Archives for category: Facebook

There’s been quite a bit of buzz about Facebook’s tweaks to EdgeRank. Are less people seeing your content? Is it all just a big scheme to get more ad dollars? Should your company jump ship to Google + where it is safe?

While we may never know the answers to all of our pressing Facebook questions, I can tell you this…If you do the basics you’ll be able to ride out any EdgeRank craziness.

Think of it in terms of weight loss, if you want to lose weight eat less calories and stay active. I know it sounds waaaay too simple, but I’ve seen it work. When it comes to Facebook you also need to do the basics to stay in the game – post regularly, post engaging content, interact with fans and buy advertising from time to time to get fans re-engaged or to draw in new fans.

In the meantime, Facebook will fumble, tweak and hopefully come up with a solution that makes both fans and brands happy. Your role as a page owner is to do the best you can to ride it out and keep fans engaged.

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Message boards? Those are so 1990’s errr…was it early 2000’s? If I was giving advice to a client I would definitely steer them toward something more modern. Set up a Facebook page, hop on Twitter, Pin something for goodness sake. But I have a confession to make. I’ve been spending more time on Message Boards than I have any other social network lately.

Why the throwback, you may ask? I’m pregnant. Yes, it is true, and I am trolling the mommy boards on the What to Expect When You’re Expecting site like no other. At first I was just a lurker, but now I’m a poster. I’m asking questions about which stroller to buy, whether or not I need to strap my baby on to me and if so, what do I do with the other one? (Did I mention it is twins?)

I have to admit these Boards are extremely useful, and here’s why.

1. Anonymity. I don’t want to be friends with these ladies on Facebook. Maybe it’s their hormones or maybe they always skew toward the unhappy, but there are some “feisty” women on these boards. The Forum / Message Board function allows me to get what I need out of it without getting personal.

2. Common bonds. These ladies are just as obsessed/terrified/excited as me. We are all going through this new experience together. All due in July. And despite differences in personalities, political views, geography, all feeling the same aches and pains. Forums are great for bringing people together with a strong common interest.

3. Separation from my “social” social world. I’m not a big fan of posting every day about my pregnancy. I have a few photos of me pregnant but that’s only because I went on vacation and happened to be pregnant. It gets to be overload when your friends share every moment of their pregnancy, soon to be followed by every moment of their labor and new child. I’ve been on the receiving end of the newsfeed and I swore I wouldn’t do it. The forums allows me to have a place strictly for baby comments and for people who actually care about baby stuff.

4. You get to learn a new language. You know you’re a part of an intense community when you have to learn the lingo to even be a part of it. DD (Darling Daughter), MIL (Mother In Law), FTM (First Time Mom), TTC (Trying to Conceive). I could go on and on. It took me awhile but I am in. It’s kind of a barrier to entry, and inevitably some newbie will get on and actually ask what everything means. Please, you think these ladies are going to take the time to explain? You need to figure that one out. It’s a rite of passage.

5. You get to listen in. Marketers should be here. I can’t help it. Even when talking about my pepperoncini cravings I’m thinking with my marketing hat on. If I was a company in the baby products industry or even a doctor I would be listening on this board like no other. The women are constantly talking about their needs, recommending products, complaining about OB GYNs. It’s like Yelp, Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor rolled up into one for the baby industry. Trust me, you want in on this conversation.

I’m not saying abandon Facebook or Twitter by any means. What I am saying is find the online communities where your hard core consumers are having an in-depth conversation and you’ll find rich insights and feedback to be had. Maybe you can host one yourself (more tricky when they know the brand is listening) or maybe you can just be a fly on the wall, but don’t disregard this space, unless you can’t stomach all the husband bashing, odes to Taco Bell and Mother In Law rants. In which case, I completely understand.

Psst. Here’s a secret. If you want a lot of fans quickly you need one of two things: Money for an ad buy or an existing database (think your email list) that you can easily convert to fans.

If you don’t have either then your best bet is to grow organically by providing interesting quality content in your wall posts. Sure you can offer a giveaway, but even a giveaway without a large fan base and advertising support will only draw in so much activity.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with growing slow and steady, just make sure your expectations are set correctly.

If you have a page that has under 500 fans – expect to grow somewhere between 5 – 15 fans a month. 2,000 fans you could up it to 30 – 50 new fans/month. 30,000 a fair bet is 1,000 – 2,000 new fans/month. These are rough estimates but should give you some guidance.

Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t pulling in thousands of new fans each month. Slow and steady isn’t a bad way to go, especially if you are getting the right people and your engagement rates are high.

So next time you get pulled into a meeting and the boss man wants to hit 1 million fans in two months, it’s best to be upfront and tell him or her to budget some $$ for advertising. That’s just the way it works.

Facebook is prompting us all to get our heads out of the  “I wanna be popular” mindset, by forcing companies to pay equal, if not more, attention to engagement metrics as to “likes.”

The new insights page offers more in-depth engagement metrics if you want to dig around, but the  feature  “XX people are talking about this” may be one of the most useful new metrics rolled out. The Talking About metric lives directly under the number of fans on the left hand side of the page and is not only available to page admins but to any Facebook user. So what makes this metric so useful?

