Facebook Fan-gating is an Effective Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

Facebook Fan-gating is an Effective Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses

Just because Facebook landing pages no longer exist, it doesn’t mean fan-gating is a thing of the past. Fan-gating is still an extremely effective tool that can be used to increase Fan Page Likes.

If you are new to the term, let me explain… A fan-gate allows you to display different contents to fans and non-fans. When a fan lands on your page, they see your “exclusive” content but for those who are not yet fans, they’ll see a tab asking them to like the page in order to see what’s behind “the gate.”

Here’s how we encourage our clients to use fan-gateing in their small business

Fan-only Offers and Deals

Fan-gating access to printable coupons or special promotions upon Liking a Page are very effective methods for attracting new customers and boosting engagement with non-fans. Non-fans who want to claim your offer must first “Like” your page.

You can also link your Facebook advertising, eNewsletters, and other sociail media assets to your fan-gated promotions.


Hosting a contest on your Facebook page through a custom built application is one of the best ways to engage current fans and push new visitors to Like your page before they can participate in a contest.

If you add a Refer a Friend, Share, or Voting component to your rules, this will surely encourage your fans to share your contest with their Facebook friends who have yet to Like your Page.

Share-worthy Content

Content is still king in the digital world! eBooks, white papers, infographics, industry-specific case-studies and reports, or informative videos are a great way to share meaningful content and boost your fan-base. Only fans get access to this extremely valuable content!

Fan-gating is a useful marketing strategy for service-oriented and retail businesses alike to broadcast offers, promotions, and information, and incentivize non-fans to “Like” their business Fan Page.

Success in Social Media

Let’s face it; the social media landscape can be overwhelming and sometimes downright confusing even for the most seasoned veterans to navigate.

Formats change, new features are added, and sites like Pinterest seem to appear from nowhere and rapidly rise to prominence.

Don’t Just Roll the Dice When it Comes to Social Media

To stay ahead of the curve, Mashable’s Cara Friedman posted Six Steps for Success in Social Media to help businesses and professionals alike stay social media savvy.

1. Blogs
There are hundreds of blogs focused on social media. Keep it simple by signing up to RSS feeds and spend twenty minutes every morning catching up on your social media news. Stick to blogs that are updated daily and focus on providing content in social media and technology.

My Blog Tip: Consider adding these blogs to your RSS feed to get started: SocialTimes, Social Media Examiner, TechCrunch, SocialMediaToday, MarketingProfs, Mashable.

2. Webinars
Webinars are often offered by agencies and make for good social media resources. You can find webinars by searching on Twitter or registering on directories that list the week’s webinars. You can also attend paid webinars that go beyond the basics. In either case, you can find a good starter list at webinarlistings.com.

My Webinar Tip: As a small business marketer myself, I frequent the Duct Tape Marketing and MarketingProfs lunchtime webinars.

3. Trending Topics
Yes, reading your blogs in the morning is effective but information travels fast so pay attention to what’s trending on Twitter, too. First, make sure that you check your Twitter trend settings. Certain settings will spit out tailored trends, which you should probably avoid.

My Trending Tip: If you don’t understand why a certain word or phrase is trending you can check out whatthetrend.com for explanations.

4. Newsletters
Not all newsletters are spam. Some are actually worth signing up for. If you’re OK with getting a daily newsletter, check out SmartBrief. If you prefer a weekly roundup then take a look at SocialFresh. These newsletters curate the best social media content from the web and create original highly informative articles as well.

My Newsletter Tips: Love the two that Cara listed above, but I also receive daily enewsletters from TechCrunchSocialMediaTodayMarketingProfsMashable and Search Engine Watch.

5. Meetups and Tweetups
Whether in person at a meetup or virtually at a tweetup, chatting with like-minded individuals will keep you on your toes, help you predict what’s coming next, and teach you new things about how others are behaving in social media. To find a group of social media fanatics near you check out Meetup.com.

My Meetup Tip: LinkedIn! Join some groups and forums and stay active!

6. Training and Certification
If you are serious about educating yourself in the social space you may consider signing up for a training program or certification course. Whether you are looking for a six-week crash course or an ongoing education program, resources are available. To start, you can check out WOMM-COM and HootSuiteU.

It’s Cyber Monday … Let’s Talk Shopping Engines

Trying to sell your business’s products online? Search Engine Watch profiled the 10 best shopping engines that will allow your business to expand its reach and get your products to consumers.

