Facebook for Businesses – Best Promotion Tactics

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

Regardless of the size of a new business or company, many industry leaders are turning towards social media websites like Facebook to reach out to larger population of potential customers. However, not all companies are aware of the best business practices to use when using Facebook in this manner. Here are a few tips to consider when setting up a Facebook for businesses.

Facebook for Businesses: The Difference Between Profiles and Fan Pages

When first creating an account on Facebook, new users will be asked if he or she wishes to create a profile or fan page. What is the difference, and which should be used for a company or business? Simply put, this depends on the approach a company wishes to take in order to reach out to new customers.

For example, Facebook profiles are meant to be more personal in nature. Sharing personal photos, links, or personal status updates are commonplace with profiles since these accounts are usually managed by one person. Businesses can use profiles to reach out to a target customer population by creating a profile for a company mascot, for example. However, individual company employees should steer clear of creating profiles as Facebook requires the user to include personal information for profile accounts. In addition, other Facebook users become “friends” of profiles and have the ability to comment on the company’s profile page. In many ways, this can be dangerous for the business, especially in the event of negative (and sometimes vulgar) comments from other users.

As an alternative, companies may wish to create a fan page on Facebook. In this instance, personal information is not needed in order to create a fan page and multiple account users can manage one page at a time. Company logos, events, and photos can be used on fan pages as well, however the account manager can limit the interactivity of other Facebook users on the company page. Furthermore, other Facebook users become “fans” of a fan page and are substantially limited to how he or she can interact with or alter content on a company’s fan page.

Update Content Regularly on Facebook

Perhaps the biggest downfall that companies using Facebook notice in advertisement success rate is lack of consistent and updated information. When using Facebook for businesses to reach out to new customers, companies should designate a department, team, or employee as being responsible for updating their profile or fan page regularly. For best results, companies should update Facebook at least once a week. These updates need not be major and can simply be sharing a new photo, internet link, or status update.

The two tips mentioned above can serve as a great start for any company thinking about using Facebook for their advertising methods. As social media continues to grow in number of users and popularity, companies would be well-advised to try their hands at other networking sites as well.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Facebook Enjoyment: Five Things People Like Most

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

A short while ago, adults on Facebook were not as common as they are today. Many parents of pre-teens signed up for a Facebook account to keep an eye on what their kids were doing.

Ask any adult what they do on Facebook. Checking up on their kids will be last on the list in most cases. Ask any teenager on Facebook if one or both of their parents have a Facebook account. You’ll be able to tell the answer by the look on their face.

Facebook allows people to communicate with one another in real time, and it allows everyone to let the Facebook world, or just their friends, know how they feel about any given subject. You can upload and share photos with others, and it has one other nifty feature; games you can play alone or with other Facebook users.

Here are five things that cause the most Facebook enjoyment for users:

Facebook Enjoyment: Five Things People Like Most

  • Playing Farmville

When most people accepted their Facebook friend’s invitation to be their neighbor on Farmville, they intended it to be a kind gesture. That gesture turned out for most to be fun and entertaining. For some, it turned into an obsession that no one would admit to having.

  • Cafe World, Mafia Wars, Slots, Poker, and other games

For the same reasons, depending on your likes and interests, these games are what most adults are doing on Facebook lately. Whether you prefer cooking, getting the bad guys, or winning tons of play money, there is a game on Facebook to suit everyone. Most of these, however, have not reached the heights of the Farmville Fever.

  • Reconnecting with old friends and classmates

Sadly, as much as we would all like to, we lose touch with good friends from our childhood. People move away, get married, and start families. The chances are good that you can find anyone you ever knew, on Facebook. You get to reminisce about the old days, catch up on what ever happened to this one or that one, and behave as though you never left the neighborhood where you grew up.

  • Keep up with family news as it happens

Entire families are on Facebook now, including in-laws, cousins, and immediate family members. If a school age student wants to share the A they just got on a test, or tell the Facebook world about the home run they scored in a little league game, everyone finds out about it immediately, all at once. The whole family also hears about promotions, raises, and unfortunately, with the sign of the times, the loss of a job. Facebook enjoyment via Facebook friends and family are there to cheer or console.

  • Preventing worlds from colliding

If anyone remembers when the character, George on Seinfeld, worried about his fiancé hanging around with his best friends, saying that “worlds would collide”, can understand this one.

