Posts in social media
Changes Coming To Facebook News Feed

Facebook Adds “Time on Page”, Diversity To News Feed Algo:

Facebook has added some new signals to the news feed algo… and while they say it will have little affect on Facebook Pages and marketers, it actually will – especially those who write pretty short articles and those who are very prolific with content that is shared a lot.

“Time on Page”

Facebook is now bringing the time a Facebook user spends on an article or page into their news feed algo. So if someone doesn’t spend much time on the page, it will show up less frequently to others.

While this might not seem like a big deal, if you are a content publisher that frequently shares articles that might only be a few paragraphs in length, Facebook could take the short amount of time it takes to read that content as a signal that people are leaving the page quickly. They do say that they will use a threshold so longer articles are not treated preferentially, but nothing about shorter articles being treated similarly.

Facebook is not taking load time into account… yet. This is smart since some web developer would surely think about using load time to game this part of the news feed algo.

Diversity of Page Posts

We have all seen it happen in our Facebook feeds where one site ends up getting a lot of shares for a variety of articles in a day, and all those articles tend to show up in a row in our news stream. Well the new Facebook news feed algo changes will reduce the likelihood of this happening.

This means, if you tend to post a lot of your site’s articles on your Facebook page each day, that the likelihood all of those will be seen now will be greatly reduced. If your site only posts a handful of articles per day, this likely doesn’t happen very frequently, but if you are more prolific and post many articles per day, and around the same topic area, you could see the number of posts getting free news feed exposure reduced.

Facebook's news feed algorithm has struggled from some time - providing poor user experience and implicitly handcuffing advertisers. Any improvement is welcome and thankfully this update seems to be more about usability than monetization.

Facebook Launches New Tool For Ads Manager

Facebook Launches Delivery Insights for Ads Manager:

  • In a wide-ranging blog post on getting value from Facebook ads, the social media giant announced a new tool called Delivery Insights that will be rolling out globally to its Ads Manager platform over the next few weeks.
  • Delivery Insights is designed to find ads that aren’t as competitive at auction and provide marketers with recommendations to improve the underperforming ads.
  • Delivery Insights are intended to help Facebook meet its goal of showing its users more relevant ads and maximizing value for advertisers.

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Delivery Insights will identify "under-delivering ad sets, meaning ad sets that are set up to reach more people each day than they are actually reaching," according to Facebook. "Under-delivery is a sign that the ad could be tweaked to be more effective at winning more auctions, and Delivery Insights explains why the under-delivery is happening and highlights suggestions for specific actions the advertiser can take to make their ad more competitive at auction.”

For advertisers that have become accustomed to the control AdWords provides, it is exciting to see Facebook continue to evolve its toolbox. We have all experienced a high quality Facebook ad that, for whatever reason, experiences this 'failure to launch'. Having the ability to peek behind the curtain will be a welcomed resource.

3 Facebook Page Customizations ANYONE Can Make

In today's business culture, marketing can be costly. Social media has provided a means for free advertising if used effectively. To make sure you have a competitive edge, follow three easy steps for customizing your business' Facebook page.

PERSONALIZE YOUR VISUALS

One of the first things that people will see on your business Facebook page is your cover photo, so it is important to make it both visually appealing and portray the bottom line of your business. If you are not aesthetically inclined, you may try choosing a vague image that can be overlaid with some text, such as your company’s tagline.

Keep in mind that the size of the cover photo is 851px x 315px. If the image is any larger, Facebook will crop it. If you are looking for a way to resize your image, try using a free app for Mac called ResizeIt. If you are working in Windows, you can resize images in Paint.

As for your profile picture, I recommend sticking with your company logo. This is what people are going to see when you like a new page or leave a comment. The image specifications are a little more complicated for a profile picture. The image needs to be 180px x 180px but Facebook will crop it to 160px x 160px, so make sure you have some white space around your logo to keep it from being cropped.

Delegator Facebook Screenshot

CUSTOMIZE YOUR TABS

The next thing you want to do is customize your application tabs. Woobox.com has some great free options for doing this quickly. You can easily add a tab for Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, and your blog.

Once you sign up for WooBox, it will prompt you to link your Facebook account. From here when you add things to WooBox, it will sync with your Facebook account. After you have added all the accounts you want, you should go back to Facebook and arrange your tabs. Keep in mind that you can only see three accounts in the main tab. Anything else you add will be hidden. You can swap your "Likes" tab and your "Maps" tab out for other accounts. The only one you can't move is the "Photos" tab.

Customized Facebook Tabs

PUMP UP YOUR CONTENT

Finally, it is important that your content is interesting and informative. Start with the summary under the profile picture. What does it portray about your business? This is a great spot to add a link to your website.

