Facebook profits from mobile advertising


Watch: As Facebook reports a rise in mobile advertising revenue, analysts say Asia offers the firm plenty of room to grow further.

There have been doubts over Facebook’s ability to sell adverts on mobile devices, not least due to their small screen size. Investors had feared that its growth may be hurt as a result.

However, Facebook said 30% of its $1.25bn (£803m) advertising revenue in the first quarter came from mobile.

It reported a net profit of $219m for the January to March quarter.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the first few months of the year,” said Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg.

But increased spending on infrastructure, together with the fact the firm now employs more people than it did a year ago, contributed to a 60% jump in costs and expenses to $1.1bn in the quarter.

‘They are delivering’

Ever since its launch, Facebook has enjoyed tremendous growth and has gone on to dominate the social networking sector.

However, an increasing number of users are accessing the site on their mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs.

The screens of these gadgets are much smaller compared with traditional PCs or laptops. That had led to concerns that Facebook may find it tough to sell advertising space on these and turn its online dominance into profits.

These concerns have hurt the firm’s share price ever since its high profile initial public offering (IPO) last year.

However, analysts said the latest numbers indicate that the firm is keeping up with changing patterns.

“They are making the transition to mobile faster than anyone anticipated,” said Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne Agee. “It seems like they are delivering.”

According to Facebook, it generated mobile advertising revenue of almost $375m, during the period, up from nearly $330m in the previous three months and approximately $150m in the three months to 30 September 2012.

‘In full force’

Facebook also reported an increase in users who access Facebook every day, these, on average, rose 8% from December to 655 million in March.

That had been another area of concern for investors, amid talk of so-called “Facebook fatigue” among users.

Analysts said the numbers indicated that the site continued to remain popular.

“The network remains in full force,” said Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner. “You have to give them a lot of credit.”

                                     Facebook logo on Nasdaq board
Facebook now has 1.11 billion monthly active users

For its part, Facebook has taken various steps in recent months to make sure it keeps its dominant place in the sector.

It has overhauled its newsfeed and search feature, and launched Facebook Home, an app for Android phones.

The app, which effectively replaces the phone’s home screen with a Facebook feed and chat options, has received mixed reviews from users.

Some analysts said that the firm had managed to fend off competition in the sector.

“There is always going to be something new in social,” said Nate Elliot of Forrester Research.

“The question is how much of it is a threat to Facebook? All Facebook can do is keep those users coming back and make money off those users.

“And Facebook seems to be doing both of those things reasonably well.”

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22376553

The value of social media to small businesses

Social media offers massive opportunities to engage with customers, get more word of mouth, interact with a larger audience, present the ‘human’ side of your business, and get noticed online.

Social networking can be valuable to businesses

In today’s world of online social circles it’s hard to imagine any business not joining the universal scramble for a free soapbox to a wider audience. Yet many small businesses don’t see how they can benefit from social media. Not everyone has had their eyes opened by the massive opportunities for engagement and new business that tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – along with the various blogging platforms present.

3 reasons why small businesses should consider social media

  1. Word of mouth is the most powerful force of discovery, and social media is nothing more than word of mouth amplified.
  2. Engage with a larger audience – As a business owner you can be guaranteed a large portion of your customers – and potential customers – are likely to spend a lot of time on social sites. Here is an opportunity for you to engage with a large audience and present the ‘human’ side of your business.
  3. You don’t have to be big to be noticed  – Most areas of social media require the investment of time and not money, making it a level playing field to be noticed.

What is the starting point?

  • Get a website. The first very important step is to get an online presence, your ‘store front’. Once you have a website (or even a blog) created then you are ready to get started with social media. The costs of getting a website up and running have come down dramatically recently and small businesses have a number of options available. Whichever solution you choose, make sure you can easily and cheaply make changes to your site as you have more content and news to share.
  • Spend time on social sites – Once you have a business website then your next step is to spend time on a number of social sites. Spend some time listening, before you start talking and don’t forget that business owners are consumers too, so look at how other businesses are doing it. Educate yourself on social media, and then decide what you want. Jump in, experiment and learn.
  • Link to your website – Think of social media as a party, a big conversation and one that you can be part of. Link your online presence (or website) from all sites you engage in back to one common place – which would be your website – or store front. So for example all those links on your Twitter and Facebook profile should take people to one place.
  • Define a strategy – Strategy is a heavy and can be an expensive word. First of all make sure you have your website done, then think about how you want to use it, to which audiences, with which messages. Having a plan will give you short cuts and cut out a lot of effort later.

