The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


Engagement - without rings

Mark Kawabe - Monday, November 25, 2013

Social media iconsCustomer engagement is a lovely buzzword that marketers like to toss around. It sounds good, but what are we talking about when we refer to "engagement"? Is it something that can be measured or is it just a fluff term?

Right now, you are reading this blog post. You are interacting with content that I have provided online. At its base, this is engagement. The interaction with online content is the key. HOW visitors interact with your online content can also be measured (somewhat imprecisely), so it's not fluff.

Here are a few ways you can measure engagement on your website or social media platforms.

Amount of time spent on website and pages

Knowing how long people are spending on your site and on individual pages you can better understand how interested people are in your content. It's relatively easy to get people to visit your site. Keeping them there and getting them to take action is a challenge.

Subscriptions to newsletters or blogs

If you're not getting many subscriptions on either, your content may not be compelling enough for people to want to receive it regularly. If you're not providing content relevant to your visitor's needs, they won't see the value in subscribing. Consider putting out questions to your audience asking what topics they would like to see covered. Knowing what your audience wants will make it easier to tailor your content to them, increasing engagement.

Follows / Likes / Shares / Comments / Pins etc. on social media platforms

Getting visitors to "like" you on social media isn't all that hard. Keeping them as followers and getting them to share or comment on your content is more challenging. With every post, tweet etc., you have the opportunity to measure how engaging your content is. There are also degrees of engagement. On Facebook, for example, a "share" is more valuable than a "like", and a comment is more valuable than a share.

Contacts and sales opportunities

This is really the "ultimate" measure of engagement. If your website and/or social media campaigns are consistently creating contacts and generating sales opportunities, it's reasonable to assume that you are doing pretty well at customer engagement.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a good place to get started in understanding how to improve the overall engagement of your website and social media campaigns. Have a great time implementing on this chilly Monday!

Gettin' Out There - with Video!

Mark Kawabe - Monday, November 18, 2013

When I was starting out in business, I thought about getting a promotional video made. I quickly realized I'd never be able to afford it. At a cost of two thousand dollars for a two minute video, there was no way I could justify it. That was back in 1997, eight years before YouTube changed the game forever.

YouTube changed the video industry in two very important ways.

1) It democratized the distribution of videos. Anyone can upload a video and have it seen by millions. It's free to do this. Imagine what you would have had to do before to get your videos seen by millions before YouTube came along. People used to distribute business card sized CDs with videos. Remember those?

2) It lowered the quality threshold. If content was compelling enough, people will watch a video. The top 30 all-time watched videos on YouTube are mostly professionally-produced music videos from popular artists with huge fan bases. #5 is called "Charlie bit my finger - again!" and has been viewed 599,148,435 times (as of November 15, 2013). Don't ask me what's compelling about this . . .

Video engages people in a way that text can't. With a video of you, people see you, hear you and can see your body language. It's much more powerful than words on a screen. You don't have to be a movie star to make good videos. Just be you. With a little preparation, you can make an video that engages, entertains and builds rapport with your audience.

Also, notice I've added a video to this blog post. It says pretty much everything I wrote here, but it's in video. What will be remembered more? What are your thoughts on this? I'm curious, so please share your comments!

Who likes to eat?

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, October 31, 2013

In theory, everyone likes food. I know it's a necessity, but some people seem to enjoy eating more than others. I am starting a month-long experiment that if it goes well, will mean more people read my blog and engage with the content (and hopefully each other). It will also mean I'm going to meet some people and some local restaurants are going to get some business

My experiment is as follows:

I am going to run a weekly draw for a free breakfast or lunch - with me : )

To enter, all you have to do is interact with recent posts on my blog in some way. When you do, you'll receive a ballot in the draw. Different interactions will receive different numbers of ballots, as below.

  • If you like my blog post on Facebook, you will receive one ballot.
  • If you share my blog post, you will receive three ballots.
  • If you comment on my blog post, directly or on Facebook, you will receive five ballots. Only the first comment you make on each post will be counted.

At the end of each week, I will look back at the interactions with the week's blog posts and tally up how many ballots each person gets. Then I'll do a random draw and announce the winner on Monday. It will be announced on the blog and elsewhere, of course : )

This experiment starts today, so any engagements made on blog entries posted during the week of October 28~November 1 will count towards your ballots. Good luck!

