Monday, December 30, 2013

Steps To Growing Your Network Via Social Media

Steps To Growing Your Network Via Social Media image Steps to Growing Your Network via Social Media

Building your network in social media is a great way to enhance your brand. You can improve how your customers are able to reach you which are tied to ways to make money online. But showing up on social media does not mean that your network will grow. Just like a plant it needs watering, nurturing and some sun to grow.

When you heard about the potential of social media, admit it but you got excited. You will have lots of fans, friends, followers, comments, traffic which lead to customer engagement. Engagement which can create leads and into conversions which is tied to make money online.

The truth about social media is that it works the same way as an offline engagement. Without a plan, you cannot just attract people in a snap. It takes a lot of planning to attract people to your page. It pays to have a direction so that you can ultimately say that you will make money online with your great network in social media.

Have a vision and an objective

Start things off with an objective about how you want your social media presence pans out. Once you have defined your objectives then start planning for strategies that makes sense in attracting people to your network. It is best to create connections to people that needs your services. Use a channel where you can promote your content and drive traffic ultimately to your network. Take care of current customers because they can influence new customers to join your network. Build relationships with other people in the blogosphere in order to drive digital influencers to celebrate your brand.

Tap digital influencers

Speaking about digital influencers, use them to become brand ambassadors. These are people that are noted advocates which have advocacies that can influence how people read your brand. Brand networks that can tap digital influencers are able to multiply their impact and thus can add to the value of creating a bigger network through social media. Most the digital influencers have their own social media platforms where your brand can become a mainstay.

Know where your customers are

If you want to build a great network, you need to know where they are at. Know where your customers spend their time. Get customers to join your sphere of influence by baiting them towards you. Join with other websites and attract customers through content consumption and sharing of information.

Be authentic

Genuine is a lonely word as everything can be so untrue, unreal. Understanding the needs of your customers lies on your ability to be helpful and comprehend their needs. Let your network help customers buy your product and peddle your relationship with customers as you become part of their everyday life. Using this tactic you can create a gravity of popularity through building trust and authentic relationships that can prove to be invaluable and meaningful.

Create a feedback loop

All good intentions of creating a big network are useless without a feedback mechanism. When there is feedback loop there is no way for you to measure the engagement. At the end the feedback mechanism allows you to provide the needs of your members and keep them in your network.


3 Small Business Pinterest Marketing Tips

 
If your company is already on Pinterest, and you’re having some issues getting traction, then we have some awesome strategy tips designed to get your Pinterest marketing up and running.
Pinterest Tips Infographic
Tip 1. Add A “Pin it” Button To Your Website and Individual Products 
Having a “Pin it” button directly on your website is an essential element of a successful Pinterest strategy. You want to make it as simple as possible for people to interact with your brand on social, and a “Pin it”  button allows your audience to engage and pin your content instantly. If you currently don’t have a “Pin it” button on your website, this handy tutorial will show you how to easily add one!
Tip 2. Drive A Call To Action Through Imagery
I love this tip! A typical call to action is text which prompts your readers to take the next action- whether it be to call your business, enter a contest, join an emailing list or so forth. However, a visual call to action is the perfect way to connect with your audience via Pinterest, since the network is centered around imagery. This helpful guide from Hubspot on How to Make A Visual Call To Action For Your Small Business is a great resource to get started on this tip.
Tip 3. When Pinning, Focus On Quality Not Quantity
While Pinterest is certainly a popular network, you don’t want to overload your small businesses feed with too many pins (this practice is often referred to as ‘pin dumping’) and risk annoying your followers. We recommend not posting more than 5 new pins an hour. View Pinterest as a gallery where you upload your most noteworthy or popular products, and keep the majority of your inventory on your website. We wrote a great article earlier this year on How To Get More Pinterest Repins using quality content- check it out! It’s full of helpful tips to make sure you choose the best content for your next pin.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Facebook Advertising: Is It Money Your Business Should Spend?

