Category Archives: Social Media

This Week in Social Media: Sharing is Caring

Has your organic reach been in a steady decline, but for some reason, your Facebook referrals are going up? Could it be that you have figured out that Sharing is Caring?

Shareaholic has released its report for the first quarter of 2014. Sharelaholic creates share buttons for blogs, e-commerce sites and any other site with content to share. They ran a study on share referrals for social media sites for the last quarter of 2014. From the Shareaholic blog:

Our findings for this new study are based on four months of data collected from 300,000+ websites which reach more than 400 million unique visitors each month.

ShareaholicAs usual, the top three platforms, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter have seen the largest margin of change in referral traffic in the last two quarters.

While the organic reach of your Facebook page has probably been in a decline since December, if you are sharing new content, discounts, and other information from your Facebook page, you are probably in just as good a position, or even better, than before Facebook’s organic reach decline began.

Pinterest has also produced a great amount of referral traffic to sites. So if you have been worried about whether you are doing the right thing for your site by hanging in there with Facebook, I think you can see the value in making sure you are promoting your pages (and therefore your business/site) with valuable content. Relevant information, discounts, etc. People seem to love to share and click things they like or enjoy in their newsfeed – so get your content in front of people…promote on the big three, and you’ll see referral traffic.

Have you been wondering why you are getting a greater amount of referral traffic from social media, even though your Facebook page’s reach has seen a decline?

This Week in Social Media: Facebook’s Organic Reach Decline

If you’ve been on Facebook at all recently, you’ve probably seen posts from pages asking if you can see their posts, to like or comment so they can tell who is seeing them, etc. They complain that Facebook has reduced the number of people they can reach organically and don’t understand why.

WHBC Facebook TestFacebook claims to be showing users stories they wouldn’t see if their feed was clogged with just posts from pages they has “liked” and followed.

Facebook has made a number of comments on this decline, but the most prevalent assumption is that Facebook has what is being referred to as a “Pay for Play” attitude. They want to sell more advertising, so they are suppressing posts so that marketers and others have to pay to be seen. The graph below, done by Social@Ogilvy, shows the average decline of the organic reach of content published on Facebook pages over the last several months. As you can see, most pages are reaching only 2-6% of the audience following or liking their page. As of last week, that number was closer to 1-2%.

Ogilvy Facebook Reach Graph

Matt Kapko from www.cio.com shares a quote from Marshall Manson, managing director of Social @Ogilvy for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, in his article on the topic:

“The proper response to these changes, according to both analysts and marketers, is to develop a wider social media strategy. The capability to build large communities of engaged fans was a critical aspect of Facebook’s early appeal to marketers and many brands have invested millions toward that objective. Facebook Zero is a reality now facing every brand and business with a presence on the platform. Action is required, and specific decisions will need to be made with regard to content planning, paid support for social media activities, audience targeting and much more.”

So what does that mean for you, in regards to your brand and social media? Diversify. You can’t keep all your eggs in the Facebook basket anymore. Social media will continue to evolve, and this is just one stage in the evolution. I think we can assume all the social media platforms will one day do the same, unless someone can come up with a way to eliminate users who don’t interact with your brand from seeing your posts in a regulated way – allowing brands to trim dead weight from their followers, and marketing to a very targeted audience. Even then, social media platforms are going want and need to cash in on your use of their platform. Be ready to spend some money, but you will also need to be ready with unique content and the ability to change things up, grow your presence on the most useful platforms when necessary.

Have you noticed a big decline of your page’s reach on Facebook? Has that in any way impacted your sales or other marketing goals? We’d love to hear from you in the comments – tell us your Facebook Zero story!

The Best Ways to Optimize Your Videos for YouTube

If you’re thinking about using video content on your site, the next thing you’ll need to do after creating them is market them. We typically recommend publishing your videos on YouTube – after all, it is the biggest search engine after Google and typically the go-to place for anyone who wants to access the world’s largest library of video content. YouTube videos are also very well indexed within Google search results.youtube

But, how do you make your video stand out in a sea of cat montages? You optimize it, just like you do you website’s content.

