My news feed is usually littered with anything to do with cats, those formulaic “What most people think” meme’s, or “Sh** ____ says” videos.
But have you ever wondered why?
Read on as this post will explain how Facebook decides what updates are displayed in peoples news feeds.
Trust, Credibility and social proof
I speak highly on how to build trust and credibility for your business.
One way to do that is through social proof.
What exactly is social proof?
Wikipedia’s definition (I always trust Wikipedia!):
Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.
How does this work in the online world? What does this have to do with Facebook news feeds?
If people see you have testimonials on your website along with lots of followers on Twitter and likes on Facebook, they’ll generally trust you more. Would you agree this is very important if they’re a first time visitor to your website?
Of course it is!
So if visitors to your website, Twitter and Facebook profiles see people like your product or service and speak highly of it, they’ll follow the crowd and trust you more.
Many small business owners know this. I’m sure you do as well.
Knowing this, how can you increase your social proof and get more likes on Facebook?
You can grow your Facebook page a few ways.
ask friends for likes
ask random strangers for a like
rely on organic growth
I’m not even going to talk about the last idea. It’s a bad one as this post will explain why.
Growing likes organically can take some time depending on your customer base.
What happens then is that we request that our friends or strangers like our page. In exchange we’ll probably like theirs. That’s the influence of reciprocity.
It’s all in an effort to improve our social proof. The more our fan base grows on Facebook, the more our social proof increases and the more trustworthy we appear.
Recently I’ve seen the influence of reciprocity on LinkedIn. In various groups people link to their Facebook pages in hopes of receiving more likes. They would then reciprocate by “liking” others pages.
I took part in this to build my Facebook page fan base last month.
A harmless gesture right? After all we’re just trying to help each other out!
This is a big mistake though.
Let me explain.
Facebook EdgeRank aka the Gatekeeper
We need a gatekeeper when on Facebook.
That or our feeds would be jammed with updates from our friends and pages we like. Most people spend only a few minutes on Facebook and they want to see the best of the best. That’s where our gatekeeper friend EdgeRank comes in.
So basically our news feeds aren’t really news feeds. EdgeRank determines what we see in our news feeds by using an algorithm. I’ll let Kelvin Newman explain EdgeRank at Econsultancy so read up on that.
If you don’t want to, I’ll quickly explain.
Three things are weighed into the EdgeRank algorithm:
Affinity – Calculates how friendly you are with someone or page. The more you interact with them, the more you see their updates.
Weight – Determines what type of content shows up more in a news feed. Videos, photos and links have a better chance to show up in a feed. Weight can improve over time as your content or status update receives more likes, comments and shares.
Time – The fresher the content the more seen it gets. Pretty straight forward.
Does it make sense now why anything to do with cats or those “What people think” memes and those “Sh** ____ says” videos are always seen?
People are engaging with those types of posts! This means their EdgeRank is higher than your thoughtful and useful status update.
Frustrating isn’t it?
How does EdgeRank effect your updates and who sees them?
The people who have engaged with your updates in the past will see more in the future. This is the affinity score of EdgeRank. Pretty easy and obviously what we all want!
However if someone has never engaged with your updates in the past, they’re not going to see others. They’ll see a few upon liking your page. But when they don’t engage, Facebook knows this and they cut your future updates from that person’s newsfeed.
Your updates will be replaced with popular updates from their friends or other pages they’ve liked. Facebook is simply trying to give people relevant and popular updates in their newsfeed.
This is a story of quality over quantity. You shouldn’t be worried about your social proof and how many likes your Facebook page has. It’s great that you have 1000+ fans on Facebook. If you reciprocated likes to get large portion of your fans, it’s not helping you.
Obviously they’re not seeing your updates. Therefore they’re not sharing your updates and improving your pages awareness.
Another reason is those people who visited your page organically might wonder why you have 1000+ fans but no interaction. They’ll think you’re boring and thus not click the like button. After all, who likes boring brands?
Focus on finding raving fans. And engage with those current ones you have.
One of my favorite quotes on social media is from Gary Vaynerchuk.
“It’s not the number of followers you have or “likes” you get, it’s the strength of the bond with your followers.”
This quote applies to business in general not just social media. Its part of the out care your competition mentality I want business owners to adopt.
So how can you improve your EdgeRank score?
Turn up the foreplay on EdgeRank
Avoid asking friends who are not emotionally invested in your business. You want the friends that will actually comment, like and share your content.
Stay away from reciprocation likes from people you don’t know. My LinkedIn example from above is exactly what I am talking.
I showcased a real life example of Bluebird Taxi who wants to stand out from their competition and focus on customer acquisition and retention.
