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7 Posts authored by: marismith

Do you use Facebook and/or Instagram to market your real estate services? In this article, I’ll walk you through my top seven ideas for how you can promote your real estate business more effectively on social media.

 

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Whether local homeowners are looking to sell, or prospective buyers are searching for their ideal home, or other Realtors in your neighborhood want to check out your listings, your ideal audience should be able to easily find you via Facebook and/or Instagram. In fact, by amplifying your strategic use of the two largest social networks, you could find your business growing exponentially.

 

Following are my seven best tips to increase your visibility, reach, engagement and conversions.

 

1. Do Facebook live broadcasts

 

Facebook live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos, on average. Facebook is really favoring live content, especially when you are also broadcasting via your Stories on your Facebook personal profile or your business Page.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Identify Facebook Live Opportunities for Your Small Business

 

Of course, nothing can beat being physically in person with a potential buyer and taking them on a property tour. Or, of course, hosting an open house with prospects coming to visit the home.

 

However, streaming live really lends itself well to Realtors to at least spark interest. Think about doing virtual open houses in a ‘show’ format, on the same day and time each week, if feasible. Or, come up with a show name and provide interesting tours of your properties.

 

Live broadcasts help your audience get to know, like and trust you. When you do live virtual open houses on a regular basis, you’ll stand out in the news feed. Plus, make sure to encourage comments so you can follow up. See also tip No. 5 below for connecting a chatbot.

 

2. Go live on Instagram

 

Instagram boasts 1 billion monthly active users, and continues to grow at a rapid rate. The demographic also tends to be somewhat younger and more affluent than Facebook. Instagram is owned by Facebook, as you may know.

 

You access the live feature on Instagram through the camera app, where you’ll broadcast in the Stories section. You can go live for up to one hour. Stories has 400 million daily active users. This is a terrific captive audience as they are all proactively tapping in to the active Stories.

 

As Instagram is really favoring Stories and especially live broadcasts, your live video will get prominent positioning at the top of your followers’ feed.

 

Just like your Facebook Live broadcasts, use Instagram live to engage with your followers and to do virtual open houses. Again, encourage comments but especially direct messages so you can follow up.

 

     RELATED CONTENT:

 

3. Create short video content

 

Along with live video broadcasts, Facebook is really favoring all video content. More and more users are discovering video content through the Watch platform. If you publish video content on your Facebook Page – whether live broadcasts or uploaded native video – your video content can be surfaced on Facebook Watch. The Watch platform is accessible on desktop, mobile and the television set-top app.

 

Speaking of Watch, Facebook is launching a new property series called Most Incredible Homes. The five-part series consists of 12-minute weekly episodes that reveals stunning dream homes from around the world.

 

Consider how you could create short videos with a blend of stock assets and your own photos and video clips using an app such as Wave.video. Add some inspirational text overlay and a music track. This type of video tends to be highly shareable.

 

     RELATED CONTENT:

 

4. Publish stunning visuals

 

Real estate is ideal for creating eye-catching and thumb-stopping visuals in a variety of trendy formats such as 360 photos and videos, 3D photos, and drone video footage. From the simple panorama feature on your phone, you can capture images that Facebook will convert to 360 or 3D. Or, consider investing in a 360 camera and/or drone. I use the Ricoh Theta V 4k 360 Spherical Camera which you can find here. It’s super light and small, and takes terrific 360 photos and videos.

 

5. Use the right hashtags on Instagram

 

Hashtags may or may not make much difference to your posts on Facebook. But on Instagram, hashtags are an absolute must for reaching the right audience, growing your followers and even attracting leads. Each post can include up to 30 hashtags. Be sure to do your homework and research a variety of popular hashtags, but also use some that are less popular so you might have more chance of being discovered.

 

Refer to this helpful article by my friends at Adespresso.

 

6. Integrate a Messenger chatbot

 

This could be one of your easiest methods of lead generation. By encouraging prospects to message you via Facebook Messenger, you can begin an automated dialog and self-sorting process. You can gather your prospects’ phone number and/or email address and then follow up personally.

 

In addition to encouraging people to direct message you, you can also set up the chatbot so anyone that comments on your Facebook Page posts receives a message from you. This is why it’s important to encourage your audience to leave a comment on all your videos and live broadcasts and other types of posts.

