2 05, 2012

Social Media Best Practices

By | 2016-11-18T12:10:07+00:00 May 2nd, 2012|Categories: Social Media|Tags: , , , , , , |

Now that we have been practicing for some time, we are aware of good (and, bad) ways to employ social media. Opinions will vary about the “best of the best”. That is the beauty of the web, it always changes. From a book summary I read on social media, here are some of the best practices according to the author at this point in time. This is not an exhaustive, all inclusive list. The basics are covered and should align with your current techniques for using social media effectively.

There are multiple platforms* available for your content and they should be used relative to the target audience. Having likeable content is a fundamental criteria for success. Get your customer to listen to you and then….

  1. Listen first, and never stop listening – You want to know what customers think. Ask and they will tell you. Next, the most important thing to do is listen. Closing the loop by acting on what your customers tell you will prove that you not only listened, but that you understand and can do something about it.
  2. Define your target audience better than ever – There are many tools that allow you to focus on your true demographics for your product/service(s). Define them and determine what will make them “like” your content.
  3. Think – and act – like your consumer – Remember, it’s about them, not you. Don’t sell them; instead, provide content that is of interest to them. Get them talking about topics of interest and find ways to integrate your wares into their lifestyle.
  4. Invite your customers to be your first fans – Word of mouth (WOM) is key here. The more likes you get, the better your credibility. Be clear about your value proposition and define what is in it for them. Remember, there is no value-add if only your employees are interacting with your content.
  5. Create true dialogue with, and between, your customers – Related to listening and being genuine. Get them talking about you to leverage the WOM effect. When your customers share tips and tricks with others, it proves they are engaged. It also saves you from providing customer support directly. Help guide the discussion by acknowledging comments – and, correct where needed.
  6. Be Authentic – Get connected by demonstrating an interest in your customers. Personalize it by including your name.
  7. Be honest and transparent – You can spot a phony a mile away. Your customers can too.
  8. Integrate social media into the entire customer experience – Another fundamental for success and cannot be stressed enough. Make sure everyone who interacts with your customers has the same message and is aware of promotions and specials. Regardless of how they find you, it should be a consistent message. The last thing you want is a disconnect among channels and mismanaged expectations from your customers. If they are online, they can tell their network about you – the good and the bad.
  9. Don’t sell! Just make it easy and compelling for customers to buy – They already found your content and are engaged. Don’t insult them with a bland sales pitch. State the (relative) value proposition clearly and make it easy to “Add to Cart”.

Having a dialogue with your customers is easy using a social media platform. I would add that you keep in mind how you want to be treated. After all, we all are consumers in the end.

*Platforms range from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Google+, Blogs, and specialized networks (e.g. flickr, yelp, etc.)


8 07, 2011

Beacon Technologies Through the Eyes of an Intern – Week 8

By | 2017-08-15T15:59:01+00:00 July 8th, 2011|Categories: Social Media|Tags: , , , , , , |

Eight weeks down, two more to go.  The past two months have really gone by quickly.  I spent some time today reflecting back and what all I have done and learned so far here at Beacon.  I’ve learned a lot, but I realize that there is still a lot I don’t know.  Since this week was the start of a new month, I spent a lot of time this week working on transitioning the accounts I was working on to other members of the WMS team.  This involved some meeting time and talking about what I had been doing, what I planned to do, and what steps could come next.  The other major thing I did this week was to compile monthly reports for the clients I had been covering.  Like I mentioned a few weeks back, that’s not the most glamorous task but it’s really not so bad.  I found it very rewarding to see growth in the clients I covered and to see things I had done start to show results.

The other big thing I did this week was to sit down and map out a final two week plan to help market Beacon itself.  I’m excited to be getting into this since my background from undergrad is marketing.  Some of the things I am going to be doing involve PPC campaigns, setting up various tracking measures, creating possible promotions, and a few other ideas.  This will be fun.

On a side note, I have been doing a lot of work with social media for several clients as well as for Beacon, and the more involved I get, the more I learn.  I’ve always been comfortable with Facebook, but I never really have had much exposure to outlets such as blogs, Twitter, and Foursquare.  That has changed during my time at Beacon.  I’ve learned how to utilize various outlets to accomplish different tasks.  For instance, I’ve learned that using Twitter can be very valuable for interacting with customers and is a great tool for promotional contests.  Another thing I learned is that Foursquare, which is a location based check-in service, is great for driving foot traffic into a business.  The way that is done is by first setting a location for the business within Foursquare.  Then you can set up options where special offers will pop up on someone’s cell phone if they are running the Foursquare app and they are within a specified geographical area of your business’s location.

