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Samsung beats Apple in meeting users’ multitasking needs

Samsung beats Apple in meeting users’ multitasking needs



The Keeping up with the Kardashian’s app

As consumers increasingly use mobile applications and mobile Web sites for a variety of everyday activities, marketers are focusing on enabling users to multitask. Yet, Apple seems to be trailing Samsung in catering to this trend.

YouTube recently updated its app to let users watch a video while searching for the next one, and many other apps and sites are following in suit. Yet, while desktop is definitely conducive to multiple tabs and windows being open at once, it is unclear if mobile, especially Apple devices, will lend itself to the same experience.

“Easily being able to share content socially, watch additional content, shop, search for store locations and other multitasking features in apps can be additive to a brand experience, especially when these functions are easy for the consumer to use,” said Nikao Yang, senior vice president of new business development & marketing at AdColony, Los Angeles.

“On one hand, the smaller screens on mobile devices may not be entirely conducive to multitasking,” he said. “Unlike desktop experiences where we have multiple tabs open and jump from activity to activity, the mobile app environment is about curated and purposeful app experiences that hold a consumer’s attention.

“However, it may just be the definition of multitasking that needs to be put into context for mobile. For many consumers, multitasking on mobile may be more about easily moving from app to app as opposed to trying to do multiple things on the same tiny screen.”

Samsung vs. Apple
While both Samsung and Apple face similar challenges in terms of screen size, Samsung seems to be ahead of the game in terms of multitasking capabilities.

According to Mr. Yang, some Samsung devices let users split the screen in half, so they can have their email inbox on one side while running another app on the other side.

The multitasking function is built directly into the device.

Apple devices, however, have not yet offered such a feature.

“In terms of trends, it seems like iOS is more about keeping users focused on one app than trying to do 50 things at once, but you can very easily switch between apps,” Mr. Yang said. “IOS notifications allow you to know what’s going on in your other apps without having to constantly jump around.”

Multitasking apps
Despite Apple not offering split-screen capabilities, marketers are still managing to squeeze multitasking functionality into apps and mobile sites.

On YouTube, for example, the experience is similar to the picture-in-picture experience on television, where one video becomes smaller to make space for other videos or activities. It is pretty difficult to see the smaller video, but the app can be used to listen to the video’s audio while looking for other videos.

E’s Keeping up with the Kardashians app also lets users watch videos while simultaneously looking at other videos or newsfeeds. While watching a video, a user can search through other videos on top of the video, making the original video a kind of background screen.

Here, too, it is a bit difficult to watch the video, but users could listen to the audio while searching for more videos.

Other apps allow users to completely minimize a video while searching through other content.

For example, Comedy Central’s CC: Stand-Up app lets users minimize the screen of a comedy act they are watching and click on discover mode to find related comedians while still listening to the original act.

Pandora even lets users close the app completely while still listening to music. Users can listen while going about other activities on their phones.

Youtube’s multitasking feature

Screen challenge
One of the obvious challenges with catering to a multitasking culture on mobile devices is that screen size may just be too small to accommodate more than one activity.

On desktops, consumers can comfortably open two windows or watch a video while browsing for other information. On mobile devices, this may be less comfortable.

“The smaller screen and the carefully-designed environment of a great app is meant to hold a consumer’s attention, which is a perfect canvas for advertisers,” Mr. Yang said.

“The challenge for marketers in any medium, whether it’s TV, online or on mobile, is to have beautifully-crafted creative and compelling, impactful messages that capture a consumer’s attention,” he said. “The key is to be additive to the experience rather than interruptive and to keep the consumer engaged.”

Matt Garrity, director of business development at Canvas, New York, believes that marketers should focus on providing the best features that offer convenience, efficiency and effectiveness. He does not necessarily think that apps need to directly cater to multitasking, rather multi-features.

“Marketers have the opportunity to connect to their audience with the right app experience,” Mr. Garrity said. “They need to first research and understand what will truly be of use on a repeat basis to the user.  User testing and interviews can go a long way towards avoiding superfluous features.”

Multitasking in the Keeping up with the Kardashians app

Tablets vs. phones
While multitasking may be a bit of a stretch for smartphone apps, tablet apps may have an easier time catering to this culture.

Marci Weisler, chief operating officer at EachScape, New York, believes that marketers can be more successful by incorporating multitasking features in tablet apps.

“The limited screen space on phones limits how many options are offered without cluttering the screen and overwhelming the user,” she said. “I think it’s more easily done on tablets, both in apps and browser.”

