncement hashtagThe hashtag has become a way to describe any big news from Provo. I believe it elevated the city in everyone’s minds. Not only that, many people feel like they are friends with Curtis, we feel like we know and like him. That’s what social media can do.

I decided to apply what I learned from Curtis for an event that I’m hosting. Rather than just spring the news of the event on everyone, I decided to hype it a bit. I created an image that said, “something big is coming” and posted a teaser about the event on Facebook. I asked everyone to reserve the date and let them know that more details were coming soon. That got a lot of people talking.

A few weeks later I teased the announcement again, this time with a photo from my client’s business and a little more information. In that post I said, look for the announcement to go live tomorrow.  The next day I got so busy I almost forgot to post the invitation to the event. However, someone said she could hardly get any work done she was so excited. Many people were waiting for my announcement! I posted the invitation immediately. The hype was not made up though. I know this client will put on an incredible event. He understands and uses social media already. He’s also knows and uses the power of beautiful design in marketing. So I had the right materials. We got a recognized name as a sponsor. I’m genuinely excited for the event.  I don’t believe you can fake it, it’s got to be real.

What happened shocked me. As soon as I posted the event, I started to get RSVPs. Every minute there were more coming in. So I commented on the post letting everyone know that I was blown away by the response so far. I texted my client and emailed our sponsor to let them know that this was going to fill up. Signups kept coming in and the event was full by the end of the day. I was hoping for 30 people. I got over 100. The conversation with my client became how to keep the party going and how to expand everything. I loved that conversation (and so did he).

In my career, I managed to market a meeting so well that the whole office was buzzing about it. I became friends with the presenter (whom I’d never met) and we’re still friends today, years after that meeting.  It was memorable for years after. It created a friendship. That is the power of marketing. It can add life to everything. It can elevate. It can turn the mundane into epic.

Please share examples you’ve seen of brands or others build up events or content. I’ve done it, I want to get better at it still. I’m still learning…

Looking Back: Top Online Marketing Trends of 2013

online-marketing-trends-2013Now that 2013 is over it’s time to look back and see where we’ve come as online and social media marketers.

Here’s my list of the most popular trends of 2013.

Marketing buzzword of 2013? Content marketing.
The most buzz this year was around  the term CONTENT MARKETING. The link shows how a p0rn site does content marketing – also check out this handy tool to get ideas for content. I’m sure content marketing will continue to be hot, but with more help from apps and tools than we’ve previously seen (more on this in my next post).

Content marketing isn’t slowing down, in some ways, it’s just heating up. This stat is telling:
58% of B2B Marketers Plan to Increase Content Marketing Budgets in 2014 http://buff.ly/1hrFqAt

Facebook loses teens to other platforms.
As more parents and relatives have joined Facebook, loses are turning to Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat (or this social network for introverts that grew over 500% in a month). Still, ambitious teens see social media as a way to make money rather than as a way to talk to their friends. I still love stories like this one about a teen who makes around $500k on YouTube just being herself and showing off the new clothes she bought.

Facebook makes marketers pay.
Any time supply goes up (more marketers have pages) without a corresponding increase in demand, prices go up. Facebook is more popular and saturated now, so you’re competing with more content than ever. If it weren’t for the newfeed algorithm most people would see 1,500 stories/day from friends and Pages. According to this story, with the algorithm changes, that number has been pared down to about 300.

Facebook admitted they scaled back their algorithm to show less content from brands, telling them:  “The best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.” That angered marketers and bloggers who resent having to buy ads to reach their fans.

If you want to grow your Facebook page organically, it starts from the beginning with how you position your page. This article shows it’s still possible to start a new Facebook page and get over 500k fans without paying for any ads.

Making a living off Facebook still possible.
Facebook can make or break companies. For example: Upworthy. They optimized for sharing and Facebook favored them. The result? In just a month visitors more than doubled – from 42 to 88 million.

I’ve seen a few bloggers wonder out loud if it’s worth keeping a Facebook page. It definitely asks more of us and has been kind to social media managers. I’ve managed more Facebook pages in 2013 than in my entire career.

This teen entrepreneur who makes his money on Facebook claims it’s your fault if it’s not working for you.

Social Network Popularity Inflation Continues.
Nobody wants to go to a restaurant with an empty parking lot and similarly a social media profile with almost no followers is an instant credibility killer. So, not surprisingly, brands pay to get fake followers. According to this post, around 30-40% of followers on YouTube & Twitter s are fake.

