Category Archives: Social Media

Facebook’s Biggest Threat: Facebook

Facebook changing its News Feed algorithm to show us only the “best” and “most interesting” content is nothing new. It’s the perpetual thorn in social media managers’ sides as brand posts suffer a slow death of consistently decreasing organic reach. (Since Facebook’s latest algorithm change last month, average organic reach has dropped from 16 percent down to frightening 2-3 percent.)But really, what choice does Facebook have?

As Facebook continues to burrow itself into our daily lives, we share more. And the more that we share, the more competition our content faces to cut through the clutter. Facebook even admits that organic reach of business pages will continue to decrease. According to Facebook, there are 1,500 possible stories that they could show in the News Feed each day, but only 300 stories make the cut. The writing’s on the wall: the number of daily stories will continue to rise, but we’re still only going to see the same 300 stories, leaving an ever-increasing heap of important content on the cutting room floor and decreasing the value of the News Feed.

Facebook has become its own biggest threat. As Facebook grows, the quality of its product diminishes, and that doesn’t bode well for anybody: users get frustrated that they’re missing important content from their friends and favorite brands, and brands get frustrated that they now have to pay to reach their fans due to stifled organic reach. At some point, Facebook will crumble under its own weight as a monstrous user base is overwhelmed and frustrated by an unsustainable News Feed. The strength of any social network is directly tied to the satisfaction of its user experience, and that’s eroding…fast.

A little melodramatic? Perhaps. But as we are faced with an increasingly manic News Feed, Millenials are abandoning Facebook at an alarming rate. Users (and by extension, brands) have already begun seeking other platforms to connect with their friends and customers that cut through the clutter with easily consumable content (see also: Snapchat, Instagram and Vine).

At the very least, there’s an important (but often overlooked) lesson for all of us digital marketers: social media was around long before Facebook, and it will continue to evolve long after Facebook’s reign ends. Excelling in social means more than just crafting a super viral Facebook post. It’s about diversifying the social experience so that if one platform fails, you’re still able to deliver cross-platform social experiences to the target audience in meaningful and valuable ways.

Diversification

Have you seen any decreases in the organic reach of your brand’s posts? Share your observations in the comments.

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12 Important Changes Coming with Facebook Timeline for Pages

Yesterday Facebook announced the next installment of its Timeline layout, Timeline for Pages. We anticipated that this change was coming to brand Pages and assumed some of the changes, but yesterday we learned exactly how Facebook Pages will change on March 30, 2012, when Timeline for Pages is rolled out to all Pages. So, what’s changing?

1.        “The Wall” is now “The Timeline”


If you’re not familiar with the Timeline layout, it encourages beautiful graphics and media-rich posts. A lot of real estate is now given to brands to be able to have an attention-grabbing cover photo that spans the top of the page and larger post sizes that can display photos and videos without feeling crowded. Note that Facebook has also released a  specific policy about what can be included in the cover photo creative. The cover photo may not contain any of the following:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40 percent off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information, such as Web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

 

2.        Landing Pages Disappear

Instead of directing new visitors to a beautifully designed custom landing page, visitors will be sent to the Timeline. If you want visitors to land on a particular tab within Facebook, you can link there through a Facebook ad or a post on your Page’s Timeline.

3.        Add Company Milestones

Do you have a legacy brand that has a rich history? If so, you can now add events to your Page’s Timeline to help create a visual history of the company. When did your first store open? When did you launch your first product? When did you move to a bigger office? These are just some of the milestones that you can now add to your Page’s Timeline. Try adding nostalgic photos to help increase the emotional connection with fans.

4.        Pinning Posts to the Top

Important or popular posts can be pinned to the top of the Timeline so that more recent content doesn’t bury important content. When you pin a post, it will stay pinned for one week before losing the top placement. If you are promoting a contest or want to drive traffic to a specific application or tab, this may be the best way to make sure that your content is seen.

5.        Tabs Are Less Visible

Tabs and custom applications that live on those tabs are now moved to the top of the Page rather than the left column. With the new layout, tabs are allowed a larger thumbnail, but because the thumbnails take up more space, only two custom tabs can be shown “above the fold.” In order to view the rest of the tabs, a user must click on a dropdown button. This extra step may become familiar in time, but it will always be important to make sure that you feature the two most important tabs “above the fold.”

