What You Need To Know About Facebook’s New Algorithm Changes

Every so often, the largest social media platform in the world, Facebook, decides that it’s time for a change in the way that its users see and interact with the content on their website.

Most recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that starting this year, Facebook will begin prioritizing content posted by your friends and family members, rather than businesses and interest pages, in your News Feed. They are moving the News Feed more toward “meaningful interactions between people,” according to a lengthy Facebook post made by Zuckerberg.

But this actually isn’t a new strategy for Facebook; they’ve been moving toward family-and-friend-focused content for the past few years, as far back as 2014.

As a business owner with a Facebook Page, this might make you a little concerned about whether the content you are posting on your business’s Facebook Page will continue to be seen by your followers or if it will be lost among the sea of baby photos and pictures of grandma’s cute kitty cats (all 10 of them).

But not to worry: this isn’t the end of Facebook Pages, you just need to rethink your strategy a little bit to learn how to adapt to the changes. And here are a few ways you can do that.

Engagement

In Zuck’s Facebook Post, he very clearly laid out what Facebook is changing with their News Feed algorithm: a focus on engaging posts from people you know rather than businesses and other places. But that doesn’t mean that you, as a business with a Page, can’t be engaging as well.

In fact, creating posts that are engaging is what you’re supposed to be doing anyway with your Facebook content! Facebook is built around engagement and interactions between people. That’s why Zuck started Facebook way back in the early 2000s (well, that and as a way to rate the “hotness” levels of his fellow Harvard University classmates).

Focus on creating content that asks your followers questions, or encourages them to Like, comment on, and share your posts. Increasing your engagement lets Facebook’s algorithm know that you are interacting with your followers, which in turn can help to boost your overall post reach.

Live Video

Live video is the future of video content. That’s evident everywhere you look, from Snapchat and Instagram Stories, to Periscope on Twitter and even the traditional video hosting sites like YouTube.

Facebook has also been making it known that they are prioritizing live video content in people’s News Feeds over other forms of content, even traditional non-live video content.

Live video can be a little more intimidating than pre-recorded video content, but don’t worry; you aren’t expected to do it perfectly every time. That’s the nature of live content!

Use live video to give a tour of your storefront or office, or as a way to give an update to your followers and see if they have any questions they would like to ask you. It’s a great way to create very engaging content.

Ads

Unfortunately, friends and family are always going to take precedent over a business’s content. But, what is interesting about Facebook’s algorithm change anouncement is that they never mention ads and sponsored posts being affected by this change. That means your paid posts will still be prioritized over everything else.

At the end of the day, Facebook is a business (albeit a business based on never charging their users to use their site, but still a business). That means they are in the business of trying to make money. And just like any free vs. paid version of a product, the people with the money will get their money’s worth out of the deal.

Buying ads is still the best and most reliable way to ensure that your content reaches your intended audience. Consider investing in paid posts in order to reach the most people.

Turn To Other Places

If you find yourself simply not reaching as many people as you think you should be and you don’t have the time to fix it, then we would love the opportunity to help you out.

FGmarket offers a few Social Media Services packages that can help you to create and schedule your content on Facebook and even Instagram!

Our Social Media Services take the stress and worry out of having to come up with engaging content for your followers. We create the content and we schedule the posts during optimal times during the day to ensure that it reaches the most people.

If you’re looking for more information, visit our Social Media Services page and explore all that we have to offer you.

5 Home Décor Trends For 2018

We may already be a few months into 2018, but it’s never too late to explore the top home décor trends and what customers will be searching for this year.

This year, vintage home décor, as well as heavy brass and copper pieces, are trending. On the other side of the spectrum, however, are more natural pieces, including stone and floral patterns.

Find out what’s trending for 2018, and see what your customers will be looking for this year!

Artisan Lighting Fixtures

A hot new trend in home lighting décor this year is artisan lighting fixtures. These are fixtures that think outside the box of traditional lighting. Check out this beautiful iron fixture from Marvel Lighting LLC/Margold Lighting.