Selfie: the word of the year.
First, Oxford Dictionary named selfie the word of the year. If that’s not enough, tou  know seflies have  gone mainstream when President Obama and farmers jump on the trend. If you’re interested in brushing up on your selfies, check out this infographic on how to take the perfect selfie. Marketers jumped in when they saw the popularity and potential. If you want to try it out, I collected a list of selfie marketing campaigns to inspire yours.

If you further need inspiration when planning your year, check out 2013 Top 10 Influencer Marketing Award Winners.

Here’s to an adventurous and prosperous 2014!

Did I miss any? Be sure to leave a comment if you have any top online marketing trends of 2013 to add. 

YouTube Star Talks About How He Gets His Edge

YouTube star Stuart Edge recently spoke at the first ever Young Filmmakers Conference in Orem, Utah (a hot bed of YouTube celebs and where the famous Orabrush and Will it Blend videos were born). Stuart, Mallory Everton from Studio C and the guys from Kid History, generously shared their stories, advice and passion for making YouTube videos. It was fun to watch the videos with the people who made them.

In an informal poll of one (me) it was found that at least half the kids attending were home schooled and the majority weren’t even high school age. I also predict next year will be larger – this could go national. The kids lined up for pictures, cheered and asked interesting questions. I loved seeing how many girls there were. Several speakers reminded kids of the opportunity they have today. Technology keeps getting better while the costs keep going down. With just an iPhone you can make videos and start to build a following.

Stuart was one of my favorites:


I loved his most recent and one of his most successful videos by “like ratio”. One day in and it already has over 500k views. It just took a few years before he got national attention (he’s been on Jimmy Fallon), and this is his full time job. He got into film making by editing video for Orabrush.

Stuart talked about how videos need a purple cow (Seth Godin’s idea that you need to be remarkable). A purple cow is something in your video that makes people respond to it and want to share it. Stuart does some incredible card tricks. He’s a magician, musician and full-time YouTuber. His videos have tricks or pranks in them with a bit of magic and they’re really funny.

One way Stuart gets ideas for his videos is by looking what pictures or memes are popular on the iFunny app. He got the idea for the video above, after seeing a picture showing a reverse pick pocketing. Instead of taking money out of someone’s pocket, they put money in.

Randy and John Roberts along with Richard Sharrah of Kid History tell the kid’s version of their best family stories. They said the norm for most YouTubers is releasing a new video weekly. It took them years of doing video on the side before they built a strong following. Though I’m not sure if they’ve all quit their day jobs, their videos are going to get an even bigger audience. They’ve talked with studio execs. It was inspiring to hear how hard they worked to get so far and how they couldn’t get a studio interested. Today studios pitch them.

While in their videos they are like little kids in men’s bodies, in real life these bad boys look like men.


Here’s one of their videos (they average about 400k views per video):

Mallory had the most adoring fans:


Mallory talked about casting actors to bring out their best performance. Solid hiring advice for any job:

“Pick someone who fits the role, don’t assume you can mold them into it.”
- Robert Altman

Related links/resources:

Video Copilot – for tutorials on lighting
Blender for animation

What Stuart uses for sound, a wireless mic and a Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder (affiliate link)

Top 3 Utah casting companies: TMG, McCarty, Urban Talent

Cammon Randle’s YouTube channel with film tutorials

Utah Kid Raises $1700 on Kickstarter – Launches His First Comic Book

Some kids mow lawns for a summer job. I sold tie dyed tshirts. Then there’s Luke. He’s my son’s friend who launched a Kickstarter campaign to make a comic book for his summer job and became an author at age 12. I told him it took me until I was in my 30s to do that!

Luke is a funny kid and he’s always drawing comics. So he had the idea to sell them – beats running a lemonade stand, right? Thanks to the genius of Kickstarter, many people can realize their dream of making money doing what they want to do most. That’s exactly what he did. He explains it here:

Here’s Luke’s Kickstarter page. His goal was to raise $1500 but he ended up with just over $1700, enough to publish and send out the book, which is now on Amazon. It’s called Stickman Symphonies.


One of my favorite parts of his Kickstarter campaign besides the video, is how he drew comics to explain his funding goals.


Technically Luke isn’t old enough to do a Kickstarter campaign, but his dad Adam helped out. Adam is a talented graphic designer and has access to a green room to film video, plus the skills to do the book layout. So lesson one for kids: think about how you can leverage your parent’s skillset.

Since the campaign was so well done and authentic it got some attention. In fact, people from all over the world were pledging. Luke has even gotten fan mail from Norway. “We got a really nice letter from Kent Coleman’s sister that made us cry it was so nice,” he wrote.

They expected their family and friends to support their campaign but they were shocked to see just how many people they didn’t know joined in. Statistically, just less than half of the projects are funded.  “It gave us global exposure. More than half of those who supported us were strangers who found it on Kickstarter.”

At the time we talked he’d sold 75 copies and was busy packaging them up to mail off. He even started a Twitter profile @ComicsLucas. I heard the story while attending Comic Con in Salt Lake City, Utah (which set a record for the most attended and did it by leveraging Facebook). We all went to a panel about Kickstarter campaigns. Plus he’s good friends with my son (who has gotten a birthday card with Luke’s comics – maybe we should have it autographed).

The panel had some kick*$!& presenters. Some tips I learned from these Kickstarter pros are featured in this Forbes article below. Thanks to Cheryl who wrote it! I think I’ll print a copy for myself and highlight the part where she says I’m brilliant. I’ll carry it in my purse and pull it out when I need a boost of confidence. But back to the article.

Read on Forbes.com:  9 Secrets For A Successful Crowdfund Campaign

Luke says it wasn’t easy to take his drawings and turn them into a book. “It was a lot more work than we imagined, but it will be worth it.” I think what’s best is that he has a talent which will keep paying long after the summer is over. Plus, that’s a great thing to put on his college resume!

Congrats Luke and Adam on a entertaining and successful launch!

Utah’s Kickstarter Pros

After attending the panel I did some research on the speakers. I had no idea that in addition to YouTube celebs, we have Kickstarter celebs here in Utah. You should learn from the best and here are four examples:

Jake Parker of Provo had a $10,500 goal – got $63,483 in
pledges. See http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jakeparker/drawings/

Howard Tayler of Orem had a $1,800 goal -got $154,294 in pledges. See http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/692211058/schlock-mercenary-challenge-coins

Crabby Wallet of Ogden, Utah. Raised $308k. Had a goal of $10k. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1369622196/the-crabby-wallet-a-wallet-that-is-not-for-everyon
“Project Fedora” adventure game by Tex Murphyof Centerville, Utah. Goal of $450,000 but raised $598,104
This is just a sampling of the talent here. Utah is already known for YouTube talent and celebs. Looks like we’re not too shabby at Kickstarter celebs either! If you know any I missed, please note them in the comments.

2 Social Media & Content Marketing Resources for My Coaching Clients

When coaching people about social media marketing, I explain things but need concrete examples to show to make specific points. This week I found an excellent post about what to post on Facebook for your business and a well-organized blog that has a consistent style that models how to build a strong audience and community.

1 -For Facebook marketing: The 3 kinds of Facebook posts that get crazy likes and comments.

If you manage a Facebook page for your brand or for someone else, this will give you valuable ideas that you can use to plan an editorial calendar and for creating content that appeals to your fans.

For each tip, they give excellent examples to show you what they mean. Not only that, peppered throughout the post are mentions of how Postplanner can help you. At the end you can download a free ebook.

This post isn’t only ideal for Facebook marketing, but the post itself is an example of content marketing because it sells you on their products by being helpful. How helpful was it? I shared this on Facebook, Twitter and here on my blog.

2- For an example of blogging I’d refer them to www.MarcandAngel.com 

Marc and Angel have great blog post titles (most have numbers in them – I stole that idea for this post) as well as high quality tips/writing/insight. They have titles such as: 12 Universal Skills You Need to Succeed at Anything. Almost all of the posts have numbers in them.

There is a consistent pattern:

  • Blog posts titles have numbers in them.
  • Each post has an image at the beginning to illustrate the concept.
  • They introduce the ideas in the post and then create a list.
  • Throughout the post they link to related content – other posts from their blog.
  • They post consistently – every 2 days.
  • The posts are quite long so they break them up and have social sharing buttons at the beginning and the end.

You should do this for your niche too, in your own style, of course.  Being consistent in posting and your blogging style helps you develop your audience and your traffic.

What examples do you use when coaching or illustrating a concept related to content marketing?

5 Mistakes Page Admins Make in their Facebook Marketing

As part of my consulting, I manage Facebook pages for brands.  I’m constantly evaluating and testing to see what works. Because of this, in the past two years, a page I manage has grown consistently and regularly has an engagement rate of over 30% (the average is around 12%).

This has translated into significant traffic, sales and income for the business. Just last week we had the highest day ever, and I’m convinced that it was because we had a strong community built added to a single well-timed post that went viral.

