1. Twitter’s New Makeover: Mirroring Facebook, Much?

    By Adele Stewart

    As a social media user, it is not uncommon to log onto Twitter and see that your profile has once again changed its appearance. As frustrating as it can get, it never takes long to adjust to and you somehow find that the new unique appearance is a bit more useful than before. 

    Twitter’s most recent redesign that started on Tuesday, April 8th, looks quite similar to Facebook’s user profiles.

    According to Mashable, “The new look adds a lot more user information and several new features. [It] features a larger user photo and customizable header image. Twitter highlights your tweets that have the most engagement by displaying them slightly larger than the rest.”

    Like Facebook, the profile photo is in the top left corner, and your header photo now replicates that of a Facebook “Cover Photo.” Those are not the only similarities. The entire feed reflects Facebook’s newsfeed set up, with previews of linked photos and videos appearing as you scroll down any given timeline.

    Many verified Twitter profiles have already switched to the new design – including celebrities Channing Tatum and Eddie Griffin, and boxer Floyd Mayweather.

     

    Check out their pages and let us know what you think of it on our Facebook!

    We understand that Facebook and Twitter’s new developments can be hard for your business to follow. Fortunately, we understand. Contact Epic Web Studios to help increase your business’s social media and redefine your online visibility!

     
  2. More News In Your News Feed

    image

    Mashable reported some interesting Facebook News today. We thought you might find this useful for your social media strategy…

    By Kurt Wagner, of Mashable, on 02/25/2014.

    Facebook's greatest asset to marketers has always been its audience — more than one billion active users, a figure that carries some weight.

    Now, a new change to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm means brands will have greater reach than ever.

    Beginning Tuesday, when a Page tags a separate brand or celebrity Page in a post, that content will surface for followers of both Pages. For example, if Mashable posts a story to Facebook and tags Google’s Page, the post will now appear in News Feed for both Mashable fans and Google fans.

    In short, it’s a simple way for brands or celebrities to greatly expand their audience.

    By tagging LEGO in this post, Mashable will now reach some of LEGO’s fans, too, even if they do not follow Mashable.

    This feature was already operational for updates from friends. If you tag someone in a photo, for example, their friends may see that photo in News Feed even if you are not connected to them.

    The difference here is that while your photo could appear in front of hundreds of other people, a Page post that tags Google could appear in front of thousands, if not millions of additional users. (Google has more than 15 million users who have Liked its Page.)

    Facebook says it received positive feedback after testing this feature with users. The algorithm will take into account which users are engaging with content to determine if it is relevant for fans of both the Page that posted it, and the Page that was tagged. The new feature only works between Pages, meaning the typical user could not expand his audience by tagging a Page when posting.

    By Kurt Wagner, of Mashable, on 02/25/2014.

    Cheers? Jeers? Let us know in the comments below! 

     
  3. Get your Facebook fans engaged this Valentines Day

    By Emily Hanisek | February 13, 2014

    Want to get your fans engaged this Valentines day? No, not ‘down on one knee’ engaged. We mean getting your Facebook fans to like your Business Page and view your posts type of engaged. Epic Web Studios has come up with 5 quick ideas to engage your Facebook fans that can be used any day of the year.   

    1.     Ask a question

    Want to get more comments on your page? Ask your fans a question that will get them talking on your Page.The easier it is to answer, the better. 

     Example: “Chocolate or flowers for your Valentine?”

    image

    2.     Take advantage of the holidays

    We like to keep a special holiday calendar here in the office and come up with creative posts for great holidays that may go unrecognized. This gets fans inspired and allows them to share it with their friends.  For example, did you know that April 10 is National Sibling Day? “Who cares”, you might ask? Your fans! Ask your fans to share your post with their siblings - or ask them to post a fun ‘sibling story’ in the comments.

    3.     Fill in the blank

    Asking fans to fill in the blank with a short sentence can generate comments and shares on your Page.

    Example: My perfect Valentines Day gift would be ___________.

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    4.     Contests & Sweepstakes

    Running a contest on your Page can spur comments, likes and shares by getting your fans excited about something and talking on your Page. It also entices people to come back to your Page in the future to see what’s up. For example, run a sweepstakes for people to Like your Page for a chance to win a prize. Your Page’s Like count is almost guaranteed to go up!

    image

    5.     Provide a solution

    If you’re looking for a way for fans to share your posts, give them a solution. For example, ‘5 home remedies for a cold’ or ‘5 quick ideas for a Facebook post’. Like these ideas? Check out Epic Web Studios and see how we can help engage viewers on your social media accounts!

