Wednesday, 27 May 2009
If you have any questions on it or want any further advice, please comment or send us a message.
To create a business page go here http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
Set up a Profile
The amount of information you include in your profile is up to you, but the more
you put on, the better idea people will have of who you are. Users will most
likely scan your profile before accepting a friend request, so if they like what
they see, they’ll be more likely to accept. People respond well to humour,
positivity, and sincerity on Social Networking sites, so bear this in mind.
If you already have a profile, you will need to separate business from social
friends. This allows you to send emails, etc, to distinct groups. Go to friends,
then make new list, and divide up friends.
Privacy cannot be set for lists, but can be for individuals by going to privacy
settings. Individuals can then be prevented from seeing certain areas of
your profile. If you’re using facebook purely for business, this is not a worry, but
may be otherwise, as others apart from yourself can post photos and comments
on your profile.
The problem with limiting users views is that it may appear that you have
something to hide, and part of the social networking ethos is that you share
details of your lives. Because of this, it is best to not be too private. Monitor the
content that is posted on your profile and if you feel it really is inappropriate, you
can always delete it.
Increasing the amount of friend you have is possibly the most important aspect of
the process, and friend acquisition should always be ongoing. You can never
have too many friends!
Your best friends will be those that you can establish and maintain
relationships and dialogues with, but this is time consuming, so the number will
be limited. However, a second tier of friends that you may never regularly
converse with is still extremely valuable. Your actions will still be displayed in
their news feed, so they will have awareness of you and what you do. They may
participate in surveys you post, join your groups and pages, or recommend
Get into the habit of adding friends whenever you login. It can be tedious to
add large amounts, but five a day will soon swell your ranks.
There are ways and means of adding lot’s of random people very quickly, but
there are much more targeted methods which will yield far greater results. The
main way to find relevant friends is by searching through groups and
pages associated with your industry.
Type a keyword related to your industry in the search box to the top right of
the screen. This will then display appropriate people, pages, groups, events and
applications. It’s a safe assumption that everyone within these will be interested
in your industry to some degree, so start adding them.
Clicking on a persons name or picture will bring up a box allowing you to add
them. At this stage you can allocate them to one of your friend lists and you can
also add a personal message. You can just go ahead without a personal
message and will get requests accepted, but there will be a higher success
rate if you include a message, by way of an introduction. The more
personalised the better, but copy and pasting a generic message will make the
process a lot quicker and is still very effective.
Try and be as honest and sincere as you can in these messages, and indeed,
at all times on facebook. It won’t take much for you to blot your copybook with a
friend, and if they delete you, they’ll be unlikely to accept you in the future. Worse
than that, they may actively market against you, posting negative comments in
People will be unlikely to respond to your requests immediately, and your
message may not be as effective as you would hope. Therefore, it’s a good idea
to test a number of messages on limited groups of requests, say five
messages on groups of ten. You can then filter the less effective messages,
honing the group down to say one or two that get you the best results.
If people reply to your request with a message or comment, do your best to
answer them, and as quickly as you can. This initial contact can come to nothing
apart from that all-important first impression, but may be the starting point of a
Remember you can promote your social media activities off-line as well. Integrate and include your facebook marketing in your advertisements and off-line marketing.
While trawling the groups and pages for friends be observant and make notes.
Look at what the pages and groups are doing, especially those that seem to have
a lot of interaction from users and have lots of members. These are the most
successful and what you will be aiming for when you come to create groups and
When you come to create a page, you are able to add applications in order to
promote interaction. Note which applications pages use, especially those that
have high levels of that all-important interaction. Creating a community can be
a great asset for a page, so if there are applications that are encouraging
members (or fans as they’re called on facebook) to interact with each other, note
Also make notes about what fans and members are saying. Pay attention to
the tone and content, as at some point you will want to join in and knowing the
lingo will be really helpful. You may notice, for example, that there is little pitching
going on. In general, never pitch on social networks, unless someone actually
asks you to. As with real life networking events, never ‘sell to the room’.
While you can take ideas from what others do, bare in mind that your success
may come from doing what they don’t do. If you can offer an enjoyable or
interesting experience that they can’t find anywhere else, users are likely to
flock to you. Keep in mind while researching that there may be a trick that
everybody has missed.
