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Facebook Gives you Ad Money!

Facebook Free MoneyIf Facebook gives you money will you place an ad? Facebook ads have consistently under performed. For many businesses the ROI and click through rate have barely been worth the investment. Though as Facebook has improved their targeting features, the efficacy of the ads are starting to improve. Many of the ads are being broadcast by large companies who can literally dump tens of thousands of dollars into their ad campaign. However, Facebook ads are not really meant for large companies, they are best suited for small business.

Early in 2012 Facebook Marketing Solution which includes a partnership with the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will be launching a $10 million dollar grant program. The purpose is to give every qualified small business on Facebook $50 towards advertising on the site. This is an effort to promote commerce, help small businesses get an advertising boost and help familiarize small business with Facebook Ads. The primary desired result is awareness, additionally they are looking for more fans for the pages, more revenue for the small business and an increase usage of Facebook ads by small business.

This is a huge opportunity for small business to get acquainted with the ad program and get some free marketing money. So if you do not yet have a fan page for your business, now is the time to build it so you can get you grant!


Modern Mad Men: What’s in your Media Cocktail?

Mix. Layer. Repeat.

Our culture has a love-hate affair with advertising. What was once an art reserved exclusively for the Ad Men of Madison Avenue (you’ve heard of Mad Men?) has deteriorated over the years, as savvy consumers get harder to reach. It’s an embarrassing cat-and-mouse game now, as customers dodge behind pop-up blockers, DVR and no-call lists. Various brands shamelessly persist, seeking to interrupt us at the exact moment when we might pause long enough to be engaged or entertained by their message.

So where does the love part come in? The reality is that if it didn’t work, advertising would not persist. Consumers don’t realize it, but our habits indicate that on some unconscious level we’ve accepted advertising as a part of our culture. Mad Men is one of the highest rated shows on television, Super Bowl ads are almost as highly anticipated as the game, and Twitter allows us to follow our favorite celebrity brands who are likely tweeting about their favorite brands.

Mad Men

Your marketing strategy: like modern day Mad Men?

That’s the consumer side of the picture, and in real life we consumers are often business people who need to advance our businesses. Whether we need to sell more products or services, every business on the planet needs to get the word out to someone, about something. Is advertising the best way to do that? If you think of it as a paid vehicle through which you promote your message, then yes, you could probably benefit from some form of advertising.

If you’ve committed to telling someone about the something you are selling – product or service, B2B or B2C – then it’s time to talk about your mix. It used to be that when the Mad Men would talk about your media mix, they meant that you could complement your television advertising with radio advertising (insert nostalgic chuckle here) Oh, the simple days …

Today your mix must be strategic, dynamic and appropriate to your audience. Think about your marketing plan as a layering of messages that complement micro- and macro-targeted approaches. Here’s a look at a few of the myriad options, starting from the most wide-reaching media vehicles and narrowing down to laser focused opportunities:

Radio and Television

  • Overview: This is the big-picture nuclear bomb approach to advertising. Cast the broadest possible net!
  • Best for: Setting the tone of a campaign – creating the perception that your topic, product or company is part of a larger dialogue. This is a medium for overarching brand messages. With this you can plant the seed of an idea, but it may not be best for a call to action.
  • Optimization Examples: Nationally you can buy broadcast stations like NBC, or Radio mega networks like Clear Channel. Unless you are a big company like McDonalds though, you may be better off looking at cable and satellite networks, or keeping your buy strictly local for refined targeting to your key audiences.
  • Warning: Unless you can shell out for high-quality production and high-ticket time, step away from this medium as an option. You will only sully your brand with poor quality production, and your saturation needs to be adequate as well. Repetition gets results.


  • Overview: Print is the old war horse, and getting a bad rap for lacking effectiveness and ROI.
  • Best For: Bolstering messages as part of a larger campaign. Use to promote specific events or sales, or relate your product or service to a specific issue being talked about in the publication.
  • Optimization Examples: Select a targeted print option. If you are a CPA, the business section in your local paper is a good spot. If you are an interior design company, look for the local home magazine. You can get even more granular and find target industry association publications which can be a very cost effective means of reaching just the right people.
  • Warnings: Your advertisement is just wallpaper unless you make it stand out. In newspaper, go with color; in a magazine go with a full-page full-color. Always ask for premium placements – back cover, inside front cover or better still, get an editorial calendar and ask for placement next to relevant editorial copy.

Outdoor & Transit

  • Overview: This is more of the grenade approach. Big coverage in small localized areas.
  • Best For: Reaching consumers in their everyday lives. Soccer mom on the way to practice, lawyer on his commute to work. This can be a good call-to-action medium, and is generally very cost effective.
  • Optimization Examples: A media agency can give you specific data on the customer segments that drive past a particular billboard, and you can geo-target bus routes by zip codes and demographic areas.
  • Warnings: What are we thinking about in our cars? All kinds of things! Make the message relevant, eye catching and briefer than your think it should be. As I whiz past your billboard at 75 miles an hour am I going to make a decision about the printing company I use at work? Not likely. Am I going to think about my car insurance? Possibly … if you get my attention fast enough!

