Facebook Marketing: 5 Ways to Optimize Your Campaign

Marketing success on Facebook isn’t about vanity metrics, such as likes and shares. It’s about reaching the people who are going to buy from your business.

"Your campaign received 500 likes, 6,000 impressions, and reached 400 people! We would call that a success!"

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    These are words you might hear from your marketing team after running a social media campaign; however, measuring high-level social media engagement is not always the best way to determine success within your social media campaign.

    There are many ways, especially on Facebook, to measure true objectives that matter to your business. First, it's important to determine what type of result means success for your business.

    What can and should you measure in the social media space? Many of these objectives can best be achieved through Facebook. Remember to consider AB testing and optimization for best results.

    1. Whitepaper downloads

    Many B-to-B businesses create lengthy white paper content to educate and attract customers.  Creating a social media campaign that captures potential customers' email addresses and measures how many of them download your free white paper is an excellent way to determine success. You can see how many potential customers actually read your white paper and how they engaged with it.

    2. Email sign-ups

    Building your social media following is important, but building your email database allows you to do more targeted marketing. Facebook's conversion objective can help you determine how successful your campaign was when it comes to collecting emails. This allows you to use social media to truly build a digital channel that is valuable to your business.

    3. Contact Information

    Likes and shares on your Facebook page can be great to measure for awareness, but they don't help you target your customers. Setting up a campaign to keep track of how many contacts you receive will be more beneficial for you in the end.

    4. Redeemed offers

    Posting on social media about your promotion isn't as effective as posting your promotion using the offer Facebook feature. The feature will keep track of how many offers are saved and redeemed so you can calculate the ROI more effectively on your campaign. This also allows you to link your social media campaign directly to your sales.

    5. Purchases

    It's important to remember that you need to build a relationship with your customers before asking them to buy your product. After building your social media following, target your fans with a soft sales purchase message. Don't make purchasing your only metric, though. Create a way in your user experience to capture their contact information even if they don't make a purchase. A Facebook pixel can help keep track of site purchases that come through from social media.

    Are there situations when you should measure engagement? Of course! If you're looking to simply increase brand awareness and increase your social media following, then creating a useful, smart, creative piece of content to meet those objectives can help drive shares, likes, and comments and even earn you some organic press.

    Annie Pryatel is the owner of AMP Brand Studios. Learn more about how AMP is helping small businesses succeed by clicking here.
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    Next up: Facebook Shmacebook: 4 Under-the-Radar Social Channels You Need to Start Using Now

    Facebook Shmacebook: 4 Under-the-Radar Social Channels You Need to Start Using Now

    To really stand out on social media, your business needs to get a foothold on a platform where there’s not as much competition as on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Here are four solid under-the-radar social media channels to consider.

    How much are you paying attention to emerging social media channels? Businesses have grown accustomed to immediately turning to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram for their social media needs. But what happens when a social media channel skyrockets in popularity? It becomes harder to stand out on that channel without increasing your paid ad budgets.

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    Depending on your business and its industry, there are several social media channels emerging right now that could help your business grow. While some of these channels are popular to the average social media user, they are just starting to catch on with businesses.

    Let’s take a look at four of these new frontiers in social media.

    Imgur

    Imgur has become one of the top platforms for male millennials. It's a photo sharing platform that attracts interesting, funny and meaningful images from around the world. According to their website, "Each month, images on Imgur are viewed across the Internet billions of times. It is currently ranked one of the top 50 largest websites worldwide."  If your business is capturing interesting images, Imgur might be the right place to promote your company. It's a great tool to leverage during the holiday season when small businesses are promoting a shop-local message. You might not see direct sales come out of a post, but you can expect to increase your brand awareness and to build relationships with potential customers.

    Medium

    Are you a business owner who wants to build thought-leadership content? Medium is a platform traditional bloggers have been using to help their content go viral, but it's also a platform that can be helpful for small business owners. Simply pick the topic you'd like to write about, add the correct tags and you'll be on your way to sharing your point of view with potential customers and industry professionals. It's easier than managing your own blog and worrying about a promotional strategy.

    Nextdoor

    Nextdoor is a great way to promote your business to specific neighborhoods in the Cleveland area and is becoming the go-to spot for local business recommendations. They call themselves the "free private social network for your neighborhood community."  You can sign in and create a free business page. You'll then have access to local neighborhood pages on the platform. You can click on each neighborhood page to view recommendations and see if your business fits any of them. You'll have to get the ball rolling by leveraging your most loyal customers. Ask some of your previous happy customers if they wouldn’t mind recommending you on Nextdoor. To date, Nextdoor is used in more than 100,000 neighborhoods across the United States.

