More Accurate Facebook Insights?

Two recent changes to the way Facebook Insights measures Reach has me wondering just how accurate it’s been in measuring Reach in the past. From the looks of things, not very accurate.

First, Facebook is going to start measuring Reach by the number of people who scroll down on your Facebook page and actually load a news item. This is a big departure from the way its been done. And Facebook gives no context for why this change was necessary or how the measurement of Reach was done in the past.

The second change is that Facebook will now include mobile views in its Insights measurements of Reach. That’s pretty startling. Why haven’t they been including mobile views until now?

These changes mean at least one thing: Historical data within Insights is useless. If you’ve been relying on your Reach numbers until now, then when you go back and compare your Reach one month from now with your Reach from last month, there will be no basis for comparison. None. How will you be able to determine whether your Reach has improved or declined? There will be no way.

The first change will likely cause your Reach numbers to go down. The second will likely cause them to go up. But you’ll be at a loss if you can get any meaning from that. Sometimes social media just sucks.

July 20th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Google+ Users Happier Than Facebook Users

Wired Magazine reports that social media users who spend time on Google+ are happier than those making use of Facebook. I knew it was just a matter of time.

Google+ rolled out last year and immediately became the fastest growing social media website in history. That got people talking about the potential of the social media site and many of them congratulated Google for finally getting it right. But by the end of the year some of critics of Google started calling it a “ghost town.”

The ghost town critics had observed that many initial users of the service weren’t posting. But they missed the fact that Google+ loyalists were really loyal. And some people abandoned Facebook for Google+ altogether.

Now we’ve arrived at a place where we can actually measure whether or not people are happy with Google+. It seems they are. But Facebook users report not liking the Facebook despite using it daily. In fact, Facebook is the most trafficked social media website online. So why is that Google+, with a low user base, has a mostly happy user base while Facebook, nearly ubiquitous, has a more unhappy user base?

That’s a good question and there’s really no easy answer. But many people still using Facebook report that they do so because their friends and family are there. So Facebook users hang on due to peer pressure?

Whether you use Facebook or Google+, or both, is your business. But as a business tool, which ever service you do use, make the most of it.

July 17th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Twitter And Social Search

Twitter recently announced that they’ve upgraded their search feature. Now, you can search people you know and enjoy Twitter’s autocomplete search feature.

Of course, Google and Bing have both had an autocomplete search feature for some time now. Many users like it, but some don’t. Some that do like this feature don’t want it to run every time they search for something. Will they feel the same way about Twitter’s autocomplete?

There has been a big time battle for social search for at least three years now. Last year Google introduced Google+. Not long before that Facebook and Bing announced a partnership for their mutual benefit.

It is speculated that a part of the reason Google rolled out Google+ so soon was because Twitter pulled out of a partnership that cost Google a great deal of cred in realtime search.

What does all this spell? The race is on for dominance in social search.

Google has an advantage with millions of pages naturally indexed in its search engine. However, Facebook has another kind of advantage, one that swallows Google whole. It’s the social knowledge component on its end users. Facebook has more information about what its users like than Google does.

The verdict is still out on who will win the social search engine war, but you can bet it will be waged for a long time before it is over.

July 7th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

The Ups And Downs Of Social Media

Social media marketing has been fascinatingly popular in the last couple of years. A lot of companies are now flocking to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and who knows elsewhere just to have a presence. The problem is that many businesses don’t really have a strategy when it comes to social media. As a result, they end up spending way too much time on the sites and not getting enough return.

Don’t get me wrong. Social media can be effective. It can be a good way to get the word out about your business and to get new prospects for your products and services. But it can also be a waste of time if you don’t see a return on the time you spend working it.

And that’s where a lot of businesses are at.

If you’ve spent a lot of time promoting your business on social media and have yet to see any return from it, perhaps your strategy needs to be redefined. Of maybe you need to define a strategy in the first place.

Like any other type of marketing, you have to know what you want out of it. Who are you targeting with your messages? What do you want them to think when they read your messages on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.?

Define your strategy and stick to it. Otherwise, you might end up spending too much time promoting your company and getting nothing back.

June 24th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Pinterest Partners With YouTube

How do you make a social media website better? Add videos of course.

At least that’s what Pinterest has done – by partnering with YouTube.

YouTube is one of the top 5 social media websites online. The other 4 are Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. But Pinterest could very well enter the top 5 if it continues to grow. It’s had a pretty steady growth pattern since its inception last year.

What’s made Pinterest so popular is its simple design and the fact that users can “pin” images to their pinboards. That has made Pinterest a unique social media website, plus it delivers a lot of traffic to websites of users who can effectively pin their own images. Add videos to the mix and I think all of that will simply be enhanced for its users.

The future belongs to videos. YouTube in particular has captured the user-generated video market and it’s only going to grow as well.

How do you use Pinterest? Are you pinning images? Will you pin your own videos or someone else’s? Will you even pin videos?

I’d be curious to know if Pinterest is in your marketing plan and if so, how so? Will you consider it for the future?

June 22nd, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Promoted Posts Via Facebook

Just when you thought Facebook had perfected itself, along comes a new scheme to wiggle a little bit of dough from your back pocket. It’s call Promoted Posts.

I find this idea a little bit curious. You can already promote your posts through Facebook using their paid advertising model. Now you can pay to promote your post in a different way. But this doesn’t seem to have the same level of control with it that you get with other types of paid advertising.

One downside to this idea is the whole “who sees my posts anyway?” thing. I mean, if I make a post on my Facebook page I would expect that all of my fans would see it, right? Evidently, that’s not so. Which is why Facebook wants you to pay to promote your posts.

