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Marketing online: Fearing social media—a thing of the past

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Lindsay Baillie


With all of the resources available today, social media should no longer evoke fear of the unknown. However, despite the large shift in favor of social media sites, there are still retailers with lingering fears of how to create, maintain and drive traffic to their social sites.

FCNews spoke with several digital marketing experts to find solutions to some of the common fears associated with using social media platforms.

Understanding each social platform. Before using any social media, sites experts suggest conducting a brief Internet search to learn more about each platform. As Katrina Olson, freelance writer and principal of Katrina Olson Strategic Communications, explained, “A quick search will yield tons of free articles and educational downloads about the strengths of each platform, how to use it and how to build a following.”

When deciding which platforms to use, it is important to recognize the differences among each site. “Facebook users are great at commenting and sharing,” Olson said. “Twitter is good for quick notifications. YouTube is great for demonstrating or explaining a solution or process. LinkedIn can connect you with vendors, suppliers and possibly customers. And blogs can educate while interjecting your company’s brand personality.”

While it might be overwhelming in choosing which platforms to join, social media experts suggest starting with one or two sites and then adding as necessary. “Most residential retailers should use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz,” said Paul Friederichsen, marketing expert and owner of BrandBiz, a marketing and branding consultancy. “If dealers are also selling a substantial share of Main Street commercial, they should add LinkedIn and Twitter to their list.”

Finding someone to run each site. Oftentimes, dealers either run their social sites themselves or have younger people, who are more familiar with social sites, run their social media accounts. However, most experts warn against these practices.

“It’s not that the younger people don’t understand how to use social media, it’s that they probably don’t have a marketing background,” said Lisbeth Calandrino, FCNews columnist and retail industry consultant. “I suggest dealers hire an industry person with retail experience—industry people understand the customer as well as the flooring industry. Companies need someone who knows how to follow the customers, connect with them and understand how to build relationships.”

If an industry person is not available, experts recommend finding or recruiting a freelancer or social agency to run the social sites with the business owner’s involvement. “You (or the employee you designate as responsible) must be involved in reviewing schedules, content and monitoring,” Friederichsen said. “You cannot put your social campaign on autopilot and be unaware of the face of your brand on the various platforms.”

Allocating time to post and interact. Finding time to participate on social media is a major concern for some floor covering dealers. Yet, the solution is quite simple, according to experts. “Devote at least half an hour every other day in the beginning and also be willing to invest some of your ad budget into boosting your select posts—a little goes a long way,” Friederichsen said.

Another way to think of this is by breaking it into small and regular chunks and making it part of the day-to-day processes. “Spend a short amount of time consistently paying attention to what is going on in the network and you can observe and lurk, or you can participate,” said Christine Whittemore, chief simplifier, Simple Marketing Now. “By having these time limits it means you’re not going to get overwhelmed and spend too much time.”

What kind of content to post. When thinking of what content to post, it is important to give people what they want to see relevant to a store’s product offerings. “If I am considering wood floors, I want to know how to clean and maintain them, and which finish will best meet my needs,” Olson explained. “If I’m considering installing wood floors, I’m interested in strength and durability, and the differences between species. If you give me information I want, I’ll keep coming back; but if you just try to push products and services, I’ll get annoyed.”

Another key point to remember is that it is important to empathize with the audience. “Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another—it is the basis for all relationships,” Calandrino explained. “When people talk about their pet, they want more than a ‘like.’ A like doesn’t build relationships—one needs to post comments. We should treat online conversations as if they were face-to-face discussions.”

There are also a plethora of sites available to help dealers who are having trouble creating new content. BuzzSumo is an idea generator for new topics and articles to share. MeetEdgar is a subscription-based site that gives fun content for social media. Hootsuite and Sprout Social are other sites that will link social accounts together to help monitor and post.

In addition to using these services, dealers should also be aware of what their competitors are doing on their social accounts. Find out what they are posting, what times they are posting and how many reactions—likes, comments, shares, etc.—they are getting on those posts.

How to monitor a site’s effectiveness. Before retailers can accurately determine the effectiveness of posting on a social site, they must clearly define their goals. “If you’ve set goals, you can attach metrics and measure the results,” Olson explained. “After testing a few different types of content or tactics over time, you may find some platforms perform better than others. Be sure to do your research and realize that a number of factors can impact success.”

When monitoring social media sites, it is important to look at analytics and not focus on just getting “likes.” In fact, some social media experts equate these sites to office picnics, parades on Main Street, and other social gatherings where communication of thoughts and ideas are necessary. “These are places where people socialize,” Whittemore explained. “You meet people on these sites and that’s great, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be customers. If you have goals, you can monitor the sites and stay focused in your activity. Then step back and evaluate whether being on those sites is time well spent.”

How to promote the business more effectively. Promoting a business on social media can be tricky, experts say, because a dealer does not want to come across as being too self-promotional. The key is to use creative content to remain top of mind for consumers regardless of where they are in their purchasing journey.

“The goal is to build relationships that will eventually lead to sales,” Olson said. “You want to engage with followers and fans by giving them information they want, not by simply trying to sell them. We all have the friend who talks about herself all the time. We also have the friend who listens, cares and wants to help us. Who would you want to spend more time with?”

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Marketing mastery: How changes to Facebook affect your marketing

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Jim Augustus Armstrong


Facebook recently made major changes to its newsfeed and the types of posts that will be favored moving forward.

“As we roll this out you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, announced recently. “And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” He goes on to say that Facebook has “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.”

These changes will have a major impact on your Facebook marketing. Let’s dig into the specifics of what this means for your flooring business, and how you can use these changes to your benefit.

Meaningful interactions. Facebook wants to foster real interaction between human beings in its newsfeed. This means we’re going to see a reduction in product pitches in favor of content that has real value and encourages meaningful “back-and-forth” discussions.

Facebook’s algorithms now put less emphasis on likes and shares in favor of posts that spark conversations. This doesn’t mean likes and shares are no longer important—they still are. What it does mean is Facebook is giving the biggest reach to posts with dialogue.

Effective posts. So what kinds of organic posts generate the kind of engagement Facebook is looking for? The same things that have been working all along.

  • Photos of real customers. I see dealers posting professionally shot product photos and getting very little engagement. No matter how great these posts look, a smartphone picture of a happy client—either in their home or the showroom—outperforms them in overall engagement. This is why you should train your salespeople on how to ask for and get photos of clients.
  • Home improvement tips. This is something any dealer can do, and it ties in directly with what you are selling. It is the kind of “valuable content” Facebook is looking for. These can either be links to articles you have written, your blog or—best of all—a video of you demonstrating how to spot-clean a carpet, do a home repair or other tip.
  • Community events. This can include food drives, holiday events, farmers markets, high school sporting events, etc. Think of your business as a community hub and create posts that will make people want to pay attention to your page and content.

The death of engagement bait. We’ve all seen posts that ask people to “like, share and comment.” This can be in the form of a contest or a request to become a follower of a business page. This is called engagement bait. Facebook now wants your posts to be interesting enough for people to interact without engagement bait. Any post that directly asks people to like, share or comment will be penalized.

Boosted content. Now that Facebook is deemphasizing organic posts from business pages, you should consider boosting your posts. This will give you more reach, and it can be done cost-effectively. We began using this strategy for all the dealers whose Facebook accounts we manage, and we have seen a measurable increase in results compared to non-boosted posts.

If you’d like me to evaluate your Facebook marketing, email

Jim Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring retailers. For a free copy of his latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes Online,” visit


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Marketing mastery: The best social media platforms for business

October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9

By Jim Augustus Armstrong


Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AMI sometimes hear busy flooring dealers make comments such as, “I keep hearing about the different social media platforms I should be using to market my business, but there are so many. I just can’t keep up.” It’s understandable for dealers to feel this way because there are a ton of options available.

If you’re struggling to choose a platform, why not put your focus where the majority of your customers are interacting? According to a report released by the Pew Research Center, 68% of Americans are on Facebook. This dwarfs the percentages on Instagram (28%), Pinterest (26%), LinkedIn (25%) and Twitter (21%).

In my opinion, Facebook is still the most effective at delivering customers. When done correctly it can produce a steady stream of quality customers for your business. You can make money using some of the other platforms if you have the time and resources to design and run effective marketing campaigns for each additional social media account. But most dealers barely have the time to effectively implement one platform, let alone several.

Some of you may have already attempted Facebook marketing and received mediocre results. I have found that dealers often make some common mistakes that hurt their efforts on this potentially lucrative platform. Following are four common errors.

Trying to sell directly on Facebook. The only products that tend to sell well on Facebook are low-end, impulse items like t-shirts, inexpensive electronic gadgets, costume jewelry, etc. In terms of selling, think of Facebook as a large mall. You don’t usually see big-ticket items like flooring being sold in malls where people tend to browse for impulse buys. Therefore if you want to generate sales, your marketing should be designed to get prospects off social media and into your store.

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.15.38 AMPoor page design. Not properly setting up your page can hurt your visibility online and cause you to miss opportunities to get people into your store. Some common mistakes include: using incomplete information, having no call to action or link to the dealer’s main website, weak or non-existent unique selling proposition, having information and branding that is inconsistent with other online listings and setting up your business as a personal profile. (This is currently against Facebook’s guidelines and can get your profile shut down.)

Buying likes. Having thousands of likes on your Facebook page makes you look more relevant, and if the likes are from real followers—and you market to them properly—they can translate into big revenues for your business. However, it can be tempting to buy likes, and there are companies all over the Internet offering to sell them to you. Don’t do it. If you have 10,000 likes from fake followers not interested in your product, then they are going to have low engagement. This hurts the visibility of your posts, and your real followers won’t see them. Fake followers are also not going to buy your product.

Having no Facebook marketing plan. Many dealers simply post photos of products or special offers periodically with no thought-out plan for systematically generating business from this platform. Your posts must fit into an overall plan for generating quality customers.


Jim Augustus Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring dealers. For a complimentary copy of Jim’s book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes and Escape the Cheap-Price Rat-Race of Doom Forever,” visit

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Social Media: How to create an eye-catching Instagram profile

January 2/9, 2017: Volume 31, Number 15

By Ayme Sinclair, marketing director, Stanton Carpet

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 10.52.57 AMNow that you know Instagram and its 500 million-plus users is the best platform to use to build an audience at virtually no cost, the next step is to set up your account.

It all starts with a good profile. Remember, first impressions are everything, so if a user isn’t already familiar with you, then your profile is their first experience with your business. It’s tempting to just set this up quickly and enter in basic information, but if you do that you might miss a few golden opportunities.

Within the profile you can show how your business will solve their next home renovation problem. You can also use techniques to push them to your website. It’s great to have a lot of followers but it’s risky to keep them on one platform. Vine, for example, was a video social media platform with 200 millions users, but it recently shut down. All of the popular accounts completely lost their ability to communicate with millions of their followers. If Instagram goes away, so does the audience you just spent a great deal of time building. Having them on your website and email lists allows you to push them to the next big thing. In the land of social media, the only constant is change.

First, you need to select a username. It’s important to choose one that is consistent with your business name. You get 30 characters so use them. Because Instagram does not allow you to use spaces in the username it’s tempting to want to abbreviate. I strongly recommend you don’t do that; you don’t want to make it hard for your current customers to find you.

You get a second opportunity to expand on your username by entering in a name. Both your username and name are considered when someone types a keyword into Instagram’s search field. So in addition to listing your business name, add in words that will increase your chances to be found such as your specialty and your location. For example, if you specialize in selling carpet and rugs in Dallas, then your name should look something like this: “BUSINESS NAME” | Carpet & Rug Store | Dallas.

The next step is to create your bio. This is the area where you get to talk about who you are. Ideally, you should break up your bio into three separate lines.

Note: By default, Instagram won’t recognize hard returns if you type them into the bio on the app. There are ways around that; to learn more about how to do this visit our Facebook group,

Line 1 should consist of what you do. Many simply write in their mission statement, but I recommend trying something more creative. For example, state how you can solve a particular homeowner’s problem.

Line 2: This should be your phone number. Instagram recognizes emoticons so include a phone icon in front of the number to give it some personality and pizzazz.

Line 3: This should be your “call to action.” You get one link and it shows up directly underneath your bio. Utilize the last line to encourage users to click on the link to act on a request. I recommend including a directional emoticon to further emphasize this is what you want the user to do.

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 10.53.12 AMAyme Sinclair is the marketing director at Stanton Carpet. Her innovative social media programs in the home industry have provided explosive growth and revenue-generating leads prompting case studies from companies like Architectural Digest and General Electric. For more information on how to use social media to grow your business, join the Stanton Retailer Facebook group:

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Crossville to host live stream education sessions at Surfaces

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-2-00-31-pmCrossville, Tenn.—Domestic tile manufacturer Crossville will offer unique education sessions at booth 5403 during The International Surfaces Event. In addition to the opportunity for show attendees to view sessions in person, Crossville will stream the content on Facebook Live.

“With these quick learning sessions, we’re putting the spotlight on the creative solutions that our products offer for flooring retailers and their customers,” said Lindsey Waldrep, vice president of marketing, Crossville. “The ideas and information we’ll be sharing take the trade show experience to another level, and by live streaming our sessions, we’re excited to include a broader audience that can benefit from all we have to share.”

Lindsey Waldrep

A panel discussion featuring two prominent interior designers is among the sessions Crossville is hosting. Charlotte, N.C.’s Lisa Mende and Las Vegas-based Patricia Gaylor will discuss tile trends and tips for retailers in working with design professionals.

“We are focused on giving attendees some great take-aways that they can immediately take action on—insights that will help them improve their businesses,” Waldrep added.

Following is a list of all sessions Crossville will host in-booth and online via Facebook Live.

January 18:

  • 10:00-10:15 a.m. – At Home with Porcelain Tile Panels
  • 11:00-11:20 a.m. – Advances in Porcelain Tile Panels
  • 2:00-2:15 a.m. – New to You from Crossville

January 19:

  • 9:30-9:50 a.m. – Introduction to Tile
  • 10:30-11:15 a.m. – Designer Panel Discussion
  • 2:00-2:15 p.m. – New to You from Crossville

To reserve a seat, click here.

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Digital Marketing: Putting social media to work for your business

Expert advice on helping dealers take the virtual plunge

November 7/14, 2016: Volume 31, Number 11

Achieving success at retail in today’s high-tech marketing, media-rich world requires a departure from traditional consumer-outreach thinking. Experts the world over agree that a solid social media strategy should be at the core of any marketing program.

That begs the question: What’s the best way to get started? It might sound elementary, but the first order of business is to get to know your audience. Experts say a retailer’s customer demographic will shed light on where they are spending time online. Facebook, for example, is the most popular social media platform for women ages 34 to 54.

Next, review the various social media platforms to see what might work best for your needs. The possibilities on social media are growing and evolving, with new platforms launching frequently (see graphic). Among the most popular are Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn. Before deciding on a platform that best suits their needs, objectives and, yes, capabilities, retail business owners and operators should consider how much time they can devote to social media. Many experts agree that about an hour a day should be spent on each social network (at least when first starting out). Next, retailers need to consider the audience and demographics. For instance, which social networks are used most by your customers?

Many online marketing proponents believe Facebook tends to deliver the greatest results given its widespread use across varied demographics. According to Christine Whittemore, chief simplifier and digital marketing specialist at Simple Marketing Now, it’s helpful to start with Facebook as most dealers are already familiar with this social network on a personal level. “I’m hopeful that someone has done some experimenting and is somewhat familiar with one of the networks,” she said. “It really helps to understand the network from a personal point of view before getting involved with business perspective.”

Starting off small with Facebook makes sense, experts say, as consumers often search that platform in much the same way that they look for a regular webpage. At the same time, marketing advisors and professionals only recommend posting something on Facebook that has a purpose. In the case of floor covering dealers that means attracting new customers and retaining customers that dealers have already sold.

On the flip side, many retailers remain hesitant to get involved with social media because of seemingly inevitable negativity, particularly with customer reviews. Most dealers know all it takes is one unhappy customer sounding off on a social network or review site to potentially affect other consumers. However, business owners should take these reviews as opportunities to turn negatives into positives.

