Posts Tagged ‘resources’

Do Facebook Ads Bring Customers?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011
July 28, 2011

Do Facebook Ads Bring Customers?

Posted by Howard Greenstein @howardgr  at 11:44 AM

Start-ups and small businesses are always looking for more customers, and there are a lot of potential customers on the Internet, right? But what online strategy is going to help you to gain the customers you need in a cost-effective manner? Today, let’s dive into Facebook advertising. With 750 million members, and 225 million in the U.S. alone, there’s a large audience to reach.

Similar to many other online sites, Facebook ads are a marketplace–you’re making a bid about how much you’ll pay to reach people, or how much you’ll pay if they take an action. (See some resources below for more info on how to use them.) There are a lot of people using Facebook to build their brand by increasing the amount of fans on their pages, and that is absolutely a good strategy for many companies. These fans are customers or customers waiting to happen. Fans are great–but what about revenue driven as a result of a specific advertising campaigns? Marketing 101: Your return on investment is the Gross Profit from that campaign minus the expense spent on the campaign, divided by the expense and that gives you a percentage, which you can compare to other marketing expenditures to see what is most effective for you.

Anna Strahs of AnnaB’s Gluten Free started her baking business out of her Richmond, Va., apartment about a year and a half ago, and now she has commercial ovens and a wholesale business. Anna did a targeted ad for people in Richmond who were fans of restaurants and markets that had gluten free products and went through $25 in a few hours. That money bought her the first 50 “likes” on her page. “Since then we’ve run ads intermittently, we put our Facebook page info on our packaging, and at our markets we advertise it. When we offered some cupcakes colored with vegetable dye instead of food dye, we got 11 likes, but we also got six orders. We keep up with the Facebook page more than our regular website and we get direct feedback. People recommend and share our posts on their own pages, and we’ve had restaurants that carry our products repost or share our posts.” Anna can’t directly track the revenue from the fans, but that number is increasing and she can directly tie sales to content on her Facebook page.

Manish Vora co-founded Artlog in early 2008 as a platform connecting people to contemporary art galleries, museums, and artists. “We want to help the institutions broadcast themselves online,” said Vora, “As well as combine their offline efforts, providing access to have people visit galleries, museums, and fairs.” Vora’s team recently did an internal study tracking their use of Facebook advertising as an event promotion platform. “We’ve used FB ads to target people for paid events and paid software products. We had been using Google Ads, in a very targeted manner, but Facebook’s ads were significantly cheaper, and we stopped advertising with Google six months ago. Generally, the ability for us to target age, geography and interest help us target event by event. So promoting an art crawl on New York City’s Lower East Side with Thrillist, we can target 21-26 year olds in geographic NYC. For a Chelsea neighborhood crawl on a recent Thursday, we’re working with 20-30 galleries and 1000 attendees, and we targeted a 25-45 year old audience with a different NYC geography. The flexibility from event to event and by interest makes it more effective.”

How effective? Vora estimates about 8 percent of attendees come from their Facebook ads, and their margin is such that they’re making about $200 for every $75 they spend on ads. That’s gross profit-investment/investment, or (200-75)-75/75 for a 66 percent return on investment.

A start-up using Facebook ads is Synergy Beads of Ann Arbor, Michigan. CEO Adam Dion reports that spending $50 on Facebook ads brings him between $220 and $250 of revenue per month. (ROI (250-50)-50/50=300 percent ROI!  “I believe the return rate on FB is higher because of the ability to particularly select an audience who have specific and very strong, closely related interests…rather than abstract, loosely related keywords, which is key for a niche business like ours.”