We are different people to our closest family members, than we are with our friends, coworkers, or old friends. Religion, politics, childrearing ideas, and even our views on issues such as global warming or the Arizona Immigration Bill, can cause problems if we share them publicly with a large group of people that we know personally. Discussing these subjects on other social networking sites, forums, or message boards, is different, because if we disagree with people we do not know, it is not a big deal.

Arguing about social or culturally issues with family out there for all the world of Facebook friends to see, can ignite an old argument, and cause a family feud.

Whatever you enjoy doing on Facebook, we have to admit that Mark Zuckerberg really started something amazing. It is something most of us hope will never go away.

Patrick Mackaronis, the CEO and Founder of Brabble, can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Farmville Progression: Quickly Advancing Experience

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

Many people play Farmville regularly; in fact it is highly addictive. The main aim is to move up through the levels so that more items can be bought for the player’s farm, and this must be done by gaining Experience Points (XP). Here are some hints on how to gain XP quickly and achieve higher levels.

Farmville Progression: Work Out Which Plants to Plow and Seed

XP are mainly gained for plowing and planting seeds. Different seeds have different XP, and grow at different rates. If the player has plenty of time, the best plants to grow are strawberries, and they can be harvested every four hours, with XP gained every time plowing and seeding is done. Raspberries only take two hours to grow, but beware – they do not give any XP!

Those players who have money to spare can gain XP fast by purchasing seeds, then deleting the seeded fields, re-plowing and seeding all over again. This will cost a lot of ‘coins’. It will also enable the player to gain a great deal of experience points quickly and move on up through the levels. The best plants to grow for this purpose are soybeans. They only cost 15 coins each, but offer 2 XP.

Farmville Progression: Buy Large Items Such as Farm Buildings

All items bought on Farmville qualify for extra XP. If the player has extra money, it’s worth working out the best items to buy. This is often farm buildings – even if they are sold back later on.

Farmville Progression: Win as Many Farmville Ribbons as Possible

Farmville offers ribbons when different tasks are completed, and winning these ribbons means the player gains more coins and XP. So it is worth clicking on animals and trees when they are highlighted. They may not give a huge number of coins, but hey do enable the player to gain more ribbons and therefore more experience points.

Farmville Progression: Visit Neighbors and Help on Their Farms

Farmville offers coins and XP if they player helps on a neighbor’s farm…but only once a day. However, this means it is worth inviting friends to play, and having as many neighbors as possible. At the time of writing, however, there was a minor ‘bug’ in the system which is quite useful. This means that it is possible to click on a neighbor’s icon, then click on it quickly again before their farm downloads. If the player is quick they can do this several times. They can then help out several times on that farm, winning a large number of XP. If the player has several friends, and does this consistently, a large number of experience points can be gained in this way. However, who knows how long this will be possible!

Playing Farmville and moving up through its levels in this way can be very exciting, and also relaxing after a hard day. However, be warmed – the game is very addictive!

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Twitter with Customers: Make Each Tweet Count

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

Twitter has taken over the social networking arena. Tweet or die has become the new sales and promotional mantra.

One of the big questions in marketing and public relations is how to use Twitter to its fullest while garnering the biggest benefits. One technique is to keep Twitter tweets value added, to the point, and forget about letting followers know every last detail of the day. Make tweets count.

Twitter’s Value Added Tweets

Make it worth the follower’s time to read the posts. The following items can help add value to Twitter communications:

  • Provide bits of research
  • Ask a compelling question that others can post answers for.
  • When others post questions, try to find the answers and become the go to Twitter person.
  • Always focus on posts that can benefit the readers.

Tweet Meaningful Events

When communicating for public relations or marketing purposes, followers do not want to know every detail of the messenger’s day. They don’t care about what they had for lunch (unless it was a great money saving special) or that their office just got painted.

Tweet about attending conferences, learning new skills, finding a great new book, or meeting a new customer that may be of interest to followers.

Avoid asking followers “What are you doing?” Instead tweet about just reading a helpful and informative article online.

Make Tweets Count

When Twitter first entered the social media arena, followers loved all of the small details of everyone’s life. As Twitter matures, people are becoming less and less enthralled about such time wasting details.

