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Dec

17

2015

9 Principles of Mobile Web Design

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In case you missed it, we now live in a mobile-dominant world. This year, Google reported that 52% of search traffic and almost half of shopping traffic comes from mobile devices, so a compatible web design is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. In April of 2015, “Mobilegeddon” transformed the marketing world as we know it, putting responsive and mobile websites at the forefront of a marketer’s mind.

And with Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm in place, you’d expect all sites to be compatible in this day and age. But that’s simply not the case. Nearly half of marketers don’t have their websites optimized for mobile, despite the increase in search traffic and the effect on rankings.

So what gives? Has the algorithm’s impact not been significant enough to warrant a redesign? Are businesses not getting customers from mobile?

Despite the upward trend in mobile usage, it’s important that we don’t discount desktop users. Time on site and number of pages viewed are three times greater on desktop than on mobile devices, and desktop is the preferred technology for reading news and watching videos.

These figures are certainly too significant to ignore, and it sheds an important light on mobile user behavior as well. Due to smaller screen sizes and often being on the go when using a mobile device, consumers are coming to a website with a clear plan of action. If the site they visit can’t give them the information they need quickly, they’ll go find one that can. This means that you have to provide them with what they’re looking for right off the bat; there’s no time to waste.

With that in mind, many designers are building websites with a mobile-first mentality, ensuring that pages aren’t bogged down with long load times, too many graphics, or content that requires a user to zoom in and out to read. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly yet, don’t panic. Redesigning a website to fit a responsive design, or creating a separate mobile site altogether, isn’t as complicated as you might think! There are plenty of builders out there that can do the job, likely the one your current site is built in.

Whether your business has fully adopted a mobile strategy or you’re still figuring out the best route to take, make sure you keep these principles of mobile web design in mind.

1) Make Menus Simple and Concise

On a mobile device or tablet, you can’t expect users to scroll through a large menu or click through to multiple sub-menus. There just isn’t enough space on the screen to process it all. It’s important that menus contain a high-level overview of the products and services you offer to allow visitors to narrow down what they’re looking for. From there, they can click to a specific category or utilize the search feature to filter their results further.

The ideal menu has no more than 5-6 items, giving users just enough information to guide their search. There should also be no more than two sub-menus within the main menu, if they are necessary at all. In terms of style, the “hamburger” menu (hamburger-menu-1.png) has been widely adopted, so you don’t need to say “Menu” for users to know where it’s located. Other companies have added their own twist to the traditional menu, like Carrabba’s.

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On their mobile site, they have a simple dropdown below their logo, which unfolds five options. Since the restaurant menu and location finder are already located in the header, they don’t need a place in the list. They’ve effectively kept their menu simple and featured the most important elements of their website front and center.

When you’re coming to a restaurant’s website, you’re likely looking to do one of a few things: check out their menu, find a location, or order online. Carrabba’s site allows you to accomplish all of these things quickly and easily, without bogging you down in sub-menus full of appetizers, pasta dishes, and happy hour specials.

2) Keep Forms Short and Sweet

When it comes to completing contact forms on mobile, users are not interested in filling out field after field of information. For those situations, they’ll likely opt for a desktop or laptop. That’s why it’s even more important that you only ask for information that is absolutely necessary to accomplish the task.

If your contact form is to sign up for a newsletter, you shouldn’t ask the user for more than a name and email address. Even for payment forms, try to keep the number of form fields to a minimum. Consumers understand that more information is necessary to make a purchase, but it’s important that you’re sensitive of their time, especially if you receive a lot of mobile traffic.

In order to determine the ideal number of form fields, A/B test by changing or removing one field at a time to assess the impact on completion rates. For example, people are more likely to fill out a form if you don’t require their phone number, so try testing your form with and without that field or compare it as a required vs. optional field to see how it performs. Then compare these results to the actual ROI earned through each method to determine whether or not you should include it.

