Tag Archives: Facebook

Facebook algorithm: Focus on active users, paid strategy

13 Apr
Organic Reach in Facebook

Many suspect that Facebook is now reducing the relevant organic reach of brands in favor of more relevant paid content.

Summary: Facebook’s algorithm improves the relevant content in a user’s news feed. Most Facebook users are not active, but passive in their news feed and therefore accept the ‘improved’ news feed experience, which includes organic ‘and’ paid content.

Facebook has filtered its news feed with a sorting algorithm known as EdgeRank. This algorithm collects every possible signal to determine the relevance of every post to every user.

Your Facebook news feed is stuffed with tons of content that is then filtered in an attempt to create a user experience of ‘relevant’ posts. Facebook curates this relevance for you with both organic and paid posts. Facebook users, who nearly never adjust or improve their news feed, receive this feed.

Many suspect that Facebook is now reducing the relevant organic reach of brands in favor of more relevant paid content. So if Facebook will not willfully deliver brands into the normal news feed, brands have to find ways of sharing channel content more efficiently with users and/or purchasing paid ads from Facebook.

Focus on active rather than passive users

Active users will still drive to a brand’s Facebook channel directly for customer service, but brands can help active discovery of content through search, hashtags, co-branding, links, etc. It’s impractical to ask passive users to adjust their Facebook settings (Most Recent compared with the default Top Stories) to improve news feed penetration for your brand. Passive users won’t.

There are things that your brand can do organically for active users. These users are attempting to curate and filter their Facebook experience. These are the users that search for your brand and arrive on your Facebook page for regular features, who search for hashtags and keywords, and who scan the Friend Feed – “Paul Morrison likes Dearborn Sausage Company’s photo.”

Engagement from active curators (along with quality content) combined with paid ads is the formula that Facebook claims improves reach.

We will continue to monitor the issue of diminishing organic reach (falling from 45-40 percent to 10-12 percent in early 2014). Our initial strategy was to refine organic efforts to maximize our limited opportunities in the news feed. But it is becoming painfully obvious that brands on Facebook will have to consider a paid strategy, as well.

Subsequent discussion is that the end-game for Facebook is to reduce organic reach to zero and become a full-paid platform (much like a newspaper, and we know how things worked out with that model ;).

Play nice with Facebook’s algorithm

Don’t hold your breath on Facebook detailing all the factors in its son-of-EdgeRank algorithm, but here are a few factors that we know about, how they work and possible organic solutions (things you can do before paying for boost posts and sponsor ads).

  • Affinity factor: When a post receives high engagement (likes, comments, shares), Facebook serves on more news feeds. If many users are interested, then other users are likely interested. Organic Solutions: Improve the quality of useful info and improve engagement.
  • Timing factor: Know when your audience is online, and publish posts at those times. Organic Solutions: Review Facebook Insights and modify posting times in your editorial calendar.
  • Story Bumping factor: Facebook’s EdgeRank is believed to produce ‘Time Decay.’ This means that the older a post got, the less likely it would appear on news feeds. So if a lot of people engaged with your post (Affinity), Facebook might bump it back up the news feed. Organic Solutions: Improve the quality of useful info and improve engagement.
  • Instagram Weight factor: Facebook weights new page features high including sharing of Instagram posts on Facebook (‘regramming’). Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012. Organic Solutions: ‘Regram’ content in your Facebook news feed.
  • Last Actor factor: Facebook will survey that past 50 engagements of a user, giving more weight to posts from pages the user has recently interacted with. Organic Solutions: Increase affirmation, comment threads with top users.
  • Links factor: Instead of embedding a links, try adding an image and putting the link in the status update section. Users will interact more with images. This produces a larger image versus the small image that Facebook displays with the embedded link. Organic Solutions: Add image and add link to image status.

Facebook best practices

What’s a brand to do next? Focus on these four things:

  1. Improve the quality of organic posts by understanding Facebook’s algorithm.
  2. Focus engagement efforts on active users rather than passive users.
  3. Prepare a limited paid strategy (Post Boost) and A/B test with organic posts.
  4. Cross promote on other social channels and especially channels that are already linked with Facebook (Instagram).

Kevin Cesarz is the Director of Social Engagement for Thread Marketing Group in Toledo. Ohio.

Respond in real-time, or don’t bother

6 Jun

A good response strategy carefully matches your creative and content to your influencers and your audience.

A good response strategy carefully matches your creative and content to your influencers and your audience.

Summary: Develop a digital response strategy by analyzing data and matching creative and content. This delivers more opportunities to use good content and makes paid and owned media better.

Real-time media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+) requires active response (real-time media = social media). Real-time media differentiates your brand from others. The right content (a status post and/or link to content), delivered at the right time and to the right customers can motivate strong emotional connections.