Ms. Weisler sees multitasking as becoming more prevalent among consumers and thinks that marketers should acknowledge this trend and try to engage consumers in their app or site.

“People are distracted and busy and while you want their full attention, you’d rather keep them engaged with you and doing multiple things than off somewhere else,” she said.

“We see this on the Web all the time, I’ve got multiple screens open. Brands need to be engaging in their own apps and as ads within apps. App publishers need to find ways to present brand marketing so it’s not obfuscated by mutlitasking.”


How to Improve Your Marketing With Facebook Apps

How to Improve Your Marketing With Facebook Apps


Want to grow your email list or drive more people to your business?

Are you looking for ways to connect Facebook to your business goals?

In this article, I’ll show you common goals of four different industries and how Facebook apps are helping meet those goals.

Why Facebook Apps?

What kinds of apps (also known as tabs) do you have on your Facebook page?

Are you using the right features on those tabs to support your business goals and Facebook strategy?


Goals can include having visitors sign up to receive emails, download a coupon or ebook, enter a promotion or make a purchase.

These actions need to be easy to complete. By making it possible for visitors to do this in tabs on your Facebook page, you can increase the rate of visitors successfully completing the desired action.

Using the right tab apps can increase your success!

give visitors access to tools and information

Give visitors access on Facebook to key tools and information.

Below I reveal common goals of four different industries (restaurants, hotels and travel destinations, local retailers and professional service companies) and outline key tabs that these industry page managers should consider implementing on their Facebook pages.

As you’ll see, there are some commonalities of tab types that can and should be used to increase Facebook marketing success. So if your industry is not represented specifically, don’t fret—common threads do apply!

#1: Restaurants

The opportunity for restaurants lies in catching the attention of fans or targeted consumers via posts or ads that drive them to tabs on your Facebook page. Once you get a visitor to your tab, quickly offer them the information and opportunities they need, and you’ll make all the difference for that customer. Key tab recommendations include the following:

Show Your Menu

Allow customers to see your specialties easily right on Facebook with a tab that includes your menu and perhaps a PDF download of it, or simply use a tab app solution that allows you to add your menu from your website to a tab.

give access to your menu

Give visitors access to your menu right on Facebook.

By iframing in your website menu, efficiencies are gained! Simply make changes on the website and the tab is updated as well. Plus, by having the menu on the tab, your page can use features such as a “like gate” so that visitors must take the quick action of liking the page in order to see the menu.

Add Email Sign-up

Add an email sign-up tab to your Facebook page and make users aware of it through posts and tips in the news feed. Your restaurant can grow its email list and then reach potential customers via email as well on Facebook.

email signup free voucher

Email sign-up with free dessert voucher.

Share Special Offers

Who doesn’t like a deal? Offer an incentive that drives foot traffic—offer a coupon or discount deal on a tab. To get even more long-term marketing value, integrate an email opt-in with the special offer.

special offer example

Special offer example that extends reach and rewards new fans.

Combine a promotion incentive with an email opt-in to grow your email marketing list more quickly than simply using an email sign-up tab alone.

The promotion serves as an immediate way to potentially increase foot traffic to your restaurant, and the email sign-up gives you an ongoing method to market to those same individuals.

For more information on tying promotions with growing your email list, have a look at Growing Your Email List With Facebook Promotions.

Take Reservations

Is Saturday night packed at your establishment? Do customers want to call ahead to reserve their table? Do you already take reservations via your website?

If not, then consider adding a reservations form to a tab on your Facebook page. By using an iframe or website resizer app solution, you can easily add your website reservations page to a tab and make it easy for Facebook users to get a spot at your restaurant!

There are basically two ways to add the reservations feature to a tab:

  • Have your reservations system functionality built into a custom tab, which can be as simple as a form to enter date, time, name and mobile number.
  • Use a cost-effective approach of iframing your existing web reservations page URL into a tab which serves to offer the same web feature right in a tab on your Facebook page.
    reservations tab

    Add your reservations page to a tab.

#2: Hotel and Travel Destinations

Hotels and travel destinations have a wonderful opportunity to engage fans and integrate tabs that help guests complete desired actions. Key tab recommendations include the following:

Show Off Features and Amenities

Give your visitors a view of your best and finest features! Add a tab with a gallery of images and perhaps a quick video to inspire visitors to like your page and connect with you further.

A related idea is to offer an events tab, feature special activities or offers for users to learn about or opt into.

