27Sep

Ep#10: Social Media, Pinterest & Facebook Apps for Small Businesses

Social media marketing, taking advantage of Pinterest and using Facebook Apps to help market your small business, an interview with Scott Linklater from Just Social

Wow, we made it to double figures! In episode 10 I have a great interview with Scott Linklater from Just Social. I talk to Scott about social media marketing for small businesses and drill down on topics such how to use Pinterest and Facebook Apps. Towards the end of the episode Scott takes us through some of Just Social’s new Facebook Apps that they’ve just launched.

Covered in this episode;

  • What is a Facebook app?
  • What is it about social media that makes it a good marketing channel for small businesses?
  • What areas of social media marketing do business owners struggle with the most?
  • How can business owners overcome some of those problems and get the most out of social media?
  • Pinterest has been growing a lot lately. What is it and what can business owners do to take advantage of Pinterest?

Links;

I wasn’t able to line up a featured photo this week. If you are a photographer or you know a photographer who has photos from around Adelaide and SA, I’d love to feature some of your/their work. If you’re interested, get in contact with me via the Feedback page.

If you want each new episode delivered straight to your inbox each week, you can sign up to our mailing list on the right.

See you next week!

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Nick: We’re very lucky this week to have a special guest on the show, Scott Linklater is going to be talking about social media marketing.

Are you there Scott?

Scott: I am indeed.

Nick: Welcome to the show.

Scott: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Nick: No worries and let’s get started by you telling us a little bit about what you do and your business.

Scott: Sure. My background originally was in corporate sales, for round about 15 years and from there, I did something, I took a complete 180 degree turn and I actually started a business, Aboriginal Art Gallery with my mom and we opened that in 2001. I’ve worked out of Adelaide doing all the online side of it, she was in Western Australia and she did the gallery side of it.

A long story short, we built that business up over a period of time through 2001 onwards into one of the biggest aboriginal art galleries in the world and a couple of years ago, I started looking at social media for the gallery and what I found was that there was not a lot of, there were not so many companies out there that was really concentrating on small to medium sized businesses and all the agencies and social media companies were targeting the top end of town and small businesses were really being left out in the dark. I found that there was a real gap in the marketplace and at the same time, I was also looking at diversifying our business, so I started looking at social media more and I identified this gap in the market and right about a year and half ago.

I started a new company called Just Social. We began learning about social media and working with businesses, mainly small to medium sized businesses and teaching them and helping them and providing them with the tools that would enable them to compete with big businesses without spending an absolute fortune because what I found with our business was we were a successful business, yet I couldn’t justify or I could not afford what the prices that they were asking for a lotof the services. So that’s really what happened and around about a year ago, we started developing our own Facebook applications and over the last year, we’ve had a couple of Facebook applications in development. Right now, we’re about to launch them and we also provide just every day services for small businesses, teaching them and helping them with social media.

Nick: Great. We’ll go into the apps that you’re developing towards the end of the interview but just quickly, can you just explain what a Facebook app is?

Scott: Well okay. A Facebook app is basically, it’s like a Facebook page, it’s designed to provide any business or organization with, it enables them to have a unique display, to uniquely display their business on Facebook and yet they may have any number of different features that enable it to attract more people to it. So, for instance, it might be something like a competition app, and would be specifically designed to enable Facebook users who become fans of that business to win a prize or it may be an app that enables them to have a custom page.

So if you’ve got a business, Facebook page pretty much look all the same, you want to differentiate yourself and stand out from the millions of other businesses on there. There are Facebook applications out there that enable you to basically have a mini website within Facebook with all your custom photos and graphics and look and feel of your business and branding that would enable to you stand out from the crowd. You might have an app that enables people to register and join your newsletter, things like that.

Nick: Cool. Well, let’s move on. Let’s start by taking a sort of a 10,000 ft. view of social media marketing. What do you see as, what makes it a good channel for small businesses?

