Myths and Advice to Boost Your Facebook Posts


Facebook for Dummies, anyone?In the world of social media, how do you separate the good from the bad?

How does Facebook separate “good” posts from “bad”?  How do businesses separate “good” consultants from hacks?  And how does anyone working in social media separate “good” advice from “bad”?

There is so much advice out there about the management of Facebook pages—over 25 million pages to be exact—how do you know when you are getting good tips to increase your Facebook engagement, and when you are getting advice that will actually decrease your Facebook reach?

Since Facebook changes their algorithm about as often as Apple has an iOS update, and new “social media experts” enter the picture faster than Google can do a search, it’s nearly impossible.  That’s why when social media advice comes from a trusted source, it’s like social media gold.

We recently ran across this article, “7 Facebook Marketing ‘Tips’ and ‘Tricks’ That Don’t Actually Work,” and thought, “Now that’s useful!  Why didn’t we think of that?”

So, while we can’t take credit for the idea or most of the content, what we can do is offer advice of what you can do to improve your Facebook business feed instead.

According to the article, here is what does not work when posting on Facebook:

They said this doesn’t work:

Including a Link in the First Comment. This was a pretty popular myth going around about a year ago. Folks claimed that including a link to your content in the first comments instead of in the post itself would increase your chance of appearing in the News Feed because a photo-only or text-only post would perform better than those with links.

But this isn’t exactly true. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm has been promoting posts with links in them more recently and in the past, has favored photo updates. Only a few people have seen anecdotal evidence that this works — and some haven’t seen anything affected at all. ”

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Is Paid Reach Bad for Facebook’s Brand?


facebook reach Naughty, naughty Facebook.

First, we talked about how fewer posts were being seen on Facebook.  Then we talked about how Facebook’s stock wasn’t doing as well as projected.  After that, we talked about how Facebook was becoming profitable through mobile (and otherwise) ads.  Then we talked about how Facebook reach is shrinking. And so here is our conclusion: Facebook needs to make money to stay profitable and make investors happy, and they are doing that by practically eliminating organic reach. 

We know, officially Facebook says good organic content can compete with paid content and will be favored in their algorithm, and therefore, Pages can maintain a steady organic reach.  HOWEVER, Page owners, consultants and now studies agree: that’s just not the case.

“The days of getting any free reach on Facebook may be numbered.

It’s no secret that the portion of a brand’s Facebook fans who see posts that aren’t supported by ad spend is dropping. In a sales deck sent to partners last fall, the social network acknowledged what some brands had observed for more than a year — that organic distribution of posts on brand pages was declining — but it didn’t quantify the extent of the decline to be expected.

One agency is now reporting that organic reach has fallen off by almost half since October. Social@Ogilvy conducted an analysis of 106 country-level brand pages it has administrator access to and found that the average reach of organic posts had declined from 12.05% in October to 6.15% in February.

For 23 pages in the sample with more than 500,000 likes, the drop was from 4.04% in October to 2.11% in February.

For context, Facebook told marketers two years ago at its fMC event in New York that 16% of their fans on average were seeing their organic posts.

‘Increasingly Facebook is saying that you should assume a day will come when the organic reach is zero.’”

via: Brands’ Organic Facebook Reach Has Crashed Since October: Study

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10 Ways to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing


inspire creativityI’m writing this article from the inside of a coffee shop on a snowy Bend, Oregon day and distractions are all around me. I could be skiing on Mt. Bachelor. I could be shopping for antiques in downtown.  I could be making snowmen and hot cocoa with the kids. But, no!  I MUST work.  I MUST find inspiration.

Distractions may seem like they eat away at productivity, but when applied correctly, they can also help trigger creativity.  In fact, I gladly welcome distraction when I have blogger’s block.  After all, don’t they say the best way to figure out something is to stop thinking about it?

So, if you are in the midst of a creative mind block, here’s what you should do: open the blinds, grab a cup of Joe, wrap yourself in a blanket, and read these 10 tips for getting your creative juices flowing…then let the inspiration follow!