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    Contact Epic Web Studios today to let us take care of your social media for you and engage your Facebook fans like never before. Oh, and, Happy Valentines Day!

     
  4. Should you hire a social media agency or keep it in house?

    By Jacques Bastien | February 11, 2014

    A few months ago at a marketing conference in Miami, someone asked me a crucial question.

    Given that I was “the social guy” in the room, of course, I was asked all of the questions related to social media, from, ” What should I do on Twitter?” all the way to, ”Does anybody even use Google Plus?”

    I answered all the questions based on my experiences, and each answer elicited a follow-up question.

    Then came a question from a man who apparently wasn’t convinced:

    "I understand social media is beneficial to any business, but seriously, no one in their right mind would hire a social media agency when they can just hire someone in house. Am I right, or am I right?"

    Here was my answer:

    Employees cost too much

    No matter the company, there comes a time when every CEO decides to take his or her product or service to the next level. For this example, we’ll call this CEO Ray. Ray notices that all of his competitors are using social networks to engage with their fans and customers, so he decides to join in. He hires a social media manager (Chris) to handle his company’s social marketing and pays him an annual salary of $60,000.

    Now, hiring a full-time employee costs a lot more than it seems. There are payroll taxes, health benefits, equipment needs, office space, training, and paid time off. You see where I’m going with this?

    Alternatively, what if Ray used his $60,000 budget to hire a social media agency. For starters, that agency won’t require health and other benefits that Ray would have to offer to Chris. Ray can also be certain that his $60,000 annual budget will be stretched to encompass a full social media marketing campaign including research, planning, strategy/execution, and, in most cases, design, video production, public relations, social community management, short-term and long-term campaigns and promotions, social aggregation, analytics and reporting, and more.

    This brings me to my next point.

    Agencies have more brain power

    A successful social campaign includes design, video production, PR, strategy, and everything else I mentioned before. So, unless Chris is Superman himself, we can’t really be too certain that he will have all the skills required to handle all aspects of the campaign. In most cases, Chris is probably a very talented writer with strong communication and presentational skills. He’s a very organized person who loves planning and is very optimistic.

    Still, he cannot do it all. I mean, “He’s not Superman, you know!”

    Hiring an agency, on the other hand, is like hiring a team of 10-plus people for the price of one. Most agencies are made up of executives, designers and illustrators, strategists, copywriters, bloggers, social enthusiasts, PR representatives, Web developers, even entrepreneurs—all of whom live their own lives and have their own experiences that they bring to the table. So when they’re all included in the social strategy meetings or the brainstorming session, Ray can rest assured that his campaign strategy will be looked at from every angle.

    Also, what happens when Chris is on vacation or out sick? Questions aren’t answered, fans aren’t updated, campaigns aren’t being managed, etc. An agency can have someone else pick up where the other person left off, and it has the tools and know-how to schedule posts as needed.

    Having a great agency relationship is also beneficial for growing companies. The higher your marketing budget, the more capabilities the agency can provide for you.

    Agencies breed social nerds

    Did you know that there are headphones that you can use to listen to online conversations—conversations (both good and bad) about your company? If that isn’t enough, did you know that you can use those headphones to listen to people who might need your company?

    Those headphones are actually a very cool tool/platform that we know as Twitter.

    Twitter has an advanced search feature that agencies use to monitor and join conversations about their client’s brand. The agency can then engage with satisfied customers, not-so-happy customers, and curious potential customers in the most appropriate manner.

    Did you also know that some new social tool was launched in the time it took you to read this article? The social world is always evolving.

    Agencies make it their priority to learn all about the emerging social media tools and tactics, either from agency colleagues or from outside sources. Agency pros challenge themselves to evolve and modify social campaigns as alternative tools and tactics appear on the scene.

    So, there’s my answer

    It’s your decision whether to hire a social media manager or a social media agency. Keep in mind that not all agencies are the same, so it’s important to do thorough research before choosing to hire one.

    — 

    Epic’s Approach

    The digital media department at Epic Web likes to use a mix of our team and your in-house marketing department. Creating a partnership like that can lead to very strong returns; we know this because we’ve done it successfully for many years. 

    We will work on the same side of the table as your leadership and marketing teams. We will make your lives easier & we will make your brand stronger. Give us a call

    — 

    @JacquesHBastien is the CEO + Creative Director of @weareboogie, a rapidly growing design-driven social media and creative agency in New York. A version of this article first appeared on Social Media Today & Ragan’s PR Daily

    (Image via DesignInstruct.com)

    Reblogged by Epic Web Studios in Erie, PA

     
  5. The Importance of Social Media for Business

    We’ve all heard it before, but we’re going to say it again: Having active social media accounts is no longer a ‘nice to have’ — it’s a ‘must have.’