Facebook Promote Page


In 2014 Facebook Advertising Will Be A Necessity If You Want More Reach

Facebook statistics show organic reach for your Business Page is dropping like a bowling ball off a high-rise. Facebook’s suggested solution is for your business to pay for Facebook advertising.
To be clear: Facebook is purposefully limiting the number of people who see your posts and suggesting you advertise with them so the people who already Like your page, have a better chance of seeing what you post.
A quick aside. Just to be fully transparent. You should know I was one of the lucky ones to participate in the Facebook IPO debacle. I am the proud owner of very few shares of Facebook stock that today is actually worth a little something. So, to be honest, I’d love it if all 1.2 billion people on Facebook bought advertising in 2014 so the value of my stock goes up.
Keep in mind; this isn’t the most recent news. In 2007 CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced, “The next hundred years will be different for advertising, and it starts today.” And then, in 2012 before the IPO we started to learn about “Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, designed to enhance users’ experience by putting only the relevant content in their news feeds.” And Facebook gets to determine what’s relevant to you!

Should Your Business Question Its Facebook Presence?

Here’s the way we see it. Businesses have created Facebook Pages en masse and they’ve paid to sponsor posts and bought advertising in order get more people to Like the Page. And now, business owners have to pay even more money just so the people who Like their Page can see their updates.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

7 Reasons Every Your Ecommerce Store Needs a Blog

7 Reasons Why You Need An Ecommerce Blog - @Stephaniefrasco
1. Blogging Gives Your Store A Voice
By blogging regularly you are able to develop a voice for your business that coincides with the voice you have for your business offline. Put yourself in the buyers shoes for a minute. Would you want to walk into a store and be greeted with "here are our products, read the descriptions, don't ask me any questions, make your purchase, and Get Out!" No, I didn't think so.

By having an ecommerce blog, you can avoid this scenario and give your customers something to read and feel more connected with you as a store. Blogging gives you a voice and a voice in a textual world is welcomed with open arms.
2. Blogging Gives Your Site Additional Entry Points
This is point is pretty straight forward. The more you blog, the more pages you have on your site. The more pages you have on your site, the more points of entry a shopper has. As an online retailer you want to bring in as many people to your site as possible. If you only have product pages, you are limiting yourself and your success.

3. Blogging Increases Search Engine Traffic
We've seen this scenario in hundreds of our client's success stories. Once they start blogging, their search traffic goes up. And no, it's not with tricky back linking or other black hat tricks. When you blog, your search engine traffic goes up because Google and other search engines recognize that your site is fresh, updated frequently, and real. Plus the more content you have on your site, the more keywords and phases you will be found for.

4. Blogging Increases Sharability
When you blog, you have something to share and something for others to share. You can't underestimate the power of this. Even Google can't deny that sharing is something they are considering when it comes to search results. Plus, it allows you to share different types of stories on your social channels, instead of just posting product pages which can get pretty boring and stale to your fans.

5. Blogging Allows For More Calls To Action
Think about this. Every time you blog, you can push someone to a few different purchase pages. You don't need to blog about one single product each time, you can blog about trends, success stories, frequently asked questions, testimonials, and just about anything else that brings you closer to your potential buyer. Each time you blog, it is an opportunity to make a sale. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will.

6. Blogging Gets You More Back-Links
This goes back to the sharability point I made. But to touch it from a different angle, when you blog and it is a good blog, other bloggers will want to link to you. I've seen it happen with our own blog and I've seen it happen with our clients' blogs. The blogosphere is a community and with that comes relationships. You'll be happy to see the support blogs give other blogs. Do you really want to miss out on that? :)

7. Blogging Gives Buyers More Ways To Enter Your Sales Funnel
Think about all the different ways you can get people into your sales funnel. Your email list is one of the most important assets you can have as an online store. You want this list to be filled with past buyers and future buyers. If you include incentives to sign up for your list and communicate that through your blog, you will see your list grow. And of course, you can always do sweepstakes and contests to build your list. It works!

What You Can Expect With Social Media

Using social media networks can be tremendously beneficial and powerful for expanding your business and your brand name. There has never been such an effective way for anybody to get involved with millions of people out there who might otherwise never hear your name.

Before you get started on your social media journey, what can you expect? What should you expect, so that you can adjust your goals appropriately?

Patience Is Vital

It would be great if social media marketing could grow your business without any time or effort, but the fact is it takes a lot of both. Along with committing the appropriate resources and time to your social media presence, you need to be patient in watching that effort pay off:

  • Building Trust. Gaining trust in social media is like gaining trust in the real world. It takes time, and it doesn’t happen on its own. Let your actions speak for themselves, be consistent, and as your brand recognition grows your trust levels will grow as well.