The Social Business’s Tips to Spark Creativity:

  1. Stop thinking about it.  Ok, so you are reading this article, which puts you halfway there.  But really, contrary to intuition, thinking about a problem too much can actually be counterproductive. So, take a recess from your thoughts and move on to another task for a while.
  2. Exercise your creativity. Spend a few minutes at the beginning or end of each day exercising the creative side of your brain. Free write, write lyrics to a song, keep a journal, re-decorate your office space, cook, or even browse Pinterest.  Give your “B” side of your brain some daily nourishment.
  3. Create a space that encourages creativity.  They say a messy desk means a messy mind, so why wouldn’t an uninspired office mean an uninspired mind? Whether it’s your office space or a place to go to reflect, having an area of your home or office that’s inspirational will help you move to the creative zone.  Change up your computer wallpaper, post inspiring pictures, paint the walls a fun color, and clip inspiring quotes–anything that triggers an emotional response.
  4. Change up the scenery. If you just can’t seem to get out of your uninspired rut, change your mindset by changing your scenery. Move your laptop outside, go to a new coffee shop, sit in front of the fireplace, make a picnic on the beach–go anywhere that might inspire new ideas.
  5. Phone a friend. Sometimes, brainstorming with another individual can move you past a creative block.  Even a call to your mother can be helpful if you ask for feedback on a topic or question.  You never know where the next great idea lives!
  6. Find new ways to do things. We get so caught up in doing things efficiently, sometimes we forget to add a creative touch. When was the last time you sent an email in a pretty font, or responded to an email in limerick? There’s not just one way to do things, so think to yourself, “How can I make this task more fun or interesting?
  7. Play a game. There are lots of games that can help channel our creativity and open up the fun parts of our brains.  Try a crossword puzzle, Scattegories, Pictionary, Outburst, Cranium, or join in on a TV game show right from your own living room.
  8. Read and research. Building off others’ ideas is a great way to spark your own creativity. If you creativity is stalled, read and research the topic to help you internally brainstorm ideas for yourself.
  9. Meditate or exercise. Sometimes the only resolution to creative block is to remove your mind and body from the situation with meditation and exercise. Both can help clear out hurdles in the creative process.
  10. When you’re really stuck, try the “six hats method”.
    • Red Hat: Look at the situation emotionally. What do your feelings tell you?
    • Yellow Hat: Use a positive perspective. Which elements of the solution will work?
    • Black Hat: Use a negative perspective. Which elements of the solution won’t work?
    • Green Hat: Think creatively. What are some alternative ideas?
    • Blue Hat: Think broadly. What is the best overall solution?
    • White Hat: Look at the situation objectively. What are the facts?

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Tips for a Highly Successful LinkedIn Group


Nederlands: Linked In iconThere is a social media network for every business.  But many businesses overlook the potential of one particular social network: LinkedIn.

If you are a B2B company who has attempted social media with mediocre results, YOU NEED TOO PAY ATTENTION!

Now celebrating a few shy of 1,500 members of a group we created on LinkedIn a mere two years ago for a client, we feel it is about time to talk about the benefits of LinkedIn Groups.

If you are a B2B business and have never thought about a LinkedIn Group before, consider this: LinkedIn Groups build branding.  How, you may ask?

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  • They build credentials and place businesses at the top of the leadership wagon within an industry.
  • They build a network of people in, and surrounding, your industry (prospects, potential customers, industry leaders, potential job candidates, current customers).
  • They allow you to be part of your customer’s conversations.
  • They help you stay atop trends in the industry, which allows you to be informed and identify opportunities where problems and frustrations exist.
  • They drive traffic wherever you want traffic to go: your website, your blog, your Facebook Page, your infographic…
  • They can be used to generate leads.

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2014 Social Media Predictions


futureUn-fun things that come with the new year: taxes, resolutions, rise in cost of living.

Fun things that come with the new year: new budgets, a fresh start, and The Social Business’s Predictions for Social Media.

So, without further introduction…here are The Social Business’s 2014 Social Media Predictions.

Prediction #1: Long live traditional marketing.

While there will always be a (small, lonely) place for traditional advertising, budgets and personnel for new media advertising will continue to grow.  That’s because more and more companies are making this obvious revelation: Social Media IS Marketing.  Long live the days when the intern was given endless freedom to exercise a company’s reputation online. FINALLY, businesses are saying, “Hey! You mean that’s stuff’s on the internet…forever?!?  Maybe I should have a marketing strategy for that!”

Prediction #2: Even your dad will have a smart phone.

Look for the integration of technology in the most unlikely of places: schools, exams, hospitals, and even…your dad’s cell phone.  Once he discovers that talk to text function, even he will be won over.  No longer needing a computer programmer to train and integrate personnel on the latest technology, expect to see it everywhere: from car dealerships to your dentist’s office.

Predictions #3: Pay to play.