 

Take a look at MobileMonkey for a free chatbot system for your Facebook Page.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

7. Encourage reviews on Facebook

 

Facebook gives prominent positioning in the search results on desktop and mobile to businesses that have reviews. Especially when you have a good number of reviews. Be sure to follow up with all your past and current clients and direct them to your Facebook Page to give you a review. In fact, Facebook recently made a change that makes it even easier for people to simply one-click recommend your business. And then they can also leave a written review.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Increase Authentic Business Reviews on Facebook

 

8. Participate in local Facebook groups

 

Search and join relevant, local groups to network with fellow professionals that are open to exchanging referrals. Also check out peer support groups. For example, my friend Dave Savage runs a thriving Mortgage Coach Productivity Mastermind Group that provides tremendous peer support to industry professionals.

 

     RELATED CONTENT: How to Use Facebook Groups to Build a Loyal Community

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

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Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Facebook can be incredibly powerful for local businesses to attract a very specific demographic. In some ways, local businesses may find Facebook marketing easier to yield solid measurable results vs. global businesses, given they are only looking to attract a specific local market.

However, oftentimes, local business owners are so busy running their businesses they may feel they don’t have time to use Facebook regularly. The good news is there aremany simple and effective ways you can optimize your presence on Facebook that don’t take a ton of time or budget.

 

Let’s look at a variety of Facebook marketing best practices for local businesses, exemplified by several fabulous examples.

 

Dundee’s Restaurant On The Waterfront – Cairns, Australia

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Dundee’s is a local restaurant in Cairns, Queensland, Australia and is a client of my longtime Inner Circle member, Lisa

Monks of Chipmonk Media.

 

Dundee’s embodies many excellent Facebook marketing best practices.

 

Publish a variety of visually compelling posts

 

With a glorious location on the waterfront and a scrumptious seafood menu, Dundee’s has amazing features to showcase on Facebook in visual format.

 

Dundee’s shares regular videos of the restaurant inside and out, and the spectacular waterfront view. You really get a feel for the venue from the video posts.

 

In addition, you can find an abundance of photos and slideshows of Dundee’s yummy dishes.

 

Our friends at Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million Facebook videos last year and the most popular video topic by a large margin is food.

 

Garner plenty of reviews

 

It’s very important for local businesses, especially restaurants, to showcase reviews. Everyone wants to know what peers thought of the food, experience, service, ambience, location, etc.

 

Dundee’s has a 4.5 of 5-star rating out of 422 reviews. In addition, Dundee’s added a tab to their Facebook page with TripAdvisor Reviews where we can see well over 2,000 reviews with very high ratings.

 

Refer to this post and Facebook Live training for ideas on how to increase authentic business reviews on Facebook.

 

Run fun and relevant contests for lead generation

Dundee’s encourages fans to enter a contest to win a $100 dinner voucher by simply sharing their favorite Dundee’s dish, or choosing a dish from the menu that they would like to try. The strategy here is to get the audience talking about their favorite meals so others can get a sense of the amazing menu.

 

In addition, the contest is hooked up to a Messenger chatbot which helps Dundee’s to grow their Messenger subscription list.

 

Whereas email open rates are around 20 percent on average, Messenger open rates are as high as 90 percent. Ideally, businesses include both email marketing and Messenger chatbot marketing in their mix.

 

Additional best practices to point out on Dundee’s Facebook page include a gorgeous cover image, profile photo and Our Story photo. These are three prime pieces of visual real estate on your Facebook Page and a picture says a thousand words. You can also put a cover video instead of a photo. In this case, Dundee’s chose a striking image that embodies the ambience and view.

 

Becca Rose Mystic – Mystic, Conn

 

Becky Mashuta owns the Becca Rose cosmetic store in Mystic, Conn. She is a client of my longtime Inner Circle member, Molly Mahoney, The Prepared Performer, who helps refine and implement her marketing strategies.

 

What can we learn from the Becca Rose Mystic page?

 

Publish regular video content and Facebook Live broadcasts

 

Becky shares fun Facebook Live broadcasts from her phone in vertical (portrait) format for personable updates, with fun masks and filters. Plus, she does desktop Facebook Live broadcasts using the BeLive.tv app to share behind the scenes, live gemstone sales, free Tarot card readings and more.

 

Integrate a Messenger chatbot app

 

The Becca Rose Mystic page hooked up an interactive chatbot that helps customers and prospects engage and discover more about the store. Additionally, on Becky’s Facebook Live broadcasts, she uses a keyword comment trigger to do free giveaways via the Messenger chatbot. This is a superb method for lead generation. Fans simply comment on the Live video with the appropriate keyword, and the chatbot automatically delivers the giveaway.

