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Facebook Changes, Ahoy

Change is good, right? That depends on who you ask. On April 21—and like an April Fool’s Day prank 3 weeks too late—the creators of Facebook pushed through several changes to their system and revamped the way Facebook users interact. If your company has a presence on Facebook, you’re probably scratching your head and trying to put it all together. Let’s take a look at these changes in general and what they mean for your business.

No more fans. Only “likes”. The biggest change that rolled out is the dissolution of “fans” on Facebook, only to be replaced by a button to “like” a particular company page. The mechanic is still the same—your posts show up in visitors’ news feeds—but the Facebook creators wanted a more casual way to connect people with groups. What does this mean for your page? Verbage such as “Become a Fan!” is already outdated, and could sound stale in the coming months. Think about updating your company webpage and print materials if you’re using them to drive customers to your page.

Overhaul to Facebook Connect. An aggressive integration of Facebook into many third-party websites, such as CNN.com and others, means you can now tag an article and share it with associates—without logging in. This is good news if you have dynamic content such as articles or a blog on your very own site, as it’s now easier to gain exposure on personal Facebook pages in a method akin to Twitter’s.

The nuts and bolts. The boys running the show at Facebook shrunk the size of custom tabs on business pages from 760 to 520 pixels—meaning if you sport a custom setup, things may be off. Also, welcome with open arms Facebook’s real-time search, which makes posts searchable to search engines like Google. Very nice for companies seeking better exposure through social media.

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Smart Ways to Engage Employees

As successful businesses know, good recruitment strategies extend beyond the signing of the contract. How you retain quality employees can often lay the groundwork for a talented, savvy workforce—or, on the other side of the coin, a stagnant one.

Keeping your workforce actively involved in your company is simply good business. It saves money on the cost of rehires and keeps quality talent under one roof—yours. With the rise of what 360Blog describes as “elite employees,” investing in particular employees could yield benefits for years to come. That’s because these professionals demonstrate self-motivation, intelligence, and tact. As the sooth-sayers of businesses predict, a segmenting organizational pattern of businesses will put these elite workers in greater demand than ever.

But motivating an employee base isn’t as simple as flicking a switch. Strategies for engaging employees include developing innovative reward systems and marketing them internally. Give recognition (and prizes) where credit is due. Craft morale-bolstering events. Encourage feedback from your workforce, and seek out and promote innovative thinkers. Of course—this is all easier said than done! Luckily, there are partners (like us) who help bring it all together. In the meantime, take stock of your employee base and encourage engagement.

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Make Mobile Marketing Work for You

If you’ve picked up a cell phone in the last 24 hours, then you’re a potential segment to be tapped by mobile marketing. Studies such as a survey by M-Metrics suggest that SMS response rates are in excess of 15%. That means when customers are texting, if clients are talking, there’s an opportunity to gain new business.

Unlike traditional mediums, the most important thing to remember about mobile marketing is this: it’s not a single market channel. There’s a whole micro-universe of utilities and mediums tied in with the mobile world. Here are a few methods to plug into this opportunity-to-be.

Direct texting. Also known as SMS, this field aims to gain customers by sending out a bulk text messages to consumers. The challenge, of course, is advertising responsibly. The best way to achieve a nice response rate is messaging only to customers who express an interest in your organization, or who indicate a wish to be alerted with job openings, contests, or any special promotions you offer.

Gaming. Once only a niche market for Tetris-heads to get their fix, gaming on mobile communication devices has gone mainstream. With the advent of the iPhone, and now the hot-off-the-shelves iPad, the casual consumer has opened up to mobile gaming. Advertising opportunities within these markets include specialty games themed off a company itself (Pizza Hut’s “Pizza Builder”), or advertisements placed cleverly within the virtual world (games like MapleStory and derivatives).

Viral video. Whether you’ve developed a catchy commercial or something bizarre enough to spread like wildfire, a mobile medium could work wonders. Thanks to generous storage capacities on new mobile phone devices, videos can be sent and stored entirely on individual devices—meaning there’s plenty of room to spread the next big viral wonder.

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3 Quick Recruitment Tips for LinkedIn

It’s more than just a passing fancy: according to Socialnomics.net, 80% of companies are using LinkedIn as their primary source for finding employees. Smart employers are beginning to look at social media not only as an extension of their marketing efforts, but crowning it an essential recruitment tool. Why? LinkedIn puts to digital ink what job hunters have known for years: networking is the best way to land a position. The key for recruiters, of course, is wiring in directly to these quality candidates. Here’s a few pointers.

Get active. If you’re logging onto LinkedIn only when you have a position to fill, you’ll be staring into an empty basket every time. The best recruiters spend time building their network even when they’re full up. LinkedIn gives you some great ways to do that: inviting colleagues and acquaintances to connect, joining professional groups, and listing yourself by geographic location.

Be Generous. Offer advice to other networked professionals, check in every so often with a genuine, “how are you?”, and offer answers to questions in the “Answers” section of LinkedIn. Becoming a resource is the number one way to attract attention in the world of social media—and in the case of LinkedIn, more attention means better access to qualified candidates.

Stay Current. Update your own profile with links to your personal and company homepages, provide an email address, and keep information up-to-date. Staying relevant keeps you foremost in the minds of potentially perfect candidates—and after all, isn’t that what we’re after?