Here are their picks in best comparison shopping engines, based on traffic, revenue, conversion rate, return on spend, average cost-per-click (CPC), quality of merchant tools, and merchant response ratings.

1. Google Product Search Google Product Search, which is transitioning to become Google Shopping, is a free CSE which generates the most traffic and conversions. Merchants can manually upload feeds or use an FTP to upload in bulk. Google is consistently the best performing CSE.

2. Nextag (CPC) Comparison shopping site lets shoppers search products, event tickets, real estate, book travel plans, find sales and more. Nextag’s CPC pricing model allows merchants to optimize where their products appear on comparison pages. Supports bulk uploads. Nextag is the best performing paid comparison shopping engine.

3. Pricegrabber (CPC) Paid deal site features coupons and weekly specials. Shoppers can compare product price, reviews and merchant ratings before making a purchase. Users can search in English or Spanish, with product searches tailored for retailers in Brazil and Mexico. Merchants using Pricegrabber also have the added advantage of sending their product listings to Yahoo Shopping. Allows bulk data feed upload through an FTP.

4. Shopping.com (CPC) Paid comparison shopping engine aggregates product listings based on price and merchant attributes. EBay owned Shopping helps consumers make quick, informed purchasing decisions with its product reviews and ratings. Allows bulk uploads via an FTP.

5. Amazon Product Ads (CPC) Unlike the Amazon Marketplace, Amazon Product Ads allow merchants to link customers to their website externally. This is a good option for retailers that don’t wish to list on the Amazon Marketplace, or those who are already listing there.

6. Shopzilla (CPC) Price comparison shopping site helps connect shoppers with unique retailers, sales, and customer feedback to help them make important buying decisions. Shopzilla connects shoppers with over 100 million products across its partner sites such as Bizrate. Allows bulk product feed uploads through an FTP.

7. Pronto (CPC) Shopping site which provides shopping results for customers looking for low prices and top performing merchants. Allows whole feed processing through an FTP.

8. Become.com (CPC) A Shopping partner, Become provides research information to help shoppers find the right product, review product details, reviews, articles, and other relevant shopping information. Accepts bulk feed transfer with an FTP. No initial fee.

9. Bing (Free) Free price comparison engine compiles product data, price, and reviews for user searches. You need to establish a Microsoft Advertising adCenter account to use Bing Shopping, but you won’t be charged for any clicks from Bing.

10. TheFind (Free) Shopping search engine displays product information, coupons, and local searches for merchant listings. No feed submission. Instead merchants can give TheFind bot access to their product pages for crawling. Listing and setup are free.

Link Building Strategies

Links are important. They are the SEO fuel for your website that help increase traffic and ROI for your business.

If you are feeling a little lost on how your business can improve its link building strategies, one of my favorite reads, Search Engine Watch outlined 131 techniques that will get your business’s SEO engine running.

I’ve picked my top 40 from their expansive list, but if you’d like to see all 131 you can read the entire article, 131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies, on Search Engine Watch.

Start with the Basics

I selected just about all of Search Engine Watch’s basics because the basics don’t tend to change and it is important to have a solid foundation upon which to move on to more advanced and creative techniques.

1. Email or call a webmaster, asking for a link to your site. If emailing, personalizing your message (think about how many emails you get every day) so make sure you’re actually emailing webmasters who have sites that are relevant to yours, and, even more importantly, make sure that your site is actually link-worthy. We’re all busy people and no one wants to waste time so if it’s not a good place for a link to you, don’t waste anyone’s time.

2. Use social media to find great sources for links. There are loads of tools that can help with this (my favorite is Icerocket) but simply going to Twitter and searching for a keyword in the same way that you search through an engine’s results can show you some fantastic link opportunities.

3. Know what makes a site a good linking partner. If you’ve been building links for a long time, you can probably easily glance at a site and, in under a minute, determine whether it would be a beneficial linking partner. However, for the rest of the world, it’s not so easy. Know what makes me like a site more than anything else? Social love. If I see a blog post that is relevant to my topic, has ongoing relevant comments, a decent amount of tweets/likes/shares, that’s a good site to me because I’m thinking about traffic.

4. Stop thinking about rankings and Google’s Toolbar PageRank. Rankings definitely matter but considering the amount of places that can send you traffic (like social media sites, sites that link to you, sites where you guest post, etc.) it’s silly to rely on rankings in one engine. Stop thinking that a link from a site with a PR of 0 won’t help you, and that a link from a site with a PR of 5 definitely will.

