Facebook Is Business, Not Your Friend But Does It Matter

  1. 01. Facebook Is Business, Not Your Friend But Does It Matter

    The mistake many have made is thinking that Facebook is our friend and forgetting it’s a business.  In part that happens because it’s about our friends and family, and it’s been free.

    We’re no strangers to business and the sleight of hand.  Snicker bars get smaller but stay the same price.  Potato chip bags get more air and less chips.  Watered down drinks, small portions during happy-hour, car ads in the newspaper but the car isn’t there anymore, etc, etc.

    Facebook finally admitted at the end of 2013 that they were restricting the reach of Facebook posts, personal and business.  But that was a small admission, and they blamed it on trying to give people the best feed results as possible while keeping the junk out, unless of course those junk pushers want to pay to bother you then it’s fine.

    They denied that reach dropped. They denied that posts from third-party apps weren’t getting the full reach.  We had to use crowd-sourcing to verify these things.  Facebook wouldn’t admit to any of it, and they still don’t admit most of it.

    That’s what annoys me, and always has in the marketing world, deception and spin.   Facebook is throttling reach to charge more.  Scott Staten, known as Unmarketing, had an interesting point (with some strong langauge) that we were living rent free in Facebook’s home and it was time to pay.

    Using his analogy, I would adjust it saying we were joyously invited, told that it was no problem, and told it was no charge. Paint the wall and hang your pictures.  But then they started leaving the window open and the heat was escaping and it was harder to keep the place warm but they didn’t tell us what was going on; we had to figure it out for ourselves and they denied they left a window open.

    A better analogy is that Facebook is a drug. The first one (six years) is free. After that you have to pay, once you’re hooked.

    Facebook is still viable but it reminds us that our digital base of operations should be our website and that we need to get out from behind the computer and make these connections face to face when we can.


  2. 02. Wedding Bells: We Don’t Need To Hear Them On Your Site

    I got engaged. (Yay!)  Then my fiancé started looking for wedding venues and vendors.  Then I got the stares.

    You see, at Social Media Handlers we develop websites, and because of that she looks at me like it’s my fault that so many sites have autoplay music.  Really cheesy music.

    I understand why they, or you if you happen to be one of those people, do it.  It sounds nice, the first time you hear it, especially if you are the one who designed it.  We often design, and market, based on what we like or even worse, based on fear so we do what we see everyone else do.

    MySpace died in part because of autoplay music.  Someone who is researching your business is likely researching other similar businesses and even if your music is great, by they time they get to your site, they are sick of it.

    There isn’t a time yet that my fiancé hasn’t mentioned how much she hates it when she comes across a site with autoplay.  And no one gives the music time, they look for the mute or pause button immediately.

    And if that isn’t enough to convince you stop reading this post and immediately go to your website and turn the music off, imagine walking into a store and someone with disheveled clothes, reeking of cologne, with broccoli in the teeth, came up to try to help you.  You wouldn’t have a favorable opinion of the store.

    So please stop the autoplay music.  She’s blaming me.

  3. 03. Facebook Is Killing The Reach of Posts With Links

    Facebook has been messing with their reach for awhile, and it’s been getting worse since they went public.

    If you have enough fans you can actually see how many people your post reached.  You may have noticed it has been hitting some discouraging lows.

    Long ago when Facebook was still growing it became clear that they wanted to create their own internet and discourage people from leaving Facebook.  That has never been as obvious as it has in the last couple of months.

    We have a client with over 3500 fans but only gets 25 views on a post with a link.  That’s ridiculous.   Here’s what we have found lately that is working.

    • Posts with links are often reaching only 10-20% of a only text post.
    • Posts with pictures have lost some of the reach they had before but still going well.
    • We have hit some gold by sharing Facebook content from other pages.
    • And if you notice, the videos that go viral on Facebook are actually a Facebook video.

    A few years ago there were many people that thought that you could have a Facebook Page and you were done.  The problem is that you have no control. Your website should be your foundation of it all.

    And email is still the best media tool out there.

    UPDATE: 1-21-2014
    Facebook is adjusting our adjustments and says that they will be dropping the reach of text-only posts (which I haven’t seen yet) and increasing posts with links that are inputed on Facebook (which I haven’t seen yet either).  Businesses are paying enough that it doesn’t matter that some businesses are quitting Facebook.

    Also, we have very good results with the reach of a video uploaded to Facebook.

  4. 04. Is The Golden Age of Facebook Over?

    The ease of Facebook marketing and community building is over but that doesn’t mean it is dead.  That can be proved by this 20 year-old making a living off of Facebook.

    What’s working for him may not work for you but it proves it can be done.  We have found bands generate better reach than any other kind of business page out there. This may be because their fans are more likely to be engaged or it could be that Facebook has over 1,000 points to it’s algorithm that decides what content to show you.

    I wrote recently about what is working in a general sense on Facebook.  This changes and it’s something that we try to track with our own clients and see what is working for our colleagues but understand it isn’t as easy as it used to be.