“More frequently, consumers who are thinking of replacing a floor are looking online for answers: what to buy and where to buy it,” notes Paul Friedrichsen, owner of BrandBiz, a marketing and branding consultancy. “That means she’s probably paying close attention to online reviews. In fact, research says 70% of online customers rely on reviews before making a purchase. So, if you’re not listed on a review site then you’re not in the game. Even worse, if you are online but your reviews are lousy, you’re already losing.”

Ultimately, presence on the top social networks is key, particularly visually based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Posting original, engaging content on Facebook is paramount, along with short, attention-grabbing blurbs on Twitter. Business listings on Google+, Yelp and Angie’s List will help with search rankings and garnering customer reviews. Houzz—which allows users to express their creativity—is another network rising in popularity in recent years. It works like Pinterest in that it is based on inspirational photos, which falls right in line with the home furnishings/fashion industry. Once a dealer has selected a platform—or group of platforms—the next move is allotting a budget for online marketing initiatives. One of the best things about social media, experts say, is it offers an advertising vehicle for a very low price. You can actually choose to spend nothing, but experts suggest working with a budget—it can be as little as $35 a week—to get additional exposure. “It’s the cheapest media money you will ever spend,” Friederichsen said. “You could spend $10 on Facebook to boost a post or ad and get 1,000 people to look at it. The return on investment for this doesn’t compare to anything you’ll spend in mass media.”

Whittemore also encourages boosted posts. “You are basically paying Facebook for increased visibility. It’s a fabulous tool because you can target certain people in specific locations and you can do it for very small amounts of money.”

But don’t boost everything and anything, she noted. “Before you boost, see if the post gets some organic attention [with likes and comments]. If it’s a dud, don’t waste money on it. You want a mixture of updates—some about you and some about topics that are of interest to your customers. You have to test what works.” social-infographic2015

Creating a connection
At its core, social media is a helpful tool for building relationships with customers. It’s an opportunity to give them a behind-the-scenes view of your business or how “human” you are. It also enables dealers to highlight top-notch customer service and the quality of completed jobs. Experts recommend dealers share photos of their best installations.

“If you want to attract new customers or get the word out about your business, you may want to focus on what’s new in the store or talk about some events you are hosting,” Whittemore suggested. “Think ahead of time to decide what you are going to share and when. And if someone comments on your post, be sure to respond in a reasonable amount of time.”

Experts also suggests dealers get their customer service reps and sales teams involved with social media as well, as this helps with consistency. “It’s not a matter of showing up once; you have to be there all the time,” Whittemore stated. “It’s like joining local business organizations or attending chamber of commerce meetings—you have to go regularly to meet people and hand out business cards. Social networking serves the same purpose, except you’re doing it all online.”


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Marketing online: The dos and don’ts of Facebook

October 27/November 3, 2014; Volume 28/Number 10

By Amanda Hasten

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 12.30.53 PMIn late 2007, Facebook introduced its first 100,000 business pages. The following year, the social network saw its highest jump in active users, doubling from around 50 million to 100 million. The social media platform that only three years earlier was used solely by college students to connect to other students had indeed grown up.

Today, Facebook allows businesses all over the world to economically expand their reach and interact with an infinitely large circle of potential customers. Even though the process of marketing on Facebook is fairly straightforward, finding success in it takes a bit more planning and social media prowess.

Paul Friederichsen, president of the marketing and branding firm BrandBiz, is something of a social media guru in the floor covering industry. If he could give retailers one piece of advice on how to use Facebook effectively, it would be to “adopt a giving attitude.

“To get the most out of it, you have to build relationships,” he said. “It’s like back in the old days when we used to meet face to face. Social media gives us the ability to do that again, but on a larger scale. Begin dialogues, share knowledge, experience and insights. People will respect you for that.”

Christine Whittemore, chief simplifier at Simple Marketing Now, also weighed in on Facebook best practices. “Appreciate the network as an opportunity to humanize your business,” she advised. “Facebook is about social experiences. It’s the company picnic. It’s the town barbeque. The beauty is that your business can come to life; the people within the company can come to life. That’s the power of Facebook.”