Key questions to ask yourself

    • How much time can you invest?
    • Do you have the resources to invest in social media (for example an employee)?

What are your business objectives?

  • Are you looking to make more direct sales, solicit feedback or raise awareness?
  • Do you have the resources to dedicate to blogging?

Common mistakes

Small business owners often make these mistakes when embarking into social media for the first time. You can learn from their mistakes so you don’t have to make them again.

    • A dead blog – or one that isn’t maintained – is counter productive. Commit to finding time to put relevant and engaging content together for your blog before starting, and don’t start one if you don’t think you can commit to it.

Starting and not keeping going – if you start to get feedback and you’re not monitoring it or responding, it won’t look good.

  • Familiarise yourself with the unwritten rules that often exist on social/community sites. For example, don’t go to Twitter and update it but only to advertise your business and not add any additional value.
  • Patience is very important as social media is about building relationships, and this takes time. These relationships build up slowly and so the more effort you invest the more rewards you’ll reap.

The relevance of blogging

  • Being human – Having a blog gives you the chance to present the human side of your business and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
  • Search engine ranking – Content is crucial when it comes to your business being discovered on the web. Your business has a higher chance of being found by search engines through rich, good content.
  • More engagement with customers – The use of images and video when creating your content also to helps keep it rich – and is ideal for search engine optimisation.
  • Easy to publish content – A blog can be a fantastic platform to easily create excellent content.

Which social media sites and tools are right for my business?

Start with the big ones, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Flickr and Reviews/ testimonials sites.

Measuring the effectiveness of my social media

  • Monitor all your feedback.
  • Look at the stats on your website and see which social media sites are sending traffic to you.
  • If you analyse the results of your activities you can tweak and improve them.
  • There’s nothing wrong with asking for feedback and get your customers to engage with the sites you have a presence on.

Golden rules for businesses using social media

  • Measure and monitor your feedback, don’t let it drift.
  • Be genuine, truthful and transparent. The great thing about social media is that word of mouth spreads quickly.
  • Never impersonate, just be yourself and represent your business.

 

Source: http://marketing.yell.com/web-design/the-value-of-social-media-to-small-businesses/

5 LinkedIn Profile Writing Tips

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The job seeking marketplace has changed significantly, especially as you consider how technology has developed and just how many actual candidates are searching for employment. Seeing as I often instruct and write on resume-related topics, it seems only fair that I also mention LinkedIn. Today, while it might go without saying that in order for you to get the job of your dreams your resume needs to be seriously top notch, the same can be said about your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are commonly taking to searching for candidates via this social network, and sometimes this is the first place these professionals go to post new opportunities and connect with job seekers. If you are in the middle of a job search, you can’t afford not to have consistency across these two platforms—namely your hard copy resume and what a potential employer might read about you on LinkedIn.

How Do I Create a LinkedIn Profile Worth Reading?

Just as there are rules for resume writing, the same is true with LinkedIn profile creation. As you begin to contemplate your LinkedIn profile, consider these tips.

  1. List every job you have held. While it’s true that it’s okay to be selective on your resume, the exact opposite is the case on LinkedIn. Why, you ask? Because recruiters will often search for a candidate based on where they have worked in the past. If this isn’t included on your profile, you won’t be found. Therefore, while you may have shortened your hard copy resume so that you do not present a veritable tome to a potential employer, expand upon your past on your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Write about all of your past positions. While this might seem like a serious time commitment, going back and rehashing all of the professional details from every job you have held, this is absolutely necessary when completing a LinkedIn profile. The reason for this is because what you write will contain keywords that will help you be found. Plus, just like on a resume, someone who is viewing and considering your profile wants to know your past successes and accomplishments.
  3. Fill in the section that outlines “specialties.” This is a keyword-focused area of LinkedIn and it’s incredibly important when you consider how a recruiter searches on the platform. Think about this area carefully and how it applies to your career. Do your due diligence in filling in as many competencies and proficiencies as possible. In order to do this correctly, it’s best if you take a bit of time and look for commonly used words and phrases that relate to your industry.
  4. Effectively edit your sub-header. When you first begin on LinkedIn, you will likely enter your current job first. Therefore, LinkedIn will place this directly underneath your name on the profile. So, unless your job title is really impressive, you need to edit it so it attracts attention. For instance, “John Doe, Sales Representative for ABC Company” is not overly striking, but “John Doe, Revenue Generating Extraordinaire and Consultative Sales Expert” could raise some eyebrows and communicate what you might be able to bring to a company.
  5. Create a personal URL. LinkedIn will automatically generate a seemingly generic URL for your profile when you start your account. This is bound to look something like: http://www.linkedin.com/johnd8976890. This URL is designed so a visitor can access your profile directly without searching for you and it is also a Web address that many job seekers choose to put on their hard copy resume. Ultimately, you can change and personalize this URL so you can both simplify it and stand out. For instance: www.linkedin.com/amandaclarkgrammarchic. Not only is this a direct match, but it also includes my company’s name, which is how many people search for me. So from an external Web standpoint, my LinkedIn profile is likely to be found on a regular search. LinkedIn, as a social network, ranks really well on the search engines, so doing this can help ensure that you are on page one of Google for your name.

