facebook

Start Thinking About Your Company’s Facebook Hashtags Now

How to use Facebook hashtags safely and effectively – TechHive: “As part of the rollout, Facebook says you will also be able to click hashtags that originated on other services, such as Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. It also plans to roll out additional features, including trending hashtags, in the near future, it says.”

Since announcing the launch of hashtags on its platform earlier this week, Facebook has since cautiously said that hashtags aren’t for sale (yet) for marketers but that marketers should start using hashtags on their pages and in Facebook advertising campaigns.

It’s no secret that hashtags are important, though you probably aren’t using them yet in your marketing (you should be).

Numerous companies have sprung up just to provide analytic insight into the nature of hashtags on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram (HashTracking, TwitAHolic, Statweestics (winner for most clever name in this category) and hashtags.org to name a few).

So why should you care about Facebook hashtags?

– hashtags provide users across various social networks the ability to find information they care about… Facebook announced their hashtags will inter-operate with other services (this is important)

– hashtags are the best vehicles for in-the-moment advertising such as a power outage at the Super Bowl

– hashtags are going to be the main supplier of relevant results for Facebook’s floundering (but soon to be insanely powerful) Graph Search feature…FB knows they have to get this right and they’ll turn their full force of algorithmic magic towards making this a sticky feature that makes people want to use their service

As I’ve said before, spend less time trying to create clever hashtags that might (but probably won’t) go viral yourself and instead use your creative energy to tap into existing hashtags trends that already exist.

So start doing your research and thinking on Facebook hashtags now. It’s going to be an important part of your company’s bottom line very soon.

Let us know if you need help.

Facebook Replacing Sponsored Search Results with Hashtags?

I think it’s pretty obvious the answer to that is “yep”..

Facebook to eliminate sponsored search results: “When asked about potentially having sponsored results in hashtag searches (for which Facebook launched support on Wednesday), the Facebook spokesperson told Inside Facebook that the company couldn’t comment on speculation, but one could imagine how it could work. Right now, the company is focused on figuring out how everything fits together with regard to advertising and search.”

 

Google Dominates, Facebook Rises and Apple Snores

Impressive stats from Google as reported in a new eMarketer study…

Google Takes Home Half of Worldwide Mobile Internet Ad Revenues – eMarketer: “Google earned more than half of the $8.8 billion advertisers worldwide spent on mobile internet ads last year, helping propel the company to take in nearly one-third of all digital ad dollars spent globally, according to eMarketer’s first-ever figures on worldwide digital and mobile advertising revenues at major internet companies.”

Equally impressive is Facebook’s growth from a non-existent program in 2011 to having a small-but-significant chunk of mobile ad revenue in 2013 and beyond.

We’ll see if that holds as more competitors such as Twitter and Pandora (I did a double take there as well, but click through to see all the stats) continue to climb.

It’s no wonder why Apple wants to get into the mobile ad game.

Facebook Adds Hashtags

Hashtags were “invented” or proposed for Twitter users way back in 2007 when we were still trying to figure out how Twitter worked and might work better. The hashtag caught on and has become an accepted part of global culture from uprisings to Super Bowls.

It’s no surprise to see the hashtag become part of the Facebook platform, and it would serve those of us using Facebook for marketing to make sure that we’re using hashtags to their optimal state in our campaigns:

Facebook Copies Twitter Again, Adds Hashtags: “Facebook today announced that it is bringing hashtags to its service, letting users add context to a post, indicate that it is part of a larger discussion, as well as discover shared interests. The company says hashtags have become ‘a vital part of popular culture’ and since it has seen users using them on the social network organically, it has decided to actually implement the feature.”

I’m excited to see what types of interactions this will open up with more users, especially in terms of discovery marketing.

This is potentially huge for advertisers.

Pew Report On How Facebook Bubble Is About to Pop

Middle school students I talk to frequently point to Instagram, Kik, Snapchat, WhatsApp or (increasingly) Twitter as their preferred social network over Facebook:

Teens, Social Media, and Privacy | Pew Internet & American Life Project: “Focus group discussions with teens show that they have waning enthusiasm for Facebook, disliking the increasing adult presence, people sharing excessively, and stressful ‘drama,’ but they keep using it because participation is an important part of overall teenage socializing.”

While Facebook did (wisely) acquire Instagram last year, the bleeding of usage is significant. Teens and the prized 18-24 demographic will continue to have a presence on Facebook as a namespace, but usage is the key demographic here.

Replacing demographics are much more ephemeral and harder-to-monetize situational networks like Kik or Snapchat.