The idea that social media should be free to users will not change.  No, consumers won’t pay to access their Twitter or Facebook account.  But advertisers will.  And as more businesses adopt the idea that they will have to play for online advertising just as they paid for traditional advertising, expect the cost of these advertising outlets to go up, too.

Do you have your own predictions for future of advertising? Share them with us below, or on The Social Business Facebook Page.

 


2013 Social Media Predictions in Review


My lifetime collection of fortunes!About this time last year, we published our social media predictions for 2013.  While we don’t have a crystal ball, if there’s one thing we know about social media, it’s this: things always change.

So, for fun, let’s see how our predictions fared:
Social Media Prediction 1: Technologies will integrate and collaborate.

This prediction could not only mean more integration between social media channels such as WordPress, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, but it could also mean integrated analytics that include everything from blog views to repins on Pinterest.  This could also mean integration between Google+ and other social media platforms, which could ultimately help marketers with SEO when using social media platforms other than Google+.

How our prediction fared: Well, 2013 has brought us easier ways to collaborate between social media platforms. For one, Facebook connect continues to be a popular plugin, new services allow for publishing to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ at one time, analytics reports are more accurate and available than ever thanks to new tools…and most exciting, Facebook now has a scheduling feature.  One thing remains the same however: Google Search and Facebook Search are still two different worlds, and considering the fact that are both competing for your traffic, we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Social Media Prediction #2: In With Real-Time Marketing, Out With “Optimized” Newsfeeds.
Our prediction is that services such as Facebook will have to revert back to some of their old ways, allowing users to control which posts they see and how often, rather than “optimizing” the newsfeed so fans only see one in every seven business page posts.  This will also mean that optimization will focus on timeliness and relevancy rather than profitability, which will make scheduled posts obsolete, and posts that key in on trending topics, priority. While Facebook may not be thrilled to face this reality, fans need to get the updates they signed up for and businesses need to know their efforts have a ROI. If Facebook doesn’t jump on board, our prediction is users will find somewhere else to go…like Google+.

How our prediction fared: Facebook has initiated Graph Search which uses a variety of relational search items such as locality to help users connect with local businesses, groups, and people. We have also noticed that reach among active users has been creeping up…as long as you have the ads to consistently grow your audience. So, in a way, some of the old ways are coming back, but what has changed is that Facebook needs to make a profit, and so ads are increasingly important.  It will never be the free platform of Facebook past.
 Social Media Prediction #3: Social Media Marketing Budgets Will Grow.

We have noticed an uptick in business, and we don’t expect this uptick to turn around any time soon.  Profits and the GDP are at record-setting highs, businesses are still stretching their staff, and social media–once considered “for the birds”–is now more relevant than traditional media.  This all adds up to larger marketing budgets and more work for social media consultants like us.  No longer considered a luxury, businesses are starting to put more emphasis on how social media can improve SEO, create customer loyalty, and build brand awareness.
How our prediction fared: Just look at the number of social media-related jobs on LinkedIn and I think you will have your answer. Budgets are growing to adopt more social media help–in house and as consultants–as well as to pay for those costly Facebook ads :)
Social Media Prediction #4: Relevance is SEO, and SEO is Social Media.

SEO is becoming the new focus of social media.  Marketers will soon post for one purpose: to gain web credibility and SEO. As more social media platforms collaborate, and as Google’s internet empire grows, expect more emphasis to be put on originality, content, and link building as opposed to the early-2000′s tactics of shock and awe for hits. He who creates custom content and shares it with the world (and that means on Google+ too), will reign as champion of the social media SEO game.  There are some smart cookies down there at Google, and they are always finding new ways to give credibility to sites with original, human content, while also filtering out cheaters and spammers in the SEO game.  They aren’t there yet, but we predict they will be soon. And wouldn’t that be a beautiful world? When you Google a term and get the most relevant results, rather than the most optimized (via clunky, non-human writing and techniques)?

How our prediction fared: Yes, SEO is still king, and that may just make Google the SEO God. Google has even implemented Google Authorship to help further detect spam and plagiarism so authors and bloggers with Google cred and original content will outrank keyword-stuffed spam.  So, while Google+ still struggles along to meet the user numbers of it’s social media counterpart, Facebook, there is still a lot of reason to consider using Google+, and optimize your blog content for it.

 

 


Copyright vs. Plagiarism: What you can and can’t do


Copyright SymbolsRecently we discussed how Google Authorship is helping crack down on blogging plagiarism. By placing original content from a ranked and verified authors above one-off authored content, true blogger authors are rewarded with rank.