  • Planning. It takes time to grow your social media presence. Part of that time is simply planning your next course of action. Always set out with a plan on what you will be publishing, what you’ll be expecting for a response, and how you’re going to manage your social media profiles.

  • Tracking.  Keeping track of your progress can be as simple as comparing your growth from one month to the next, or as complex as devoting a staff member or team to tracking daily engagements and running complex analytics. But it’s easy to generate a simple report each month that you can compare to the previous months and see how your efforts are paying off.

  • Interaction. Interacting with your network is absolutely essential. Staying engaged on your social platforms and making the most of each interaction from fans and customers is the key to making social media work for you.

Don’t Give In Quickly

At first it might seem like your efforts aren’t paying off, and it can be frustrating and easy to give up.


But success in social media doesn’t come to the impatient. Make sure to celebrate the small achievements and appreciate the small growth you experience in the beginning. Networking grows exponentially as a factor of your reach. Once your reach starts to achieve a certain level, growth will come more easily. Digging in and working hard is a fundamental necessity in the beginning.




Friday, December 27, 2013

How Do Brands Budget For Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Do Brands Budget For Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

How do brands staff and budget for social media?
New research from Wildfire reveals that close to half (45 percent) of companies with $1 billion or more of revenue have 50+ social employees, and two-thirds (65.5 percent) of these firms use a combination of outside agencies and in-house staff for social initiatives, compared to about half of all companies.
67.6 percent say that they plan to increase their social spend in 2014, with 45 percent already spending more than 5 percent of their marketing budget on social media. Watch for that number to climb fast in years to come.
How Do Brands Budget For Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

4 Tips for Improving Your Social Media Presence in 2014

Social media launch 2014
Are you lagging behind in your social media presence? Are you worried that it takes too much time or that you may not know which activities to focus on when participating in social networking?

You are not alone.
Social media is fragmented, somewhat complex, sophisticated, and constantly changing.
There is so much information out there about how to do social media that it’s hard to know who to trust.
The best advice I can give you is that random tactics don’t work with social media. Rather, you need a plan, a strategy, and a framework that you can work within to create your own formula for success. What works for you is going to be unique to you, ultimately!
There are many benefits to getting on board with social media, but perhaps the most important benefit is that it can lead to new relationships and strengthen existing relationships. Never before have people been so transparent and accessible. Finding and growing the right relationships is the key to business growth.
Marketing through social media is different than any traditional marketing you may be using or have used in the past. Social media marketing requires a mindset shift. Instead of promoting, you should be helping and influencing. If you set your sights on finding ways to be helpful with your niche market, you are going to lead them to you. By default, building online influence breeds business success.
It requires patience to focus on building influence versus overtly marketing through social media. However, if done correctly, you will experience significant long-term benefits of social media in your personal and professional life. You will meet some amazing people and open doors that you’ve never imagined.
Perhaps up to this point you’ve avoided diving in to social media. Consider making 2014 your year for improving your social media presence! Do you need help doing this?
4 Tips for Improving Your Social Media Presence

#1)Build better social media profiles

If you’ve already set up your social media profiles (or had someone set them up for you), it makes sense to go back and review them. Are they polished? Are they personalized? (I prefer profiles that are written in the 1st person for this reason) Do you have a recent photo on your profiles? Are you taking advantage of all of the features offered? Do you have professional background graphics and images?
Social networks tend to improve their profile features every so often. It is worthwhile to review and improve yours at least once a quarter.
Most importantly though, profile views are the gateway to targeted website traffic where someone can learn more about who you are, who you help, and how you help!

#2)Grow an intelligent network

Once you’ve set up your profiles, you can start to look for people you already know or are acquainted with on these networks. Each network has its own tool for identifying people you may know that is pretty straight forward.
Once you go through the process of replicating your offline connections online, you will be amazed at all of the new potential connections that these networks will surface for you based on your existing network!
Your  network will be critical to your social media strategy going forward. Without any connections, you don’t have the ability to listen and learn about what is on the minds of the people you serve nor will you be able to stay top of mind.
If you build your social media profiles but you don’t grow your network, no one will ever know you are there.
Spend time deliberately growing your network each and every day to expand your visibility and influence.