Natural Pieces

Natural pieces can really accentuate the rustic or woodsy décor of a home. Stone pieces are a great way to contrast the natural look of wood with the roughness of rocks. Home Stone Imports is an FGmarket vendor that has a ton of great stone pieces that will look great inside or outside the home.

Floral Patterns

Floral patterns can be found everywhere these days: from dress shirts and ties to dinnerware, and yes, even home décor! The Little Birdie loves using floral patterns in their home décor. Just check out this awesome decorative pillow to see what we mean!

Vintage Lighting

Having that old school feel to your lighting décor is big this year, and no one does vintage lighting better than Summit Lamp Corporation of Salisbury, North Carolina. Just take a look at some of their vintage, handcrafted colonial and Victorian style lamps, made with glass and brass.

Brass & Copper

Whereas rose gold and stainless steel were the hot metal trends and accents for 2017, brass and copper home décor pieces are making a big comeback in 2018. Both metals add a sense of strength and calm to any home décor. If you’re looking for a vendor that excels at providing both types of metals in their home décor products, check out Rustic Brands.

Home décor trends are always changing, but these five trends should get you through the rest of 2018. Be sure to stay on top of these trends to give your customers the fashionable products they are seeking.

Check out the different categories in FGmarket’s Home & Décor section to find even more great home décor vendors!

10 Great Wholesale Candle Companies To Check Out

Here at FGmarket, we LOVE candles. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as lighting a few scented candles, and enjoying the flickering flame in the dim light of a calming evening at home.

We want to show off some of our amazing wholesale candle vendors, so you and your customers can enjoy their scents as well.

Here are 10 great candle companies for you to explore.

1. Honey House Naturals

Since 1994, Honey House Naturals’ motto has been “Natural, Nurturing, Unique,” and you’ll only find pure ingredients in everything Honey House Naturals makes. Try their Beeswax Candles, made from pure Canadian beeswax.

2. Blithe and Bonny, LLC

Blithe and Bonny is a family-run business that is dedicated to making environmentally friendly products for bath, body and lifestyle. Take a look at their specialty candles for some truly unique scents, including cacao, matcha, and pomander.

3. Skinny Dip Candles

Skinny Dip Candle makes a unique 4-in-1 massage candle that is a candle, massage oil, moisturizing lotion, and body balm. They are available in 36+ scents, so you won’t have a problem finding the perfect aroma.

4. Long Creek Candle Company, LLC

All of the candles manufactured by Long Creek Candle Company are made with natural soybeans from local Iowa farmers. Their candles are not only safe and free from chemicals, they also support the efforts of local farmers, by giving back to the community. You’ll also find tons of scents for any preference, from Autumn Harvest to Hot Apple Pie.

5. The Glorylight Candle Co.

Do you like your candles to not only smell good enough to eat, but also look good enough to eat? The Glorylight Candle Co. has you covered. Check out their collection of Bakery Candles, shaped to look hyper-realistic to the baked goods that they smell like!

6. More Than A Candle

More Than A Candle company’s candles really are what their name says; they make soy-based candles that safe, environmentally-friendly, and renewable. Unlike most candles, they have a very long burn time, so you can enjoy their scents for more hours than normal.

7. Shelly’s Smellies

Shelly’s Smellies is a great candle company with an interesting name. Named after the husband and wife team of Shelly and Smellie (Travis), Shelly’s Smellies makes palm wax-based candles, made with high-quality ingredients right here in the USA.  What started as a hobby has now become a fun and lucrative business for the couple!

8. Warm Glow Candle Company

Hearth Candles by Warm Glow Candle Company is their most popular product. These bumpy, lumpy candles weigh 2 pounds and have a total burn time of up to 150 hours! They come in some great scents, too, like Banana Nut Bread or Blueberry Cobbler.

9. Bridgewater Candle Company

The candles sold by Bridgewater Candle Company are elegant, handsome, and perfect for any home decor. Did we mention that they smell amazing as well? Check out their great selection of decadent scents to freshen up any home or office.