The YouTube algorithm relies on several signals when ranking videos within YouTube’s search results, including:

  • Text in titles
  • Text in descriptions
  • Tagging
  • Number of views and recent trending
  • Ratings

Titles

While it is tempting to use creative or cute titles, it is actually more difficult for your videos to be found organically in search with titles that convey ideas other than the actual content of the video. Keep it simple, describing only what the video is actually about.

Descriptions

Your video descriptions should be compelling, but should also be simple and true to the topic of the video. Make sure to include links to your site near the front of the copy so that it appears above the “Show More” line.

Tagging

While tags are not visible to the viewer anymore, they are still an important part of optimizing your videos because they are used by search engines to position your video in organic searches, and by YouTube to associate your videos with others containing similar content. Choose relevant tags only, but think bigger than just your company. For example, a local business might want to tag their video with their city or state.

Number of Views

Using the right titles, descriptions and tagging with help boost your views, but you can also do that by sharing your videos with your audience across all of your social networks, embedding in your site where relevant or linking to it via newsletters, etc. Keep in mind that it doesn’t count as a view until it’s played for 8 seconds – so make sure your video is compelling enough to get someone past 8 seconds. (Actually – make it compelling enough that they want to watch the whole thing!)

Ratings

If your content is compelling, ratings are generally pretty easy to get. It’s also OK when you share your videos to ask your audience to give your video a “thumbs up”! Often the best way to get visitors to convert is simply to ask them.

Have you had success with videos on YouTube? Tell me in the comments!

This Week in Social Media: Pinterest Gift Giving Feed

Pinterest has introduced a new feed specifically for gift giving. This feed is meant to help get brands in front of consumers in a more direct way. Because many people use Pinterest for gift ideas, they developed the feed as a way to allow businesses to advertise, as well as a way for users to filter results to get more accurate products in the feed.

Pinterest Gift Giving Feed

The Gifts feed was announced on the Pinterest blog:

“We know people love to use Pinterest for shopping ideas, which is why we’ve created a new Gifts feed of all the different things you could buy.

The work-in-progress feed lives with our regular categories but it’s special because it only shows Product Pins. Product Pins show extra details like pricing, availability and where to buy right on the Pin so Pinners can decide which products are right for them.”

The Pinterest Team notes that product pins have a higher click through rate than other pins, so they have created “Rich” pins – this enables brands to optimize their pins for the intended audience.

Pinterest Rich Pins

The Gifts Feed also has a pricing filter, allowing shoppers to narrow their selection by price. Pinners will also get a notification if their pinned product drops in price, and hey, that’s just fun for everyone.

What are your favorite ways to shop? Do go directly to e-commerce sites or do you like to have ideas suggested to you via Facebook, Pinterest or some other site?

Is Your Business Keeping Up on Facebook?

In a fast-paced social media world, it’s not just important to stay up to speed; it’s an absolute requirement. The relevancy of your business is critical in the digital landscape, and there’s no place that shines brighter than through Facebook.facebook logo official

It can be hard to keep up with such a rapidly-changing social world, especially for smaller businesses without a lot of resources to devote to marketing. Worth it? Definitely.

So if you haven’t been keeping up, here is a little cheat sheet detailing a few of the biggest changes Facebook has rolled out so far this year that are affecting brands:

Pay to Play

This is the big one that has all the brands and marketers talking. It’s true, organic reach of business Facebook posts are plummeting. While most businesses jumped on the FB bandwagon over the last few years because it was easy and produced great results, it was an easy decision because it was also free. It’s still easy and continues to produce great results, but now you have to pay for them. A major algorithm switch this year pushed brands to the bottom of newsfeeds. No longer can brands have the expectation that because fans like their page, they will be able to see all posts show up in their newsfeed. In the pay-to-play world, being strategic in selecting posts to sponsor – and ensuring the content is always great – will always work in your brand’s favor. Free posts were nice while they lasted, but the truth is the small fees associated with sponsored posts can produce some really great results. It will be interesting to see how the change plays out in the months to come for big and small businesses alike.

