Facebook Creator App Meant for Creating Livestreams, Videos, and Community

With video now the clear winner in customer engagement, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has just announced new tools for the creator community. This includes an app to manage the presence of creators on Facebook and a site where they can access resources to improve their skills and knowledge base.

Up until now YouTube has strongly dominated this segment, and no one really has attempted to compete with it. But in the past year, YouTube made changes to its monetization policies, which rubbed many creators the wrong way.

With two plus billion users in its platform, Facebook may realistically be able to come in, compete, and even challenge YouTube’s dominance. For small businesses, this means another platform they can use to easily create and upload videos for their audiences.

Chris Hatfield, Product Manager of Video at Facebook, said in the company’s news blog, “On Facebook, creators can connect with more than two billion potential fans and collaborators, get to know their community, talk directly to fans with Live, and monetize with products like branded content.” 

The Facebook Creator App

Described as a one-stop shop for creators, users can connect with communities on Facebook by making original videos and go live with exclusive features from their mobile device. The tools include Live Creative Kit, Community Tab, Camera & Stories, and Insights.

These tools have all the imaging  tools you need to create and connect with your audience. After you make your video, the analytics in Insights lets you see how users are engaging with it. It provides data about your Page, videos and fans. 

A New Website for Resources

The new website, called Facebook for Creators shows you how to make quality videos by learning new skills and techniques. You’ll even find a page with answers to common creator-specific questions.

Facebook has also created a community in which users can get early access to new features and tools. You can join the community here.

Video and the Small Business

Video has become one of the most effective modes of marketing in today’s digital world. Access to smartphones and broadband wireless now makes it possible for users to consume video from virtually anywhere.

According to stats highlighted by Wordstream, 87 percent of online marketers use video content and more video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years. Video is the future of the digital ecosystem.

If as a small business you’re not using video to engage with your customers, you are going to be left behind by your competition. Whether you use Facebook or another platform, there is nothing stopping you from creating personalized videos.

Facebook Creator is available now globally on iOS from the Apple App Store. Android users can expect to come aboard in the coming months.

Image: Facebook

This article, "Facebook Creator App Offers Small Businesses New Video Options" was first published on Small Business Trends

Facebook Cross-Border Platform Introduces 4 New Ways to Grow Your Small Business Internationally

Four new cross-border solutions expand the initiative Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) launched in September of 2016 to give businesses global reach.

The benefit of using Facebook’s platform to look for international opportunities is the incredible amount of data it provides. These four solutions deliver extremely valuable insight into new locations, which can be your neighboring city or one that is on the other side of the globe.

New Facebook Cross-Border Features

The four new features include:

Dynamic Language Optimization – Even if you are a polyglot, it will take you a long time to translate your campaign into different languages. With this language optimization feature, Facebook says it will match the right language, to the right person, at the right time. And best of all it will optimize the performance based on your campaign objective and total budget.

Multi-country Look-Alike Audiences – Without ever having to step into another country, this feature will find customers like you currently have in any combination of countries or regions.

Multi-city Targeting – If you are looking to target multiple cities, your small business can now target cities based on population size without adding cities individually or doing research.

Facebook IQ Cross-Border Insights Finder – What if you are looking for a new location, but don’t know where to go? The Insights Finder will help advertisers discover untapped markets using comparative data based on past campaign performance across different channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.

Facebook Cross-Border Program

Facebook introduced Cross-Border Solutions last year with the goal of helping businesses grow internationally no matter where they are. Using features such as Lookalike Audiences, businesses are able to reach customers in new cities, states and countries that are just like their existing ones.

Facebook says there are more than 1.2 billion people on Facebook are connected to a small business in another country. On its Facebook Business page, the company goes on to explain, “As more people around the world come online, businesses have an opportunity to connect with new customers, many of whom live in different cities, regions or countries.”

With so much information available to small businesses today, it can be overwhelming at times. Facebook has developed a Blueprint eLearning course titled Expand across Borders with Facebook to help navigate the waters. You can access the course here.