P.S. If you're not local to Niagara, my apologies, but unless I happen to be headed to where you are, if you win, you'll have to come to Niagara to collect. While the internet is worldwide, my ability to travel the length and breadth of the globe to have breakfast or lunch is limited. Then again, it would make for an awesome reason to visit other parts of the world!

Turning the Online Monster into your Servant

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Websites. 1000 social media websites. Blogs. YouTube. SEO. There are thousands of ways to market online. What's a business to do? Here are some tips on how to turn the online monster you've created (or are thinking of creating) into your servant.

Plan

When managing your online presence seems overwhelming, it's probably because you didn't plan. If you don't know where you're going, you'll have no idea if you're getting there or not. Fortunately, you can change this whenever you want.

Implement

This is where many people start - they start doing before planning. If this sounds like you, take a deep breath, back away from your monitor and take some time to plan your activities. Make a schedule. Define your goals. Then work on making them happen.

Social media sites make it easy to implement. Slap up a post or a picture or comment and voila! You're done! But how do you know it's what's most beneficial?

Websites or other corporate social media tools that are not current demonstrate a failure to implement. Most businesses can improve in this area. My business included.

Measure

Do you know how many people read your last Facebook post? Did anyone like them? Do you know who they were? How did that Facebook post compare to the previous one - and the one before it?

How about your site traffic? Is it up or down from last month? How about your search engine rankings?

Not measuring the results of online activities means you're shooting at targets without knowing you've hit them. This is why many business owners say marketing online doesn't work for them. They or their staff don't measure the results they get.

Analyze, Study & Plan Again

So you've planned, implemented and measured. Can things be improved? Of course they can. Take what you've done and build on it to make it better.

If you don't know HOW to make it better, you're in luck. There are at least a few million pages of online advice (including this one) on how to improve every aspect of your online presence.

If you've read my earlier blog posts, you'll know this stuff isn't rocket science. It's "common sense" - but we all know how prevalent that is these days. I came across a website just before writing this post that proudly exclaimed their latest news on the homepage - except it was from 2011. When the primary purpose of a website is to create confidence about doing business with you, how does something like that benefit your business?

Most "problems" with websites and online marketing are solved by following the steps above. If you don't have time or patience to follow the prescription, then feel free to call "Dr. Mark" at 905-227-6667. I'd be happy to help you manage your online marketing needs so you don't have to.

Read this - and act on it! - before your next Facebook post!

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

If you're in business, here's a question for you to ponder before your next Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter post:

In what way will your post build relationships, enhance trust and create value in your readers' lives?

The litmus test: If it won't, don't post. Think of something that will. Then post.

Repeat every time you post : )

Have a happy Tuesday!

How Wrong Can You AFFORD to Be?

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, May 19, 2011

As usual, another inspiration based on Seth Godin.

Seth talks about "the privilege of being wrong". Most of us can be wrong. We're not in life and death struggles that are going to kill us TODAY.


In business, you're in a life and death struggle that will kill you EVENTUALLY if you don't "do the right things".


Of course, whatever you're doing today is "the right thing", isn't it? What makes it right? Is it because it's comfortable? Free / inexpensive? Easy?


This probably isn't a revelation to anyone, but if it's easy, free or comfortable, then it's probably not the "right thing" to be doing, unless you have the systems in place in your business so that things that USED TO  be uncomfortable, expensive or difficult are now the opposite.


Take writing. It's hard work - initially. Over time, you will improve. Sure, there will be peaks and valleys, but over time your writing ability will increase and it will become easier.


The "common knowledge" is that content is king online (another post on that later...) so "the right thing" to be doing is to create content - and that usually means writing. MOST people have a hard time with this, so MOST people don't do it - because their business won't fail TODAY if they put off writing until tomorrow.


My point (and Seth's) is that you have the luxury of failing. One day though, if your business is close to going down the tubes, it will be too late or inappropriate to experiment with your online marketing. You might as well start now, while you have the luxury of getting it wrong. Experiment. Get it right - and you'll never have to worry about your business failing in the first place.