Essentially, Facebook is deliberately, through its algorithm, denying some of your fans the ability to see all of your posts. Then they want to charge you to open up the view of those posts to all of your fans and then some. Seems kind of shaky to me.

But that’s not to say there isn’t any value there. There very well could be.

For starters, Facebook is saying your promoted post will be seen by your fans and their friends for three days. That isn’t likely to happen unless you pay to promote your post. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

Secondly, while Facebook doesn’t say exactly how many people will see your post for $5, they do say that your promoted posts will be shown to people who would not ordinarily see it. If you stand to earn more than $5 in revenue for each level of promoted post you purchase, then it could be worth it in terms of ROI. Of course you won’t know until you try the service. Any takers?

June 1st, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Go Viral On Facebook

Facebook has become the world’s largest and most popular social network. And one cool feature about the service that is good for small businesses – even businesses located in Scotland – is a tool called Insights.

Facebook Insights will report to you four key metrics of your Facebook page:

  1. Reach
  2. Engaged Users
  3. People Talking About Your Brand
  4. and Virality

Reach measures the number of unique people who have seen your posts. The more people who see your posts the higher your Reach. Post often enough, but not too often, and increase the number of friends you have and your Reach will go up.

Engage Users is the number of unique people who have clicked on your posts. Make your posts interesting and informative, useful to your audience, and this metric will rise.

Talking About This measures the number of people who took action on your posts. This includes Likes, shares, comments, answers to poll questions, responses to events, etc.

Virality is the measure of how many unique people create posts from yours. In other words, the number of people talking about you divided by your Reach. Obviously, you want that number to be high.

Facebook Insights is a useful tool for businesses who have a Facebook page and want to measure its effectiveness. You should post at least once a week to your page, something useful and valuable to your audience. But you don’t want to post more than a couple of times a day. If you post too much you will lose your audience.

Each Facebook Insights metric measures results for one full week. Keep your engagement high and your Facebook friends will follow.

May 27th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Why Pinterest And LinkedIn?

Constant Contact has an interesting blog post about social media. They point out early on that Pinterest is better for sales than Facebook. That is an interesting surprise, but why?

I think it has more to do with who is using Pinterest. Pinterest users are not necessarily there for the conversation as Facebook users are. Rather, Pinterest users are people who engage on a different level.

Another interesting tidbit Constant Contact shares with us is that 30% of business-to-business marketers view LinkedIn as a top priority for their business. And 20% view their blog as essential as well. These of course are not very surprising statistics for anyone who has been involved in Internet marketing for a few years.

What strikes me as important about these stats is that a combination of your company blog, LinkedIn social networking, and Pinterest can be a very powerful combination for many businesses – particularly if your business is visual or you have images of your products on your website. Pinterest can drive traffic and sales in a very uncanny way.

Still, I wouldn’t rule out Facebook entirely. Brands that use a Facebook page to drive user engagement with some traffic to their website and blog see amazing results. Add that to your blog-Pinterest-LinkedIn combination and you’ve got a humdinger.

Social networking is going anywhere. The big question is how will you incorporate it into your overall marketing plan? If you haven’t figured that out yet, now is the time to think about it.

May 26th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Are You An Authority?

Authority is a difficult thing to measure, but search engines are getting better at it. Bill Slawski examines a Microsoft patent on author ranking in social media. One thing I find interesting in his discussion is this:

Instead, one signal of authority can be based on a propensity to provide early links to Web sites or Web content that becomes popular with other users.

In other words, when it comes to social media authority, the early bird really does get the worm.

That’s an interesting measure because if the links you share go on to become popular links or go viral, then that’s a boost to your social media authority. If you are a Johnny-come-lately and tend to share links after they’ve become popular, then you can’t get any feathers in your cap for being a discoverer. You’re simply a sharer. And chances are, you’re sharing with people who’ve already seen the information.

Real authoritative leaders are the first to share true news. On the other hand, your authority will only extend to those areas that you share information about regularly.

This is an important distinction. You might share one link on a topic that is off-topic for you and even if it goes viral it won’t make you an authority. But share a link about a topic that you do post about regularly and that link goes viral, there’s your authority boost. Do it a lot and you’ll become a recognized authority.

Like I said early on, authority is hard to measure. But don’t think the search engines and social media sites aren’t trying.

May 12th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Is Twitter Chat Good For Business?

It’s almost comical how Twitter Chat has become so popular now. It seems like everyone on Twitter has gone crazy on Twitter Chat, except that Twitter Chat is exactly like Twitter has always been. With one exception: Multiple tweeters in one conversation.

You need two things to run a successful Twitter Chat session:

  1. A hashtag
  2. And a TweetChat account

TweetChat is pretty simple to use. It allows multiple users to log in and use the same hashtag to post messages. The service automatically enters the hashtag after the tweet of each chat member because you never know when someone will forget to enter that hashtag. The rest is up to you and the other chat members. Be sure to promote it.

But what can it do for your business?

Twitter Chat allows you to interact with multiple Twitter users through one hashtag that allows anyone following it to keep up with the conversation. Because multiple members are participants of the chat session, all of their followers will see the chat in session. Many of them may join. That also has the potential to expand your fan base and your customer base simultaneously.

Twitter Chat is also good marketing. Because you use a hashtag and your members likely will use keywords that other people on Twitter can follow, you could draw in members that are not on the fan list of anyone in the chat session. That’s great marketing.

Twitter Chat makes you more visible on Twitter. And because you are more visible, so is your business.

May 9th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing