Tag Facebook

[Infographic] Optimize your Facebook posts

It can be tough to keep on top of “best practices” on Facebook. I say best practices in quotes as it seems like as soon as there’s a set of standards developed, everything changes and we go back to experimenting to find what works. The nice folks at Salesforce were kind enough to post this infographic online to help us create optimized posts on Facebook, or as they put it, “the perfect Facebook post.”

Basically, keep it short: 90 characters is the recommended limit. Target your post by location or language if it’s relevant, and if you’re going to start advertising your post, do it within the first 24 hours to reach more of your fans.

Source: Salesforce

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How to reach your Facebook Page’s fans

Marketers have been saying for awhile now that the way to maximize your reach on Facebook when posting on behalf a Page to attach your message to a graphic of some kind. This became even more true after the move to Timeline. We started creating graphics for every announcement to ensure whatever news we were trying to communicate would reach its intended target by playing into Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm.

Then, Facebook changed their algorithm again a couple months ago. Suddenly, pages reaching 25%-30% if not more of their fans on Facebook found themselves reaching 10% of fans per post.

It appears they’ve changed it again.

Photo posts still seem to get the highest engagement numbers (clicks, shares, comments, likes). However, text-only status updates are getting greater reach numbers. In my experience this week, I posted two messages relevant to a page’s audience. The post on Tuesday was a graphic that included a link to a video in the caption. The post I made today was a status update about an item on sale at an upcoming event. Though the Tuesday post was perhaps more universally relevant to fans, the Wednesday post reached 75% more people.

If you need to broadcast information to your fans, embrace the status update! But if you want to engage them properly, keep doing it with photos.

Facebook Voting

Don’t lose the voting privileges you didn’t know you had!

Did you know you can vote on Facebook policy changes before they happen? 99.9% of Facebook doesn’t appear to.

The current policy up for the chopping block is the ability to vote against policy changes, and moving instead to allowing users to comment on what Facebook’s administration does.

If you want to be able to vote on this stuff in the future, click here to sign into the app, then vote to keep the current policy documents in place.

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Cheat sheet: Social media graphics sizes

I’ve created custom designs for social media profiles and have made templates for myself here and there through trial and error, but this seems like a great shortcut. The less time you spend bumping graphic elements pixel-by-pixel around your Photoshop document, the more time you can put into pimping out your profiles!

The cheat sheet is courtesy Mediabistro’s AllTwitter blog.

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36 rules of social media

Fast Company asked social media power users for their rules of engagement, and Mediabistro’s AllTwitter turned it into a handy infographic. Did they miss any of your rules?

While I agree with the overarching theme that it’s high time to stop treating social media as a broadcast platform and more like a conversation platform, I don’t think it’s impossible to have a monetization strategy that provides a good consumer experience at the same time.

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Is Facebook’s EdgeRank prioritizing text-only posts?

Something I’ve noticed this week… Here’s two posts from a Facebook page this week, one text-only and one link. Text-only posts used to be hammered the hardest by Facebook’s EdgeRank (their algorithm that determines how many of your fans see a page’s posts).

Have you seen anything like this on your pages this week? Could this be an anomaly, or has Facebook changed EdgeRank radically again?

Keeping up with your own social media when you’re a social media professional

The saying goes that the cobbler’s children are the worst shod. As a marketing professional heavily involved in social media, I prioritize my clients’ social media feeds over my own. This shows, quite glaringly, in my fits and starts of sharing content and resharing the great posts that others create, and in the bags under my eyes when I do finally have the time and inclination to buckle down and contribute to the online community that has given so much to me…at 2 AM. No one wants to be the one everyone sees posting like a madwoman in the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, there are a lot of great tools out there to help organize and streamline the approach.

Most important in my toolbox is Buffer. Buffer is an app that acts like a bank where you can compose messages for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and App.net whenever you have the inclination. Once each post is saved, Buffer will automatically send them out at predetermined times. I have mine set to post four times a day, but you can set it up to post less often or more often. This way, I can plan out days of content when the house is quiet at night, and post it on my chosen networks while I’m doing work for clients during the day.