The example below showcases key features of the hotel, while also incorporating the ability for guests to look up availability and check rates—a great combination!

display fine points

Display your finest points and enable visitors to take action.

Combine Special Offers With Email Sign-up

As noted in the restaurant section, a desired action for visitors to complete that can help grow your business is the ability for visitors to sign up for email lists about specials or events.

When combined with an incentive, the rates of sign-up can be greater. This is a great way to connect with your visitors so that when the time is right for them to plan their next trip, your location can be first on their mind!

email offer

Example tab to allow sign-up for email offers.

Book Your Guests for a Stay

A key for hotels and restaurants is keeping the facility bookings up! Why make visitors jump outside of Facebook to get to a reservation? If you’ve captured their attention in the news feed with a post and brought them to the tab, make it easy for them to check dates and get their reservation started.

Use an iframe or website resizer app solution to add your website reservations page to a tab and make it easy for Facebook users to get a spot at your hotel!

reservations web page tab

Make it easy! Add the reservations web page to a tab.

Contest Tab

Hotels and travel destinations can generate buzz and increase reach and engagement on their page when they host a contest or promotion. Contests and promotions can benefit a page in many ways—from growing the email list to reaching friends of fans, and more.

A contest that’s tied to your location, such as a photo contest to win a free or discounted stay, can be a great way to boost engagement.

facebook contest

Contests can increase reach and reservations.

#3: Local Retailers

A key for local retailers is inspiring traffic to come to their store. As outlined in 11 Checks to Ensure Your Facebook Page Is Up to Date, one important item is to allow Facebook check-ins. This can help you gain visibility in Facebook’s Graph Search and with friends of those who check in.

Tabs can also play an important role for local retailers and here are a few key tab recommendations for retailers:

Highlight Deals and Featured Products

Post enticing nuggets of information to the news feed and include a link to the custom tab where you showcase either a deal or a featured product.

A key decision is to know what the goal of each tab is. Do you want to ensure a user has liked your page, completes an email sign-up, downloads a coupon or something else? Know the action and provide the information to help accomplish that goal.

In this example, a time-specific offer is outlined (to keep the image height limited I’m not showing the form below the offer). The brand used a time-limited offer with a form to encourage fans to act and give them the opportunity to do so right on the tab.

limited time offer

A limited-time offer inspires participation.

Collect Email Sign-ups

As with restaurants and hotels, having an email sign-up tab is an opportunity to grow your company email list. As fans sign up, it adds value and potential to your ongoing marketing.

Offer a simple incentive such as a coupon in exchange for the opt-in to help drive traffic to your tab and increase the number of sign-ups.

email signup tab

Retail locations can add email sign-up tabs.

Give Customers a Map and Directions

With news feed posts that drive interest and build engagement with friends of fans, direct traffic to your location map tab to help Facebook users find their way to your location.

A recommended feature for your map tab is a Get Directions option that will make it easy for Facebook users to plan and come to your location.

map tab

Offer a map tab to help fans get to your store.

#4: Professional Services

As we’ve seen thus far, each industry has unique offerings that can be of interest to particular Facebook users.

Professional service companies cover a wide range of business services from trainers and realtors to social media consultants, doctors and more. The key is for each to identify the fan actions that they want and to focus tabs accordingly to achieve those results.

Each professional should consider what product, service, offering or incentive can drive great interest from potential customers, and how that can be offered turnkey on a Facebook tab. Recommendations include:

Increase Email Sign-ups With Incentives

Allure Laser Treatment created a tab with an incentive to refer a friend. The special offer included a lead-capture form from which they could do follow-up marketing.

Incentive tab offers are best used when tied to your company services and specialties, and allow the user to see and respond quickly right on the Facebook tab.

facebook incentive

Incentive that is tied to the professional service offered.

Offer Content Downloads

Pam Moore offers free ebook downloads as an educational incentive for visitors to opt into her email newsletters that are focused on a key topical area. Beyond growing her email list, the ebook materials inform, assist and help visitors get to know her company more intimately. This type of added value is a great socially relevant method to win new clients by being helpful.

Professional service providers need to find ways to link their email marketing with assembled content to create ebooks and other package materials that add value and demonstrate thought leadership.

This is an example of a web page brought into a Facebook tab. Again the value is that one created item, a web page, is now used in two unique locations—the website and a Facebook tab.

ebook offer

Ebook offer for email opt-in = resources that incentivize the sign-up.