It’s truly a great example of what meaningful marketing in the mobile world looks like.
Since that post was long I wanted to carry it over. For this post I’m going to talk even further about ways they could really increase their customer retention and acquisition.
In this example I’ll be showcasing another car service company already doing these things.
Read on if you want to see how apps can increase your customer loyalty and sales.
A few months back I got tipped off on a very cool business idea.
Uber.com is a car service that utilizes the wonderful advancements in technology to improve their customer acquisition and retention.
How do they do this? It’s a two step process. The first step does three things very well.
Engagement, Transparency and Trust
After you log onto their app, you can request a pick up from your location. All you have to do it setup the location tracking services on your phone and you’re set.
This very step is where the personal engagement begins. Instead of the standard “Your cab will be 15 minutes” answer we normally get when calling for a pick up, Uber sends you a text.
It’s the content of the text that makes it personal and allows Uber to be transparent while increase their trust and engagement.
The text comes with an update that your pickup car is en route, how long it will be and who your driver is.
Why is this engaging? It’s a one way text but it offers you an update of how far way your car is. That’s helpful and it allows the company to be fully transparent and honest with how far your ride is really away. We’ve all been lied to by cab companies before on wait times.
In my last post I mentioned that how GPS tracking of cabs allows people to see where their cab might be. The text update is another way to achieve that. It is nice to get a personalized text however.
Now onto what builds trust. Being able to view the profile and ratings of your driver is a comforting way to see who will be taking you home.
We’ve all ridden in a cab with a driver who was not very friendly or a tad reckless. Instead of calling the company and complain, we often do nothing.
A few years back I was involved in an accident that was my cab drivers fault. I’ve not ridden with that company since. I’ve been in a few rides home with less than safe drivers but have done nothing to complain about the ride.
That’s the not the case with Uber though. You can rate your driver right after the ride is completed by loading the app.
This could also help the company evaluate how their drivers are truly perceived by its customers.
Being able to see what other users have said and how they’ve rated a driver builds trust. It’s also very transparent to see what others have said.
Review sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages and now Google’s Place pages allow us full transparency. Businesses no longer have much control because everyone has a voice that can be heard.
Being able to see reviews of the driver is this same idea but within the app itself.
This next step is where Uber really focuses on customer retention.
Most cab companies are still using interact machines for those paying by debit or credit. This can slow the checkout process down. If a cab is in a location where there isn’t a great connection, the processing time can take a few minutes.
Uber instead keeps your credit card on file. This makes payment super easy and helps those in a jam without a wallet. Talk about convenience.
I know that if a cab company has my credit card on file, I’ll be more likely to use their service since it’s easier. I can just get out of the cab and leave.
They could also think about offering a kick back to their frequent users. From there the users could check their points through their application.
Now’s not the time to talk about rewards programs. That’s for another day.
I’ve profiled Uber because they get it. They’re marketing with meaning by using technology to make it easier for those needing a ride.
In doing so they increase their engagement, transparency, trust and convenience.
In marketing you don’t have to some unique idea. Take a look around and see what other industries are doing and see if you can adopt those ideas to your own business.
In this example Bluebird Taxi could look at what Uber is doing and borrow their apps ideas.
What do you think?
If Uber was available in your city, would you use their service?
To back this I’m not going to throw any statistics at you.
Instead, take a look around.
Observe what people are doing at the bus stop or when walking down the street.
What’ll you see is people buried in their smart phones or tablets.
Instead of paying attention to a bus that is coming, their dog or the people their about to walk into, their texting, checking out their favorite social network or reading something.
Mobile devices allow us to stay connected away from our PC‘s and laptops.
So how can you increase your businesses engagement and extend your customer service experience utilizing these devices?
Read on if you want to see what an example of meaningful marketing looks like in the mobile world.
Mobile Applications for Business
Last week I did something I never do, I picked up a newspaper.
I was waiting at my car dealership when I decided to give old media some attention. On the front page of the business section I read an article that made me smile.
What exactly made me all warm and fuzzy? For a normal human this would probably be some heartfelt story about a mom reuniting with a lost child before mothers day. Those stories make me tear up no doubt.
But for someone as addicted to marketing and business as I am, it was a story about a local cab company and an application they developed for smartphones.
The local taxi company developed a smart phone application that provides users with:
A one touch dial button for their 1-800 number
The best locations in the city where you can find a cab
The vice president of the company says that the app is all about customer service. I can’t argue with that.
In an industry where customers are all about getting a ride home as fast as possible, loyalty is obviously very low. People want to get a ride home safely without having to wait long.