Next, make sure the About info, Basic info, and Contact info are filled out and up-to-date. This will make it easier for potential clients or customers to contact you. In order to keep users engaged, make sure you  post a couple times a week at a minimum. If you are looking for ideas of what you should post, consider your blog posts or tips for your customers.

How To: Automatically Publish Your Blog To Google+ Page

A few days back, Hootsuite announced the addition of Google+ support to their platform. Now, in addition to Facebook & Twitter, Hootsuite users can conveniently post to Google's widely loved, but rarely used social media network.

 

This is certainly handy, although not remarkable. However, with this new feature, Hootsuite has become a powerful tool for auto-posting blog posts, via an RSS feed, directly to Google+ (a feature many have desired for sometime). With the growing importance and weight of Google+ in the SEO/SEM world, it is more important than ever to populate your Google+ page with great content, especially from your website.

Here we will walk you though the steps for setting up the RSS-Google+ auto-importing:

  1. Connect your Hootsuite account to your Google+ page. This can be accomplished in a similar manner to the way you added Twitter & Facebook.
  2. In the left-hand sidebar, choose 'Settings' and 'RSS/Atom'.
  3. Choose the '+' button at the topadding an rss feed to hootsuite
  4. In the 'Add RSS/Atom Feed' panel, you'll fill out the form with the appropriate information, including your RSS feed address, the profile you'd like to publish to (in this case, Google+, possibly amongst others), how often to check the feed (I would recommend the most frequent option), how many posts to send (most likely '1 post at a time'), and which URL shortener you prefer.streaming your blog to google+ automatically
  5. Once you have your settings in place, click 'Save' and you're all done. Now you can conveniently publish your blog posts to Google+, reaping the benefits with virtually no additional hassle.
Facebook Announces Page Management Tools

This month, Facebook announced the activation of powerful tools that will allow you to better manage your professional pages. These features wipe out the necessity for third party applications to best control your pages. The two main feature additions include:

  • A scheduling function allowing administrators to preload posts into Facebook to be posted at a later time.
  • A new set of administration roles that give different levels of access to different users.

Scheduling:

This feature is represented by a small clock located at the bottom left of your status screen.  After clicking on the clock, you can pick the exact year, month, day, hour, and minute that a post will be published on your timeline. If you select a date in the past, your post will immediately appear in the timeline.

It is important to note that scheduled posts are only allowed once every 10 minutes. The minimum time allowed before a post is published is 10 minutes.  Another important element to keep in mind is that a scheduled post may not be deleted once posted; it can only be delayed.

Administrative Roles:

This new feature to Facebook allows for managers to assign different levels of administrative access to different individuals.  The various management titles and their level of access are highlighted below:

New Facebook Timeline: 5 Things Your Business Must Pay Attention To

Facebook switched company pages to the newer timeline format on March 30th.  Chances are you aren’t jumping for joy. Although many users have expressed much disappointment over this non-optional transition, history has shown that the controversial changes made by Facebook to its interface end up being accepted by Facebook’s enthusiastic user base, and we think that this transition will be no different.

Here are 5 areas that you must pay attention to for your brand to thrive within the new timeline:

1. Cover Photo

  • This is the most visible and important part of your new brand profile.  This image will be the first thing that users see when they visit your site.  The sheer size and proportion of the page that your cover photo represents means that it will be a major contributor to users’ first impressions.

Red Bull Facebook Cover Photo

Tips:

  • Use a high resolution image for your cover photo.  A pixelated cover photo is extremely unprofessional and detrimental to your brand.  Pictures taken with a smart phone will appear pixelated in this shot.
  • The ideal cover image shot will be 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall.

2. Landing Tab (or lack thereof)

  • The most obvious change to typical business pages is the elimination of custom landing tabs.  Before, many businesses would set up their page so that new visitors had to click ‘like’ on a custom landing tab before they had access to the rest of that businesses’ content.  With the new format, your company’s timeline will be the default landing page, with no other options.

Tips:

  • Tabs are now located towards the right of the profile, under the cover image, and look like small thumbnail photos. Get creative with these thumbnails! You can use any image you’d like for your tabs, and also can arrange them in any order.
  • The ideal tab image size will be 111 pixels wide by 74 pixels tall

3. ‘Pinning’ Important Content To The Top Of Your Timeline

  • Facebook has never been known for subtle inclusion of competitors’ features, and the ability to pin content to the top of your profile is another example of a trendy addition.  Playing off of the wildly popular Pinterest, Facebook now allows brands to pin featured content to the top of their timeline for seven days.Facebook Pin Image

Tips:

4. Private Messaging

  • A new and welcomed addition to the Facebook timeline is the ability to send private messages with users.  This feature must be turned on in your page settings, and once that’s done, you may communicate with people who have liked your page. This feature makes it easier and more private to resolve conflicts with customers and users.  An interesting note is that you can ONLY respond to a message that has been sent to you.  You cannot initiate a private conversation.

