Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:35:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/07/facebook-stories-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/07/facebook-stories-marketing/#respond Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:35:10 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24527 How Facebook Stories Will Change Social Media Marketing

How Facebook Stories Will Change Social Media Marketing

“You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount.”

This scathing remark, delivered by actor Jesse Eisenberg while portraying Mark Zuckerberg amidst a heated deposition in the 2010 film The Social Network, has a certain pertinence today with regards to the company Zuckerberg founded back in 2004.

As Facebook’s news feed algorithm becomes increasingly restricting for brands and publishers, many of us are finding it difficult to capture even the minimum amount of our audience’s attention on the platform.

The search for elusive reach on the world’s largest social media channel has led some marketers to explore Facebook Groups as a way to stay visible with users. But it appears the more critical frontier may be Facebook Stories, a feature that is rapidly on the rise and — according to the company’s own top execs — represents the future of connection on Facebook.

[bctt tweet="#FacebookStories — according to the company’s own top execs — represents the future of connection on #Facebook. #SocialMediaMarketing" username="toprank"]

A Primer on Facebook Stories

The Social Network, referenced earlier, is a biographical drama depicting the inception of Facebook and the power struggles that took place. The film was extremely well received, earning eight Oscar nominations and winning three: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing.

Certain people portrayed in the movie have criticized its inaccuracies (it wasn’t exactly kind to Mr. Zuckerberg, as the opening quote in this post illustrates), and writer Aaron Sorkin doesn’t deny playing loose with the facts.

“I don't want my fidelity to be to the truth,” he told New York Magazine. “I want it to be to storytelling.”

A reputed screenwriter, Sorkin understands the power of stories, which have an ability to hook and captivate audiences in a way few other styles of communication can hope to match. This dynamic is undoubtedly driving the growth of “Stories” — series of images and videos played in succession, perfectly suited for mobile screens — across all social media platforms.

This chart via Block Party’s report, Beyond the News Feed: Why Stories Are Becoming the New Face of Social Media, visualizes the unmistakable trend well:

Facebook Stories Usage Trend

Interestingly, Snapchat — which largely sparked the popularity of this format when its “My Story” feature launched in 2014 — has remained stagnant while other players have gained fast traction. You can definitely count Facebook among them.

Originally rolled out on mobile in 2017, Facebook Stories made their way to desktop earlier this year and the feature now boasts 150 million daily active users. Like the versions on Instagram and Snapchat, this content is ephemeral — Facebook Stories and all of their comments disappear after 24 hours. But the convention itself is here to stay.

“We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in feeds as the most common way that people share across all social apps,” said Zuckerberg (the real one, not the Eisenberg character) during a fourth-quarter earnings conference call.

This sentiment is shared by Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, who laid out a more specific and imminent timeline at the company’s annual conference in early May:

The increase in the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.

Needless to say, this is a story marketers need to be tracking.

The Other Side of the Story

Okay, so we know that Stories are quickly becoming a mainstream method for sharing content on social media, and we know that Facebook is making a firm commitment to the format. What does all this mean to us as marketers?

Add to Your Facebook Story

This is definitely a tool that companies can use, if they are so inclined. You have the ability to post them from your brand page, and (at least for now) it may increase your content’s odds of getting noticed. Relatively speaking, this feature isn’t being used all that much, and Facebook’s clear emphasis on growing it means that Stories are carving prime real estate above the news feed.

Some view this as the next great social media marketing opportunity on the platform. Earlier this year, Bud Torcom wrote in a piece at Forbes that Facebook Stories are “like California’s mines and creeks before the 1849 gold rush.” He sees this format transforming campaigns through experimentation, experiential marketing, influencer integration, and visual pizzazz.

Michelle Cyca sees similar potential, as she wrote on the HootSuite blog, calling Stories “a way to reconnect with users who aren’t seeing your content in their Newsfeed the same way” and calling out examples of campaigns that drove lifts in awareness by incorporating the tactic.

The idea of added organic reach is enticing (if fleeting, knowing that the onset of ads will turn this — like all Facebook marketing initiatives — into a pay-to-play space), but what really intrigues me about Stories is the almost infinite grounds for creativity.