In my quest for Facebook marketing perfection, I look at other pages in my niche to see what other page admins have done that works well as well as learn from their mistakes. When I find something that worked for them, I put my own spin on it or share it (and tag them). Or I recognize the things they could’ve done to get a stronger response and try it on my page. In other words, they have solid content that isn’t presented as well as it could be.
I’m often surprised to see that we’re one of the top performing pages in our niche and see the things that the other pages could easily do to increase their results. I’m going to share them with you in hopes that you won’t make these same mistakes.

Here are 5 mistakes you need to stop making on your Facebook Pages

1. You use the default preview when they post a link.

When you post a link on Facebook, it pulls an image and text from the link to display. The problem is, the text and image are too small to see well or read. You also can’t control what Facebook shows. The worst is when the image or text doesn’t really tell you a thing about what to expect. Here’s what a naked link looks like (and why posting directly from instagram isn’t the best option either):

Instead, upload a catchy image that illustrates a main point or the story to go with your links. Not only will you get more likes/comments and shares, but when you do this, you get more space. If your update is too long, Facebook will insert a link to “read more”. Most people won’t click that link to read more. When you include your own image (sometimes just a screenshot of your blog post title and image), you have more space to write. This is especially important if you’re explaining a contest and how to enter it. That usually requires more words.

Here’s a link with a gorgeous image and catchy headline…look at the # of shares in just 12 minutes:

Always  write your own commentary about the link (your goal: entice people to read it) rather than letting Facebook pull it automatically.

2. You only post about yourself, most of the time.

Some brands that have a large affinity and have built a strong following and have so much social capital, they can do this more often than the rest of us can. Cheerios is one that comes to mind. It’s either about Cheerios in some way or about people who eat them. But you’re not General Mills and don’t have their marketing budget. So be careful about posting too much about their products or business. Instead, post things that will resonate with your audience. Yes, that means you have to get to know them.

The better you understand your target market the more you can shape posts and your commentary in a way that they will like (including clicking the thumbs up arrow). Everything you post should be filtered through the lens of what your audience cares about.

3. You have thousands of fans, but double or single digit engagement.

When I see a page that has thousands or even millions of fans, and then posts that have very few likes/comments or shares, I know something is wrong. They either aren’t managing their page (neglect) or they’re not eliminating posts that consistently get a low response from their audience. Maybe they are doing what I warn against in #2. Remember, if you have 1,000 fans you should have an engagement rate of at least 100, but it should be even higher — 300-400.

Look at your insights. Facebook gives you stats on each post at a glance and you can compare to see what is effective and more importantly, what isn’t. Stop doing the kinds of posts that get a low response, unless there is a strategic reason to.

4. You post too much at once.

One mistake I see over and over is a page admin that posts status updates back to back. Or a whole lot of updates at once and then nothing. Don’t. Be consistent and space things out. Unless you’re covering breaking news or running a contest with updates about winners, it’s never a good idea to sabotage your audience by posting twice or more in the same hour. People will unlike, hide your posts or tune you out. All of these things hurt you.

With the new Facebook insights you can easily see when most of your fans are online. You can also look over posts and see the day and time you posted them (or your when your competitors or people who reach a similar audience post). It used to be almost impossible to tell this information. Since discovering the change, I completely changed when I post. It’s made a HUGE impact. The page has gotten more likes and higher engagement because more people are seeing our posts.

Every audience has its own personality and habits, it’s your job to learn them. Are your fans early risers or night owls? I discovered mine were most online at 8pm. Before that I scheduled almost everything at 3pm. I missed an opportunity to reach more of my fans by posting when they’re more likely to see my updates.

5. You won’t pay to promote your posts.

Some page admins think it’s admirable that they’ve built their pages organically, without spending a cent on advertising. I see that as a missed opportunity. They’re missing out on an easy way to gain more fans in their niche at a low cost (less than they pay for an hour’s worth of my work).

Here’s what I do: when a post is doing well already, I pay to promote it, so it will go even further. This is especially effective when the issue is hot and you’re one of the first to write about it in your niche or to relate it to your audience. When a topic is trending and important to your audience, it’s your chance to attract new fans.

Another benefit of promoted posts is that you have more space and you can include images, video or other media. Just be aware that if you promote a post that is an image with more than 20% text, it will likely be rejected.

Your time is worth money and it’s a smart investment to even spend $15 to double your results and gain more fans faster than the organic route. You are showing off your best content. I wish the targeted was better, but be sure to target it to your country and language. Sometimes I target by age range too.

I recently read another tip related to this one – if a status update does really well with your target audience – use it in a Facebook ad.

“A good strategy is to use your existing Facebook page fans as a testing board. If you write a status update that gets a great response, use that post as an advertisement in Facebook and target it at people who like similar pages to engage a new audience immediately.” -Jon Goodman, Author of Race to the Top: How to Take Over the Social Media Feed

There you have it, my long-winded hard-earned advice. Hope it was helpful!