 6.        Existing Tabs and Applications Will Immediate Require Attention

Even though tabs will lose some visibility, it will still be important to still have tabs on your Page. When Timeline for Pages goes live, tab visitors will see a larger tab page with more pixels available for the tab creative. This is great news because there will be more creative real estate, but unless brands take action now and revise existing tab creative, the tab creative will be auto-adjusted in the new layout. Facebook will automatically center the creative, leaving a noticeable amount of white space surrounding the tab’s content.

7.        Send Private Messages to Fans


For brands that use Facebook as a customer service tool, this development is great news. Fans now have the opportunity to send the brand a private message through Facebook’s messaging platform. These private messages work in the same way as personal Facebook messages and allow brands and fans to discretely communicate with each other without the conversation appearing on the Page’s Timeline.

8.        New Admin Panel

The new admin panel – visible only to Page admins – will be displayed at the top of the Page’s Timeline and provide quick and easy access for admins to view Insights, respond to fans’ private messages, edit the Page information and edit Timeline posts.

9.        Facebook Offers

Facebook is now rolling out Facebook Offers. This is a free product that will be available to all Pages and allow you to create a coupon for your Facebook fans. The coupons are simple and include an area for a thumbnail image and the details of the offer. With just one click, fans can have the coupon sent to their email and/or mobile phone; fans don’t have to grant permissions or go through any extra steps. Simply by clicking “Get Offer,” fans will instantly receive the coupon.

10.     Facebook Premium

Facebook’s internal research (and common sense) has shown that more Facebook users engage with stories, rather than ads. A new Facebook advertising product titled “Facebook Premium” will take a story that is published to your Page’s Timeline and display the story directly in a user’s News Feed (even non-fans). Additionally, these ads will be shown in the News Feeds of mobile devices as well as on the logout page when someone logs out of Facebook. Now, rather than clicking on an ad, users can engage with a story directly. This engagement will generate additional stories that will extend the reach of the ad unit.

11.     Facebook Reach Generator

Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm prevents Page content from reaching all of a Page’s fans and only shows a Page’s content to the fans that are most engaged with the Page. Yesterday, Facebook revealed that, on average, only 16% of a Page’s fans see the Page’s content. So what about the other 84%? Facebook is rolling out a new advertising product called Facebook Reach Generator that will take a story that is published to your Page’s Timeline and post it in the right column of your fans’ News Feeds. These ad units will only be shown to fans of your Page, but Facebook guarantees that your sponsored stories will reach at least 75% of your Page’s fans.

12.     Change Your Fan Page Name

When you registered your Page, did you misspell your brand name or have since wished you’d named your Page differently? Facebook is now allowing Pages to request name changes to your Page. To do this, you must contact Facebook Customer Service

 

It’s Time to Act!

March 30, 2012 is right around the corner and there are a lot of things that you should begin doing right now to make sure that your Facebook Page doesn’t suffer when the existing layout is sunset at the end of the month. Now’s the time to begin working on creating an updated Facebook strategy and editing and building your Page’s creative assets. We knew that this transition was coming to Pages and now that it’s here and we know the exact changes, it’s time to act!


Why SOPA Will Stifle Innovation

What has always made America great is its ability to lead the world in innovation. That innovation may be at risk of being censored as Congress considers legislation titled the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The legislation is meant to help protect American innovation by punishing off-shore copyright infringers, but unfortunately this legislation will ultimately punish the very innovation it’s intended to protect.

I try to avoid taking political stances (it tends to be bad business), but if SOPA is passed, it would stifle free enterprise in an industry that is leading American innovation. I was surprised to see that this legislation is supported largely by pro-business legislators and organizations; groups I might normally endorse. As an entrepreneur, I fail to understand supporters’ shortsightedness on this issue. Don’t misunderstand me, websites that knowingly pirate content should be punished, but the current SOPA bill is so broad that innocent websites could get swept into the fray.

The legislation is structured in such a way that if a copyright infringement claim is submitted on a piece of content, the entire website will be investigated. During this investigation the entire website in question would be blocked. For example, if a pirated video makes its way onto YouTube and an infringement claim is submitted, YouTube.com will shutdown in its entirety during the investigation. Additionally, YouTube could be held liable for hosting that illegal content. This increased risk of liability litigation would lead to the destruction of the user-generated content movement that has been so important to the Internet’s growth over the past few years.