Image: Facebook

This article, "Facebook Introduces 4 New Ways to Grow Your Small Business Internationally" was first published on Small Business Trends

Zoho Social For Agencies Lets Managers Control a Company's Social Media Presence and Advertising
Zoho Social for Agencies allows smaller advertising agencies the ability to manage several client accounts from one platform. These agencies can collaborate with clients and make reports using customized aggregated statistics.

The new service from Zoho provides a way for small businesses to be more hands on in their marketing too. Not every small business has the resources to handle social media marketing. So they often outsource the work  instead. But the new platform allows small businesses to maintain more say in important aspects like publishing and scheduling posts and engaging with customers.

Zoho Social for Agencies Eliminates Emails

One advantage becomes immediately clear. Social for Agencies eliminates sending emails back and forth between the agency and the small business. Praval Singh, Product Manager for the parent product, Zoho Social spoke with Small Business Trends about who benefits most from the new product.

“Zoho Social is geared towards digital agencies that offer social media marketing as a service to their clients, with the help of a team of social media and content marketers. Most agencies are small companies, but they do manage social media for large clients,” he said.

Using Zoho Social for Agencies to Publish and Schedule Posts

“Since Zoho Social for Agencies helps with publishing and scheduling posts, listening to mentions and keywords, engaging with prospects and customers in real-time, and creating custom reports to measure performance, it is a complete social media management tool for digital agencies,” Singh explains.

The Zoho Social for Agencies edition has a number of features.

First, the tool allows agencies to manage their brands and clients from one place while also specifying distinct rolls for different team members. The built-in cooperation feature means small businesses are always kept in the loop.

New Discussions

Team members can start new discussions and collaborate with clients or among themselves. A tagging feature facilitates the process allowing you to invite clients or team members to specific discussions. Not only does this improve the overall decision-making process,  according to Zoho. It preserves a record of the process as well.

The tool can also be customized for branding with logos on reports and invitation to clients is included.

Integrating Zoho Social for Agencies with Facebook Lead Ads

Zoho Social for Agencies can also integrate with Facebook lead ads. Agencies can generate leads from these Facebook campaigns and slide them right into the Zoho CRM system for their clients with no need to download leads manually from Facebook. Zoho argues this  feature becomes a time and cost saving measure promoting quicker decision-making.

Zoho Social for Agencies has two different plans, an Agency and Agency Plus version based on the number of brands each can accomodate. The Agency version costs $1000 a year for 15 brands and the Agency Plus costs $1500 a year for 25 brands.

Zoho Corporation is a business management software (SaaS) developer and information technology company with 5,000 employees and offices in California and India.

Image: Zoho

This article, "Zoho Social For Agencies Streamlines Management of Outsourced Social Media Marketing" was first published on Small Business Trends

5 Tips for Encouraging Employee Social Media Advocacy

Hopefully your small to mid-sized business is already using social media to drive and keep business.

Today, a lively social presence isn’t just a useful marketing channel – it’s a must. One recent survey of SMB customers from Time Warner found that 30 percent of respondents are likely to skip doing business with a company that’s not on social media. The study also found that 47 percent of women and almost 32 percent of men say that consistently posting on Facebook is “very effective” when it comes to acquiring and retaining them as customers.

If your company is using social media, you’ve probably got someone in charge of it all. Perhaps one or two of your people handle everything, including promoting content, monitoring activity around your brand, responding to customer questions or complaints, curating industry-related news and trends, and many other vital tasks.

While it’s certainly beneficial to have an individual or small team “owning” management of your business’ social media, your marketing efforts will be far more successful if everyone at your business contributes.

Why You Should Get Your Employees Involved

Why should you get everyone involved? First, consider the personable factor. Whether you’re looking at community management, lead nurture, sales, customer service, retention or anything in between, your customers want to do business with people rather than corporations. Therefore, companies that put their people front and center are more enjoyable to do business with.