But the lines between original content and plagiarism are often blurred, and forgotten.  For most of us, it’s been decades since we last practiced proper copyright.

First, it’s important for any author to understand what is, and is not, copyright and copyright infringement.  For example, you can site a piece from another author (within reason) if the purposes are educational:

“Copyright” is not a verb. It is a noun. We, as human beings, as thinkers of creative ideas, create copyrights (literally out of thin air) when such an idea is expressed into or onto some form of tangible medium. Such a tangible expression is called “a work of authorship.” If such works are truly original and not merely copied from, or strikingly similar to, someone else’s prior, protectable tangible works of authorship, then a copyright, an incorporeal personal property right owned by the author, is created in the process.

If the newly created work is similar to someone else’s work of authorship, then that other author could sue for copyright infringement.

via “When can you legally copy someone else’s work?

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Plagiarizers Beware: Google Now Verifies Authors with Google Authorship


google authorship copyGood news if you’re following the rules; bad news if your not: Google’s new authorship function is placing real authors above plagiarism artists.

What is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship creates brands out of authors, giving them an author rank. By linking your online work to your Google+ profile, Google verifies you as an author, and therefore you get a higher click rate.

What affect does Google Authorship have on rankings?

In the past, plagiarized articles can sometimes end up higher in the Google ranks than an original piece. When you are established as an author, Google ranks you higher than a one-off, link bait website that plagiarized your work. So, your work will rank higher because Google has verified you as an author and given you an author rank that will rank you higher.

How does Google Authorship help bloggers?

Articles that feature an author have a higher click rate.  In addition, because all your blogger profiles are linked, a reader of one of your blogs can more easily find, and read, another one of your blogs. All the pieces you author are easily found using your Google+ profile.

In addition, authors that use the Google Authorship function will have their articles verified, and therefore indexed, faster than traditional publishing methods.

Blogger pretenders beware: if you think SEO is just about a jumble of keywords and a good domain name, then you are sure to be disappointed. In Google’s never-ending attempt to put original, quality articles in front of users, they are verifying and validating not just the text, but the author too!

If  you are interested in working with a handful of verified, quality authors to bring your blog and website SEO to the next level, consider a social media consulting firm such as The Social Business.  Our services provide original, informative content from Google-verified authors.


Why the Infographic is Good for Social Media


English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...At The Social Business, part of our online marketing includes creating and sharing infographics for our customers.  Why, you ask?  We’ve found that when infographics are added to a client’s social media marketing mix, it is a proven method of gaining brand awareness through social media channels.

Infographics are relevant to branding on social media because they:

  • Are highly shareable.
  • Are easy to share.
  • Have high engagement rate on multiple social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Pinterest.
  • Are a great way to link various social media platforms to one another.
  • Include valuable, interesting, and original content.
  • Introduce the brand as an “expert” on a particular subject, creating credibility.
  • Are highly visual, and visual content is more engaging.

If you have never considered creating an infographic for your business, consider what impact it could have on your social media outlets.

Start by brainstorming common or interesting questions customers have about your business, conduct a survey or research, and then report the results in visual infographic.  If you are interested in infographic creation, but are unable to create one yourself, consider the help of a social media company like The Social Business that can create an interesting, visually-appealing infographic for your business.

Other reasons to consider adding an infographic to your social media marketing efforts include:

1. It makes info more appealing.

It is not an ordinary bar chart or flow chart but is more of a union of creative designs and vital information. With infographics, information is presented with more appeal which makes it more effective than mere words and text. The creative use of colors, lines, and shapes makes it unique. Every infographic is different from another infographic because each one is made with a different design. You can easily distinguish one from the others.

2. It shows valuable ideas.

Infographics are not mere works of art but there is more to that. The information it tries to deliver to the people are more vital than the colors that you see in it. You could be impressed by how it is being presented but you will actually be more impressed by the kind of information you will get from it. For sure, after reading it and understanding it, you will be thankful that infographics was conceptualized.

3. It is attention-grabbing.

With its appealing designs, your attention will really be caught by these. Also, you would be curious as to what are those lines, charts and graphs for. There could even be images in it that will immediately make you turn your head towards it. Once you see it in your computer screens or printed on paper, you will surely take a look at it and without knowing it, you have learned something very important for just a little time.

4. It is easier to understand.

Since information is simplified, you will find it easier to understand infographics. If you are glad that data is well presented in graphs and charts, you will surely be happier to see them in a well-designed image. Everything you would ask for is already in one image. You won’t have to break your brains trying to understand long pages of data and numbers because you can easily get the idea with a single glance at an infographic.

