5 Simple Tips to Take Advantage of the New Facebook changes

Facebook Timelines Changing ImageFacebook announced a few weeks back that their newsfeed has been given a revamp, (you should see yours changing as they roll it out over the next few weeks), and you may also have recently heard of the introduction of “Graph / Social Search”, which is in beta test at the minute (basically meaning that Facebook will soon be moving into providing a search facility).

“So what?” you may think.

Well, I’ve delivered quite a few training sessions on how to use Facebook in business, and one of the things that still surprises me is how much confusion there still is on how to use it properly for business. So I thought this may be a good opportunity to outline a few tweaks you could make now (they’re good practice anyway), which will help your page when the changes happen.

Here’s 5 simple tips which I hope will help:

1. Keep it visual – Make sure you have a good profile and cover photo (Your cover photo is your biggest branding opportunity – use it well!). Below is the Facebook cover image from WhatsOnNI.com, a site run by a friend of mine, Jacqueline McGonigle. This is an example of a good cover image – professional, features the brand, and you just take one look at the cover image and you know exactly what the site is about. Whats on NI Facebook Cover Image This image will become even more important in the new news feed, as when someone likes your page, it’s your cover photo, and not your profile pic that will appear in their timeline, so make it a good one.

2. Facebook say of the redesign: “You’ll still see all the stories you saw in your News Feed before, but with a fresh new look: photos, news articles, maps, and events all stand out even more”. So the new look news feed will display photos and videos larger, so if you don’t do it already, use photos & videos more in your posts – they’ll stand out even more, and they’re proven to increase engagement with your users

Facebook new newsfeed example3. Tag people in your photos and videos – OK this isn’t directly related to the incoming changes, but it’s still good practice, and a really good way to have your photos shared / appear on more timelines, and get the most out of each photo. If you’re not connected to some people in the photo, then ask the ones you are connected with to tag their friends. Facebook Tagged Photo Example

4. Make sure your “About” section is fully completed – Name, Category, Web Address, Location (as precise as you can, which incidentally will also mean you’re more likely to show up under the “Nearby” facility on mobile devices).

You should also complete the Description section, and use keywords. For example, don’t just enter “Printing and Stationery” – what do you actually do? Graphic Design? Litho Printing? Business Cards? Banners? Put them all in there. You could also  think of including a call to action, to get those interested enough to do a little bit more than just “Like” your page (visit your site / sign up to your newsletter / download your free app / etc).

The new design is intended to be more mobile-focused and give a similar look and feel between desktop and mobile. The “About” section will become much more important when Facebook’s new Graph Search is fully rolled out, and people start searching Facebook for “hairdressers in Belfast”, “printers in Dublin”, “show me who does laser hair removal in Derry”, etc

5. Use milestones The date you opened your business / the date you moved to bigger premises / when got your premises renovated / when you added a new printing machine (if you’re a printing business, that is!) – hopefully you get the idea. This was introduced last year, and it’s a quite often forgotten opportunity to tell part of your business story. By the way these milestones don’t have to be the ones since you joined Facebook – you can backdate (see example milestone below from Ford’s Facebook page in 1908 – which I think may have been even before Facebook was introduced! 😉

Ford Model T Facebook Milestone

And don’t forget that photo or video to make the milestone stand out more

Hope that helps – as usual, any questions just comment below


How Local Food Providers can use the Horsemeat Scandal to gain some Marketing Capital

Support your Local Butcher image

Image courtesy of Wurz on Flickr

The recent horsemeat food scandal, which started with an Irish lab finding horse DNA in one batch of frozen burgers from a Monaghan-based food processing plant, has now escalated to a massive European-wide can of worms.

Many people (myself included) were probably not aware of the fact (or maybe we didn’t want to think too much about) that the processed meat pack you buy from certain supermarket chains, has actually a massive chain of middlemen involved in it, stretching across Ireland, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Romania.

Who knew?

Essentially globalisation of the food industry has led to an expansion of the supply chain, and  consequently a control issue where it becomes very difficult to cross-check everything.