Real-time media is critical for communicating with customers and starting conversations. So pay attention. Be relevant in real-time and be prepared to respond. Building real-time Response Strategy means:

  • Analyzing data (Google Analytics and social media data)
  • Matching your creative and content to the news cycle
  • Matching your creative and content to influencers
  • Matching your creative and content to your audience

What response strategy delivers

When your brand is listening and learning with real-time (social media), you now have the detail you need to create better content for your digital channels that act as a resource or service. You can do good things like identify, curate, co-create and prep for triage.

  • Identify and inventory resources for the brand and thought leaders in industry.
  • Curate content for additional visibility (Storify, Pinterest, YouTube)
  • Develop opportunities to co-create content with influencers and customers
  • Response scenario plan (content triage): Build real-time channels and content sets for quickly responding to negative or disruptive situations.

What’s next?

The true value of paid and owned media is based on the impact of earned media. Show a pulse and respond decisively from your real-time (social) media. Earn value with your content or don’t bother.

How to explain the value of online communities

1 Oct
Online communities

Each community has a dramatically different entry point and different levels of sophistication but all are part of the map of the brand’s space for consumers.

How to explain the value of online communities? Well, first let’s try to explain the hierarchy of online communities.

Yes, we understand how valuable information is to brands. Information obtained online leads to innovation, research and development insights, customer service adjustments – this is new marketing – nurturing a brand dialogue and gaining actionable information.

Let’s look at three levels of community conversation for General Motors. Level one is the all-purpose Facebook fan page

Facebook fan page (General Motors)

  • Cost: Free staging; but $$ for custom integrated applications
  • Creative: Custom cover images; custom timeline, tab applications
  • Audience: Entry-level buyers, employees (415,000 fans, engagement 8,900 ‘people talking about this’)
  • Administration: News feed, editorial calendar, moderated engagement, links references to other channels
  • Advantages: Entry-level engagement, relatively low-cost, Facebook Insight metrics; access to Facebook ad network

Next, the GM conversation might jump to an enthusiast blog/community like Jalopnik, a weblog covering cars, car culture, and the automotive industry. Contributors to Gawker Media’s Jalopnik regularly attend media events and press conferences hosted by automotive manufacturers.

Jalopnik blog (GM discussion)

  • Cost: Private, sign-in for commenting, accessing tips, delivering story tips to editors
  • Audience: Car industry execs, industry insiders, car enthusiasts (1.6 million monthly readers; 78,000 Facebook fans)
  • Administration: Blog feed, moderated comments, links to other channels, sources
  • Advantages: More focused, relevant interest. Higher level of authority and credibility to combine with brand

Finally, the GM conversation might jump to a gated community like Liveworld, an invitation-only community for the automotive brand..

Liveworld (GM elite discussion)

  • Cost: $8-$10,000 monthly for hosted web experience
  • Audience: Invited members of a brand’s leadership (CEOs) and expertise (top engineers, developers) with selected investors, division CEOs, industry influencers (with a mix of passionate consumers and potential consumers)
  • Administration: Community thread, moderated comments, introductions via email (Less moderated more constructive dialogues supported by resourceful content and creative challenges)
  • Advantages: Displays exclusivity (think golf country club). Heavily filtered, focused discussion points, (yes, but listening is a core priority within our space, natural concerns and connections spur organic growth and refocus discussion topics) with access to top decision-makers and leaders from most important customers. Connectedness is the reward and return for consumers to have invested their time. Being heard, taking part, co-creating my brand.

Summary: All of these communities have the same goal – to allow the customer to comment on and share the brand’s experience and in turn allow the brand actionable intelligence to refine its marketing goals. The goal is to listen and to respond to customers, learning and creating lasting connections through one-to-one interaction.

Each community has a dramatically different entry point and different levels of sophistication but all are part of the map of the brand’s space for consumers.

Content cooking: Filet of post with leftovers

4 Jul
Content inventory desserts

The desserts in your content inventory are the well-crafted content that would be appropriate to reference or recycle when it tastes good (trending in the news cycle).

Joan Canning’s guest column in the Toledo Free Press on the complexity of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was so good that it deserved a second publishing cycle and a look at a simple content distribution action.

The Toledo Free Press circulated the 700 word article in its May print and online editions. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still a trending topic on Google Trends let’s share the good word on our content hub (blog or main website) and social channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube).

Main course: Content Hub

Joan summarized the article on her content hub, her blog HR Advocate, which guides employers through the complexities of employment regulations. The summary on HR Advocate then directed readers to the original source.

Side dishes: Social Channels

She then created a status post on HR Advocate’s Facebook fan page for followers who would not be exposed to the Free Press article but would see the link summary on Facebook.

Moving on to HR Advocate’s Twitter channel, she shared detail on the original article and accompanying information in several tweets.

Having set up automatic posting from the HR Advocate Twitter channel, Joan’s LinkedIn followers were exposed to her excellent content as well via a status post on her LinkedIn profile.

Dessert: Content Inventory

Joan had created a YouTube video on the ACA for the beginning of this year on the HR Advocate’s YouTube channel. With ever-changing regulations affecting the decisions of the small and medium sized businesses that Joan serves, she updated detail in the video – What’s new with the Affordable Care Act in 2012 – in April.