 

In this post, I talk about my favorite Messenger chatbot platform, Mobile Monkey.

 

Place Facebook ads

 

Becca Rose Mystic is also a savvy marketer that integrates paid promotions on Facebook. For instance, this simple comment trigger photo post ad invites the target audience to receive a free tarot message.

 

Placing Facebook ads with either a Messenger call to action or a comment trigger is an excellent way to begin 1:1 conversations with your audience.

 

Play City – Chula Vista, Calif

 

Play City is a fun indoor inflatable playground for kids ages 1-12, based in Chula Vista, Calif. My longtime Inner Circle member, Alita Mighela, is the marketing manager at Play City and is extremely passionate about her work.

 

Showcase your venue with a Facebook cover video

 

First impressions count and you want your page visitors to immediately get an impression of what your business is all about. Play City has a vibrant video depicting the epic fun kids can have at this venue.

 

Play City also makes regular use of video content, including Live broadcasts. Videos feature the daily buzzing atmosphere at Play City, kids doing their favorite dance moves, and Alita sharing fun behind-the-scenes peeks.

 

Use the Facebook Events feature

 

Play City makes regular use of the Events feature. A little-known secret about using the Facebook Events feature is that your event also shows up in Facebook’s newly revamped mobile app, Local. Local is one of my favorite Facebook apps; it’s super easy to use and has a comprehensive range of search features making it very easy to find all manner of activities to do in your local area.

 

Use Facebook’s Shop feature

 

Play City also makes use of the Shop feature on their Facebook page with simple admission tickets, membership and gift cards. Fans can easily purchase online on desktop or mobile. The images for each item are colorful and eye-catching.

 

Willowglen Garden Centre - Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

 

The owner of this lovely garden center is a client of my Inner Circle member, Diane Murray of Orbit Agency Ltd.

 

Willowglen Garden Centre owner, Richard Robinson, is a third-generation gardener and Diane tells me he would openly admit that before he set up his Facebook business page, he was terrified of social media and putting his business 'out there.'

 

Now, Richard has become quite the whiz at getting on camera and chatting with his fans in such a personable way, showcasing all the lovely offerings of his garden center.

 

Over a short period of time (around 15 months), Willowglen has managed to gain quite a following, reach a wide audience and has seen a significant increase in footfall and sales.

 

Just like Dundee’s Restaurant with their compelling food photos, a garden center lends itself perfectly to visual content. Willowglen’s Facebook wall beautifully showcases their range of flowers, plants, garden tools, pet products and more. Plus, Willowglen runs regular contests with fun prizes that helps spark engagement. This dog talent show contest is a great example with hundreds of shares and comments.

 

Facebook offers small, local businesses such a variety of great ways to not only showcase your products and services but, more importantly, to connect with your audience. Make your business more personal and inviting through engaging video and photo content, contests, and Messenger chat conversations. Amplify your efforts with boosted posts. And you’ll be well on your way to achieving greater success with Facebook, too.

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and

socialmedia. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.

Forbesrecently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Facebook-owned Instagram launched Stories in August 2016 as a direct copy of an already popular Snapchat feature. Today, Instagram Stories has 300 million daily active users. As a result, Snapchat growth slowed 82 percent.)

 

But what, exactly, is a "Story?" And are there benefits for business use?

 

Stories Demystified

 

A Story is a piece of micro-content that disappears after 24 hours.

 

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Stories can be photos/images, recorded videos, text with a colorful background, live video or 'boomerangs' (short, looping video content like an animated GIF).

 

Photos or videos can be uploaded from your camera roll, or you can record within the app. You can add effects, filters, stickers, text, interactive polls, animated GIFs and all manner of fun stuff to your Stories.

 

You can also add a clickable hashtag, @ mentions and locations to your Stories. This all helps with gaining extra visibility. Both hashtags and locations have Story feeds users can follow.

 

In 2017, Facebook also introduced the Story feature to both Messenger and the main Facebook app after Stories had already gained quite a foothold on Instagram.

 

“The way people share and connect is changing; it’s quickly becoming more real-time and visual.” ~Facebook [Source: TechCrunch]

 

Should you include Stories in your marketing mix?

