Facebook has announced another new feature.  It will now let users pay to promote ‘friends’ posts.  The new feature comes on the heels of a service the social media giant introduced last year that lets users pay to promote their own posts.

Facebook thinks people will want to use this feature to promote charity fundraisers and events, or help friends rent out their space. The feature will be rolling out gradually to all users and won’t be available to those of us with more than 5,000 friends and followers.  To promote a post, just click on the menu button on the top right corner of a post, according to images of the feature provided by Facebook.

The new service will cost about $7 in the U.S., though prices may vary, the company said.

You won’t be able to change the privacy settings on the post you’re promoting, so if it was set to just that person’s friends, then only your mutual friends will see it if you promote it.  To safeguard privacy, promoted posts will be visible only to users permitted to see the original messages.  One potential issue, though, is that you don’t need a friend’s permission to promote their posts. And depending on what they said, the added viewers might not always be appreciated.

Facebook is trying to find new ways to generate more revenue from its 1.1 billion members. In the past year, the company has announced mobile advertising, tools for marketers on and a feature for users to send friends gifts via the site.

The tool for promoting friends’ posts will be gradually introduced globally, Facebook said.

The social network already operates a service that lets companies pay to promote posts.

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More and more people are accessing the web these days through mobile devices.  Increasingly shopping and purchasing are being conducted on line through smart phone and tablets.   The opportunity to conduct e-commerce and sell products through mobile shopping has increased significantly.  With this mobile trend firmly intact, it is important that your business optimize its site to make sure buying online through mobile devices is a positive experience for these consumers.

Make sure your site and the items on it are easily found and viewable on a mobile device. If a consumer has to pan around, pinch and expand things in order to make a purchase, they’re likely not going to do it. A good mobile shopping experience is one that is fully optimized for the smaller screen, takes advantage of touch screen technology and also offers a fast checkout in as few steps as possible.

Mobile devices have limited bandwidth.  All e-commerce businesses should make sure the payment process can be done in a single, efficient manner.  The more steps between the buyer and the final transaction, the greater the risk of them abandoning the shopping cart and completing the transaction. If a retailer’s process is not optimized for mobile, they are likely losing sales to a slow and painful experience consumers just don’t have patience for. You don’t want the customer to get frustrated and never return.  If possible e-commerce providers should try and use a card vault solution for credit card data that enables the possibility for both online and mobile transactions.

Lastly, make sure site is as secure for mobile shopping as you would for online shopping using a desktop computer.  Costumers are more likely to lose a mobile phone than a laptop or desktop and they are less likely to have password protected the phone than the laptop or desktop. Consumers need to know that if they lose their phone or it gets stolen, their credit card information is secure. Taking steps like encrypting credit card data directly on the device as soon as the user enters it or implementing a one-click checkout so that the user never has to enter credit card data on the device help to ensure that if a mobile device is lost or stolen, others can’t gain access to their credit card data.

It is important that e-commerce companies and payment providers take all of these factors into account to improve mobile purchasing and capture the mobile commerce opportunity.  The more comfortable consumers are using mobile to make transactions the more money e-retailers stand to make.

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There is no excuse for businesses not to have a website these days. There are a variety of options for businesses to quickly and cheaply create their first website and utilize SEO to better promote their site.

The last thing a business needs is for an Internet user to type in the name and location of that business and not find a website. Today, any credible business is expected to have a website.

For small, local businesses, a website can serve as digital storefront, proving to consumers that the company is reliable, trustworthy, and can provide them with the information necessary to purchase the product or service being offered. The Internet now serves as the core of marketing, combining all other forms of advertising including print, Internet Yellow Pages, mobile, search engine optimization (SEO), video, reputation management and e-mail/direct mail.

Once the website is built, it must be regularly updated with fresh content in order to be successful.

It is important to make sure that all content on the website is always accurate and up-to-date. This includes everything from store locations, contact information, types of payment accepted, store hours and detailed product, service and pricing descriptions.

The key to any successful venture is good customer service and the same applies to a business’s online presence.

Whether it’s a new customer with questions about products or services, or an existing customer who has a complaint or inquiry, it is important for a business website to have the tools available to easily assist those in need of help. These tools can include direct phone numbers, regularly monitored e-mail addresses and comment forms, as well as links to social networking pages. It is important that businesses respond to customers directly and as quickly as possible.

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