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What the F(acebook)?!

WTF? That’s likely a thought running through many people’s minds as they hear that Facebook has just announced one of the biggest changes to the social media platform – ever.

With over 2.13 billion active users each month, there’s no doubt that this news has made a groundbreaking difference in the way that people and businesses use Facebook.

What’s the big news and what can we do about it? Below, we uncover what these changes are, how they will impact the way businesses use Facebook, and give suggestions on how you can adapt your Facebook strategy by creating meaningful content.

We will also share details of a seminar on how to stay up to date with the most popular social media platforms and their ever-changing algorithms.

So what’s changed on Facebook?

Algorithms, that’s what. Complex algorithms are what determines your unique experience on Facebook. Your news feed is catered specifically to you – based on what you like, how you interact and even search history from outside of Facebook.

When it comes to using Facebook for business, many strive to create content that resonates with their audience. Competitions, giveaways, new products – these are all important business updates that are shared on Facebook everyday. Techcrunch reports that there are over 50 million small businesses that use Facebook’s Pages app. For many companies, Facebook is one of their key business assets.

However, Facebook has made some drastic changes that will affect business pages on the platform. On January 11th, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook announced algorithm changes that may indicate the start of what Michael Stelzner calls a “Facebook apocalypse”:

  • Personal posts from friends and family will have preferences over posts from groups or pages in your news feed
  • Videos will get less views – this is because video is content consumed passively
  • Focus will be on meaningful social interactions, so comments will be valued more than likes
  • Links to external pages will get less visibility

Source: https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-algorithm

As you can see, this is possibly one of the biggest changes that Facebook has ever made to the platform. Zuckerberg himself has even stated that he expects the market price will drop due to these changes. On the one hand, it appears that these changes are purely to improve user experience. But, it can also be debated that these changes are a move to encourage more businesses to turn to paid Facebook advertising to get the traffic they want. And, it’s highly anticipated that Facebook advertising costs will increase following the surge in advertising campaigns.

What does this mean for businesses?

These algorithm changes will start with your news feed, but this is only the beginning. Likely, it will be an update rolled out across all Facebook products.

For businesses, there are a few changes that will invariably happen – something to take into consideration when adapting your marketing strategy to adopt this algorithm change.

For pages that thrive on short, viral videos (think LADbible), they’re likely to be affected the most. Bloggers will also see a hit in organic reach, as will pages that exist purely to share memes, quotes and ‘tag-worthy’ photos.

How to create meaningful content on Facebook

These changes all hold one key goal in mind: to promote meaningful interactions. It’s more than just getting your audience to tag their friends or liking a picture. Meaningful, by Facebook terms, involves interacting with friends, family and other users in insightful conversations.

Here is what will no longer work:

  • Asking people to comment
  • Short text posts
  • Quote graphics
  • Videos

Basically, posts that exist purely to gather likes will be phased out from your news feed.

What can you do to create meaningful content?

  • See first – prompt your audience to change their news feed preferences to see your page’s content first
  • Post less frequently, but with more relevant content
  • Start discussions on your posts that encourage your audience to talk to one another
  • Use Facebook Live to reveal exciting updates and news
  • Adopt a Facebook advertising strategy

This all seems fairly straightforward, but as Facebook continues to make these changes to more than just your news feed, it will be more important than ever to understand these each and every one of these variables that will be affected.

Ultimately, your audience on Facebook isn’t yours – it’s purely borrowed from Facebook. And now that Facebook has set the ball rolling, who is to say other social platforms such as Instagram and Twitter won’t follow suit?

Stay up to date with social media changes

We have a seminar coming up that will cover Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat. There will be an insightful analysis on the algorithms that prioritise content, and what you can do to stay ahead of the crowd when it comes to creating meaningful content.

Click the button below to secure a ticket.

Event info:
WTF Happened to your Social Media Traffic?

Date: Wednesday 18th April, 2018, 7:30am – 9am
Where: Ponsonby Community Centre, Glue Pot room – 20 Ponsonby Terrace
Cost: $30

BOOK NOW
 

Getting the best from Facebook updates for business

before

Before starting – cramped text and hyperlink not embedded

A quick tutorial showing good practice to encourage click throughs.

We start with a quick look at the “before” scenario.  The text is continuous and the url (hidden in the image) is not embedding correctly.  The post gets no clicks or click throughs to the website.

  1. Before starting – cramped text and hyperlink not embedded
  2. Type the URL first and then Facebook allows you to select the image you want
  3. Inserting blank lines in the text spaces it out and forces the “See More” link to appear
  4. Corrected hyperlinks to See more and Hyperlink to your website or blog.

 

correct image upload

Type the URL first and then Facebook allows you to select the image you want.

Separate lines

Inserting blank lines in the text spaces it out & forces the See More link to appear

Moving forward to some of the resolutions – each one is explained in the caption.

Facebook business post errors

Corrected hyperlinks to See More and site link.

 

 

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

How well do you really know your audience?

Do you know what their interests are, what they want and need? Sure, we’d like to think it’s all about us and our brand. But there are strategies to reach your audience in a way that will get them engaged in you and your brand that goes beyond the surface of what you think they want from you. There are tried and true ways for you to know your audience better.

What’s your common denominator?

Find out what you have in common with your audience so you can be the brand that they trust. Engage them to keep them coming back to you. If you’re a marketing communication manager, in public relations, an agency marketer or have done the Audience Industries Sequoia curriculum, you should understand what to do, how and when you need to to make sure your audience comes back to you… every time.

Get to know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Audience Industries is coming to a town near you in May and are bringing Circles with them. Really good news for you. The course is broken up into 7 modules that will help you to really get to know your audience. Audience Industries wants to show you how to bring your audience to you, over and over again. Keep them coming back by speaking their language, learning their paths and optimize your ads to deliver maximum value for your site. Because we know, it’s all about the money.

Here’s what’s in store for you if you sign up for Circles:

  • Module 1: Learn what your audience has in common with you
  • Module 2: Be the brand/business that your audience trusts
  • Module 3: Find out what your audience wants and needs
  • Module 4: Break down the elements of compelling stories and apply them to YOUR story
  • Module 5: Understand what makes your audience take actions on your site and use the information for good
  • Module 6: Get the strategies that create likes, clicks, shares… real engagement on your social media channels
  • Module 7: What you should know before you optimize your ads

Sound like something your business needs?

We thought it might. That’s why founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin are bringing Audience Industries to New Zealand for the second time. The Circles curriculum is coming to these big NZ cities this May, so book your tickets now while there’s still time:

It’s not just the Circles curriculum that’s coming to town.

If you think the Circles curriculum is good… you’re right! But Audience Industries has 3 other curricula that we think you should take a look at, too, to help you grow your business in an online world. Read more about the Audience Industries NZ Tour from Creative Agency Secrets to see just what else you can learn from Dan and Rachel. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to grow you business revenue online! Book your tickets for a city near you now.

How to Get Better Engagement on Facebook and Twitter

Return on Investment is incredibly important, and when it comes to soft marketing tools like Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to think that putting up a link and a bit of text would get your followers from your page to your website and buying. But social media is, and has been, a marketing tool that requires just as much finesse as print, email, and other traditional marketing tools.

So, how can you get better engagement on Facebook and Twitter?

The latter half of this month we worked to promote an international conference held simultaneously in London and Sydney called the Change in the Age of Disruption. The conference was put on by the Change Management Institute, a global non-profit institute. The goal was: increase ticket sales using Twitter, Facebook, and email. Engagement was down and it was time to get them paying attention. Collectively, we came up with a marketing plan for post ideas. People love variety in their content and they love images. Your images should grab their attention enough for them to stop, read your copy (and make it short, because you don’t have a lot of time with them) and hopefully get them to click through to wherever you’re leading them.