The pitfall of Buffer, though, is that it’s a broadcasting tool. I built my first community on Twitter by having conversations with music writers. Many of those writers (and friends of those writers) became good friends offline as well. To find new and interesting people, I look at Klout’s topic lists for “influencers,” and I look at the Twitter accounts of people I admire and follow some of the people they look up to, and I read and respond to what they have to say. Twitter is often misused as a portable RSS feed. Engage others, or perish.

It’s always a good idea to play games with yourself. For a long time, I felt like I had nothing worth saying in a blog format, and I was dragging my feet on getting my portfolio in shape. One day, my friend Oscar posted in the Social Media Mastermind of Orange County Facebook group about a blog challenge for November – 30 posts in 30 days. I signed up, and all of a sudden I managed to have a functioning website up with blog posts on it. I already wanted to be more active in my community online. Now I have some peer pressure to keep me honest.

I’m experimenting with Triberr as well, after hearing about how easy Triberr makes it to find great, relevant content worth sharing, as well as getting your content in front of people who might find it relevant and interesting in turn. I’m looking forward to seeing how this experiment turns out.

In the end, though, the key to making all of this work is consistency. Without it, I am working solely for my clients and not for myself. Noble as that may sound, you can’t get water from a dry well. The stronger my personal community is, the higher quality of work I can do for my clients, and I strengthen my community by actively participating.

Follow me on Twitter to see how all of this turns out!

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Why should I use social media?

The obvious answer is often the right one — if you don’t know why you should use social media, you probably shouldn’t be using it.

I often speak to people running businesses or trying to make it in a band who tell me they’re on Facebook because someone told them they should be on Facebook, but no matter how often they use the site, it all just seems rather pointless, not to mention fruitless.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who tells others their business or brand should be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Pinstagram, Faceyspaces…the list goes on. It’s a common misconception that we are obligated to engage all the new, shiny objects we hear are “hot” or “the next big thing” in social media. The truth is that you’re likely doing far more damage to your brand by trying to shoehorn social media into a workflow it wasn’t designed for.

That’s not to say that social media can’t help everyone. It most certainly can. However, it has to be done well to do so. If you’re one of those people I mentioned in the previous paragraph, knock it off already!

Brands should be online, and should register all the usernames and domain names necessary on all relevant social media platforms just as a matter of trademark security. How far that brand engages in social media depends not only on the brand but on the stakeholder’s appetite for using the platform or platforms of choice.

I’d love it if all the bands I’ve ever worked with were natural Tweeters or Facebookers. More often than not, it just doesn’t come naturally. They can entertain a room full of hundreds of paying customers for over an hour, but put a smartphone in their hands and they just don’t know what they’re supposed to say. This is not their fault; there is a message and you just have to find the method of transmission that works. Instagram has been incredibly useful for this. Being able to communicate in short, visual bursts is just what many creative people need to share of themselves authentically.

While you’re working on your “why” of social media, take care to understand what works for you and your business, and know you don’t have to do it all. If you’re struggling with the why, and you don’t need the leads or customer service platform or community, you don’t have to do social media at all.

Why email still matters

Working with bands isn’t that far off from working with small businesses: budgets are tight, and while stakeholders understand that all things online will help their business, they’re frequently looking for ways to get the job done as quickly and simply as possible so they can get back to what they’re best at doing. This is why a lot of businesses and brands stopped growing and updating email newsletter lists in favor of growing followings on Facebook and Twitter.

The problem with having your fans and customers on platforms you don’t own, however, is that you don’t own the online relationship with your fans and customers. This idea started coming home for many of us working in social media at the end of September, when suddenly each post only reached a fraction of the fans we had been reaching — that is, unless we pay to “promote” each post. So how do you continue to reach your customers? Email.

It’s never too late to start an email list if you don’t have one already. MailChimp is a great tool to with a full-functional free version for lists up to 2,000 people. Aweber is a great platform that makes it easy to send mail to highly segmented lists, but I’ve found that for most small business applications, it’s a little more power than necessary.

There are many more email platforms out there, so I encourage you to do some research and see what works best for your needs.