Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’


Confession of a Social Media Consultant

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

By Brad Wester

secret-1142327_960_720 I’ve been a freelance social media consultant for several years, and I have a confession to make.

The power of social media is a myth.

You know that great idea you have for your next Facebook post? It’s probably worthless. I’m not trying to be harsh, and I’m not saying you have terrible ideas, but take a moment to think about it. How many people are going to see that post? Hint: not enough.

In 2015, Facebook organic reach dropped from an average of 12% to under 6%. This trend has continued in 2016. Facebook’s organic reach is low and continues to drop. Reaching less than 6% of your audience isn’t powerful. It’s time to stop posting and hoping for the best. It’s time for a plan.

The power of social media has always been a myth. The true power is in the planning – it’s in the development of a social media strategy.

Posting on social media without a strategy means your posts may be missing your targeting audience. You may be posting at the wrong times, creating the wrong content and using the wrong call to actions. You could be using improper tracking methods or relying on the wrong metrics to show success. Without a social media strategy, you’re at risk of wasting time and energy that could be spent more effectively on other parts of your business. You may even be hurting the future success of your Facebook page due to poor performance now.

Having a fully developed social media strategy is essential and should include the ability to track and analyze data in each step. Tracking data will allow you to determine what social networks you should focus on, what type of content is most effective, if it’s more effective to create a wide variety of content, simply promote high performing content to a larger audience and even how much you can afford to spend on promoting your high-performing content.

More social networks, including Instagram and Snapchat, are creating algorithms to determine what content to show users. These algorithms will continue to decrease organic reach and increase competition, driving up the cost of effective social media marketing. Developing a social media strategy will help you rise above your competition.

It’s time to stop posting and start planning.

 

Byline

Brad Wester is a freelance digital marketing consultant specializing in helping small businesses create engaging online experiences that generate leads and drive sales. Follow Brad on Twitter: @wester_brad.

Facebook Exec Mike Buckley on How PR Pros Can Use Data

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Facebook Mike Buckely Data PR BurrellesLuce Media Measurement Press Clipping Media Monitoring

by flickr user r2hox under CC BY-SA

by Kristan Nicholson

Besides being a devoted husband, father of two girls and member of the 40-something-man band “The Love Handles,” Mike Buckley is also VP of Global Business Communications at Facebook.

On the final day of the PRSA 2014 International Conference in Washington, D.C., he tells the crowd of more than 800 communicators that “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share, to make the world more open and connected. The ONLY way we can do this, to service our 1.3 billion customers, is through the use of data, math and analytics.” And every PR person in the room cringed. “Gasp!  Math?!”

He asked how many people in the room majored in math, data or analytics in college and maybe one person responded. But we all measure results, right? This proves that we can use data without math; we just need to embrace it and not be afraid of it. We can become analytical without being a math expert, as simple analytics can have tangible benefits and drive business results. We must correlate our press results with business metrics. Test small audiences, look at K factor (the virality of a story), review social chatter (small clusters of people who are responsible for majority of chatter), and communicate with that group.

Buckley continued to tell us that data equals power; data equals intelligence; data keeps executives from panicking.  And there are three laws of news cycles: Understand the cycle; shorten (or extend?) the cycle; and get ahead of it.  None of us can manage what we can’t measure. None of us can advise what we don’t measure.  And if we (PR pros) don’t do it, how can we ever get a seat at the table?

Every other executive function does their jobs grounded in data and analysis, and we need to pick up our game. Several ways we can do this is by having lunch with someone in our company responsible for analytics. Marry PR with their art. Push our clients to spend money on analytics. Fight for the right to test.  And most importantly: approach everything with an ethical framework. Always do the right thing.

Mike concluded with a story, which seemingly challenged everything he’d just told us. He started by saying: “The biggest lever on Facebook reputation has to do with the experience people have with their product.” Their best day was the launch of their “Look Back” video. When Jesse Berlin’s dad made a video standing in his living room with tears flowing down his cheeks begging someone at Facebook to help him recover his late son’s “Look Back” video, it didn’t go viral. It didn’t have a K-factor.  And data would never explain John’s pain. Because regardless of the fact that data can tell us so much, predicting business outcomes will never replace human action. And there should be days when data simply shouldn’t matter. Mike’s team retrieved Jesse’s video for his dad and THAT is what it’s all about.

 

 

How Targeted Is Too Targeted? 3 Tips For Using Local Ads Responsibly

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Facebook Local Awareness Ads Tips BurrellesLuce Ellis Friedman Media Monitoring PR Software Public Relations

flickr user viZZZual.com under CC BY

Yesterday, Facebook announced its new advertising feature, local awareness ads. Their messaging portrays this as a tool primarily aimed at helping local businesses reach more people, but the way the feature works is it shows the ad to people who live in the area or were recently within a certain radius of the business.

What Facebook doesn’t elaborate on is how they know who had been near the business or where exactly – or within what one mile radius – people live. Surely geotagged posts and photos will play into it, but since a new feature can track your location through your phone (though so far, on a purely opt-in basis), it seems their precise targeting tools have only gotten more precise.

Local awareness ads are certainly appealing to brick-and-mortar businesses of any size and should help Facebook generate even more advertising revenue, but it also risks making users feel surveilled. So businesses considering implementing local awareness ads will have to consider whether their targeted ads will cause their audience to feel uncomfortable. Take the example of the marketer who hypertargeted Facebook ads for his roommate. The roommate became so paranoid he stopped talking on the phone for fear of being tracked. Though it was a prank, it’s a prime example of how targeting too well can backfire.