Alternative Media

  • Overview: This category could be a blog post unto itself, as I am lumping in all kinds of wonderfully targeted options here. Find a great media buyer, and learn about the possibilities that await with options like:
    • Closed circuit television in airports and airplanes
    • Elevator advertising
    • Parking lot advertising
    • Bathroom stall advertising (if you sell feminine products or birth control, this could be the ticket!)
  • Best For: Targeting groups of people, at a key moment in time when they will receive an aptly paired message.
  • Optimization Example: Do you have an environmental campaign that wants to remind consumers to use reusable grocery bags? Parking lot strips catch that person before they forget the bags in their car!
  • Warning: As your approach gets this targeted, make sure the message matches the medium. When you are waiting for a plane to take off, are you thinking about cleaning products? Not likely.

Online & Social Media

  • Overview: This is the laser-targeted, sniper approach. You can try to reach millions worldwide on some sites, but it’s best to find the specific customers that matter most to your business, in their natural online habitats.
  • Best For: Just about everyone, really. The Internet is as big as the universe and the people you want to reach are probably online. The tools within this category are limitless. Twitter can be a great tool for solidifying a position of leadership in a dialogue, and pay-per-click contextual ads can be a great way to drive traffic to your site.
  • Optimization example: The optimization options are also limitless. Find a partner with the experience and capabilities to recommend the best options for you. Remember that you may not be reaching millions of people, but you will more likely reach the right 1,000 people. (see SMCubed Popularity vs. Influence: Are you the popular kid?)
  • Warning: This medium is changing so rapidly that last week’s trends may be prehistoric this week. Embrace what you don’t know, and find an expert partner with their eye on the ball to help you make the most of this medium!

If you are undertaking an advertising campaign, think about your customer and how to reach them at different times in different ways. Almost all of these vehicles are useless by themselves. When layered together, they become a dynamic brand presence that can actually get through to today’s dodgy audiences.

A last parting thought to ponder: you may have the best chance at reaching your target market right in your own back yard. Consider this: I spent a few wonderful years in marketing for Whole Foods Market, and you may notice they do very little paid advertising. What they understand is that they have hundreds of ways of reaching their customers inside their own stores. Every communication point is an opportunity – directional signage, price tags, point of sale signs, team member name badges, checkout kiosks and receipts.

What might these opportunities look like for you? Invoices, email signatures, meeting signage, Powerpoint presentations, proposals, conference programs … every touch point is an opportunity to present the brand image you desire. The Mad Men of the 1960s would be very proud of such ingenuity!


Colleen Rauscher brings over 10 years of strategic communications experience in a variety of industries including energy, non-profit, insurance, hospitality and retail. She specializes in integrated corporate marketing communications, brand strategies, Hispanic marketing and advertising strategy.

Prior to joining GBSM, Colleen served as an independent marketing consultant in the alternative energy and hospitality industries, helping clients articulate complex technical concepts, define their market niches and build well defined brand identities. She also served as a Regional Marketing Associate for Whole Foods Market, where she worked on seasonal campaign development, supervising staff in 33 stores and four states in the Rocky Mountain Region. She was recognized by the Global Consumer Research group for her work using customer data and demographic information to create innovative market strategies.

Colleen began her career in New York City, working for dotcom start-ups and advertising agencies. She moved to Denver to work in the meetings and incentives arena, with clients including Eli Lilly, Schering-Plough, Ameritrade, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and 3M Corporation.

Colleen has a BS from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism with minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She serves on the Board of Directors for Global Energy Options, Inc. and the Denver Hooperz Youth Organization, a program that uses competitive basketball as a vehicle to give at-risk youth opportunities to learn life skills, discipline and responsibility.

Making Sense of Facebook and Foursquare with a Business Perspective

For anyone who thinks Facebook and Foursquare only help you connect with friends and family – Here’s a secret. They do much more than that. Frankly, I wasn’t too excited about taking a look at the business angle of the two social networking staples. But, I simply couldn’t stop myself and I did take a look, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Though markedly different in their approach, both Facebook and Foursquare offer something unique when it comes to leveraging their potential for business promotion.

Your Business and Facebook

Facebook LogoLike many others, I love Facebook for the kind of social connectivity that is offered to me on a personal level. But, if you think about it, your business needs such connectivity too, and if you could leverage even a part of this connectivity for your business, it’s going to benefit it many different ways.



This is what Facebook offers your business

let’s take them one at a time.

First, let’s tackle Facebook Ads

It’s advertising that helps you target your audience demographically. So, if you are selling a particular product, you can target your audience by location, interest, age, etc.   So, if you are selling sandwiches and want to target only those people living near your shop, you can do that. On the other hand, you could even widen your audience by targeting a particular age group and so on.