Scott: I think the big one is, most small businesses, they often provide in-depth and personalized services to their clients. That’s what sets them apart. They might not be the cheapest but the service and the little extras that they offer makes them very attractive to a certain segment of the marketplace. Now, social media is all about word of mouth and personal recommendations and reviews and small businesses have a huge opportunity to capitalize on this, as most people will rave to all their friends about service that goes above and beyond and they will happily tell you, hey I know a guy that can do that, I know someone that can do this who you might personally call and they are very open to talking about that.

People in general, with maybe the exception of say, women and fashion, they wouldn’t be as quick to come forward and say right about how they saved 20% on a new hammer drill from one of these large hardware store chains. What they’re more likely to do is to mention very briefly that they saved 20% and then they’ll tell everyone how it took them 20 minutes to get any help and the pimply-faced kid didn’t even know what a hammer drill was and the whole bit but if you take the opposite scenario, when someone goes to their local hardware store and gets personalized service and looked after by an experienced hardware expert who’s been doing it for 20 years, that customer will be a huge advocate for that business and will tell everybody at every opportunity, hey go and see my guy, he’ll sort you out, and price won’t even come into it at all.

Now, the big multi-national companies, they simply can’t do that, and move the volumes that they do for the prices that they’re doing the math. They’re basically taking heat on the fact that their service is never going to be that good. Small businesses, through social media have a massive opportunity to capitalize on this and you know, might be landing a couple of decent punches after ten rounds by being beaten up by the big businesses because, really gives small businesses a chance to claw back because this is what they’re really, really good at.

The biggest issue though is, big businesses is doing social media much more proliferately than small business is as of now. So, the advantage hasn’t been utilized, if you look at the industry overall but within it there are thousands of examples of small businesses doing exactly this individually, we just need to get more of them doing it and doing it effectively and I really see it as a way that they can fight back against the multi-nationals that seem to be taking over everywhere and because what social media is all about is what small businesses are good at. So, it’s a real opportunity for them to claw back some of that, which has been lost in the last decade or 2, through these multi-nationals eating up all the small business out there.

Nick: Right, yeah. That’s really sixth sense. I’ve never heard it described quite like that and that actually makes a lot of sense. In your experience, what areas of social media marketing do these small businesses really struggle with?

Scott: Well there’s a few different ones but the 3 big ones for me, probably number 1, small businesses, they have this mind-set that social media is free. Number 2, they are not consistent enough with their social media marketing efforts and 3, they don’t take it anywhere near as seriously as they should. The bottom line is, social media is like any other marketing area in business, it has a cost. Now, even if there’s sort of direct dollar cost, there’s a time cost and even if you get a whole lot of free activity through social media and it turns out to be very successful, there’s going to be a cost, because you or someone has to service that and that would take time and time is money.

So, the thing is social media, lots of it can be free and lots of the benefits can be free initially but the modern set of local business is that its free and they don’t want to pay for anything, they don’t want to invest any money into it and that’s really the wrong way to look at it. The other thing is, and probably the biggest is consistency. What we have found time and time and time again is that those businesses that are consistent, even on a very small scale will be much more successful than businesses that just do a little bit here and then leave it for a while and then a little bit over there. If it’s not done consistently every single day, what we find is that its drops right away and if becomes ineffective.

The third one just really leads in from the second one, people are not treating it anywhere near as seriously as they should. What we find is a lot of local businesses, they’ll create a Facebook fan page and they’ll open a Twitter account and they put up a cover photo and they tell a few clients about it and they leave it, and it just sits there. They go, oh it really didn’t do much for us but if you took that attitude towards any other part of your business, you’d get exactly the same result, you’d get nothing. And I just don’t think businesses see it necessarily as a main stream marketing opportunity, but if they were able to treat it more seriously, do it consistently and then realize that they need to invest a little bit, then yeah but those would be the 3 ones I think small businesses struggle with the most.

Nick: Great, and do you have some tips for how businesses can overcome those particular problems?

Scott: Yeah. Look, I think the first thing they need to do is they need to allocate a percentage of their marketing budget to social media and to make that commitment for a decent period of time to see if it’s going to work for their business. I reckon minimum of a year to 18 months and what they then need to do is devote some time to learning a little b it about social media.