Create a Page
You can create a page straight from the off, but once you’ve familiarised yourself
the various relevant aspects of facebook, you may find that what you initially
thought was a great idea, just doesn’t fit and is essentially useless. Rather than
waste your time, it’s usually best to wait until you’ve conducted research and
found your feet.
Once ready, go to ‘page manager’ to the top right of your profile home page, then
‘create page’. On the next page choose the type of business that best suits you
and give your page a title. This may be your business name but this isn’t
always the best option and for reasons discussed later, choosing the right
name is very important. Because you’re looking to attract fans and create a
resource and community, something more generic may be better, for example,
Public Relations Help Center. You can create multiple pages, so it may be an
idea to have one named after your business and others that are more generic.
You can always delete pages later, and until you’re feeling confident you can
achieve some success, you may not want to launch with your business name if
there’s a chance the page fails. The best option may be to find your feet with
a generic page that has no direct association with your business, as there
is then no risk of damaging your brand.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be taken to what is essentially the skeleton of your
new page. The page will contain default applications, some of which may be of
little use or relevance, but you can remove most of these by clicking the
cross/delete icon in the top right corner.
To add content to your page, click on ‘edit page’ toward the top right. Here you
put all your research to good use. Bearing in mind the aspects incorporated by
the successful pages you’ve found, populate your page. There is also an option
to browse more applications, where by using the search option you can find
those used by the other pages you’ve seen or try to find one that does what you
require. New application are added regularly, so keep checking back for new
ways to improve your page.
Try as much as you can to make your page attractive, interesting, and if
Promoting your Page and getting Fans
There are many ways to get people to view your page and hopefully, become
fans. Facebook is so versatile that people are coming up with new and innovative
ways to do this all the time and you may come up with some of your own.
Facebook provide a pay per click advertising service, similar to google
adwords, that can advertises and links to your page, but obviously there is a cost
involved. If you would rather invest time than money, try the free methods before
resorting to this.
Firstly, make the most of your friends. You can send a group email to your
business list of friends, so let them know that you have created a page and
invite them to be fans. Briefly summarize all the great things they will find on the
page and what they can expect in the future. Perhaps offer an incentive to join,
such as a prize draw, and present other benefits they will receive, such as
useful advice and information. Hopefully, because this list has been selected
from people who would be interested, you will get a reasonable uptake.
This is where the viral nature of facebook may start to come into effect. The
friends of every user who joins will be informed in their news feed. Say you made
100 friends in your initial friends harvest. 50 of those join your page, each of
which has 50 friends, which means that 2500 people have now been informed
that your page exists. A proportion of these may be intrigued to see what page
their friends have joined and look themselves, possibly join, and before your
know it your fan numbers start to grow at an exponential rate.
This is obviously the ideal scenario, but this is why the name of your page is
important. Your page name is all that will be displayed in the news feeds, so it
has to make as much impact as possible, encouraging people to find out more by
visiting your page.
Your friends will also be informed of your actions in their news feeds, so interact
with your page yourself. Post articles, comments, videos, etc, that you believe
will attract attention. As always, be informed by what you have seen to work on
Those other pages are the next way in which you can attract fans. Start
interacting on the pages, asking and answering questions, starting discussions,
and doing all the other things you’ve seen that provokes responses from those
pages fans. Those you interact with may offer friend requests or you may request
them, then you can direct them to your page. Others who view the page but that
you haven’t directly conversed with may also see your comments and request
The option that may give you the most new fans on your page is to post a direct
link to it on other pages, but be aware that this may be risky. If you do nothing
but post links it’s likely to be seen as spamming, may get you a bad reputation,
and may be deleted by the page administrator anyway. Again, your research
should pay off here. If you’ve found that other people are posting links, there’s
most likely no problem for you to. You can also simply ask the page administrator
if they mind. However it’s always a good idea to post more than just a link.
Make a contribution first so that you don’t appear mercenary, and also to
demonstrate the quality of content people will find on your page.
A page can also become a fan of another page, which can work in the same
way that a link exchange does with websites. Contact the page administrator and
ask if they would like to become a fan of your page, in exchange for yours
becoming a fan of theirs. A link to your page will then appear prominently on their
page and yours.