Floptopz of New Jersey creates Flipflop insoles. Their Facebook campaign has translated to 300 percent more site visits, but their sales have only covered the cost of their campaign–no extra profit. Owners Donna and Dave Hill report, “We have definitely seen good traction and traffic, but we have also capped our daily spend (as a start-up, we are budget conscious) in order to keep our budget intact.” CEO Ian Aronovich told me, “While Facebook does not work well for us to make immediate sales like, e.g., CPC ads on Google Adwords, it builds awareness of our brand and “likes” on our company page. We can then use that over time to build an innovative sales funnel.” He also noted that his typical customer is older and “While 55+ is the quickest growing demographic [on Facebook], it seems to us that until recently, they were not really engaging with brands that much (including ours) compared to the yourger demographic.” This is only one company’s experience–it will be interesting to track over time.

Vora of Artlog notes that recently the cost of the ads he’s using on Facebook have increased, though they are still effective because they’re paying less than they were with Google Ads. I had a few others e-mail me from my outreach to tell me the same thing. A Facebook spokesperson told me that this is “a result of a general increase in activity within the auction marketplace. Price is a function of auction dynamics, but businesses always have control over their budget, and Facebook’s system helps them find the optimal bid that works for them.”

Are Facebook ads working for your business? Let us know your experience in the comments.

Finally, a thank you to the over 50 replies I got from posting about this story on HARO. I couldn’t reply to everyone, but they gave me great background for this piece.


How to Advertise on Facebook

Measure Your Online Engagement

Fighting the impact of flooding on tourism in Nebraska

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Fighting the impact of flooding on tourism
Whitepaper will help you reach out to travelers, media

LINCOLN, NEB. (July 12, 2011)—Communities, attractions, businesses and outfitters across the state are being affected by flooding and the perception of flooding. In some cases, the rumors are worse than the actual flooding.


The Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division is getting the word out that Nebraska is accessible, safe and open. We are working with the Omaha World-Herald on a series of stories featuring attractions and events in communities impacted by flooding, and we are working with state, regional and national news outlets to re-enforce the message that Nebraska is “open for business.”


The Division is using its social networking sites to tell travelers about all the great things there are to do here and how few have been closed because of flooding.


We also want to give you the resources you need to proactively communicate with travelers through relevant media outlets. To assist you in this effort, we have written a whitepaper on “Three Ways to Effectively Promote Your Tourism Business This Season.” It outlines three easy-to-implement strategies for effectively communicating with travelers and the media during times of crisis. You can download it here:

Together, we can work to turn this potentially negative situation into a positive opportunity for growth.


Hotels Need Unique Social Media Plans that Fit

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Hotels Need Unique Social Media Plans that Fit

A strong strategy can help guest communications and influence travel shoppers’ purchase decisions, but plans are not one size fits all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Philip Faircloth
Related Companies

Social media has become a powerful tool for hoteliers to communicate with guests and reach consumers, and it’s only growing. Increases in social media use by both business and leisure travelers over the past two years indicate the importance of this medium. A study in June 2011 by ROI Research and Performics shows that 80 percent of respondents have an active Facebook account, 57 percent discuss travel on social networking sites, and 37 percent learned about a new product or service from a social networking site. With such large numbers of consumers using social media as a tool when deciding on a hotel, there’s no time for a hotelier to lose in developing a strategy.

Forming Your Plan

Although incorporating social media into your marketing program is imperative in today’s climate, hoteliers should avoid rushing into action without a plan, as there are many factors to consider that ensure you head in the right direction. Before you begin, you’ll need to determine your property’s:

  • Reasons for using social media – improved guest communication, ability to put faces behind the property’s name, increased Website traffic, etc.
  • Goals – number of social likes and followers, respond to all negative reviews within “x” amount of time, increase Website traffic by “x” percentage
  • Expectations – focus on improved engagement, communication, traffic and possibly bookings, rather than exact ROI
  • Resources – need a dedicated employee/staff for day to day postings and some IT and design support behind the scenes
  • Strategy – should fit your property’s image and be engaging for guests and potential guests

Social media is more than just Facebook. Anything that is user interaction-based is a social media site, including YouTube and Twitter, as well as sites where users can post reviews, like TripAdvisor. Social media users are not just consuming content on social media sites: they are also producing messages about your brand, which will influence the choices of others. In the social media landscape, managing your brand message has become an exercise of constant vigilance. A hotel with an effective social media strategy aspires not only to broadcast marketing messages, it also participates in an active dialogue, listening to consumers and responding to their comments, ultimately creating relationships and fostering brand advocates who produce content for the property. Remember though, the nature of social means you must relinquish some control, in this open discussion forum for consumers. How you respond and communicate with those consumers is what you can control.