Look, I understand most small business owners have no time whatsoever. If they don’t have the time to maybe invest some time in learning about it themselves that’s fine. What they need to do, is they need to get one of their employees to do that, to fill that role, and they also need to give that employee adequate time and resources to do it properly or the other option is to outsource it and hire a social media consultant or manager or agency, whatever you want to call it and get them to do it for you and have you concentrate on your core business, what you know and have them concentrate on helping your social media to ramp that up.

I think that’s what people really need to do. The big thing is businesses need to make a decision, either one way or another to either do social media properly or don’t worry about doing it at all because one of the things I certainly know is, if it’s done half-assed, it’s going to cost you more in time, money and frustration than you’ll ever get back and it can actually hurt your business image. So, if you don’t want to do it properly, then honestly, I think businesses should not do it at all and when I say do it properly, and give it a decent go, that doesn’t mean spending $10,000 a year and 30 hours a week. It might be $1,000 a year and 2 hours a week, obviously depending on the size of your business but whatever it is, they need to commit to doing that and doing it consistently, say for a year to 18 months to get results.

Nick: Yeah, I think the note about consistency is something that I see as well that people, often business owners when they first get started, they’re really into it and they might update it regularly and then they sort of quickly drowse off after they lose that initial enthusiasm that they had at the beginning.

Scott: Yeah. And then, so you might know of a business offline and you go and look to find them online and say for instance you come across their Facebook page and you go there and you notice exactly that, that last year for a few months the page was updated quite regularly and now it hasn’t been updated for 6 months and there’s 3 posts from customers on there saying, asking questions that have gone unanswered. And now suddenly the good reputation that company had with you has gone sour over like immediately and suddenly, you’re questioning this company and it’s unlikely you’re going to do business with them.

So in that case, it would have been better that they found nothing at all, and then maybe thought, oh okay they don’t have Facebook page, I’ll go to their website or I’ll give them a phone call or whatever it is. So that’s how it can actually hurt a business because that’s happened to me many times and it’s actually turned me off the business because I felt well, if they can’t answer a few questions from their customers, what’s going to happen to me if I become a client of theirs?

Nick: Yeah definitely. Let’s take a bit of a turn in the interview and talk specifically about Pinterest. Now, this is a new sort of social network that’s been going a lot lately. Can you just tell us briefly what Pinterest is and then a little bit about how business owners can use Pinterest?

Scott: Sure, it’s a really interesting company because it’s the fastest social media company from zero to 10 million users ever. It’s grown faster than Facebook did, and what’s really interesting about that was it did that while they were, basically invitation only. So the only way a user could get on was to send the company an email and ask to be added as a user or if an existing user sent them an invitation. It’s incredible that they were able to grow it at that pace, when they had something that usually would slow down the growth of the company dramatically. So, it was just amazing to us to see how quickly they grew.

Basically, Pinterest is a pin board style social photo sharing website, a little bit like an online pin board or an online scrap book. You know years ago, girls would get magazines and they would cut out wedding dresses out of all these super magazines, put them in a scrap book and have 30 or 40 wedding dresses that they liked or take the guy equivalent would be they would have a stack of 50 magazines about cars or motorbikes and if they wanted to show one of their friends, they would end up flipping through 30 magazines. The girls are a little bit more organized but basically, it’s the online version of that. So, stuff that you’re interested in, putting that all together on one page, one personal page that is your page or you know, things that you’re interested in, events, hobbies, stuff like that. What can happen is, users can browse other people’s pin boards for inspiration and then when they see pictures that they like, they can, what’s called re-pin that image to their own collection or their own group of photos. So, users organize their personal page in just say different themed forms of things that they’re interested in.

Say for instance, you might have 6 boards, the first one Places I Want to Visit, you might have one called Cool Gadgets, you might have another one called Funny Quotes. You might have another one Everything Fashion, Cars I’d Like to Own, Stuff I Want, this is an example, then you browse through Pinterest and all the pictures and when you see things you like, you add them to the board so they’re organized by topic.