Detailed in this plan are the basics to effectively launch and promote your
business on facebook, but there are many more techniques and strategies to
take it further. The functionality of facebook is so broad and varied that the
list of different ways it can help your business is around the same length
as a piece of string. Search Google for how other people do it, and don’t be
afraid to try your own ideas. As facebook is a relatively new platform, just
because no one else is doing it, doesn’t mean it won’t work. Even those who
claim to be experts don’t have all the answers.
Facebook is an ever-evolving platform, with new components for the social and
business sides being incorporated regularly. New techniques and strategies
emerge with these components; so if you find that you are enjoying facebook,
and especially if you find that it is having a positive effect on your business, try to
keep up to date with facebook news. You might find that if you pay attention to
what’s new, you might have an original idea for how to promote your business
before any of your competitors, or even before any other business on the
Other Social Media Websites
Obviously there are only so many hours in the day and fitting in the time
necessary to glean results from facebook may already be difficult, but if possible
additional sites should also be used as part of your social marketing
You may find that specific sites suit your purposes, for example, if you want to
promote your business through video, setting up a Youtube channel would be a
good idea, but two sites that are generally appropriate for most businesses are
Twitter and LinkedIn.
Twitter is a micro-blogging site, which means that users post short (up to
140 characters) blogs or ‘tweets’, which are delivered to subscribers, either
through the actual site or via SMS, RSS, email or other social networking
sites. The post can also be made via these methods.
Within a business Twitter can be used:
• To answer client and prospect questions and queries.
• To inform clients of developments in your business, such as new products
• To identify client or prospects needs, by monitoring their tweets.
• To conduct market research amongst your subscribers by asking
• To communicate between staff members.
• To notify followers of your blog / social media site updates
Obviously if you have no subscribers, then Twitter is of little use, so how do you
Firstly include links to your Twitter wherever you have an online presence,
such as on your website or facebook page. Explain the advantages of
subscribing, such as the points listed above.
Contact all your existing clients and ask if they would like to subscribe,
telling them the benefits. You may find that some are unaware of Twitter or how
to use it, so it could be helpful to find an online guide that you can point them to.
As with all social networks, one of the best ways to get subscribers, is to
interact on the site. You can browse other users tweets by clicking on
‘Everyone’ to the right of the home page, but this will only bring up random,
general tweets. It’s better if you can find tweets relevant to your sector, so click
on search at the bottom of the screen. Search on a few keywords associated with
Have a browse and if you find any questions that you can answer or any advice
you can give, do so. This may start a conversation with that user, who may
subscribe if they like your responses, but more importantly, their subscribers will
be informed of your conversation. If they find it interesting, they may subscribe
too, or start a conversation, which in turn informs their subscribers. In this way
your subscriber base can grow exponentially, exploiting the viral nature of
Interaction is the key to success, so make this part of your ongoing
strategy, no matter which sites you use.
LinkedIn is a Social Network aimed squarely at business. As with facebook,
you can create a profile and populate it with details about yourself. Unlike
facebook, the information you enter is centred around your professional life, with
fields for current and past employment, education, experience, key skills, etc.
Your profile is essentially an online CV.
As with facebook the aim is to make lots of friends, called ‘connections’ in
LinkedIn, and to raise awareness of your expertise in what you do, by
interacting with users. To add connections you can use the search function to
find specific people or people within a sector by entering a relevant keyword. You
can also browse groups via a link to the right of the page, but unlike facebook,
you have to join a group before you can see its members.
One of the main ways to start interactions is via the ‘Answers’ section,
which you can find the link to at the top of the page. Users post questions
here, so you can search for those relevant to your industry and provide answers.
This can start conversations with the ‘asker’ and is also viewable by other users,
so if your advice is good, others may contact you. You can also submit your own
questions for others to answer
Again like facebook, there are many other ways to promote yourself on
LinkedIn, and new functionality is added regularly. Pay attention to what
other people are doing, google for hints & tips, and keep up to date with
This article will cover:
- The online social networking phenomenon
- How can social networking sites help businesses communicate marketing messages?
- Why traditional interruption marketing is beginning to fail in reaching your target audience
- How non-traditional permission based marketing can help you reach those audiences
Permission Based Marketing
Using online social networks to market a message, product, and service (Social Media Marketing) is permission based. People these days, especially younger generations are blocking out traditional marketing either psychologically or though technology (fast forward through Sky TV adverts, listen to online radio with no adverts, spam filters block email messages, throw leaflets in the bin, etc).
Traditional Interruption Marketing is getting ignored!
If we were selling a fridge, we would use social media marketing to garner interest with an audience who is in the market to buy a fridge, but is not yet decided which fridge to buy and where to buy it from. The content for our social media marketing campaign therefore should be written for people in the market to understand fridges a little better, compare prices and features, but is at some stage before the actual purchase.
There is a large group of people out there who no longer respond to traditional marketing. They aren’t at the stage of wanting to buy, but are using the internet to gather information required to make a decision to buy.
Online social networking is permission based. This means that you provide help and advice when people want and are looking for it. We need to make sure we have a presence online and keep a constant conversation going with audiences so that we will be the first port of call when a decision to buy is made.
Facebook is only one example of how we can interact with this new generation of media users. We can promote videos on youtube, photos on flickr, articles on Digg and much, much more. Write helpful articles or how about an online diagnosis team that searches for people with illness’s on yahoo answers and give them professional advice as to what course of action they should take.
There are many more ways that we can reach more “clients” and provide a more satisfactory service online. The great thing is it can be little work, as you are able to re-use content you have already created in the past, online and offline you are just distributing it in a different way to before and to a much wider audience.
What is Online Social Networking?
Online social networking is very similar to offline social networking. You meet up with acquaintances and strangers either by chance, through a friend or at an event, and converse with them, offering advice and help. Sometimes you will exchange contact details and will open up more opportunities to do business. The more help and advice you give them and the more questions you answer, the more chance they will keep in contact with you and use your services when needed in the future.
Online social networking allows people to converse with strangers from their computers and do the exact same things as offline, but on a much larger and efficient scale.
What can online social networking marketing do for businesses?
Social media marketing can help you increase the activity around these top goals:
- Website traffic and user behavior
- Conversion and sales tracking
- Page views, ad exposure
- Growing brand awareness (a softer value, takes longer to build)
- Creating a positive brand
- Business development and a broader customer reach
- SMM can help with SEO
- SMM can promote your Blog
Spreading your message across facebook Virally
Over the past year facebook has become very popular and whether you like it or not, what it does mean is that you can now harness this community to get a message out to potentially thousands of people for very little money.
How do I use facebook to advertise my business virally?
facebook has an advertising option called Social Ads.
You make an advert and typically pay whenever someone clicks though your advert. The system is a lot like Google’s Adwords program.
Most people simply send visitors straight to their website; an effective advertising method in itself. But this overlooks an enormous potential to leverage facebook’s ability to spread your message virally.
What you need to do is set up what is called a facebook Public Profile (formerly called a Page). This is like a normal Web Page, but it is integrated within facebook’s system, which means whenever someone interacts with that page, all their facebook’s friends will be notified!
This is very important!
How do we do it?
Here’s an example to illustrate:
The Nags Head pub wants to spread awareness of its new healthy meal options . To spread their message virally, they create a facebook Public Profile.
The facebook page is customised with the Nags Head logo and colours. It also explains some facts about healthy eating, that it is easier than you think to eat healthy.
To get the users to interact with the page, the Nags Head decides to start a competition.
“20 Free ipod Giveaway with a copy of Running Anthems 2008
The best pub in town serving honest healthy grub
Simply Add Yourself as a Fan for a Chance to Win”
All runners up will receive 10% for a year
Winners will be notified by email on the 26th of November 2008”
This would be an excellent way to get users to add themselves as a fan.
How will this message travel?
Lets say Paul arrives at our Public Profile (facebook page) and decides to add himself as a fan – all his friends (typically around 100 users) would be notified. Let’s say Suzie, George and Chris all read the notification and decided to join too; that means all their friends will also be notified. We may have spread our message to around 400 people already and it doesn’t stop, it just keeps going virally.
All that is required to start the viral chain is some initial visitors and that is what we use facebook Social Ads for.
Is facebook advertising really for me?