Mixing the new media with the traditional media has created an overload for many business professionals. It is tough to keep up with all of the social media options and continue to follow print, radio, and television. While Twitter continues to be all the rage, it is also beginning to become one of the most valuable ways to connect with customers.

As such, users need to make each and every tweet count. With the message at only 140 characters, the writing has to be tight and to the point. Tweets have to also be relevant, viable, and meaningful to followers.

For example, for those in the health care field, tweeting news about the progression of the proposed health care bill would be relevant and meaningful if followers are also in the health care field. For those in working to make the world a greener place, tweeting about new green initiatives, products, articles, books, or how a company is contributing to improving the environment would be viable.

Tweaking Tweets

Keep tweets short and simple. Think about a tweet before sending. Will followers appreciate the information or will be challenged by a question or if and how they will benefit from the tweet? If so, tweet it to the world.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Make Money on Twitter: 3 Sites that Offer Payment for Tweets

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

Twitter users can earn money by posting sponsored tweets. There are three popular sites that currently offer tweeters payment for posting ad campaigns. Here are options to make money on Twitter.

Make Money On Twitter With Magpie

Magpie is an ad network that pays tweeters to post campaigns (also called “magpie tweets”) among their tweets. Magpie-tweets are carefully matched to the topic that a Twitterer posts on his Twitter account (e.g. cooking, gardening, business). The frequency of posting depends on the ratio selected by the tweeter. By default, a magpie-tweet is posted every ten tweets. A magpie account holder, however, may opt to change this ratio. The minimum ratio is one magpie-tweet every 5 tweets.

To earn from Magpie, one must have a Twitter account and a PayPal account. Earnings are based on three compensation models: Pay-per-Sale, Pay-per-Lead, Pay-per-Click, and Pay-per-View. The minimum payout at Magpie is $50.

Magpie is currently the leading advertising network for Twitter with over 10 million Twitterers signed up at their program.

Make Money On Twitter With Sponsored Tweets

Sponsored Tweets is an advertising platform that connects advertisers with tweeters. Advertisers create sponsored conversations on Twitter and make offers to qualified tweeters. Tweeters earn money by writing tweets about the campaign and posting the required link.

To earn from Sponsored Tweets, one’s Twitter account must be at least 60 days old, have at least 50 followers, and contain at least 100 status updates.

Sponsored Tweets pays via PayPal and the minimum payout is $50. Sponsored Tweets is managed by Izea — the same company that manages Social Spark, Loud Launch, and Pay Per Post.

Make Money On Twitter With Twivert

Anyone who has a Twitter account and a PayPal account can sign up for Twivert.

At Twivert, an advertiser starts a campaign by creating a new tweet message and selecting a time slot between when the ad has to be posted. The advertiser also allocates an amount for the campaign and has the option to limit the number of impressions per day.

Twitterers have the option to limit the number of sponsored tweets per day and to select time slots when these campaigns should appear on their Twitter account. This is done via the auto-tweets feature where CPC ads are automatically posted on behalf of the Twitterer. Another option would be to pre-approve ads before they are tweeted.

Twitterers earn every time there is a genuine click on the ad. Once the earnings reach $30, a payout can be requested and received via PayPal.

All three advertising networks – Magpie, Sponsored Tweets, and Twivert – offer an affiliate program. Twitterers can send out unique referral links and earn more when their referrals get paid.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Google+ And Facebook: What’s The Difference?

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis.

What are some Facebook and Google comparisons?

Like or not, Facebook and Google are both household names. Even if you don’t use one or the other or neither, they are a large part of our everyday world that you have to, at least, admit exist. Google has made several attempts to clone Facebook and failed miserably. They have now come up with a re-tooled Google-designed version of Facebook. Kinda. Sorta. Yes, it’s true that Google+ most certainly is a social networking site, but don’t dismiss it as just a Facebook clone. This time, there’s more.

Google+ works in combination with a number of Google’s other services and are in effect all joined with your own Google account. Let’s say you are on Google’s home page, up on the top right of the Google bar, you will see your Google+ profile info and link to your account, the notification indicator and a Share button. This way you can stay connected even if you aren’t on the Google+ site.

What are the new Google+ features?