You don’t catch yourself saying to your friends “Sorry, but I will NOT ride with XYZ Cab company because I had a terrible experience last time”.
Your friends would hop in a leave you behind!
This application allows them to stand out from their competition. It shows that they truly care about their customer and getting them home as fast as possible.
In doing so they’ve created something that connects directly to a market that needs such a service. Youth who are out late and competing against each other for a ride home can download and utilize the app.
Most youth are smart enough to program numbers into their phone so the one touch dial portion of the app isn’t as beneficial. Users have this option when on the company’s mobile website as well.
The fair estimates are a nice touch but for most, they know how much a ride home costs.
I really want to zero in on the last benefit of the app.
Best Places to Flag a Cab
This is the most beneficial component of the app. When you stumble out of a bar or nightclub, you want to know where the best spot to catch a cab is.
Users can now do that by tapping a button on the app.
Even David Hasselhoff could complete this process! I do wonder if they have thought about the whole beer goggles and seeing double?
This app definitely improves people’s lives regardless if they’re a customer or not. That right there is the most important aspect to meaningful marketing.
As much as I love this idea and how meaningful it is, they could go even further.
After downloading and viewing the app, there is a slight problem. They’ve only listed places where you can flag a cab in the downtown core.
For most residents of Victoria, they know where the cab hot spots are. This is also no good for the people out in the suburbs at parties.
Here’s how this app could be better. Instead of listing the best places to flag a cab in the downtown core, why not offer GPS tracking on all cabs in the fleet?
GPS technology is everywhere these days. If I can spy on my ex-girlfriend (totally something I’ve never done) to see where she is, then I should be able track where cabs are.
The Waiting Game
We’ve all been told that our cab is only 5 minutes away yet waited for 30 minutes or more. Being able to track the cab through GPS would certainly help.
People could plan their exits more efficiently and not have to keep their hosts waiting. These situations can be awkward. Think of the old Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine are waiting for Kramer to pick them up from a party in Long Island.
Those people downtown could check their app inside and plan accordingly. No more waiting out in the cold trying to flag a cab.
Another benefit of GPS tracking is transparency for the company. Users would be able to see where all the cabs are in real time.
As you can see by going a little bit further with this app, Bluebird could really stand out from their competition. Don’t get me wrong this is a massive step in the right direction and I applaud their foresight.
My next post is going to talk about other ideas for this app. These ideas will improve the checkout process and engage customers even more.
What about you?
You’re wondering what this has to do with you. How can your business give better customer service and market with meaning by using mobile apps?
Here are a couple examples that improve brand engagement, extend the customer service experience and are full of meaning.
My friends over at Victoria Transmission and Auto Care could develop and app that:
gives tips for those with car troubles on the road
use data from gas war type websites to show which gas stations have the cheapest gas
send you updates on when your car needs a checkup
let you see your cars checkup history
A local gym could develop an app that:
gives you tips for workouts (possibly in video format) from their personal trainers
allows you to track the progress of your workouts (how much weight your lifting and reps your doing)
keeps track of your visits on a visual calendar
tracks calories and what foods you’ve been eating throughout the day
Mobile applications are not as expensive as you would think. Years ago websites use to cost a boat load. That’s changed as more developers have come along and the coding has improved.
This is happening in the app development world as well. There are so many developers that prices have dropped.
How can your business extend its customer service experience by going mobile? There are ways any business can do this.
It takes some brain storming. You might even be doing some of these things right now. I know at Victoria Transmission and Auto Care they have user profiles people can access on their website. These profiles allows users to see their vehicles checkup history.
The mobile world is only going to get bigger. We do double takes when we see someone not using a smart phone these days!
It’s not just the youth anymore. I see many boomers using smart phones as well.
With all this said, have you given much thought to mobile applications?
When you’re new you want to tell everyone why they should check you out. I can’t blame you there!
Maybe sales are sluggish and need you more clients.
Perhaps you have a sale or product you want everyone to know about.
No matter the reason you have to get the word out. Advertising does just that.
Sure I think internet marketing is great but advertising can be effective.
But the cookie cutter “Here’s my business and contact information, please call us” advertising doesn’t work anymore.
Let me explain.
Advertising needs to engage
It’s a fact that I dislike 95% of advertising. Almost all advertisements lack creativity and can be ignored. Actually all advertisments can be ignored except website pop ups! I’ll save that for another day however.
I’m sure my feelings on advertising are shared by many others.
How often do you say to yourself after seeing an ad “Yeah, I want to start doing business there” or “I must find out more” and call that business or visit their website? I bet I’ve been on more dates in the last year which for the record has been a measly two.
As a society we ignore advertising. It’s been jammed down our thoughts for far too long. How often do you even take the time to look at ads anymore?
