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Archive for September, 2010

29 Sep
Posted by Kay

How to set up a Facebook page for your business

Setting up a Facebook page isn’t the drama it might appear to be. Here is a quick tutorial through setting one up.

1. To set up a page, you need a personal profile

While this might appear a little bit silly, it really isn’t. Facebook pages need you to have a profile, because it sets you as an administrator of that page.

So – the first thing you need to do (if you haven’t done it already) is set yourself up on Facebook.

You needn’t be worried that people who interact with your page will see your personal profile, because they won’t. This is the beauty of running a page as opposed to trying to promote your business using a personal profile. For more information about keeping your business and your personal profile separate, read our article here.

2. Find the link to setting up a page

This can be slightly difficult to find. So, to help you, the link is here.

Select which type of page you want to create (business, brand, artist), give it a name, tick the authority box, and hit ‘create official page’.

When you name your page, try to give it as accurate a name as possible. In some cases, the name you want might be taken. If it is, don’t panic: just try to think of an alternative name that still represents your business. If you run a photography business, for example, you could add ‘photography’, or ‘studio’, or something similar to the end of the name.

3. Make the page profile as complete as possible

Once you have created your page, you will be faced with a huge variety of options. The best thing to do is make it as complete as possible.

Choose a representative image for the page’s picture, such as your logo. Complete your business address, business hours, and any other information that is relevant.

Hot tip: Your profile image is constrained by width, not height. If you want to maximise the branding space available to you, make a tall skinny image. One idea is to join your logo to other images relating to do your business. For example:

image

Zoo Studio make great use of their logo image

Once you set up your page, Facebook will step you through the parts that you need to complete. It will also prompt you if the page is not fully filled out.

4. About page URLs

You can choose a specific URL for your page, but only once you have a certain number of people who ‘like’ it. When you get to that level, your URL will be http://www.facebook.com/NAMEHERE.

The best way to choose your URL is to make it the same – or as close as possible – to the name of the page itself.

5. Start posting, and inviting people to connect

Now comes the exciting part! You can start posting to the page’s profile: statuses, photos, links, and so on – just like you would with your own profile page.

Once you have some content on your page, click ‘suggest to friends’ on the left-hand side, and invite everybody you think would be interested.

After this point, it’s all about interacting and building your social network. There are many ways you can do this. For example:

  • add ‘join us on Facebook’ links to your web site
  • add your Facebook page link to your email signature
  • and so on.

For more tips about building your Facebook network, read our article here.

28 Sep
Posted by Kay

Zoo Studio is totally wild

Animal photographer Ken Drake, one of Clever Starfish’s first clients, was recently featured on Channel Ten’s Totally Wild TV show.

The show sent cameras to capture a typical puppy photo session – as his partner, marketing whiz Beck describes it, “lots of fun, laughs and playtime… oh and of course a few puppy wees”.

Check out the four minute clip here on Zoo Studio’s site.

27 Sep
Posted by Kay

Using LinkedIn

While those new to social networks always find them confusing, few confuse people like LinkedIn. Allow us to unlock some of this professional networking site’s secrets.

Even those who have been using LinkedIn for years often find themselves wondering why they are using it, and whether it is of any real benefit. It is because LinkedIn kind of looks and functions like Facebook. But its focus on professional networking is mostly where people come unstuck. Even face-to-face networking has a tendency to baffle.

But LinkedIn is great for:

  • reconnecting with people
  • keeping in touch with your contacts
  • expanding your professional network.

It is also great for finding employees, building your brand, and finding more work.

Professional etiquette is important

Unlike the greater informality of other social networks, LinkedIn calls for a more professional approach. This is particularly the case when you are sending invitations to people to connect with you.

While you can use the standard, or ‘canned’ invitation that LinkedIn provides, it is better to write your own. Think of it as though you were sending an invitation to reconnect with someone in your regular marketing work. What you need to do is greet them professionally, provide some context, invite them to your network, and then find a way of offering to take the working relationship further.

Gain recommendations

Once you’ve added current or former colleagues and clients to your LinkedIn network, find out if they will write a recommendation for you. Everyone else in your network sees your recommendations. While they appear on the LinkedIn site on your profile, your being recommended goes out to your network in the Network Updates emailed out by the LinkedIn system, weekly.

It’s an alternative way of gaining and using testimonials, and it can be very valuable to you – especially as your network expands.

Set yourself up as an expert

As with all social networking, and web site popularity, the best thing you can do is to set yourself up as an expert.

LinkedIn provides a few ways in which you can do this: through status updates, if you provide links; through blog applications that pull your articles to your LinkedIn profile; and through the Question & Answers section of the site.