#3)Engage with Intent, Focus, and Discipline (EWIFD)

This is where many people freeze up in social media. Maybe you don’t really know what to do with these social media profiles you have created. Or, you end up wasting time because you don’t have a list of specific business building activities that you’re working on with social media.
There are a few objectives to strive for as you engage and participate in social media: interactions (dialogue with the right people), shares (when others share your content), profile views (profile views lead to website visitors), network growth (more connections, fans, and followers) and link clicks (when your connections click the links you’ve shared, and in particular, those links that go to your website or landing pages).
In order to accomplish any of the above objectives with your social media activities, you’re going to have to be authentic (is it really you?), helpful, and influential. If you simply push out uninteresting content to your networks, most likely you won’t be achieving much other than feeling as if you’re active!
Sharing relevant and helpful content on social media sites is critical to building followers, fans, and connections. Furthermore, it’s easy to do. Here is a social media sharing guide for financial advisors you can check out.
Ultimately, if you engage and participate with an influence-based mindset, you will begin to see the business benefits of social media.

#4)Be consistent

Social networking is networking with a big difference; you don’t have to leave your office or spend evenings away from your family to participate. Social media actually SAVES TIME when it comes to networking.
You might hear from many so-called social media experts that you can have success in only 5-10 minutes per day. However, I haven’t found that to be the case. I think you need dedicated time each day to building your network and engaging with your network. In addition, you need to also engage in small spurts when you are on the go.
Most people are busy during the day, so I find that mornings, the lunch hour, late afternoons and evenings are the best times to be sharing and engaging.
Better yet, there are incredible software tools that are simple to use that can help you leverage your time and optimize your social media activities. I don’t recommend trying to learn a bunch of tools until you have become very familiar with the context of each social network you are involved in. Instead, use the native platforms and apps for each network until you understand the rules of each.
Consistency in social media participation builds trust. It shows your connections that you are engaged and accessible. An ideal client may not be ready to go all in with you, but if you’re consistently visible and accessible to them, it can spark a relevant dialogue that can lead to a relationship!

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: GO BEYOND FACEBOOK & TWITTER!

Everyone knows about Facebook and Twitter.  Oh yeah, and there’s Google+ too.  And Tumblr.  And we can’t forget about Pinterest. But that pretty much sums up the social media landscape — that’s all there is, right?
Sadly, many marketers seem to think so.
In fact, if you were to ask some social marketers about the platforms they use, you’d be lucky to hear them mention Tumblr and Pinterest at all.
Despite the fact that there are numerous social platforms that marketers can leverage today, many brands operate in a very limited social landscape. Often, Twitter and Facebook represent the full extent of their social media efforts.

A RISKY PROPOSITION

But what’s wrong with just focusing on Facebook and Twitter? After all, that’s where the “eyeballs” are. Why should brands even bother going anywhere else?
The short answer is risk. Brands need to think beyond the biggest mainstream social networks of the day because the channel is constantly evolving. The platforms that dominate today could easily be a thing of the past tomorrow. The story of MySpace comes to mind.
MySpace
Solely focusing on the top social platforms also robs brands of great opportunities. Lesser-known social networks can offer unique experiences specific to the platform. For example: Zocdoc for doctors and Goodreads for authors.  These niche-interest type social networks give you a smaller but more relevant audience.
Moreover, the newest social platforms are worth the effort because they don’t yet suffer from ad blindness. Think of it this way: that “fresh climate” could give your brand a first-mover advantage. (“Another tweet from @McDonald’s?  We get it. You sell cheap burgers!”)

EXPLORE NEW SOCIAL POSSIBILITIES

Social Media Sites
The point is, there’s a lot more out there than Facebook and Twitter. Brands can stay hip and ahead of the curve by exploring new ways of engaging beyond the mainstream social networks.
Granted, upstart social platforms don’t have the huge audiences that the social media giants do, but they do offer interesting opportunities that merit a closer look. So, go out and explore! When you find something new that interests you, figure out how you can play with it in your marketing efforts.  Maybe it’ll be a flop, or maybe it’ll become an amazing tool to add to your digital arsenal and differentiate your brand from the competition.
Below are a few social platforms you should explore, along with a few ideas to help you get started on each:

Reddit

Reddit
While on the whole, this platform’s community hates being marketed to, that doesn’t mean it’s off limits — you just have to go about it the right way. For example, Degree pulled it off nicely. They had their spokesman, Bear Grylls, do an AMA (Ask Me Anything). This effort produced lots of great video content starring Mr. Grylls, and netted the brand nearly 2 million views.
  • Participate in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything):  Find someone in your organization to do a Q&A session with the Reddit community.  From the start, know that you’re going to get some negative response, even if you’re a bonafide Reddit meme like Bear Grylls.  If you approach it honestly, without an overt attempt to sell something, then it’s a win-win: you gain exposure and the Reddit community gets useful insight into your industry.
  • Create your own Subreddit:  Reddit is great platform for community building, and subreddits facilitate it. They are basically subgroups that provide a smaller, more relevant audience. You can use a subreddit for a variety of things, such as customer support or for campaigns involving community voting.  Private subreddits are great for internal discussions and updates.
  • Answer Relevant AskReddit Questions:  Set-up alerts so you know when a question is posted to /r/AskReddit that matches your area of expertise, then jump into the conversation. Just remember not to spam – in other words, don’t automate your response!  Be honest and try to offer value to the community.

Quora

Quora
Quora is Yahoo! Answers for grown-ups. This Q&A site has a lot of fun and useful features (embeddable posts, community voting, topic pages) that could make it a great extension of your current content marketing efforts. Keep in mind though that you have to be a real person to participate in Quora – it doesn’t allow automated responses. That means you should identify the appropriate people in your organization and task them with participating in the platform in regard to their specific area of expertise.

  • Answer relevant questions:  Keep an eye out for your brand name popping-up on Quora, and subscribe to industry topics.  If you have a product that’s the answer to someone’s problem/question, there’s no harm in letting them know.
  • Share influencer stories:  Encourage influencers you work with to take to Quora on your behalf and share their personal stories with the community. Clients and business partners would be ideal.
  • Use Quora to create content:  You can find a lot of interesting information on Quora if you mine it wisely. Whether the information is already there, or you directly solicit input via posting questions, pull it together for a blog post or other content asset. Or, you might decide to answer a Quora question on your website, and then drop an excerpt on the platform.

 Pheed

Pheed
Pheed could easily be the “phuture” of social media as lots of people are using it, and it seems to sk ew young. It has a lot of similarities to Twitter, but with a larger focus on multimedia.  It also has upgrade options that allow users to pay for access to premium content. It’s almost like cable television for the Internet if you could own a TV station. But Pheed is not my cup of tea — it uses lots of shortcut symbols that I don’t understand — maybe I’m too old.
  • Host a premium live event:  This can be a great supplement to a free event.  Offer “backstage access” through Pheed.  The access fee makes you some money and creates an exclusivity vibe that makes your event seem cooler than it probably is.
  • Webisodes:  Share video vignettes that are tied together with some running narrative.  Perhaps, if you sell chicken nuggets, it could be a nugget-filled soap opera.  Or a Day in the Life of Mr. Nugget.
  • Use a premium channel for coupons and special deals:  People are happy to pay for a good deal.  If you can offer the community significant savings or freebies, then consider creating a premium channel where users pay a monthly fee for exclusive deals.

 Snapchat

Snapchat
Snapchat offers a lot more than just fancy sexting. It combines the speed of texting with the visual fun of whatever’s around you at any given moment, or your best attempt at a funny face. The platform has an active and mostly young user base — perhaps making it the future of digital communication.  But few brands are doing anything on Snapchat, which creates opportunity for you to be a trailblazer.
  • Snapchat coupons:  Use Snapchat to deliver self-expiring coupons, redeemable by opening the Snap in-store.  Users won’t know what they’re getting, unless they have a Snap-saving app that kills the suspense.  Each coupon could include two deals: a surprise deal redeemable by opening the Snap at the register, and a consolation deal redeemable with a screenshot.
  • Tell stories:  Why spend money on a fancy TV commercial when you can deliver the same message through a series of Snaps, and for a lot less?  The platform’s new “Stories” feature allows people to share many clips in a row.  Let the creative director in you run wild!
  • Get celebrities involved:  Do you have a celebrity spokesperson or are you in negotiations with one?  If so, make sure they’re Snapchatting.  Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to receive Snaps from Justin Timberlake himself?  And if he happens to Snap himself drinking a refreshing Pepsi from time to time, so be it.