There are a few features that are totally new and different from Facebook. Circles, Sparks and Hangouts are only some of the ways you can enjoy a social networking platform with some customization.

Some of the other features that are unlike Facebook are how you connect with friends. You invite friends and they accept. But, you can use the Circles feature, which permits you to customize and sort your friend’s list. This customization is a great feature in that you can share with friends something you wouldn’t want your mother or boss to see. Or, vice versa. If you want to say something sappy sweet to mom and grandma, your college fraternity brothers will never know.

Sparks is designed as an online sharing engine. You add interests and an assortment of related content to your profile, which can include videos, and they will be delivered to you. This feature makes this content easy to share with your circle of friends. And, by the way, the feed is available in over 40 languages.

A feature called Hangouts is not what you expect. You’re probably thinking Hangout will allow you to schedule a meeting, get together locations or geolocate your friends or circles for hanging out. Not with Google+. Instead it’s a live multi-person video chat so you can virtually hangout. You simply set yourself to available. Friends in your circle can then join the video chat and hangout. Google+ has yet to set a limit to your hangouts, so yes, you can have multiple friends, although at this point there is no clear limit as to how many.

How can I get Google+?

Google+ was launched on June 28, 2011. Only certain individuals were chosen to test and those individuals have invited others – which is how I got a preview. The software is still in the beta stage and Google is working on any bugs the test group find.

Word is, Google is planning on introducing the platform on or before July 31. Customization features, video chat capability with no add-on and being able to surf the internet while still being “connected” are only some major plus signs for Google+.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Twitter Utilization As A Listening Tool

The following is a post about utilizing Twitter as a listening tool by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

The simplicity of communicating with a mere 140 characters has lead more than 18 million users to utilize Twitter each month, according to Nielsen, spending more than 15 minutes per visit with the application.

Twitter is used for a variety of purposes, everything from keeping up with friends and family and meeting new people, to cross-company communications and productivity, as well as a way to promote brands and blogs. The ease of all of this push marketing to legions of followers is quite a draw for any Marketer 2.0, thus many marketers overlook the most important asset to having Twitter in their marketing arsenal: listening.

Twitter is an invaluable listening tool. No where else, and through no other media, can marketers directly connect with the thoughts, likes and dislikes, personality and moods of customers, prospects, influencers and competitors. By listening through social media, marketers become proactive and educated in all areas of how they market a brand, develop products and provide customer service.

Listening with Twitter: Customers and Prospects

Twitter is a perpetual, insider’s view into how the most important audience interprets and connects with a brand. Using the microblogging application for listening, marketers can track news and trends that are happening online and offline. Marketers are kept abreast, in real time, of product reviews, brand attitudes and interpretations, customer service experiences, and desires for new, improved or expanded product or service offerings.

There are dozens of applications available to aid marketers in managing discussions about their brands. Listening on Twitter through applications like TweetTronics provides a way to discover, track and engage with conversations that are happening about products and brands. The application tracks about 4.5 million users. Other applications like TwitterAnalyzer provide analytics tools about follower activity on Twitter similar to analytics programs used to track visits on websites.

Twitter Listening: Competitors

If a company or brand is using social media, so is their competition, or they will be very shortly. Companies can take the advantage over the competition by honing their listening skills on Twitter. In addition to listening to customers’ attitudes about the brand, marketers can listen to conversations customers are having about the competition.

Listening on the tweeting social network also offers competitive intelligence directly from the horse’s mouth. By following the competition’s messages, companies can about learn everything from new product innovations, new hires and financial news, to what sales or promotions the competition will offer this weekend.

Listening with Twitter: Influencers

Marketers are charged with shaping a company’s brand and promoting it to various audiences. One avenue to promote a brand is through the media, and with this social network, this process can become much more fluid. Gone are the days of mass news dumping and blind pitching.

Marketers can begin their media relation’s activities by listening through Twitter and other social to gain perspective about what individual journalists and bloggers are interested in, how they like to be communicated with or pitched, and whether news about a brand would be a good fit.

Through Twitter, with a focus on listening, brand marketers will find that traditional journalists as well as members of the blogosphere and other “citizen journalists” are now highly accessible and that genuine relationships can be formed with them if and only if marketers employ constant listening. To begin the process of listening to the media, marketers can access a comprehensive directory of journalists like MediaOnTwitter.