To use the Question & Answers section, search for unanswered questions in your field of expertise. All you have to do is submit good, well-thought-out answers. The more you do this, the more people see your responses, and the quicker your status as an expert in the field will rise.

The key thing you want to remember, though, is that simply dumping an answer isn’t enough. LinkedIn is a network, and, as with every other social network, interaction is important. Commenting and running isn’t the most social thing you can do.

This also comes back to the basic tenet of social networks: helpfulness. LinkedIn isn’t just about what you offer; it is also about how you can help others. Responding to questions is one way in which you can share your expertise and help out your network.

Join groups

There are multitudes of professional groups on LinkedIn. Finding a handful of relevant groups can be useful to you, however. Not only can you gain information out of the experience of others in your field, the groups allow you to share your expertise too.

As with posting responses to LinkedIn’s questions, adding content to, and starting conversations within, groups, can be beneficial for your ‘expert’ standing, and for the growth of your network.

Connect your social networks

If you are set up on Twitter, and you use your Twitter feed as a professional network, you can set it up to update your LinkedIn status. This saves you the effort of manually updating all of your networks individually.

Here is how to set this up:

  • log in to LinkedIn
  • Click ‘settings’ in the very top right-hand corner of your home page
  • Find ‘Twitter Settings’, which is under ‘Profile Settings’. Click this link.
  • Click ‘Add Your Twitter Account’. If you have multiple Twitter accounts, remember to log out of them before you allow access. Otherwise you run the risk of adding the wrong one.
  • Go through the settings, tweak it where necessary, and hit save.

Now your Twitter feed will appear in your status, and on your LinkedIn profile.

Use your network effectively: headhunting, job-hunting, staying visible

One of the great things about LinkedIn is that it allows you to view people’s employment histories and, if they are active, assess their knowledge. If you are scouting for employees, hitting up your network for suggestions or recommendations is an incredibly valuable way to go. Once you have a good network on LinkedIn, you have a ready pool from which you can potentially headhunt employees.

The same thing goes for finding employment, jobs, clients, or contracts. If you’re on good terms with your network, you will be in a position to ‘crowd-source’ this information – just as you would on Twitter or Facebook. The difference here, though, is you have greater access to others’ professional lives.

Because it is easy to set up your LinkedIn profile and forget about it, set aside some time each week to work on expanding your network. Some of key ways of doing this are to:

  • Read the weekly LinkedIn network updates
  • Keep your profile up-to-date, because all changes are sent in the weekly emails to your network
  • Source recommendations from people to whom you are connected

It is easy to become lost or ‘hidden’ on LinkedIn. Being active – even minimally so – in the network keeps you visible, and in the minds of your connections. There is little point in networking if nobody knows you are there.

Key tip: You get out of it what you put in!

As with other online marketing strategies, whether that is blogging, or using Facebook or Twitter, you will only get out of LinkedIn what you put into it. It takes a bit of effort, as all interaction does, it but it can be very valuable for building your brand.

22 Sep
Posted by Kay

Facebook Advertising: is it worthwhile?

The Facebook social network is an enormous, captive audience. But is it worth putting advertisements in front of them? This case study says ‘Yes’.

Perhaps the most important thing about Facebook’s captive audience is that each user provides a lot of information about themselves when they sign up. This is demographic information that your adverts take advantage of.

But does buying advertisements on Facebook give you enough return on your investment to make it worthwhile?

Our copywriter decided, at the end of July 2010, to test the system. She publishes an online music magazine that has a fan page on Facebook. Just prior to setting up the adverts, this page had reached 3000 fans, through an aggressive campaign to get more numbers. While the magazine is global, the Facebook Ad Test was limited to Australians, aged 13 and up. No further demographics were specified.

Facebook advertising gives you the ability to spend as much, or as little, as you want to. For this test, the maximum spend was set at $1 per day, for one month. This provides approximately 15,000 impressions (or views) every day during that period of time.

And then it was a matter of sitting back and waiting.

The way that Facebook page adverts work is this. The profile image, or logo, from your page is the main image. Underneath it is its title and a tag line. And accompanying it is a ‘Like’ button. If you have friends that are already fans, it will tell you how many of them also like the page. If they are good friends of yours, you will be likely to check it out because your tastes are likely to be similar. That, and there is safety in numbers.

Within 24 hours of the campaign running, this page had gained another 140 fans. The numbers climbed steadily for a week to a week and a half, and stayed steady, and then they spiked just prior to the campaign’s end. Where the page had been getting approximately 14-20 clicks per day, by the end of the campaign it spiked at 229. Then it rapidly dropped off again. Whether this spike is an anomaly, or whether more impressions were delivered that day, is anybody’s guess.