5. Check to see what your competitors are doing. While this should never be a definitive way to define your own link plan, it’s valuable to see what works for others in your niche. Just don’t think that you can mimic a competitor’s link profile and do as well as they have. It’s definitely not that simple.

6. Check out the sites that link to you and find the sites they link to. Sounds convoluted, but it’s a great way to figure out other good sites to contact.

7. If you get a link from a fantastic site that is exactly the type of site you want to link to you, after congratulating yourself on this achievement, do some digging and find out who else links to that site. Those may also be good sites to contact for links.

8. Search for sites that should link to you but don’t. If you find a blog post entitled “Top 100 companies that sell green widgets” and you sell green widgets but aren’t listed, contact the webmaster and point this out. Nicely, of course.

9. Don’t automate! There are times when automation can be a lifesaver but when it comes to reviewing a site and making a personal connection that leads to a link, I’d make the decision to do it all manually.

10. Sponsor something. Sponsor a charity, a contest, an afterschool club at your kid’s school, anything.

Become a Content Provider

Google loves content, if you aren’t generating regular content, you stand little chance of acquiring links. People use the web to gather information, and if you aren’t giving it to them, someone else surely will … your competitors.

11. Write something even if you’re not yet very good at it. The more you practice, the better you’ll be.

12. Think about an ongoing content plan and write so that it’s easy to write a follow-up piece. Series are great, regular guest post slots are great, and knowing what your “thing” is can definitely be great.

13. Produce something other than just textual content. Do an infographic or create a comic. Produce videos where you do things like interview people in your industry. Start a weekly online radio show. That kind of non-text-based content does get links.

14. Actively pursue new opportunities for contributing to your industry. Maybe you can moderate a forum or help curate a weekly newsletter. Maybe you can provide fantastic answers on Quora.

15. Find something that’s missing and jump into giving it to us. No forum for your industry? Start one. Looking for a list of all the preschools in your town but can’t find one? Do the research, write it, and put it out there for everyone to see and link to.

16. Do one major article that will become the definitive resource for something and that can be (and will be) updated on a semi-annual or annual basis.

17. Produce a monthly “best of” series to recap what’s happened in your industry in case people missed something.

18. Reference your older articles when they’re relevant.

Leave Your Links Everywhere
Links can be a calling card if used wisely. You want as many eyeballs as possible on your product.

19. Link to your site in your email signature.

20. Link to your site in all your social media platforms.

21. Link to your site on your business cards that you will naturally give out at industry events.

22. Tell people about your site. You’d be surprised at how much of a resource this can be.

23. Comment on relevant blogs and sites without doing so in a spammy manner. I wouldn’t suggest popping your link into a casual comment because that’s not a good way to build long-term link exposure, but using your site for your comment signature can lead people to you, even if it doesn’t actually generate a link on the spot.

24. As mentioned earlier, guest post. Ask to guest post. Approach sites and say hey, would you be interested in having me as a one-time contributor? Be prepared with something though, in case you’re asked for an idea or a writing sample.

25. Interview someone. Interviewees usually link back to these interviews, and they’re a great way to get to know people in your industry.

26. Write a testimonial or a review of a product.

27. Leave reviews for local businesses you’ve visited on sites like Yelp.

28. Give feedback online through social media. If you like an article, tweet that to the writer. If you had a great hotel stay, put it on their Facebook page.

Be Creative and Visible

There’s so much information out there that if you aren’t presenting a unique experience, you’re going to fall behind. If you aren’t drawing attention to your work, people aren’t going to see it.

29. Rewrite an old post in order to update the ideas.

30. Include images in what you write. Sometimes your image will stick in someone’s mind longer than your words will.

31. Participate in forums. Ask and answer questions. You can make amazing contacts this way.

32. Crowdsource ideas and feedback when you need them. I’ve met very few people who don’t enjoy being asked their opinion.

33. Speak at a conference! This is one of the ultimate ways to get noticed, and you can get a great link off the website of the people putting on the show. Your name will also be in the conference materials.

Especially For B2B Sites

34. If you have a relationship with a supplier, don’t be afraid to link out and get a link back. While reciprocal links can be excessively spammy, if it makes sense, it isn’t always bad.

35. Simply ask your partners to link to you.

36. Showcase a partner each month on your company’s blog or in a newsletter and ask the partner to promote this through his or her own company. You can get a great link off that blog for your trouble, and links like this are nicely relevant.

