Tag Archives: facebook

Who is a good plumber? – How Facebook is bringing back the power of a Like.

Trying to piece together Facebook’s announcement today from live blogs had me frustrated. Why would I care which of my friends like both Star Wars and Harry Potter (that is all of them). ūüėČ

But after thinking about the new Open Graph Search system today, and then reading Erin Griffith’s piece on marketing potential, I can see some uses, and the biggest one I see as a marketer and business owner is that Facebook is going to become a powerhouse for lead generation.

I wrote last year about how Facebook was decreasing the value of a Like. Other writers questioned that notion, but as I talk to small business owners and Page Admins, they consistently talk about how their reach and engagement decreased in August and September of this year.

It felt like Facebook had tricked many of into putting effort into the system, only to then pull the rug out from under us. While I still don’t think ¬†a third party service, including Facebook, should be a place to focus marketing and advertising budgets, the Open Search Graph is certainly going to bring back the power of the Like.

How Facebook Open Graph Search will change the value of a Like.

Let’s use the example of looking for a plumber. In the past you would likely do a Google search or ask for recommendations on a social network. With Facebook Open Graph Search you just type your search into Facebook.

“Who is a good plumber?”

Facebook already has an extensive social graph just for you, and it seems they have figured out some natual language search.

If not from the start,  then eventually you will likely be served up with a list of plumbers in your area that have the most likes from your friends.

This is a simplistic example of what Facebook could do. It is more likely that they will eventually weight your whole social graph into the results. You are more connected to some people? Then their liking a plumber will be more important. Your friend took the time to engage with said plumber (I know, get a life ūüėČ ), then that like will be weighted more.

Even with those qualifications, the Facebook Search return a list of plumbers with your friends images associated with the plumber. 

You might look at a couple of the page or maybe then Google the same inquiry, but none-the-less, Facebook becomes an essential place you look when you are searching for a service. 

That is lead generation, and that has been where the money has always been and likely will continue to be in the future.

Google dominates internet advertising because they understand intent. Facebook just took a significant step to figure it out too.

Why you still shouldn’t put all your “Likes” in Facebook’s Basket

We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that the results will stay purely based on the open graph data. If Facebook is successful at generating leads this way, the next step will be to allow businesses to get priority listings based on sponsored results.

Just as Google gives additiional placement to companies who pay for placement, so too will Facebook when they have a system figured out.

Those who have worked in any lead generating system understand that the game is always changing. The same type of dynamic nature that we have seen with Facebook Edge Rank and Google search algorithms will occur in Facebook search.

If you put a considerable amount of time into Facebook, the Open Graph Search should be viewed as a positive development. If you haven’t put time into Facebook, keep an eye out for opportunites as this new search features plays out.

Facebook Pages Unlike

Facebook makes unannouced change that is significantly affecting the reach of your page.

The key change seems to be that Facebook is now making it so when fans share your post, their friends are much less likely to see it. Facebook is doing this to achieve a newsfeed ratio where paid posts are 20% and only 80% is organic.

As an example, you make a post on your page. It is is popular and gets shared by some of your fans. In the past that post would be seen frequently by the friends of the person who shared the post, but a new algorithm change means it takes significantly more shares before Facebook deems it relevant.

Greg Colon of Ogility blogged on September 25th that

Facebook announced last Thursday [my note: that would be Septbemer 20th] that it would alter the algorithm that decides what a user sees on their newsfeed. The crux of the change is centered strictly on organic brand page posts, in an effort to de-clutter the amount of posts served up to mobile and tablet users by brands.

After his post started to spread by social media this weekend, he clarified in the comments on his post that:

There was no PR or public announcement on behalf of Facebook of these changes. This information came from Social@Ogilvy and WPP’s relationship with Facebook on product updates. Thus, one reason you cannot find announcements on AllFacebook, etc. Curious to see if reach is down for many. The algorithm is updated periodically and as stated, may not affect all brand pages equally.

While Greg’s post did not explain where the loss of reach would come from, Jon Loomer did extensive research back on September 17th that may have identified at least part of where this loss of reach has and will come from. The first area that Facebook attacked is viral reach:

All along, we’ve been freaking out about Fans seeing our content. You know, EdgeRank is limiting it to only 16% and all. But it would appear that the new problem isn’t reaching our Fans (though that may be down slightly), but our Fans being able to reach their friends with our content.

Jon wrote an extensive piece that is worth reading in entriety; especially his graphic at the top of the post.

I have long been sceptical of Facebook because of how they manipulate who sees what posts from both brands and individuals. I prefer Twitter where once someone follows you, they will see your post if they access Twitter after you post it or in the period immediately after. I have recently highlighted a way to improve Facebook reach by including an image with each of my updates. But Facebook is moving the bar with this latest update.

