Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

How to Use Facebook to Promote Your Business

My opinion of Facebook has changed quite a bit over the past few years. I began with a general level of skepticism and resisted joining for a long while. Eventually, I set up an account and slowly started to use it more. It was fun to reconnect with people I hadn't spoken to in a long time, and it actually became a great way to keep up with family. I used it to share a ton of content that I ran across throughout my day, including blog posts and newsletter content from Newfangled (if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook, here's a link to my profile). Although I did connect with many people within my professional network, my interactions with them never reached the level of frequency or importance of those on LinkedIn. At this point, I think it's a good idea to be on Facebook as an individual, as well as to set up a page for your company, to make sure that your content is sharable among its users. However, Facebook does not compare in terms of the helpful business-related functionality offered by LinkedIn. This, of course, may change, which is why I'm not at all suggesting that you ignore Facebook. To the contrary, maintaining company pages, sharing functionality, and even advertisements should be important aspects of your social media strategy.

Company Pages on Facebook

We've set up a company page and added our site's RSS feeds to it so that they are automatically displayed as wall posts. We don't get a ton of activity from our "fans," but I did want to point out one feature that you may end up using. Once you've set up a company page, you can send messages to all your fans (see the screenshot below). You can even target these messages by location, gender and age.

Sharing Website Content on Facebook

Just like LinkedIn, giving your readers the ability to share your content on Facebook is critical. While it's not nearly as important as a functional satellite platform to your website as LinkedIn, it is significantly more important in terms of the number of users finding and sharing content within its network. We've listed Facebook as the first item among the list in the general sharing tool that sits beneath all of our blog and newsletter content. Like LinkedIn, Facebook provides some really nice sharing code, which, when implemented, links to the pop-up screen shown below. One thing that it does really well is automatically format your post to pull either the introductory text content or the meta description for the page you're sharing, as well as any images, which you can choose to use as a thumbnail to your link.

Advertising on Facebook

Because it lacks a focused audience, expertise sharing and polling tools, I don't think that Facebook presents the same level of "free advertising" potential simply by using it as LinkedIn does. However, not taking advantage of the significantly larger audience on Facebook than LinkedIn by setting up a simple paid advertisement using its Ad Manager would be a missed opportunity. In the screenshot below, I'm showing the Ad Manager setup screen, which allows you to target your audience by various means, including location, age, and interest. As you can see, we've set up our ad to appear to users living in the United States over the age of 20 who have listed advertising, marketing, or web development among their interests. Facebook also allows you to determine how much you are willing to spend per click. In addition to showing stats, the Ad Manager also previews how your ad will appear to Facebook users, which is helpful considering the fact that you should not see your own ad while using the network.

Referral Traffic from Facebook

As I would have expected, our traffic numbers from Facebook are higher. In fact, at 320, the number of unique visits to our site coming from Facebook over the course of one month is almost double that of LinkedIn. The average time spent on the site is just about the same as the LinkedIn users (3:36 minutes), the bounce rate slightly lower (47%), and the number of pages per visit also just about the same (3.24). The only glaring difference is in the percentage of new visits. With the LinkedIn group, only 25% of the visits per month were new visitors, which means that about 75% of the LinkedIn users coming to our site had come before. That's a good thing, but it also makes sense given the smaller, tighter network that we have on LinkedIn. With Facebook, 57% of the visits were new, but this seems to be in line with the nature of our network on Facebook, which is structured more like a family tree, stretching out from general Newfangled "fans" to friends of Newfangled employees, and even outward to their friends. In simple regard to generating traffic, it is clear that Facebook presents just as good an opportunity to promote our website content as LinkedIn does.

Next, I'll talk a little bit about using Twitter...







Comments

Alan | May 28, 2009 10:51 AM
Chris, you wrote "we believe that freely sharing our expertise in a group set up to not only serve us will ultimately benefit us in addition to everyone else involved." So, do you consider this marketing or not? It seems like a touchy-feely way of avoiding saying that your group is a marketing ploy.
Christopher Butler | May 28, 2009 10:59 AM
Alan, Good question. For the record, I think the entire quote is instructive:
"Leaving our actual name, Newfangled, out of the group's name was intentional: while we consider the time we devote to the group part of our investment in marketing for Newfangled, we believe that freely sharing our expertise in a group set up to not only serve us will ultimately benefit us in addition to everyone else involved. An educated prospect always makes a better client."
But I think your question does speak to an ambiguity, or at least a blurring of the lines, between marketing and education. As I went on to say, an educated prospect always makes a better client. This is essentially our marketing philosophy which shapes every tactic we employ: newsletter writing, blogging, everything we do on LinkedIn (asking and answering questions, polling, group discussions, etc.), our monthly webinars, and conference attendance and public speaking. In every case, we are actively giving away valuable knowledge because we believe that such an education reinforces our expertise to a prospect and better qualifies them for working with us.

So in short, I'm not at all shy about calling this marketing, but it's not the same kind of marketing that may have a pejorative connotation for some out there (myself included).

Thanks for your comment,

Chris
Mark O'Brien | May 28, 2009 11:02 AM
Thanks for your question Alan. I'm sure it is one that many people have thought to ask. To clarify, nothing we do is a ploy, which is defined as a tactic intended to embarrass or frustrate. While we don't have marketing ploys, we do have a marketing plan.

Is our LinkedIn group part of our marketing plan? Absolutely. Additionally, our newsletters, webinars, blog posts and speaking engagements are all 100% part of our marketing plan. In fact, these efforts encompass our entire marketing effort. Marketing isn't a bad word to us, though, and in our case it is actually synonymous with education. We market by prolifically writing about topics we know our prospects are interested in, and it serves both Newfangled and our readership very well.
Richard | May 28, 2009 12:01 PM
About the Facebook referral traffic: It sounds like you saying that Facebook is a good place to promote content because it generates a lot of traffic, so why do you like LinkedIn better?
Christopher Butler | May 28, 2009 1:15 PM
Richard, Yes, promoting content on Facebook has generated a lot of traffic to our site, and as you can see from the Google Analytics graph, the sessions are mostly on the deeper side. What I think gives LinkedIn an edge in the context of my evaluation is it's focus on business use, as well as some of the specific tools it has that Facebook does not: Q&A, polls, etc. While Facebook does have a groups equivalent, it's not nearly as powerful, nor does it have as good a user interface.

Thanks for reading,

Chris
Peter Bryant | May 28, 2009 6:44 PM
Chris, This is a very even, level-headed approach, which I appreciate coming on the heels of so much social media euphoria. I hope that we can all start settling in to this new mode of operating and get back to work!
Maggie B | May 28, 2009 7:02 PM
@Alan, This isn't exactly new, you know. The newfangled approach to marketing (pun intended!) is just where it's at now. It's sad that you'd assume something untoward is going on.
Glenn Ruga | May 28, 2009 9:08 PM
Hi Chris and everyone else:
Like everyone else, I receive a boat load of spam and email with the sole intention of marketing without much payback. But as an active web and graphic designer, I have always found the Newfangled newsletters to be extremely informative and helpful while working in the trenches. Yes, it certainly makes a favorable impression of Newfangled. Yes, it certainly gives me usable information. Yes, it is an effective marketing tool. I wish other companies would follow their lead.
Christopher Butler | May 29, 2009 7:49 AM
@Peter Bryant, Thanks for saying that, and I hope so too!

@Maggie B, I wish we could take the credit for this approach, but it has really coalesced for us based upon many things: Direct input from people we trust in the industry, books we've read, and a general sense that things we've been doing for a while now and ideas we value are becoming more valuable to others. One interesting point is the concept of multiples, which Malcolm Gladwell discusses in a column he wrote recently in the New Yorker called "In the Air." Here's a pertinent quote:
"This phenomenon of simultaneous discovery—what science historians call 'multiples'— turns out to be extremely common. One of the first comprehensive lists of multiples was put together by William Ogburn and Dorothy Thomas, in 1922, and they found a hundred and forty-eight major scientific discoveries that fit the multiple pattern. Newton and Leibniz both discovered calculus. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace both discovered evolution. Three mathematicians 'invented' decimal fractions. Oxygen was discovered by Joseph Priestley, in Wiltshire, in 1774, and by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, in Uppsala, a year earlier. Color photography was invented at the same time by Charles Cros and by Louis Ducos du Hauron, in France. Logarithms were invented by John Napier and Henry Briggs in Britain, and by Joost Bürgi in Switzerland...For Ogburn and Thomas, the sheer number of multiples could mean only one thing: scientific discoveries must, in some sense, be inevitable. They must be in the air, products of the intellectual climate of a specific time and place."
In our case, I wouldn't want to inflate the importance of what we're doing by directly comparing it to the kinds of discoveries that Gladwell mentions. But, the general point applies: Sometimes significant ideas occur in multiple places simultaneously, and can best be attributed to the zeitgeist rather than one innovator. I think that is partially what's happening in our industry. That said, there are important figures that have been at the forefront as mouthpieces for these ideas: Levine, Locke, Searls, and Weinberger, who wrote The Cluetrain Manifesto, as well as David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR. I'm sure there are many others that can be credited...