MasterCard is a great example of a company that utilizes contact forms while being thoughtful of a mobile user’s time. To reach their support team, the only required fields are first name, last name, email address, topic, and comments. This gives them just enough information to look up your account and direct your inquiry to the right department, without being too time-consuming or invasive.

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They also give you the option to provide more information like phone number, type of card, and financial institution, so that if you do want to include any or all of these details, you can. But if not, you can still have your question or need addressed. Consumers are especially protective of financial information, so giving them this freedom not only caters to their mobile needs, but helps build trust.

3) Simplify Form Fields

In addition to form length, the types of questions you ask shouldn’t require too much input from users. It’s important that you utilize different field types in your form, such as dropdowns, checkboxes, and calendars. These are especially useful when typing in payment or shipping information, as well as booking travel.

You also want to provide as much clarity as possible in your form, making it obvious which pieces of information are required and which are optional. To make things easier for returning customers, utilize autofill to expedite the purchasing process, and offer guest checkout to new customers who don’t want to make an account.

It’s essential that companies in the travel industry take advantage of simple forms to aid potential customers in the search process. Expedia is a perfect example of this, featuring easy-to-see buttons and requiring very few fields to conduct a search.

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When searching for a flight, if you click on the “From” or “To” buttons, they will suggest locations as you type a city or airport code so you don’t have to type in the whole thing. They also make the calendar feature much easier than some other sites, allowing you to see the calendar and click your departure and arrival dates on the same screen. 

4) Catch Your Visitor’s Eye with CTAs

Calls-to-action are an essential part of any web design, but they play an especially important role on mobile. Since, as opposed to their desktop counterparts, mobile users typically have more of an idea of what they’re looking for when they come to your site, make it as easy to find as possible with CTAs placed in the most valuablereal estate.

Ideally, they should be located above the fold, use contrasting colors or fonts to make them stand out (within reason, of course), and clearly state what the offer is for. The following steps should be laid out clearly so you don’t leave visitors wondering what they need to do next.

Papa John’s uses their homepage’s prime real estate to focus on a holiday promotion, which encourages visitors to pick up a gift for family or friends while they place an order online. The text is bold and stands out from the page, while still fitting with their color scheme and branding. And most importantly, you know what you’regetting if you click on the CTA. They don’t try to sugarcoat it with flowery language or fine print, so users can quickly get in, get out, and get their favorite pizza in a snap. 

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5) Bring Users the Search Results They Want

Site search is especially important to mobile users that come with a specific plan of action in mind. They’re less likely to dabble with vague menus or scroll through page after page of products. That’s why it’s all the more important that your search results provide exactly what the visitor is looking for on the first page. Once a user completes a search, provide filter options so that they can sort the results as it best pertains to them (e.g. price, relevance, top sellers, etc.).

It’s also important to feature an image, price, and short description with each item so that the results pages aren’t bogged down with text and the user doesn’t have to click on several products to find the right one. The images should be clickable and expand within the same window to help visitors get a better view of the product without having to go all the way to its individual page. Then when they do find what they’re looking for, they can click on that particular item to learn more and purchase.

In a search for “Hoodies” on Under Armour’s website, you’re presented with several filtering options to narrow down the 371 results. You canselect by department, filter by price or size,or sort the options to see the highest rated or lowest priced products at the top.

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This is an area where consumers prefer having more options so they can have a more direct search path and only spend time looking at items that are most relevant to them. The page provides you with ample information to help you proceed with your search, and is presented in a way that’s clean and not overwhelming to a mobile screen. 

6) Make It Easy to Contact You

With any ecommerce site, the ability to quickly contact a company is essential. If you have any questions or issues with an order, you want to make sure they can be answered or resolved in a timely manner. For mobile users, this means having a click-to-call feature prominently displayed on the website. This, along with a contact form or email address, will give visitors options so that they can contact you in the way that best fits their preferences and the urgency of their need.

It’s also helpful to have an FAQs page to give users the ability to seek answers to questions they have without requiring them to actually contact you. Most consumers would agree that if they can figure it out on their own, they would rather do so.