    It takes tactics, strategy, and testing but it can still be fruitful.  As much as I wish I could tell you to go to Google+, the truth is the community isn’t there yet, at least not for most businesses.  Facebook is still where it is, and the people you are reaching a invested in you and what you offer; they will be your evangelists.


  5. 05. Reminder Marketing

    In my opinion there are three types of marketing, Awareness, Conversion, and Reminder Marketing.  Today I want to talk about Reminder Marketing and how it plays in Social Media.

    Of the three Reminder Marketing plays best in Social Media.  Once you’ve have won the hearts of your customers, which is the hard part, now you just need to remind them who you are and what you do.

    Specifically salespeople have the hardest time with this.  Their clients may have loved working with them but if they are in an industry that only gets used every couple of years, it’s hard to stay top of mind.

    I’ve heard stories of family members forgetting that someone was a real estate agent or an accountant.  I have several people that I know through playing basketball and I have completely forgotten that they were in an industry because I associate them with basketball.

    I’ve often wondered what would happen if Coke stopped advertising.  It seems to me that there are maybe 20% of the population that only drink Coke. 20% that would always pick Pepsi. 20% that just don’t drink soda.  The other 40% just drink whatever is in front of them.  That’s millions in advertising to a fickle bunch.

    So if you can get to people online, your reminder marketing is much cheaper than billboards and TV advertising that is using the shotgun approach trying to hit anyone breathing and hoping the people that are watching are fans.

    And if you have fans in Social Media they are more likely going to share you to others in Social Media.  Being there makes it easier to tag you and direct people towards you.

    I constantly see people on Facebook asking, “Who’s the best ______ in my area?” The ones that can tag a business are more likely going to get a shot at the business.

    Also, in my definition, email is Social Media too.  And email is still shown to be powerful and effective.

    Remind people what you do, who you are (give some personality), that others use your service, and that you are good.  Remind them while not making it all about you because honestly that becomes boring.

  6. 06. Threshold For Sharing

    Everyone wants the viral hit.  They want their blog post, video, tweet, facebook post or anything to blaze through the internet.  And while it’s hard if not impossible to figure what will be a viral hit, we have to start at the point of “Is this shareable?”

    Right now we are in the midst of a government shutdown.  While a few posts are going slightly viral it is unlikely any will be truly viral.  You have the fervent supporters, the supporters who don’t want to talk politics, and the opposition.  That’s not enough people to go viral.

    This is why Hostess going under got more people talking about it than Congress going under.  You’re not going to have backlash talking about the demise of Twinkies, though they are back now.  There was no way they wouldn’t come back.

    I shared about Jared and The Mill.  I have a high threshold for sharing music but I really liked their sound. Their content was good enough to reach my threshold.  I have shared about them since I first heard them.

    Looking at which of your content gets shared will help you find the recipe. But remember that you have a bunch of lurkers who just want to see your content, their threshold is higher but that doesn’t mean they don’t read.  Don’t always strive for the common denominator of sharing.

    Don’t post just because you think you need to fill the silence.  Make it good content that is worth sharing.

  7. 07. Being Too Focused On Your Message Can Backfire or The Party Test

    Often when we meet potential clients they are expecting something akin to TV style marketing on their social media platforms.  They want to push their product, passion, message, or style.

    With TV, magazines, billboards, or radio, it is Interruption Marketing.  You have a very short window to get their attention and to appeal to some part of their brain.  Because of this short time, it is about message and few companies can afford to do a long term marketing push without a specific message.

    As popular as the Old Spice Guy was, almost no company was willing to be the trailblazer and try it.  Afterwards, when it was deemed successful, several companies were upset that they didn’t get a chance to do that campaign and a few others tailored their ads to that style with varying degrees of success.

    In social media, you can’t constantly push your message and I think people are starting to understand that as they adopt social media in their own lives. And then we have people with a sincere message whether it is about food, money, or something else life-changing, and that is all they want to put out.  If you’ve ever been at a party listening to someone like that you know what I’m talking about. I call this the Party Test.

    This is doubly true for non-profits whose message is often a bit depressing as they try to find help for the needy.

    Without belaboring the point, something I read recently from Oprah puts into perspective and gives me someone with credibility to prove my point.

    In an interview with New York magazine that her network’s early ratings struggles came because it was “too stoic and too serious”. “I have a tendency to look at everything from the point of view of: What is going to be meaningful, and uplift people? That can become too stoic and too serious — which is the same issue I suffered with at the magazine in the beginning. It needed more humor”, Winfrey told New York. “So we [began] looking for lighter fare. Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s works. Iyanla: Fix My Life was also a turning point. Having programming that was in alignment with the vision but also left the space to widen the lane for the vision. If it were up to me, I’d be doing [Winfrey’s Sunday talk show] Super Soul Sunday conversations all the time.”

    Oprah is one of the most inspirational people out there in the past 20+ years.  Even she came to realize that you can’t hammer people with those messages of change.  You can’t sprint all of the time, you have to rest.