Another reason you want all your employees contributing is that your social media efforts could greatly benefit from the subject matter expertise available at your business.

When you create a piece of content – a blog post, video or any other format – your business’s in-house subject matter experts can help you make sure the asset truly speaks to the issues that matter to your buyers. They can also help you to turn that piece into several additional items of content. The information in a blog post might turn into an infographic, a webinar, a podcast episode or a slide deck, with even clearer explanations of a hard-to-understand concept. Or a how-to section of a newsletter might be expanded into a video series that hashes out further details.

The multi-faceted nature of social media, and the many disparate skills and disciplines at play, is another reason to get everyone in your company involved. A good social presence relies on people for content writing, audio and video recording, photography and design, data and analytics, competitive analysis, community building, influencer outreach, advertising and more. The more help you can garner, the better!

If your small to mid-size business is active on social media, and you’d like to include your entire team, there are some especially effective ways to make it happen. Here are five of them.

Tips for Encouraging Employee Social Media Advocacy

Incentivize Social Sharing

One excellent way for your employees to get involved in your social media efforts is to encourage them to share company-related content. This could mean sharing content that’s created directly by your marketing team, or it could mean sharing industry news and trends.

Encouraging your people to share content that’s relevant to your brand is beneficial for both your business and your employees as individuals. Not only does it help your business reach new audiences, but it also helps build your employees’ personal brands, as it positions them as experts in the niche.

If you’re not sure how to begin with this social-sharing tactic, consider using an employee advocacy tool like Smarp. This platform gives you the gamification tools you need to incentivize your people.

To get the ball rolling, give your employees incentives to share your content. This can be done by creating competitions around their sharing activities. Games and weekly challenges can be created, and employees who share the most could be rewarded with gifts, discounts or donations to the charity of their choice.

Encourage Open Communication

When everyone on your team participates in your social media activities, it’s important to knock down the walls between them. In other words, get them communicating!

Sometimes, it’s hard enough to get members within the same department to communicate openly with one another. Communication across all departments can seem next to impossible. Dedicated social media meetings can help.

Consider setting up weekly or bi-weekly meetings for social-media participants to attend. Get everyone talking about new trends they’re spotting, competitor activities on social media and any recurring customer comments or complaints. Ask questions like, “What types of things have been working? What hasn’t been working as well as you hoped? What kinds of new ideas do you think we should try, and why?”

When each meeting is finished, your employees should walk away inspired to try new tactics and make a positive difference for your business and their own personal brands.

Also, communication shouldn’t cease after the meeting ends. A collaboration tool like Trello, for example, will help keep everyone on the same page. With file sharing capabilities, messaging, tagging and project management features, the momentum gained in a meeting can be kept alive long term.

Document Social Media Workflows

Workflows – or the steps and processes undertaken by a team to complete a task – are at the heart of every business. Regardless of whether your team defines and identifies their workflows, your business has them.

To use a short and simple example, consider the process of promoting a new blog post on social media. It starts when the article goes live on your site. Then someone needs to build out image assets to attach to social posts. After some hashtag research, and the posts need to be drafted and approved for each social channel. Next, the posts need to be scheduled. Other promotion channels like email newsletters, community forums, paid distribution platforms, co-marketing partners’ presences and influencer posts need to be tackled as well.

While the above process is relatively straightforward, you’re probably already thinking of several complex workflows your employees engage with to succeed in your social media marketing. For smart workflow management, and to make sure all processes are efficient, it makes a lot of sense to map out the workflows that your team most commonly repeats in the form of a diagram or list.

When workflows are listed out, everyone can keep track of a project’s progress. And during scheduled social-media meetings, efficiencies and improvements can be discussed.

If you’ve never documented your workflows before, consider using Process Street. This innovative platform enables you to easily create interactive workflow checklists for everyone on your team to use as ground zero for process replication and even automating steps.

Keep Everyone in the Posting Schedule Loop

When all (or most) of your employees are involved in your social sharing, things can get tricky. Although the advantages are huge, it does require extra coordination. The right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing, to use the old but true cliché.

It’s important to keep a social media calendar that spells out everything scheduled to be posted each week, along with the links that have already been curated recently. While it’s okay if some of your branded presences and team members’ profiles share the same link within a couple days of each other, if anyone notices 50 profiles sharing out the same thing every day consistently, you’re likely to come off as spammy.

Conversely, you don’t want to let a valuable piece of industry news go completely unshared by your employees. If important links like these are included on your shared content calendar, it will ensure that they won’t be forgotten or ignored.

One excellent marketing calendar tool to consider is CoSchedule. Not only does it organize your entire marketing plan in one place, but it also provides analytics and insights into the progress made by your people.

Suggest Great Third-Party Content for Your Employees to Curate

We’ve discussed incentivizing your employees to share your company’s content, but sharing original content is only the tip of the iceberg. To bring even more value to your branding and social media efforts, and to reduce the customer perception of spam, much of your employee’s social media time should be spent curating content. That is, sharing content published by others that’s related to your industry.

When your employees share valuable content related to your business and your industry, your company will be viewed as an industry leader. Your employees also gain advantages, because content curation helps them gain strong reputations within the industry as well.

Discuss the kinds of content you’d like your employees to curate and share. Better yet, give them access to a dynamic library of curated links they can share.

Further, consider using a content curation platform that helps you find content that matters to your industry. Anders Pink is one such platform. It gives you and your employees daily briefings with content on any topic or industry, from any source — including websites, RSS and Twitter. It then makes it easy to share this content on multiple social platforms.

In Conclusion

Getting your entire workforce to play a role in your company’s social-media marketing can certainly be challenging. But this wide-reaching participation will benefit everyone involved, so it’s worth the investment.

Your business will gain new audiences and a “human touch,” and your employees will enjoy stronger personal brands. It takes encouragement, communication and organization. But the payoff is rewarding, and it can earn you a competitive edge that lasts for the long haul.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Apply These 5 Tips to Get All Your Employees Involved in Social Media Marketing" was first published on Small Business Trends

Facebook Community Boost Program Provides Mobile Economy Training to Novice Entrepreneurs

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has unveiled Facebook Community Boost — a new program that seeks to help U.S. small businesses grow by enhancing their digital skills.

Facebook Community Boost Program

In a Facebook Newsroom post, Facebook’s VP of Small Business Dan Levy said the Facebook Community Boost program will visit 30 cities in 2018 and among them will be St. Louis, Albuquerque, Houston, Des Moines and Greenville, South Carolina. He further added that they will work with local organizations in the selected areas to provide digital skills training to help local businesses and entrepreneurs get the most out of the internet.

“If you’re an entrepreneur, we’ll have training programs on how to use technology to turn an idea into a business or show you ways to create a free online presence using Facebook,” Levy said. “If you’re a business owner we’re going to offer ways your business can expand its digital footprint and find new customers around the corner and around the globe.”

The social media giant says it has, since 2011, been quietly supporting small businesses around the globe to the tune of $1 billion. The company says it has also trained more than 60,000 businesses in the U.S. alone and thousands more around the globe.

For many business owners, the importance of using Facebook in the growth of their businesses isn’t a new realization. A survey conducted by Morning Consult and co-sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Facebook shows that one in three U.S. small and medium-sized businesses with a Facebook presence said that they “built their business” on the site, while 42 percent said they hired more people due to growth via Facebook.

It is likely that the Facebook Community Boost trainings will mostly focus on helping small businesses realize their goals using Facebook, but Levy also promised that the trainings will be beneficial to people who are getting online for the first time as well as those seeking skills on basic digital literacy and online safety.

Image: Facebook

This article, "Facebook Community Boost Provides Mobile Economy Training to Novice Entrepreneurs" was first published on Small Business Trends