Now, how small businesses can utilize this to increase their client base or their revenue is, okay let’s take an example. Say you’re a local electronics store, you could upload a picture of the world’s biggest plasma TV and users who follow you might see that picture and they pin it to one of their boards called Gadgets, and then other users who follow them, not people who follow you, but users who follow your users, they’ll also see it and they might re-pin it to their boards and so on and so on, so, there’s this viral effect.

Now, the cool thing is no matter how many times it gets re-pinned, you are always acknowledged as the person who uploaded the picture originally and what happens is if someone clicks on the image, when it’s on anyone’s board, it’s redirected to anywhere that the person that uploaded the picture wants, your website. So somewhat, 10 people removed from you might find a picture, click on it, and then they might end up at your website, just like everything, it’s all a numbers game. So, what it does is that it drives traffic back to your website and the more interesting and the more value that the image holds to people interested in that, the more people that will end up seeing the image and the more people that will end up clicking through to your website.

Pinterest, it’s one of those things, it can work for nearly any type of business, it’s just you need to get your thinking cap on and get a little bit innovative because at first, a lot of people are like, argh, I don’t think this is right for our business. Take an example, say your local butcher, how can Pinterest help my business? Well, you could upload a picture of an amazing gourmet barbeque that just makes your mouth water at the thought of cooking that up and putting on for you and your friends. You could upload a recipe for the best lamb chops you’ll ever eat and people absolutely will pin that to their boards and their friends will re-pin it and every time someone clicks on that image, it goes through to your little website about your business.

Now, if those are people in your local area and a lot of the people on your first and second levels will be, well, that’s potentially more business for you. You could put up like an info-graphic, which is basically just a big image using lots of little images within it and stats and graphs and so forth. One particular subject you could make an info-graphic on how to keep your barbeque clean without spending an hour scrubbing it after every barbeque. Hundreds of people would find that information interesting or you could maybe put something up a little bit quirky, a little bit funny, like a scene from the Simpsons where they’re talking you don’t win friends with salads, anything like that. You just got to really think outside the box and you’ll find that there are so many things you can do. Travel agents upload images of exotic locations that people want to visit. Real Estate agents could upload pictures of houses like we have more than $20 M, or they could do a board of the worst backyards you’ve ever seen and what will happen is, this will take off virally and it will spread your brand name around to a lot more people. The more people that are exposed to your business, no matter where you are, the more business you’ll end up getting.

Nick: Great. Should people be creating their own images or taking their own photographs or does it matter if it’s someone else’s image that they can use or …

Scott: Look, absolutely, obviously you can create your own images. So, it’s an interesting topic because it’s a really gray area at the moment with Pinterest. As far as using other people’s images, now, you shouldn’t just go to Google Image search, grab someone’s image and pin it up, upload it as if it is your own image, that’s definitely a breach of copyright but images that are already out there on the internet, if you re-pin them, you’re not taking the credit for creating the image or if the image is free or if you bought the image then you’ve got no problem. But it is certainly an area at the moment, there is this gray area that people aren’t too sure about, will probably get sorted within the next year or 2, but at the moment, I don’t think there’s any problem re-pinning images because it will give credit, or it should give credit to the person or company that originally produced the image and there’s certainly no problem doing that at this stage.

You’ll hear about it if there is because it will be a big thing but hopefully the copyright people or these large companies are usually very particular of their copyright. Hopefully, they don’t get too silly on this because what you got to understand is that, its actually good business to have these things spread around. You know, if someone pins a picture of a hotel in the Maldives with these beautiful villas that go out over these glass water, it’s only helping the Maldives, it’s only helping their business, it’s only promoting that company no matter who pins it. But yeah sure, it’s a gray area at the moment, but all I can say is, be mindful of copyright, but at the same stage, as long as you give credit, you’re okay to re-pin other people’s photos.

Nick: Great, and it’s interesting because I’m noticing sort of a trend within the other social networks, particularly Facebook, you’re seeing a lot of people posting images on Facebook and on other social networks as well, so perhaps it create a trend towards more images with all media. Would you agree with that?