Tips:

  • If your business has the resources to respond quickly to all incoming inquiries, then enable this feature.  If your page is only being checked by an admin once in awhile, disable this feature as to not upset users that become impatient from a non-response.
  • Details on exactly how to enable this function can be found here

5. Milestones

  • With Facebook Milestones, you can add important events in your company’s history to your timeline.  This is an excellent way of better telling your story.  Please note that these milestones can date back to before Facebook even existed, so start from your ribbon cutting and add signature events that make your company special. Goodwill Milestone Example

Tips:

  • Milestones are best relayed using multiple forms of media. Name your event and add a location, date, text description, and photo to best communicate these company milestones.

We hope everyone has a smooth transition.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

The Top Ten Ways to Optimize Your Wordpress Blog and Make It More Powerful Than Ever - Part I

1. Top Ten Lists

You see what we did there? Top ten lists are enduringly popular. They present a lot of information in quick, easy to read bits, they give the reader a reason to keep reading, they show off expertise and a depth of knowledge, and they create arguments. And that’s what blogging is all about. Not many people know this, but the Ten Commandments are considered to be the very first blog post.

2. Infographics

In an increasingly visual society infographics are a fantastic way to draw the eye, impart information, and get your blog linked. A lot. Make it good, make it useful, make it colorful (literally and figuratively) and put it out there to get noticed.

3. Keyword-Rich, Compelling, Unique Headlines

This is an SEO recommendation combined with an interest-grabbing tactic. Most people read blogs in compressions (think Google Reader, RSS, etc.) and the headline is often the only chance you have to get them to read what you wrote. Moreover, headlines are a great way to get the attention of the google-bots crawling the internet looking for relevant, useful content. Make your headlines attention grabbers, but also fill them with keywords. For instance, “Optimize Wordpress Blog.” See what we did there?

4. Unique Content

For SEO purposes this is absolutely essential. Never take content from another source and present it as your own (unless you’re quoting), and don’t repeat yourself. The bots don’t like it. And you won’t like the bots when they’re angry. Besides, who wants to spend their time reading an un-orginal blog?

5. Reader Participation

Blogs need communities of readers to really thrive. And the best way to build that community is to engage with them. That doesn’t just mean good content, headlines and graphics. That means literally inviting them in, listening to their thoughts and airing their opinions. Keep and cultivate a vibrant comments section (don’t let it get abusive), post reader polls, ask questions, and post worthy thoughts on your main pages as blogs. Involve your readers and they’ll keep you in their life.

Check back in with us in the next few weeks, when we'll reveal the rest of the top 10 list. We want to give you some time to start working on the first five. See you then!

Little Debbie Finds The Sweet Spot With Social Media

Yesterday the Social Media Alliance of Chattanooga hosted Emily Barnett, Social Media Coordinator for Little Debbie, to discuss the brand's strategy.  It's clear that the company values social media as an integral part of their marketing plan.  Emily, along with a team of four others, helps manage the Little Debbie brand on Twitter and Facebook. In less than two years, Little Debbie's Facebook page has gone from a few thousand fans to close to 1 Million.  As I'm writing this post, the page has 937,484 "Likes," and it seems likely that Little Debbie will reach their goal of having a 1 Millionth fan by the end of June.

I've listed some of the highlights from Emily's presentation in hopes that you or your business might be able to learn something from their success:

Engagement

Little Debbie does a great job of engaging their consumers.  Whether it's through contests, national promotions, or the content they create, the brand has had tremendous success getting their consumers to engage with them.  The social media team uses HolidayInsights.com to find holidays that they can tie in to their products.  Consumers also provide great ideas for content.  See this recent photo that was submitted for graduation season - "Swiss Roll Diplomas:"

Emily recommends allowing your Facebook fans to sign up for newsletters and your other social media channels from your Facebook page.  This will not only help you gain subscribers but will allow your audience to connect with you in their preferred platform.

It was interesting to hear that Little Debbie keeps all comments on their Facebook page, including the negative ones (unless they're offensive).  Companies need a policy in place to know how they'll handle both the good and the bad.  Emily explained Little Debbie has chosen to show the full spectrum of comments and the brand's openness to criticism and opinions.

Cross-Branding

Little Debbie recently decided to start partnering with other company Facebook pages.  The Little Debbie page showcases these partners in the Featured "Likes" section, and they occasionally may post something and tag the company in their wall post.