Listening to customers, prospects, competitors and influencers is as important as ever to marketers, but utilizing Twitter for listening removes much of the guesswork and tediousness from the process. With the power of the application’s simple communication style, marketers now have the means to access and assess brand awareness and reactions from all relevant marketing audiences.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Facebook Advertising for Internet Marketing Campaigns

The following is a post on utilizing Facebook advertising for internet marketing campaigns by Patrick Mackaronis.

When it comes to talks about advertising online, Facebook is growing in popularity. With the 400 million active users typically on the social networking website for almost an hour per day, it’s no wonder why so many online advertisers are beginning to use it as part of their internet marketing campaigns.

The Process of Creating Facebook Advertisements

Among the most appealing features of Facebook advertising is its ad-creation platform. Using the interface, online advertisers can create Facebook ads as easily as they would submit any other type of content (links, wall posts, status updates, or images) on this social networking website. They also have the option to link to an external website or a page they have created on Facebook.

Because of this simple platform, all there is to designing a Facebook advertisement is a link, a title with a maximum of 25 characters, an advertising copy composed of 135 characters, and an image. There’s no need to worry about design concepts or layouts. There’s also no need for skills on Photoshop or similar image editing software.

Once the advertisement has been designed, Facebook advertisers just need to specify their target audience. Facebook allows them to do so through both demographics and psychographics. Then, advertisers specify a daily budget, an ad schedule, and a maximum bid (per click or per 1,000 impressions). After that, advertisers need only to review entries and submit.

The Facebook Advertising Team’s Review Process

Upon submission of the ad creation form, it is added to the queue of advertisements that the Facebook team needs to review. Basically, they approve and reject ads depending on whether or not they meet the social networking website’s content guidelines. If an ad is approved, it is run according to the specified schedule. If it is rejected, the advertisers have the option to revise their entries and try submitting again.

It is worth noting that Facebook is incredibly hard to deal with for advertising inquiries, and have a tendency to ban accounts without warning. Online marketers advertising offers that fall outside the terms of service are destined for a headache by using Facebook’s advertising platform. Nevertheless, there are practices that make it easier to get approval for Facebook advertisements.

Although there are downsides to Facebook advertising, they are almost negligible to online marketers running legitimate campaigns and promoting ethical online businesses. What’s important to consider is that this social networking website offers a legitimate platform for reaching a massive number of users around the world in a simple yet effective manner.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Virtual Communities: From Geocities To MySpace

The following is a post on the history of virtual communities by Patrick Mackaronis.

Long ago and far away, there was a quaint little cyber village called Geocities. Geocities was, for several years, one of the most popular virtual communities on the Internet.

Known for its topic-specific neighborhoods, Geocities offered web users a creative and interactive way to find like-minded cyber buddies through chat rooms and yes, good old-fashioned web pages. There was Area 51 for science fiction and fantasy buffs. Heartland for those looking for hometown values and HotSprings for the more health-conscious surfers. (psst… any ex-Capitol-Hillers out there? Its me… Kate(jpo)!) With 41 neighborhoods in all, Geocities was THE place to be, whether you knew anything about creating a web site or not.

Virtual Communities: GeoCities

Today, Geocities is long gone, although its spirit of “community on the web” continues to stay strong. With forums, instant messaging and a whole host of chat rooms, building community has become one of the web’s biggest accomplishments. Geocities would be so proud. But perhaps the most impressive community builders of all is MySpace, the “Geocities” for the next generation.

MySpace.com is a sort of web page/forum hybrid, also one of the most popular virtual communities, complete with graphics, templates, blogging capabilities and email system. Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Don’t be so sure. Just as I never missed a night of chatting on Capitol Hill, MySpace users are taking full advantage of this new instant communication tool.

Founded in July 2003 by Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, MySpace was originally created to give aspiring musicians a place to promote their music and connect with potential fans. A musician himself, Anderson had Hollywood contacts and as word spread, MySpace quickly became a profitable venture, projecting a $200 million in revenues.

Virtual Communities: MySpace

So, just what do you do with a MySpace account?