Although facebook has mass potential, to make a successful campaign one is required to break away from traditional marketing methods.
Whilst advertising your product right from the advert can work, the campaigns that tend to spread virally:
- Realise that people use facebook for leisure and try to appeal to them through competitions or by providing something fun to do.
- Provide something of value; a reason to interact. In the Nags Head pub example, people may interact because healthy eating is in the news and it is hard to find a pub that serves healthy eating food. They also get the get the chance to win something desirable and get future discounts.
- Up sell from the facebook Public Profile rather than selling straight from the advert.
- Use facebook’s in-built targeting to target people who are most likely to be interested in their advert.
- Realise that they are in fact giving up their brand. They no longer own it, their friends on the social network now does. They can comment (good or bad) on their products and service.
Create a facebook Page
A Facebook Page is a public profile that enables you to share your business and products with facebook users. Create one in a few minutes with a simple interface.
See the facebook page product guide from facebook for more informationhttp://www.facebook.com/ad
1) Create a digital plan
The website should not be considered separate to your blog and your facebook page considered to be separate to your twitter account. The objective is to work alongside your current web developer, and SEO specialist in order for SMM to be an integral part of your online strategy.
2) Observe and create a customer map
Immerse yourselves into the social media and the blogosphere to understand the most influential places within the social web. What are the largest communities? What are they talking about? What is the relevant content? What is being said about the industry and key competitors. Who is creating the most buzz? You need to:
- Looks who’s talking… What is being talked about in the digital world about your industry? Here at the observation stage you will get a handle on the landscape.
- Understand / create a business goal… Within this first step of marketing to the social web, there are a number of research guides that a company should establish:
- Identify and prioritise the company’s needs and goals
- Important dates that will determine when in-market activities will start
- Target audience definitions – whom are we most interested in getting a point of view from?
- Top competitors
- Best practice comparisons – which competitors within the industry are using the digital channels to their advantage
- Keywords for searching the Web
- Look for best practice examples… Given your business goal and target market, you will want to look at competitive websites with an eye toward identifying best practices in managing digital conversations.
- Select key words and begin to search… Select 10-15 key words, these are the search terms that lead us to blogs, news sites, and communities that are discussing, mentioning, or rating the topics that concern you the most.
3) Evaluate Online Conduit Strategies and create a presence
Who are your customers, where do they hang out lets hang out with them. Research the top blogs, reputation aggregators (Yahoo!, Google, TripAdvisor for example), e-communities, and social networks.
4) Populate with ‘sticky’ and engaging content…
Create a community full of content that will satisfy the community examples are use of photos, videos, chat articles etc… Remember solve problems!
5) Recruit community members
Once people have been recruited to one or more communities, they tend to become impervious to further solicitation through traditional media. Use multiple methods to recruit community members. You can create lifetime customers through twitter, facebook as an example to start offering discounts and special offers and services to fans. A good starting place is to think about the reasons why people join online communities at all. There are a number of reasons to consider:
- Meet people. 78% of people who visit online communities join them to communicate with others
- Entertain themselves. Another 47% join to find entertaining content
- Learn something new. Some 38% join because they want to obtain information about topics that hold particular interest to them
- Influence others. 23% join to express their opinions in a forum where their ideas can be discussed
- Send out invites… With these four reasons in mind, we can then craft an approach to recruiting members to your community. Also consider facebook adverts to boost membership within the first 2 months (once you have created ‘sticky’ content)
- Create community feeling
- Build on existing sites and communities… Use existing communities to add more appeal to the work you are doing within your own SMM plan.
6) Engage communities in conversation
Use the tools available to you within the social media sphere to engage communities in conversation. Use relevant material such as, photos, articles, video footage, blogs, twitter posts to engage the community and start a conversation. Encourage visitors to the site to post their images / comment / start a dialogue start a competition for example best wildlife / action / family photo wins a prize. Give prizes away to winner give discounts / free trials / 1hours consultancy etc to all entrants.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Thanks to those that participated in the study, the www.nhsmarketing.co.uk marketing survey data is in.
This is a summary of responses collated from 28 respondents across 25 PCTs, 2 Mental Health Trusts and 1 Acute Trust.