Moreover, the FBI’s servers need to be able to access and shutdown any suspected websites of infringement. This means that security standards that been implemented in recent years to protect consumers’ privacy would have to be rolled back, leaving millions of consumers at risk.

Big companies like YouTube, Google and Facebook may have the financial wherewithal to endure a piracy infringement claim, but smaller tech startups wouldn’t be able to afford an investigation, even if the claim turns out to be false. A website shutdown means lost revenue and expensive legal fees, a deadly combination for startups. How can legislation like this promote economic growth? At such an important time in our economy, we cannot afford to stifle innovation and free enterprise. The rest of the Internet largely agrees.

Today, the Internet united to protest SOPA. In an act of solidarity, dozens of high-profile websites have expressed their opposition to the bill. Each website took a stand in their own unique way, but the message was always the same: SOPA would kill the Internet and the innovation that fuels it. Turntable.fm’s anti-SOPA statement was subtle but strong. Google dedicated its iconic Doodle to state its opposition to the bill. In a more bold statement, Wikipedia actually shut down their entire website, dramatically demonstrating how SOPA might affect the Web.

 

 

 

 

 

Content pirates will always find ways to circumvent the system; they’ve been doing it for decades. The only accomplishment of this bill would be to punish the companies that are growing our economy. There has to be a better way to investigate and punish these pirates; SOPA is definitely not the answer. What do you think?


America’s Got Social Media

With my favorite TV shows on summer vacation, there isn’t a whole lot to watch on network TV. I’ve spent the first part of my summer watching reality talent shows. I know, must-see TV, right? That’s what the producers of reality shows like America’s Got Talent and The Voice realized too. These shows have a tendency to get drawn out and dragged on, so they need a way to keep their viewers engaged and coming back week after week.

In a witty attempt to increase engagement with its viewers, these shows have begun to interact with the audience beyond the end-of-show voting lines. These shows have realized that a live TV show is a great way to connect with an audience.

NBC’s The Voice hooked up with its audience through Twitter. Judges and contestants were tweeting real-time with the show. They also had a social media lounge backstage where Twitter users could ask contestants questions on air. Twitter worked well for the show. After many of the contestants performed their songs on live TV, those contestants were trending worldwide on Twitter (in other words, a lot of people were tweeting about those contestants’ performances). The Voice was a new show this summer, and it seems that Twitter was an effective way to prove the show’s value and bring it back for Season 2.

Another NBC show, America’s Got Talent, also embraced social media this season. The producers have setup a dedicated Twitter hashtag for the show and displays it at the bottom of the screen throughout the show. Nick Cannon, the host, also directs viewers to NBC.com where fans can read contestants’ blogs and Facebook and Twitter feeds.

I’m not sure if other reality talent competitions like American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance? are following suit, because honestly, I can only put myself through so much torture. But I’m sure that if these other shows haven’t got the hint this season, they’ll be beefing up their viewer engagement by next season with some of the same strategies, and hopefully, some new ones.

Now I just have to hope that some of the real TV shows like Fringe, Parenthood and The Office can figure out a way to incorporate social media into their programming this Fall. Then, watching TV can be considered work. Fingers crossed.

What TV shows have you seen add some social media flair to their programming?


Is Google+ a Facebook-Killer?

Is Google+ a Facebook-Killer?

If you haven’t heard, Google announced its latest attempt at a social network a few weeks ago. Google’s tried several times to take make its products more social (ie the recent fails of Google Buzz and Google Wave) and to steal some of Facebook’s limelight, but to no avail. Google hopes that Google+ is the goose that lays the social egg.


I claimed my Google+ account the other night and started playing around on the site. Because Google+ is still in beta testing and not everyone can join yet (you need an invite from other Google+ users), I could only add a handful of folks into my “circles.”

Google+’s circles are groups that you put all of your connections into. There is a “family” circle, “friends” circle, “acquaintances” circle, “enter group name here” circle, etc. It’s kind of a neat idea. These circles act as completely separate mini social networks. If I want to share a great article with my Industry Connections circle, I don’t have to worry about my relatives referring me to Geeks Anonymous meetings (again…). Similarly, if I wish my Grandma a happy birthday and share it with my Family circle, I don’t have to worry about my Industry Connections “uncircling” me for sharing disinteresting posts (imagine those useless/annoying tweets about waking up, putting on socks and eating a bowl of Cheerios).