Another mobile-focused way to provide easy contact is by embedding a Google Map of your location onto your site. Allowing visitors to click on the map, zoom in and out, and search for directions from the Google Maps app will make sure that they have no trouble finding your brick-and-mortar location if you have one.

Online retailer Zappos understands the importance of being able to contact them quickly and easily to inquire about an order, returns, and promotions. That’s why they have a click-to-call customer service number displayed above the fold on the homepage. This way, customers that need immediate support can take one step to contact them directly without having to dig around the entire website to find the Contact Us page.

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7) Design with Thumbs in Mind

By far the most common complaints users have about non mobile-friendly sites are that the buttons are too small to click on and text is hard to read. The foundation of responsive or mobile website design is that there is no need for zooming in and out to read content or click on a link. So when you’re designing your web pages, make sure that each button is large enough to be clicked on, and that they’re not spaced so close together that you might accidentally click on something you didn’t want to.

And don’t require visitors to pinch the screen to make text legible, just to have to zoom back out to click on another link or page. As a rule of thumb (no pun intended), the minimum tap area to accommodate a user’s thumbs should be 44px by 44px. It might be hard to adapt to every smartphone’s screen size, but it’s generally advised that you try to design your site with a few older models in mind, since older phones tend to have smaller screens. That way you can ensure that your content is easily visible across platforms.

The buttons on Southwest Airlines’ mobile site are easily clickable, and there’s no issue trying to read what the buttons have to say. Allowing them to take up (almost) the entire width of the screen makes it compatible to any user, and also provides them with a limited number of options to guide their search. You aren’t distracted by extra text or multiple CTAs so you can focus on why you came to the site in the first place: to search for a flight or manage current orders.

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8) (Load) Time is Precious

As consumers, our patience is wearing thinner by the day. For mobile users, even more so. Since many are accessing your website on the go, it’s important that you don’t leave them waiting around for pages to load. Your site should be able to accommodate both WiFi and non-WiFi connections equally, ideally loading a page in less than four seconds.

Over half of mobile users expect a site to load in four seconds or less, and 80% are unhappy with the current browsing speed on smartphones. That’s a lot of potential customers bouncing from your website due to something that is almost entirely controllable (barring poor cell reception). Some goals to keep in mind for mobile web designers are to keep the entire site’s size under 1MB and use images and videos wisely. The more visual content you have, the slower your website will likely be.

For businesses in the news or publishing industries, they understand that consumers are looking to get the information they need quickly. The New York Times’ mobile site loads almost instantly, even without a WiFi connection. A lot of mobile users check their favorite news outlets when they only have a minute or two to spare, and just want to get caught up on the happenings of the day. The New York Times is able to deliver trending stories from a variety of categories, and they’re able to do so with a very swift load time.

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9) Avoid Pop-Ups If You Can

In general, users aren’t huge fans of pop-up ads or surveys, let alone on a mobile device. Oftentimes, the box to close them out is so small that you have to zoom in to do so or you may accidentally click on an ad when you didn’t want to. Time is of the essence for mobile users, so using pop-ups simply gets in the way.

This is also an area where companies that feature publications or allow users to subscribe to content have to pay attention. It can be tempting to include a pop-up to encourage people to sign up for email alerts or a newsletter, but the reality is that most mobile users aren’t looking for that. If they want to sign up for something, they probably already know that they want to and will take the necessary steps on your website to find that form.

BuzzFeed’s site on both desktop and mobile features sponsored posts and ads, but they don’t use any pop-ups to try and get you to click through or sign up for one of their several newsletters (“Dog A Day” newsletter, anyone?).

In the screenshot below, you can see that their post “15 Tiny Ways to Take Yourself Less Seriously” is sponsored by Captain Morgan, but by clicking on the post you aren’t faced with an annoying pop-up. If you want to click on the hyperlink to Captain Morgan’s website, you can, but there’s no opting out necessary. BuzzFeed does the same with CTAs for its newsletters. They give users the ability to opt-in, but don’t force them to view content they don’t want to look at.BuzzFeed_Mobile_Site.png

Does Your Web Design Fit the Mobile Mold?