 

The short answer is a resounding yes! For several reasons, to name a few:

 

  1. Micro-content is extremely easy to create.
  2. Both Instagram and Facebook position the Stories feature at the very top of their respective mobile apps. This provides tremendous visibility for your followers. Stories on Facebook are also very easy to create on desktop and are visible on desktop.
  3. People have very short attention spans these days and Stories are incredibly easy and fun to consume.
  4. For Instagram business accounts with over 10,000 followers and/or verified accounts, you can also add a URL to your Stories where your followers swipe up to go to your designated web page. (Now, with the launch of Instagram’s IGTV, you can choose to direct your followers to one of your IGTV videos or an external URL).
  5. Stories are growing 15X faster than feed sharing.
  6. Instagram boasts over 300 million daily active users and Facebook has over 150 million DAU’s.

 

“The Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.” ~Chris Cox, Facebook Chief Product Officer

 

Regularly publishing Stories for your business is a great way of producing micro-content for top of mind and top of feed awareness.

 

5 Story ideas for your business

 

  1. Do live broadcasts. Live Stories get the most prominent positioning at the top with a red “LIVE” icon. You can also do a “Live with” where you invite a guest on and Instagram splits the screen in half. Both your followers and your guest’s followers will see the telltale Live icon at the top. Your Live Story could be a product sneak peek, behind-the-scenes, meet the staff, customer spotlight, Q&A session, special offer, exclusive discounts and more.
  2. Conduct polls. I’ve found interactive polls to be an excellent method for sparking increased engagement. Instagram makes it super easy to add a simple and fun voting button as a slider, or a simple two word or emoji choice. You can even share the poll results later as another Story.
  3. Highlight user generated content. If you gather user generated content across your social channels, you could share screenshots with the relevant user @tag and an appropriate hashtag. These could be simple shout outs, or testimonials and reviews. Instagram auto-suggests hashtags when you start to type. Be sure to first search and settle on the best hashtag for your Story, as this can really help others discover you.
  4. Announce new content. If you publish blog posts/articles, podcast episodes, vlogs (video blogs), and/or live streaming videos, be sure to use Stories to let your Instagram followers know. Always include the related URL in the Swipe Up feature, if you have it.
  5. Share exclusive deals. Entice your followers to keep coming back to consume your Stories by regularly sharing special offers, codes, or unexpected bonuses.

 

Embrace micro-engagement, too

 

Whether you choose to include Stories in your marketing mix or not, I highly recommend starting to at least view and engage with Stories. This is a great way to create what I call micro-engagement.

 

When you view Stories on Instagram, the person/business will see that you've seen their content in their Insights. Granted, not everyone necessarily views their Insights for each Story, but many do, including myself.

 

When possible, try sending a quick reply or even an emoji response to a Story. This goes to the account holder’s private inbox. (Depending on user settings, the ability to reply may not be available on all Stories).


In closing, it is worth noting here that at YouTube’s 2018 VidCon video conference, the company announced that it, too, will be launching a Stories feature.

 

Clearly, Stories are here to stay and businesses would do well to map out a powerful micro-content strategy.

 

Related Content:

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Social Media

Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

About Mari Smith

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

The popularity of Facebook groups has exploded in the past year. The good news is Facebook really wants users to embrace the ‘groups’ feature more, including small businesses.

 

Groups can now be created and administrated by business pages, and posts by groups are getting more priority in the news feed. All the more reason for you to create a companion group linked from your Facebook business page.

 

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There are a variety of reasons why Facebook is pushing groups more. One of the main reasons is to enhance user well-being.  In a status update on Facebook in January 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated:

 

We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being. So we've studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.

 

And, in Zuckerberg’s epic manifesto published in February 2017, the word “group” is mentioned 30 times!

 

Facebook has also hosted invitation-only live event called Facebook Communities Summit. Facebook’s intention with these live events is to help recognize and empower community leaders, and to equip them with better tools to be able to manage their groups.

 

Facebook has released a slew of new features for groups, including:

 

  • Group insights
  • Member request filtering
  • Scheduled posts
  • Linking other groups
  • Welcome posts
  • Badges
  • Member profiles
  • Watch Parties

 

Watch Parties is one of my favorites. This allows any group admin or moderator to create a playlist of any public video on Facebook for group members to watch together. Facebook is giving significant priority to these Watch Parties on the new Watch Platform.

 

Facebook page vs. group?