10. Brookfield Candle Company

Looking for great hand-poured soy candles from a family-owned business? Brookfield Candle Company is exactly who you’re looking for! They promise to only use the finest, uncut, undiluted oils in their candles, and their wicks are guaranteed to be lead-free with a cotton core. Take a look at their candles with wax butterflies for an extra surprise!

Don’t Get Stuck In The “Because We’ve Always Done It This Way” Mindset

How many times have you heard this in your own company: “Well, we’ve always done it this way, so I think it’s safe if we just continue to follow the same plan that we’ve always had. It’s too risky to try to something new.”

There are many companies out there with leadership that thinks this way. And, whether they know it or not, this type of thinking is causing their company to remain stagnant, while other companies grow and surpass them in sales.

If you feel like this is your current mindset, and you’re afraid to move into newer strategies for attracting customers, we’ve got some great encouragement for you today. Keep reading to find out how staying in one place hurts your company, and what you can do to move on.

Stagnation and Poor Growth

Keeping things the way they are isn’t inherently a bad thing. If something is working, and showing continual growth in your company, then, of course, it’s smarter to keep things going the way they are currently going.

But, if you see your company falling behind your competitors in terms of sales and customer growth, then it’s definitely time for you to start a new strategy.

Keeping things “the way they’ve always been” gives customers the impression that you and your company are old, out-of-touch, and unwilling to change.

Customers, especially those in the younger generation, i.e. millennials and younger, are looking for trendy, modern companies where they can spend their money.

One example of being out-of-touch is not having a website for your company. It doesn’t matter if you’re a towing company, a boutique, or an HVAC repairman; you need to have a website for your business.

A website is a place where customers can go to research information about you before they decided to call or come into your store. It also gives people the opportunity to leave reviews, contact you, and find directions toward your business.

Try One Thing New

When you’re trying to decide how to spruce up your business plan, you don’t have to jump in all at once; it’s better to dip your toes in first before taking a full dive.

Start with something simple, like setting up a Facebook Page for your business, or getting your business verified on Google My Business.

Not only are these things simple to do, they also don’t take a lot of commitment. If you don’t see any change in the amount of business you’re getting, then you don’t have to worry about any major consequences. No one will stop shopping with you because you’ve created a Facebook Page or because your business is now verified on Google. It’s a win-win situation for both you, and your customers.

Slowly Broaden Your Horizons

If you see success in the small stuff, then it’s time to move on to re-evaluate some of your major marketing strategies.

A lot of businesses are scared to try new things when it comes to the marketing message, technology, advertising, etc. And this is precisely why many of them get left behind in the dust while their competitors continue to rise.

Start thinking about some new strategies for your business, in 2018 and beyond. Do you need to venture into doing work online advertising? Do you need to rethink your marketing message and tone to be more friendly and relatable instead of completely business-like? Is it time to rebrand your entire company: website, logo, etc.?

These are large-scale decisions that shouldn’t be taken lightly. They require thoughtful consideration between everyone involved in your company, but in the end, they could be the deciding factor between growing your company or losing business.

Easily Add Video Content To Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

You’ve probably heard about this trend: simple blogging is heading out the door. Video marketing is the new king of content.

For the most part, that statement is correct. Although, that doesn’t mean you should drop blogging and traditional content creation altogether. What it does mean, however, is that your business should be pivoting toward adding video to your marketing strategy.

Video content is the most consumed form of content on the internet today. In fact, according to YouTube, almost 5 billion videos are viewed on their website every single day. Not only that, in just one month, users have watched 3.25 billion hours of video content.

Those numbers are staggering, and when we start adding in the number of hours users watch Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat videos, it grows exponentially. It’s hard to comprehend just how many hours of video content exists on the internet, but from these statistics, it should be obvious that it’s time for your company to dive into using video content as well.

Getting Started

In order to have video content for your social media accounts, you’ll first need to create your own video content.

There are lots of great and easy to use video editing software available, and many computers come preloaded with simple editing programs, like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

There are also great programs that won’t cost you an arm and leg to purchase, such as Movavi.

And if you are really serious about creating videos, and have someone who’s willing to put in the time and effort, Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are high-end options that offer amazing tools and features to make your videos look as stunning as Hollywood blockbusters.