For example, Little Debbie partnered with the Bristol Motor Speedway for an event and gave away Little Debbie snacks to everyone in the crowd.  They then used social media to promote this partnership further and engage both their customers and fans along with those of the Speedway.

Outreach

Little Debbie has cultivated relationships with bloggers who can become advocates for the brand, Emily says.  The social media team at Little Debbie attends blogger conferences that relate to their target demographic and looks for ways to partner with bloggers across the country.

While Little Debbie is a national brand that has had major success with their social media strategy, small and large businesses alike can learn from their efforts.  As we can see with Little Debbie, it isn't about the hard sales pitch.  Instead we see how engagement, brand awareness, and outreach go a long way.

If you have any observations about what works for your business or what doesn't, I'd love to hear your feedback!  And if you attended the Social Media Alliance Luncheon yesterday and have other takeaways you'd like to share, please do!

How the Community Used Twitter During The Storms

The storms and tornadoes that passed through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and several other states on Wednesday created a path of destruction that is still hard to comprehend.  In some areas rescue efforts are still underway, and the cleanup and grieving for the loss of life is just beginning.

I’ve never seen anything like it. When the power went out Wednesday, the phone lines were down, and I couldn’t make any outgoing calls on my cell phone, I had one source of information.  I was constantly refreshing my Twitter stream on my phone to get the latest updates on the storm and following hashtags like #CHAwx.

Based on the tweets from our local Chattanooga reporters, The Weather Channel, and citizens reporting what they were seeing, I was getting real-time updates every second.  The fact that local news organizations (@WRCB, @NoogaNews, @newschannelnine and others) and their individual reporters embraced the hashtag, gave the community a place to follow and track what was happening as the news rolled in.  Since tens of thousands of us were without power (and still are), it was imperative that we were able to receive updates and communicate quickly what was happening.

Speaking of power, EPB (Electric Power Board) continues to do a great job of working as fast as they can around the clock to restore power, repair downed power lines, and remove trees.  After the first round of storms passed through, my grandmother called saying there were lines laying across her backyard.  She was having trouble getting calls through to EPB.  After I unsuccessfully tried calling, I noticed they were taking information on their Twitter page (@EPB_Chattanooga) and replying as best they could to people who were reporting lines down.

Once Thursday morning arrived, hashtags like #CHAhelp for the Chattanooga metro area and #CLEhelp for Cleveland, TN began carrying information about where volunteers and supplies were needed.  As the cleanup continues, I'm continuing to see updates today.  Thanks to the United Way (@UnitedWayChatt) I have been able to look at their web page of resources, requests, and needs that are being updated frequently.

If you know of other resources or needs in our area, please leave them in the comments below.  And if you used Twitter as a resource during the storms, I'd love to hear your story.

This Month in Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

A lot has happened this month in the world of social media, so read on for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

First up, there have been some major milestones this March:

Twitter turned 5 years old, and March 21st marked the anniversary of the first tweet.  Since that day in 2006, Twitter’s numbers have been pretty impressive.

  • It took 3 years, 2 months, and 1 day from that first tweet to the billionth tweet on Twitter.  It now takes only 1 week for users to send a billion tweets.
  • There has been an average of 460,000 new accounts per day over the last month.
  • Over the last month, people sent an average of 140 million tweets per day

LinkedIn also hit a major milestone this month by surpassing 100 million members.  The company announced their success on the blog:

The Bad

Chrysler

Earlier this month, a tweet from Chrysler, via their social media agency, New Media Strategies (NMS), created the type of publicity the auto manufacturer wasn’t hoping for.  The NMS employee who sent the tweet, says he thought he was using his personal account when he sent the following:

Following the tweet, Chrysler issued a statement on their blog stating they do not tolerate inappropriate language, and within an hour, the NMS employee was fired.  Chrysler later annoucned they will not renew their contract with New Media Strategies.

The Ugly

Aflac

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac Duck, sent several offensive tweets following the Japanese Tsunami.  The insurance company was quick to act and fired Gottfried, issuing this statement:

"Gilbert's recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac.  There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times."

This month we’ve seen the good in social media, and how important it is for your business to have a presence on networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.  As these networks continue to grow, it is increasingly important for businesses to be utilizing these marketing tools as best they can.  Unfortunately, we've also seen the bad and the ugly this month, more of a guide on “what not to do.”  It's important to remember that social media is an extension of your company, your brand, and your other marketing efforts.  Make sure you have a solid social media strategy in place, whether you're managing your company's social media efforts in house or through another agency.  Your online marketing efforts should complement each other, get the results your working toward, and positively represent your company at all times.