@Glen Ruga, I'm so glad to hear that you've benefited from our marketing/education! Keep in touch.
Able Parris | May 29, 2009 10:36 AM
Chris,

This is a very informative newsletter, as always, but I'm not sure it's a practical guide to social media. Using these tools to generate traffic to your site is not social. It's marketing, which you've cleared up in the comments above.

You've given links to "connect" with you on these platforms, but if connecting with you means that you are just going to be linking me to your site and asking me questions for your newsletter, then it doesn't sound like a great relationship.

Your screenshot and explanation of Mark's Twitter feed was the closest you got to really explaining social media. And while it is definitely important to gather statistics on the traffic from these sites, and to know how to do it, it comes second to building valuable relationships online.

Of the three tools explained here, Twitter is probably the most powerful of them all, because of it's ability to spread information the fastest. First within your own network before it quickly enters others. Just ask Blair Enns how many people came to his site yesterday after @SwissMiss and @JasonSantaMaria linked to his manifesto. (They have over 16,000 followers collectively.)

I think a practical guide to social media may need more emphasis on relationships, and actual ways to connect with folks who are interested in your service.

I hope this comment helps add to, not criticize the time and effort your put in to this great newsletter.

Cheers!
Christopher Butler | May 29, 2009 4:52 PM
Able,

You may have noticed the blog post I wrote about this newsletter in which I quoted the Wikipedia definition of social media, which is as follows:
"Social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings."
In general, I would characterize every recommendation I made in this newsletter as being motivated by sharing and discussing information, so I'm confused as to why you think this newsletter misses the mark when it comes to social media. You said in your comment that "Using these tools to generate traffic to your site is not social. It's marketing, which you've cleared up in the comments above." Correct, this newsletter is a marketing effort, written primarily to an audience of creative agencies- the very market that we are positioned to serve. The entire point here is to advise our partners and potential partners as to how to use social media for marketing, and as I mentioned above, thus to educate their clients and potential clients.

Incidentally, you seem to suggest that using social media to drive traffic to one's site is anti-social, but then you say that Blair Enns is benefiting from "true" social behavior after a couple of popular tweeters posted links to his site, ostensibly driving large bursts of traffic his way. So is traffic generation bad or not? Either way, the point isn't the traffic itself, but that all those people heading to read Blair's manifesto are going to benefit from the information on his site. So it seems that social media is working, both for Blair and the users that followed the link to his site.

Lastly, and I think this is the real point, there are many different kinds of relationships, so saying that social media is about "relationships" is pretty unfocused. I use social media very differently at work from the way I might in my personal life, though sometimes they intertwine. But the nature of the relationships we're trying to build at Newfangled using social media are mutually beneficial business relationships, where the offering of our expertise is put through the conduits provided by LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as our own website. You say, "it doesn't sound like a great relationship," but I totally disagree. Every month, we get more and more people signing up for our newsletter because they want in on this relationship. Sure, we're not getting together for beers, but I'm assuming that's not the kind of relationship people are after when they sign up for our newsletter, register for a webinar, participate in one of our LinkedIn discussions, answer a LinkedIn question, or even become a client.