All of the video editing programs offer helpful tutorials to walk you through the basics of editing and exporting your video creations.

If you need even more help, YouTube is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to tutorials, and they are completely free!

Where To Post

After you’ve created your video, the next step is to decide where to post it. YouTube is the most obvious destination, and anyone serious about creating content for the internet should have a YouTube account to store all of your videos in one place.

But that doesn’t mean that YouTube is the best place to upload your content if you’re wanting to share videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Facebook has re-engineered its News Feed algorithm many times over the years, but one of the major changes that is important for guaranteeing your content gets seen is its treatment of YouTube links.

Facebook penalizes direct YouTube links on its website by making sure that these links don’t show up in users’ timelines as often as video files that are directly uploaded to Facebook. When posting your video to Facebook, always make sure you’re uploading the video file directly to Facebook. This also guarantees that you’ll be able to view the analytics of your video, to see how many views it’s gotten, how much engagement, etc.

Twitter and Instagram work in the same way, although with Instagram you will have to upload your video content through a mobile device, such as a cellphone or tablet.

Uploading and posting your video content directly ensures that they will be made a priority on users’ timelines, and gives them a greater chance of being viewed by your customers.

Sponsored Content

So what do you do if your video content isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped online?

Sponsored content is the answer you’re seeking.

Whenever you want to boost your post and make sure it gets in front of more people, Facebook and other social sites usually offer a paid sponsored content option.

For Facebook and Instagram, you can set up your sponsored post for both websites from one hub, since Facebook owns Instagram. Usually, Facebook will suggest you boost a post if it is doing well, or if it’s not getting as much interaction as it should. There will be a button that says “Boost Post” on the post itself. Here’s a handy guide from Facebook to get you started.

The great thing about sponsored posts is that you can also target certain groups of people with your video, including those in certain age, gender, and regional groups.

Video content will only continue to grow year by year. Start implementing it into your social media marketing strategy and watch it change your company for the better!

How To Attract New Customers, Instead of Aggressively Pursuing Them

What does it mean when something is attractive?

One of the most obvious examples of attraction is when someone is attracted to another human being, whether through physical, mental, or spiritual attraction.

Attraction means that someone, or something, has certain qualities that make a person want to gravitate toward them. In regards to businesses, customers can be attracted by various factors, such as quality, price, customer service, features and more.

The attractiveness of your business can help bring in new customers and convince them to purchase a product or service from your business instead of your competitors.

So, the question is, how do you make your business attractive to customers in a way that will bring them in to your website or storefront, without having to spend countless dollars on advertising and promotion?

Unique Products

In order to attract customers to your business, you have to sell something that they can’t find anywhere else; or you at least have to create the illusion that they can’t find it anywhere else.

You need to figure out your USP (unique selling proposition). Your USP can be anything from a better price for product, or something that makes life easier for your customers. Find your USP and take advantage of this to attract customers to you.

Great Website Design

Do you pay attention to the way your website looks, or do you have the same design that you’ve had since the late ’90s dot-com bubble?

In other words, is your website outdated by today’s design standards?

Whether you know it or not, customers do, in fact, pay attention to the way your website looks. Many customers, especially millennial-aged customers and younger, will be immediately turned off of your business if your website looks like it came from the decade that they were born.

Update your website with modern design components to give an aesthetically pleasing space for your customers to explore when they’re shopping online.

Attractive Pricing

How are your products and services priced compared to your competitors? Are you offering the same or better products for a less expensive price point?

Shoppers are motivated by many things, but one of the key motivations for purchasing a product is a good deal.

Research at what price your close competitors are selling their products, and then adjust your pricing to offer a better deal to customers.

There aren’t many things more attractive to customers than a good deal on a product they want.

Commitment To Customer Service

Do you have good customer service?

Let’s back up for a second: what does good customer service entail? Does that mean being overly nice to customers, or answering their questions promptly?

Good customer service can mean many things to many different people. But, what most people agree on, is that good customer service is all about helping customers solve their problems efficiently, and in a friendly manner.

When people know that your service team is exceptional and go out of their way to make sure customers are taken care of, that’s very attractive.