  • The Talking About metric is an easy way to keep tabs on engagement. Start to know the percentage of fans who are “talking about” your page every week versus total fan numbers. I’ve found most pages live in the 1 – 3% range when they aren’t running ads. Set goals for yourself and tweak content when this percentage starts to dip.
  • It’s also an easy way to spy on your competitors. Let’s admit it, it may seem childish but at some point we all develop  a case of fan envy when it comes to competitors’ pages. Sure your competitors may have more fans, especially if they’ve invested in Facebook ads in the past, but do they have as high engagement when you look at the Talking About metric vs Total Fan base? Now that you can view the “Talking About” metric on any page use it as a benchmark to see how your community is performing against others and then tweak.
  • The Talking About metric is an easy way to spot good ideas. If a page has high engagement rates (# of People Talking About / Total Fans) see what types of content they are posting and what ideas you may be able to learn from when building your own content calendar. Are their posts shorter? Are they using the Questions function more often? More photos than you typically use?

Facebook is trying to ease us into the idea of quality over quantity. Sure it doesn’t hurt to have a large fan base – more potential for exposure via the newsfeed –  but a community with a high engagement rate could lead to more word of mouth exposure (friends seeing friends’ activity on a brand post) as well as a chance to create deeper connections and loyalty  (brand and fan interacting versus just brand posting). So don’t dismiss the Talking About metric and try for a week or two focusing on engagement versus total fan base numbers. It won’t be easy – we all want to be popular – but it may be worth it in the long run.

The change game is complicated. Don’t make drastic changes (see Apple iPhone 4s) people complain. Don’t see change coming (see Blockbuster, Borders) you could go under. Make too many changes (enter Facebook) and you risk ticking people off.

Facebook’s new Timeline, Ticker and Newsfeed may take some getting used to, but after getting over the initial shock, I actually find the new changes worthwhile. Timeline is light years better then my profile page which had little use. Ticker brings what was “Recent News” to life giving more real-time exposure. And the Newsfeed? Well I’m happy to not have to toggle back between the two tabs. Only time will tell if brand pages are hurt by the move. I’ve noticed some activity lighten up on pages that don’t have as many fans but the ticker does seem to offer a quick burst of exposure every time you update.

Let’s be honest, if Facebook didn’t change it would become MySpace. Instead of ranting and raving about changes I think we should thank Facebook for forcing us to learn how to be flexible. Yes, the changes are irritating at times for the user, but we’ll survive and in the end so will Facebook.

Thanks to one of my clients – The World Affairs Council of Kentucky and S. Indiana – I had a front row seat with members of the Tunisian revolution. (This does circle back to social media so stick with me). I admit, prior to the event, I knew little about Tunisia and I certainly couldn’t pick it out on a map.  I did know that the Tunisians kicked off the Arab Spring. They were the first country in the region to overthrow their
dictator and you could say gave inspiration to nearby countries.

What struck me during the cultural conversation was one comment, spoken by one of the older Tunisians – “The youth had rocks and tires which they would set on fire, but the greatest weapon of the revolution was the mobile phone.”

After hearing their story, I have to admit it was true. The mobile phone allowed the people to continue to tell their story long after the traditional media had been shut down and the journalists jailed. The youth took photos and videos sharing them on Facebook and Twitter which were then used by media around the world.

I couldn’t help thinking of Mark Zuckerberg. When he created Facebook did he have any thought that one day this platform would give people the courage to overthrow a dictator? And it didn’t stop in Tunisia. The Tunisian youths taught the Egyptian youth how to best leverage social media along with other tips on surviving and winning a revolution. It was a sharing of best practices you could say.

The Tunisians are now in the rebuilding process and will start elections in October. Oh and by the way, this country went from one dictator to 107
political parties. Can you even imagine? I suppose they wanted choice.

Next time you take out your phone and fire off a tweet, give a second to think about the Tunisians and the power of social media. That phone of yours may one day be your most powerful weapon. You never know.

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11 two things struck me – 1. How would it have been different if social media had been around? 2. I still was carrying a lot of emotion when it came to 9/11.

Everyone has a story of where they were when 9/11 happened. It didn’t matter if you lived in Manhattan or Des Moines, Iowa, your world suddenly stopped that day. I had just moved back from New York City to my hometown of Chicago a month before it happened. I did know people who lost loved ones from 9/11 and I did feel a sense of guilt for leaving the city behind.

I found out about the attacks when my father called me at work. He had been home watching the news and called when the first tower was struck. I kind of brushed him off because I was busy and had no idea the impact of what he was talking about. He called back when the attacks continued and I began to worry because his voice was wobbling. After all dads don’t cry often. At least my Dad doesn’t. I remember hanging up the phone and watching the office file one by one into the conference room where there was a TV. We were all watching in horror before they made the announcement to evacuate the building. There was a mad rush as we tried to get away from the tall skyscrapers of downtown to the train station. It was the longest elevator ride down 21 floors I had ever experienced.

Once home, I remember trying to call my friends back in New York and not being able to get through to any of them. All the phone lines were tied up and at the time texting never crossed my mind. It was a helpless feeling to not be able to connect.

Fast forward 10 years, and I truly believe that if I received the same call from my father today, Twitter would have been one of the first places I checked for news and Facebook the first place to check on my friends. Imagine going through half your phone list calling them  one-by-one versus scanning a newsfeed and knowing instantly. Sure Facebook could feel less personal then a phone call but at that time it wasn’t about being personal it was just about knowing he or she was alive.

We’ve seen how people have used social media to connect over and over when disaster strikes from cleaning up cities post riot in London to posting a lost and found on Facebook after tornadoes struck the South. Social has allowed us to organize quickly, connect no matter what the distance and “see” the disaster firsthand through the tweets, posts and pictures of those on the ground.

Part of me is glad social wasn’t around when 9/11 hit because it was so horrific. Part of me wish it had existed so I could have received more answers more quickly.  Either way I’m taking time to deal with some emotions (to feel, not wallow) on Sunday and to be grateful for all the good that has happened these last ten years.

How do you think 9/11 would have been different if social media was around?