So how you can break through the noise and engage people with your advertising? What does it take to get some serious return on investment from any advertisement you run?
I’ll show you a great example in a second so read on!
Before that happens do me a favour and tweet this if you’re on Twitter
Break through the noise & create engaging advertisements – Click to Tweet
Introducing Meaningful Advertising
Once in a while I flip through my local paper to see if anything catches my eye. A month back I found this advertisement.
Let’s be clear, it’s goods but it can be better. I’ll explain why later but it’s a step in the right direction.
So what makes this ad meaningful and better than the majority of ads?
It never tries to push
It opens the sales funnel
Meaningful marketers are always willing to educate potential clients. They’re thinking about their clients and what questions they have. In this case it’s something as common as using eye drops.
People are generally looking for information on your product or service before buying. Often times they’ll do research on the internet. The best way to get in front of them and answer any questions is by blogging for business.
This ad is essentially what a blog post would look like. It’s meaningful because it educates someone and improves their life. After all no one would engage with this ad if they didn’t know how to use eye drops since that’s the title!
It never tries to push
Since the begin on advertising companies have been pushing their products on us. That has to change if you want to engage more people.
During the advertisement not once do you see “See us for all your eye care needs” do you? The concept is certainly there but it’s subtle.
Dr. Taylor could have easily peppered this ad with more pushing. But he didn’t.
At the bottom of the ad his clinics contact details are listed. That’s the only time. He didn’t even offer a call to action which is very passive. Too passive though.
He’s simply educating people. If the reader wants to know more, perhaps they’ll visit his clinics website or call him next time for an eye care appointment.
It opens the sales funnel
Too much focus is put in closing the sale now a days. I know it’s all about sales but if you’re too pushy, people will shy away.
When people come to a website or see an ad, they want more.
Can they see photos of your products? Can they read or listen to what satisfied clients have to say? How about learning more about your particular area of expertise?
By letting people see those things you are opening the sales funnel. You’re inviting them to learn more.
Without doing those things it will be tough to open the sales funnel. Chances are they’ll flip past your advertisement and leave your website within 10 seconds.
When you open the sales funnel your ROI greatly increases. People will read your ad and stay on your website longer. This is taking advantage of every person who engages with your marketing.
An Opportunity Missed
I did say this ad was a step in the right direction towards meaning. There is something missing here.
The odds of someone needing an eye care appointment at the time of this ad are slim. That doesn’t mean they won’t think of his clinic when they do. But how could he make sure they don’t forget about him?
Drive them to his website for more education. Since the chances of someone remembering his phone number are low he needs the reader to take action and visit his website for more education on eye care. This will also help build trust and credibility with the new visitor.
The next step after awareness in the sales funnel is turning someone into a lead.
Here’s what Dr. Taylor could do to increase his leads.
Call to action
Dr. Taylor and the Mayfair Optometric Clinic need a better call to action to start with. Something simple could be “Visit our website for more eye care and health tips”. No matter what you want to get people back to your website.
If he is putting in the effort to write an article for an ad, why isn’t he blogging? Someone who actually reads this ad all the way through is engaged. What do you do in this position? Give them more! By inviting those readers back to his site for more articles on eye care and health.
Email opt in forms
Email opt in forms offer a person to get updates from your site. It’s a simple way of lead capturing but very overlooked. If he is utilizing an email newsletter they could grow their email list. This obviously gives them the ability to market to that engaged person for a lifetime and hopefully turn them into a lifetime client.
Hopefully you’ve learnt a lot on how to increase advertising ROI. It takes more to stand out from your competition. By creating advertisements like this example, you’ll be well on your way to more meaning and more sales!
What kind of offline advertising do you do?
Do you see a good amount of ROI from it?
If you’ve made it this far you should get my Meaningful Marketing manifesto. It’s somewhat of a bible that will guide you to marketing with meaning. Simply enter your email address below to instantly receive that and all my updates.
You’d be surprised at how many websites fail to capture leads. The last statement can also apply to a physical store front.
If someone visits your website or store you have to do everything to get their contact details. Ok, not everything but you must try to build a relationship with this person. The only way to do that is by getting their contact details.
This is what I mean by asking is your businesses website a sieve. Is it letting people drop by without trying anything to capture their details?
If 100 people visit your website a month (you have Google analytics setup don’t you?) and you don’t have any way to capture their contact details you’re missing out. The visitor may not be in the market for what you’re selling now but they have come to your site or store so there is something intriguing there.
Get that email!
When you have their contact details – email is usually the most common form given out – you are able to market to that person one on one and for a long period of time. For the record I would be hesitant to ask for a person’s phone number. Most people are more comfortable with email starting out.