With the prominence of mobile search and greater buyer intent on mobile devices, this is certainly a trend that you can’t afford to sit out on. Mobile’s influence on marketing and buyer behavior is on the rise, and there’s no sign of it slowing down. If you’ve decided to revamp your desktop site, you should prioritize compatibility across devices through responsive design or a separate mobile site. As marketers we must possess a mobile-first mentality, or risk having our business fall not only in search rankings, but in consumers’ minds.

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Jan

27

2015

9 Brands With Brilliant Facebook Marketing

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There have been a lot of questions about Facebook lately: Are people still using it? Is it on the decline? Can businesses still find it valuable?

With over 1 billion active users, it’s safe to say that Facebook is alive and well.

There are tons of other rising social networks out there, but let’s be honest, Facebook really was the game-changer (sorry Myspace!). While it’s hard to predict the future of Facebook and social media, it remains a major player in social media marketing today.

Facebook appeals to its users because it provides real-time information but with a deeper feel. It may not necessarily break news as fast as Twitter, but when it does it provides greater detail and a platform for discussion.

Facebook takes engagement to a deeper level than other networks can. Since you aren’t limited by character count or to just sharing images, you can really say what you want to say. This key differentiator has kept Facebook as the most widely-used social platform, even as new networks are introduced every day.

With millions of brands on Facebook, how can you make yours to stand out? Below are 9 companies (that you’ve probably all heard of) that take their Facebook marketing to the next level. An important thing to note is that the strategies used by these major players can be used by any company out there. You don’t have to be Nike or Microsoft to be successful.

1) Nike

Number of Likes: 22.6 million

Nike is arguably one of the biggest names out there. They have a marketing budget that a lot of companies can barely begin to fathom. Yet when it comes to their Facebook presence, they don’t over-emphasize the need to buy their products.

Even though Nike is such a household name, they still have competitors. Adidas and Under Armour aren’t just going to sit back and let them maintain the majority of the market share. You would think the competitive nature of the industry would encourage them to step up their promotions.

But they don’t have to. They have established and continue to maintain a strong brand image, which resonates throughout their Facebook page. They have quite possibly the most famous slogan out there, so they grab onto that popularity and incorporate it in their cover photo, photos shared, and through a branded hashtag.

Nike’s Facebook page is a balance of new products, science, charitable initiatives, and encouragement. One way they differentiate themselves from their major competitors is by emphasizing the research and development that goes into every design. Their products are seen as the result of extensive engineering or science experiments, which evoke the idea that these items are cutting-edge and high quality.

Nike

Another effective strategy for Nike is that they have established separate pages for each of their product lines to better target their different markets. From basketball to golf to snowboarding to women’s products, Nike likely has a page that will target your interests. Their ability to manage an “umbrella” account on top of many others and maintain a consistent image is truly remarkable. It speaks to how well they not only know their audience, but what their brand is all about.

2) March of Dimes

Number of Likes: 594,000

Marketing any charitable organization can be tough because there are thousands of organizations out there that need our help. How can you pick and choose one great cause over another?

The March of Dimes takes a unique approach to non-profit marketing by emphasizing the educational aspect of the initiatives they support. Their Facebook page serves as an information powerhouse with everything you need to know about what to expect during your pregnancy. Many of their posts consist of healthy eating and lifestyle tips to provide the nourishment and care babies need before they are born. They also have an app that allows fans to register for a “March for Babies” walk and raise money through Facebook.

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The March of Dimes page includes another app called “39 Weeks,” which chronicles the developments occurring during each week of a pregnancy, and fans can share their stories about unexpected complications. Unfortunately, not every pregnancy goes smoothly, and the March of Dimes serves as a great educational and emotional resource to push through.

