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Facebook, Instagram launch features to showcase local businesses

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) New features on Facebook and Instagram allow a small business to be promoted within 1 – 500 miles if users visit their Business Nearby section.

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There is no doubt that Small business owners (estimated at 30.2 million in the United States) have been hit hard by COVID-19. They’ve had to close their doors abruptly, shift to online and contactless offerings, and some had to furlough their employees.

We don’t exactly know yet how many will not be able to re-open their doors but for those that have made quick shifts to their businesses, here are some great ways that we can support them (some for little effort and no cost to us via Facebook and Instagram, of course assuming they are on these two platforms).

No matter your feelings on Facebook or Instagram, it’s nice to see them make strides as a large tech company to push out these products and resources considering what a large amount of small businesses there are, and how everyone is hurting. This may not be the overall solution, but it can be a great step in the right direction.

TechCrunch outlines the way Facebook and Instagram launched new products so that consumers can show support for their local and small business.

What consumers can do:

  1. When logged in to your Facebook, check out their new Businesses Nearby section (it will let you set it between 1-500 miles from you). Peruse the businesses for updates, and see if there is one that you would be comfortable supporting.
  2. You can add the Support Small Business sticker on Instagram, or use the #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag on Facebook
  3. If you are a Creator on Facebook, you will also be able to easily tag small businesses

By doing these simple things, it will create additional exposure for them, and even be included in Instagram stories that will be shared via localized content. It may not feel significant, but with that many, this might be an easy thing to do at low cost and minimal effort for many of us.

What Small Business Owners can utilize?

  1. Facebook has created a specific Business section in Messenger in hopes to make it easier for them to respond to customers.
  2. Facebook has pulled together resources specifically for COVID-19, and owners can access this through their Facebook shortcuts or within their Instagram Business profile.
  3. They set up a $100 million grant program for small businesses.
  4. They added the ability to add temporary service changes.

As many businesses (begrudgingly or not) utilize social media to promote their products and services, hopefully these developments will help them continue to reach consumers and stay in business. It’s impossible to look at just these two social media channels individually without looking at their entire marketing and operations plans, but hopefully these create positive impacts since they have quite a large presence in how we connect, socialize, and share our experiences.

Erin Wike is a Career Coach & Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin and owner of Cafe Con Resume. Erin is fueled by dark roast coffee with cream AND sugar, her loving husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs. She is the Co-Founder of Small Business Friends ATX to help fellow entrepreneurs + hosts events for people to live a Life of Yes with Mac & Cheese Productions.

Real Estate Marketing

No-reply emails: the modern-day horror story (don’t use them!)

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may be easy to set up and distribute for customer service, but it may actually be creating a problem with a simple fix.

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Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Real Estate Marketing

Instagram advertisers no longer required to have a Facebook Page

(MARKETING) Instagram no longer needs a linked Facebook page in order to use Instagram ads, is this a split in properties or is something else going on?

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Instagram will allow new advertisers to create ads without linking to a Facebook page. It feels like this is a move Instagram should  have made a while ago, but better late than never right?

Instagram announced that the social media giant will now allow new advertisers to promote their business, product, or content without having to connect to Facebook.

Previously, Instagram had been adamant about linking business profiles to Facebook, so the change is sudden, and the motive is contentious, buttttttt we’re not gonna question it.

This move supports small businesses, so we’re all for it. Although this change may seem irrelevant, here are five reasons it is:

  1. Previously requiring users to link a Facebook account to their Instagram in order to run an ad is time consuming.
  2. Not everyone has or likes Facebook.
  3. Associating yourself with a Facebook Page creates an additional way for people to get in contact with you, which can make things messy… sometimes less is more.
  4. Creating a business profile without connecting to Facebook will allow more people access to the same great benefits of having a business profile (benefits include insights on impressions, reach, audience, and activity).
  5. Maybe this is the beginning of a separation between the two social media platforms resulting in other new, beneficial policies.

Some have speculated that the reasons Facebook may want to push this slight crack between its products is because of some of their failures recently and the very real possibility of their being broken up by regulators in the future.

Take advantage and quickly set up a business profile, this is a potential opportunity for businesses that are hurting to learn about their customers and promote themselves!

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Real Estate Marketing

Now you can send marketing emails directly from your Facebook page

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Facebook is testing a new set of email marketing tools for business pages. Now you can send marketing emails directly from your page.

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Facebook is testing new CRM email marketing tools with businesses. These features reportedly will allow businesses to send out messages directly from the Facebook platform, and track their performance. A user-friendly interface will allow small to medium businesses to upload contact lists and compose messages.

Word of testing of these tools spread after it was spotted by social media marketer Meg Coffey. She posted the screen shots to Twitter.

“Send marketing emails from your page? What new sorcery is this Facebook?! Have you seen this new feature where we can now send emails directly from Facebook? This is definitely new to me and only available on one account so far.”

From what we can see in the screen shots, it looks as if a blue pop up will appear on the left sidebar letting you know that the Marketing Emails feature is available to you. Once you click on that tab you get this notice:

“Reconnect with your email subscribers using marketing emails. Select your audience, customize your design, and track performance all in one place. Confirm your Page’s email address to get started.”

An email confirmation is required, and then you are prompted to add your contacts. A spreadsheet can be uploaded or addresses can be added one-by-one.

A Page Contact Terms of Service agreement prompt then comes up requiring approval before the feature is enabled, and asks for confirmation that the sender has permission to send promotional messages to those contacts.

In a message to Adweek, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the test of the new tools:

“We’re testing new email marketing tools with a small number of businesses to help them more efficiently notify their customers of changes to their services and operations. We’re evaluating whether these tools are beneficial for people and businesses before deciding whether to expand it further.”

The test is said to be limited to small and medium-sized businesses at this point, and the simplicity of it seems to be geared towards businesses who do not currently have a robust email marketing solution. As the tests continue and more users interface with these tools the more we can expect to know about these features.

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