 

This is a common question among the small business community. It takes effort to manage your page, including creating original content that resonates with your audience, responding and engaging with your community, and ensuring your message gets to the right audience with paid campaigns.

 

Adding a Facebook group into your marketing mix can make a big difference in building a very loyal, engaged following. It may not initially be about growing huge numbers. You might look to have a group of ‘super fans.’ This is what author Kevin Kelly refers to as 1,000 True Fans.

 

Setting up your group

 

Facebook offers three types of groups: Public, Closed or Secret. Refer to this guide to determine which privacy setting will meet your needs.

 

To first create a group as your personal profile, navigate to https://www.facebook.com/groups and click on the green Create group button. You’ll need to add at least one person to be able to proceed further. I usually add my partner or a team member. You can easily add your business page as an admin of this group once set up.

 

Alternatively, to create a group with your business page as the owner/admin, navigate to the Groups tab on the left and follow the directions.

 

Growing group members

 

Link your group to your page and reorder your tabs so the Groups tab is towards the top.

 

Publish a post about your new group, what it’s about, who it’s for and what content you’ll be sharing. Pin this post to the top of your page.

 

Send an email broadcast out to your subscribers encouraging them to join your new group and why they should. Share on all other social channels about your new group with a link to join.

 

Don’t be shy about regularly promoting your group. Be sure to reiterate the benefits of being a member.

 

Building your loyal community

 

Finally, you’ll want to ensure your group has plenty of ‘stickiness.’ What will you do to encourage participation? How can you mobilize group members to contribute even during times when you’re not personally active in the group?

 

I recommend assigning additional moderators to help engage with members.

 

Also, consider doing regular live video broadcasts with exclusive content for your group members. My friend Joey Vitale, attorney at Indie Law, does a terrific job with this strategy. His group Friends of Indie Law has over 7,400 members who are highly engaged with Joey’s weekly live video broadcasts to the group.

 

I love to use Facebook groups as a powerful support community for my various programs and masterminds. One of my longest running groups is my Inner Circle, where I lead bi-monthly live trainings using third-party Facebook Live video conferencing apps. This allows for so much more connection and loyalty when group members also come on camera and share and contribute.

 

Related Content:

     New European Law Impacts U.S. Small Business Owners – Are you Prepared?

     Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

     Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Video is one of the best types of content marketing across the social web. In a recent eye-tracking study, Facebook discovered that people gaze five times longer at video than static content on both Facebook and Instagram. And, in a mobile-first world, shorter video ads drive results.

 

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Facebook gives priority visibility to video content in the news feed. Here’s a hot tip for you: instead of posting links to your blog posts on Facebook, take a few moments to create a short, compelling video to catch attention and increase reach. Be sure to include the URL to your blog post in the description of the video. And, by boosting the video post, you can also add a call-to-action  button to drive traffic to your blog post. See this example on my own Facebook Page.

 

With Facebook and Instagram’s video autoplay feature, the movement catches the eye. Be sure to design your videos for sound-off by adding text overlay.

 

To create stunning, professional video posts and ads on Facebook and Instagram, check out three of my favorite tools:

 

1. Wave.video

 

Wave.video is an easy-to-use online video maker for creating marketing and social videos in minutes.

 

Two excellent features that make this tool stand out are:

1. Access to 200 million high-quality, royalty-free stock video clips and images (500,000 of which are included in the plans, and the rest available for purchase)

2. Simultaneously create multiple formats optimized for Facebook and Instagram, such as square, landscape, story, Facebook cover and more

 

When you want to showcase a blog post on Facebook with a short, simple video, Wave.video makes it easy to search their vast library and quickly find the perfect eye-catching assets. Add text overlay, a call to action, music track and you are good to go. Plus, Wave.video allows you to add watermarks, upload your own logo, choose fonts and colors, and select from a large library of great royalty-free music.

 

Try producing both landscape and square formats for the same 5-15 second video and split test in two different Facebook ads. Or, with the click of a button, reformat the same video into an Instagram Story ad.

 

Wave.video is currently only available as a web-based tool.

 

2. Animoto

 

If you have your own library of photos and videos, Animoto is a great choice. This tool allows you to create videos in three easy steps. First, pick a style for your video. Second, upload your own photos and/or video clips, add text elements and choose a music track. Finally, produce the video and share it on your website or social channels.