5. It lessens boredom.

Complex information will certainly bore you. Who would spend a lot of time reading pages of info? Who would spend a lot of time understanding complicated facts and figures? Well, some would still do that but most people won’t. It seems like a waste of time when you can actually get info in a simpler manner through infographics. Do away with those boring presentations for they can be given life now.

6. It awakens one’s interest.

Even those who are oblivious of important facts will have that interest to look at infographics. Its design will fascinate everyone even those who do not have interest in that information. No doubt, it is indeed an effective manner of presenting facts.

7. It is accessible.

ince the internet is available for everyone, you can easily see infographics. If you look for it using search engines, you will still get it using searches for web and images. Whatever you use, you will get what you want. It can also be printed on paper and still successfully convey information. Anyone can see it and have a grasps of it.

8. It is more persuasive.

Due to its unique way of presenting information and its clear manner of arrangement, it can easily persuade the readers. It is more convincing and influencing. The readers would less likely doubt the data they are seeing. Of course, no one would waste effort in designing such a great infographic to merely lie about information.

9. It is memorable.

The use of bright colors, graphs and shapes makes it easy for infographics to be remembered by the people. Remember that images are easier to commit in one’s memory. That is why television advertisements are effective because of the use of visual presentation. Infographics give a similar effect.

10. It can easily relay info.

The clear data representation can relay information well. There would be lesser misinterpretations in using infographics because of the good presentation of facts and figures. These things are oftentimes misleading but infographics can get you straight to the point.

Infographics are indeed important. That is why designers see to it that they create infographics really well without causing misinterpretations. They also make sure that their choice of colors and shapes are appropriate for a particular fact. Well, it really takes to be creative and smart in order to come up with an effective infographic.

via: “10 Reasons Why Inforgraphics Are Important,” naldzgraphics.com

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Social Notworking: 10 reasons your social media is “not working”


house_new_square_128We laughed out loud when a customer of ours sent over an article about the art of “social notworking” when people social network, instead of work.

Though the term is used to describe what NOT to do at work, we thought it would be fun to define it another way, as in, why your “social” may “not” be “working”. This is what we came up with.

Social Notworking Mistakes

  1. Being too elusive.  While being mysterious may have helped with the intrigue factor of certain insider brands, being impossible to find on social media is anything but good for most brands.  Complicated Facebook page names, nicknames, and lack of Facebook and Twitter badges on your website, business cards, and email signature makes you irrelevant, not mysterious. Social media users have little patience for finding you online.
  2. Not being elusive enough.  Over-posters beware: it will get you no where.  If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t post.  Over-posting equals un-friending.
  3. The more is more mentality.  Don’t get caught up on how many people are engaging with your page, be more concerned with who is engaging with your page.  Making a touchpoint with one relevant customer is more effective than 50 people who will never be your customer.
  4. Too much text.  Studies show that an effective post is between 100 and 250 characters (two lines of text).  Shorter posts receive 60 percent more engagement.
  5. Not enough pictures.  Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts with pictures have dramatically higher rates of engagement.  By nature, we are visual creatures–time to twitpic your posts!
  6. Being off-brand.  It’s great to engage your audience with like interests, but don’t get too off-focus.  If they wanted to see posts about your favorite coffee house, they probably would just follow the coffee house and not you.  Plus, you are likely to waste visible posts not talking about your brand when you could be.
  7. Not running ads. Like it or not (pun intended), nowadays part of your social needs to consider ads.  It may seem a little transparent, but let’s face it…you have customers out there that don’t know you exist on social media or may not have ever thought to add you to their social media list.  It’s time to find them!
  8. Being predictable.  You may think you have found your niche, but one day your realize what once worked no longer does.  Maybe that’s because you’ve gotten too predictable–too vanilla.  Don’t be afraid to change it up a bit.  Your posts should be as extraordinary as your business!
  9. Not engaging.  Do you “throw content on the wall to see if it sticks?” If you rely mostly on third-party posting services, retweeting content, and re-posting blog stories, this is not engagement.  This is like standing outside with a megaphone trying to get your message across.  Good social media means asking questions, engaging with your customers, answering questions, engaging with other brands, and making relationships with social media influencers.
  10. Ignoring analytics.  Google analytics, Facebook analytics, Twitter insights, and WordPress statistics are all great tools for determining what types of posts your audience is identifying and engaging with…use them!

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