What to do about the end of auto-sharing to Facebook profiles and creating episodic social media content

If you auto-share items from your site to Facebook (blog posts for example), you’ll want to take note of the big changes coming this week.

Many people, nonprofits, small businesses, churches etc use the built-in social media auto-sharing features on platforms such as WordPress or Squarespace or Wix or Weebly etc to share content to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles without much fuss.

However, Facebook is removing that ability for posting to a profile on August 1. This particularly impacts smaller businesses or a nonprofit that are smaller since it’s affecting Profiles, not Pages. But if you have been using auto-share to a WordPress profile, you’re going to have to do that manually now.

Here’s part of WordPress’ notice about it:

Starting August 1, 2018, Facebook is making a change to their platform: third-party tools can no longer automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles. This includes Publicize. If you’ve connected a Facebook Profile to your site, then Publicize will no longer be able to share your new posts to Facebook automatically. Sharing to Facebook Pages will continue to work as before.

Source: Publicize — Support — WordPress.com

Note that if you are auto-sharing to a Facebook Page (rather than a Profile… usually Pages are associated with businesses or groups and Profiles are individuals), you’ll still be able to continue to do that after August 1.

There are good security reasons why Facebook is making this change in light of the Cambridge Analytica fallout as well as the general cultural perception that Facebook is overrun with “fake news”. However, there’s also a clear self-serving reason for making this change as this post from Buffer points out:

Facebook seems very keen to encourage more users to share content and counter the decline of user-generated posts.

For example, its recent focus on Stories and Groups could be seen as a way to encourage more unique content. This, coupled with the “meaningful interactions” update, shows that Facebook might be hoping that more unique content shared by users, reaching more of their closest friends and family will help to spark more conversation and interaction on the platform.

Source: How Facebook Marketing is Changing (And How to Be Prepared) – Buffer

Buffer is a leading service in the social media sharing space. They allow for easy scheduling of posts to a variety of networks and are used frequently by businesses and nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. We’ve used them extensively with clients over the years as well.

However, the social media landscape continues to evolve since it became a major part of most people’s “online” lives over the last decade as well as a viable marketing and advertising channel.

I’ve always been hesitant about overusing auto-sharing services and blasting out the same content to every network as if they were all the same. Twitter, when used well, generates a very unique “culture” around a brand, business, or church. Facebook also has a unique community around content that will take even more of a front seat with the renewed push on “personal sharing” from the company. The same can be said about Instagram. The trick is to know your audience and be aware of the particularities of each of the social networks you’re pushing content to. You can’t treat a Facebook Live video the same as an Instagram Story or a Twitter Moment.

Additionally, Facebook Pages have taken a number of algorithmic hits over the last few years and I’ve personally had clients walk away from the platform because the ROI just wasn’t there. It’s not as simple as pushing “Publish” and walking away to let the magic happen these days.

Whether you’re using a Page or your own Profile to promote your cause, now is a good time to step back and re-examine how and why you share content and how you share content on any social network. I like to create social media calendars for our clients to help keep a more scheduled approach to content generation and sharing and to keep us from falling into the easy trap of blasting out the same content to every network at once.

Along with the calendar and schedule, I like to promote the idea of generating social media content in an episodic nature. The Netflix example is often used here to explain that people go to the service over and over to watch content they have become connected to in some way. “Binge watching” is not just about devouring a season of a TV show in one sitting, but is a psychological relationship that a person establishes with a certain brand of a show. Netflix doesn’t make its money from people passively watching movies or shows that are rolled out in a pre-programmed schedule with advertisements every 4-6 minutes. Instead, Netflix understands the psychology behind creating a connection between a person and their very interest-specific content.

In the same way, I like to promote the notion that social media content from a business, church, or nonprofit can and should tap into that same “episodic” mindset. Get your fans (no matter the size of your audience) on a regular schedule of Facebook Live events, Twitter AMA’s, Instagram Live Q/A’s, Facebook Page Pics of the Week etc… and don’t forget your weekly email newsletters on Tuesday or Thursday and your new podcast episodes every Monday.

Churches Should Realize That Branding is Dead

As with many things to do with marketing and messaging, churches are way behind the curve when realizing that relationships are much more powerful than advertisements or fancy branding.

Marketing data points have already moved larger brands to this realization but there’s still a large vacuum in the world of nonprofit and religious org marketing that keeps outreach trapped in the pre-internet days.

The Best Marketers Will Realize That “Branding” Is Dead And It’s All About Community Activation And Relationship Building. David Minifie, CXO & Executive Vice President, Centene Corporation

As a CMO, I wanted to elevate from Advertising (like personal injury lawyers) to Brand Building (like Harley Davidson).  As a CXO, however, my perspective has changed.  I want to take Transactions (like glancing at the newspaper sports scores), turn them into Engagements (like reading Sports Illustrated) and then elevate them into Relationships (like being a Cardinals fan in St. Louis).  Manufacturers that focus on branding and not relationships…beware!

— Read on www.forbes.com/

Improving Twitter in 2018?

Dave Winer:

1. Eliminate the character limit, allow for linking, simple styles, titles and enclosures (for podcasting). The move to 280 chars was so successful, that should be a clue. Remove the barriers to expression and let the whole web in via linking. Handle length the way Facebook does with a see more link. It’s good prior art.