Plenty! Upon registration, each user is given a “Profile” that they can edit, manipulate and customize to suit their needs. The Profile is the equivalent of a one-page website within the MySpace domain and consists of two basic sections: About Me and People I’d Like To Meet. In addition to these two sections however, users can add extra sections such as personal info, music and movie players, books, etc. As 17-year-old Michael Edwards stated in an interview with USA Today, “your page is like your personality.”

But the possibilities of MySpace doesn’t stop at self-promotion. Remember, MySpace was designed to be a social networking website so user interaction is key to its success. In addition to personal customization, users can also post messages and graphics to other users sites by joining their “Friends” list. MySpace also has an internal email system allowing you to contact other MySpace users without the need for a personal email address. Create your own blog (private or public), send announcements to your friends or add pictures, graphics and random thoughts when the mood strikes you.

Think this is just another fad for socially curious teens? Think again. According to a count, MySpace boasted almost 50 million members, including such notables as Hillary Duff, Peyton and Eli Manning, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Halle Berry.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Online Book Marketing and Twitter

The following is a post by Patrick Mackaronis on online book marketing and publishing on Twitter.

With book publishing companies increasingly putting their authors in charge of their own promotional marketing tasks, Twitter is emerging as a viable place to market print books. Authors can use their Twitter accounts to tweet about when their books will be available, what they contain and how they came about.

Promotional Marketing for Books

Though there may be room for Twitter novels in the future of popular fiction, a more current online publishing use for Twitter is to use the feed to announce new book titles and to popularize a writer’s name.

Authors who have effective promotional marketing skills are creating larger followings for themselves by creating a more personal relationship with readers. Twitter provides a perfect avenue for writers to communicate directly with fans, drawing in more readers with this simple, personal communication.

Youth Online Book Marketing

The common perception of Twitter as a popular social marketing tool among the under-24 demographic may lead to its use in youth marketing. However, few people in that demographic actually use Twitter. Promotional marketing may be easy with Twitter, but youth marketing is better undertaken through Facebook and other sites with a high percentage of younger users.

Twitter Marketing Campaign

Many book authors use their Twitter accounts to update readers about new books coming out, the progress they are making on a book or to simply keep readers reminded of the author’s name. With a well-known Twitter presence, authors can attract attention for their books and build a name online.

Writers who use a blog often tie their Twitter accounts to their blogs by sending out a tweet every time there is a new blog post. The blog posts then discuss the book that is being marketed or the progress being made on a new book.

Online Marketing Tools for Publishers

Another way that Twitter has been used is to market a publisher by offering online fiction through Twitter posts. British book publisher Penguin did this with Slice, a story that the publisher made available through Twitter and blog posts. Many online book publishers use Twitter to announce new titles.

Online Book Marketing

In the future, book authors may offer excerpts of their books on Twitter to keep readers interested in the next installment and to interest readers in buying the book. This type of book marketing is already used on blogs and in online bookstores like Amazon. A Twitter feed that allows customers to get a taste of a book can’t be far behind.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Facebook Tabs and Pages for Social Marketing

The following is a post on Facebook tabs and pages, and their use in social media marketing by Brabble CEO and Founder Patrick Mackaronis.

If you are in business or promoting a non-profit organization you probably use Facebook for personal and professional networking. Using a Fan Page on Facebook to promote your company or group is a common way to introduce and maintain relationships with “fans” of your business.

A crop of new technology startups are competing for the privilege of providing you a way to easily create custom Facebook tabs and pages. Let’s look at a few of the companies offering custom Facebook tabs for your company Fan page. None of the applications reviewed here provide customized personal pages, these are strictly for businesses, groups and organizations.

These cloud based solutions connect with your Facebook Fan page(s) and allow you to create and add one or more new custom Tabs and Pages. Some of these applications allow you to use your new custom page for your Facebook landing page. This means when new visitors arrive at your Fan page, they see a customized page, and not your “Wall”.

Facebook Tabs, Many Pages with TabSite

TabSite allows you to create and manage content on one custom tab,per account. One simple template page gives most users the tools they’ll need to design a graphic and link heavy page. The custom facebook page can include have images, videos, and text. Online help is minimal, but email support response is good.

One of the interesting and different aspects of TabSite vs it’s competitors, is the ability to create sub-tabbed pages on the main TabSite page. Each sub-page can have its own custom tab and contain linked buttons, graphics, video, text and more.