Pinterest Gets Analytics

Pinterest has announced their iteration of web analytics for bloggers, businesses and groups with a verified website in the profile of the popular sharing service:

Introducing Pinterest Web Analytics – Pinterest Blog: “Bloggers, businesses, and organizations often ask us, “what are people pinning from my websites?” These website owners help create the content on Pinterest and we wanted to help them understand which pieces of content people find most interesting. Today, we’re pleased to announce Pinterest Web Analytics, a first step towards doing just that. Web Analytics gives site owners insights into how people are interacting with pins that originate from their websites.”

Getting your website verified by Pinterest is a pretty painless and straightforward process involving dropping some code into the header of your site.

Most interesting is the ability to see stats on not just your pins but also repins as well as impressions and clicks. This should make many of the marketers and businesses that have been eyeing Pinterest but not sold on the platform because lack of analytics happy.

This isn’t a good thing for sites such as PinReach that have sprung up to fulfill the need for analytics and insight into Pinterest trends. However, much like Twitter’s once flourishing API coral reef (still a great post six years later), these sites can become interesting platforms to dig deeper or look at other types of social engagement outside of what Pinterest itself offers.

Pinterest is definitely upping the social media involvement ante with businesses as it continues to scale its user base and explore areas of monetization and ad serving in a different path than either Twitter or Facebook.

Instead, look to LinkedIn and Twitter for further innovation in the social networking monetization space.

What Marketers Should Know About Facebook’s New News Feed

Excellent post and resources to ponder if you use Facebook for your performance marketing efforts…

Facebook Update Gives Users More Control Over News Feed: What Marketers Should Know: “Facebook’s design changes make it much easier for Facebook users to tune out content from businesses and brands. Because this is the case, you need to give your fans even more incentive to check out their Following Feed to view your content so they can engage with it via Likes, comments, and shares, enabling you to show up in their friends’ All Friends Feed. This makes it even more critical that you post content that is compelling and sharable.”

via Steve Hall on Twitter

Spreading Too Thin on Social Sites

Spreading videos you’ve already made (and the ones you haven’t made yet) to social channels is one of the common sense things that many marketers don’t do well.

On top of that, making sure to do more than just link or embed your videos on sites as if you’re simply broadcasting is something most marketers just simply ignore.

Yes, spread your videos around but don’t just dilute your message online by blasting your posts or videos or podcasts everywhere… just as when you are learning in school, it’s better to go deeper than wider when applying social media strategies. Don’t have time for LinkedIn? Don’t post there. Think Twitter is silly? Don’t tweet. Have no clue why Pinterest is a big deal? Don’t pin.

Find the balance between spreading your content (posts, video, audio, pics etc) but don’t spread yourself too thin on sites that you’re not authentically using and engaging…

Leverage Your Existing Videos on Your Social Media Sites | SoMedia Video Marketing Blog: “LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Google+ are all great places to post your videos—in fact I think LinkedIn and Google+ are going to be big destinations for online business video in the near future—which is the key point here: once you’ve created a video, you need to ensure you leverage it beyond your website. Don’t just hide it on your website, consider all the places where your target audience is online, stake your claim, and post the video there.”

via Tris Hussey on Twitter

Facebook Responds to Pay-to-Play Allegations

Facebook says we’re wrong about its pay-to-play scheme for surfacing content in users’ news feeds:

Fact Check – Facebook Newsroom: “There have been recent claims suggesting that our News Feed algorithm suppresses organic distribution of posts in favor of paid posts in order to increase our revenue. This is not true. We want to clear up any misconceptions by explaining how the News Feed algorithm works.”

It’s interesting to see Facebook take to their blog to defend their algorithms the day after the original post in the NY Times.

Social Media Marketing Sizes Cheat Sheet

We use this as our internal “cheat sheet” for social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ at Harrelson Agency for finding the right size for images and texts.

It’s a great quick reference to help our clients get the job done.

You can grab a copy from Scribd below or use this Dropbox link for a view or download.

Enjoy!

Social Media Marketing Sizes Cheat Sheethttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/118366124/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-27uvd00byzynodbr39xn(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Chosing Your Services and Apps Wisely

Sounds like Chris and I went on a similar journey of finding better apps to do what we do:

Goodbye ubiquitous digital service | Chris Webb: “Over the past months I’ve been transitioning away from a number of the digital services and apps I use. Honestly I didn’t set out to do it, rather it has become a snowball effect that started with one service I hated using and has led to an almost meditative evaluation of my digital workspaces and the way I interact with the technologies that are intertwined with my existence.”