For this particular conference, our one-two, one-two needed to have key elements to get followers to play along.

  • Ask questions to get the audience listening
  • Offer links to articles that related directly to them
  • Inform them about the conference, news from and about the speakers
  • Conference-adjacent information like local restaurants and hotels in the area
  • Ticket details

After having a bit of a soft start for the first week to make sure we had the right footing, we launched into putting this content up with images we felt could make the audience pause for a moment with us and, hopefully, be more aware of the brand. Once they were aware of the brand and felt connected to it, they would be more likely to want to buy tickets and attend the conference.

Within three weeks time, for Facebook and Twitter, followers increased by 7%

Below you’ll find the Twitter Analytics snapshot from September and October:

CMI Twitter Analytics September over OctoberOur snapshot for a month-over-month view of Twitter Analytics reflects:

  • 164% increase in tweet quantity
  • 89% in tweet impressions (how many people saw the tweets)
  • 189% increase in profile visits
  • 128% increase in mentions (how many people were using the Twitter handle in their tweets)
  • 94% increase in follower quantity from the followers gained the month before

Overall, the increase in posts and content type really helped to get people interacting, watching and paying attention. For Twitter, using applicable hashtags also helps to get new eyes on your content and this will help contribute to engagement increases in most cases.

Facebook Analytics are a little different and we’ll give a brief overview of just a couple of them. The below graph is a reflection of the increase in visits from September to October.

CMI Facebook Visits September to October

Visits translates to: someone goes directly to your page. This means whatever content you’re posting and is showing up in their feed (if they’re following you) is engaging enough to get them to come find you. Or, they come in from a Google search or from the social media buttons on your website.

CMI Faceboook Reach September to October

 

With post reach, you would think that all your followers see your posts, which would be amazing, but in truth only a percentage actually do.

When you’re not boosting your posts, only your followers will see your content. So, when you follower base increases only a little at a time, you don’t see much of an ‘organic’ reach. Organic translates, simply, to the number of people you didn’t have to pay money to Facebook to get to see your content.

Growth in returning visitors

And as a quick overview, these were the statistics from Google Analytics for the conference website for September and October. As compared to the month prior, more visitors were returning to the site who had previously visited.

CMI Conference stats

Whereas the sessions, or the length of time a visitor spends on a website, dramatically increased which meant people were finding the content there worth reading and decided to stay a while.

In the length of time spent for the conference, the overall engagement went up significantly!

Without having paid to reach more followers on Facebook or for Twitter ads, you can still see that the time spent creating more posts, using images and graphics, writing short copy and using hashtags with a well-laid plan can really get people paying attention to your brand. And if they’re paying attention to your brand, they very well may end up becoming a loyal, buying customer or advocate for it as well.

 

Facebook Icon On Fire

How Facebook Boosted My Newsletter Subscribers

Email or FacebookFacebook hasn’t replaced any newsletter (at least not yet but you never know what Facebook’ll do next). What Facebook has done is equal the amount of traffic driven to our website from our weekly newsletter.  And helped us to recruit new opted-in newsletter subscribers.

Better yet – it’s all free.

Key things to note: Our weekly newsletter has over 4,500 subscribers. Our Facebook page had just 400 (over the course of this experiment we increased this to 550).  Wow – that’s ten times fewer subscribers but they’re visiting and re-visiting the website.

Everyone knows the theory of email newsletters – their open and clickthrough rates so I won’t waste time here. We’re going to tell you how you can drive more traffic to your website from Facebook.  Then invite visitors to join the newsletter.

What we were doing

We posted 3 times a day on Facebook, for Facebook – all of which was shared from other users and pages on Facebook. These posts were backed up by regular blog post entries (one every day) which were automatically fed to our Timeline. Very standard.

So what did we change?

There were 3 major changes.