Display Your Services

Let’s be practical. As a professional service provider, you need to make sure you offer a simple and clear message on the services you provide. Posting tips and then linking to your tab where interested parties can become fans of your page and get clarity on the range of services you offer give Facebook users an easy way to learn about and understand your company.

It’s clear what John Haydon‘s three primary focus areas are from a quick glimpse at his tab!

tab with services offered

Tab with a clear and simple outline of services offered.

Build Specialized Tools

A key tab feature that some professional service companies have is the ability for visitors to use their tools to find information for themselves.

Realtor home listings and ecommerce stores are examples of providers using this. Someone making a home purchase is going to want to review homes for sale. Make it easy for fans and interested Facebook users to search for homes while staying on Facebook.

Integrate a tab with a home listing and search feature, either by bringing in a web page or custom-programming a tab to offer relevant and valuable assistance to your consumers.

If you offer services that can be purchased on your website, offer the same purchase capability on a Facebook tab to increase sales.

My mantra continues to be users are on Facebook because they want to be, so give them what you’ve got right on Facebook! Make it easy for them and be a resource on Facebook where they can find answers and take action.

listing web page tab

Add your realty listing web page to a tab for Facebook shoppers.


If there’s a pattern you recognize, good! Though industries can vary greatly, there are some similarities in ways that Facebook page tabs can be used.

Common opportunities include the ability to grow email marketing lists, offer incentives and deals and deliver features that can be critical to gaining customers and growing your business. The key, again, is to offer the right information at the right time and in the right method so that a Facebook user can see, learn and complete an action while remaining on Facebook.

While not exhaustive, these tips can help Facebook page managers reflect on ways they can improve their Facebook page offerings for a variety of industries.

After you’ve decided on the Facebook tabs you need for your business, look for the best tab app solutions or get the technical help you need to create your own.


Mobile is the great unifier as cross-device advertising takes off

Mobile is the great unifier as cross-device advertising takes off


Cross device

Mobile plays key role in cross-device campaigns

Marketers are increasingly eying cross-device campaigns, with mobile acting as the glue that connects the various elements together to ensure a seamless user experience. However, challenges still exist such as mobile tracking and how to tailor content for each platform.

While interest in cross-device advertising has been around for several years, efforts have taken off in 2013 as consumers increasingly engage with a variety of Internet-enabled devices throughout their day. Marketers are also more eager to funnel a growing portion of their digital budgets to cross-device campaigns because of the strategy’s effectiveness.

“Interest in cross-device is a trend that has been creeping up the past couple of years, but 2013 seems to be a bit of a tipping point,” said Jeremy Levine, senior vice president of digital sales at Live Nation, Beverly Hills, CA. “With the increase in smartphone and tablet usage, brands want to reach consumers where they are naturally spending time while making sure their message is consistent across platforms.

“Given the technological advances in geo-location, mobile ad serving/tracking and better and more engaging ad units, brands can now create consistent messages while allowing the creative/ad solution to be distinct to each platform leveraging that platform’s core strength,” he said. “This will only become bigger over time.

“Mobile is the one device that consumers have on them almost all the time, at home, work, commuting, during the weekend, out to dinner, at concerts, sporting events, shopping, etc. Given that computers and tablets still remain devices primarily used at home along with the TV, utilizing mobile allows advertisers to be consistently connecting with consumers wherever they are.”

Changing consumer habits
Marketers are intrigued by cross-device campaigns because of the opportunity to reach the same audience across different devices throughout their day, which has the potential to provide greater brand continuity and campaign stickiness.

Changing consumers habits are a key reason for the interest in cross-device campaigns.

“Most people have multiple devices on which they are now concurrently active,” said Craig Elimeliah, vice president and director of creative technology at RAPP, New York. “Watching TV on a smartphone or a tablet has become commonplace, as is navigating from phone to tablet to computer to TV.

“We now have a much more complex browsing environment in which users are starting engagement on one device and continuing on another,” he said.

Delivery enhancements
The advancements made in delivering and measuring campaigns across devices are also helping to spur interest.

For example, Google Enhanced Campaigns debuted recently, making it easy for marketers to execute paid search programs across smartphones, tablets and desktops with a single campaign.

Additionally, Publicis Groupe and AOL Inc. recently teamed up to create Publicis AOL Live, an end-to-end solution for delivering live advertising across mobile, tablet, desktop and smart TV.

“Fundamentally, cross-device campaigns require three things to execute: premium scale across all platforms, accurate first and third party data linking devices together and an optimization engine to increase results,” said Chad Gallagher, director of mobile at AOL Networks, New York.