— Read on scripting.com/2018/07/22/155344.html

I remember having a conversation with Tris Hussey over breakfast at some conference or other in early 2007 where we discussed Twitter and its future possibilities. I was convinced at the time that Twitter would go on to see the light and open itself up as a protocol for the internet to facilitate public micro-messaging, similar to what IMAP and POP were for email. I was wrong, of course. Twitter actually reversed course from its early openness with developers and a flexible API and shifted towards the advertising platform model around 2009 as it sought out a way to monetize the service.

I’m still an avid user of Twitter, much more so than Facebook, ten years later. I remember the early talks and discussions about the need for more editing features and the ability to post longer entries and I always thought that was antithetical to what Twitter was. I still think that’s the case (think Old Man Yelling At the Clouds). What makes Twitter such an interesting and valuable platform for news and social interaction to me in 2018 is the brevity of content. Going from 140 characters to 280 characters is less of a paradigm shift and more of a realization that the perception of too much information density has changed in the post-SMS messaging world. Whereas a long text message was seen as rude and inconsiderate in 2007, a long iMessage is considered the norm in 2018.

So, I have to disagree with Dave here on his point that Twitter should eliminate the character limit and promote features such as styles, titles, and even enclosures. What makes Twitter so unique in a world of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, FaceTime, Signal, WeChat etc is the constraint of expression. People use Signal for privacy. We use Snapchat for its ephemeral and whimsical nature. Instagram is how we share visuals. Twitter is how we share quick thoughts.

We have blogs for the other features that Dave mentions here. Open the API’s and get the app developers back on board if we want to Make Twitter Great Again.

Video at every stage of the customer journey

Holistic marketing campaigns that are based on customer journeys and utilize a mixture of text, video, and image based ads have always been the vehicle for real results if you had enough budget.

It’s great to see Google (YouTube) helping to make this reachable for nonprofits, community groups, and religious orgs with a limited budget as well…

Increasingly, video is also leading people to take action. In fact, globally, conversions generated by YouTube ads are up 150 percent year over year.1 Using TrueView for action, you can drive any action on your website that’s important to your business, like booking a trip, scheduling a test drive or requesting more information.

— Read on blog.google/products/ads/results-on-youtube/

Neil Armstrong’s Man Bag

I love this story (not just because I have an unhealthy obsession with bags and man purses)…

For whatever reason, Armstrong seemingly kept the bag a secret for more than four decades. Even when questioned about mementos by his authorized biographer, Armstrong made no mention of the historic artifacts that were tucked away in his closet.

To be clear, the bag was not something Armstrong snuck home from the moon. After returning to lunar orbit, the bag and its contents were moved from Eagle to the command module “Columbia” before the lander was directed to crash back to the surface. Had the purse remained aboard, it too would have been destroyed.

Source: Neil Armstrong’s purse: First moonwalker had hidden bag of Apollo 11 artifacts | collectSPACE

Harrelson Agency and Google’s New Responsive Search Ads

At Harrelson Agency, we manage a number of Google Ads campaigns (formerly AdWords as of July 24, 2018) for clients. Simply put, there’s really no better way to drive web traffic to a site or a landing page regardless of your budget, size, or goal. Whether you’re selling stuff, raising awareness, or trying to get more people into the door of your business or church, there’s a clear return on investment for a well-run Google Ads campaign.

We’ve been writing, tweaking, and managing these ads for years. I often tell clients its part science and part art to make everything work correctly. That may change a little after today…

Consumers today are more curious, more demanding, and they expect to get things done faster because of mobile. As a result, they expect your ads to be helpful and personalized. Doing this isn’t easy, especially at scale. That’s why we’re introducing responsive search ads. Responsive search ads combine your creativity with the power of Google’s machine learning to help you deliver relevant, valuable ads.

Simply provide up to 15 headlines and 4 description lines, and Google will do the rest. By testing different combinations, Google learns which ad creative performs best for any search query. So people searching for the same thing might see different ads based on context.

Via Google Ads Blog

Google is rolling out its new “responsive search ads” from beta today, and it does have the potential to reshape a number of processes that marketers like us use for ad campaigns. I doubt that we’ll give up on the fun whiteboard sessions where we throw ideas into the open that produce the basis for most of our managed campaigns, and I’m sure I’ll still have those “shower moment” epiphanies where the perfect headline text pops into my mind as I’m applying shampoo, but I am excited about what this could mean for our clients.

There’s no doubt in my mind that a great deal of the processes we use to build websites or manage Ads campaigns on Google and Facebook or to create memorable billboard taglines or to even write strategic plan documents will be automated and “responsive” as Google says in the coming decade. That’s why I’m betting Harrelson Agency’s future on the future and making sure that I’m staying on top of everything AI and blockchain and machine learning and augmented reality that I can.

We’ve already seen the decimation of the website development industry at the hands of democratizing creative tools like Squarespace and Weebly and Wix (as much as I dislike their pedestrian designs…). We’ll continue to see the same in other areas of marketing and advertising.

It’s worth my time to think ahead both for my clients’ bottom lines as well as Harrelson Agency’s future.