The final thing I want to talk about relates to social media as well.  The “new kid on the block” is Google+.  I was able to get an invite to join Google+ today.  For those who are unfamiliar with Google+, it basically is a social media outlet similar to Facebook.  There are subtle differences between the two that I have observed, but overall it seems to be more or less the same.  The concept is almost the same as Facebook, and the only real differences at the moment are that Google+ calls features by different names than they are called within Facebook.  I’m not entirely sure if it’s something I’ll stay with but I’m willing to give it the “old college try.”

21 04, 2011

The Younger Generation and Mobile Device Addiction

By | 2016-11-18T12:10:25+00:00 April 21st, 2011|Categories: Social Media|Tags: , |



I took a  look back in history from when the telephone first arrived to the mobile devices of today.  Making communication easy spawns an addiction to the facilitating platform and an addiction to it will always will be rampant among the young.





“The telephone has been accepted without hesitation by the younger generation, but it has suggested uneasy questions to older persons who have not been accustomed to it all their lives.” -1903

1903 – “It’s Appalling”- Phone accepted without hesitation by younger generation

1948 – The teenagers have tied up telephone communications

1963 – Telephonitis is a disease of adolescence

1972 – For six years my son ate, slept and lived in a small phone booth

1989 – Younger generation has phone addiction!

2009 – Too Much Texting Taking a Toll on Teenagers

2011- Young generation addicted to mobile phones

What are we in for next?

Click here to see.

The rise in popularity of Facebook has similarities.

Mark Zuckerberg stated that:

“In fact, in some ways Facebook is like a telephone conversation, with all your friends on the same call. But on this call, your friends can share photos, text, political summons to action, video, and music, or can click to make purchases.”

14 04, 2011

Upcoming Tech Trends..some are fascinating!

By | 2020-01-29T13:17:29+00:00 April 14th, 2011|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , , |


It is April 14, 2011 and the weather is beautiful here in Greensboro, North Carolina!  72° and sunny.


I have a lot of admiration and respect for the ad agency JWT.   They are thought leaders, amazingly creative and wonderfully successful.  I really enjoy their annual forecast of trends which you can visit at JWT INTELLIGENCE.  JWT Intelligence has a great tagline, “converting cultural shifts into opportunities“.  JWT has published “100 Things to Watch in 2011”.  Take a moment and enjoy the slideshow as it will certainly get your brain churning as you consider ways to create your own opportunities based on you own skills and areas of interest.

Technology is a major theme (as it often is) in this year’s forecast.

Of the 100 future trends, I have several highlighted below that interest me:

  • #1: 3D Printing — Take a look if you have a moment at Shapeways Example Video.  It will be fascinating to see how this grows.
  • #5: Auto Apps — Not sure if this is a good thing but it is here to stay and will certainly grow.  Perhaps you’ve seen the commercial with the Dad in Europe and his teenage daughter wants to borrow his car.  So as he is talking with her, from his hotel in Europe, on his smartphone (really smartphone and smart apps) he checks the car’s gas gauge and tire pressure and then starts the engine and unlocks the doors…all from across the Atlantic.  Amazing.
  • #17: CAPTCHA ‘Advertising‘ — I am sure you have all been asked to enter several distorted letters into a box on a website which will then allow you to advance within the site.  CAPTCHA annoys me!! Well, advertisers are starting to use this as an opportunity to have visitors participate in the advertisement.  Companies are starting to use their slogans and taglines for their CAPTCHA.  I have not yet seen this but I certainly will soon.
  • #35: F-Commerce — Facebook eCommerce is coming to your Facebook soon!!  Apparently several very large retailers can already sell products directly on Facebook but that trend will certainly increase…just too many users on that site to miss on that opportunity.  This could impact many companies within the Supply Chain as well as Marketers.  It will be fascinating to see how big this grows!
  • #40: Group-Manipulated Pricing — Many group buying sites are popping up including Groupon and Living Social.   The innovation will continue to grow and change but it seems poised to be a successful strategy.


These are just a few examples that gave me pause.

Check it out at JWT INTELLIGENCE and be inspired!

Enjoy the day.

Patrick Flanagan


(336) 232-5668

(336) 944-4187





18 03, 2011

Facebook Developer Tools – URL Linter

By | 2016-11-22T10:10:06+00:00 March 18th, 2011|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , |

URL Linter – http://developers.facebook.com/tools/lint

Facebook’s URL Linter is an extremely handy tool for testing an instance of the Facebook like button. It allows you to view how it will look in the Facebook feed. If you’ve ever tried to test a like button you know that Facebook caches the results for an unknown amount of time which can be very frustrating while trying to test.

