Monday, May 22, 2017

How I Built a 18,000 Strong Facebook Fan Page for $500

Let’s face it, the conundrum facing social media marketers is that you need traffic to get likes to get traffic. Even the best content posted on a page that has no critical mass of followers will go nowhere. It is the proverbial tree falling in a forest with no one to hear and hence not making any noise.

Typically, social media marketers will rely on paying for Facebook ads to gain followers. On average, FB page ads for followers will set you back about $0.20 per like. Therefore, building a fan base of 18,000 will therefore cost approximately $3,600.

So how did I do it for less than $500?

While this might sound cliched, but it is nonetheless true. I focused on developing quality content. But, that is only half the story. Besides focusing on the quality of my contents, I also leveraged on FB’s post boost feature.

As we already know, reach is important for gaining followers. The best way to amplify your content, is to work with influencers to share it on their pages. A share from an influencer not only gives you reach, but it is also an indirect endorsement of your page. In the social media world, this is priceless. Unfortunately, unless you are best of friends with a pool of influencers, working with them is not cheap.

This is where FB’s boost feature comes into the picture. Depending on your budget, each boost can cost you as little as $5. Facebook also allows you to choose who you want the post to reach. There is no fixed "reach per dollar" spent as FB has their own algorithm to determine the cost per impression. Naturally, the less popular your page, the higher the cost.
best way to use FB boost

Before you jump on the bandwagon and boost every post you have, you need to remember that boosting a post will only increase its reach. Reach will only translate into followers if people find your page interesting. In short, the quality of contents.

Boosting a quality post will on average gain you 5 to 10 times the number of followers compared to a page ad. Thus, where a $5 budget spent on a page ad will get you 25 likes, a $5 post boost can reap you an average of 100. This is why experienced Facebook marketers shun page ads and focus almost exclusively on boosting posts. Additionally, if you have tried using page ads before, you will observe that a significant percentage of the followers gained appear dubious.

My 3-Step Approach

Firstly, when building a FB page, understand that people like FB pages to be kept informed, to be educated on topics that interest them and to be entertained. This is the basic premise of any successful FB page. Your page can choose to do one of the three, or all of the three together. The eventual content mix depends on how you want to position your page.

Secondly, focus on quality content. This is where many social media marketers get it wrong. Quality content on social media refers to contents that will generate interactions. While a well written article is good, being well written alone will not make it go viral. The article needs to strike an emotional cord, be trending, make the person sharing it look good and/ or offer practical value. In a nutshell, the content must comprise the elements in our STEP Framework.

Thirdly, boost posts that have traction. Even though the post may comprise one or all 4 elements of the STEP Framework, it is impossible to know what will go viral. Thus, to ensure that your budget is well spent, only boost those posts that have initial traction. It will take time, but once you have gained a sense of your audience, you will be able to pretty much tell which post will have traction and hence boost those.

There you have it

Facebook is an excellent marketing platform. Unlike websites where people pull information by searching for it on Google, Facebook pushes information to the followers of your page. So whether you are selling a product or service, or building a channel for affiliate marketing, it will not cost you an arm and a leg to build a strong Facebook page if you follow the 3-Step Approach I have shared here.

Good luck!

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Do like Social Media Academy SG and PM me if you have any questions.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crisis Communications: Megan’s Worse Nightmare Came True

Like many Singaporean Millennial, Megan was tired of the corporate life. She had graduated top of her class from NUS and was a successful in-house counsel at a MNC. The long hours, demanding bosses and rigid corporate structure stifled her and Megan felt like her life was over only as it had just begun.

One late night, while hunched over a stack of files, Megan cracked. Life had to be more than this! Humans were not put on this earth to work endless (and thankless hours) on things that will likely not matter in years to come. With the courage born out of the instinct to survive, Megan decided there and then to quit her job and to pursue her childhood dream of opening a café.

Soon, putting her corporate knowledge and experience to good use, Megan had opened her own little café in the heart of Orchard Road. Things were going great. Business was not booming, but it was still profitable and putting money into her pocket. In fact, if you asked Megan, she would say that the café was at its optimal point - Megan was not too busy and could sit back and smell the roses. The best part of all, Megan was marching to her own drum beat. She was her own boss with no one telling her what to do.