  1. The first was to do with posting amounts and timing. We increased the frequency of posting and changed what time of day we posted Facebook updates. This was increased to 5-6 times a day (effectively doubling our previous posting frequency).
  2. The second major change is where we post from. We changed all sources of our posts to our website and then linked to them.
  3. Our third major change was where we sourced our content from. It’s important to note here we hardly ever created original content – we either shared others or repurposed our archived content.

To facilitate changing the source of our posts to our website we installed new plugins. People will spend less time on our Facebook page because we are directing them to our website. As a result, many of the plugins we installed were to make sure our content is still shared (which often doesn’t happen once you leave a social media site). As we knew many of our visitors would also be arriving from a mobile device (Facebook’s App is becoming more widely used) we paid particular attention to how our site looks on mobile devices.

Step 1: Smarter Posting Times

Our audience is active at all times of the day. We were initially posting 3 times daily between 9am and 5pm – Not the smartest move when you look at the graph below of our visitor traffic over 24 hours.

When Fans Are Online

Click To Enlarge

For this reason – we opted to post every 4-5 hours. Remember – we don’t want this to take up all our time and we definitely don’t want to be up all night so we chose to schedule our Facebook posts. To enable auto-posting of blog at all times of day we installed new plugins which I’ll discuss below.

Step 2: Make The Website The Destination

We want to drive traffic off Facebook to our website.  This is marketing real estate that we control and manage.  We’re not dependent on Facebook’s grace.  Making most of your posts direct to your website is therefore logical.  And remember our objective is to drive readers from Facebook to becoming opted-in newsletter subscribers.

This of course means publishing content designed for Facebook on your website. Whether you’re sharing an article or a photo, upload it to your site (add a link on the post to credit the photograph if appropriate).  Don’t just link them straight to the original source, ideally you’re seen as the source of the content so they spend longer on your site and less elsewhere.

With our new plugins – photos are uploaded from our website to Facebook automatically. When a user clicks on a photo expecting it to enlarge they are instead redirected to our website (where there is a larger image front and centre). Bingo – we’ve just driven traffic from Facebook to our site. From here you have 2 challenges –

  1. How can they share this with their friends?
  2. What’s going to keep them from leaving your site?

The first challenge is easily answered – plugins which I will discuss later on. The second is to have an attractive website littered with quality content – this is discussed just below.

Step 3: Sourcing Quality, “Original” Content

To ensure our content is appealing, we need it to be socially shareable. While there are no guarantees, using already proven socially shareable content is a start. But you don’t want to appear a copycat. So how do you get proven socially shareable material while still looking “fresh” and “original”? The easiest strategy is to find content from sources other than Facebook. Pinterest was a great resource for me as pictures make the best Facebook posts and most photos came with a short description or piece of information – perfect.

Setting Up Your Website: Plugins Used

Below is a list of the plugins you’ll want to install if you’re on WordPress. I’ve described the types of plugins you want before stating what plugin we used. These plugins are all free and you may have your own preference.

  1. New Automatic Posting To Social Media (Facebook/Twitter).

    • NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster [Hands down the best autoposter plugin. Fully customisable, plenty of social media options and looks like the posts were shared straight from Facebook. 2 great features of this plugin are that you can choose individual posts to be image posts or linked posts etc & Imports Facebook comments so your website appears popular]

  2. A more simple “Like Us” button further up the News main page.

    • Facebook Social Plugin Widgets (This plugin installs widgets to be used wherever – we used them in the sidebar of our blog page [note page and not post])

  3. When someone enters our site (for the first time) a like us on Facebook plugin pops up [This doesn’t interfere with our pre-existing Newsletter signup popup].

  4. Horizontal social sharing toolbar along the top is non intrusive and doesn’t cover any text unlike many vertical floating ones.

  5. Sharing of individual pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest by simply hovering your mouse over the picture.