Being able to market to a person for a long time is a huge factor to building a loyal community online. That’s assuming you provide meaningful content for that person to engage with.
Combining blog posts with emails is a great way to keep people up to date with your business or industry. You can send out weekly or monthly newsletters, your latest blogs posts or just useful links you’ve come across over the internet.
Using any of the suitable email automation programs allows you to do numerous things with an email list. The most important thing is tracking and analyzing data. Who opens your email and along with what links they click.
Being able to track your progress is pivotal towards success online and off.
What if they don’t give it up?
Cue the dating analogies!
You have to be patient and not go for the email right away. Don’t you get turned off when you visit a website and within five seconds they want you to join their email newsletter? You don’t know anything about them and they’re already pushing.
Talk about coming on to strong! You wouldn’t ask for a second date one minute into the first one would you?
When someone comes to your website and they see you want their contact details but they’re reluctant, what can you do?
Today it’s all about offering value in exchange for getting someone’s email address.
Back in the late 90’s everybody loved email. Then spammers caught on and now everyone dreads email!
As a side note I’ll be addressing how to write intriguing titles for emails as well as blog posts in my email newsletter. This will help you get more of your emails and content opened and shared. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below so you don’t miss out.
Meaningful blog posts
A blog when done proper can provide all sorts of value. When I mean proper I’m talking about creating meaningful content and links within your posts to other posts so people can stay on your blog longer.
Whether you educate them or entertain them, it’s easier to get their contact details once they begin to trust you more. They want to see you know what you’re talking about, are a real person and that they can trust you.
You have to put the effort into each blog post you write. Treat it like it’s an article going into a newspaper. A lot of people would be reading that article so you would want to impress them right? Each and every blog post deserves the same attention.
It is after all digital and never going to get recycled so give them your best stuff!
I had a chat with a mortgage broker towards the end of November. He was mentioning a broker friend of his who had been getting consulting tips from a successful internet marketer.
One thing they do is offer each visitor some value for giving up their email address. The most common things are:
Ebooks have been around for close to 10 years now. They’re easy to produce and don’t cost much to make except for effort. An ebook can really set you apart from the competition and show your visitors that you truly care about them.
They don’t have to be the same length as a physical book but they do have to showcase your knowledge of your product or industry. See what others are doing in your industry and find out if they give away an eBook. If they do grab it to see what it takes to produce a great eBook.
If you have the time creating an eBook is the best choice.
I’ve seen a few internet marketers during my research who produce free reports. These are good if your product or service offering is really small. Top 10 lists are great for reports and intrigue people to sign up for an email list.
If you’re an insurance broker you could write on on the top 10 reasons why insurance claims fail. A small grocery store could write on a report on the top 10 reasons to buy local.
Free reports offer a great alternative to eBooks as they don’t require much time. Topics can range from a lot of different things but the key is to educate and provide value.
Lately I’ve come across service providers who offer free consultations. This is a sneaky way to get someone to offer their email address in exchange for free consulting.
A good route to go if you provide a service but be warned that people may not like receiving your emails because you weren’t up front and honest with them.
Now if you have a blog and some sort of free give away, you’ll be well on your way to capturing more leads for your business.
This method does require a lot of effort but the rewards are huge! You’ll gain trust and your credibility will soar. These are two major components to meaningful marketing.
When it comes down to it you have to offer value everywhere you go. This can only help but open the sales funnel and allow you the ability to market to your new lead for a long time.
The baseball glove of your website
Earlier I talked about your website being a sieve. That can all change.
Once you’ve implemented all the steps above you can now play catch! Opt in forms are the method of catching or capturing a leads details.
EZLeadCapture.com is a great way to not only
Aweber is the email automation software I use. Once signing you can create custom opt in forms or choose from pre made template.
These opt in forms capture a leads contact details and stores them back at you Aweber account. Don’t ask me to explain how this magic happens as I’m still mesmerized by the radio and cassette tapes!
Common places to put opt in forms on a website are:
along the side of the page where the reader can see it
in blog posts like I have done already
at the top of the page so people can see it right away
These places are all fine but the key will come down to providing a reason or incentive for someone to subscribe.
Well I’ve covered all I wanted and I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post. My goal is to not only help you market with more meaning but to also make sure you get the most out of your marketing.
Lead capturing is very important and I wanted to talk about ways you can increase your chances of getting peoples contact details.
If you liked this post and what the site is all about, please spread the word around your social networks by sharing it. It would mean an awful lot!
So how would you grade your websites ability to capture leads?
Are there any methods I’m missing for capturing leads online?