Marketing for Food Businesses: Jennifer Lewis of Small Food Business

Jennifer Lewis of Small Food BusinessJennifer Lewis voyaged into entrepreneurship with her own food business, and now helps other food businesses become successful. Her site, smallfoodbiz.com, has lots of resources and advice for artisan food entrepreneurs. She tells us about the specific challenges of running a small food business, her favorite social media platform, and more.

My questions are in bold.

How is starting a food business different from other forms of entrepreneurship? What peculiar challenges does a small food business-owner face?

People tend to come into the food world because they’re driven by passion for the items they make but they can face an uphill battle getting their products to market because of the numerous regulations that are specific to the food industry. This can be anything from health code permits to labeling regulations. It’s a complex world and one that’s very different from other types of entrepreneurial ventures.

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Using Markitty: Facebook Likes and Unlikes (Daily and Monthly)

One thing most marketers and business-owners want to know is how their marketing is doing over time. Most of us have a pretty good idea of how many Facebook likes we have today, but forget how many we had last month or the month before.

Here’s where Markitty takes your data from Facebook Insights and gives it to you in a more useful form: apart from showing you your total page likes every day for the last three weeks, we also show your likes per month for the last three months. So you can see your fan base growing over time.

Total Likes Graphs on Markitty

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Social Media Profile Cover Photos

Managing your brand’s presence on so many different social channels can be a pain, and one of the annoying aspects of it is getting the right cover photos for each one. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ — all have different guidelines for what the cover photo size should be.

Here is a list of official and unofficial references that will give you cover and profile picture specification for all social networks:

1. Facebook

The cover photo of your Facebook page is very important: not only is it featured on your page, it is also prominently displayed in the user’s newsfeed when your page is recommended (paid or otherwise) by Facebook. Facebook’s official guidelines give very little detail but this page covers all you need to know.

Faceboook Cover Photo Guidelines

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Making Cleaning Businesses Successful: Interview with Tom Watson

Tom Watson of Cleaning 4 ProfitTom Watson helps cleaning businesses become successful. That’s right. His books and services are aimed at helping cleaning businesses become more effective, and of course, marketing is a part of this. Let’s ask him about online marketing for cleaning businesses.

My questions and comments are in bold.

So how is marketing for cleaning businesses different? (Or is it?)

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How (and Why) to Schedule Your Facebook Posts

Facebook Insights offers a wealth of data about your Facebook page. How do you use that information to improve your marketing on Facebook? One way to do this is by scheduling posts for the most effective times.

Scheduling Your Posts for When Your Fans Are Online

The Posts tab on your Facebook Insights has a section called When Your Fans Are Online. This tells you how many of your fans are on Facebook on each day of the week and different times of the day. Use this to time your posts for when most of your fans are active.

To schedule a Facebook post, click on the clock icon on the bottom left of the post editor

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Managing Negative Reviews of Your Small Business

Photo credit: HubSpot

Photo credit: HubSpot

One objection I had heard from business-owners or CEOs about participating in social media was, what if someone writes bad things about us?

If they would write bad things about you… they probably are anyway.

You don’t own social media. A disgruntled ex-employee, an unhappy customer, is likely to be venting on Facebook and Twitter anyway.

If you’re also on social media, at least you get a chance to present your side of the story. As I say in my guest post on the Entrepreneur in Heels blog:

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How Small Businesses Are Using the #backtoschool Hashtag on Facebook

It’s “back to school” season in the U.S. and some other parts of the world, and many businesses have special promotions during this time. Let’s see how small businesses are using the #backtoschool hashtag on Facebook.

This hashtag isn’t important for you? You should still know how to use similar seasonal hashtags for your Facebook page.

1: Offer a discount or deal

The most obvious way to cash in on a seasonal trend is to offer a special deal or promotion.

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How to Embed Facebook Posts to Your Website or Blog

Facebook just rolled out embedded posts to everyone, so now you can embed Facebook posts in your blog post or web page.