Brand to Brand Tagging

Let’s say TKG posted a status update and tagged another brand, like Google. FB recently changed the algorithm so that status may show up in the newsfeeds of people who like that page as well. So TKG’s post may reach some of Google’s much larger audience. Until that switch, users only saw the posts of those they followed directly. This is a great marketing win, and opens the door to many new possibilities, such as brand-to-brand partnerships and cross-promoting. This only works for brand pages; an individual can’t tag a brand and get that same audience. All that said, while this sounds great in theory, I haven’t seen a lot of first-hand successes yet. Stay tuned on this one.

Trending

You may have noticed the “Trending” section to the right of your desktop newsfeed. Facebook has indeed jumped into this Twitter favorite. It’s being rolled out in batches, so it isn’t available to all FB users yet. Click on a trending topic to see what others are saying about it right now (note: Status shared in the Trending feed are only those set to be shared as Public). This addition offers some interesting options for brands, and makes real-time marketing an essential. It can be another way to join a larger conversation in an effective way.

Layout

Some layout changes rolling out this year should allow Facebook admins easier access to information and insights. Rather than the two-column layout for business pages, the info will stream in an easier-to-read single column. An additional column will include the business basics (hours, likes, photos, contact, etc.). All the info about your business will display nicely in this format. The tabs currently shown under your cover image won’t be there – they will show up in a drop-down menu. And, wait for it, new visitors to your page will get prompted to like the page to see your posts show up in their newsfeeds. Among the new insights available to admins is a Pages to Watch tool. Admins can create a list of pages similar to their business and compare their performances. The layout change has just barely started to roll out, so we’ll see if it implements as well as it appears.

This list could go on and on about FB changes for businesses in recent months. Has your business been affected by any of the changes? I’d love to hear what is (or isn’t) working for your business. Share in the comments or on our Facebook page!

This Week in Social Media: SMMU Tells Us How Brands are REALLY Using Twitter

SMMUCan you believe Twitter is almost 8 years old? The anniversary of its launch is right around the corner.  A recent study done by the Social Media Marketing University was recently revealed in a blast of infographics on the SMMU site.  What the study reveals is that while most brands agree that Twitter is very useful in marketing and brand awareness, it is still, even 8 years later, very hard to measure the ROI.

One thing I found interesting in this study is that it found that Vine remains largely underused, even with the enormous surge in video marketing.  Some other ways brands use Twitter, according to the study:

  • Building an audience – 79% are just Tweeting for the Peeps
  • Engagement
  • Just to learn the platform
  • Measuring ROI and results
  • Developing strong content

Did you know that Twitter offers paid services to brands? No? Neither do a lot of other folks – almost 17% of the brands surveyed said they didn’t even know Twitter offered paid services.

In the end, most brands are brand-new to Twitter, having used the service for only 2-3 years. Are you using Twitter to promote your brand? How long have you been tweeting? Have you been able to track your ROI for the platform? We’d love to hear your comments!

This Week in Social Media: Social Media Offers Glimpses into Ukraine Crisis

We’ve often pointed out the way social media can at times be the only source of news, or the fastest source in a crisis, or in an area when media is suppressed. It should not come as a big surprise that YouTube is one place where you can go on the web to see what is really happening in the Ukraine. Twitter has been a great source for snippets of information coming out of the country.

The Ukrainian crisis has spurred the upload of over 90,000 videos to YouTube. Thankfully, gone are the days when people in dark circumstances have to bear it in silence. They can let the world know what is happening.

From Mashable.com:

hromadske.tv“These videos, which include live streams that showed the chaos in the streets, have attained more than 25 million views between them. More than 200,000 people watched Espreso TV‘s live stream of protests in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city, on Feb. 18. Meanwhile Hromadske.tv, an independent news organization based in Kiev, had more than 165,000 viewers for its live stream on YouTube.”

Twitter has also been a great source of information, with photos and bits of news constantly flowing onto the microblogging site.

How do you get your news? Do you trust the traditional news media as it currently stands or do you go to social media to find the news you need?

Social Media Community Management: 3 Things to Consider Before You Get Started

A lot of clients we work with are starting to dip their toes into social media this year – typically Facebook or Twitter. As we start defining their goals, and the strategy for achieving them through these social channels, the one thing that comes up universally is the need for Community Management – which is just a fancy way of saying: When our audience talks to us (YAY!!!!), who is in charge of answering back? And, what guidelines do we want to follow in our replies?