    Reddit

    While Reddit has become a popular platform for just about any topic, it has also created a space for businesses to promote themselves. Neighborhood and recommendation threads have emerged on the platform, allowing your most loyal customers to insert your business into the Reddit conversations. Be cautious when using Reddit. You'll quickly be called out if you are too "advertise-y." Instead, look at the platform as a way to interact with those who might be interested in your business.

    End-of-year challenge

    Before the year is over, challenge yourself to try one new social media channel. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results and end up saving money on Facebook advertising. When thinking about your next promotional campaign, consider adding Imgur, Medium, Nexdoor and Reddit into your marketing mix. As a small business, you must work a little harder for a strong digital presence. Gravitate toward emerging social media channels that can help spread your message more effectively.

    Annie Pryatel is the owner of AMP Brand Studios. Learn more about how AMP is helping small businesses succeed by clicking here.

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    Next up: Family-owned manufacturer Logan Clutch hosts County Councilman Greenspan

    Family-owned manufacturer Logan Clutch hosts County Councilman Greenspan

    It’s rare for reality television to actually depict reality, but a few of those shows provide viewers with the illusion that we are actually risking our lives on an unpredictable open sea trolling for tuna or Alaskan king crab. Sure, these TV programs are for our entertainment, as we munch on popcorn from the safe, friendly confines of our home. What’s real, however, is that the people aboard those ships do it for a living. And, their livelihood can depend on many moving parts – in this case, boat parts – that allow for thousands of pounds of the crew’s catch to be hauled up and in to a boat, before it ever reaches a dinner table.

    It’s rare for reality television to actually depict reality, but a few of those shows provide viewers with the illusion that we are actually risking our lives on an unpredictable open sea trolling for tuna or Alaskan king crab. Sure, these TV programs are for our entertainment, as we munch on popcorn from the safe, friendly confines of our home. What’s real, however, is that the people aboard those ships do it for a living. And, their livelihood can depend on many moving parts – in this case, boat parts – that allow for thousands of pounds of the crew’s catch to be hauled up and in to a boat, before it ever reaches a dinner table.

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    Logan Clutch Corporation in Westlake is a family-owned small business that produces clutches for their customers – including high-performance clutches for marine transmissions. But, you don’t have to own a fishing vessel to enjoy the fruits of this business’ labor. Logan product lines range from parts for snow throwers to fire rescue trucks to wood chippers. In today’s service economy, Logan Clutch continues to makes things. They’re awfully good at it too. And, on August 18, Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan had an opportunity to see first-hand how they bring their products to market. 

    "Logan Clutch is a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit focused on producing quality products and employee development, training and retention,” said Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan after he toured Logan’s facility.

    But, as any small business owner knows, it doesn’t happen overnight and Logan’s path to success was far from easy. Before Andrew and Lisa Logan’s father, Bill Logan, founded Logan Clutch in 1975 he worked for a business in the same industry and his job required the family to move to several cities throughout the Midwest before settling in Cleveland. One of the clients he served requested a unique clutch. Bill’s employer, however, was a larger business that was not well-positioned to produce the specific equipment this particular customer desired. Bill Logan saw opportunity, decided to take the plunge, and formed his own business to fill the need. 

    Andrew and his sister, Lisa, continue to carry on their father’s legacy. Today, Logan Clutch is thriving and they have a direct sales office in Singapore to serve the Asian-Pacific region. They also have sales and distributor agents in the Netherlands, Finland, and throughout Europe. 

    “We spend a tremendous amount of time emphasizing fundamentals, teamwork, and continuous improvement, which has paid huge dividends to our customers,” said President and CEO of Logan Clutch Corporation Andrew Logan. “Our clutches are typically a key ingredient in giving our customers’ products a significant advantage over their rivals.”

    Responding to an individual customer’s specific needs is right at the top of the agenda for the company and they maintain close contact with them through personal visits, trade shows, and tech conferences. Aside from results, it’s the personal touch and family atmosphere that small businesses like Logan Clutch can provide that make them so attractive to both their clients and their employees.

    For more information on Logan Clutch Corporation visit:  http://loganclutch.com/

    Are you a small business owner interested in having greater access to your elected officials?  Contact advocacy@cose.org today to learn more about how you can claim your seat at the table. 


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    Next up: Federal Overtime Rule Invalidated: What It Means For Your Business

    Federal Overtime Rule Invalidated: What It Means For Your Business

    The Justice Department recently invalidated a previously proposed overtime rule by announcing it would not appeal a court decision that said the federal government overreached its authority when it expanded the number of people covered by the rule.  Therefore, the salary threshold – approximately $23,000 – under which employees must be paid overtime remains the same. 