“Up until now, companies weren’t able to check off all those boxes thereby making execution difficult,” he said.

Another reason for the growth in cross-device campaigns is the success marketers are seeing with these efforts.

“Clients, regardless of the vertical, are seeing dramatically better results when running a cross-device campaign than if they run a campaign in silo’s on desktop and mobile,” Mr.Gallagher said. “ The days of desktop only campaigns are over.

Agency interest in cross-device campaigns is also strong as the availability improves for data sets that accommodate cross-device targeting.

Understanding user behavior
However, there are still challenges for executing campaigns across multiple devices, including unified reporting, establishing appropriate success metrics based on each device’s unique capabilities and building programs that work for advertisers while adding value to the consumer experience.

“The methodologies used to determine and evaluate cross-channel audiences are widely different,” said Tom Talbert, group director of media services at Lowe Campbell Ewald, Detroit. “So when a media partner references their ability to target across various screens, understand how they’re arriving at the audience data they are presenting to you.

One of the challenges with cross-device campaigns is understanding how to make sense of users’ behaviors across the devices.

Marketers then need to be able to report and act on those behaviors.

“Cross device campaigns now offer marketers a more robust opportunity to tell more contextual stories,” RAPP’s Mr. Elimeliah said. “Each device tells us what kind of mode our users are in, and the trick is to seamlessly tell that story in a creative way that makes sense at each touch point in the consumer journey.

“The challenges are becoming intimate with each device, the pervasive channels on each device, the contexts those devices are being used in and cohesive storytelling that threads the entire ecosystem,” he said.

“That is no easy task. It takes an expertise in device; technology; user experience; popular and emerging channels and apps; a number of storytelling methods that are native to all of those channels; and a genius to architect this so that it doesn’t feel creepy or fall apart at various touch points.”

Mobile tracking
Another challenge for cross-device campaigns is the lack of a persistent cookie for tracking users in mobile, making it difficult to optimize efforts.

Marketers are trying to address this issue in a number of different ways.

For example, advertising technology firms RUN has developed a proprietary product that enables cookie-less ad targeting and conversion tracking across all devices.

“Mobile’s role in cross-device advertising is growing exponentially, specifically as a highly-influential step within the purchase funnel,” said Seth Hittman, CEO of RUN, New York. “This is where the ‘holy grail’ opportunity for true multi-channel attribution comes into play.

“Without the ability to accurately track consumer behavior on mobile devices, there is no way to truly accomplish a multi-channel, cross-device strategy that premium brands can rally behind,” he said.

Agencies report that cross-device campaigns are getting easier to execute because marketers understand the importance of reaching consumers where they are spending their time. Also, designers and developers are experienced with responsive design and adapting content and messages across platforms.

The challenge going forward is going to stay on top of just how quickly mobile is growing.

“According to Google, 90 percent of all media interactions occur with a digital screen, and we are now seeing what has been previously called the ‘second screen’ rising up to become the ‘first screen’ for consumers in more and more campaigns,” said Matthew Witt, executive vice president and director of digital integration at Tris3ct, Chicago.


Mobile advertising advances on many fronts, challenging marketers to keep up

Mobile advertising advances on many fronts, challenging marketers to keep up


mobile ad

Native advertising gives mobile big bump

While the consensus is that the mobile advertising user experience has made significant strides forward, this growing sophistication also makes it harder for marketers to decide how to move beyond the standard banner ad.

Native advertising, cross-device advertising, social media, enhanced targeting and real-time bidding can all help marketers significantly enhance their mobile strategies. However, mobile advertising has also become more fragmented this year with multiple companies all vying for brands with different propositions.

“There are many companies out there trying to provide alternative options to standard ad formats,” said Alexis Berger, vice president of Midwest sales at Kargo, New York.

“The question becomes ‘A: Do they have the scale to make an impact, and B: Do they have the right properties to run them on,'” she said.

Native opportunities
Mobile advertising has become increasingly more sophisticated this year, as evidenced by the growth in brands adopting a number of different strategies, including native ad formats to create scalable campaigns.

Marketers have placed a significantly bigger focus this year on mobile native advertisements as an alternative to static banner ads. Although fragmentation and scale remain issues, the value proposition of integrated ads that do not feel intrusive is catching on with both advertisers and consumers.