If you’re dipping your toes into social media this year, here are 3 things to think about as you establish your editorial calendar and community management guidelines:

  1. Timeliness: We believe that all companies should engage with their audience when and where they want to engage. What this means is that we use analytics to help us figure out what times of day are best to publish content on social properties, and we try to make someone available to respond when our audience talks back. This doesn’t mean that someone needs to staff your Facebook or Twitter account 24/7, but you should establish guidelines for your company on what is an acceptable response time. 2 hours? 4 hours? 24 hours? And then watch your analytics and adjust as your community grows.
  2. Whether to Respond: This one is easy. Yes, yes, yes, you should respond. Always. Listen; if someone is going to take the time to interact with your brand, you want to thank them. And with social media, it’s easy to do! Positive posts can be liked, re-tweeted or commented on, same with neutral ones. And negative ones, while tempting to delete sometimes, should (almost) never be deleted. Instead view this as an amazing customer service opportunity. Not everyone will like your company and its products all of the time, but your audience as a whole will always appreciate that you took the time to respond sincerely.
  3. How Much Can You Really Handle: It’s tempting to jump into social all the way – but the reality is that social media can be a LOT of work. What’s sustainable for your company? How much do you need to do to meet your goals? What do you have the staff for? Can you hire an outside partner to help you? Deciding on the answers to this early will really set the tone for whether or not you succeed – and whether or not you’re still doing social a few months down the road. Our best advice? Start small, measure, analyze and grow from there. You don’t have to tweet 10 times a day to be successful- you just have to be consistent, and have someone respond when your audience tweets back.

Of course these are just the community management concerns – there are plenty of other things to consider as you get started with social media, most importantly your content strategy. Yep, you’ll need to have one of those too.

Any other big things you’re thinking about as you plan your social media strategies? Tell me in the comments!

This Week in Social Media: Yahoo! Acquires Vizify

As you have been hearing lately, visual content is growing and will soon overtake copy as the most common form of content on the web. In a move to ensure that they stay viable, Yahoo! has acquired Vizify, a small tech company that specializes in visual data content – they take social media content in the form of comments, pictures, animations and video and turn it into infographics and card formats.

Vizify

From the Vizify folks:

“Since last summer, we’ve been engaged in a conversation with some of the incredible folks at Yahoo about the ways this more visual approach to data can inspire and entertain. As our conversations progressed, we realized we’d found a partner who shared our passion for user experience, design, and visualizing information. Ultimately, we just couldn’t say no to the opportunity to bring our vision to the hundreds of millions of people who use Yahoo! every day.”

Geek Wire was able to get a very brief statement from a Yahoo spokesperson:

“We have found in Vizify a company that shares our passion for visualization technology and the user experience.”

The five man Vizify team will be sun-setting their service and moving to San Francisco by the end of summer to join the Yahoo team. More information about this acquisition can be found at Vizify.com.

This Week in Social Media: LinkedIn Sharing its Publishing Platform

LinkedIn announced last week that they will be changing the ability to publish on the social platform. Up until now, only top influencers such as Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and other bigwigs were able to publish on LinkedIn. As of the 19th, any LinkedIn member can publish professional content.

From the LinkedIn blog:

Starting today, LinkedIn is opening up our publishing platform to our members, giving them a powerful new way to build their professional brand. When a member publishes a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile, is shared with their trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled. Now members have the ability to follow other members that are not in their network and build their own group of followers. Members can continue to share their expertise by posting photos, images, videos and their original presentations on SlideShare.

LinkedIn ExpertsBased on the idea that every business person has valuable experience to share, LinkedIn’s philosophy is that members will be able to share experiences, stories, ideas and tips with others in their industry and across the entire network. If this publisher takes off, it could provide LinkedIn with unlimited amounts of fresh, valuable content; not to mention the ability of new entrepreneurs, business people and graduates having a wealth of information and ideas at their finger tips. Following the trend of “knowledge over information”, this has the potential to be a very powerful tool for businesses, employees, and anyone with an interest in a particular industry.

What will you share on LinkedIn’s platform? Are you willing to offer your trade secrets to up & comers?