In that sense, Facebook marketing is different from traditional methods because it is less about sales and more about interaction. On Facebook, you are building a relationship between your brand, your customers and their friends. And when fostering that relationship, you have to be yourself.

Kelly Cantrell Sisk, store manager, One on One Floor Covering in Hazel Green, Ala., summed it up fairly simply: “Keep it real. Keep it simple. Keep it down to earth. Don’t be too professional. That’s what people respond to.”

Whittemore agreed. “It’s OK to be goofy. Puppies, kittens and babies tend to get a lot of likes.”

To shed light on this idea, out of the last three posts on One on One’s Facebook page, one is about the store’s annual Mohawk Anniversary Sale, one is about breast cancer awareness, and the third is an announcement that it was National Dessert Day, asking followers to name their favorite desserts.

Other posts include fall decorating tips, before and after photos submitted by customers, new product announcements as well as a YouTube video of Sisk and her co-worker, Jaime, dressed up as a carpet pad and carpet roll, respectively, rapping about their anniversary sale.

For Sisk, it is fairly easy to use her own “down-home, Southern-friendly” voice in her posts, simply because she handles her business’ social media herself.

When hiring a social media manager, or a larger agency, Friedrichsen advises not to lose your own voice. “Never relinquish complete control of your social media content,” he warned. “If that’s your name on the door, don’t be stupid. Stay informed and keep your hand in it. You must maintain authenticity. People can pick up on things that aren’t authentic, so develop your own voice.”

Because handling a Facebook page alone can be daunting, and hiring a separate company can threaten your authenticity, there is a happy medium between the two; Whittemore recommends bringing several members of your staff on to contribute to social media.

“You’re involving each of those individuals’ personal networks,” she said, “and you’re also projecting different personalities. Businesses are made of multiple people, so, again, it humanizes your business.”

This strategy also helps with consistency, which is a vital component of a successful Facebook page. If you are doing it yourself, creating a routine is imperative.

“Make it a habit,” Friederichsen advised. “Think of it like an exercise program or a diet. It has to be a part of your daily or weekly routine, and you have to stick with it over time. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.”

Whittemore suggests using Outlook or Google calendars and setting reminders. Figure out when you can feasibly dedicate time, and set it in stone. She also recommends using the Facebook mobile app so you can post and manage it on the go.

But what you are posting is just as important as how often. In social media, content is king. And, specifically in an industry such as floor covering, visual content is most important.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 12.31.34 PM“You’ll typically get a better response to photos, videos and links,” Sisk said. “People are busy. They’re scrolling through their newsfeeds and looking for things that catch their attention. That’s what it comes down to—you have to catch the customer’s eye.”

Another way to cultivate an interactive Facebook page is through contests and giveaways. Within the last year, One on One hosted a hardwood giveaway contest in which they gave away 250 square feet of Mohawk hardwood to one lucky customer. Contestants had to be a fan of One on One’s Facebook page, and had to post photos of the rooms they were looking to redo.

“That went over really well,” Sisk noted. “It was just a giveaway—installation wasn’t included—but they ended up getting us to install it for them, so we got a little extra business, too.”

In addition to content and consistency, there are also more technical tricks you can perform to increase the number of views of your posts. Visibility is now increasingly linked to how much you pay for it. For example, you can boost your posts, which bump them up on your followers’ newsfeeds, and create ads for your page that will appear there. The cost of these services depends on how many people you want to reach, and Facebook gives you an option to create a custom daily budget.

“Facebook knows what it’s doing,” Sisk said. “You just about have to pay to play. I personally don’t pay a whole lot extra for advertising boosts, but every once in a while I’ll pay to boost a particularly interesting or important post.”

These extra costs also allow a business owner to have a better understanding of what works and what does not work. “The beauty of it is that for very little money you can experiment and see what is engaging and what is not,” Whittemore said. “Plus, you’re able to customize in terms of your audience based on geography, gender and interest.”

Ultimately, you must decide whether the costs of upgrading your Facebook visibility are actually aiding your business. Whittemore advises having a goal for your social media presence. If your goal is to build your community, how does that community help you build business?