In today’s digital age, it’s fine to have a great resume that you email or hand directly to a potential employer, but you also must make sure that your online profile is doing its job as well and presenting you in an attractive light.
Source : http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/5-linkedin-profile-writing-tips-0379108#Qpkzu8vj6Q2U5CAk.99

5 Advanced Twitter Tips for Your Small Business

So you’re running a small business and you’ve got the basics of social networking mastered: You tweet often, you’ve created a venue on Foursquare and your Facebook Page is beautiful. How do you move to the next level of social marketing mastery?

Devin Desjarlais, social media manager at Max Borges Agency, has five can’t-miss tips for upping your Twitter game.

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1. Don’t Schedule and Split

Scheduling tweets with a platform such as HootSuite or Tweetdeck can be a great way to spread out your business’ social sharing throughout the day. However, Desjarlais says that it’s important to pay attention to any responses your scheduled tweets may elicit — the follow-up conversation is just as important as the initial tweet, if not more.

“The key to attracting a following on Twitter is to engage with users,” Desjarlais says. “Hootsuite is a free platform that allows companies to schedule tweets for all accounts in one place. That means that you won’t have to spend all day planning the next 140 characters to publish. However, check back hourly to see who has tweeted back at you. Twitter users have a short attention span, so it’s important to respond as quickly as possible.”

2. Sit in the Stream

Get familiar with platforms that let you build streams around phrases or hashtags relevant to your company. That way, you’ve always got your ear to the social ground.

“Hashtags are an excellent way to track conversation about a specific topic,” Desjarlais says. “With Hootsuite, companies can create streams that track a specific hashtag, giving the account manager an easy way to find content and engage with other tweeters. For example, if your company makes custom guitars, you might want to follow a stream dedicated to the #music hashtag.”

3. Don’t Rely on Your Handle

It’s the mark of a successful social company to have plenty of customers tweeting at you or about you using your Twitter handle, but you can’t rely on all users to do that. If you’re only listening for tweets mentioning @BobsBurgerShack, for example, you’ll miss out on a tweet such as, “Man, I wish Bob’s Burger Shack had relish!”

The solution? Enhanced listening techniques.

“Topsy.com is a little-known website that lets users do real-time searches in the social web,” Desjarlais explains. “Do daily searches for your company’s name and narrow the search results to just tweets to see who is talking about your company but not @-mentioning you.” Or you can save searches for some key terms and common permutations of your company name, such as “Bobs burger” and “Bobs cheeseburger.”

4. Don’t Be a Social Egomaniac

While the majority of your tweets will probably be about your business, it’s important to develop a personality beyond tweeting out discounts or new menu options. It’s all about building a human personality.

“The last thing a company wants to do is spam their followers with tweets,” she says. “Twitter is about sharing ideas, information and occasionally inspirational quotes in order to build a community around what the business offers. Try to tweet at least five times per day and dedicate one or two of those tweets to sending users back to your company’s website. Schedule those posts between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. EST on the weekdays for the most engagement.”

5. Stay on Track

Determining the return on investment of social networking can be a real challenge, especially for smaller businesses that don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to complex analytics. Desjarlais says free tools are available to make that task just a bit easier.