Like him, I’m now using apps like:

All of those are apps I’ve paid for (except ThinkUp which is open source) and all (except Pinboard) are hosted on my own server (mail is downloaded via POP). Of course, I have to rely on the internet provider I use etc but I know where my data resides and I feel better knowing who has access, how it’s being used etc.

I don’t think the “bring it all back home” movement is going to ever catch up to the “throw it all into Facebook’s garden” mindset, but it’s great to read about others making similar choices with their attention and data.

Don’t Get Borked by Your Netflix Viewing

What fiscal cliff? Now we’ve got Netflix frictionless social sharing thanks to Congress!

Your Netflix rental data: coming to a Facebook timeline near you soon | Media | guardian.co.uk: “We are pleased that the Senate moved so quickly after the House,’ a Netflix spokesperson told Talking Points Memo on Wednesday. ‘We plan to introduce social features for our US members in 2013, after the president signs it.”

Interesting history of the 1988 law being amended to allow for sharing our Netflix viewings on Facebook, btw.

Robert Bork died this past week. Coincidence? Maybe. Full-circle and all that.

Yet another sign that we’re slouching towards [privacy] Gomorrah.

Learning And the Fragility of the Web

Kevin Marks has a great post connecting the notion of necessary complexity with the state of the web and our willingness to throw all of our content (pics, music, text etc) into the hands of silos and walled garden social media networks:

Epeus’ epigone: The Antifragility of the Web: “If you’ve read Nasim Taleb’s Antifragile, you know what comes next. By shielding people from the complexities of the web, by removing the fragility of links, we’re actually making things worse. We’re creating a fragility debt. Suddenly, something changes – money runs out, a pivot is declared, an aquihire happens, and the pent-up fragility is resolved in a Black Swan moment.”

The latest Instagram debacle over who owns user generated pictures points to a rising tide of web users who want more than just partial ownership of what they create simply for the sake of sharing. We’ve had another system in place for over a decade now with blogs and feeds.

Of course, it’s much easier to slap a filter on a photo and upload it to Instagram or Facebook and reap the benefits of the likes and comments received rather than uploading an image to a hosted blog and going through the necessary hoops of making sure your friends are subscribed etc.

However, this complexity begets savvy users and people who understand the fragility of the web and its main currency (the link) and why a web that is open and not centralized around one corporation is worth protecting

It’s one reason that, as a teacher, I’m big on portfolios (blogs) written and curated by each student and interlinking with other student blogs. In some small way, I hope this learning process helps young people who are setting the stage for the next iteration of the social web to appreciate what it means to have an individual name space and participate in the democracy of the commons rather than just the fiefdom of Facebook.

I’m picking up Taleb’s Antifragile tomorrow (I’m back to reading dead tree editions of books for philosophical reasons but that’s for another post).

Reminiscing About What the Web Was

From 2008:

The vanishing personal site – Jeffrey Zeldman: “Our personal sites, once our primary points of online presence, are becoming sock drawers for displaced first-person content. We are witnessing the disappearance of the all-in-one, carefully designed personal site containing professional information, links, and brief bursts of frequently updated content to which others respond via comments.”

From this week in 2012:

The Web We Lost – Anil Dash: “The tech industry and its press have treated the rise of billion-scale social networks and ubiquitous smartphone apps as an unadulterated win for regular people, a triumph of usability and empowerment. They seldom talk about what we’ve lost along the way in this transition, and I find that younger folks may not even know how the web used to be.”

We’ve lost a great deal indeed.

Lots to ponder between these last four years and these two complimentary bookends on the handing over of our namespaces and personal sites to venture capital funds, eager stock buyers and corporate silos.

And yes, I miss Technorati as well.

WordPress A/B Testing with Simple Page Tester

Shawn Collins points out a nifty WordPress plugin for split A/B testing on affiliate sites or any landing page that requires optimization…

A/B Testing: “For the uninitiated, split or A/B testing is a process where you serve up different versions of your page to different visitors to determine which is more effective.

I’ve tried various ways in WordPress and found they were largely a hassle, until I came across the Simple Page Tester plugin.”

I’ve tested Simple Page Tester with a paid search campaign as well as a Facebook Ads campaign linking out to a micro-site lead generation page and it definitely does the trick.

Facebook Marketing and Why EdgeRank Matters

Fantastic post from Copyblogger on where we stand (as of Dec 2012 since Facebook is constantly changing things up) on Facebook and its paid marketing platform…

The State of Facebook: What’s Working Now | Copyblogger: “Facebook constantly changes. Not all of those changes work the way they’re supposed to. And the user experience may not be the same from page to page.