This strategy has proven to be extremely successful for the March of Dimes, in that the number of registered walkers has increased by 75% and revenue by over 100%. It’s not easy to market a non-profit because you not only want to raise money, but you also want to be sensitive to those who have experienced tragedy. The March of Dimes is a perfect role model of how to balance these things and shed light on important issues facing people all around the world.

3) Taco Bell

Number of Likes: 10.6 million

When you go to Taco Bell’s Facebook page, your experience will be almost identical to their Twitter or Instagram accounts. They have been able to successfully connect social platforms together by using their “Live Más” slogan, the branded hashtag #onlyintheapp, and by sharing images of products. Almost every post has a picture of a Taco Bell menu item, which maximizes awareness and entices people to eat there.

In recent months, Taco Bell skyrocketed its social media presence through the introduction of their new mobile ordering app. They made headlines when they temporarily blacked out their social media profiles to promote it. That’s right; they went silent on social media to promote the app. If you visited their Facebook page during this 24-hour period, you would have been greeted with a completely black profile. This unique approach to promotion proved to be extremely successful because social media was buzzing for days.

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Taco Bell’s ability to incorporate humor into their social presence has surely aided in their success. Some of their most recent Facebook posts include a petition to add a taco emoji to smartphone keyboards. These types of posts grab a fan’s attention and engage them, and if they showed up in your news feed you’d probably click on them.

Their generally lighthearted nature helps them sell products and get people in their restaurants because they aren’t forceful. And not only is it fun, but it works. DigitalCoCo ranked Taco Bell number one on the Restaurant Social Media Index, beating out competitors like Wendy’s and McDonald’s. So they’re not simply trying to get you to buy tacos on your phone; Taco Bell sets you up for a memorable and enjoyable social experience.

4) TOMS

Number of Likes: 2.9 million

People love to support brands that give back, and TOMS has achieved incredible success through their “one-for-one” strategy. For every pair of shoes or eyeglasses you buy, they will donate a pair to someone in need.

TOMS has branched out in recent months to selling coffee beans as well, but under this same one-for-one premise. For every bag of coffee beans you buy from their website, a week of fresh water will be provided through various water sustainability projects. It’s this desire to help others that has made TOMS a truly iconic brand for the millennial generation.

TOMS

Lots of brands team up with charities to take a “giving back” approach to marketing and sales these days. So why does TOMS stand out from the pack?

I think TOMS has found such success because of their target market: millennials. This is a generation argued to be selfish and greedy, but in reality, maybe they just haven’t been targeted properly up to this point.

TOMS offers products catered to teens and young adults, and they market themselves primarily on social media. What they also do is provide a tangible understanding of how your purchase impacts others. With TOMS, you’re not just making a specific dollar donation to support an organization. You know that when you buy a pair of shoes, someone in need will get a pair too. If you buy coffee, you know that someone will get to drink clean water for an entire week. By adding this tangible element, people may be more inclined to support because they can actually see where their money goes.

This passion translates to their Facebook page seamlessly by featuring a lot of fan-provided content. People share pictures of places their TOMS have been and how they incorporate them into their everyday style. In addition, there are a lot of posts about the charities that they support so you get that continued connection with the people you’re helping every day.

TOMS is a prime example that when millennials are marketed to properly, they do want to make a difference in the world and help others. They have certainly set a precedent for how future companies will target this generation.

5) Nature Valley

Number of Likes: 1.4 million

It seems like one of the biggest challenges due to the prevalence of technology is getting people to actually go outside. We spend most, if not all, of our day inside glued to our computers, smart phones, and TVs.

Nature Valley is trying to change all of that. They’ve successfully utilized their Facebook page to promote getting outside, as well as lightly market their granola bars and snacks as part of a healthy lifestyle. The majority of their posts are pictures of nature, outdoor activities, and exercise tips, rather than just product promotion. They position their marketing in a way that focuses much more on enjoying the outdoors versus just getting some whole grains in your diet.