“The URL shortener Bitly lets users create shortened links for any URL available online,” says Desjarlais. “Sign up for a free Bitly account and create custom Bitly links or ‘bitmarks’ that can be used whenever you send users back to your company’s website. To see how many people have clicked the link, simply paste the URL with a ‘+’ at the end into your Internet browser to see up-to-date metrics.”

Taken from: http://mashable.com/2012/06/23/twitter-tips-small-business/

5 Ways strategic Social Media can help small businesses

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One of the biggest misconceptions about social media strategy is that only the big brands and enterprise organizations can afford success. The impression is bigger businesses have unlimited resources, people and budgets to execute on all new ideas. This is simply not true. Like in anything, people are focused on their jobs as they exist and anything new that comes along, well, it’s met with prejudice.

The truth is that small businesses possess an enormous advantage over big businesses—the ability to recognize and adapt to new opportunities much faster, with far less investment, and with a greater capacity to learn and improve at will. So when it comes down to how a small business should consider how to employ a social media strategy, why would we look to big business for inspiration?

a) Because they have millions of friends, fans, and followers?
b) They are getting a ton of Likes, Tweets, and Youtube views?
c) They are always the source of the best content – videos, posts, infographics, designs
d) None of the above

The answer is “d” – none of the above.

Why?

Because most businesses, large and small, have not answered that very question, why? Why would we go on social networks? Why would customers connect with us there? Why would we gain any value out of online engagement? Why would any of this impact my business?

At the root of the problem, today’s social media programs start with the technology in mind and not the solution in mind. Many businesses jump into Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, et al, without thinking through opportunities or customer expectations and experiences.

To help get you started and to leap frog even the most advanced businesses in social media, I’ve outlined 5-step approach. Working through it will assist in the development of a relevant social media strategy that allows you to earn customer attention, relationships, and loyalty in places that only expand your reach and impact.

5 Ways to Develop a Strategic Social Media Presence

1. Listen, Search, Walk a “Daily in the Life” of…

Take some time to search Google, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Google+ for related keywords and geographies to your business.

Take notes of what you find…capture the trends, insights, activity, and the players that matter to you

Document the 5W’s + the H.E.: Who, What, When, Why, How, and to What Extent – it’s the only way to work toward ROI

Prioritize networks

Recognize patterns and behavior

Observe trends and themes

Tip: Also pay attention to what people aren’t saying or sharing

2. Define Your Online Brand: What do you want people to see and appreciate?

Take a step back to think about the value you can add based on who you are and the expertise or the unique service or solution that only you can provide

Define why you are different than your competition

Design the professional brand and the persona you would like to convey online

Describe “your” experience: What is it that you want people to see or think when they find you in social networks

Portray your brand, persona and the experience in your profiles

Tip: Don’t sell or overly promote…

3. Develop a Social Media Strategy: Make your presence matter

Write a vision statement for how you will use social media to build relationships, a community around your value proposition, and how social media will enable your strategy

Describe what social media success will look like

Customize your presence, goals, and what success looks like in each network

Create an editorial program that reinforces your value, your business, and your goals within each network

Understand what format to you love using AND what seems to be the formats your customers prefer

Curate relevant and interesting content that reflects your professional and personal interests

Tip: Find the balance between personal and professional activity online, it can’t be ALL business

4. Build and Invest in Your Community: Participate and earn affinity to become a trusted resource

Share insights in the communities that matter to your business and reach beyond the friends, fans, and followers you already have

Identify and talk to local online influencers who can help you spread your expertise and value

Ask and answer questions in your communities and across other vibrant communities hosted by others

Maintain a valuable and timely presence

Create a “linked” network of resources: Link to or recommend people who can also help your customers

Tip: Invest proportionally in social media, search engine optimization/digital and your real world activities

5. Learn: Repeat steps 1-5 over time to stay relevant as technology and behavior evolves

Learn from everything to improve experiences and your overall strategy

Ask your community what they’re looking for and how you can better help

Monitor activity using social media listening tools around you and in your areas of focus to stay on top of trends, themes, and needs

Tip: Looking at activity through the lens of your customers and walking in their shoes will always keep you on target in your strategy.

Taken from: http://www.briansolis.com/2012/09/5-ways-strategic-social-media-can-help-small-businesses/

What is SEO?