Overall, this campaign delivered:

406,260 impressions (or views), and yielded approximately 600 clicks (or ‘likes’). This is a click-through rate of 0.147%, at a total cost of $31.

The financials:

$1 per day, over one month was $31. In financial terms, this advert cost such a stupidly low figure per view that it’s not worth calculating. And for those who did become fans, it works out at roughly $0.05 per click.

Let’s compare these figures to buying print advertising. There is no way that you could deliver 400,000 print brochures at a cost of $31. To buy a classified advertisement in a local newspaper might cost you about $30; but you can’t measure how many views it will get, and it’s hard to find out the conversion rate. And you certainly don’t get national coverage with it.

The result:

The result of the Facebook campaign is that the page now has over 3600 fans, with absolutely no effort for the last 600. Up until that 3000 figure, it took a year and a half of continual effort, interaction, and encouragement to get people recommending the page through their own networks. And prizes. Let’s not forget that the 3000th fan won a substantial prize pack just for becoming a fan.

How this could be improved?

The click-through rate is fairly low; 2% is considered a highly successful campaign, according to Wikipedia. What this tells us is that the advertisement itself probably needs to be tweaked. Its title may need to be changed, its tag-line needs to be improved. One further month of testing, with an adjusted advert, might yield greater results.

But so could focusing the campaign elsewhere in the world, where the audience might be slightly different, or more in tune with the magazine. Or by tweaking the demographic focus, so that all impressions are delivered to a smaller sample.

Either way, this test provides a roadmap for further forays into what is a very cheap and effective advertising campaign.

Check out our more recent blog on Facebook Advertising.

21 Sep
Posted by Kay

When was the last time you used a paper phone book?

Other than as a monitor stand, potplant holder or stepladder, that is…

The online telephone directories – white and yellow – have long replaced their hard copy cousins for most people. In fact, many people just use Google to find the numbers they’re after – a very good reason to have your number large on your web site. And directory assistance from mobile phone providers, for those times when you’re out and about, is relatively cheap and very simple.

Acknowledging this at last, Sensis have now provided an easy way to opt out of receiving paper phone books, no doubt saving a lot of money in the process. If you no longer wish to receive the paper versions of the Yellow Pages and the White Pages, head on over to Directory Select and save a few trees!

20 Sep
Posted by Kay

Demystifying the Internet: About IP addresses

‘IP address’. It’s a term you’ve probably heard before, but have never really understood. Here’s an explanation as to how it all works. Thanks to Chris at Fasthit Web Hosting for helping make sure we got it all straight.

What is an IP Address?

IP stands for internet protocol, and it’s the basis of how the internet actually works.

An IP address is kind of the equivalent of a phone number. When you have an internet connection to your home or office, you have an IP address that identifies you as an individual user, so that web pages and the like can be delivered to you. You share with everyone else using the same connection.

Does my web site have an IP address too?

Yes. Every web site also has an IP address, but usually lots of web sites on the same server will share the same IP.

If you have an SSL certificate, you need your own IP

When you have an SSL certificate, you need a secure connection. SSL certificates are most often used in online retail, so that monetary transactions are guaranteed to be secure. If you have other web sites using the same IP, that connection cannot be effectively secured.

Because IP addresses are finite (there are only a certain range of numbers possible), they are regulated and allocated by a central authority. It costs the ISPs and hosting companies money to have exclusive use of particular IP addresses. Usually, they have a range of IPs, consisting of hundreds of individual addresses. So they will charge you a little extra if you need your own IP instead of a shared one.

For example:

Julie needs an SSL certificate for her web site, because she provides secure online payments. Because the connection must be secured, she can’t use a shared IP address, and instead needs her own. Her Fasthit "Value" web hosting account does not include a dedicated IP address. She could upgrade to a Fasthit "Business" web hosting account, but her site doesn’t really need all those extra resources. Instead, Julie can get a dedicated IP address as an account "add-on" for $5 per month.

15 Sep
Posted by Kay

Kathmandu Kids Quiz Night 2010–almost a perfect result

The Kathmandu Kids quiz night was this past Monday. Portions of the Clever Starfish team teamed up with some Fasthit people and other friends to fill two tables, and although we were technically three people short of two full tables and not taking it all that seriously, we still managed to come first and second overall. We must be clever little starfish after all.

A big thanks to Carnegies for supplying the prizes: we should be able to put together a quite fantastic early Christmas party!

The “almost a perfect result” in the title refers to the fact that the overall fundraising goal of $30,000 was not quite met – still, an amazing $26,287 was raised. If you’re interested in helping reach the original goal for the education and welfare of kids in the Kalimati slums, donations are still being taken.