[caption id="attachment_24532" align="alignnone" width="600"]Facebook Stories Examples Facebook Stories Examples from ModCloth and Mashable.[/caption]

It’s a very cool method for visual storytelling. It’s a low-barrier entry point for social video (no one is expecting premium production quality on these). And it presents an accessible avenue for toying with emerging technologies — most notably, augmented reality, which is being strongly integrated into Facebook Stories in another step down the road Snapchat has paved.

[bctt tweet="The idea of added organic reach is enticing, but what really intrigues me about #FacebookStories is the almost infinite grounds for creativity. - @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing" username="toprank"]

Where Does the Story Go Next?

“You don't even know what the thing is yet. How big it can get, how far it can go. This is no time to take your chips down.”

This advice — delivered to Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg by Justin Timberlake’s Sean Parker in The Social Network — referred to Zuck’s budding Facebook venture, but could just as easily apply to any social media marketer eyeing Stories as a way to connect with their audience.

The downside is minimal. What have you got to lose? A little time and effort, perhaps. The possible benefits are extensive however. These include:

  • Prioritized placement on user feeds
  • Engaging bite-sized video content
  • Powerful visual storytelling for brands
  • Ability to experiment with new content styles and emerging tech like AR
  • Gaining familiarity with a format that could well represent the future of social marketing

More than anything, though, Facebook Stories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount.

[bctt tweet="#FacebookStories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount. - @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing" username="toprank"]

And since brands generally aren’t tapping into this functionality as of yet, early adopters can jump ahead of the curve and beat their competition to the punch. If there’s one primary takeaway from Facebook’s story (as reflected in The Social Network), it’s the tremendous business value in being first. Just ask the Winklevoss twins.

At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about helping companies tell their stories through a wide variety of digital channels and tactics. Give us a shout if you’d like to hear more.

What are you thoughts on the future of Facebook stories? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
How Facebook Stories Will Change Social Media Marketing

How Facebook Stories Will Change Social Media Marketing “You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount.” This scathing remark, delivered by actor Jesse Eisenberg while portraying Mark Zuckerberg amidst a heated deposition in the 2010 film The Social Network, has a certain pertinence today with regards to the company Zuckerberg founded back in 2004. As Facebook’s news feed algorithm becomes increasingly restricting for brands and publishers, many of us are finding it difficult to capture even the minimum amount of our audience’s attention on the platform. The search for elusive reach on the world’s largest social media channel has led some marketers to explore Facebook Groups as a way to stay visible with users. But it appears the more critical frontier may be Facebook Stories, a feature that is rapidly on the rise and — according to the company’s own top execs — represents the future of connection on Facebook. [bctt tweet="#FacebookStories — according to the company’s own top execs — represents the future of connection on #Facebook. #SocialMediaMarketing" username="toprank"]

A Primer on Facebook Stories

The Social Network, referenced earlier, is a biographical drama depicting the inception of Facebook and the power struggles that took place. The film was extremely well received, earning eight Oscar nominations and winning three: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing. Certain people portrayed in the movie have criticized its inaccuracies (it wasn’t exactly kind to Mr. Zuckerberg, as the opening quote in this post illustrates), and writer Aaron Sorkin doesn’t deny playing loose with the facts. “I don't want my fidelity to be to the truth,” he told New York Magazine. “I want it to be to storytelling.” A reputed screenwriter, Sorkin understands the power of stories, which have an ability to hook and captivate audiences in a way few other styles of communication can hope to match. This dynamic is undoubtedly driving the growth of “Stories” — series of images and videos played in succession, perfectly suited for mobile screens — across all social media platforms. This chart via Block Party’s report, Beyond the News Feed: Why Stories Are Becoming the New Face of Social Media, visualizes the unmistakable trend well: Facebook Stories Usage Trend Interestingly, Snapchat — which largely sparked the popularity of this format when its “My Story” feature launched in 2014 — has remained stagnant while other players have gained fast traction. You can definitely count Facebook among them. Originally rolled out on mobile in 2017, Facebook Stories made their way to desktop earlier this year and the feature now boasts 150 million daily active users. Like the versions on Instagram and Snapchat, this content is ephemeral — Facebook Stories and all of their comments disappear after 24 hours. But the convention itself is here to stay. “We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in feeds as the most common way that people share across all social apps,” said Zuckerberg (the real one, not the Eisenberg character) during a fourth-quarter earnings conference call. This sentiment is shared by Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, who laid out a more specific and imminent timeline at the company’s annual conference in early May:
The increase in the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.
Needless to say, this is a story marketers need to be tracking.