SEO is short for search engine optimisation, it is the process by which you get a website to appear near the top of the search results for the terms that you want to rank well for. The reason that you would want to do this is obvious, the site that is at the top of the search results will get the most visitors. A site that is on the tenth page of the search results however will likely get very few visitors. Therefore if your webpage is an important part of your business you have to make sure that it ranks well.

search-engine-optimisation

The search engines are supposed to provide the most relevant results for each search term and this is what they try to do. Therefore in theory you should be able to get your site to rank at the top of the search results simply by providing the best and most relevant content. In practice things don’t work out that way, most of the time you are going to have to take steps to help your site to rank well. How much work is required will depend on how much competition there is for that search term.

There are basically two parts to search engine optimisation, the first is known as on page optimisation. This involves making sure that it is clear what your site is about. The easier it is for the search engines to tell what your site is about the easier it will be for it to determine what it should rank for. That means that you are going to want to make sure that your content is tightly focused. You will also want to make sure that your site is laid out in a way that is easy to navigate and that related pages are linked together.

The other part of SEO is off page optimization, this is mainly about getting links. Since the search engines really can’t make judgments on things like quality it is necessary that there be another way to determine which sites are best. In large part this is done by looking at how many other sites link to your site. The theory is that the best sites will be linked to the most. This also makes it possible to get your site to rank well by creating the links yourself. Not all links count for the same value so it is important that you know which links are the most useful and that you go after them.

It is important to realise that SEO is not a onetime thing, if you stop doing it you can be sure that other sites will go past you in the rankings. That means that you will need to be constantly adding new links to your site. Once you have your site ranked at the top you can reduce the amount of time that you have to spend looking for links but you can’t stop entirely.

Taken from: http://www.gnctech.net/what-is-seo.php

Using Facebook for small busineses

Over 800 million people are currently on Facebook, so it’s no surprise every business wants to use the social networking site to drive their business. But how do you create a community and engage with them effectively? Kirby Koo, Manager of Small and Medium Business Growth at Facebook gives us some top tips that will help you get the most out of your business’ Facebook Page.

1. Get to know your fans

The best way to get your fans to talk about your business with their friends is to understand what they care about. Use Page Insights regularly to track which posts sparked conversations and sharing, then try to keep posting this kind of content.

It’s worth remembering that no matter how engaging your posts are, not all of your fans will see them in their News Feed. To make sure that more people see your posts, you can use Page Post ads which are a great way to reach a wide audience and get more people to Like and engage with your Page. And because these ads are telling people what their friends are Liking and interacting with they are much more effective because of that social context.

2. Stand out from the crowd

Don’t forget that people’s News Feeds contain a lot of information and they are busy so probably won’t have time to read everything. Your posts are a reflection of your business but keep them short and snappy, ideally less than three lines. Pictures are also a powerful way to grab people’s attention so try to include related images when you post.

3. Post regularly

It’s important to keep up the conversation with your fans so that you build a real relationship with potential. You wouldn’t stop talking to a friend for six months and then try and start up a conversation out of the blue, so you should treat your Facebook Page in the same way! There are no hard and fast rules for the optimum amount of posts and only you know how often your fans want to hear from you. If you run a small shop for example you may want to post a few times a week when new products come in, however often you decide to post, make sure you post consistently.

4. Start conversations

Your Page should be a place for conversations between you and your fans. You can ask people questions and make them feel involved with your decisions. Your Page is a real online community, so you can use it as a way to gather feedback about your business.

Facebook’s Questions feature allows you to ask your fans for ideas about how to improve your business. People can agree with an existing answer with a single click, or add a different response – this is incredibly easy and means your customers can engage with minimal effort. “Fill in the blank” posts can be particularly useful if you want to give your customers a very simple way to engage with your post by asking them to finish your sentence.

5. Reward your community

There are thousands of businesses on Facebook so you need to stand out from the crowd, you could reward your fans for liking your Page by offering competitions and special offers. Think about announcing new products to fans on Facebook before anywhere else, giving fans early access to sales, or posting exclusive photos from events on your Page.

6. Be relevant

Your fans will be more likely to notice your business’ Page if you post about relevant issues, post about special offers and mention the issue of the day – whether that’s the Oscars or Mother’s Day.

Visit facebook.com/FacebookMarketingUK to keep up with how you can use Facebook to market your business

Picture credit: Rex Features

Taken from: http://www.stylist.co.uk/stylist-network/how-to-use-facebook-for-small-businesses