Chris
JT | May 29, 2009 5:13 PM
Very helpful stuff here. Just wanted to point out, as far as the comment stream is moving, that social media is great for friendship, but it's also great for promotion. Nothing wrong with that- plus, clicking a link is a willing act.
Maggie B | May 29, 2009 5:31 PM
@AbleParris, sorry, but you're the one who doesn't get it. @ChrisButler pretty much covered what i wanted to say by pointing out where you contradict yourself. I just want to add that either you have no idea what business relationships are, or you didn't read the newsletter.
Sean | May 29, 2009 6:42 PM
@ChrisButler, thanks for the link to the "multiples" article- tre cool. What about social fatigue? Did you read the 6 pixels of separation article about that?

@AbleParris, you said, "if connecting with you means that you are just going to be linking me to your site and asking me questions for your newsletter, then it doesn't sound like a great relationship." Sounds like a fantastic relationship to me. I mean, have you ever read any of this stuff? Most people try to charge for it and call themselves social media consultants, but Newfangled gives it away. Oh, I guess you're right in one sense- for those that don't reciprocate in any way, it's not such a hot relationship for Newfangled.

@Maggie B, yes and yes.
Christopher Butler | June 1, 2009 11:42 AM
@JT, You're right, clicking is a willing act, so one should be able to make an inference about actual interest in their content based upon the number of referrals from outposts like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. With that in mind, I think the value of information is a strong foundation for certain online relationships. I wouldn't necessarily call them transactional since most information providers don't receive equivalent amounts of information from the people who receive from them (think about the most popular blog you read).

@Sean, I assume you mean the 6 Pixel article titled When It Comes To Online Social Networks, Maybe We Have It All Wrong. Some good stuff there. Have you seen the diagram created by Andrew Shuttleworth that details the flow of information on social networks that he uses? It's incredibly detailed and really shows how information is the main thing that drives most online relationships.



@Maggie B, et all, It seems that the crux of this is that online relationships are just as diverse and complex as offline ones. Think of all the people you interact with in your life: family, friends, co-workers, clients, healthcare providers, legal counsel, entertainers, the vast myriad of service providers and vendors. With each, you have a different relationship. With some, the relationship is supported by money, meaning either you get paid to offer something, or you are paying to receive something. Even in those relationships, they can become fairly familiar, but they do tend to stay in a certain "compartment."
Able Parris | June 1, 2009 5:02 PM
Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to write out such a thoughtful response. It's great to have a place to discuss this stuff. I'll try to keep this brief. I'm really not trying to argue, and your blog post and your last comment do a great job explaining most what I was trying to say.

-----

To the others responding to my comment:
I commented here assuming certain things, and that was a mistake.

I was employed by Newfangled for 2 years, and did some contract work with them before that. I have been friends with Chris for almost 7 years. My comment may have come across as an attack, but I hope that it did not. I have a lot of respect for Newfangled, and continue to learn a lot from them, especially Chris. I see what he shares on Facebook, Google Reader, Delicious, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Tumblr. It's awesome, and it's helpful.

-----

I think what I am really responding to is the comment you added in parenthesis on the first page regarding a position "Social Media Manager," and your reference to Twitter as "pseudo-conversation." You said, "I, for one, wouldn't want my role to be based upon a tool."

I don't think the position is based on a tool. That person is the face of the company answering questions and offering expertise to those who are willing to listen. They are the ones that clear up misunderstanding about the company brand. That position is based upon relationships. In fact, you are probably that role at Newfangled, and you are doing a great job at it. The Newfangled blog and newsletter are top notch.

To clear things up, the Blair Enns comment should have been a side note. (It's hard to see the entire comment when they get long as I type in this little box.) I brought it up mainly because you are admittedly on the fence about Twitter, and I think it's a good example.

I have nothing against using social media to leverage traffic to your site, especially by offering something valuable to people. I do it, too. But I don't think that buying ads on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are how to use social media. The WebDev group, however, is genius. To engage with people directly, sharing your expertise. That is what builds trust, and trust with an audience creates a successful brand.
Christopher Butler | June 2, 2009 9:18 AM
Able,

I think what I was getting at with the "I...wouldn't want my role to be based upon a tool" comment was elaborated on in my follow up blog post, where I went on to write,
"eventually (if not already), what we think of as social media will simply be the standard way of using the internet."
Perhaps this is just an issue of semantics. You are right in everything you wrote about what that role would look like, and yes, many of those things are part of my role, just as they are for Mark O'Brien and anyone else at Newfangled who posts to our blog, or uses other social media tools to communicate with clients or talk about Newfangled. I think I take issue with the actual title itself, since I'm expecting that all things "social media" will be standard web practices and not need a special name of their own. Chris Brogan has made this point before, perhaps much more clearly than I have, so check out his post titled Getting Back to Your Desk.

