Archive for Blogging

Setting up Polls on a Facebook Fan Page

I’m always looking for ways to make the PuddleDucks Facebook fan page more interesting and engaging. Adding user polls is one way to achieve this and after doing a bit of research discovered that they are very straightforward to set up. The seven easy steps to do this are outlined below.

Firstly, there are many Facebook Poll Apps available but the one I choose is the PollDaddy Facebook App. The reason I selected PollDaddy was that I had come across their polls many times (by voting in them) and … like us, they’re an Irish based company.

So here’s how you do it:

1. Install the App from this link and add the Application to your Facebook fan page.

2. Now go to your Facebook page and press the “+” button on the tabs to see the application. At this stage there will be no live poll visible but you should still see the “Polls” tab. You can also drag this new tab to position it in the six visible tabs seen at the top of your page (rather than just being in the “+” section).

3. Next, create your first poll by going to the PollDaddy Facebook App page here and clicking on the “Create a New Poll” tab.

4. Now set up details for your Poll Question and Answers. You also set up the visibility of the Poll, either Private (only to your friends) or Public. For your Facebook page poll you should set this to Public.

5. There is also a checkbox asking whether to add the poll to a Facebook page. If you are the admin of a fan page you will see the page listed once you click the checkbox.

6. Click on “Next Step” and hey presto! Your poll is now available on your Facebook page.

7. You can check its status at any time by going to the same PollDaddy Facebook App page and clicking “My Polls”.

Just to try it out I set up a quick Christmas poll on our Facebook page, asking the important question “What’s at the top of your Christmas Tree?”. Both “Star” and “Angel” are running neck and neck at the moment. You can add your vote in the poll by clicking here.

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Happy Birthday Sesame Street

It’s the 40th Birthday of Sesame Street and to mark the occasion we’ve got our friend Ernie singing to his Rubber Duckie. From Puddle Ducks to Rubber Ducks!

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New Facebook Fan Page Restrictions

Facebook have just published new guidelines for running draws, giveaways and any other kind of promotions on fan pages. This is very interesting for me as I administer the active PuddleDucks Facebook fan page. I am sure that Facebook have good reasons to cover themselves legally for possible liability from promotions but I feel that these new restrictions are hugely over the top.

FB page

I am a big fan of the possibilities for customer engagement on fan pages. In the last six months, our Facebook page has been the most interesting, exciting and successful form of social networking with customers for PuddleDucks. On the page we engage with fans in many ways. Here are some examples that these guidelines say are outlawed in future.

  • We run a monthly draw among our fans for a prize of DVD’s, fridge magnets, etc.: NOT ALLOWED
  • We communicate the name of the winner on Facebook: NOT ALLOWED
  • We occasionally ask fans to post photos and select a winner among them e.g. our recent Halloween pumpkin contest: NOT ALLOWED
  • We run occasional fun contests and ask fans to guess by posting their answers by commenting on the status update: NOT ALLOWED

I am not sure what problem Facebook are trying to address here but the new guidelines are complete overkill and if enforced, will alienate small business users of Facebook fan pages. I hope Facebook will reconsider.

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Making Video without a Video Camera

Creating your own video content online is a great way to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website and increase findability for your site or service. Shooting and editing video is getting easier all the time but there are other ways to get video content online without picking up the video camera.  

Here are two sites we have used to create video content for the PuddleDucks YouTube channel.

1. Animoto

Animoto creates video from photos. It couldn’t be easier. Just upload your selection of photos, select the display sequence, select a few of the photos that you would like to be specially highlighted and select your music soundtrack. Hey presto! You have your video.

Here’s an example of one of our own Animoto videos.

2. Xtra Normal

The tag-line of Xtra Normal is “if you can type then you can make movies”. It allows you to create video with animated characters speaking the lines that you have typed. You can also change the camera angles, add sounds and add character gestures. It is so easy to use and fun to make.

Here’s one we made earlier …

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Using Facebook Ads to Get More Fans

We’ve been running Facebook Ads on and off for over six months now – with varying degrees of success. Overall they can be divided into two types of advertisement:

1) Ads that take people your website 2) Ads to get more fans on your Facebook fan page.

For us the latter has been the most successful. I currently running some Facebook ads to get more fans and am satisfied with the value and results we are getting.

Here’s a few tips and information if you have a Facebook Fan Page and you are thinking of advertising for more fans.

  • Make the ads compeling and give it an incentive for people to click. From trial and error I have found that mentioning your special offers and giveaways work wonders. Here’s our latest ad:

Fb as fan

  •  Select the correct demographic for the ad – this should reflect the breakdown of your customer base.
  • If you mention in the ad that you have offers and giveaways then make sure you have them viewable on the fan page at the time you are running the ad.
  • Decide how much you are prepared to pay for a new fan and see if you are hitting this over time. For example I decided that I can pay 50 US cent for a new fan. You can easily see if you are getting this by looking at the stats. When you are running  an ad to get more fans you will see Cost per Action well as Cost per Click. (when a person clicks on the ad and go to your page, they don’t all click again on the “Become a Fan” button). Cost per Action is the metric you need to keep an eye on. In the following table our Cost per Action for the lifetime of the ad works out at around 45 US cents. That’s 45 cents we are paying for each new fan – good value I think.

