Sam Harrelson





Bringing It All Back Home 2018 Edition

Robert Rauschenberg, Mother of God, ca. 1950

I’ve made a series of “Bringing It All Back Home” posts here over the last decade charting my attempts to reign in some of the content I so freely pour out all over the social web. Some of those attempts have been successful and some less so (looking at you, Twitter). However, I enter 2018 with a renewed sense of purpose and direction for how I see this space and site changing with me as I continue to evolve.

Similarly, the web continues to evolve. There is now less of a need for flashy graphics or fonts or layouts and more of a need for real and authentic dialogue and expression. I recognize my place of privilege saying that, but I do think the sooner we unmoor ourselves from our socially constructed social media profiles and find spaces of genuine room for translation and interpolation, the better we’ll be.

Plus, I have years of Analytics data to show that no one is looking at my “Services” page and I get much more interaction, engagement, and yes… clients from my actual posts here than some elaborately designed page touting my consultation pedigree and skills. Those are here if you seek them out, but I doubt you will.

Having a web space in 2018 means much more about discovery and freedom of expression outside the walled gardens of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Those places still serve their purpose, but the type of expression and sharing and learning I’m looking to do more of in 2018 both personally and professionally will be the theme of this space as we move forward. The marketing and consulting clients will come if I do a good job of that exploration and communication of what I find out about the world, tech, religion, strategic planning, and …well… myself.

For the first time in three years, I’ve fired up a brand new dedicated server and put this site there (previously it was on WordPress.com as I worked up the courage to make this leap). Everything from email to my calendar to to-do apps and items etc will be located on the server as I want to be more intentional about the services I use and recommend but also find more of that self-reliance and independence I’ve always aspired towards (both personally and with my clients). I’ve even been able to bring in my old Tumblr posts from 2007-2009 as a part of scooping up all of my old posts going back to 2006.  In the hours I’ve spent setting up the server as well as this site and learning to love PHP and curl commands again, I already feel that the attempt has paid dividends. I can’t wait to see what else I learn (or re-learn) as I move along.

So forgive me if I do a lot more sharing here than before… some of it will make it over to Twitter and perhaps Facebook. However, I’ll try to keep the stream manageable as more of my content originates here as the hub and flows out to those spaces. Those spaces are great for sharing and hearing echoes of your own views and feelings and expectations. A space like this in 2018 holds a promise of the type of exploration that encourages me to learn more and therefore be a more creative and talented person as well as a better consultant for my clients.

Here’s to 2018.

Practice resurrection.


Facebook Cracks Down on Engagement Baiting

What you see on Facebook greatly depends on what Facebook thinks you want to see. It’s a complicated algorithm of past behaviors, your own demographic info as well as what people who you interact with often are liking or sharing. “Likes” and “Shares” on a post can greatly amplify the number of people who see it.

However, you shouldn’t be blatant and ask for likes or shares in a way that can be perceived as annoying or “spammy.” Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google have all been throttling this sort of “engagement behavior” in small ways over the last year or so on their respective platforms. We’ve been encouraging clients to not use those terms regardless of how much goodwill might be behind a post.

But it’s great to see Facebook publicly discouraging people from asking for likes and shares:

Facebook is cracking down on a new type of clickbait: Posts that ask people to Like or share or comment to goose engagement numbers, what Facebook is calling “engagement bait.”

You’ve probably seen posts like this in your feed before. Like if you think cats are best. Share if you think dogs are best. It’s a tactic that publishers will use to game Facebook’s algorithm, which rewards posts that get better engagement and shows them to more people.

via Facebook is clamping down on posts that ask people for Likes or shares – Recode


“a new combination of media company and public utility”

Great point… and it’s unimaginable to me that anyone in government or a high profile position would take their own security and (operational and informational) so lightly…

As we saw this week, when Twitter, Facebook, and Google testified on Capitol Hill about Russias election meddling, “social media companies have failed to come to grips with who they are, and what role they play in society. They imagine themselves as tech companies that just make products, but they’re actually a new combination of media company and public utility,” Singer added.

These companies use of contractors, often part-time workers in internet call centers, to handle abuse and moderation is something else to consider. Twitter, for example, has never provided a breakdown of how much of its workforce is contracted.

via A Former Twitter Employee Told Us How a Contractor Could Take Down Trumps Account – Motherboard


What Does Your Brand Do?

Longevity and repetition are two of the hardest to use tools in a marketer’s toolbox, but also the most effective.

via Marketing at millennials won’t save your tired brand | The Drum

There are definitely some points in this post that I disagree with (importance of having a “famous” brand and working towards that being a goal for your organization for one), but this sentence did stick out to me as something that I need to emphasize with our clients more often.

We do lots of “strategic consulting” with non-profits and businesses that don’t necessarily have a large budget for branding considerations. It’s something that often gets overlooked in the process of thinking through a marketing plan. That can easily be seen by the poor quality of logos and branding material that most local or regional non-profits have. But these things can be done well on a tight budget.

As the economy has shifted and nonprofits (especially) are facing slimmer traditional sources of donations there, concepts such as “what does your logo tell people about your group, business or non-profit?” become valuable barometers for improvement whether you’re trying to sell a product or solicit a donation.