 Whisper

Whisper
The founders of Whisper basically noticed that social media was too positive, and they set out to create a way for people to share the grim truth. While many of the secrets shared on the platform are on the depressing side, it’s evolving into a great platform for anonymous sharing, which is something that Twitter and Facebook don’t offer.  It also has a “Nearby” feature – this could be a great opportunity for local businesses.
  • Start a rumor:  Releasing a super-secret product soon?  Announcing a big hire?  Maybe drop some hints through Whisper.  For instance, Xbox could have revealed product features through Whispers containing official, top-secret product photos with text overlays.  Let people wonder if the Whispers are part of a crafty PR stunt, or merely from some teenagers messing around.
  • Create content:  Does your product offer a solution or can your company relate to customers’ anguish? Popular Whispers likely shed light on a shared sentiment. Save relevant Whispers, and use them to inform your next blog post or other content effort.
  • Local announcements:  Tap into Whisper’s “Nearby” feature to promote your event. For example, did your freezer break and you’re giving away free ice cream to anyone who stops by?  Use Whispers to get the word out!

 Fiverr

Fiverr
Fiverr offers any service you could possibly imagine for only $5. For that reason, it can add a lot of fun and creativity to your social campaigns, and is a great option for outsourcing content creation. It’s like the Subway “footlong” of digital marketing. Speaking of food, Hungry Jack’s (Burger King in Australia) has used it to create a commercial.
  • Content:  If you’re a brand on a budget, you don’t have to worry as Fiverr is cheap. Trying to produce a YouTube video? Get all the elements for it from people on Fiverr. You can even hire a Fiverr to edit it all together for you.
  • Ideation:  Not sure what to do for your next marketing promotion or content effort?  Need some inspiration?  Browse Fiverr for interesting offers, and find something that would work for your brand.  Maybe you didn’t realize you could use a hula-hooping bikini girl simply because you didn’t know she existed.  Now you do.  Put her to work!
  • Pimp out your spokesperson:  If you have a celebrity to do your bidding, why not lease them out for $5 a pop?  Put Neil Patrick Harris in a Dr. Pepper t-shirt and sign him up for a gig to record a video greeting written by the purchaser.
Santa Sleigh
Tonight, as you get ready to “settle your brain for a long winter’s nap,” give some thought to how you might broaden your social media efforts and try something new. Remember, there’s more out there than Facebook and Twitter, and you could be missing out on some great opportunities!

25 Creative Ways to Use Facebook Cover Photos

#1: Get Into the Holiday Spirit or Change With the Seasons

Design cover photos that change with the seasons and the holidays. It’s easy—justexperiment with seasonal colors or add traditional seasonal images like leaves or snowflakes.
The auto company Pep Boys, for example, created a simple and festive cover photo for the winter holiday season. It would be easy to create a similar cover photo using a stock photo and free tools from PicMonkey or Canva.
pep-boys-cover-image
Update your cover photo for the holidays or the seasons.
In the image below, Edible Arrangements says “Happy Valentine’s Day” with their photo.
edible-arrangements-cover-image
Edible Arrangements adjusts their cover photo to celebrate holidays like Valentine’s Day.

#2: Promote Trends

If you’re a retailer, use the cover photo to talk about new trends in your industry andfeature new products.
The shoe company PiperLime does this really well. Here’s one of their cover photos that announces a new trend: dressed-up stripes.
piperlime-cover-image
The cover photo can be used to show recent trends in your industry and new products.

#3: Direct Fans to an App

When you launch a new app, one of the best ways to promote it is to update your cover photo. You can draw attention to your new app by using arrows or other illustrations that point directly to your app thumbnail.
For instance, whenever your business launches a new ebook (like Facebook expert Jon Loomer did, below), PDF, infographic or other free resource, updating your cover photo notifies your fans of your new resource and points them to where they can get it. In the case of Loomer’s ebook, the arrow literally points straight to an app.
jon-loomer-cover-image
Use the cover photo to direct fans to a recently built custom Facebook app.

#4: Showcase New Products 

If your company is a product-based business, use the cover photo to feature new or seasonal products. In the design of your cover photo, include text with relevant information about the products, like a date the product(s) will be available for sale or a few words to describe the product.
In the example below, Ampersand Design Studio, a design store, cleverly teases customers with a new fabric collection in one of their cover photos.
ampersand-design-studio-cover-image
The cover photo is a great place to highlight new products.