Everyone’s audience is different, and responds to different types of content. So watch your own statistics, try different things, and track your results. The magic formula is creating the good content and engaging updates that your audience craves.”

In all of our work with Facebook and various marketing campaigns, the one rule we keep trying to communicate to our clients is that Facebook alone is not a silver bullet to more conversions, signups, sales or engagement. Real success is tied to a customized program with clear goals (we call this “discovery marketing” when tied to SEO, paid search and perhaps an email newsletter).

Facebook uses an in-house formula called EdgeRank to figure out how to display posts (sponsored and organic) on users’ timelines. This is an insanely important algorithm much like Google’s constantly evolving PageRank equation that it uses to serve up search results and many other facets of its umbrella service.

EdgeRank, however, is a visible equation. Unlike PageRank, we know exactly plays into Facebook’s algorithm. And it ain’t pretty for most folks.

The reason so many business owners and marketing DIY’ers fail at Facebook Ads (or don’t have the wherewithal to climb the learning curve) is the affinity score (represented by Ue above).

What is affinity exactly? That depends on the context of course. Here, affinity refers to how often a person interacts or engages (shares, likes, clicks, etc) your content in the past. That affinity score determines the rest of the equation. Affinity determines the next steps of weight and time decay in the setup.

How do you raise your affinity score to increase engagement?

Short answer is you don’t.

You start with compelling content geared at the right audiences and find the right balance of visual content, audio content, text content and ad buying decisions.

It’s a little moneyball, a little algebra and a lot of sticktoitiveness.

However, like all social media marketing, it’s doable.

And it’s exciting and organic.

And that’s what we do. Our goal is to buy wins.

Affiliate Site Twitter Profile Pages

If you’re using Twitter in conjunction with your other social media marketing plans for your affiliate site, don’t forget the important aspect of the design of your Twitter Profile page.

TheNextWeb has a nice practical guide for points to consider when doing so (it’s aimed at brand marketing folks, but still applicable for performance marketers)…

Tips for Twitter Brand Pages: “The header image can be used to direct the user’s attention to a specific item on the page, as was the case in HP’s example, or it can be used to promote an engaging marketing plan, as Staples did, with a competition. Using the header image as nothing more than a banner advert, as both McDonald’s and Coca-Cola did, wound up getting the least attention from viewers.”

Word of caution here… unlike Facebook Fan Pages or even Google+ pages, Twitter Profile pages area mixed bag. Yes, they are somewhat customizable and the new embedded media feature helps the look/feel. However, up to 1/2 (depending on whose numbers you trust) of Twitter users access the service via mobile or apps. I’d venture to posit (strongly) that most “power” users that are desirable for many niches are these types of app users (I rarey go to the main Twitter page and most of my network is similar).

So, design and test but don’t fret if you don’t see the type of interaction you do with a Facebook Fan page etc. Twitter, unlike Facebook, has lots of meaning in the message.

What is the Job of Social Logins on Your Site?

I wish Craig would have included his sources for which research he cites here…

Should You Use Social Login’s?: “Wondering  which social logins are the most popular option among users? Well, according to research, 42 percent of social logins use Facebook while the remaining alternatives are fairly equally distributed among Yahoo, Paypal, Google and others. If you can only select one form of social login…make it Facebook.”

Regardless, if you’re going to use social plugins for commenting, subscriptions, engagement, sharing etc on your site, I would hesitate to decide on just one to elevate unless you do your own careful research and heuristics on your actual site(s).

For instance, I have sites that receive the majority of their “social” traffic from Facebook and I have sites that receive virtually all of their social traffic from sites like Reddit and Twitter.

All traffic is not good traffic. Having passive visitors from Facebook that have nothing to do with performance marketing is grand, but doesn’t do much for the bandwidth costs of this site. Similarly, passive Twitter or search traffic that arrives at one of my niche book sites doesn’t do much for me (beyond pageview ego petting) compared to the Facebook or Amazon search traffic that supports and livens those sites.

So, as always, remember that your site is doing a job for people. Figure out what that job is for people and offer them the service that you would want if you were hiring your site to do a job for your mother. Limit their choices, walk them through the process, do friendly follow up and make them want to refer you and come back (as Jangro reminds us, make them yours).

Check your stats and see where the bulk of that traffic might be coming from and why and then decide if you want to elevate a social login (which you definitely should) service on your site.