If you’re looking for a new way to bring customers to your business, than making yourself more attractive, rather than aggressively pursuing customers, is the way to go.

Use Online Contests To Boost Interest In Your Company And Generate Leads

If you’re looking to maximize your company’s brand awareness and generate more leads than ever before, then online contests are a great way to accomplish both of these goals.

An online contest, whether through a social media post or through your website, is a fantastic way to get customers to pay attention to who you are and what your brand has to offer. And who doesn’t love to take their chances and enter a contest in the hopes of winning a great prize?

Websites like Rafflecopter and Woobox make it easy to run social media contests and more with just a few steps.

Need some more info on how online contests can help your business? Here are a few things to consider.

Increase Your Brand Awareness

Online contests, at their core, are meant to be a way to increase your brand awareness online to hundreds and thousands of paying customers.

When you conduct an online contest, you are hoping that a large number of people will participate, and that they will share your contest with their friends and family as well.

Whether it’s through social shares, retweets and reposts, or through good old fashioned word-of-mouth, contests are great ways to make your business known to new customers.

Build Your Fan Base

Are you looking to increase your likes on Facebook, or follower on Twitter and Instagram? What about your newsletter subscribers; could it use a boost as well?

Increasing your Facebook Page likes is usually one of the key results of running a social media contest. You can go from 100 likes to over 1,000 likes with just one contest. And, of course, all of those new likes equal more brand awareness and more visitors to your website.

Fantastic Lead Generator

If you run a contest on your website that simply requires a name and an email address to enter it, then you’ve got an easy way to add to your email subscriber lists for different things, such as promos, newsletters, and even more contests.

Because, chances are, if people have entered your online contest, then they have to have some semblance of interest in your company. Which means they will be great candidates to reach out to, whether through email promos or calls, to see if they would interested in purchasing a product or service from you.

Easy Marketing

When you run a contest with a lot of interaction, you are basically letting your audience do your marketing for you!

For example, a social media contest usually has an entry requirement that instructs participants to share the post in order to be entered into the contest. Every time the post gets shared, it reaches more and more people. Pretty soon, with only a few shares, you have increased your post reach by tenfold or more!

Participants are also very likely to share the contest with their friends and family, through word of mouth or through forwarded emails, thereby increasing your contest reach even further.

Contests are a great way to increase your brand awareness and generate valuable leads for your business. Start implementing contests in your marketing strategy today and see how it can improve your business.

Facebook Insights Shows You When Your Customers Are Online

Knowing when to post on Facebook can be a hard decision to nail down.

Thankfully, Facebook Insights is here to help. The Insights of your Facebook Page are easy to access, as long as you have an active Facebook Page for your business, and have been posting on it consistently.

Your Insights can tell you a lot about your posts, from which ones get the most engagement, to what your demographics for your followers are, and how that can help you market your business on social media.

Facebook Insights also makes it a lot easier for you to know when your customers are online, and when will be the most likely time for them to see your post organically in their timeline.

Knowing when your customers are most active on Facebook can help you to grow your post reach numbers and, subsequently, your engagement numbers.

So, where do you go to access your Page’s Insights? It’s pretty simple, actually. All you need to do is go to your Facebook Page and then click on the tab at the top of your page that says Insights.

When you get to your Insights page, you’ll see lots of data about your Page that Facebook has compiled for you, including Page Views, Reach, Page Engagements, and more.

To the left of the screen, you’ll see a row of options for different segments of Page data that you can view. You’ll want to click on the option that says Posts to view the date for all the posts you’ve published.

Data on when your fans are online is one of the first things you will see on this page and the main focus that we want to talk about today.

The data that is shown to you on this page is from a 1-week period of time, so you’ll see that it has the data divided up by each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday.

If you hover your mouse over each day, you will see the data line on the graph below move to show you the number of people who were on Facebook at different times during the day.

If you don’t hover your mouse over the days, and just look at the Times graph by itself, it shows you a weekly average of the times that your followers are online. And if you hover your mouse along the graph, you can see an average of how many people were online at any given time during the day.