Why embed a post instead of posting a screenshot? Because all the links and other information in the post remain intact. Your website visitor can click on the links in the post to go to the post on Facebook or to your Facebook page.

Go to any Facebook post, or scroll down in your Timeline to find one. Click on the little arrow on the top right of your post. The last item on the dropdown menu should be “Embed Post”.

Click on the arrow on the top right of a Facebook post to get the Embed Post option

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Target Your Facebook Posts for More Effective Reach

The People tab on your Facebook Insights shows you the age, gender, language and city as well as country of your fans, of people you’ve reached, and people who have engaged with your page. Does this data match your expectations? In other words, have you succeeded in reaching your target customers?

Targeting Your Facebook Posts to a Segment of Your Fans

Did you know Facebook has a targeting option when you create a new post? Target Facebook Post

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Using Markitty: Links You Share, with Referrals

Markitty’s Links You Shared table answers the question: which of the links you’re sharing on social media are getting you the best results?

As I wrote earlier, the table shows the performance of links you’ve shared on Facebook and Twitter. It includes the number of posts (in which you’ve shared that one link), impressions, likes, and stories for Facebook, and tweets, retweets, and favorites for Twitter.

Now we have expanded the Links You Shared table to include referrals from social media, Twitter, and Facebook. So if you shared a blog post link on Facebook or Twitter, you can not only see Facebook and Twitter stats for that link, you also get website referrals (from Facebook, Twitter, and all social media).

Markitty table:  Links you shared on Twitter and Facebook, with referrals to your website

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Facebook Finally Explains Why All Your Fans Don’t See All Your Posts

Facebook has been recently making efforts to serve its business users, by dramatically improving Page Insights and adding other new features. Now it has started a Facebook for Business site with more resources for page owners and advertisers.

From the announcement:

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to amplify existing efforts, Facebook for Business can help you understand your options and choose the appropriate strategies. In the Getting Started section, you’ll find tips for meeting specific business goals, like increasing online sales or launching a new product. The Solutions section organizes our advertising tools and strategies by both product and industry.

This seems to be more geared towards advertisers rather than people looking for organic growth, but if you are spending on advertising, the extra resources to help you make more effective use of your money don’t hurt!

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Monday Marketing Mash-up: Facebook Changes You Should Know About

Photo comments, embedded posts, more text in your page’s cover photo… there’s so much you can do with the recent changes Facebook made.

Use photo comments to increase fans’ engagement with your page and to crowdsource contentFacebook introduced photo comments: Ask your fans to submit pictures!

Facebook introduced photo comments, first for people and now for pages. You can now add a photo to your comment just like you can add one to your status. This is a great opportunity for businesses: you can ask your fans to submit photos through Facebook comments! For example, you can ask them to submit pictures of them of using your products or eating at your restaurant, and say you’ll use the best photo as your cover for a week.

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Facebook Insights: What’s Great and What’s Still Missing?

Facebook recently overhauled its Page Insights: i.e., the stats page owners get for their page. Let’s take a look at what’s great and what’s not.

Tour of Facebook's new Insights for pages

Facebook’s clearly made an effort to cater to its business users (or page owners) with the new Insights. Instead of being the difficult-to-understand, difficult-to-navigate mess the old Insights was, the new Insights (and the nice tour of it) talk directly to the user and actually offer insights. 

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New Page Like Sources on Facebook: What Do They Mean?

Facebook has changed the Like Sources in Insights, adding more sources and changing some of the names of existing sources. At first glance, this makes it more confusing, but I think it helps to have more insight into where exactly your likes are coming from.

Facebook like sources line graph

This is how Facebook Insights used to show your Like Sources. If you’ve got the new Insights, you might see something like this.

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Marketing for a Publisher: Interview with Maegan Chadwick-Dobson of Tara Books

Maegan manages marketing and social media at Tara BooksWe haven’t done an interview in a while, and I’m especially pleased with this one because it focuses on an interesting industry: book publishing.

Maegan Chadwick-Dobson manages social media for Tara Books, an independent publisher based in India. Tara Books has an awesome Facebook page with lots of lovely photos of their books, events, and “the Book Building.” The Twitter account shares interesting info as well, and Maegan is behind it all! We asked her about social media, marketing to an international audience, and more.

My questions and comments are in bold.

You share a lot of interesting updates on Facebook. Do you keep a publishing calendar or just decide at the moment what you’re going to post today?

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5 Lessons for Social Media Marketing from Cricket (Yes, the Sport)

I was really excited to find a blog dedicated to social media and sports analogies. I have always been a cricket fan and even though I don’t watch all the games now, I still follow the updates.

This was originally published on that blog and if you are a sports fan you’ll find a lot of other interesting posts there.

I came across this blog a few weeks back and loved the idea of relating social media with sports. I don’t know how many of you follow or understand cricket but Brian agreed to publish this and I am hoping you will share your feedback in the comments. Even if you don’t like what I have here, do say ‘hi’ if you love Cricket or would like to learn more of it.

Comparing social media to a five-day long game of cricket seems a bit odd but that’s what I am going to do. There are so many similarities between the two that I had to limit myself to writing only from a batsman’s perspective. So here we go.

Social media is like test cricket

Originally uploaded to Flicker by fiverlocker

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Using Markitty: Links You Share on Twitter and Facebook

Update: We’ve made some changes to this table. 

I’m really excited about this new table on Markitty. It appears at the bottom of your Today page.

Markitty table: Links You Share on Twitter and Facebook

As the table heading says, these are the links you’ve shared on Facebook and Twitter  this month. We’ve put them all in one table and included the number of posts, impressions, likes, and stories for Facebook, and tweets, retweets, and favorites for Twitter.

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How Small Businesses Are Using Hashtags on Facebook

I’m not sure whether I’m more excited or wary about Facebook hashtags, but I do think it’s a game-changer. I took a look at how small businesses are using hashtags on Facebook, and what we can learn from them.

Don’t: overuse them.

Facebook post with a bunch of similar hashtags: #smallbiz, #smallbusiness, #business

We’ve seen this on Twitter all this while, and now it’s on Facebook: overuse of the hashtag. Don’t use a bunch of synonyms in your hashtags — just use one or two hashtags that might be most relevant.

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Monday Marketing Mash-Up: Social Media News You Should Know

Social media changes: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter

They’re all beginning to look the same

Looks like all social media sites are making tons of changes. Here are some recent changes that affect small businesses.

Facebook has removed a number of features, including sponsored stories — which is great, because we’re all tired of those sponsored “your friend likes this page” updates. But I’m sad that they’re killing questions (though why not call them polls, Facebook)?

Here’s the announcement by Facebook and a nice explanatory post on HubSpot. What does this mean for businesses? Now you can’t waste money promoting what someone did on/to your page or content.

The other big Facebook change is the introduction of hashtags: this could really change the game for Facebook, by making search and discovery much easier. Marketers, start optimizing your Facebook posts!

Twitter’s adding analytics. This is really cool, but no idea when this will be rolled out to all users. For businesses, this is will help to see what tweets are working and whether you’re just wasting your time (even if you’re not using Markitty).

Twitter has started 2-step log-in verification, and so has LinkedIn.

Speaking of LinkedIn, you can now share media files in your updates, so start sharing those photos and presentations. LinkedIn also previously added the ability to add visual content to your profile (or page). 

With these updates and having added the ability to tag people, LinkedIn’s begun to look eerily like Facebook and Google Plus. And Facebook’s trying to be more like Twitter, earlier with timelines and now hashtags. Which begs the question: if they’re all the same, should we bother trying to be present on all of them or just focus on one? Or maybe automated cross-posting is the answer (please, no).

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