“Consumers have a deeply personal relationship with their mobile devices and so there’s a higher expectation for how brands reach them through this medium,” said Deborah Powsner, vice president of marketing and consumer insights at SessionM, Boston. “Mobile ads need to feel like a seamless, relevant piece of the experience.”

“While native ads were once reserved for test campaigns or large promotions, we’re starting to see this format become an evergreen piece of brands’ media buys,” she said. “I expect we’ll see a lot more of this in 2014.”

As mobile continues to move closer to becoming more contextual and relevant, native ad placements let marketers adapt their creative to fit bigger ad formats.

In fact, SessionM chalks up 20 – 30 percent click-through rates on brand campaigns due to a differentiated experience from the 200 X 350 banner ad.

A native mobile ad from Old Navy

Cross-platform advertising is growing in importance for marketers, evidenced by a new study from ValueClick Media and Greystripe which found that one-third of digital ad budgets will be allocated to cross-device campaigns this year (see story).

The problem with cross-screen campaigns though is that the experience is often the same with ad copy tweaked to fit the size of the screen.

Cross-screen opportunities grow

Improved targeting
One of the other main ways that mobile advertising has changed this year is around targeting, including location and social media.

Twitter and Facebook are two of the heaviest hitters in social media this year in terms of boosting their mobile strategies.

In fact, Facebook’s most recent numbers show that 40 percent of revenue comes from mobile, which is significantly higher than the 23 percent that the medium represented in the fourth-quarter of 2012.

“The increase in social media means that there is much more data that Facebook has on its users and their interest,” said Eric Mugnier, senior vice president of North America at M&C Saatchi Mobile, London.

“This is becoming increasingly sophisticated,” he said. “Coupled with conversion tracking, we can now effectively increase customer ROI.”

Although mobile continues to grow in importance for Facebook, many experts argue that the user experience is not the best. For mobile to hit a tipping point for Facebook, the user experience will need to improve so that consumers are still able to browse through the site without feeling bombarded by sponsored news.

Twitter has also expanded its advertising options for marketers around second-screen efforts, with brands such as Sprint testing new ways to drive tune-ins and engagement during live TV (see story).

Real-time bidding has also helped achieve better mobile targeting this year at a granular level, according to Mr. Mugnier.

The data that marketers are able to collect via new types of mobile advertising has also been significant in swaying marketers to invest more this year.

Mobile devices collect ten times the number of user signals that desktops collect, opening up new opportunities for brands to do more with mobile than repurpose ads, according to Anne Frisbie, vice president and general manager of global supply at InMobi, Singapore.

For example, more precise types of location are being used by brands this year to tap into mobile’s goal of taking an advertising message down to a hyperlocal level.

“As marketers have begun to open themselves up for new digital marketing approaches on mobile from what they have done on desktop, innovation is starting to show up in the area of data and targeting,” Ms. Frisbie said.

“I love to see testing around in-app purchase data, mobile lifetime value calculations that drive audience segments, geo lookalike models or in store visit attribution studies,” she said.


3 Strategies for Finding Customers With Social Media

3 Strategies for Finding Customers With Social Media

Do you need a strategy to reach your ideal prospects with social media?

Are you overwhelmed by all the social media options?

If so, you’re not alone. Social media overwhelm is one of the biggest challenges businesses face.

In this article, I’m going to show you three social media strategies so you can focus your efforts on the channels that best align with your business objective and target audience.


The Simple Solution

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for it: only focus on where your customers are.


Where are your customers on social media? Image source: iStockPhoto.

Once you find out where your customers are on social media, it becomes easier to come up with a strategy that will help you find your future customers.

Here are three strategies you should consider:

Strategy #1: Ask Your Customers

Asking is the low-hanging fruit that’s easy for small business owners to overlook. It’s such a simple thing to do and allows you to further cement the personal connection you have with your customers.

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, when your customers visit your location, ask whether they use social media. If you have another type of business, figure out the best time and place to ask your customers whether they use social media.

If they do use social media, ask them what channels they spend their time on. Is it FacebookPinterest? Maybe it’s LinkedIn.

Maybe they don’t even use social media. By asking, you’d know.

If your customers are using social media, take it a step further and ask them how they like to be engaged on those channels. This will give you invaluable insight into how you can best add value in a way they’ll find useful.

You can also take the same approach if your business is online.

Most online businesses have an email list. Send your customer contacts an email and ask the same questions. It doesn’t have to be the subject of an entire email, necessarily; just a simple “P.S.” at the end of your weekly newsletter or part of a quarterly survey you send out should work wonders.

email ps

Ask you using a P.S. in your email.