Greg Colon wrote that:

The change may allow Facebook room to grow its organic/paid offering ratio, in which 80% of content in the newsfeed is organic and 20% is paid in the form of sponsored stories, a form of premium advertising within Facebook.

It is quite possible that if limiting the visibility of fan shares is not enough to get Facebook to this 80-20 ratio, that Facebook will limit the visibility of your page posts by just changing the Edgerank.

This change has had widespread implications. Mari Smith posted a discussion of this issue last night on Facebook and the majority of the 100+ comments are from Facebook page managers reporting the same decrease in reach.

The long term implication is clear. Facebook is becoming more of a “Pay For Play” social network. All those hours and money you spent working to connect with your audience via page Likes could be largely for naught. Facebook not only wants you to compete with all new baby announcements and friends weddings which is understandable, but now they want to take even more of the newsfeed back and give it those who are willing to pay to promote posts.

One simple tip that can dramatically increase your Facebook fan engagement and reach

One simple tip that can dramatically increase your Facebook fan engagement and reach.

This tip may be so obvious that you are already using it. But if you are not, you should definitely test it out.

Upload a picture with every Facebook post

Sharing a link? Upload a picture first.

Just sharing a text update? Upload a picture first.

Two months ago, I noticed that pretty much the only thing I was seeing in my own personal Facebook feed was photos. I didn’t mind it much because photos (often of funny cats and dogs) were an improvement on what I was seeing on Facebook before (two day old stories, that I already had seen on Twitter). But it took me over a month to take that knowledge and apply it to the @free’s Facebook posts.

For all the talk about the new ways you can promote (read: purchase) your way to reaching more of your existing Facebook fans, simply adding a photo is a free and easy way to dramatically increase your Edgerank and thus get more of your fans seeing your updates.

Results

The results of making every post a photo where dramatic.

Since I started using this technique on June 22, the @free Facebook page has seen a:

  • 400% increase in people “Talking About This”
  • 300% increase in “Viral Reach”
  • 300% increase in “Total Reach”
  • 38% average user reach for our last four updates

I can’t promise you the same results. At the same time I got started posting pictures, I also started adding a question or Facebook specific call to action (either share or like) with about one-third of the posts. However, in testing adding images for other accounts I contribue to, and in these case no other changes were made, I have seen a significant improvement. Anywhere from 50% to 200% increase in the key Facebook metric I mentioned above.

Why?

The bar has been raised. Sharing a link by copying and pasting it gives you a very small image and a little bit of preview text. By uploading a photo you get an image that is often 2000% bigger (398 x 398 vs 90 x 90), and you can include whatever text or link you want by typing it in to the update box. As users browse through Facebook, images stand out, and images that span the feed are tough to miss.

VS

It is a little more work

Sourcing a suitable image for each post can be difficult. If you are sharing your own content from a blog, then you likely are already visual content on the blog post; just use that. If you are sharing other people’s stories, you can always find a royalty free image for around a dollar. I use 123RF¬†(note this is an affiliate link, I purchase $200 in images a year, so I am a big fan and would recommend them either way). I also recommend ReciteThis which lets you create text based images for free.

I have been adding my posts directly in Facebook. Since third party Facebook apps don’t always process the image first, it can throw off the formatting. Depending on what apps you use, this may not be an issue.

Finally, I have been using link shorteners for links in the body of the post. This takes up less room in the post and is much cleaner looking. I haven’t seen any difference in performance between ow.ly or bit.ly, so you can use whatever shortener you like.

I hope this helps. Let me know what kind of results you get.

 

 

Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

The importance of social media during severe weather is highlighted by a recent Facebook Page suspension.

James Spann, a popular¬†meteorologist¬†in Alabama, had his 90,000+ “Liked”¬†Facebook page¬†suspended¬†in early June. While the suspension was reversed twelve hours later, this situations points to the importance of social media to inform the public about severe weather. It also shows the risks that come with relying on a social network when you don’t “own” your account.

Details of the Facebook account suspension

James Spann was interviewed by Leo Laporte for the This Week in Google (TWIG) show (all the quotes included here come from that interview).  James uses his popular Facebook page to inform people in Alabama about everyday weather but also severe storm issues. During the first weekend in June he went to post information on his Facebook page; he got a message that his account was disabled.

He told Laprorte that, “it’s horrifying because that platform is a very critical way of diseminating information. Understand, when you have an F4, F5 tornado on the ground, this is serious business. This is life threatening.”

Spann contact Facebook via email and got a message back a message indicating that he need to provide a copy of his driver’s license. He sent a scanned version of it back with all his personal information blacked out. His page, “came back magically mid-morning Sunday. It was out for about 12 hours”.

Jeff Jarvis one of the co-hosts of This Week In Google emailed the head of PR for Facebook’s Washington office. Jarvis indicated that, “Facebook can confirm this was an error. They apologize for any¬†inconvenience”.