    This is why we believe that you have to some humor and fun as well.  The pages that don’t have to have a big enough audience to pull from to reach much success. But if you notice the types of posts that get the most shares it often involves levity or fun.

    Are you showing your fun side?


  8. 08. The Power of Instagram to Connect

    To the untrained eye, Instagram may just seem to be an endless stream of photos that, let’s be honest here, are often overly edited. However, there’s much more to Instagram, especially if you’re willing to take full advantage.

    “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It may be a cliche, but it doesn’t mean there’s no truth to this phrase. A well-executed image can be much more succinct and descriptive than any press release. Pair the picture with a snappy caption and carefully chosen hashtags and you’ve got yourself a non-intrusive and potentially viral pictorial press release.

    And what exactly is a hashtag? A hashtag’s original purpose was to act as a sort of online filing system. If you click on a hashtag on Instagram, it takes you to every picture on Instagram that uses that hashtag. Used correctly, this can be a powerful tool. In recent times, hashtags have transformed into tools for irony and summary of content. This new incarnation of a hashtag still accepts the function of the old and can in fact be of benefit when trying to reach certain audiences.

    For example, a hashtag such as #art is indicative of the old form. While it is descriptive and clear, it is also general. So a hashtag of the new form such as #artismylife might filter out some of the noise and reach a specific subsection of a target audience. Searching hashtags to see who uses them and what else comes up is a great way to determine whether a specific hashtag is useful.

    Additionally, creating a new hashtag for a certain project or group can provide audiences with a way to easily access the photos relating to that project or group. This is especially helpful at events or during campaigns. Hashtags encourage audience participation and only serve to create more buzz about the topic.

    Pictures can have words in them too, which just builds off those first thousand words. Taking pictures of signs, vehicle paint, t-shirts, logos, etc, can help advertise and brand a group. Paired with the right hashtags, you can reach audiences you might never have been able to otherwise.

    During the recent Sweet Ride Tour, we used vehicle paint on the support vehicles to advertise the tour’s Instagram account and used #sweetridetour to enable users to find all images related to the Sweet Ride Tour. This meant that personal photos from the riders and support team that were hashtagged this way were also included in #sweetridetour searches and clicks. The images allowed supporters back home a chance to get a slice of what it’s like on the tour. The new Instagram Video feature expands on this. During the tour we took advantage of the video capability to broadcast some of our funniest moments and sing-alongs. Both the images and video give users a more diverse and rich experience, which fosters a sense of connection.

    Instagram isn’t all about the hashtags, but hashtags are the main vehicle for connecting your organization to users you’re not already connected with. The newer “regramming” trend is another way to connect with different users. Your current followers can “regram” or re-post one of your images and if their followers see it and like it, they might start following you.

    Celebrities on Instagram have also been known to promote products and organizations via image. An actress might take a picture of her wearing a designer label and link to the label’s website and Instagram account if the label has one.

    These are just a few ways that Instagram can be used beyond simply sharing photos with friends. Internet and social media users are developing shorter and shorter attention spans, so an image is right up their alley. If you can get their attention in those first few seconds, it can be more powerful than any article or press release.

  9. 09. Did Instagram Just Kill Vine

    Instagram just announced that they are doing video.  They have 130 million users while Vine has 13 million.

    Vine has six second recordings and Instagram will have 13 seconds.

    Instagram has a software to stabilize your videos and it doesn’t loop like Vine which I didn’t like.

    The social media platforms that last are the ones that have your friends on them.  Vine has an uphill battle to stay relevant.  Their chances just dropped.  It will most likely be like Foursquare and GoWalla all over.

    The way this could backfire is if people become annoyed that their photo service is being filled with video.  I think that is a small chance.  If there is a backlash I think Instagram could easily make some changes to allow you to sort pictures and videos.


  10. 10. Effectiveness Over Efficiency

    Social media in 5 minutes a day doesn’t work, and here’s why.

    Efficiency can be fool’s gold.  It makes sense that if you get done faster or with less effort that you are winning.  In the world of faster everything, we have to stop and ask, are we being effective?

    I see people posting quote after quote on Twitter and then a few placed ads for their product or services.  Is that effective?  Rarely, but it sure is efficient.  And that’s where the trap comes in.

    People decide they need X posts a day and then try to efficiently get to that number. They don’t think about the time of day or how many posts are bunched up together; they only think in the goal, the wrong goal.

    So here is how you start.

    Experiment if you don’t have enough data. Look for when people engage, what type of post they engage with, what gets Retweeted and when they are likely to follow you back. Once you have the data decide on what you want, and why.

    Do you want engagement? This gives you good opportunities to make new clients or strengthen bonds with current and past clients.

    Do you want more followers?  If you are a speaker or trying to show that you have a following, this can be important.  Then you see when is the best time to find more followers and which techniques to use.

    Start with a goal, learn what is working, and be efficient is making that effective action work better.

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