So now we have a crisis of consumer confidence, and a thread which has been pulled and is just going to keep unravelling and getting worse (as I write this traces have been found in school & hospital dinners, people are starting to get arrested, and processing facilities raided and closed down – I think it’s far from over)

So what does all this mean for your local business / SME if you’re in the food business?

Well, it’s stating the obvious to say that this is on consumers’ minds at the minute (and just in case they forget, the blanket news coverage of this Pandora’s Box will provide daily reminders)

And that’s what you can capitalise on as a local provider.

If you’re a local butcher, it’s an opportunity to reinforce the message that you provide locally sourced meat which can be traced back to the very farm the animal came from (if you can claim this). A chance to get the message out on your social media channels, website / blog, local newspapers, local radio, etc. and differentiate yourself in your market.

Same if you’re a local restaurant / hotel and you source locally and are confident in being able to back up that claim.

It’s a chance to gain some marketing capital and turn the tide on the big players who have been chipping away at your business for so long.

Here’s a local example of making the most of the PR opportunity: Derry Journal horse meat scandal article

And another from a UK trade association of independent butchers: The Guardian horse meat scandal article

Opportunities like this don’t come along often. Now is the time to strike.

Before the stable door is closed.


Olympics Rings London 2012I don’t know about you, but I’m hooked on the Olympics at the minute. I’m normally not that obsessed with sport, but with this I’m watching everything I can.

Can’t get enough of it.

The highs, the lows, the controversies, the drama, and everything in between – I’m hooked!

And one thing struck me as I was watching the athletics and track events the other day, which I think illustrates a lesson in marketing.

Let me explain.

Growing up I was into music rather than sport. So I started my Olympic-viewing journey with a very basic knowledge about some of the sports, and I can’t claim to have known very many of the athletes (of course I knew the big names like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, etc)

For the first few events I watched these athletes put their life and soul into trying to win a medal.

I watched as a local girl, Aileen Morrison, had her hopes of a triathlon medal scuppered by a bike crash. She was injured, but finished the race anyway despite that. When interviewed afterwards, she fought back tears to say that she had spent 4 years getting ready for this, and she wasn’t going to lie down at the first hurdle – pretty inspiring stuff!

Mo Farah

Mo Farah at the London 2012 Olympics

But it was when I watched a short documentary about UK distance runner Mo Farah that I realised something. The documentary explained how, at 28 years old, Farah was probably competing in his last Olympics. Born in Somalia, he had moved to England aged 8, and had been beaten up on his first day at school, after which he jumped off a bridge.

After huge encouragement from his PE Teacher, he pursued long-distance running, in which he had had many successes, but an Olympic medal had always eluded him.

He was considered by many to be “talented but flawed”

It then explained how last year, he relocated his family from the UK to Oregon, USA, to immerse himself in running culture and work with coaching guru Alberto Salazar (a man who incidentally had once died for 14 minutes!)

And here he was today, competing in the 2012 Olympics. After all that commitment to being the best.

Now, there were probably other athletes who had equally inspiring stories, but I hadn’t heard them.

So after learning all that about how Mo Farah came to be here today, I felt a bit more connected, and I really wanted him to win

So what? I hear you say.

Well. let’s translate that to marketing your business. You see, people love stories. Especially if there’s some triumph, struggle and perserverance in there (which, if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ll have plenty of).

And if you can use that in your marketing you can gain an edge over your competitors.

You have a story, so tell it:

  • How did you come to start your business?
  • Where did the idea come from?
  • Who told you were mad?
  • How did it do in the early days?
  • What struggles have you had?
  • What successes have you had?

Basically how you came to be here today.

Telling your Business Story image

Tell your Business Story

When people know more about you, they are more likely to relate to you, and support your business

It doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to be chapter and verse. But if I know more about you, then (as long as I’m in the market to buy from you), I’m more likely to do so over another generic company I know nothing about.

So go and write your story – put it on your website About Me page, on your brochures, and put it up in your Reception area (if you have one).

Your prospects will read it (as will your customers), and will feel a little bit more connected to you.

It’s an easy way of standing out in your marketplace through all the noise and differentiating yourself from your competition

It’s just about stacking the odds in your favour.

Now I’m off to shout for Mo Farah to win the 5,000m gold!

By Aidan Breslin – Google+