37. Put together a downloadable guide to your services and include the companies that you work with and list what they have to offer, to be used as an industry resource. Let them all know about it and don’t be afraid to promote this through social media channels, as everyone likes to know where they can find good information.

38. Make sure you’re listed in all the relevant online business directories and local services like Yahoo Local and Google Places.

39. Become a member of your local civic organizations, Chamber of Commerce, marketing groups, etc.

40. Make sure you’re using social media at least on a minor level, even if it’s just having a Facebook page. Be the pioneer in your industry if you need to be and get comfortable with a form of marketing that is most likely going be around (and increasing in importance) for a long time.

Link building can be time consuming for both parties. If you are asking for a link, be respectful. If someone says no, say thank you and move on.

Here is the link to read the entire article: 131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies, on Search Engine Watch.

Facebook Sponsored Stories: New Ads, New Benefits

Yesterday I met with an old friend who owns his own small business. His target is primarily high school and college students and for years he has done his best to stay up on the latest trends and social media sites to get in front of his market.

He is a heavy, heavy Facebook advertiser. That makes sense. After all, Facebook is highly-targetable and it’s no mystery that high school students are on the social network at all hours of the day. After years of acclimating himself to the rules and guidelines of Facebook advertising, my friend became a master learning various aspects about the EdgeRank algorithm to maximize visibility and get the most bang for his buck.

Over time, smart phone usage began to rise, and high school and college students were spending much more time on mobile, and much less time in front of a computer screen. Facebook also realized the shift. Their response? Sponsored Stories.

If you truly pay attention to your Facebook newsfeed, you will notice a flood of content that technically should not be there. In fact, if you scroll down your feed right now, I can almost guarantee that you will see at least 3 pieces of content with the word sponsored shyly placed along the right side.

This is Facebook’s new advertising platform. So how does it work?

Think of a story as an action you or your friends take liking a page, commenting on a photo, liking a photo, etc. A Facebook business page owner will take that action and broadcast it to your friends who do not Like your business’ page through a Sponsored Story ad. This is why you see information from pages you never liked or even heard of, because your friend’s like that page.

I think it’s genius.

Why Do Sponsored Stories Work?

I am more likely to consider looking into a company because one of my friends vouched for it. It’s essentially taking word-of-mouth advertising into the digital realm. It appears that your friend told you about this product, so maybe you check it out. That’s the genius of it. It’s a conversation without the conversation.

What’s the Catch?

Of course there’s a catch. It’s Facebook. Traditionally, ads appeared on the right side of Facebook. These traditional ads now cost much more money than they used to per click. But guess which ad is cheaper? Sponsored Stories. All of the user’s interactions on Facebook take place in the newsfeed, for the most part. They click anything and everything that comes through. By charging businesses less per click, it becomes appealing, however, these ads get a million more clicks than ads on the right hand side.

Most importantly, the newsfeed is the home page for mobile users. The steady stream of content is now home to sponsored story ads. People can see them, click them and interact from any smart device.

This presents a problem, though. Everyone clicks everything on Facebook, so how does this help? After they Like your page, it’s your job as a page owner to educate your new audience. They don’t know your brand, know your product, and have never truly received word-of-mouth from their friends. This is why having a social media marketing team on hand is so key.

At Fulcrum, we offer social media marketing for our clients to drive engagement and educate consumers about your brand. This is where the value is, but this can often take time, creativity, and plenty of patience.

Facebook Moms

While Pinterest might be the new kid on the block in terms of marketing potential, it’s still no match for the power of a “Facebook Mom.”

Moms lead the pack when comes to liking brands on Facebook, according to a recent survey by Burst Media. Fifty eight percent of moms follow or like brands on social media sites.

Burst interviewed 1,453 U.S. adults aged 18 or older and found that 76.3 percent of respondents visit social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare, with women being more active than men. Forty nine percent of female respondents visit social media sites at least a few times each day, versus only 34 percent of men.

The survey showed …

  • Moms are the group of consumers most likely to follow their favorite brands on social media.
  • Two out of three readers learn about brands via likes from blogs, with moms and 18-34-year-olds particularly influenced by brand mentions.
  • Sixty-six percent of blog readers answered that a promotion by a blogger influences their purchase decisions online
  • More than 49 percent of “moms” are loyal to brands online and occasionally like or follow a brand on social media sites.
  • The most common reason people gave for liking their favorite brands online was, To show support for it.
  • One in four are likely to follow a brand because of a socially enabled online ad

Many opportunities via online advertisers and blogging exist for small business marketers to inject social vehicles into their efforts to drive user engagement. At Conveyance Marketing Group, we can help you interject social media into your overall marketing strategy.