#5: Get Their Mouths Watering

If you’re a restaurant, a catering company or in the food industry, there is nothing more enticing than a photo of one of your mouth-watering dishes. As the seasons change, lots of eateries change their menus. Use this as an opportunity to update your cover photo to feature what’s new on your menu.
The popular Italian restaurant Olive Garden does this often.
olive-garden-cover-image
Restaurants can use the cover photo to show an entree to excite fans about their meal.

#6: Promote Your Hashtag

Facebook began supporting hashtags a while ago and some brands have had great success using them. One advantage of the new feature is that it allows brands to track fans’ conversations about the business. You can discreetly feature your hashtag in the bottom right of your cover photo design, or make it the feature.
The headphone company Frends updated their cover photo in August to feature a hashtag that was associated with a summer contest they hosted.
frends-cover-image
Hashtags are a powerful marketing tool that brands can promote in their cover photo.

#7: Promote a Facebook Exclusive or a Fan-Only Incentive

Forty-two percent of users like a brand on Facebook in order to get a coupon or discount (according to a 2013 Syncapse report). So give them what they want! Make your promotions exclusive to Facebook fans to incentivize users to like your page.
Promote your fan-only exclusives using your cover photo, like the Utah restaurant Riverhorse on Main. Their cover is very straightforward.
riverhorse-on-main-cover-image
Fan-only content wins on Facebook, so use the cover photo to promote fan-only offers.

#8: Celebrate a Milestone

Businesses love to celebrate like-count milestones and anniversaries on Facebook. For these times, use the cover photo as a place to say thanks to your fans or have some fun with your cover photo design.
The clothing brand C. Wonder, for example, celebrated their birthday in October with a cute confetti cover photo.
c-wonder-cover-image
Let your fans in on the celebration of special milestones.

#9: Produce New Leads

What kinds of leads are you most interested in acquiring? Whatever your goals, you can use your cover photo to encourage people to opt-in or find more information about your brand elsewhere.
If you want to encourage your Facebook fans to check out your website because you’re hosting a sale, use your cover photo to feature your business’s website URL. Or, if you want more newsletter sign-ups, use your cover photo to direct users to your newsletter sign-up app.
Or, if your company just wants to boost page likes, create a cover photo like the design agency Braid Creative & Consulting, which has an arrow pointing to the Like button.
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Produce leads and boost page likes using the cover photo.

#10: Inspire Action

The cover photo can be an effective tool for motivating fans to take action! Brick-and-mortar businesses should use the cover photo to advertise store events, specials or new products, which will encourage fans to make a trip to your store.
Online businesses can also use the cover photo to encourage fans to check out new products and take advantage of special offers.
In the example below, the travel company Travelocity has a cover photo that uses inspiring travel photos along with a few different CTAs. Notice the “Get a daily clue on our Let’s Roam app” text at the bottom right of the image and their campaign’s website URL “gnomenabbed.com” incorporated into the cover photo design.
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Use the cover photo to motivate your fans to take an action like booking a trip.

#11: Create a Sense of Urgency 

Try uploading a cover photo image and CTA that are installed for a limited amount of time and then measure the sales that result from it.
For instance, if your business is having a sale that only lasts 24 hours, update your cover photo during those 24 hours to notify your fans of the sale. Make sure the CTA conveys a sense of urgency that motivates fans to respond fast.
The software company HubSpot, for example, uploaded their “Flash Sale” cover photo to advertise a promotion for their inbound marketing conference.
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Creating a sense of urgency makes fan want to act quickly and the cover photo can do this.

#12: Have Some Fun! 

Not every cover photo has to “sell.” On occasion, the photo or image can be just for fun and designed just to encourage engagement.
In the cover photo example below, the email marketing company MailChimp uploaded a photo of their mascot Freddie with his back facing the reader—their fans loved this!
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Use the cover photo to post a fun picture for your fans.

#13: Establish Authority 

Use your cover photo to showcase an image that represents your brand or features your credentials.
Take a look at Nathalie Lussier‘s cover photo below. With a simple cover photo image, she establishes authority as a digital strategist. And for users who visit her page for the first time, there’s no question about who she is or what she does.
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Use an image that represents your brand and features your credentials in your cover photo.

#14: Show What You Do

The cover photo is the ideal place to show your fans what your business does. The more literal you are, the better. This prevents any confusion for users who discover your page for the first time.
Katelyn Brooke, a designer and blogger, makes it clear what she does. In the design of her cover photo, she showcases her work in a personal and effective way.
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Show off the capabilities of your business in your cover photo.