The report displays data on marketing trends and evaluations of promotional techniques applied for external and internal communications. The final part of the report lists some qualitative comments made by respondents, which we feel brings up some very interesting issues.
Our intention is to generate interpretations in June and July 2009, which shall be communicated via www.nhsmarketing.co.uk
Of course, with marketing and communications being such as vast area this report merely scratched the surface on a few issues, mainly around promotion. Over the next 6 months we shall be working with partners to further explore some of the more interesting aspects of the study.
Thank you again to all participants and to those of you interested in the findings from this report.
More information is to follow.
Friday, 22 May 2009
NHS Hull are presenting a conference aimed at helping Chief Executives and senior managers of NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to implement their own membership schemes.
The inaugural NHS Membership Conference is being presented by NHS Hull at the Village Hotel, Hessle, East Yorkshire on Tuesday 9th June.
The theme of the conference is the membership model within a PCT; exploring the impact and development of a membership scheme for people living and accessing local healthcare service.
NHS Hull’s Membership Scheme recently reached a milestone by recruiting over 5,000 members, making them the first PCT in the UK to do so.
The conference issponsored by NHS and marketing agency, eskimosoup.
Speakers represent organisations including: NHS Hull Engagement Team, the NHS Centre for Involvement, Humber Mental Health, and Hull and East Yorkshire Acute Trust.
There will also be keynote address from Mark Britnell, Director-General for Commissioning & System Management for the NHS, England. He will discuss how membership schemes and commissioning can work together to help achieve the NHS goal of World Class Commissioning.
Chris Middleton, Managing Director of eskimosoup said: “We are really proud to be the main sponsor of the conference. We’ve been fortunate to work with NHS Hull as they recruit and engage with their members. Our team see this as an opportunity to prove that we understand how we can really add value to other PCTs embarking on the membership process for the first time.”
eskimosoup are a part of the Ludo Studio group of companies, and have a portfolio of public sector projects in design, web development, and social marketing. The company have also worked closely with NHS Stoke for whom they have developed an online NHS member engagement system.
eskimosoup have developed a website at www.nhsmembershiphull.co.uk which provides additional information about the conference. Places at the conference cost £100, with registration available via the website.
Following the conference the website will be redeveloped to host information and assets, ensuring it is a valuable resource for anyone who has an involvement in membership schemes.
Friday, 15 May 2009
I’ll keep this brief, as essentially I’m directing you to another organisation’s work.
In the unlikely event that you work within the area of social marketing and haven’t already used the National Centre for Social Marketing website, you really should check it out.
Over the past few weeks, they’ve added to the site the “first collection of fully-researched case studies to show that social marketing works!”
The "ShowCase" section features successful UK and International programmes, which have used social marketing techniques to achieve behavioural changes. This can be accessed here:
At one level the value here is in idea generation for key issues such as exercise, alcohol, sexual health, smoking, employment and others.
At another level, this really does show, as it claims, “how social marketing works”.
In a recent meeting I attended with the Chief Executive, Chair and Assistant Director of Public Health at a PCT in the UK, we were discussing some radical innovative social marketing approaches and needed to source some related case studies to give some reassurance that our campaign ideas had substance to them. We were able to source this information, though it did take some digging around.
For NHS employees, external consultants and marketing companies, this provides an easily accessible overview of insights, challenges and critically evidence of sustainable results.
As I say, if it’s relevant to your job role, you really should check this out for regular updates:
Friday, 1 May 2009
We would like to invite those working within marketing-related roles to participate in the http://www.nhsmarketing.co.uk marketing communications survey.
The survey aims to gain an understanding of the levels of adoption and effectiveness of a number of marketing communications methods, as well as trends and priorities amongst an evolving NHS.
It should take less than 4 minutes to complete.
Survey participants shall be given a preview of the report findings and interpretations in full, before an executive summary version is published on this blog.
Those that complete the survey shall be entered into a prize draw. One randomly selected participant will win a night at the movies for two with Odeon cinema vouchers.
The closing date for completion of the survey is Friday 8th May.
We hope very much that you wish to give your thoughts and opinions on marketing communications throughout the NHS and are able to share in our findings to help you understand the context of your role within your organisation.
Follow link to compete the survey:
Thank you for your time.