Another neat feature is group video chat (called Hangouts). Hangouts allow you to setup a video chat with up to 10 other people from your circles. The video chat window lines up all of the Hangout attendees along the bottom of the screen and automatically recognizes which participant is talking and shows their video feed enlarged in the middle of the screen. Pretty sweet functionality.

With Google+ being so new, I feel like I’m on a tiny island and really unable to make these connections that Google hopes that I will make. Now, it’s a matter of testing out the tools, completing my profile and twiddling my thumbs until (or more likely, if) Google+ is more widely adopted (if you’re on this island with me, you can find me at http://gplus.to/pwocken).

At this point, there is a lot of exciting buzz about Google+. There always is with these sites, especially when it comes from Google. New sites always have a lot of bells and whistles, but once the Geekerati (present company included) find a new and different shiny object, these once brilliant services quickly become dulled and unused.

When Facebook and Twitter started, they started small and organically grew to be the behemoths that they are today. Google seems to be taking a different approach (mostly because they’re already a behemoth in their own right) by heavily marketing the product to an already large Google membership base. Facebook waited 30 months before it was openly available to the general public and not just college kids. Can Google just ignore the industry-standard incubation period and step right into being a major industry player?

So is Google+ a Facebook-killer? It’s still too early to tell. We won’t know the impact of Google+ until it leaves the beta stage and has some time in the marketplace. My gut tells me that Google+ might stick around as a service used by other Google loyalists, but I don’t think they become the preferred social network. My money’s on Facebook taking some of the features that make Google+ unique and building them into the Facebook platform so that there’s really no incentive for Facebookers to abandon ship for Google+.

The true test will be once Google+ is more widely available. Really, it doesn’t matter how many millions of users the service has. All that matters is if your closest 50 friends are using the service. Only then might you consider switching from Facebook to Google+. It’s these small groups of friends that will make the service successful, not a well-publicized and over-hyped marketing campaign.

What do you think? Have you tried Google+ yet? Do you think it’s going to take a chunk out of Facebook’s market share? Please share your comments below. Also, if you’re out on Google+, feel free to add a link to your profile in the Comments so that other Google+ers can find you.


HOW TO: Cure Social Media Burnout

Everywhere I turn, there’s a new social network, another social media utility and another account to set up. Obviously, it’s impossible to be an active member of every site that comes around, but it sure doesn’t stop people (including yours truly) from giving it a “college try.” Before long, I found myself suffering from social media burnout. Been there? Well, there are some steps you can take to prevent yourself from falling in the same trap or cure yourself of social media burnout if you’re already there.

I wrote on this topic at the d.trio blog this morning (HOW TO: Cure Social Media Burnout), but I’ll summarize the steps below:

  1. Focus on the networks that matter
  2. Focus on the people that matter
  3. Pace yourself
  4. Consolidate your feeds
  5. Don’t forget about real networking

There you have it. Follow these instructions (as needed) and take on an empty stomach. If there is no improvement in 7-10 days, repeat steps 1-5 and seek professional help. To read the full post, go to d.trio’s blog

Have you suffered from social media burnout in the past? How did you cure your burnout and renew your penchant for social media? Or did you just give up? Please share your comments below!



10 Reasons to NOT Ban Social Media at Work

Top 10 Reasons to NOT Ban Social Media

 

A lot of employers are opting to ban social media at work. For any number of reasons, they feel that social media is distracting to employees, makes the organization susceptible to viruses or is just a trend. Most often, these bans are counterproductive and can actually end up hurting the organization.

A couple of days ago, I wrote on this topic on d.trio’s blog (Top 10 Reasons to Not Ban Social Media), but I’ll list the 10 reasons to not ban social media at work below (in no particular order):

  1. The organization can’t add social media into the marketing mix if it bans its own employees
  2. Employee’s social media use can be an asset
  3. Unobtrusive breaks can increase overall productivity
  4. Build employee’s knowledge of social media
  5. Social media builds morale
  6. Retain and attract top talent
  7. Social media can solve problems
  8. Employees that are treated like children will act like children
  9. Social networks can be used for professional networking
  10. No employees sneaking behind your back

What are your experiences? Does your organization allow social media at work? Is it banned? Please share your experiences in the Comments.