Implementing this strategy can separate you and your business from your competitors, because so few businesses make the effort to ask. Asking removes any assumptions you may have about where your customers are hanging out online and shows them how much you care.

This is an easy way to get the important information you need to set up a successful social media strategy for your business.

Strategy #2: Use Google Alerts

I’m sure you’ve heard of Google Alerts, but are you using them?

If not, you’re missing a simple and free way to monitor what’s going on in your industry and find where your customers are online.

Google Alerts are updates you can set up in Google that allow you to keep track of a specific topic anytime it’s mentioned on the web.

For example, you can monitor if you or your business is mentioned across the web or keep track of industry news. When there’s a mention of your topic, you receive an email with a link to that search result.

How does this help you find your customers on social media?

Say you’re a small toy company that specializes in locally made wooden toys. You have an online presence but want to expand it and you think that social media might be an effective strategy. You’re unsure, though, which channels your target audience is using.

You could use Google Alerts to find this out.

You decide to enter “birthday gift ideas for kids” as a search query in Google Alerts. And the results show Pinterest boards and articles on “mommy blogs” that are relevant to your business.

When checking out the Pinterest board, you also find several other boards that are similar to your niche. Bingo! Pinterest may be one social channel you want to focus on.

Here’s how to set up your Google Alerts:

  • Go to Google Alerts.
  • Enter the term or phrase you want to monitor in the Search Query field.
  • Choose the type of results you’d like to get in the Result Type field. (I recommend starting out with “Everything.” You can always change it once you see the type of results you’re getting.)
  • Then choose how often you want to receive the results, how many results you want (I recommend “Only the best results”) and the email where you want to receive them.
    google alerts

    Here’s how to set up Google Alerts.

Google Alerts require a little market research, but can get you the valuable information you need to find the social media strategy that works best for your business.

Strategy #3: Use the Search Function Within Social Channels

Sometimes you may want to take a deeper dive into researching your customers on a specific social media platform. Or you may love using a certain social platform and want to know whether your customers are there too. You can use the platform’s search functionality to quickly find out if your customers use the same one.

Each social channel has a search function that gives you the opportunity to instantly determine whether your customers are using it. And this can be as simple as entering the names of some of your customers in the search box on the social platform.

You can also search on things like your niche topic, relevant industry leaders, brands within your niche and any competitors you might have.

Using the search function is another simple and effective strategy that’s often overlooked, yet it will give you great insight into whether your customers are actively using that platform.

If you have a large customer base, consider pulling together a short list selection of the typical customers you want to reach on social media, and then search for them on a social media platform. This would give you information to work with.

Use the Google+ Communities Search:

google+ community search

Google+ Community search.

Or use the LinkedIn Search:

linkedin search

LinkedIn search.

Twitter’s Advanced Search is especially effective because not only can you search by all the attributes mentioned above, you can also search within a specific geographic region.

twitter search

Twitter Advanced Search includes geographic locations.

Remember to stay up to date with changes on your favorite social platform. For example, there have been developments recently with Facebook Graph Search.

Conducting a little research on your customers using the search functions on the social platforms can help you determine where you should invest your social media marketing.

Finding Your Customers Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Use these simple, effective (and free!) ideas to find which social channels your customers are using.

As a business, if you’re not engaging with your customers on their terms, you’re missing a huge opportunity to add value and ultimately grow your business.

Focus your efforts on the few channels that align with your customers and business objectives and let your competitors be overwhelmed by thinking they need to be on every social media platform.


How to Use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

How to Use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates


Are you wondering how to use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates?

Does your business have a LinkedIn company page?

Do you want to grow your following outside of your company page?

In this article I’ll show you 6 steps for creating and measuring the impact of your first LinkedIn Sponsored Update.

Why Sponsored Updates?

If you’re one of the 3 million companies that have a LinkedIn company page, you’ll know that you can post updates directly from your company rather than as an individual. And you can like and comment as your company as well.

And now, just like Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories on other social sites, LinkedIn has launched its own Sponsored Updates function, which runs on the same principle.

If you’re a B2B marketer, Sponsored Updates allow you to promote your message to others outside your company page following. At the same time, you can target who sees that message, so your marketing efforts can be focused on the right people.

Here’s how to use Sponsored Updates:

#1: Create Your Post

Post your update to your company page as normal. You’ll need to wait a few minutes and then refresh your page until you see the Sponsor Update button.

sponsor update button

Select an update to sponsor by clicking the Sponsor Update button.