Being a millennial, Megan knew the dangers of social media. She had naturally heard of (and at points been a part of) social media “attacks” against businesses over poor service, alleged slights to consumers and even the occasional unethical behaviour. But never once did it occur to Megan that she would be the target of such an attack. After all, she was running a legitimate business and bad things always happen to someone else.

All that changed the week of April 2017. It had been a typical day of business and everything was humming along perfectly. Megan noticed, but did not really pay attention to a bunch of students that entered her café. They bought their drinks and, like typical Singapore students, brought out their text-books and started studying. Megan thought nothing about it. It was normal …. and just so Singapore.

What happened next could only have come out of a movie or a very bad dream. As the café was getting busy, Megan needed seats for customers that were streaming in. As the students had been sitting in the café for over 3 hours purchasing just 3 drinks between the 5 of them, Megan decided to approach the students to give up their seats for paying customers.

The students’ reaction was extremely negative. Instead of being considerate and freeing up the seats for paying customers, the students refused to leave claiming that it is their right to stay as long as they wanted. Even as Megan tried to explain that they are more than welcome to come back later, they were indignant and threaten Megan that they will post negative reviews on all their social media accounts telling their friends not to patronize Megan’s café. Left with no choice, Megan let them be. Unfortunately, this was not the end of the story.

The students posted negative reviews about Megan’s café on their social media accounts. They even went on Yelp, FourSquares and on numerous blogs to defame (for lack of a better word) Megan’s café. Megan did not know what to do and soon, as word got around, Megan’s business began to suffer.

Thinking that it would be best to remain quiet and hope for the storm to pass, Megan decided not to respond. After all, responding would only bring more attention to the negative online mention.
Sadly, perception is reality and as the negative reviews took on a life of their own, Megan’s silence did not help and within months, business was so badly affected that Megan had to close her café.

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Like Megan, many business owners do not realize the dangers of social media. Or, perhaps they do, but the 'it will not happen to me' mentality is strong. As the above true story shows, knowing how to handle a social media crisis is no longer a good to have. In today’s era of smart phones, knowing how to handle a social media crisis is a must have.

This online crisis communication course on Udemy is designed for people who are responsible for the social media accounts of their organization i.e. business owners, PR professionals and brand managers. At the end of the course, participants will be able to identify a potential crisis, assess it impact on the organization and take the necessary actions to deal with the crisis. Don’t be like Megan. Be prepared. 

Click here to take the course now - a small investment to protect your business.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Crisis Communications: Using Social Media to Measure Effectiveness

In crisis communications, one important matrix that we always watch is the online reaction to the incident. Social media's immediacy provides crisis managers with real-time feedback on public sentiments towards the organization and the organization's efforts to deal with the crisis. Unfortunately, while social media is uncensored and hence provides the raw public emotions, social media's anonymity also allows trolls and stakeholders with agendas to manipulate the situation. Thus, while we use social media as a measurement of effectiveness, getting an accurate assessment of public sentiments will require users to categorize and weight comments according to the site or Facebook pages they are found on.

In Singapore, fans of sites like TR Emeritus (TRE), The Independent Singapore (TISG) and All Singapore Stuff (ASS) are known to be anti-establishment and hence their comments are generally biased towards negativity. Similarly, fans of sites like Fabrications About the PAP, Lovely Singapore and Singapore Matters are known to be pro-establishment and their comments are also biased. It is also well known that these sites are populated with numerous fake accounts and this not only skews sentiments, but also the perceived intensity of the sentiments.

It is therefore important that any social media monitoring matrix take these factors into consideration and adjust for it. At CW Fong & Associates, we use the following matrix to provide an accurate assessment of sentiments during a crisis. Our matrix comprising sites that are anti-establishment, neutral and pro-establishment with an adjustment factor of -50% for biased sites. In addition to those that we have mentioned above, the neutral sites we monitor are shown below:

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TR Emeritus
The Independent Singapore
All Singapore Stuff


Fabrications about the PAP
Lovely Singapore
Singapore Matters
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Not everything on social media is real. Organizations who monitor social media for sentiments cannot treat all online reactions the same. To do so, will result in a flawed assessment, which will then lead to a flawed crisis management response.