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    Employers are astutely aware that many workers are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked over 40 hours.  Businesses may exempt workers from the requirement, however, if their duties are managerial in nature and they reach a certain salary threshold.  Last year, the Department of Labor attempted to change the standard salary threshold for this exemption from $23,660 to $47,476.  The proposed rule was challenged in court, the court ruled it was an overreach, and the current administration said it will not appeal the court’s decision.  The salary exemption, therefore, remains at $23,660.

    GCP member companies – particularly smaller businesses – were concerned about the proposed rule as it would have doubled the threshold under which employees must be paid overtime, impacting employers directly with the potential for increased compliance costs and the rule could have forced some firms to reduce employee hours.

    Public comments will continue to be accepted by the Department of Labor through September 25, 2017 on the subject.  

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    Next up: Federal labor, energy, entrepreneurial, tech, and fiscal policy matters require small business owners’ attention

    Federal labor, energy, entrepreneurial, tech, and fiscal policy matters require small business owners’ attention

    Members of Congress have been busy spending time in their districts connecting with their constituencies on the issues that are important to them. Legislators will reconvene back in Washington in the second week of September and, when they do, they’ll certainly need to roll up their sleeves, work efficiently and across party lines (where possible) if they hope to address several urgent issues that are top of mind for small business.  

    Members of Congress have been busy spending time in their districts connecting with their constituencies on the issues that are important to them. Legislators will reconvene back in Washington in the second week of September and, when they do, they’ll certainly need to roll up their sleeves, work efficiently and across party lines (where possible) if they hope to address several urgent issues that are top of mind for small business.  

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    Meanwhile, officials from federal agencies have been busy attempting to bake cornerstones of the President’s agenda (and legacy) into the mix, through a number of proposed standards related to energy and workforce that have undoubtedly grabbed the attention of the small business community. 

    As we approach the end of summer, here’s a look at just a few of the national policy matters related to fiscal deadlines, cybersecurity, patent reform, energy, and overtime rules that small business owners can expect to be discussed and examined in the coming months.

    Fiscal Deadlines

    The first deadline awaiting action from policymakers will come on September 30, which is when Congress needs to pass a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown.  A stop gap measure will likely be passed in the short-term to extend current funding levels. Come October, however, spending caps that were put in place to raise the nation’s debt ceiling will also be a big part of the discussion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that the United States will likely hit the $18.1 trillion debt limit by mid-November or early December.

    Why does this matter if you own a small business?  For starters, consumer confidence dropped drastically back in 2011 – as Congress allowed its debt ceiling debates to drag on until nearly the last minute – meaning Americans were less inclined to spend and businesses were less willing to hire. 

    Could a broader fiscal deal be struck to address these issues long-term? 

    Will Congress choose to renew the Export-Import Bank’s charter, a separate deadline that passed on June 30, or will they continue to kick the can down the road? 

    Stay up-to-date on small business priority issues like these by signing up today for a free electronic newsletter from the National Small Business Association (NSBA),

    Cybersecurity

    The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) was introduced in the spring to help facilitate the exchange of cyber-threat information between the private sector and government.  Supporters of the legislation say it would give small businesses extra legal protections and prevent adverse effects from threats. While many believe the threat of cyber attacks needs to be addressed immediately in this country, those opposed to this specific bill worry that it would create a flow of data on private citizens to government intelligence agencies. 

    The road to final legislative action on this topic is fuzzy, but one thing is certain: there are serious, growing concerns over cybersecurity issues and the burdens they pose to America’s small business owners.  For example, NSBA’s Year-End Economic Report reported that half of the small businesses surveyed have been the victim of a cyber-attack (up from 44% in 2013).  Of those, 61% say an attack had occurred within the last year.  And, the cost of dealing with cyber attacks for small firms are at an average cost of $20,752 per attack, up from $8,699 two years ago. 

    Lawmakers have an opportunity move forward on establishing streamlined cybersecurity guidelines and protocols.  Given the facts, COSE also believes Congress should take care not to place a disproportionate burden on our nation’s smallest firms.

    Patent Reform

    Since passage of the America Invents Act in 2011, the U.S. has seen an increase in so-called patent trolls – those that do not come up with new products or ideas, but buy up patents, argue others infringe on those patents, and then threaten litigation (remember unsolicited fax scams in the 2000s?). 

    In response, some Congressional members had appeared to be moving closer to passing patent reform legislation that could actually worsen the system for America’s smallest inventors.  Although both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have passed their respective and National Small Business Association-opposed bills, the Innovation Act (H.R. 9) and PATENT Act (S. 1137), neither bill has yet been voted on by either chamber in full.  Opposition to these bills from small business and technology advocates has become more vocal and this legislation was pulled from the July vote schedule. 