The Other Side of the Story

Okay, so we know that Stories are quickly becoming a mainstream method for sharing content on social media, and we know that Facebook is making a firm commitment to the format. What does all this mean to us as marketers? Add to Your Facebook Story This is definitely a tool that companies can use, if they are so inclined. You have the ability to post them from your brand page, and (at least for now) it may increase your content’s odds of getting noticed. Relatively speaking, this feature isn’t being used all that much, and Facebook’s clear emphasis on growing it means that Stories are carving prime real estate above the news feed. Some view this as the next great social media marketing opportunity on the platform. Earlier this year, Bud Torcom wrote in a piece at Forbes that Facebook Stories are “like California’s mines and creeks before the 1849 gold rush.” He sees this format transforming campaigns through experimentation, experiential marketing, influencer integration, and visual pizzazz. Michelle Cyca sees similar potential, as she wrote on the HootSuite blog, calling Stories “a way to reconnect with users who aren’t seeing your content in their Newsfeed the same way” and calling out examples of campaigns that drove lifts in awareness by incorporating the tactic. The idea of added organic reach is enticing (if fleeting, knowing that the onset of ads will turn this — like all Facebook marketing initiatives — into a pay-to-play space), but what really intrigues me about Stories is the almost infinite grounds for creativity. [caption id="attachment_24532" align="alignnone" width="600"]Facebook Stories Examples Facebook Stories Examples from ModCloth and Mashable.[/caption] It’s a very cool method for visual storytelling. It’s a low-barrier entry point for social video (no one is expecting premium production quality on these). And it presents an accessible avenue for toying with emerging technologies — most notably, augmented reality, which is being strongly integrated into Facebook Stories in another step down the road Snapchat has paved. [bctt tweet="The idea of added organic reach is enticing, but what really intrigues me about #FacebookStories is the almost infinite grounds for creativity. - @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing" username="toprank"]

Where Does the Story Go Next?

“You don't even know what the thing is yet. How big it can get, how far it can go. This is no time to take your chips down.” This advice — delivered to Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg by Justin Timberlake’s Sean Parker in The Social Network — referred to Zuck’s budding Facebook venture, but could just as easily apply to any social media marketer eyeing Stories as a way to connect with their audience. The downside is minimal. What have you got to lose? A little time and effort, perhaps. The possible benefits are extensive however. These include:
  • Prioritized placement on user feeds
  • Engaging bite-sized video content
  • Powerful visual storytelling for brands
  • Ability to experiment with new content styles and emerging tech like AR
  • Gaining familiarity with a format that could well represent the future of social marketing
More than anything, though, Facebook Stories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount. [bctt tweet="#FacebookStories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount. - @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing" username="toprank"] And since brands generally aren’t tapping into this functionality as of yet, early adopters can jump ahead of the curve and beat their competition to the punch. If there’s one primary takeaway from Facebook’s story (as reflected in The Social Network), it’s the tremendous business value in being first. Just ask the Winklevoss twins. At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about helping companies tell their stories through a wide variety of digital channels and tactics. Give us a shout if you’d like to hear more. What are you thoughts on the future of Facebook stories? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group? http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/facebook-groups-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/facebook-groups-marketing/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:21:22 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24369 Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group

Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group

Despite its recent bubble of controversy, marketers still view Facebook as the prime destination for social media marketing.

The newly released Sprout Social Index 2018 reaffirms this, with 97% of social marketers saying they use the platform.

However, while almost everyone is incorporating Facebook into their strategies, not so many express confidence that it’s making the desired impact. Last month’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed only 49% reporting a belief that their Facebook marketing is effective.

With algorithmic changes deprioritizing publisher content on Facebook feeds, and thus suppressing organic reach for brands, marketers are feeling the crunch. As I wrote here recently, “Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there.”

One creative solution that marketers are increasingly turning to is Facebook groups.

Are they worth your time and effort? Let’s explore.

Why are Facebook Groups Gaining Steam?

Much like influencer marketing, Facebook groups present an opportunity to regain diminished reach by embracing the platform’s heightened focus on user-generated content.

According to the Sprout Social Index, social marketers point to increasing community engagement as their No. 2 biggest goal, right behind boosting brand awareness. Facebook groups are very much in line with this objective. They are mini-communities, where members are empowered to speak up and (in many cases) can engage directly with company reps, in addition to one another.