The Kathmandu Kids volunteers have put in a massive effort once again and their efforts are an inspiration. Well done guys.

15 Sep
Posted by Kay

Simple, effective ways of growing your newsletter list

Here are some great, spam-free, ways to increase your email newsletter list.

  • Make your newsletter easy to find. Add a sign-up form to your web site, and link to it from every page of your site – such as in the footer or your main menu
  • Add a sign-up link to your email signature, and get everyone else who works with you to do it too
  • Add a sign-up link to all invoices that you send electronically
  • Add a check-box to sign up to your newsletter, to your web site’s contact form
  • Ensure that your newsletter has an easy way of being forwarded to others. If your recipients like what you send, they’re more likely to send it on. Some of the greatest marketing is viral, and if you can hit that niche, it’s a lot less work for you!
  • Ask your colleagues, those in your broader network (especially on Facebook or Twitter) to sign up to your newsletter – and tell them why they should. Similarly, every time you get a business card from someone, it’s worthwhile asking them if they want to be added to your email list, because it’s a great way to keep in touch.

If you already have customers, don’t assume that they will all want to receive your emails. Not only does not asking them contravene the Spam Act [link to other article] but it’s just not good manners. So how do you get around it? Send them an email asking if you can have their permission – and write it like you would write an informal note to a friend.

Past customers aren’t a no-go zone, even if you think they might be. A good idea is to send them a postcard inviting them to subscribe to your list.

Think beyond subscription

A good subscription process goes beyond just getting people to subscribe. You might want to consider setting expectations. Tell your subscribers how often they can expect your emails, especially if you promise special deals, coupons, or other types of offers. It increases the chance that your emails will be opened and acted on. And if they hit the right spot, forwarded on to others.

14 Sep
Posted by Kay

New web site for Matt Dixon

We’ve done a few web sites for his peers around Australia, but landscape photographer Matt Dixon is a little different – he’s actually a qualified chef with 16 years experience, so it’s no surprise that he specialises in food photography as well.

Matt Dixon’s new site is built with a combination of WordPress and our custom gallery management system, Tentacle. Matt’s landscape galleries contain images available for purchase as prints, in a number of sizes and framed or unframed – including some limited editions. Payments are handled by eWAY.

The food galleries, which show off Matt’s portfolio of images only, use a different navigation system to the usual, with sideways scrolling thumbnails, and inline large images rather than the “lightbox” effect which a lot of photographers favour at the moment.

Matt Dixon Images – Landscape and Food Photography

13 Sep
Posted by Kay

Growing your social networks 2: Twitter

You’ll be happy to hear that much of what goes for Facebook promotion goes for Twitter too. But with this social network there are some additional tools that can help. Here are our key tips for growing your Twitter network.

If you’re new to Twitter or would like a recap on what’s it all about, read our article Using Twitter for business.

1. Set up an autoresponder

There are a few free tools online that can help you set up an autoresponder to new followers. It’s a nice, polite way of thanking people for following you, and making them feel appreciated. Everybody likes someone who appreciates them! And let’s face it: social networks are all about popularity. If your followers like what you do, and feel good about following you, they are more likely to recommend your business to others.

2. Interact, interact, interact

Sound familiar? Social networks are built on interaction and conversation. If your business account is active on Twitter, then it is more likely to grow. Regular personable interactions are more likely to get you more follow recommendations, in things like the Follow Friday trend.

3. Get involved in Follow Fridays

What is a ‘Follow Friday’? It’s an institution on Twitter that every Friday users post ‘follow recommendations’ to their network. By knowing what your network is after, and following people who reinforce your own business, you are in a great position to make useful recommendations. The notion is to help other people find information they can use. If your resources are good, and you issue good follows each week, you are more likely to get them in return.

And if you get follows, always remember to thank people. If you’re appreciative, and mannerly, you’re more likely to keep getting follow recommendations.

4. Get your content moving – and ask for it

It sounds almost contrary, but if you want your content to do the rounds, you need to ask! Useful content will always be retweeted to some extent, but it helps to ask people to do it. With this in mind, add ‘Pls RT’ at the end of your posts.

Keep an eye on how your content goes around. If it doesn’t get retweeted, then perhaps your content doesn’t match what your followers are after. This alone is a great measure for reconfiguring your growth strategy.

5. Make your growth goals obvious

As with Facebook, being transparent about your goals, and using your network to achieve them, is one of the best strategies for growth. Don’t ask your network to find you friends, simply state that you have a goal to achieve X amount of followers by X time, and ask people to help. It is surprising how often, and how well, this works.

