Business Owners: Don't Let Facebook as Paid Media Scare You

Today's news that Facebook has surpassed 2 million (yes, that's right, million) advertisers should convince any business owner that Facebook should now be shifted to the "paid media outlet" column. 

Does that mean you have to completely ditch the "social" aspects of this social media channel? No, of course not. My clients still benefit from relating directly to their audiences, sharing news and useful information. I also recommend that they continue to share the posts of organizations/pages as appropriate, making sure to tag the page being shared, as a means of community building.

However, with strong organic reach a thing of the past, it pays to, well, pay. If you're unsure about fitting this into your budget, try a few boosted posts for the minimum of $5. With proper targeting, over time, you will increase your exposure and interaction. Let those posts work smarter for you not harder.

Facebook for Small Business: Surviving the Next Adjustment

Yes, Facebook is once again making changes affecting how your brand's posts are viewed in the Newsfeed. Starting in January 2015, posts that are solely or too promotional in nature will be seen far less by Facebook users.

What constitutes "overly promotional?" According to Facebook, this:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Hopefully you've been shying away from this kind of content anyway, given that within this year Facebook has been adjusting their algorithm to both monetize (aka decrease your organic reach to the point where you're willing to pay to boost posts and/or create ads) and encourage posts that include value for the consumer. 

Why this seemingly drastic transition? According to Facebook (by way of Hootsuite's blog):

“As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

While the initial reaction is to moan about yet another Facebook algorithm change, is this such a bad thing? Not if you're already following a good content marketing strategy of being helpful and sharing information that is valuable to your audience. Does this mean if you share any promotional content, it'll be invisible? Of course not. But you might need to put some money behind it, or make sure the news of your promotion is included within a broader context of the value of your business.

One of my clients has great success with contest-themed posts, but they are created to be of interest to the customer base. When I experimented with a similar contest on another client's page, it fell flat. Why? It wasn't as relevant to the people who liked their page.

Brands should already be considering Facebook as a monetized platform rather than a home base. Given the ability to target your audience with precision - and even have decent results with as little as a $5 boost depending on your goals - this could be a welcome change to your content marketing strategy.

Above all else, brands should remember the social in social media. Be helpful. Create community. Be of value before someone needs your service and guess what? You'll be on their mind when they're ready to use your services.


Facebook Focuses on Discouraging Click-baiting

You've seen them. The short headlines designed to intrigue you, encourage you, sometimes even scare you into clicking the link to read the whole story followed by the disappointment of not much "there" there.

Similar to the sensationalized local broadcast news teasers - "You won't believe what vegetable causes belly fat!" Or "If you have this in your home, you could already be in trouble." - these "made you look!" headlines are known as "click-bait." 

Facebook is once again adjusting the newsfeed algorithm to discourage this practice in favor of content that people actually spend time engaging with and will be measured by time spent reading the content as well as how many people "like" or share the content.

While the general consensus can be to groan about yet another Facebook newsfeed change, this one has the potential to improve the quality of your newsfeed.

For businesses using Facebook as part of their social media strategy, it reaffirms the overarching strategy of attracting new business and retaining customers by establishing trust and being helpful. Be the answer to your customer's question.

You can read more about this newsfeed change here or reach out to us, we'll be happy to help you strengthen you business' message and customer relationships.

Facebook Begins Rollout of Embedded Posts

More Facebook changes are on the way. We first heard that 15-second ads are coming to a feed near you. But the next new feature is the ability to embed posts on your brand's website. Good idea or bad, it's important to be prepared. Especially from a PR/brand management perspective since a standalone post might become a major miscommunication out of context. As Shift Communications' Christopher Penn shares in his article on Facebook's embedded post plans:

PR professionals: Policing the Facebook page and managing the brand will be more important than ever.

Does your business have a professional on hand to ensure the integrity of your brand's online presence? Contact us to learn how VoiceMatters can be of service.


Facebook Brand Pages - Ready to Spring Forward?


Spring is right around the corner so it's no surprise that in this season of change Facebook will unveil more changes at a press event tomorrow.

Facebook promises some big changes for brand pages and how users interact with news feeds.  Ragan's PR Daily points to an article by TechCrunch leading them to believe the changes will be threefold:

1. Multiple feeds. 

Currently, Facebook users see their main news feed, which consists of updates from their friends and the brands or celebrities they follow, as well as the occasional ad. However, there are other feeds that exist on the site, for instance, a feed dedicated to updates from pages. It’s practically lost in the left margin of your Facebook feed, but it could point to what Facebook has in store for brands—their own feeds. 

2. Larger images. 

The common belief among many social media managers is that images work best for drawing “likes” and shares. That belief has been challenged of late, because of Facebook’s last algorithm change, but it remains a safe equation: Compelling art equals more eyeballs. It appears Facebook is doubling down on that and will give users, and probably brands, the ability to post larger images. 

3. Video and “rich media” for users—brands will get it eventually 

Better polish your video-editing skills, because Business Insider is nearly certain that Facebook will unveil a video platform for users. It probably won’t happen immediately for brands, but it will be a part of the social network’s announcement Thursday. 

By now, Facebook users know that change is inevitable.  It'll be interesting to see how these changes pan out and how to best use them to your brand's advantage.  And, don't worry, you're not alone. VoiceMatters, LLC is here to help guide your business through the process.

Facebook Privacy Notice - False Alarm!

Good Monday morning, everyone!  While we were all getting over our carb comas and Black Friday/Small Business Saturday shopping hangovers, a "notice" started going viral about new Facebook privacy guidelines. This prompted a flurry of Facebook posts declaring copyright for page contents.

Relax. Nothing has changed. Our friends at Mashable help set the story straight:

The idea behind the “notice” is that Facebook’s listing as a publicly traded company will negatively affect its users’ privacy, which is not true. Simply put, Facebook and its users are still bound to the same terms and conditions that are accepted by users when they sign up for the service, and posting a legal “talisman” of this kind on your profile does nothing to change that.

So, carry on and have a great Monday!


If a Picture Paints 1,000 Words, How Many Facebook Likes is That?

Share the visual story of your business - people love to read about your latest event or achievement but they also like to see it. Plus, did you know that Facebook posts using photos generate 53% more likes? 
According to HubSpot's Inbound Marketing blog, posts with photos also produce a 104% increase in comments, all leading to increasing your page's EdgeRank algorithm: 
This percentage difference is substantial, and it emphasizes a huge opportunity for businesses to use photos and images as a means to increase Likes and comments, and thus EdgeRank. EdgeRank is Facebook's visibility algorithm based on users' interaction with your Facebook Page content. Boosts in Likes helps increase EdgeRank, which can then cause a page's content to appear in News Feeds more often, increasing visibility.

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33800/Photos-on-Facebook-Generate-53-More-Likes-Than-the-Average-Post-NEW-DATA.aspx#ixzz2CIw67KG5
So take that extra moment to whip out your smartphone and take a picture of the new product that just came in or the new hairstyle you just created or, well, you get the idea. Increased engagement leads to a stronger relationship with your page fans and customers, and that's good business.

Facebook's Promoted Posts - Not the Villain After All?

If you spend any time at all on Facebook, you've probably seen posts from users angry that the introduction of promoted posts are decreasing their page views. This is especially so for small business owners who've come to rely on Facebook as a major marketing tool.  I was right there with them, based on this post from the website Dangerous Minds and Facebook's track record of changing things up.

It seems that it's more coincidence than conscious plot, as outlined in this article from Techcrunch.com. It's still all about likes, shares and posting content that has value to your audience.