In regard to advertising on social networks, I agree with you in that running ads is not essentially "social." However, I do think they bear mention in this newsletter precisely because they are a legitimate and effective way to use functionality offered by these social networks to increase awareness of a company's products or services. Given the purpose of this newsletter, I'd be remiss in not discussing this opportunity, however, I, like you, am not the most enthusiastic about them in general. I'd much rather interact with people directly through things like our LinkedIn group, blog posts, commenting on other blogs, etc.

One final point on the "polarizing" effect of Twitter. I wouldn't say I'm a hater, but I'm definitely not the most gung-ho about it either, as you know. But one thing occurred to me that I think is worth discussing- it makes a lot of sense to me that Twitter would be much more valuable to someone who is self-employed (like you) than someone who is not (like me). Twitter is, as you say, very powerful "because of it's ability to spread information the fastest," and you are obviously running with that technology. Given my role, I'm much less mobile than you and find it difficult to "tweet" regularly, so the tool itself is just not optimal for me at this point. That may change, though, who knows.

Thanks for the dialogue,

Chris
Anonymous | June 8, 2009 3:50 PM
Interesting dialogue here- shows that we're not really settled on social media and how to use it.
Dave | June 9, 2009 10:11 PM
Most people who set up a Twitter account only post once, which goes to show that it's mostly hype behind that tool.
tiny laptop | July 6, 2009 4:55 AM
Yes, I agree with you Chris. I have recently read a post from blog that Dell has actually sold over million bucks from the leads in their twitter account. I perfectly agree with this. Dell has actually did SMO to the extreme end. They opened twitter account 2 years back and now money is rolling.
I know the fact that for huge companies with huge customer base social media can be a powerful tool if they have a strong SMO strategies. But I always had a question on how Social Media is going to affect medium and small scale industries. They hardly have any customers and they are in hunt for customers. Can any one say how a small scale company find new customers from social media websites. If they attempt to do so, is it a spam. Please explain this concept.

Thanks
Christopher Butler | October 2, 2009 11:27 AM
@Anonymous, True.

@Dave, I've heard this too. I wonder how long that will continue to be true.

@Tiny Laptop, I think it could work just as well for smaller companies. The activity and scope of reach will be smaller, but the connections will still work.

@Car Hire, Yep, LinkedIn is good.
Mark | October 9, 2009 11:16 PM
Chris, I need your help. Some one has taken my name in LinkedIn. How do I create a user name now. I missed that and it is hurting a lot. Many of my clients connect to that person and not me.

Also can you write an article on this how to solve this issue. Thanks Chris.
Austin | November 7, 2009 12:03 AM
@Mark, I don't think I understand your issue completely - I'd say most people share their name with others... and I don't recall ever connecting with someone by a username. Create your profile, fill out as much detail as you can and their shouldn't be any issues in people finding you - unless someone is pretending to be you which I suppose is a completely different issues altogether...
Christopher Butler | November 16, 2009 3:07 PM
@Mark, I'm not sure what I can do to help you there, unfortunately. I'd imagine that many people have this issue on LinkedIn, although I'm pretty sure that LinkedIn allows many 'john smiths' to sign up provided they have unique email addresses and passwords to show that they are different people. Then it becomes up to other info (company name, location) to differentiate you from the others.
Orange County SEO | November 29, 2010 6:01 AM
@Mark LinkedIn doesn't allow users with the same nicknames even if they have unique emails. You can pick a similar username, something like your name with a distinct element, and then it's up to you to promote yourself. You will have to search friends or people you're interested in and invite them. If you want to be recognized use a picture of yourself. Chris is right, the info you provide can help you differentiate from others. Also, you can link your account on LinkeIn with your Facebook/Twitter account.

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