Facebook Ads ensure that you connect with people who really are interested in trying out your sandwiches. Also, the fact that these ads and Facebook advertising campaigns are not too expensive, means you can keep testing and reworking your ads until you know what works best for you.

Now, for the Facebook Business Page

Let’s take the sandwiches example again. Create a Facebook business page that’s like a window to you “sandwiches”. For this, you need to use a business account. Through this account you can access your ads and the business page that you administer. When you create a page that talks about your products, in this case sandwiches, you can message the people in your list about offers on your sandwiches or the introduction of a new sandwich.

You get the drift. Your page can be used to deliver a compelling advertising campaign. You can even use keywords to target only those people who are interested in your sandwiches and looking for a sandwich shop in your neighborhood only.

Essentially, what you are doing with Facebook is leveraging the social potential of this platform for real business benefit.

Foursquare and your Business

FoursquareI am sure you would love to get your business on the radar of mobile phone users. Well, for that there is Foursquare, which according to their site “gives you and your friends new ways to explore your city”.

Now the way Foursquare works is like this – You are a part of a social network on this platform, and have connected with friends and family. This location-based mobile platform can be used to explore cities. All you need to do is “check in” and you can share your location with your friends. It helps you bookmark location specific information and access relevant suggestions regarding the various venues near your location.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, “How in the world is that going to help my business.” The answer lies in your ‘local customers’ and the fact that many businesses these days are targeting ‘local customers’. This is true especially for small businesses, which have a better chance of attracting customers who live closer to home.

Foursquare offers two ways through which businesses can promote themselves:

Let’s take the sandwich example again. You are a sandwich seller. In Foursquare jargon, you are the MERCHANT. You can use the free set of tools offered by Foursquare to attract new customers and also ensure brand loyalty. With Foursquare specials you can offer attractive discounts on your sandwiches. When foursquare users are near your shop, they will come across this information on their mobile phones. If they are hungry, there is no doubt that they will come to your sandwich shop. What’s more, you can ensure that ‘specials’ on offer will be tailored to fit your needs. The ball is completely in your court.

You can even use the Foursquare business page to target your audience. It’s like your very own window to prospective customers. Your fans, who are in love with your sandwiches, can follow your page and be aware of any new offerings from you side. You can customize this page as you see fit. You could also offer “partner badges’ to your loyal customers. A person who has the most number of badges can be rewarded for their loyalty. The options are literally limitless.

Now the Tricky Part – This vs. That

Though I want to get a bit diplomatic here, I will still stick my neck out and say, at a personal level, I find Facebook to be the better option. I love the way I can target my customers based on their tastes and interests. This way I can be sure that I reach only those customers who won’t ignore my business.

On the other hand, Foursquare’s biggest advantage is that it has been specially developed for the mobile platform. If I wanted to make my business easily accessible to mobile phone users, I would definitely use Foursquare, but I wouldn’t completely forsake Facebook in the process. The opportunities of brand promotion with Facebook are simply too many to ignore. Also, it is the more popular platform.

For me, Foursquare is still a work in progress, but there is no doubt that it offers something that is very innovative and has tremendous potential. Others should do what they think is good for their business. In offering this overview of both platforms, I hope you will be able to make an informed decision as to which platform to choose.

Pratik DholakiyaI am an internet marketer who believes in thorough analysis and research of diverse SEO concepts for the purpose of developing innovative and highly successful SEO campaigns. My domains of expertise include Advanced SEO, Reputation Management, Online Branding and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Follow Pratik on Twitter at @DholakiyaPratik

Visit his blog at www.pratikdholakiya.com

Want Exposure? Advertise your Facebook Group!

retro facebook adFacebook groups have significantly increased their functionality, and one of the best new features is the ability to grow your networks.  You can have people who are not in your friend network be a part of your group.  The best way to do this is to advertise your group.

Facebook allows you to create ads for your group just like you would for a website. There is a setting for group ads, but currently they are not including the new groups. So to advertise your group you need to do it as though it were an outside webpage, by copying and paste the URL of your group into the website field during ad creation.

You can target just like you would for any ad, and since most groups are interest based you already have your target demographic. You will be able to increase exposure to the people directly in your demographic.

Creating a special interest group can potentially generate a higher engagement level, and therefore a higher network reach efficiency,  because everyone in the group is interested in the topic and  notification features encourage involvement. From an ad, some people might be more likely to click “like” rather than “join”; the people who do join will be more likely to engage and therefore increase their value in your network. Your network will be comprised of quality rather than just quantity.

The default setting when you join a group is to receive notifications and to have it show up on your navigation menu bar. This means that when someone joins they will receive notifications when someone posts in the group, and updates will show up on the navigation menu as a number next to the group, indicating how many updates have been posted since you last visited the group.

Special interest groups have a higher conversion rate from ads, because you are targeting people who have expressed a distinct preference for the topic.

If you are looking to grow your group network, ads are an effective way to achieve this.