 

One of the features that makes Animoto stand out is their wonderful array of pre-built storyboards or templates for marketing videos. Simply replace the placeholder photos and videos with your own assets. And, Animoto’s “Memories” slideshow themes are stunning for showcasing your own photos and video clips into stylized videos.

 

Plus, Animoto has a format called Quote Blocks for quickly creating short, inspirational videos or showcasing customer testimonials.

 

Animoto is a web-based tool, and has apps for Android and iOS devices.

 

3: Adobe Spark

 

Spark is a fabulous three-in-one tool by Adobe that easily creates graphics, videos and web pages.

 

To create videos, simply follow the online prompts, pick a story template or build your own. Upload your assets or choose from royalty-free sources. Because Spark is part of the Adobe suite of products, you can access your Adobe Stock account, Creative Cloud and Lightroom.

 

Adobe Spark is a free tool, both web-based and as a mobile app. To remove the Adobe Spark branding on your videos, you will need to upgrade to a paid account.

 

Including more videos in your Facebook and Instagram content marketing and ad campaigns can help to dramatically improve your visibility, reach and conversions.

 

Related Content:

How Video and Data Can Help Small Business Owners Better Target Customers

Reaching Customers With Live Streaming Video

Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

 

About Mari Smith

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Conversations have always been a core part of commerce. What is emerging now at a rapid rate is the automated part of a customer’s journey from pre- to post-sales. This automation is birthing a new paradigm often referred to as “Conversational Commerce” and it’s forecast to be a multi-billion-dollar industry in less than ten years, according to an April report from MobileMonkey.

 

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“A sale isn’t made until a conversation is started. Marketers need to focus on creating conversations, not leads. Conversations create revenue.” —David Cancel, CEO Drift

 

More and more people are using online chatbots to start conversations with businesses. That includes people who work at companies of every size, sector and industry.

 

To help shed light on how chatbots are reshaping online experiences today, the teams at Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce, and myclever came together to create The 2018 State of Chatbots Report. The report is based on a survey of 1,000+ U.S. adults.

 

Key findings include:

 

  • The top perceived benefit of chatbots is the ability to get 24-hour service, according to 64 percent of respondents
  • The second most popular benefit is getting an instant response to inquiries, said 55 percent of participants
  • Key decision-makers are using online chatbots: 41 percent of people starting online chat conversations with businesses are executives

 

A Messenger chatbot is a third-party software system that integrates with your Facebook business page and helps to automate responses when people send a private message to your Facebook page, via Messenger. Plus, within the Messenger terms, you can send broadcasts to those people who have begun a conversation with you. In an era when email open rates are declining, Messenger open rates can be as high as 90 percent, according to Chatbots Life.

 

There are numerous Messenger chatbot platforms on the market today. The one that I’m favoring and recommending is MobileMonkey. The Boston-based company is free to get started and they provide excellent customer care – including a toll-free phone number.

 

Installing a Messenger chatbot on your Facebook business page is quick and easy and can instantly give you a significant advantage over your competitors.

 

Various messages that you might want to automate include:

 

  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Common customer support or technical help questions
  • Directions to your store/business
  • Support navigating various product choices
  • Order confirmation and shipment tracking
  • Follow up once a parcel has arrived and ask for a product review
  • Make product recommendations

 

     Related Content: How to Increase Authentic Business Reviews on Facebook

 

“Businesses are turning to Messenger to help their customers find the perfect gift, book appointments, get personalized deals, receive shipping updates and so much more.” —Andrew Kritzer, Product Manager, Messenger Platform.

 

Chatbots can help you to guarantee a great user experience by providing instant replies with pertinent information.

 

Here’s the key, though: don’t think online chatbots should ever be “set and forget.” One of my favorite options to include in a chatbot sequence is, “Talk to a human.”

 

A couple more notable stats from the 2018 State of Chatbots Report include:

 

  • 43 percent of consumers said they prefer dealing with an actual person (this was the No. 1 potential barrier to using chatbots, which makes sense)
  • 34 percent of respondents say they would use a chatbot to find a human customer service assistant

 

     Related Content: How Good Is Your Customer Service? Here Are 6 Steps to Find Out

 

So, look for ways to use a Messenger chatbot that can partially automate the customer experience. Your chatbot should augment and supplement your community managers and online customer support teams, not replace them.

 

For a comprehensive resource, check out The Complete Guide to Conversational Commerce by Matt Schlicht, founder of Chatbots Magazine.