Your Feedback Please 

I admit when I see these mistakes, it makes me wish the admin would hire me to coach them for a few hours to dramatically improve their results over time. Or, it makes me think they need to hire me (you never do that, do you??). When I see someone in my niche who is crushing it, I’ll pay them to coach me. Even if I don’t learn anything new, to hear their take on things gives me new inspiration and usually we partner in some way to improve both of our results (help promote each other’s work where there is common ground).

I’m also always learning. You have to in order to keep up with Facebook’s changes, test them, and make them work for your page. Every page has peaks and valleys in their stats and results, but follow these best practices and I promise it will make a difference in your Facebook marketing. I’ve invested in learning. That includes attending webinars, studying my stats, reading books and blog posts, paid hundreds of dollars for courses, and the occasional one-on-one coaching.

If I missed anything or if you disagree with any of my points, please comment and let me know. I also welcome stats or your examples that confirm what I’ve found.

3 Free Online Publicity Tips Every Local Business Should Use

My friend Staci runs a skin care business from her home recently asked me how she could promote her business better on Facebook. I talked to her about the various types of ads you can run and the advantage of each.

The big selling point for using Facebook ads is that you can target your ads very specifically and only show them to people who live nearby. The drawback is there is a learning curve and it’s always changing. Also, in addition to investing the time both to learn and manage an ad campaign, you will need a daily budget. If you have the budget, unless you enjoy doing it, I would just hire someone like Avalaunch Media to run them for you. They’ll create the ads and run the campaign for you.

There are many free ways to promote a local business online that are easy and don’t require as much maintenance that every small business should use and maximize. Here are my top 3:

1. Maximize your Facebook business page with custom tabs
This is obvious, you need a Facebook page for your business. But after that, then what do you do? I found this business page from a Facebook ad asking me to like their page. It’s not a local business (in other words, it’s not in Utah) and so normally I would gloss over it. This time I wanted to do some research so I went to the page and I liked it. I found it was a good example of effective Facebook marketing for a local business.

Besides having a decent level of engagement and following, her cover photo (the large photo) clearly  tells you what she does. The custom tabs give you more information.

Imaginary Jane is in a crowded space – she is a graphic designer who creates logos, business cards and other collateral for small businesses. Her page is at  www.facebook.com/imaginaryjane

Note how she has created tabs (where it says “services” “prices” “contact”) which link to corresponding sections of her website. They have a nice style, which I’d expect because she’s a designer. There’s a consistent design for each button that fit with the overall theme of her page (color, look, font, etc). If you don’t have a website you can simply put the information right on your Facebook tabl. I liked that she put her pricing because immediately I knew what to expect. She is priced right for a small business and I thought to myself: I’d hire her!

It’s a little tricky to learn how to make custom Facebook tabs but you can learn or pay someone to do it for you by using a site like Elance or Odesk, maybe even on the cheap at Fiverr.

Note: Here’s an online scheduling tool: http://www.timetrade.com/products?product=professional that you can use if you create appointments, so people can schedule online. I’m sure there are Facebook apps that do this too (please suggest one in the comments if you have one you like).

2. Create a free profile on Yelp
Yelp is a community that rates and recommends businesses and most people know it as a good place to find restaurant reviews. However, Yelp features many types of businesses. You can create a Yelp business profile so you come up in searches on the site.

This is how I found someone who does eyelash extensions, who also has a home business. I went to Yelp, typed in “eyelash extensions, Kaysville” and found this business: http://www.yelp.com/biz/truebeauty-professional-skin-care-kaysville

She was one of two businesses that came up but she had no reviews.  I needed someone immediately and she could fit me in so I took a chance on her anyway and was really happy.

3. Create a Google business profile.
If you type a type of service or business along with a city and/or state name, you will usually see a Google listing come up first. You should create a business profile on Google, which is now technically a Google + profile.

I searched on, “eyelash extensions Kaysville Utah” and the top result was for a business called Eyecing. They also has a Google business listing with the address and a map on the right hand side of the page. They have no competition for their business listing because they’re the only business shown, and they didn’t have to pay for any of it.  It’s really amazing how much real estate on the page you get free as a local business, simply by getting your business listed. People can also leave a review and Google will display them, adding further credibility to your business.

These are some of my favorite tools for a small business to get free publicity and rankings, free. There are tips and tricks you can apply to further enhance your listings, but this is a good start. Please let me know if you have any additional tips you want to share about free ways to promote your local business online, by leaving a comment below.