Not “One Size Fits All”

Because there are so many social media channels, navigating them can seem daunting, and to further complicate matters, no one social media strategy will work for all properties. Depending on your property type, as well as factors such as location, nearby attractions, property size, target market, number of repeat guests and budget, you may need to utilize only one social media outlet, or a combination of several. Before spending time and resources on various social media outlets that may not be right for your hotel, you’ll want to determine precisely which outlets are going to help you achieve your goals. Though the process can seem complex, there is an abundance of specialized help available for hoteliers, including social media consultants and hotel Internet marketing companies. These professionals can help you get your social media strategy right the first time, saving you from a costly trial and error process.

Online Reviews

There is one aspect of managing social media that is universal: All properties should monitor and respond to their online reviews. There are a slew of sites where users can portray your property any way they choose. Ignoring your reviews, responding confrontationally or not responding quickly can translate into devastating losses. According to a Market Metrix study, 51 percent of hotel guests consider past experience, reputation, recommendations and online reviews more important than hotel location or price, and because review sites receive high volumes of traffic—TripAdvisor has more than 50 million unique monthly visitors and over 40 million reviews—it is essential that property owners are proactive in managing their online reputation. You don’t need to respond to every single review, but you should respond to all negative reviews that cite a specific problem, and to some positive reviews. Keep in mind that your response is as much for potential guests that may see the review as it is for the customer who wrote the review. There’s technology available to make monitoring fast and easy, notifying you in real time when reviews on your property are posted.

Get Personal

Though outside companies can assist with determining which social media outlets are right for your property and help with online reputation, social media is inherently personal, meaning its day-to-day content is best managed by a property’s own staff, who know best what’s going on in the hotel and who can form personal connections with your guests. Managing your property’s social media presence allows travel shoppers to see you interacting on a personal level with guests, showing that providing a positive guest experience is a top priority. This results in attracting new business, building brand loyalty and driving repeat guests.

Key Takeaways

Here’s what your property can do today to maximize the effectiveness of your social media presence:

  • Form a plan or reassess your current plan. Is your property wasting resources on some social channels and perhaps missing the boat on others?
  • Set reasonable goals and expectations that you can build on.
  • Implement a strategy that matches your property’s branding across all channels.
  • Have a consistent mixture of promotional messaging, social messaging and prompt review responses.
  • Once you are on the right path, providing compelling content and actively participating with travel shoppers are what will cultivate relationships with guests, ultimately creating brand advocates and online revenue for your hotel.

For more information please visit

Download your 2011 National Travel and Tourism Week Toolkit

Sunday, May 8th, 2011


Shannon Peterson at 800-228-4307, 402-471-3797, or



Download your 2011 National Travel and Tourism Week Toolkit

LINCOLN, NEB. (April 26, 2011)—May 7–15 is National Travel and Tourism Week and See Nebraska Week. Join hundreds of cities and businesses nationwide and throughout Nebraska in this annual salute to travel and tourism in America.

This year, the U.S. Travel Association is providing the industry with a number of free, useful resources to help you plan and stage effective tourism week activities at An online toolkit includes celebration ideas, social media tips, a fact sheet, and graphics.

A Nebraska tourism fact sheet, prepared by the Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division, can be found at

National Travel and Tourism Week is a collective effort to promote the power of travel through community events, enhance the country’s economy, and recognize cultural and social benefits created by travel and tourism.

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