#15: Compare Your Business to Your Competition

If you’re in a competitive industry (and heck, who isn’t?), experiment with a cover photo that shows your company head-to-head with your competition.
The flower company Bouqs does this really well. Make note of how they use the words “Other Guys” rather than listing off the name of a specific competitor. This prevents them from looking combative, while still making their point: They’re less expensive than their competitors.
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Use the cover photo to do a comparison of your business with a competitor.

#16: Promote Your Other Social Platforms 

If you want more followers on your other social channels like Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, use your Facebook cover photo to cross-promote your other accounts. Be sure to include a strong CTA within the cover photo’s image description and links to your other social profiles.
In this example, ShortStack used their cover photo to attract their Facebook fans to their Twitter account.
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Direct your fans to your other social media platforms through the cover photo.

#17: Feature a Fan or Customer

Every single day for months, the cookie company Oreo uploaded a new cover photo featuring one of their fans who was celebrating a birthday.
Oreo received hundreds of likes and comments on each of their fan-featuring cover photos.
Apply the same idea to your business’s next cover photo design. But instead of featuring a fan or customer every day, feature a new fan once a week or once a month to avoid getting burned out.
Bonus: The birthday girl or guy is likely to share news about the honor with his or her friends, increasing exposure of your brand.
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Highlight a special fan or contest winner on the cover photo.

#18: Keep it Simple

Sometimes simple is best.
The design company CooperHouse created a cover photo that has a beautifully simple design and one concise sentence that describes what their company does. Nothing more is needed.
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A simple cover photo idea can attract fans and likes to your Facebook page.

#19: Promote Your Contest

During the back-to-school season, the tortilla company La Tortilla Factory updated their cover photo to promote their back-to-school–themed photo contest.
If your business is hosting a Facebook promotion, one of the best ways to notify fans of your contest is by updating your cover photo. Like La Tortilla Factory, it’s nice tofeature what your contest prizes are within the design of your cover photo.
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Use the cover photo to promote a contest you’re running on Facebook.

#20: Include a Strong Call to Action

Some of the best CTAs are posed as questions.
Pinterest expert Melanie Duncan‘s cover photo is a great example of how to use a CTA question in a cover photo. The most important text is bolded and the entire CTA is framed in an eye-catching red box.
This kind of cover photo design is super-easy to pull off. Simply upload a photo you like into an online photo editor like PicMonkey, then use the tool’s text and shapes features to add your CTA into the image.
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A strong CTA lets fans know exactly what you expect.

#21: Advertise a Sale

The yoga company Yoga Six participated in Black Friday last year by updating their cover photo. On it, they displayed their Black Friday deals. Instead of changing their cover photo on the day of Black Friday, Yoga Six uploaded their Black Friday–themed cover photo a few days before the big shopping day.
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Use the cover photo to promote an upcoming sale.

#22: Appeal Exclusively to One of Your Audiences

If your business has an audience you want to speak directly to, use a cover photo to share a message with them.
The clothing company Loft, for example, recently updated their cover photo for a week to celebrate National Teacher Day. To reward teachers, they created a cover photo that directed their teacher fans to an app that revealed a special shopping offerjust for them!
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Focus on one of your target audiences through the cover photo.

#23: Show Your Value Proposition

Your business’s value proposition is key to attracting new customers. Use your cover photo to show off your brand’s value statement.
The application and web development company Social Media 180 uses their cover photo to do exactly this. And the best part: The arrow featured in their design points to an app that hosts a portfolio of some of their best work.
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Use the cover photo to show off your brand’s value statement.

#24: Feature a New Offering

If your business has an exciting new offering, use your cover photo to let all of your Facebook fans know about it.
When the sushi restaurant Sushi King first introduced their new membership cards, they updated their cover photo with a design that featured the card, along with some instructions on how to get it.
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Use the cover photo to highlight a new offer for your Facebook fans.

#25: Celebrate a Quirky National Holiday

Find out what quirky holidays are relevant to your brand and create cover photos tocelebrate the silly days.
The shaving company Harry’s is an awesome example of how to do this. National Shave Day is December 1, the day after the widely celebrated Movember month. Harry’s created a “National Shave Day” cover photo to lead users to a fun “National Shave Day” page on their website.
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Use the cover photo to celebrity a quirky holiday.