Data like this can help you determine what times of the day you should be posting your content so that the maximum amount of people can view it. If you’re like most small businesses, a.k.a. ones that don’t have the time or resources to have more than one post a day on your Facebook Page, then you have to make sure you’re posting at the optimal time.

Facebook Insights gives you a lot of easy-to-analyze data that can help you learn about your followers and when they’re online. Make sure you’re utilizing all the free tool that Facebook gives your Page so that you can make the best of it and keep your customers engaged.

Personalize Your Subject Lines To Increase Email Open Rates

Have you ever used a personalized subject line in one of your many emails that you’ve sent out to customers?

You know, something like “You’ll love this deal, Stacy” or “We haven’t heard from you in awhile, Tim.”

Personalized subject lines have proved themselves to be great ways at getting customers to open your emails. And in a world where people get bombarded with hundreds of sales emails a day, open rates are more important than ever.

According to a study conducted by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, personalizing email subject lines increases open rates by 50% and can also lead to a 58% higher click-to-open rate. This was from an analysis of more than 7 billion emails sent in Q2 of 2017.

The study also found that non-personalized subject lines had an open rate of 14.1%, whereas personalized subject lines had a 21.2% open rate.

Another study, by Experian Marketing Services, showed an increase in open rates of almost 42% in some areas!

So, why is there such a noticeable increase when using personalized subject lines compared to non-personalized subject lines?

To put it simply, customers expect you to be more than just a place where they buy things from; they want to feel like they have a personal relationship with you.

Marketers and businesses can’t think of personalized email subject lines as something that only the “fun” companies do for their customers; all customers expect that level of personalization with every company they buy from.

Lots of email providers have simple ways to add first and last name personalizations to your email subject lines, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. All you need to know is a little bit of coding, but your email provider should be able to help you out if you need a tutorial.

Personalized email subject lines are no longer a novelty thing that only certain companies do. Implement this marketing technique into your emails, and see the difference it can make in your open rates and more!

Onboarding Emails And How They Can Help Retain Customers

Have you ever sent an email to a new customer reminding them of the product or service they’ve purchased, and how they can get started using it?

What about an email that asks a new customer to check out your social media accounts or your blog?

These are examples of onboarding emails. Onboarding is the process of following up with a customer after they purchase something from you in order to give them an answer to their question, “what’s next?” It also helps get your customers familiarized with your products and services.

For example, if I’m a software company, and you’ve just purchased a new bookkeeping program from me, you’re probably going to either A) immediately start using the program as intended or B) forget about it for awhile, come back to it later when you’re not as busy, and struggle to know where to even begin using it. Most people are going to do scenario B in this illustration.

In scenario B, you have a prime opportunity to send an email to their inbox, reminding them to do something simple, such as activating their service, viewing the online Help Guide for the program, contacting you for questions, etc.

Onboarding through emails can accomplish a number of goals quickly and efficiently for your business. Instead of tying up phone lines, or having to take time to respond to emailed questions, you can simply setup an automated email that sends out to all your new customers whenever you are given their email address.

Want to promote your social media accounts or your blog? There’s an email for that! You can even send new customers an overview type email of your business and include all the places they can find you online (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)

Are you a website design company that needs to get your customers to submit important information to you so you can finish building a website? Send an email that reminds your new customers to send these things to you.

Don’t be pushy about it, but let them know that this info is important to helping you finish their website in a timely fashion.

Are you a wholesale supplier working in a B2B relationship with another company? Do you send out invoices each month reminding buyers to submit their payments to you? You can use an onboarding email with a new customer to get them to easily setup an online account with you, to make their payment process easy and efficient.

For example, lots of companies now have an Auto Pay system to make paying for products and services easy and always on time. You can use an onboarding email to let new customers know that they can easily set up Auto Pay online by clicking on a link that you include in the email.

Onboarding emails help to show your customers that you’re invested in them and that they’re not just a way for you to make a profit. It’s a great way to retain customers and keep them from switching to a company that could be your competitor.

There’s no shortage of ways that you can use an onboarding email to streamline your work flow, and help your customers out in the process, as well!