Although groups have long been available as a feature on Facebook, the brand-driven “Facebook Groups for Pages” were just rolled out last year. You can find a helpful primer on setting one up here, via Social Media Examiner.

What differentiates a Facebook page from a Facebook group, you might ask? AdWeek frames it as such:

“Pages (are) for pushing key marketing messages and product information, as well as an outlet for customer support. Groups is a dedicated space for more in-depth, meaningful conversations and relationships between a brand and its fans.”

Another attractive element of Facebook groups is the added analytical depth through Group Insights, which provides information about trends and usage patterns in your membership.

With growing emphases on engagement, authenticity, and community-building, it’s easy to see the appeal of Facebook groups as a marketing asset. And some are tapping into it very well. One notable example is Peloton, the cycling fitness company whose closed members group boasts an extremely active ecosystem of more than 92,000 members.

But not everyone is finding traction on this front.

[bctt tweet="With growing emphases on engagement, authenticity, & community-building, it’s easy to see the appeal of #FacebookGroups as a #marketing asset. And some are tapping into it very well. But not everyone is finding traction. - @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

What’s Holding Back Brands on Facebook Groups?

Although the potential benefits are clear, the path to achieving them is a bit murky. For every success case like Peloton (which had the advantage of a three-year head start thanks to a preexisting member-driven community), there seem to be several examples of companies spinning their wheels in frustration.

While Peloton has hit its stride with groups, another popular fitness brand is searching for a second wind. As Digiday explained in May regarding Fitbit’s exploration of the tactic:

"The company created 12 different groups geared toward major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Each group has around 200 members, but that’s a far cry from the 2.4 million followers of Fitbit’s Facebook page. Fitbit’s group for fitness-focused San Francisco had only 11 posts in the past 30 days."

The problem is that around 200 million groups exist on Facebook, making it difficult to gain visibility, especially for new creations. To assist with this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year the integration of a Groups tab intended to “make groups a more central part of the Facebook experience.”

“In addition to the new tab,” TechCrunch notes, “the company is launching a new Groups plugin that admins and developers can add to their websites and emails that solicits people to join their Facebook group.”

Some marketers have understandably been reluctant to dive into this functionality over concerns that Facebook will change gears and renew its focus six months from now, but I believe it’s safe to say — based on the social network’s clear commitment to elevating active participation and “meaningful communities” — that groups are going to be a mainstay feature going forward.

Should My Company Start a Facebook Group?

In assessing whether a Facebook group is worth launching for your B2B or B2C business, we recommend asking yourself these questions:

#1 - Are community conversations relating to my product or service useful?

If community is core to your offering, then Facebook groups are most likely going to be a fit. But you don’t want to force it. The most resonant groups bring users together over a shared passion where they can transfer knowledge, stories, and ideas. For instance, the highly popular Instant Pot Facebook group has become a destination for owners of the electric cooker to troubleshoot and post their own recipes.

“You’re only going to get those super-users and superfans,” says Meg McDougall, Social Media Strategist at TopRank Marketing. “If you have that audience, it’s a great opportunity. But you’re not going to build it out of nowhere.”

[bctt tweet="When it comes to #Facebook groups, you're only going to get super-users & superfans. If you have that audience, it's a great opportunity. But you're not going to build it out of nowhere. - @megnificent #SocialMediaMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - Do we have the bandwidth to run a group and grow it?

Don’t underestimate the commitment that running an active Facebook group can require. In order to get going, and especially to sustain, groups need attention and administration. You may want to have a content producer or community manager specifically designated for this task.

Also, be ready to have employees promote your group in various ways, such as mentioning it in content and including it in email signatures.

#3 - Is it truly going to be a value-oriented interaction hub, or simply another vehicle for brand promotion?

“If your brand starts a Facebook group, think of yourself as a facilitator rather than a marketer or blogger,” suggests Emily Gaudette in her post at Contently. “You’ll lose the group if you only promote your own work.”

This is pretty much a cardinal rule of content marketing in general, but especially important in these kinds of community-fueled endeavors. Oftentimes, the brand play should be very subtle, and customers will hopefully start associating your product or service with the topic because it’s where they go to talk about it and find good info.

The Bottom Line on Facebook Groups for Marketers

Without question, Facebook groups are more worthy of our attention than they were a year ago at this time. Dwindling organic reach for company pages on the platform, along with a strong commitment from corporate leadership to grow the feature, make this an intriguing frontier.