  6. Floating Sharebar down that follows the user down the side of the post. It allows sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc

    • Digg Digg (Leave a comment if you’d like my custom CSS code so the spacings etc look nice and clean with no borders or ads)

  7. Mobile Plugin so website looks good on every device

 

Results?

Results of Our 1st Change

So what were the results of our changes? The graph below reveals all. With a simple change in the frequency and timing of posts our weekly reach exploded. This is most likely due to reaching more individuals as opposed to reaching the same people multiple times.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

 

Results of Our 2nd Change

The screenshot below is of our website’s referrals for the 2 week period before and during our Facebook efforts. As you can see, vast improvements. We basically received 1000 extra page views each week (remember, at the time we only had 400 people liking our page). I’ve highlighted the Twitter referrals as well (t.co) as although we designed this campaign for Facebook – using the NextScript Autoposter plugin we also published the same content to Twitter (although we changed the structure of the titles and links etc from within the plugin’s settings). You’ll notice the amount of referrals we got from Facebook Mobile (m.facebook.com). Good thing we had WPtouch installed so our page would look good on any device.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

 

Did Our Plugins Do Their Job?

I was initially skeptical when installing the Facebook Page Promoter Lightbox – no one likes popups. After 2 weeks though, we picked up 50 likes from external “Like” buttons. These buttons were only in 2 places, the first was in the sidebar on the blog page the second was the aforementioned lightbox. I’m almost 100% sure the lightbox is where we picked up all of those likes.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

Sling pic and both social sharing bars (vertical and horizontal) picked up a few extra “Likes” and retweets which was nice – nothing to write home about but every little bit counts. WPtouch can be attributed to the 13 mobile likes as although it means people liked our Page from Facebook (on a mobile device), the website must have been attractive enough to have convinced them.

Conclusion

The initial results are all very promising, only time will tell how good a long term strategy this is. The short term gains were an instant increase in likes going from 400 to 550 in 2 weeks, engagement going up and a large increase in unique visitors and page views. There were of course more minor, intricate strategic choices made during this period and still being made now – these will be discussed in a later post.

 

If you’d like any help setting these plugins up or want to discuss how this can apply to your online strategy get in touch by leaving a comment below.

Fan Engagement – has a real ring to it doesn’t it?

Following up to yesterdays post, I’m now going to look at the top NZ brands on Facebook and compare them to our most engaging brands, our most trusted brands and the most engaging brands on Facebook in the US.

top NZ brands by number of fans  Top NZ brands by average engagement

Interesting side note: The All Blacks were left off this list despite have 1.8 million fans. I guess rugby teams aren’t brands??? More on this later.

As you can see, there are stark differences between the top brands by numbers and the top brands by engagement with only Air New Zealand and Nutella (Aus & NZ) truly engaging with their large number of fans.
What does this tell us? Numbers aren’t everything! Just ask Barack Obama.  If anyone figures out how to engage with fake Twitter and Facebook accounts , let us know.

To add a further factor of interest, not a single brand from New Zealand’s Most Trusted Brands list appears on either of these facebook lists. This shows us you don’t have to be the well known knight in shining armour to engage with people online, you just have to know how to do it right.

So lets focus on the most engaging brands on facebook as the more realist statistic on social media success. In the Top 10 most engaging brands in New Zealand we have four alcoholic drink companies, two foodstuff companies, two communication network providers, one airline and we can’t forget Persil NZ washing detergent.

Compare those brands to the most engaging facebook brands in the United States we see a huge difference. Leading the way are five television networks, followed by one sporting event (non US), one supermarket, one alcoholic drink company, one restaurant and one motorcycle manufacturer. Its safe to say that if Kiwis have a drinking problem then Americans have an even bigger television problem.

So we now know who is engaging the most with their fans. The  next question is, how are they doing it??

Tomorrow we will put two brands from each list head to head in our ‘Battle of the Brands’ feature to showcase different ways to engage with your fan base.  See you then.