You don’t need to have a quality Nike swoosh or Apple apple or Coke wordmark to be successful, but thinking through what you’re presenting and what you’re trying to “do” with your logo, fonts, colors, and brand messaging can make a world of difference when done well.


Can Non-Profits Benefit from LinkedIn?

je-linkedin-see-more-link

One of my favorite clients had this question on our weekly call this morning.

I excitedly said “YES!” which feels a little odd. Going back through my blog archives here, you’ll see lots of instances over the last 10 years where I’ve written that LinkedIn “sucks” is “terrible” and “should not be used.”

However, LinkedIn can be a fabulous tool for groups and nonprofits looking to make an impact within a certain influencer group. I offered a couple of different thoughts on how to do that in our call this morning, but the highlights are that you should be posting updates and your posts should be “mobile-first” (short, narrative, and text). Secondly, use their native video feature to share QUICK and focused updates via mobile video, especially if you’re doing outreach or looking to connect with parties in your community.

There’s a great list of other ideas here from Social Media Examiner that I found while doing some research:

Keep it short. No one wants to read walls of text. Also, on LinkedIn mobile, a See More link appears on text updates longer than five lines. On the desktop version, your post is cut off after only three lines. With these limits in mind, if you use a storytelling approach, put a compelling hook in the first line to encourage people to read the whole post.

via How to Improve Your LinkedIn Engagement : Social Media Examiner


Facebook Page Reach Has Declined 20% in 2017

Facebook isn’t the newspaper where “if you post it, they will see it.” This takes a little bit of shift in how we view concepts such as “spam” and “bugging” but algorithms don’t work like our chronological brains.

What to do if you’re a small business, church or non-profit with a small number of Facebook Page likes but looking to grow? Post video. Post often. Don’t assume that because you post something on your Facebook Page (not your personal one) that all of your followers or audience will see it.

What’s more likely is actually another News Feed update introduced in June 2016, which put increased emphasis on content posted by friends and family over Page posts. Facebook’s always looking to get people sharing more personal updates, and those updates generate more engagement, which keeps people on platform longer, while also providing Facebook with more data to fuel their ad targeting.

via New Study Finds Facebook Page Reach has Declined 20% in 2017 | Social Media Today


Facebook Nones, Snapchat, and Instagram

screen-shot-2017-08-22-at-9-53-19-am

We’ve been hearing about the decline of Facebook’s popularity among younger users for years now. It looks like Instagram (owned by Facebook) and Snapchat are finally providing an avenue for “Facebook Nones”:

Facebook is losing appeal among teens and young adults which is contributing to generally slowing growth for the platform, according to the latest projections from research firm eMarketer.

At the same time alternative social apps Snapchat and (Facebook-owned) Instagram are seeing rising and double-digit growth in the same youth demographic — suggesting younger users are favoring newer and more visual communications platforms.

Teens favoring Snapchat and Instagram over Facebook, says eMarketer – TechCrunch


What Time Should We Post to Our Facebook Page?

I get this question quite often, especially from churches and non-profits:

“What time of the day should we post to our Facebook page to make the most impact?”

It’s a tough question to answer given the number of variables and because every church/group has a different set of Facebook followers and likes. You’ll find a number of posts on the web giving you suggestions as well (such as this one from CoSchedule). However, churches and non-profits are different beasts than companies, so you have to keep that in mind when finding a good time for your posts.

Here are a few graphs we put together from four different churches and non-profits we work with at Harrelson Agency (anonymous and with their permission). The graphs display the times when the fans of a Facebook Page are using Facebook on their computer, iPad or mobile device over the span of the last month on average. All have relatively the same size of Facebook audiences (and are close to the same size in terms of members).

This is completely anecdotal data, but it looks like the peak time for the most users being online is around 9 PM (that’s especially true on the weekends). Some days like Mondays had fewer users on Facebook but the graphs display a pretty interesting average over the past month. So if you’re looking for the most immediate eyeballs, the afternoon into the evening is a better bet than first thing in the morning or into the late evening (though there are some advantages to that as well).

So take from that what you will… I think it’s pretty interesting. Keep in mind that there is a great deal of variance and data points to employ if you’re looking to come up with a specific marketing plan around Facebook posts. This is just to provide a rough approximation based on a data set that I came across and thought was intriguing.

And you should probably not post an important update at 3 AM.


Social Media Legal Mistakes that Small Businesses and Non-Profits Make

Don’t use Google Images as a database for your social media posts, even if you’re a small business, non-profit or (worse) church. Just this past month I ran into this situation and it ended up costing the non-profit money they didn’t have to cover the expense.

Make sure the person or agency in charge of your social media presence is aware of your concern…

If your social media agency isn’t trained in the legal ramifications of social media activity, you can still be held liable if the posting is done from your account. I spoke with three leading social media attorneys for a rundown on the legal mistakes you are making on social media and how to avoid them.

via 13 Social Media Mistakes That Could Result in Legal Trouble | Observer


www.🍕💩.ws

linkmoji

Further confirming the notion that your website address really doesn’t matter that much anymore, I present linkmoji.

Enjoy.