Scott: 100% and that’s the reason why Facebook just spent a billion dollars on buying a company called Instagram that had 68 employees and has never made one cent of money, is because images are becoming more and more popular. On our Facebook fan page that we have, that we own and that we look after for clients, some with 30,000 or more people, we noticed that images, if we post an update that contains an image, it works anywhere from 3 to 20 times more effectively than if we posted a link or we posted a video and certainly a lot more than if we didn’t post anything. Images are where it’s all at, like I would certainly encourage anybody that’s doing any kind of social media to always include images because people are very visual and your engagement rates are a heck of a lot higher.

Nick: Great. Well let’s take a swing back towards Facebook now and we’re talking about the Facebook apps that you’ve got coming out soon. They’re still coming aren’t they?

Scott: Absolutely. It’s actually a big day today. Later tonight, we will be putting our newest app on one of my own pages for its first testing, so that will be its first beta test and hopefully, within the next 2-3 weeks, it’ll go into full beta release, which means it will be open to people in the public to be able to use but we’ve developed a couple of Facebook apps over the last year. One is a Facebook fan page builder, it makes custom pages, so basically makes, means anyone whether you’ve got any web design experience or not, you don’t need to know any HTML coding, you can create a custom mini website within Facebook for your business and that’s a great app but it’s not that exciting because a lot of them are already out there but our other app, which is called fans2page.

That’s the one that we’re mostly excited about. It’s a brand new concept that we’re releasing. It’s never been done before by any company in the world and we’re really hoping that it’s going to make a big splash. Basically to explain it, I’ll explain it like this. What we found was, when people become a fan of a fan page on Facebook, when they like that page, when someone become a fan, after they go to that page initially, 96% of people will never actually go back to that Facebook fan page, even if they’re really engaged with that page. What ends up happening is they just end up conversing with the page and asking questions and reading information in their news feed, the same place where they look at stuff their friends send them but, they don’t actually ever click back and go back to the fan page.

Now, this was a little bit disheartening to me when I found this out because we’ve got this other application that build these custom pages and it makes it a little bit hard to be excited about it if 94% of people are never going to see the pages that it created. So, what we thought was, how can we get fans to go back to these companies and businesses fan pages? Because the thing is it’s really hard to promote as a business to people on Facebook on their newsfeed. You know the pictures are very small, there’s way too many distractions, they’ve got people saying, hi let’s do this, they’ve got people going, you know check this photo out, check this out and people are on Facebook really to socialize and not there to be marketed to, and they don’t like being marketed to.

So, when companies send out status updates to their fans, saying hey we’ve got this offer, that offer, whatever, fans will ignore it or get annoyed by it or just completely don’t even see it, become blind to it and we thought, well that makes it really difficult for small businesses to promote to their fans. What can we do? How can we get them to get the fans to go back to their fan page, see their custom fan page and give their business a genuine opportunity to say to their fans, hey, this is what I do and this is what we’ve got to offer you. So, what we came up with was, basically it’s like a never ending competition, and what the fans2page app does it this, is you’ve got a fan page and you put the fans page app on it, and say you’ve got 500 fans, every day, it randomly goes through your list of fans and it selects one person to be a winner that day and it puts their photo up on a page that’s attached to your fan page.

Now, what you do is you offer a prize. The example we’re using in our video that’s about to be released, is a shop that sells ties, like knit ties, silk ties, men’s ties, bow ties that kind of thing. So say for instance you put up a prize to your fans and you say, I’ll be giving away this beautiful silk tie to anybody that visits, everyday there’s going to be a potential new winner and what happens is that to win the prize, the fan has to visit the page within 24 hours. So, they click and they go through to the fan page and they’ll see a box and it will show a picture of one of the fans. Now, if that’s them, then they win the prize but if they don’t go to that page within 24 hours, a message is sent out saying, oh bad luck, unfortunately so and so did not get to the page and they’ve missed out on their prize.