Their most recent Facebook campaign is around the hashtag #getoutthere, which promotes this philosophy while also linking to technology. Most people probably aren’t going to leave their phone inside all day while they go for a hike or bike ride, and Nature Valley acknowledges that by playing to the consumer’s need to be connected while promoting a healthy lifestyle. They encourage fans to share photos of the activities they do with Nature Valley products in their bag, providing an interactive element while simultaneously marketing their products.

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In addition to these fan-shared images, Nature Valley has a gallery of breath-taking nature photos from around the world that you can download and use as your Facebook cover photo. They have already been sized to the proper dimensions, so they’re ready to use for your Facebook profile or computer desktop background. It’s another way to keep this “get out there” idea in the consumer’s mind.

Even though Nature Valley’s products are associated with the outdoors, a lot of consumers purchase them for their everyday life. They don’t necessarily have to push this outdoorsy persona to make a sale. But they truly believe in the importance of appreciating nature and getting outside to enjoy it, so that’s how they market themselves. They sell an experience and a lifestyle that would probably make us all a bit happier, healthier, and more relaxed.

6) Microsoft

Number of Likes: 6.2 million

When you’re marketing a new technology to customers, it can be easy to get into a “tech-speak” frame of mind, and that type of language is likely to go over many heads. It doesn’t exactly welcome engagement or discussion amongst followers and fans.

Microsoft has found a way to bridge this gap through emphasizing visual content and avoiding too much tech talk. They know that their primary audience on Facebook is going to be typical consumers like you and me, and compose their messages accordingly.

Their latest Facebook campaign is around the hashtag #5to9, which focuses on what you do with your time outside of the office. They also take common workplace acronyms, like PTO and ETA, and change them into non work-related phrases. This strategy emphasizes work-life balance, while also showing how Microsoft products can be used for both work and play.

Microsoft

Microsoft has been modernizing its brand over the past couple years, updating its logo and introducing new products like Bing, the Surface, and Windows 8. These products are a far cry from the early Microsoft that came on the market. With that has come a new marketing strategy, heavily focused on social media and video.

Sure, Apple is a major player in the technology industry, but they barely use Facebook or social media. Microsoft has effectively used this to their advantage by creating an engaging page that is easy to understand. For those who don’t comprehend technology lingo (like me), this approach is quite refreshing. Microsoft proves that even the most intellectual of industries can appeal to everyone if you can bring things down to a “human” level.

7) Universal Studios Orlando

Number of Likes: 1.2 million

When you’re creating a marketing strategy, one of the first things you might do is consider your competitors. What are they doing in their marketing and how is it working for them? Universal Studios doesn’t do that. It doesn’t seem to bother them that Disney World is just a few miles down the road; they have developed an image in the marketplace and stand by it.

A turning point for Universal Studios was the partnership with J.K. Rowling in creating the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Arguably the most successful book and movie series in generations, this acquisition has proven to be a real game-changer for the theme park.

Previously, visitors often traveled to Orlando to go to Disney and maybe squeeze in a day at Universal if they had time to spare. Now, people are starting to travel to Orlando for Universal. From 2009-2012, Universal Studios Orlando saw theme-park traffic increase almost 5% following the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Orlando tourism as a whole rose over 7% during this period, almost entirely due to Universal’s expansion.

When you interact with Universal Studios Orlando on Facebook, it is immediately clear that they don’t intend to modify their brand to pull Disney visitors from their parks. By staying true to who they are, they’ve been able to do that anyways.

Their Facebook presence is a lot different from Disney’s, in that they don’t really focus on characters from the movies their parks are based on, but rather on the people visiting them. Sharing pictures submitted by their fans makes the page conversational and customer-focused. If you check out Disney’s page, you’ll see a lot of pictures of princesses and characters, but Universal’s page predominantly features pictures of the attractions themselves and the people that come through their gates.

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Universal Studios completed a campaign at the end of 2014 sharing the “Top 100 Fan Moments” of the year. It was an album consisting of mostly fan-shared photos; pictures of families enjoying time together around the parks. They continue to encourage fans to share images with the hashtag #UniversalMoments.