Of course, used with common sense and discretion, Facebook’s new feature won’t make people feel that way. We’ve talked before about how brand personalization can be done effectively without being creepy, so let’s revisit the topic with creating targeted ads that aren’t Big Brother-y.

Make sure it’s opt-in

Whenever you’re using a location-targeted ad platform or service, do your due diligence and make sure that data is collected on an opt-in basis. This means that the setting that collects data should not be a default; it should ask users explicitly to opt in, and then make it easy for them to opt out at any time. While making something opt in isn’t your responsibility, you want to make sure you’re using platforms responsibly so that you don’t find yourself a scapegoat or example of creepy behavior.

Don’t talk to them about where they are

Your location-specific ad probably shouldn’t say, “Hey! We see you’re just down the street, come on in!” This definitely sounds creepy. Craft a better, more engaging message like, “Looking for ___?” or, “We’ve got ____” or even something vaguely targeted like, “Whatever you need isn’t far away.”

The most important thing is that, even though people are being tracked by a lot of providers like Facebook, Google, and mobile companies, the key is to avoid making them feel like they’re being tracked. Instead, the goal is to be just helpful enough that your ad seems serendipitous

Don’t give people things they don’t ask for

This should sound obvious, and it isn’t something you could do through Facebook’s local awareness ads, but don’t give people digital things they didn’t agree to. Apple learned that lesson the hard way last month when they paid U2 lots of money and then delivered the new album to every iTunes user.

Just like a lot of other aspects of brand personalization and targeted advertising, it’s all about striking a balance and being helpful, not overly personal. Exercise common sense and go forth and reach that target audience!

Is Social Really Earned Media? A Look at Impending Twitter Algorithm Changes

Monday, September 8th, 2014
Social media earned media twitter algorithm changes BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Media Monitoring PR Software News Clipping Press Clipping

flickr user marek.sotak under CC BY

When public relations pros class their media by POE – aka Paid, Owned, and Earned media – social media sites like your Facebook and Twitter pages are generally classified as owned media. But with last year’s unpopular Facebook algorithm changes and the apparently inevitable introduction of a Twitter algorithm next year, brands could be losing even more social media reach.

According to Digiday, one of the potential changes to Twitter could be a change to the chronological feed, so it may become more like Facebook in that the algorithm chooses what it thinks are the most important tweets to share. Anthony Noto, financial chief at Twitter, told The Wall Street Journal that Twitter’s feed as it is now “isn’t the most relevant experience for a user” and may cause important tweets to get lost at the bottom of a feed.

Such an algorithm change could also be a blow to real-time marketing – you may still be able to do it, but it might not be free anymore.

Of course, there might be some changes that work in your favor; The Wall Street Journal reports that there could be a better search engine and group chats, features which enterprising social media users will be quick to leverage to their advantage.

It’s too early to know exactly what changes will be made, but it’s a good reminder that while you may “own” the space that is your Twitter or Facebook page in that you can control the content you share, you don’t control how it’s published or how many of your followers will get to see it.

Early speculation also means it gives you time to diversify your strategies. As brands that relied heavily on Facebook for marketing and branding before the algorithm changes can attest, putting all your social media eggs in one basket can make it difficult to recover when, inevitably, the social media platform decides it wants to make more money and changes everything you’ve known.

So while you can’t devise specific strategies just yet, having an early awareness means you can continue to do what you do while adding focus to other channels in the event that Twitter makes changes that would affect your reach and/or budget.

Do you have a strategy for dealing with algorithm changes? How will you adapt your social media strategy?

 

Four Key Findings from the 2014 Top Media Outlets List

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
by flickr user Sean MacEntee under CC BY license

by flickr user Sean MacEntee under CC BY license

What’s the most circulated newspaper? What are the most visited blogs and social media sites? Every year, BurrellesLuce publishes its Top Media Outlets list to show the leading traditional and social media outlets in the U.S. according to circulation, visits, authority, market share, or DMA. Below are the four most notable things we learned from the latest Top Media Outlets list, which was published last week.

Want a copy? It’s free –  download it here.

USA Today takes the top newspaper spot

USA Today displaced The Wall Street Journal as the daily paper with the highest circulation. USA Today made a huge leap, gaining over 1 million subscriptions since our last Top Media Outlets List in June 2013. That large spike may be attributed to the paper’s digital editions, which were not reported last year. However, those digital editions are free of charge, and USA Today reported lower circulation revenue in the third quarter due to hotels moving from paper subscriptions to digital ones.

Blogs are gaining ground – especially BuzzFeed

Though The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed retained their number one and two slots respectively, Buzzfeed narrowed the gap significantly; in November 2013, BuzzFeed had its biggest month ever with 130 million unique visitors, which they attribute in part to Facebook’s algorithm change. Interestingly, every single top blog increased in Technorati Authority, so while marketers may bemoan that the algorithm changes hide their organization’s page updates, the bright side may be that it’s driving more traffic to content.

Google Plus is rising, but it’s still behind

Google Plus had a big year, and it jumped from number seven to number four on this latest Top Media Outlets list, displacing Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Yahoo Answers. That’s a big step for a social network still described as a ghost town. But it’s still below Twitter, and virtually light years away from Facebook and YouTube, social networks numbers one and two respectively. And while some researchers are predicting Facebook’s demise, it still posted an increase in visits share.

Instagram made it to the list

The most notable addition to the top social networks list is that of Instagram, which didn’t make it into the top ten on our last list. The photo-based social media site is not only popular with dedicated selfie takers, but it’s also becoming more of a marketing tool, so it might be time for brands and marketers to consider optimizing and leveraging Instagram.

Click here to download the 2014 Top Media Outlets list.