“Business happens in your space, not on Facebook,” she said. “How does your Facebook content drive people to your website or store? Monitor your website analytics and determine how social media is driving new business.”

At the end of the day, there has to be a balance between commerce and building relationships. Whittemore recommends eight posts that help build your community for every two posts related to sales. “Come up with some pattern of content that your audience will value and engage with,” she advised.

Perhaps most important, in the current economic climate that makes many wary of companies and corporations, social media networks like Facebook can demonstrate your business’s transparency and humanity.

“Some people are wary of social media because it opens yourself up to critique,” Friederichsen said. “The transparency comes from dealing with critique in the same public forum where people unload it. You have to address it promptly and in a sympathetic fashion. They want to see that you’re responsive and that you care.”

Whittemore recommends putting some “rules of conduct” somewhere on your page to protect you from any Internet “trolls” who decide to post unjustified comments or complaints on your page. This allows you to disengage with that person or report abuse if necessary.

But if the complaint is legitimate, Whittemore said, “You have been given the gift of having been told the truth. And if you know the truth, you can do something about it. The beauty of acknowledging and addressing these issues in a public forum is that people can see that you are true to your word.”

Facebook remains the most social of today’s social media platforms. For a business to use it most efficiently, it must remember to relate to people on that social level. Interact, engage, share, educate, have fun and you will inevitably find value in it.

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Social networking: Know target audience, keep content current

Volume 27/Number 26; April 28/May 5, 2014

By Jenna Lippin

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 3.13.20 PMWhile the flooring industry tends to embrace changes over time, there is not a minute to waste when it comes to social media. Floor covering retailers often tend to be “old school” thinkers, honoring longtime traditions and business practices, but the last several years have brought about many unavoidable modern marketing and sales techniques, the most important being online tools, including up-to-date websites, Google Plus pages, and Facebook and Twitter profiles.

The first step, according to Internet and social media experts, is making a business known. Exposing what a store has to offer is no longer limited to monthly mailers and a listing in the Yellow Pages. A retailer’s initial goal should be creating a store listing online.

“The name of the game is being found,” said Paul Friederichsen, owner of BrandBiz, a marketing and advertising company utilized by several flooring companies, including Novalis, Beaulieu and Kronotex. “If you’re not taking care of [that exposure], you’re at an immediate disadvantage from a competitive standpoint with other retailers in your area. Social media, blogs, etc., all contribute to organic ranking on Google. It’s very important. It is the new battleground that’s really not even new anymore.” Continue reading Social networking: Know target audience, keep content current

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Metroflor announces Facebook contest winner

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McWilliams created the winning Pinterest board with the theme “Rustic Walk Out Basement.”

Norwalk, Conn. – Metroflor recently announced the winner of its “Engage With Metroflor Corp.!” contest: Annie McWilliams of Hayworth, Ill. She is one of over 1,975 visitors to Metroflor’s Facebook page who “Like” Metroflor and one of the over 50 people who entered the contest by creating their own Pinterest boards, which had to incorporate at least one Engage room scene, as well as other scenes/images found on the web, then posting their entries on Facebook. Entrants were then encouraged to reach out to their social media networks and ask friends and family to vote for their Pinterest boards. The grand prize winner was the owner of the Pinterest board that received the most votes. Continue reading Metroflor announces Facebook contest winner

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Utilizing social networking in your business

Volume 26/Number 25; April 29/May 6, 2013

Conversation, not content, is king

by Melissa McGuire

Most companies understand the significance of having a social media presence, however, many are at a loss as to how to use this medium effectively. If you have flirted with any of the more popular social networking sites—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest—you’ve taken a step in the right direction. But now is the time to buckle down, streamline your social media strategy and understand the infinite possibilities out there for all business types and sizes.

“Social media has matured enough in that everyone realizes it has power,” said Ian Baer, chief strategy and creative officer at Rauxa, an integrated brand marketing agency headquartered in Orange County, Calif., with offices in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago. “Today the Internet is affecting more purchase decisions than any medium in history. Choosing to participate in social media is really not an option anymore. It’s where the relevant conversation is taking place. You can pretend it’s going away, but it’s not.” Continue reading Utilizing social networking in your business