We will probably continue to see the market share of Universal Studios rise as they stay focused on their fans, don’t try to fit the Disney mold, and continue introducing attractions from today’s hottest movies.

8) Fitbit

Number of Likes: 586,000

Fitbit is a relative newcomer to the market in comparison to the brands previously mentioned, yet they’ve made a name for themselves in their marketing, especially on Facebook. If you aren’t familiar with Fitbit yet, you probably will be very soon. They offer watch-like products that track a variety of health measurements, from how many steps you take in a day to how many hours of sleep you get. If you’re on a weight-loss plan, there’s a Fitbit to track your daily calories burned and overall progress.

For being a brand in such a new industry, you might expect their marketing to push a hard sell; wearable tech is projected to be one of the hottest products in the coming years. Well with Fitbit, you’d be wrong.

They actually do very little product promotion on their Facebook page. Rather, their approach focuses on physical and mental health with exercise tips and encouragement. Their strategy is rooted in empowering fans to set fitness-related goals.

When you like the Fitbit page, it’s almost like you’re joining a fitness support group. Many of their posts consist of inspirational quotes and resources to stick to your health and wellness regimen.

Fitbit

Another way they have this support group-type of presence is by encouraging Fitbit users to share their stats with their Facebook friends. Everything that your Fitbit tracks can be posted directly, so this is a great way to share your successes and stay on track. They also have a refer-a-friend program through Facebook, where you can get $10 for every person you refer that purchases a Fitbit. Offering incentive programs like this not only benefit you, but it also creates a support system of friends that are on this journey with you.

Even if you aren’t interested in buying a Fitbit, they provide a lot of tips and inspiration that can help you stay on track throughout your fitness journey. Collaborative environments like this can’t help but motivate you to strive towards your health and wellness goals.

9) Aerie

Number of Likes: 1.4 million

Aerie has left a mark on the fashion industry and the way beauty is defined. In an age of Photoshop and retouching, Aerie has taken a stand against “manufactured beauty.” They have made a promise to their customers that they will no longer modify any images of their models, and have come out with a new slogan that says, “We think the real you is sexy.”

What better message could we have in the fashion world than that? When we are constantly bombarded with unattainable images of what magazines define as “beautiful,” it’s great to see a brand put their foot down.

Aerie makes their stance known through social media, and especially through their Facebook page. They share images of their models and you can immediately see the difference between their photos and those you see on the cover of Vogue. These are real women; people that we can actually relate to.

Aerie

They also share a lot of fan-contributed quotes about “real beauty” and what it means to them. If you like Aerie’s Facebook page, your newsfeed is filled with inspiring words that create a sense of positivity, confidence, and lift you up.

It serves as a forum for people to openly share their insecurities and discover what makes them beautiful in their own right. They empower their Facebook fans and do what they can as a social influence to help people love who they are, inside and out. We could certainly use more brands like Aerie in this world.

Key Takeaways

Looking at these 9 brands, you can find several similarities between their Facebook strategies that help them stand out among their competitors. Many use branded hashtags to connect social media platforms together as well as share fan-provided content. These are areas where Facebook can really thrive because they emphasize collaboration and engagement.

Brands like TOMS and the March of Dimes place an emphasis on giving back and helping those going through tough times. Facebook has been a very effective way to pull at people’s heartstrings and raise money for important causes, and this will probably continue for years to come.

What these brands do above everything else is stay true to their company’s foundation. Universal Studios doesn’t try to mimic Disney like Taco Bell doesn’t try to mimic McDonald’s and other fast-food chains.

Even though these are all highly successful companies, any brand can take some cues from their Facebook strategies:

  1. Find what makes you unique from the competition and play off of that. For example, Nike differentiates itself by emphasizing the science and research that goes into developing their products.
  2. Second, don’t force a hard sell in every post. Share content that fans have shared with you, post pictures, and offer tips and advice.
  3. Finally, and most importantly, be yourself. People want to engage with authentic brands on Facebook, brands that “get them.”

If you can master these takeaways, your Facebook page will likely bring positive results.

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