    Gone are the days when an organization could tell people what they want and need, through media advertising (newspaper, radio, television, billboards). Your customers are now more savvy and educated than ever before. Chances are, by the time they’ve picked up the phone to make an appointment, purchase product, or inquire about a service, they already know a great deal about you.

    So, why Social Media and why now?

    Consider these statistics:

    • Marketers who spent 6 hours a week or more using social media and engaging/sharing content on it saw 52% more leads than those who did not.
    • Companies that use Twitter average double the amount of leads per month than those who do not.
    • Nearly 2/3 of US Internet users regularly use a social network.

    It’s not all about you.

    When I’m educating clients on how to properly use Social Media for business, I tell them to treat it like IRL (in real life) Networking. People like when you listen to what they have to say. Ask questions. Be authentic. Be in it for the right reasons.

    Of course, there comes a time when you need to share what your business has to offer, but be smart about it. (We don’t need to hear your pitch over and over and over again, Vince Offer.)

    I’ve ‘met’ some of my favorite people, through Social Media. We help each other and learn from one another.

    The ultimate goal.

    You want prospects to go to your website, become leads and eventually new customers. By engaging in social media and creating new content (i.e. blogging!), you’ll give them a reason to come back time and time again.

    Social media is an effective way to not only create that exposure for your business online, but it’s a proven way to significantly engage with prospects and leads.

    Question: How has social media helped your business? If you’re not using it, what are you waiting for?

    Originally written by Katie Gutwein

     
  6. SMExaminer: New Facebook Marketing Research Shows What Works

    The other day, one of our clients sent an article from Yahoo Finance about how Facebook Ads are not working. We disagree wholeheartedly and figured we would find some information to back up our in-house data. 

    Ultimately, it’s about how Facebook is used. If your business page is packed with boring content - it’s not going to work! If you shamelessly promote all day long - it’s not going to work! If you don’t run advertising that is specific and targeted - guess what? It’s not going to work. 

    There are hundreds of factors to consider with Facebook Marketing. Here are just a few from one of our favorite sites, Social Media Examiner. 

    Originally Published October 9, 2013
    By Patricia Redsicker

    Are you wondering what works with Facebook and what’s a waste of time?

    Do hashtags make a difference?

    What about sponsored stories?

    There’s recently been ton of research to understand how Facebook marketing is helping (or hurting) businesses.

    Here are five noteworthy Facebook findings we uncovered from the latest published research.

    #1: 78% of U.S. Facebook Users Are Mobile

    Facebook is at the center of a sizable shift to mobile. In the U.S. alone, 78% of all Facebook users (just shy of 100 million people) logged into their Facebook accounts via mobile this year (TechCrunch).

    Research from eMarketer predicts that this number will continue to grow and by 2017,154.7 million Americans will be using Facebook on their mobile devices.

    image

    Key Takeaways:

    Mobile and social go hand in hand. If your target audience is in the U.S., you should follow Facebook’s lead and adapt a mobile-first strategy. Here are a few tips to optimize your Facebook page for mobile users:

    • Take a look at your Facebook page on your mobile device to see what others are seeing (Public view, not Admin view).
    • Since the mobile experience doesn’t show your complete timeline, highlight your best content with a pinned post.
    • Photos are the best-performing post types on Facebook, so be sure to add colorful, interesting images to all your posts, offers and ads.
    • If you have a local business, encourage customers to check in on Facebook at your location (more on that later!). Mobile searchers tend to make local buying decisions (e.g., where to eat, where to shop, etc.). Recommendations and check-ins from mobile users’ friends appear first on their mobile devices, making it a fantastic tool for word-of-mouth marketing.

    #2: Paid Ads Improve Reach and Post Performance

    According to the 2013 Social Rich Media Benchmark Report (ShopIgniter), promoting your Facebook posts with a paid ad increases organic and viral reach significantly but reduces click-throughs.

    This is true for all post types (video, offers, photos, links and questions) except status updates. In the case of status updates, unpaid posts have a much higher reach than paid posts.

    facebook posts paid ads reach vs ctr

    Promoting Facebook posts with paid ads increases reach but reduces CTR.

    Key Takeaways:

    Paid ads make a big difference on Facebook—at least in terms of reach and impressions. But before you start investing in Facebook ads, think about your target audience, focus on your marketing goals and understand how different post types perform when they’re promoted with ads.