    No clear timeline has been identified for Congress to revisit the patent issue, but two other pieces of legislation have been introduced which would address interference from patent trolls and not cause harm to individual inventors, the STRONG Patents Act (S. 632) and the TROL Act (H.R. 2045).  These alternatives would improve the current patenting system by limiting abusive demand letters and ensuring small patentees can protect their intellectual property. 

    Contact your lawmakers today and urge them to support S. 632 and H.R. 2045.

    Energy

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan climate rule for power plants, which was made final in early August, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s electricity sector by forcing power plants to cut their carbon emissions 32% by 2030.  The directive requires states to develop and implement plans that ensure the power plants in their state – either individually, together or in combination with other measures – achieve the interim CO2 emissions performance rates over the period of 2022 to 2029 and the final CO2 emission performance rates, rate-based goals or mass-based goals by 2030. 

    Ohio will have until September 2018 to create a plan, two years longer than last year’s proposal called for – that is, unless the courts rule otherwise.  Craig Butler, director of the Ohio EPA, said in a recent statement that the President’s plan raises legal questions about the federal government’s authority under the Clean Air Act.  Ohio and 14 other states have since asked the D.C. federal appeals court to block the U.S. EPA from putting its Clean Power Plan into place until the courts decide whether the U.S. EPA can legally force states to limit CO2. 

    The President has stated that his plan would allow the average household to save $85 a year on energy costs, while dramatically reducing the types of greenhouse-gas emissions that lead to harmful climate change.  Opponents are concerned that the mandate would actually drive up electric costs for small business consumers.  In addition, a study conducted by NERA Economic Consulting claims Ohio would see average annual electricity rates increase by 12% due to the rule. 

    COSE believes government initiatives, like the Clean Power Plan, must foster growth, minimize hardship on the businesses that drive our economy, and allow for flexible compliance that does not add to already burdensome rules or regulations for small business owners. 

    Overtime Rules

    On July 6, the Administration proposed new overtime rules which would massively increase the salary threshold below which all employees must be paid overtime.  Perhaps even more concerning, the Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking public comments on the so-called “duties test”, opening the door to changes to be adopted in a final rule. 

    Since the announcement of the proposed rule, COSE has heard from many of our members that they are very concerned about its impact on their operations and their HR policies.  Small business employers are challenged for time – especially when you consider that they lack the kinds of policies, legal support, and HR staff that larger businesses enjoy.  And, the current deadline for public comment on DOL’s proposal makes it challenging for small businesses to analyze the materials provided by the DOL in the rule’s publication and to make accurate assessments of the impact the proposed rule would have.

    In light of the importance of the proposed rule COSE, along with our partners at the National Small Business Association (NSBA), have requested that DOL extend the public comment period for a minimum of 90 days. 

    Interested in learning more on this topic?  On August 13, NSBA held an issue briefing teleconference to discuss the proposed overtime regulations; click here to download the podcast of this call.  Tell us what you think today at advocacy@cose.org.

      



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    Next up: Feds Reach Small Business Contracting Goal

    Feds Reach Small Business Contracting Goal

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the federal government reached its annual small business contracting goal for the first time in eight years, equating to $83.1 billion of eligible contracting dollars.  Unfortunately, the feds did fall short in two prime contracting categories:  female owned small businesses and historically underutilized business zones (HUBZone). 

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the federal government reached its annual small business contracting goal for the first time in eight years, equating to $83.1 billion of eligible contracting dollars.  Unfortunately, the feds did fall short in two prime contracting categories:  female owned small businesses and historically underutilized business zones (HUBZone). Female owned small businesses received 4.32 % out of 5.00% and HUBZone received a 1.76% falling short of their 3.00% goal,  Three federal agencies did, however, receive an “A” grade from the SBA for meeting or surpassing their specific small business government contracting goal for the first time. For more information on how SBA scores federal agencies, please review the Small Business Procurement Scorecard

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    The SBA works with federal government agencies and aims to hold them accountable for providing small businesses the opportunities they need and deserve by setting prime and subcontracting goals in which agencies are expected to reach every two years.  Each agency has a different small business contracting goal and every two years, the SBA assesses and grades each agency based upon their specific goals.

    SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet applauded the progress made saying, “When we hit our small business procurement target, it’s a win. Small Businesses get the revenue they need to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets the change to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the U.S. while the economy grows."

    For more information on the results of the small business procurement scorecard results please visit our partners at the federal level, National Small Business Association (NSBA), weekly update.

    COSE applauds improvements made by the federal government that create further opportunities for small businesses and stimulate America’s economy; we encourage agencies to further support the backbone of America’s economy, small businesses.  

    2013 Procurement Scorecard Results

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