Since she had tackled the same subject (ACA) from a different angle in June – Health care mandate tramples religious liberty – she made sure to link to her earlier efforts and follow the same pattern of sharing her excellent content on her content hub and social channels.

Joan now has these elements (the two articles and the YouTube video) in her content inventory or content matrix, which will come in handy to reference or recycle when the topic peaks again (as it undoubtedly will in this election cycle).

The original article was distributed in print, online publication, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and that was before sharing and cross linking to other related items in Joan’s content inventory. Great content moved and consumed efficiently with leftovers.

Status update: Facebook changes rules, again

1 Apr

Content curator Facebook fan page owners have some work to complete before the end of the month (March 30). Time’s up!

Facebook, the beloved social media channel that blends paid media (advertising) and earned media (conversation on content), is an ad network powered by a deluge of data you donate every day.

Read more in the Toledo Free Press.

Build a better college newspaper website

21 Oct

Nationaal Archief

Here’s a checklist of online adjustments and guidance for a better college newspaper website. Change is difficult for newspapers. There are learning curves and time management issues in making these changes, but muscle up and get these done and get your dying newsprint a suitable online channel.

Content Management

  • BBC headlines: Look to bbc.com for guidance on well done news content and presentation. These are excellent examples to follow of keyword forward, densely descriptive but brief headlines. Print headlines do not transition well to online. Snappy headlines that provide information scent (leading people via searches to information results).
  • Direct me to useful information: Not everything is a news story or an enterprise piece. Create content that summarizes stories and group infographics, photos and video. Guide To, How-To, Complete List, etc. is content that people need, want and search for all the time. Anchor this evergreen content in a prominent place on your website and Facebook tabs.
  • Make sure that your RSS feeds are useful. Find a setting in your website’s content management system that not only provides the RSS feed code but links it to the option to add to RSS readers. I’m probably not going to copy the code leave your site and add it to my reader as it is set up currently. Make it one click.
  • Repurpose signed comments from users in a prominent place on the homepage. Anonymous doesn’t cut it. If someone is willing to sign a descriptive username then reward that user with a Comment of the Week feature (with crosslink to the original story). Crosslinks are key – outbound/inbound.
  • PDFs of complete news product: Great (I guess), for a quick scan of the news product and display, but advertisers expect added value and should have a link from their ad. Help your advertisers out.
  • All stories need images (entry points), calls to action (what do I do next?), and crosslinks and other info. Every URL shared on Twitter or Facebook is an introduction to your product. Why stop there?

Facebook for college newspapers

There is typically little engagement on college news Facebook pages. Readers comments on stories to no response. You will gain no value from social media unless you speak to followers. Engage.

Explain coverage: Demystify the news gathering process. Introduce your writers and editors and explain your operation. Tell your story about how you tell stories. This is a great recruiting tool and an opportunity to share with a wider audience.

Follow other people and fan pages: Try to use the @ symbol in all of your status posts. Put your idea and brand on other Facebook fan pages. The @College_Newspaper learned a lot from reporter @SusanMurphy’s visit to @BigUMedicalCenter and @BigUBusinessSchool. Look for stories in the next issue.

Shout out to your follows on the Facebook wall. Use the toggle as fan page administrator to post as both the admin and your personal profile to the your page’s wall. Note the support, interests of friends this way. @Jason Allen probably wasn’t happy with the result of this weekend’s @BigUFootball game, but we have the details on the upcoming game.

YouTube/LinkedIn for college newspapers

Don’t forget your other channels. Complete all profiles with full description and branding. Your YouTube channel needs custom background and profile, while your LinkedIn channel needs a custom profile image.

Twitter for college newspapers

Build source lists on Twitter. Sync your coverage, contacts and followers into your Twitter stream. Spend a little more time to build a better list of followers. Research keywords and geo references related to your university and rake in all sources connected to your university (and competitors, as well). Reporters can ask questions; propose story ideas and crowd source info. Twitter is a listening tool. Use it as a news gathering tool.

It’s expensive to produce that print product. Begin planning your escape plan immediately. Great usable, timely and authoritative information will never go out of style. Find new packaging.

Facebook fan page administrators should be quick on the draw

29 Jun

Facebook fan page administratorsMrElshMedia (Lorrie Cesarz) and I performed this test a few months back on how to transfer administrator control of Facebook fan pages. Fan pages are generally staffed by several administrators to optimize the wall content stream and engagement.

Our Social Media Breakfast Toledo Facebook fan page has six administrators. We all chip in to speak as SMB Toledo – noting ourselves within the status (KC) – or we switch to our personal profile.

What we discovered was that even as the original owner or creator of the fan page, I could delete myself as long as there was another administrator to maintain the page.

But surprise, the backup administrator can also delete other administrators including the original administrator.

So note that you should include others to co-administrate your Facebook fan pages, but be prepared to be quick on the draw to reduce exposure after people leave the organization.

Although it’s not very social thing to do, but has anyone ever been locked out by other administrators from a Facebook fan page?