    Paid ads are used for promotional content, which by default draws less engagement than non-promotional content. If you’re more interested in driving brand awareness or increasing your customer base, then by all means use paid ads because of their viral nature.

    But if you’re trying to build your email list (you’ll need folks to click through to a landing page), then paying to promote the post might be a waste of cash, according to the research. And don’t forget, whenever you want people to click, give them lots of images!

    #3: Negative Feedback Hurts Conversion

    Facebook doesn’t have a Dislike button. However, users can show their aversion toward your content by hiding it from their news feed.

    More research from ShopIgniter shows that negative feedback—which includes the following actions by users: Hide Post, Hide All Posts, Report as Spam, Unlike Page—increases (hurts conversion) the more you add paid media to your posts.

    average negative feedback rate

    Negative feedback increases as paid ads are applied to most post types.

    The chart shows the negative feedback rate for paid and organic Facebook posts. Longer bars are bad as they indicate higher negative feedback.

    Key Takeaways:

    • For most post types except links, negative feedback increases when paid ads are used.
    • As far as paid posts go, notes are most disliked (hardly anyone uses them anyway), followed by video.
    • Although photos are popular on Facebook, not all photos are created equal. As a marketer, you should know exactly what your audience’s preferences areby posting photos they will enjoy, like and share. If you’re not sure, do some A/B split tests with various images to find out.
    • The ‘Question’ is king—You can’t go wrong with asking questions on Facebook. At best you’ll get lots of responses, and at the very worst you’ll get little or no negative feedback.
    • Surprisingly, Facebook Offers generate less negative feedback than links! That’s because everyone likes a good deal, even if it ‘interrupts’ your news feed through an ad.
    • The best thing to do is mix up your posts. Try both paid and unpaid versions of the same post type. At the end of the day, only your Page Insights can tell you what will work for you and what will not.

    #4: Facebook Hashtags Are NOT Working

    According to EdgeRank CheckerFacebook hashtags have done nothing to help with additional exposure for your brand. In fact the opposite is true.

    The research indicates that posts with hashtags are not only less likely to go viral, but also make people less likely to engage with the content.

    facebook hashtags failing

    Facebook hashtags could actually be hurting, not helping, your brand.

    Key Takeaways:

    EdgeRank doesn’t tell us why Facebook hashtags are failing. We only know that people are not clicking them. Here are some possibilities:

    First, for a lot of people, hashtags feel out of place on Facebook. There’s even a Facebook page called “This is not Twitter. Hashtags don’t work here” where 15,000 fans are making a strong case that what works on one platform doesn’t necessarily work on another. They argue that hashtags on Facebook “interrupt the flow of communication and people tend to abuse them.”

    Second is perception. Before the official launch of hashtags in June of this year, people or brands who used hashtags on Facebook were perceived to be clueless. Other users figured they didn’t understand how to use Facebook. There have also been complaints that status updates with hashtags are nothing more than automated posts created by lazy marketers on Twitter.

    So based on the research, if you want your fans and their friends to share yourFacebook posts, you may want to avoid using hashtags or at least do a lot of your own testing to see if they’re helping or hurting your brand.

    #5: And the Highest CTR Goes to… Sponsored Check-in Stories!

    Sponsored check-in stories, where users are shown an ad in their news feed for a place they previously checked in, received by far the highest click-through rate (CTR) among all ad types and sponsored stories.

    The Facebook Ads Benchmark Report (Salesforce) shows that at 3.2%, this CTR is even higher than sponsored like stories, which are very popular with marketers.

    average ctr of sponsored stories

    Average CTR of sponsored check-in stories trumps all other ad types.

    Key Takeaways:

    Sponsored check-in stories are used to reach your fans’ friends on their news feed. High CTRs could be indicative of peer influence. When a Facebook user sees (on her news feed) that her friend has checked into a particular store, she’ll be curious to learn more about that location and will probably click through for more information.

    As the owner of that business, you want to encourage more people to take the same action, so you’ll pay to highlight the original action of checking in.

    So if you’re thinking about building a local fan base, engaging and rewarding customers, or reaching your customers’ friends, why not design a campaign around the check-in stories that your customers are generating? Fair warning—sponsored check-in stories are very expensive (in terms of cost per impression or CPM), but the investment could be worth it if more customers come to your store and buy your products. It’s something to think about!

    ABOUT THE AUTHORPatricia Redsicker

    Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She helps business owners craft content that sells. Her blog provides healthcare industry content marketing advice. Other posts by  »

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    Epic Web Studios is an Erie, PA website development, social media and Search Engine Optimization firm. Give us a shout if you are ready to start making a difference in your business by using the web.