Now, what we’ve found is that people love stuff for free and they love prizes and because it’s so easy to find out whether or not you’re the winner, it takes literally 20 seconds to do so, what we found is that most people will click through just to check because they don’t want to risk the chance that they’re not going to miss the prize. So, they click through and they go, I’m just going to have a quick look see if I’m the winner for the day and if they’re not the winner, it’ll show someone else’s picture and say sorry you’re not the winner but what it will also show is right above that picture will be a large paged graphic with anything that business wants. It could be their latest sale, it could be information on clearance sale coming up, whatever it happens to be.

So, say for instance, someone goes to see whether they’ve won the silk tie and then above it is a large graphic like you see on a website or in a magazine saying Tomorrow Only, 70% Off All Scarves and Ties, and that person goes, you know what I really need a new scarf, Winter’s coming up, 70% off is fantastic. I’m going to jump on this and grab it. That person clicks a link, goes through to your website, and buys the scarf. Now, that person would never have known about the sale or would never have bought in that case but because they were they were there and because they were there checking something else and they saw it. Number one, they won’t feel like they’ve been sold to, they think that they’ve just come across this sale and found it, and so it’s a great way for businesses to promote in a way that gives them half a chance that they might sell something to all of their fans nearly every day and at the same time, it won’t annoy their fans, it won’t make them angry or upset, it won’t interrupt them and it will be done in a very friendly manner. So, the better the prize that a business puts up, the more people that would end up clicking through to check whether they’re the winner, and the better the offer when that is presented when they check to see if they’re a winner, the more people that will buy. So, it gives businesses complete control over how much they want to sell. If they offer up some decent prizes, they will get a lot of people going through and click through to their pages.

If they have products and services that are good quality and are great value for money, a good percentage of those people, if that’s what they’re looking for at that time, will buy their products and we’re just really excited about how it’s going to enable businesses to take their Facebook presence and monetize it because there’s a lot of people out there that have got a good Facebook page and lots of fans and they don’t know how to take that and make money and this is just going to make it very, very simple for them to do so.

If someone wins the prize, the next day, it selects another person randomly and away it goes again, if someone doesn’t, it still selects someone new after 24 hours but it notifies everybody that basically, that this person unfortunately missed out on their prize. So it reinforces to the fans, hey, check, because it could be you and it works very much along the same lines of – I don’t know if you’ve seen the Today Show, the breakfast show. They do something called Wake Up with Today, and basically, all the people who are fans or are registered with Today are on a list, and every morning they ring a person and if that person answers the phone, I wake up with Today, they win $10,000 and if they don’t, they miss out. So, what you have is, you have this situation where these people are glued to the show to make sure, to see if potentially they could be a winner.

It’s the same principle, it works really on the fear of loss. People don’t like missing out on prizes and we think that it’s going to have a massive effect on Facebook return on investment.

Nick: Great, that sounds like a really exciting development with your business and certainly a creative way of solving that problem that you mentioned about how people how people don’t really come back to the fan pages.

Well I think that brings us to the end of our interview today. Thanks very much for coming on the show and telling us all these great tips and sharing the news about your new apps with us.

Scott: Thank you very much for having me. I think this program is an awesome idea and I think you’re doing a fantastic job and yeah, I think that it’s really good that anybody out there who’s prepared to concentrate on local businesses and small businesses are doing a really good service because, small businesses, we make up the majority of all business done around the world and there’s a lot of power in small business and they are a powerful group if we include them together. I just think it’s a really good idea and congratulations on a great show.

Nick: Great, and thanks very much and where can people go to find out more about you and your business?

Scott: There’s a couple of places. Justsocial.com is our main website, it’s j u s t s o c i a l, justsocial.com and our new app has got its own website at fans2page.com so that’s fans then the number 2 page dotcom. So, either one of those websites, and from there, all our social media links are on there for Facebook, and Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube channels etc., etc.

Nick: Great and now my listeners can find those links. We’ll put them on our website as well. Thanks again for coming on the show and have a great rest of the day.

Scott: Thanks Nick, really appreciate it. Cheers!

Nick: Cheers!

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