And, if you’re looking for some helpful ideas to get started, here are 20 Examples of Facebook Messenger Chatbots to Inspire You in 2018.

 

     Related Content: Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

 

About Mari Smith

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Online ratings and reviews are a powerful form of user-generated content to help grow your business. In fact, reviews are a form of word of mouth, which is the most trusted source consumers consult before buying.

 

According to a study by TurnTo Networks, 90 percent of shoppers’ purchasing decisions is influenced by user-generated content. The primary conclusion of TurnTo’s study is ratings, reviews and other user-generated content are more influential than advertising.

 

Plus, a survey by earned content platform Olapic showed that 76 percent of consumers believe the content everyday people share is more honest than advertising from brands.

 

This surely presents a tremendous opportunity to invest further in your customers’ experience.

 

Enabling Facebook Star Ratings and Reviews

 

The Reviews feature on Facebook is incredibly easy to set up if you already have a Facebook business page. Why not encourage your happy customers to leave a review to help attract more customers?

 

Facebook first established the star rating feature in November 2013 as a way to encourage more customers to review local businesses. Any visitor to your Facebook business page can rate your store on a scale from one to five stars. Your average Facebook page star rating is displayed on your page by default. The page rating is an average of all public star ratings.

 

Once a customer has chosen her star rating, she can also add a written review.

 

Facebook allows your customers to choose the level of privacy they prefer on their review. Ideally, you want to encourage your customers to select public. However, just like publishing content on our personal Facebook profiles, reviewers can choose a setting such as specific friends, all friends, friends and their friends, or public.

 

Related content:  Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

 

First, make sure you have the Reviews tab enabled on your Facebook business page. Go to Settings, Edit Page, Add a Tab. If you don’t see Reviews as a choice, you may need to switch templates.

 

Next, you can drag and drop the order of your tabs to feature the Reviews tab more prominently – perhaps at the very top of your page.

 

How to Get Customers to Leave Reviews

 

So, how do you encourage more customer reviews? Here are a few suggestions:

 

1. If you’re shipping a product, include a postcard inside the box with a clear and simple invitation to leave a review on your Facebook page. Tell your customer exactly what to do. For example, “We’d love to hear from you! Please share your experience on our Facebook page. Go to fb.com/pageusername > tap on the Reviews tab > select your star rating and write your rave review! We’d love it if you shared your review publicly.” startup-3373320_640.png

 

2. Send your customers follow-up emails asking about their experience with your company. Invite them to leave a star rating and write a review for you on Facebook so that their experience might benefit others. Be sure to include a direct link to your Facebook Reviews tab: https://www.facebook.com/pageusername/reviews

 

3. Include your Facebook Reviews URL with an eye-catching button on your website. Invite your customers to share their experience of your company, product or service on your Facebook Reviews tab.

 

4. Set up a Messenger chat bot to communicate with customers. Integrate the Messenger button on your purchase confirmation page, or other relevant web page(s), asking customers if they’d like to receive updates from you via Messenger. Follow up with an invitation to leave a star rating and write a review. Include a button that links directly to your Reviews tab.

 

5. Regularly monitor the comments and posts by visitors on your Facebook page. Look for potential customer reviews. Comment publically and/or private message these customers asking if they’d be willing to share the same feedback on your Reviews tab so that future customers can benefit from their experience.

 

 

How to Deal with Negative Reviews

 

Many businesses may fear enabling Reviews on Facebook in case they get some low stars or negative reviews. However, understanding Facebook’s guidelines can help you to increase positive reviews and report any negative reviews that don’t follow Facebook’s rules.

 

Reviews must follow the Facebook Community Standards. Reviews must also be based on personal experience and focus on the product or service offered by your page. If a review doesn’t follow Facebook’s rules, you can report it to Facebook and request its removal.

 

Keep in mind that most people simply want to be heard, understood and valued. When your company responds promptly and courteously to an upset customer along with proactive steps to rectify the situation, the negativity can often be quickly diffused and turned around.

 

It’s important to get into the habit of checking your Reviews on Facebook regularly and responding to every single one. Negative and less than optimal reviewers could be turned into your best advocates with the right approach. And, your positive reviewers are most likely your absolute best customers. You’ll want to really nurture the relationship you have with them.

 

Related Content: The Small Business Owner's Guide to Social Media [Ebook]

How to Boost Positive Online Reviews for Your Business – And Deal with Those Pesky Bad Ones

 

About Mari Smith

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

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