Businesses are NOT my Facebook Friends

Mark Kawabe - Monday, November 15, 2010

I received yet another request from a business on Facebook to be a friend. Here are six reasons why I don't recommend businesses use personal profiles on Facebook to market themselves.

  1. It's against the Facebook terms of service and if someone complains or Facebook decides to enforce their rules, all your work will be for naught.

  2. There is a limit to how many friends you can have (5000) for both personal profiles and groups. There is no limit to how many can "like" your business. What happens when you hit your limit? (Think WHEN, not IF.)

  3. You can't message all your friends at once. You can contact everyone who likes your page in one fell swoop. This makes communication much easier.

  4. Facebook pages for businesses can be customized through the FBML application. Profile pages and GROUP pages can't be. For a business trying to put its best face forward, this is important.

  5. Pages also give you demographic information as well as usage information. Profiles and groups don't. If you're going to put effort into your Facebook marketing, shouldn't you have some ability to measure how you're doing? If so, then a Page is definitely for you. If you're a Google Analytics user, you can add tracking code to your main marketing page. You can't track the wall of your page - only the FBML page you've created - but it's better than what Facebook provides.

Marketers know that measuring results is vital. How do you know if you're succeeding otherwise? Pages give you the ability to directly market and measure. If you have a personal profile AND a business page, you'll be able to reach people in two different ways on Facebook and it's the combination that in my opinion provides the best value for marketers.

Happy Marketing Monday!

Facebook, FBML and Your Business Page

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Did you know you can create custom landing pages for your business on Facebook?

If you have a "fan" page for your business, you can use FBML or straight HTML to add a customized tab on your fan page, essentially allowing you to build a website within your fan page. You can also set this tab to be the first thing new people to your page will see, so if they don't "like" you yet, they'll go there instead of to your wall.

Important note: This doesn't work for groups or individual pages - only for fan pages.

What does this mean to you?

If you have a business, you don't want to set up a group. You want to set up a fan page.

Getting Engaged

Mark Kawabe - Friday, September 17, 2010

So I just added my Twitter feed to my Facebook profile and fan page and my website. Big whoopee, right? I mean, what's the point of all this "social media" crap?

That's a great question because it's not like we don't have better things to do with our time as business people. There are a couple of benefits to all this integration.

  1. You look like you know what you're doing. That is, if you keep up with it. Having a blog that's been abandoned for a year isn't helping your cause much. Same with a dormant Twitter feed. Or a Facebook fan page. Congratulations - you've hopped on the bandwagon. Now you have to feed the monster.
  2. Integration saves you time. Feeds are broadcasts of content added to services like Twitter and blogs. That broadcast can be received by other services like Facebook or websites and displayed there. So, you can update one service which will update one or two or more others. Not a bad deal.

  3. Social media can help engage and retain prospects. I'm going to pick on Facebook for a moment because it's the one social media platform most people seem to think is the latest-greatest thing for business. The same reality holds true on Facebook as it does on the rest of the internet: if people aren't interested in you, they won't pay attention to you. It doesn't matter how many times you interrupt them - they're still not interested. Unless you work on building a fan page or group around a shared interest (i.e. your industry, product or service), you're still marketing with a shotgun instead of a rifle.

    If you're choosy, your Facebook "friends" are really friends. For many though, a "friend" is just someone they are mildly acquainted with and not a true friend. I got a "friend" request from someone who had 2,199 people listed as friends on Facebook. I know full well those people aren't friends, and the reality is they're probably not very engaged with that person or his brand.

    The same is true for "fans". If you're ASKING people to be fans, then they're not really going to do you much good, or at least, they won't do you much more good than they would have done for you otherwise. If 20 friends become fans it looks like you're popular but those friends aren't going to refer you more business than they would have without Facebook. When you can attract fans through your own merits and non-solicited word-of-mouth marketing, you know you're dealing with people who really appreciate you and are more likely to become customers.

Okay - enough of the rant. IF you've done a good job of engaging people on Facebook who are truly interested in your business, then there's value in using Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Otherwise, you should face the facts that your efforts are primarily just to wave the flag and let people know you exist. Awareness is good, and over time, the awareness you generate can lead to engagement with prospects. Just remember it will take time and effort get get to that stage where you reach enough people generally to make people with a specific need take more interest in what you're offering.