TabSite offers a free version that does not expire, but also does not allow you to give the Tab a custom name. Even with the free version it does allow you to create a custom page with the name “Welcome” or “TabSite.”

Subscriptions start at $5/month if you want to add a tab with a custom name. TabSite is not difficult to use but does require some knowledge of HTML, web site design, and basic internet applications.

SplashTab Offers Many Page Layouts

SpalshTab offers a 14-day free trial to try out their service. Unlike TabSite which gives you unlimited page design freedom and no templates, SpashTab gives you many template choices, meaning preformatted pages where you fill in the areas with video, text, graphics and links. The Premium subscription allows you to create your on page layout or template if you can’t find a template that suits your needs.

The Tab names are limited to those on a menu list. There are enough to match up to most common page content, and if you must have a custom Tab name they will do that for an additional fee.

Each account or SplashTab is for one Facebook Fan page only. Additional custom Fan pages require their own paid accounts for each Fan page. Some templates contain buttons or links that require a secondary subscription but do not alert you to that prior to selecting the template. Online help is virtually non-existent on the website, but you can send a message to tech-support.

SplashTab is easy to use with the same level of skill as TabSite, and the templates are very useful and make creating a custom Facebook page fast and easy.

Widgets Galore at NorthSocial

NorthSocial is another new and very slick Facebook Custom Tab and Page application that offers a 14 day trial. NorthSocial differs from the others in offering multiple pre-made apps that are added to a custom page with a couple of clicks. NorthSocial offers everything from customizable sweepstakes, contact, and product pages called “Show & Sell” which links directly with your shopping cart. In addition you can plug in photo galleries, video applications, rating and discussion modules.

Set up and configuration is only a few clicks, which connects NorthSocial with your Facebook account. Subscriptions start at $19 a month. How-to videos are available for each application without having to log in, so you can get a very good idea of what’s involved before signing up.

With the free accounts and trial subscriptions you could give each of these a try and see which best meets your needs. Each application has a strength that distinguishes it from its competitors. Compare and decide which has the features most important to your social network marketing strategy.

Patrick Mackaronis is the CEO and Founder of Brabble, and can be reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Social Network Site Launches Facebook Stories and Facebook Places

Last month, a popular social networking site reached an important milestone. On 2014, Facebook announced 500 million people now actively use the service. The site has grown by leaps-and-bounds in just a few short years since its launching in 2004. In fact, Facebook is touted as the world’s largest social networking site with a population larger than the United States, Mexico and France combined.

Social networking websites allow users to connect with friends, family and loved ones all over the world. The social networking giant recently announced the launching of two brand new tools – Facebook Places and Facebook Stories.

Facebook Stories

In July, the social networking site launched its new Facebook Stories feature. Whether inspirational, political, humorous or heartfelt, users can now share personal stories or read the stories of other users.

The stories are categorized by a variety of themes including love, politics, military, pets, health, sports, college, religion, family and reunions. Users can also select stories by geographical location by clicking on the integrated Bing map available in 2D, 3D, aerial, bird’s eye and road views.

Sharing a story is simple – just write the story and select the appropriate theme. The story will be shared with friends via the News Feed. The most popular stories will be featured in the “Most Popular” section of the site.

Facebook Places

If you have a special location you’d like to share with friends and family, Facebook Places may be just the ticket. The new location-based service allows users to share their favorite restaurant, beach, camping spot or show with others in real time from a mobile device.

Whether you are enjoying an action-packed flick or eating a great meal, Facebook’s new geolocation features allow your friends to know exactly where you are. The check in option allows users to share exact whereabouts with other users. Once checked in, your information will appear on the Facebook Place page, News Feed and your Wall.

The application is simple to use. Just click the “check in” button and select your location. If the location is not listed, add it to the list. The “Here Now” section of the application allows users to see who else is in the area. And if you “tag” any friends you are with, they too will be part of the update. Depending on customized settings, users select who can and cannot see the information.

In order to use Places, the newest Facebook iPhone application must first be installed on your device. Users with other web-enabled mobile devices will be able to use the feature in the future. Places is currently being rolled out and is only available in the U.S.