FB stats

In case your wondering why I belive that getting more fans on your Facebook page is a good thing for your business. It’s not just a numbers game, collecting fans for the sake of it. Your Facebook fans fall into 2 possible camps. They could be existing customers who are happy to engage with your brand and share this engagement with their Facebook friends. Or they could be Facebook users who have not yet purchased from you. In this case, I believe that there is a much higher chance of them turning into customers if they are fans on your Facebook page.

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PuddleDuckers Out and About 8

The latest in the series of customer stories we call “PuddleDuckers Out and About” comes from Roseanne Smith from Dublin. I love this photo of Roseanne’s two kids skipping happily to school wearing their PuddleDucks gear.

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Over to you Roseanne …

Living near Dublin City we normally cycle everyday finding it the only mode of transport that allows the time needed to argue the boys up, dressed, fed and ready to go. Myself and my husband have been taking the boys on the bike since they could support themselves sitting.

When I first read about PuddleDucks gear in the Irish Times 4 or 5 years ago, I was delighted especially when I discovered the hi-vis gear the nippers are sporting here, hi-vis being essential on the bicycle during those long winter months. The other thing I like is that the gear is more than roomy enough to fit plenty of warm clothes underneath. Sadly we even need this feature here in Ireland in May!

Two other features I like are the elasticated over the shoulder straps because they allow plenty of room for growth. While I enjoy watching my children grow and  develop sometimes my wallet groans at the prospect of purchasing a whole new selection of trousers or shoes! The other features on the coats which I love is the loop to hang the coats up and also the label with the space to write the child’s name. A must-have for school! You would be amazed at the number of coats that I have had to take a needle and thread to add on a loop and a nametag.

Thanks a lot Roseanne for allowing us to post your photo and story.

If any other parents would like to tell us their experiences of their children wearing our gear please contact us at into@puddleducks.ie

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Seth Godin on Tribes

Here’s an interesting and entertaining  presentation from Internet marketing guru Seth Godin about Tribes – leading and connecting people and ideas. He argues that the days of mass marketing are over and the new way to affect change and to get your ideas across is through building a community of like-minded people.

In our own small way at PuddleDucks,  we try to create and connect a tribe or community of our customers – people who like our products and are happy to spread the word about them to others. Word of mouth referrals have always been our main source of new business. We often read on our new orders that people have heard about us from ” a mother in the park”, ” a family of the beach” , ” a lady in a shop”, “friends”, etc.

The ways we currently build up our community are through the “PuddleDuckers” section on this blog – where customers tell their own stories, our Facebook Fan page, our presence on IGOpeople and by having  customer reviews on the PuddleDucks website. As stated in the presentation it’s no longer “a mass thing” and that with only 1000 true fans who believe in your products and are happy to spread the word, you can create and run a viable business.

This talk was given by Seth Godin in February 2009 at the TED conference in Long Beach, California. You can read Seth Godin’s blog here – it always makes interesting reading.

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Business Blogging Presentation

Posted today on the IIA blog, my slides about the PuddleDucks blog – with audio that I presented at the IIA Business Blogging – Join the Conversation Briefing on April 22nd. Thanks to Brendan Hughes of FBD.ie and BrendanHughes.ie for meshing the slides and the audio together and posting it up on Slideshare. And to Roseanne Smith for posting them on the IIA blog.

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The Starlings are Back

We get our annual visit from a family of starlings every year around this time. They take up residence under the tiles at the corner of our house and raise a brood of noisy and hungry chicks. It’s great to welcome them back.

Just like with us humans, it’s hard work being a Starling parent. Once the little ones have hatched, mum and dad are constantly bringing tasty morsels of worms and grubs to the nest. I’d say they bring the food every 5 minutes and when they return, the chicks make the loudest chirping they can to grab the attention of mum or dad. They quickly feed the “kids” and off they go for more. We’re looking forward to the fluffy young birds making their first appearance outside the nest in a few weeks time. 

Here’s a photo of one of the parents making a delivery of worms earlier today. 

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Get Voting Now in the IIA Net Visionary Awards

There’s only a few days of voting left for the 2009 Irish Internet Association Net Visionary Awards – voting closes on May1st. So there’s no time to waste – get voting now.

We’re delighted to be shortlisted in the following categories along with these brilliant people and businesses.

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Best Online Trader – sponsored by Realex Payments

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Best Business Blogger

Best of luck to all those shortlisted. See you all at the Awards on May 21st.

It would means a huge amount if we were to win one of the categories.

To cast your vote now please click here.

Thanks a lot.

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