You can sponsor any of the updates on your company page, even one that’s a few months old like this one. When you click on it, you’ll be taken through to choose your target criteria for your Sponsored Update.

#2: Name Your Campaign

When you set up your first campaign, you’ll need to give it a name. I suggest you pick something generic like trial 1.

As you set up other Sponsored Updates, you have the opportunity to use the same campaign criteria each time, making it easy to duplicate an equation when you find one that works for you.

#3: Target Your Campaign

You can target your update for:

  • Location – by country and some areas
  • Company – by name or category (industry or size), or exclude
  • Job title – by title or category, or exclude
  • School – by school name, or exclude
  • Skills – by skill name, or exclude
  • Group – all or a particular group, or exclude
  • Gender
  • Age – several age brackets to choose from

#4: Choose Your Payment Option

Now you choose your budget and whether you wish to use cost per click (CPC) or cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). You don’t need to wait for LinkedIn to authorize your Sponsored Update; it’s live within a few minutes.

choose payment option

Choose how you’ll pay for your Sponsored Update.

#5: Check Your Preview

Once your ad is set, you can preview it by clicking Preview in your Campaign Manager.

preview you update

Access a preview of your Sponsored Update in the Campaign Manager.

You can see what your visitors will see.

example of sponsored update

An example of a Sponsored Update.

#6: Measure the Results

So now that you’ve created your post and set up a campaign for it, what do all the figures mean?

Interactions refers to any action that the viewer took, such as clicking Like, Share or Comment.

The engagement rate is worked out by adding clicks and actions, divided by impressions.

You’ll also be able to see how your post is doing organically, outside of the Sponsored Update feature, and with those who follow your company page and see the post in their news feed.

track impact

Track the impact of each Sponsored Update.

The green + signs will be seen on your Sponsored Update statistics, but not on your organic statistics. They simply refer to the extra visibility you have given the update by sponsoring it. Lastly, you’ll see any new followers you may have acquired via the update promotion.

You can view your metrics at any time by going to your post and clicking on the highlighted campaign name or you can go directly to LinkedIn Campaign Manager to find out how your updates are performing.

When you click on the highlighted campaign name, you’ll see all of your campaigns. If you click on View Details, you’ll see the current criteria attached to your campaign and you can easily make any adjustments.

access your metrics

Use the Campaign Manager to access all of your metrics.

By clicking on View Details, you’ll be taken through to more information about your campaign criteria and given the opportunity to tweak your audience, campaign settings (not shown on this image) and general information.

campaign overview example

Example of a campaign overview.

Once you’ve created your campaign criteria, they will all show in your Campaign Manager, where you can see how each campaign is performing.

Click the question mark icons to find out more detail about each tab heading.

campaign performance

An overview of a campaign’s performance.

You can turn off your campaign at any time in two ways—through your Campaign Manager page by turning the status to off or directly from your post by clicking on Manage. Simply uncheck the box and your promotion will be stopped.

turn campaign on or off

Easily turn your campaign on or off.

There are two types of clicks to be aware of—social and billable. Social clicks are simply post likes, shares and comments. Billable clicks are amassed by someone clicking the post title, the post link or your logo within your Sponsored Update.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates have pretty much the same metrics you would expect from any ad campaign manager. Take a few minutes and have a look around on the Campaign Manager page.

Consider using Sponsored Updates for:

  • Ticket sales for upcoming events
  • Marketing giveaways such as white papers and eBooks
  • New product launch information
  • A blog post that is already working hard and generating good results for you

Best Practices

The great thing about LinkedIn Sponsored Updates is that they run on a very professional B2B networking platform, so your target audience is very much available to you.

With that in mind, you don’t want to throw money away through either poor targeting or poor ad creation.

Here are a few things to consider when you decide to sponsor an update:

  • Create a killer headline—something that creates intrigue to encourage others to click on it.
  • Use only one link per post. You don’t want to confuse the reader on where to go by providing too many choices.
  • Keep it human as well as professional. Remember people are surfing their news feed to catch up on what’s happening in their network, not to be sold to.
  • Add a striking cover if you’re promoting a report or other PDF. If you simply upload a text PDF, it won’t stand out very well.
  • Use great images to get your post noticed.
  • Select your targeting options carefully.


LinkedIn Sponsored Updates are very easy to create and manage, and can be used as a lead generation tool for your business. The metrics will allow you to optimize the targeting of your content delivery so that you’re sure to reach the right audience.

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