Not on Facebook? You Might be crazy…

There are more than 955 million Facebook users, and it could hurt you to not be one of them.

Facebook has become an essential part of everyday life for nearly one billion users worldwide, and for employers it is now considered standard practice to screen a potential’s candidate’s online profile before extending an invitation to an interview. Approximately 90 percent of recruiters check out candidates online profiles.
Your online footprint is obviously something that should be maintained and kept up, but what happens if you have no online presence whatsoever? Today having Facebook is considered normal, while opting out is considered abnormal.

Recent trends find that according to some psychiatrists and employers not having a Facebook profile is considered suspicious. As social media becomes a routine aspect of everyday life, do you think it is abnormal for people (especially the younger generation) to opt out?

Is a Custom Designed WordPress Website for You?

WordPress is a powerful blogging platform as well as a widely-used content management system (CMS). Chances are that a majority of your favorite news websites use WordPress to provide their readers with rich content. Content publishers such as People, eBay, Mashable, and even CNN use WordPress. But as a small or medium size business, you may be wondering if a custom WordPress website is the right choice for you.

Why Choose a Custom WordPress Website?

Don’t let the list of big business using WordPress scare you off. Managing the content on a WordPress hosted website is an incredibly user-friendly process. Sure, there a lot of bells and whistles that can be added to the front end of a website, but writing and editing can be done quickly and with little-to-no previous experience. This is one of the reasons so many businesses and individuals choose WordPress websites.

Last year TechCrunch, another WordPress website, stated that WordPress powers 14.7% of the top million websites in the world. Also that 22 out of every 100 new active domains in the United States are using WordPress.

Website Design

WordPress isn’t just a great blogging tool. Often a business will have a WordPress website and will choose not to use the blogging features. A WordPress website is fully customizable and can be used to sell products, showcase a service, used for events, etc. This way businesses can have a powerful, high-functioning website that is visible to the public, but are still able to use the simple backend to manage and update their content.

WordPress Websites are the Best for SEO

If you’ve ever wondered why your competitor’s website is outranking yours in a Google search, it’s because they are currently doing a better job with their Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO services are extremely valuable, and there are certain websites that handle SEO better than others.

Earlier today, Mashable posted an article detailing which websites are appearing higher in Google searches and WordPress was one of the sites they recommended using. And just how important are SEO services for your business website? The article says that 94% of people only look at the first page of Google search results. If you aren’t appearing high in Google searches, your business is not seeing the website traffic that it should be.

Using a custom WordPress website for your business is an excellent choice; a choice made by some of the biggest companies in the world as well as small and medium sized businesses.

Follow the links for more information on custom website design and SEO services.


Social Media at the Olympics

With the 2012 Olympics set to officially kick-off on Friday, July 27th, fans will be able to get in on the action by following all of their favorite athletes and events online by using social media to stay up-to-date.

If you find after checking your team’s Facebook fan page that they only brought home the bronze, you can always tweet how you’re feeling to the city’s iconic Ferris wheel, the London Eye.

Give it a try and let us know how you like it!

New Premium Facebook Ads Available

In what was probably the most overhyped IPO of all time, Facebook stock continues totumble after opening up to big numbers. Many shareholders and analysts point to problems in Facebook’s advertising department, which is also the main revenue stream of the company raking in $3.15 billion in 2011 (Mashable).

Facebook has now offered small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to access those elusive premium ad spots that were once reserved for brands spending in excess of $125k a quarter in hopes to increase its revenue and grow their share prices.

So what ads are now available?

Home Page Ads these are featured on the right side of a person’s newsfeed and were once sold only through Facebook’s sales reps. They are now available to the general public in the self-service advertising platform.

Mobile Sponsored Stories once reserved for big brands (seeing a trend here?) these ads are also available without the purchase of premium ad packages. Monetizing through mobile devices is one area that Facebook admitted complications. They are hoping to resolve that by offering these ad services to the masses as they say.

Social Media Marketing

Navigating your way through the back end of Facebook’s new ad offerings can be a complex and delicate process. The targeting options, demographics, keywords, ad text and graphics, type of ads, etc. This is why Conveyance Marketing Group offers social media marketing services.

Creating and managing ad campaigns that are effective takes years of expertise as well as time and dedication.

Let’s Talk!


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