The same strategy can work between networks. If you have nearly 500 fans on Facebook, you can use your Twitter network to help you achieve that goal. More often than not, you’ll gain fans on Facebook because your Twitter tribe didn’t know your page existed. Similarly, it can work back the other way from Facebook. Exploit both social networks for growth.

6. The Little Known Strategy: promote before you launch

One great way of building your network is to have a business profile on Twitter, and start sending enthusiastic, informative, and interesting tweets before you even have a product or page. What you can happen is that your network grows organically. By the time you launch, you have a ready-made audience.

If you engage in this particular strategy, be careful to fulfill your promises once you do launch, or your network is likely to abandon you.

10 Sep
Posted by Kay

James Price Point gas plant protest

Creative Commons licensed photo from TysonA

Over the past week landscape photographer Christian Fletcher has blogged about James Price Point in the Kimberly and the difference that photographers can make.  Because formal negotiations with the traditional indigenous owners have not resulted in the desired outcome after two years, the West Australian government is planning to compulsory acquire this wilderness land in order to build a 30 billion dollar gas processing plant. There are serious concerns not only about the process being undertaken, but the inevitable environmental impact on what Christian says is the one area of the Kimberley Coast that is easily accessible without boat or helicopter.

Christian is now imploring everyone to sign GetUp’s petition to stop the compulsory acquisition and hopefully, stop the gas plant. Add your voice now!

8 Sep
Posted by Kay

Growing your social networks 1: Facebook

So you’ve got your business blog, and you’re now on Facebook and Twitter. You’re keen to dive in and start trying to grow your networks. Awesome! Here is the first in a two-part series about growing your networks. We start with Facebook.

If you have a personal Facebook page, it’s worthwhile watching trends on your homepage for a while. If you do, you’ll notice that people get excited, anxious, depressed, happy, or enthused, with amazing speed. And if they like something, they’ll share it. Facebook is great for viral posts, and comments that you might not have otherwise gained. It’s a good idea to watch how people react to content on this social network, because it will give you a good idea about how you can exploit it.

1. Post interesting content, regularly

It’s great to syndicate what you do on your blog or news page. Chances are, the people who read your work on Facebook don’t go to your blog. What you want to do is post interesting things that you do, and interesting things that other people do – to show that you’re connected.

The key to a good Facebook page for a business is post regularity. If your page doesn’t post content, then it dies socially. It needs to be out there and active, like that super popular extrovert at high school.

2. Interact, interact, interact

The key to Facebook is interaction. So you need to check your page, reply to comments, ‘like’ comments that you genuinely like or that are relevant, and keep people talking. It doesn’t matter if the conversation strays from the point. Conversations do that! The key is to make sure that you are involved, and creating the right impression.

3. Recommend all your friends join your page

This one is fairly obvious. If you start a page for your business, recommend it to everybody you know, everybody you think might appreciate it, and send them a note telling them why. It’s a great way of getting some immediate notice, and many people’s friends will join simply because they don’t want to offend you.

And, once your friends become a fan, their networks will see it. If your page looks interesting enough to your friends’ broader network, you’ll get even more fans.

4. Have network goals and make them obvious

One of the great things about Facebook is a ‘fan count’. On all dedicated Facebook pages, it will tell you how many people like it. When you start growing your network, wait until you have a decent number of fans, and then start pushing a goal. For example, if you have 276 fans, offer a challenge to your fans. Use a status like: ‘Can we get 300 fans by the end of the month?’

Enthusiastic fans will say ‘of course!’ and start recommending you to their friends. Note that this won’t work as well if you don’t have a good relationship with your fans.

You can always offer gifts for milestone fans: 100, 500, 1000. This makes people even more enthusiastic.

5. Consider Facebook adverts

The type of advertisement best to consider is one of those small page adverts with ‘xx people like this’ under it. They are cheap (you can set your budget, like $1 or a certain number of impressions per day), and targeted (i.e. location, age, interests).

Even if you don’t do it straight away, it is worth considering. People like to follow a crowd. If you have fifteen friends who like a particular page, chances are you will at least visit the page to have a look at what it is, and you will consider becoming a fan yourself.

6. Avoid the hard sell

Once your network is growing, you have warm and regular interactions, you can start selling things. Be wary though that trying to do the hard sell is likely to cause you to lose fans. People join Facebook for fun and interaction, not to be sold to.

7. Have fun!

Enjoy your time running your Facebook page. Building your social networks needn’t be a chore, but it can take a bit of strategic thought. Once you get into it and start enjoying it, your fans will sense it through what and how you post. The flow-on effect is, of course, that you’ll be more likely to do it regularly: which brings us right back to point #1!