Social Media and Sever Weather

Southern severe weather at its worst. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

While Facebook might be an important part of your businesses overall strategy, cases like this one point to how Facebook updates can literally be “life or death” important when it comes to something like severe weather and tornados. While individuals should have alternative ways to access this information (TV, radio, SMS), people have come to rely on social media, like Facebook, to keep them informed.

Here is Kansas, many of us Twitter users rely on the hashtag #KSstorms to keep updated on the latest severe weather. As someone whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, I wish that Facebook or Twitter had been available at that time, not only to inform people of the risk, but also to help provide better communication during and after the storm.

“Social media is crucial to what we do”, said James Spann on TWIG. He views it as a “two way street”. Not only can he inform the social media audience about severe weather, but the audidence also is helping crowdsource information that can then be shared.

In referencing the tornados of 2011, Spann makes clear that social media saved lives.

Facebook and Twitter usage was critical… I will tell you right now there are people who are walking around in Tuscaloosa Alabama … because these people got the tornado warning via Facebook or Twitter.

You don’t own your Facebook page

Spanns case points out the risk that come with Facebook pages. His page didn’t have any controversial content or even discuss politics; it was strictly weather. He indicated that there was no email to let him know when his page came back, nor was there any type of explination as to why it was removed.

Leo Laporte made an excellent point which is worth remembering:

These are private companies. This in not broadcasting that is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. They can do what they want.

If your Facebook account is disabled

If your personal account is suspended, go this personal profile disabled page to submit the issue to Facebook so they can look into it.

I was unable to find an official Facebook explanation of how to get a page re-enabled. Hopefully that is because page suspensions are rarely done. If you have experience with this situation or have advice, please add it to the comments.

James Spann agreed to let me send him some questions, but he didn’t end up having time to respond. My guess is he was busy reporting on the serious weather that the South has been dealing with this month.

Klout Facebook Request via Twitter Email

Twitter leads summary email with a promotion of Facebook … until you click the link.

Twitter’s new summary email has been slowly rolled out to users. They started with inactive accounts, and last night this¬†personalized¬†email was sent to most users. Surprisingly many of the top stories where a promotion of Facebook.

I had access to a dozen of the new Twitter summary emails sent last night and two of them led with a promotion of Facebook.

Automated curation can certain lead to issues like this were competitors are promoting each other, and if people are sharing their Facebook pages on Twitter, maybe they should show up as the lead in a summary email. The problem is . . . they aren’t.

Many shared Klout links now redirect to Facebook.

I have written previously about how Klout is making an aggressive push to get people to connect their Facebook accounts, invite friends to their service and authorize their Facebook app. Now Klout has  started to redirect links to their own site so the automatcally go to Facebook. Frequently when you click on shared Klout link, it will take you to Facebook for another attempt to get you to connect.

This aggressive approach has been highlighted by the new Twitter summary email.  When you click on the link to go to what you believe is Facebook, you actually end up going to Klout and get this message.

 

The actual link code is fairly complicated, and I assume is making sure anyone clicks on a link is prompted to connect their Klout account to Facebook and/or invite others to join:

https://t.co/redirect?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Flogin.php
%3Fapi_key%3D128085897213395%26cancel_url%
3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fklout.com%252Foauth_fb_callback%253
Ferror_reason%253Duser_denied%252
6error%253Daccess_denied%2526error_description%253
DThe%252Buser%252Bdenied%252Byour%252Br
equest.%26display%3Dpage%26fbconnect%3D1%26next%3
Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.facebook.com%
252Fdialog%252Fpermissions.request%253F_path%253
Dpermissions.request%2526app_id%253D1280858
97213395%2526redirect_uri%253Dhttp%25253A%25252
F%25252Fklout.com%25252Foauth_fb_callback%2
526display%253Dpage%2526type%253Dweb_server%2526
perms%253Doffline_access%25252Cemail%2525
2Cread_stream%2526fbconnect%253D1%2526from_login%
253D1%2526client_id%253D128085897213395
%26rcount%3D1%26skip_api_login%3D1&sig=
b94727f253f9eba0a4401a26a9ae233a7d3f3ded&iid=12e46f
eb-61fe-4a82-afa4-cdc0eea80bb6&uid=252263949&nid=12+158+20120603

Twitter’s Problem: User Confusion

Twitter’s summary email is getting it wrong. I click to go to Facebook, but in my case I am actually forwarded to Klout. Whether you think Klout is a useful site or not, I don’t want to click links in the Twitter email thinking I am going to one website only to end up at another. Klout can certainly redirect people from their own site to other pages. It is some of the most aggressive¬†behavior¬†I have seen, and Twitter shouldn’t be contributing to it with their confusing promotion of Facebook… err, ¬†I mean Klout.