It’s truly a priceless tool.

30 12, 2010

Conversion Tracking for Facebook Social Ads

By | 2017-02-21T11:46:51+00:00 December 30th, 2010|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , |

Finally! This great new feature is still in beta but it is exactly what Facebook marketers have been waiting for. Soon all of us will be able to track activity that happens on our websites as a result of someone on Facebook seeing or clicking on our Ads. Conversion tracking helps us see the whole picture and I am very excited to start using this on a future campaign.

Tracking is available in the Ads Manager Menu.

Fill out the form to receive script for your conversion page.

12 12, 2010

How Can I use Social Media for My Business

By | 2017-02-21T11:18:34+00:00 December 12th, 2010|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , |

Social Media… It seems to be one of the buzz words that online marketers love to throw around.   What does it really mean and is it really important for your business?   I started out in the business in SEO several years ago before the phrase “social media” really existed and my goals were about getting more qualified visitors to a website where they would interact with the content.

Before there were social media giants like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter people would generally start their web experience at a search engine.   These served as the best portal to access information online so people “congregated” there.   What these new social media websites provide is another portal to the web where users interact with networks of people they know.    Several aspects of our daily lives are being digitally organized so we interact with the web in such a way that it consistently provides information that is more relevant to our daily lives than when we just search for a specific piece of information.

10 years ago the web didn’t have a lot of personal information.   People historically used the web to search for things.  The reason Google is so successful is they provide a portal that organized random information better than anyone else.   Now, that information is personal.   Our friends, what they did last night,  who liked who’s dog picture is all online.    Social media organizes personal information the way search engines organized random non-personal information.    We are naturally going to spend more time with and trust portals to our personal information than non-personal.
What does this mean to you as a business?
  • Social media allows users to interact and communicate within their networks.  As an advertising opportunity, this is similar to Word of Mouth because you have individuals spreading your marketing messages for you.   When someone in your target market hears about you from someone they know, the message has a much larger impact.   A recommendation from a friend is the most valuable marketing channel available that you can’t buy.    Social media allows you to be in that space and have your target market push your marketing message out to each other which will build a level of credibility other channels don’t.
  • It also allows you to put a personality or face to your business.   How you deal and interact with the public will shape your brand position.  Social Media gives you the opportunity to communicate as a person directly with your target audience.    Not only do you get the chance to push your marketing message, you also get to actively resolve issues in a positive light in front of potential customers.  People will be able to see how eager you are to ensure your customers have a quality experience which will only reinforce a positive brand experience.
Check out the following web statistics image from onlineschools.org.  Their data was compiled from the following sources.
12 12, 2010

Keep it Legal – Facebook Promotions

By | 2017-02-23T17:16:16+00:00 December 12th, 2010|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , |

Promotions have always been a popular way for businesses of all sizes to attract fans. Whether it’s a sweepstakes or a contest, these tools offer an opportunity to create a buzz and encourage fan interaction.  In an effort to protect users from fake contests, difficult to understand stipulations, and illegal practices, Facebook has instated its own set of guidelines governing all promotions taking place on the site. The new regulations went into effect on December 22, 2009. Facebook states that it can “modify these Promotion Guidelines at any time without notice to you. You will subject [sic] to the most current version of these Promotion Guidelines then in effect.”  This approach was apparent when the initial guidelines came out. Many businesses were and still are not aware these rules exist nor will they hear of any changes if and when they occur. Since violators can have their Pages disabled without warning, it is important to stay on top of the latest Facebook developments and terms to ensure compliance.

RulesSome of the most important changes include requiring written permission from Facebook before launching a promotion. Approval may take up to a week and usually requires thousands of dollars in advertising on Facebook. This drastically reduces the opportunities for small businesses to run perfectly legitimate promotions on Facebook. However, you do not need permission from Facebook if you plan to run a promotion completely outside Facebook or using a 3rd party application within a tab or box. This method assumes that your promotion will not make use of any Facebook applications such as the wall, status updates, Facebook video, Facebook photos, static FBML, etc. It also means contacting winners cannot happen through Facebook.  You must also disclose that your promotion is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Facebook and that participants are providing their information to you and not Facebook.

Be sure to read the guidelines thoroughly before starting every new promotion to become familiar with the latest regulations. They can be found at http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php. You must adhere to any local regulations that apply as well so do your homework on the laws governing promotions in your area.  You may also want to enlist the help of a Web Marketing Agency if applicable or possible. Experience and expertise with Facebook can make a big difference in the successful implementation of your promotion. Even a small business can usually consult with an agency and gain valuable information and insight before starting a Facebook promotion.