Facebook Places Privacy Concerns

While various organizations and users have criticized Facebook’s lack of privacy controls and security features, the social networking site is pushing back against the criticism regarding Places. Users control aspects of the Places feature by accessing individual account settings located on the top-right hand of the Facebook page. Users can select one of the four privacy options under the “Privacy Settings” area. By clicking the “Customize Settings” link, users can fine-tune personal settings as well. Visit Facebook for more specific information on privacy issues.

Facebook Places and Stories are just two more reasons to connect with friends and loved ones on Facebook.

How to Set Up Business Fan Pages on Facebook

At this point in the process, many businesses have considered their customer bases, and determined that they should have Facebook presences. They have selected the right personnel for their social media work, and are ready to get underway… but how to get started?

How to Create a New Business Facebook Fan Page

The following are some basic guidelines and instructions for the preparation of the Fan Page:

  • Don’t create a “personal page” misrepresenting a business as an individual human being. Not only is it dishonest, it means the business won’t have access to the “insights” tools available.
  • Instead, fan a few businesses on a personal Facebook Account to see how they manage the Fan page.
  • To create a new page, begin by logging in to the personal Facebook Account of the individual who will be responsible for the Fan Page
  • From there, access a business fan page, and scroll down to the bottom.
  • In the right-hand column, click on the link to “Create a Page for My Business” (see image below)
  • Complete the short form to create the account.

Once the account is set up, then it will need to be correctly administrated.

How to Assign Administrators for a New Business Facebook Page

The person who created the page is automatically designated as an administrator of the account. For businesses, it is a good idea to have more than one person established as an administrator for the Facebook page. This allows the business to retain control over the account in the event of illness or turnover, and it provides more than one team member the opportunity to look at the insights and provide updates and customer interactions.

The individual who created the page can add additional administrators by:

  • Clicking the “Edit Page” link directly below the “?” placeholder for the profile photo.
  • Scrolling down to the “Admins” box in the left-hand column of the administrator page (about the fourth box down). The existing administrator will see his or her own profile picture in this box already.
  • Click the “Add” link in the upper right-hand of the box.
  • The pop-up allows the administrator to select team members from among his or her friends, or by entering an email address. The email address entered must be the one that is tied to the second administrator’s active Facebook account.
  • Click the “Add Admins” button, and the other person will receive an email notification that they have been made an administrator.
  • For that person to access the page, they must log in to their personal account, and Search for the page title in the search box in the upper right corner of Facebook. The page will appear to all admins, even before it has been published.

When to Publish the New Corporate Facebook Fan Page

Prior to publishing the page, businesses will need to set up initial information. The tools and user interfaces are very similar between personal Facebook pages and those for businesses.

At minimum, a business page should include a Profile photo, and the small text box beneath the photo should have a brief statement about the business.

The “Info” tab should be complete with the business hours (if applicable), website, and additional contact information. This area is particularly important if the Fan Page supports a brick-and-mortar store somewhere!

At this point, the business page can be published. After publishing the page by clicking on the link in red text at the top of the page. (see image below)

How Often to Post Updates, and What to Post

How often a business should post updates is going to be determined by the business and the marketing goals for the page. Best practices suggest a minimum of 2-3 posts per week, and at maximum one post per day from the business account.

Remember, the Fans of a Business Page have “Fanned” the account because they want to hear updates and news about the business, the industry, events and anything related to it. They will receive these updates on their personal newsfeeds, regardless of whether they are logged into regular Facebook or Facebook Lite.

Businesses add pages to Facebook to generate conversations and to create a new way to interact with customers – not to sell or convert Facebook Fans to leads. (That’s what the business website is for!) Use this as a way to spread the word!

How to Attract Fans to a Business Facebook Page

One of the things that Facebook users like about the Business Fan Page setup is that they are able to “pull” information about their favorite businesses to them, without having unwanted information “pushed” at them. As a business familiar with advertising and marketing techniques, this concept is tough to act upon.

A few ways to begin the process of building fans include:

  • Start off with promoting the Facebook page among employees and friends. This will start getting the word out to the personal page network.
  • Add a link to the fan page to the homepage of the business website, inviting visitors to become fans.
  • Create an email blast telling your email list what news and information they will have access to if they “fan” the business.

Use the Insights box (Administrators will see this below the profile picture on the Business Page) to track interactions with fans, how many new fans have been added, and how many have dropped off the page. This will give the business a great way to track the success of the Facebook initiative.