But as things stand, these spaces are really more about fostering and evolving engagement within your customer base as opposed to rapidly growing that base. And given the time and effort required to get it right, some brands might not find the payoff worthwhile.

In other words, don’t give in to groupthink.

“Look at what your end goal is for social,” McDougall urges. “If it’s reaching a ton of people, expanding your audience, and getting impressions, groups probably aren’t the best route. If it’s targeted interactions and deeper engagement, they can be really helpful.”

For more guidance on social media marketing that meets your objectives in a fast-changing environment, check out some of our recent write-ups on the subject:

The post The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group

Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group Despite its recent bubble of controversy, marketers still view Facebook as the prime destination for social media marketing. The newly released Sprout Social Index 2018 reaffirms this, with 97% of social marketers saying they use the platform. However, while almost everyone is incorporating Facebook into their strategies, not so many express confidence that it’s making the desired impact. Last month’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed only 49% reporting a belief that their Facebook marketing is effective. With algorithmic changes deprioritizing publisher content on Facebook feeds, and thus suppressing organic reach for brands, marketers are feeling the crunch. As I wrote here recently, “Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there.” One creative solution that marketers are increasingly turning to is Facebook groups. Are they worth your time and effort? Let’s explore.

Why are Facebook Groups Gaining Steam?

Much like influencer marketing, Facebook groups present an opportunity to regain diminished reach by embracing the platform’s heightened focus on user-generated content. According to the Sprout Social Index, social marketers point to increasing community engagement as their No. 2 biggest goal, right behind boosting brand awareness. Facebook groups are very much in line with this objective. They are mini-communities, where members are empowered to speak up and (in many cases) can engage directly with company reps, in addition to one another. Although groups have long been available as a feature on Facebook, the brand-driven “Facebook Groups for Pages” were just rolled out last year. You can find a helpful primer on setting one up here, via Social Media Examiner. What differentiates a Facebook page from a Facebook group, you might ask? AdWeek frames it as such:
“Pages (are) for pushing key marketing messages and product information, as well as an outlet for customer support. Groups is a dedicated space for more in-depth, meaningful conversations and relationships between a brand and its fans.”
Another attractive element of Facebook groups is the added analytical depth through Group Insights, which provides information about trends and usage patterns in your membership. With growing emphases on engagement, authenticity, and community-building, it’s easy to see the appeal of Facebook groups as a marketing asset. And some are tapping into it very well. One notable example is Peloton, the cycling fitness company whose closed members group boasts an extremely active ecosystem of more than 92,000 members. But not everyone is finding traction on this front. [bctt tweet="With growing emphases on engagement, authenticity, & community-building, it’s easy to see the appeal of #FacebookGroups as a #marketing asset. And some are tapping into it very well. But not everyone is finding traction. - @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

What’s Holding Back Brands on Facebook Groups?

Although the potential benefits are clear, the path to achieving them is a bit murky. For every success case like Peloton (which had the advantage of a three-year head start thanks to a preexisting member-driven community), there seem to be several examples of companies spinning their wheels in frustration. While Peloton has hit its stride with groups, another popular fitness brand is searching for a second wind. As Digiday explained in May regarding Fitbit’s exploration of the tactic:
"The company created 12 different groups geared toward major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Each group has around 200 members, but that’s a far cry from the 2.4 million followers of Fitbit’s Facebook page. Fitbit’s group for fitness-focused San Francisco had only 11 posts in the past 30 days."
The problem is that around 200 million groups exist on Facebook, making it difficult to gain visibility, especially for new creations. To assist with this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year the integration of a Groups tab intended to “make groups a more central part of the Facebook experience.” “In addition to the new tab,” TechCrunch notes, “the company is launching a new Groups plugin that admins and developers can add to their websites and emails that solicits people to join their Facebook group.” Some marketers have understandably been reluctant to dive into this functionality over concerns that Facebook will change gears and renew its focus six months from now, but I believe it’s safe to say — based on the social network’s clear commitment to elevating active participation and “meaningful communities” — that groups are going to be a mainstay feature going forward.

Should My Company Start a Facebook Group?

In assessing whether a Facebook group is worth launching for your B2B or B2C business, we recommend asking yourself these questions: #1 - Are community conversations relating to my product or service useful? If community is core to your offering, then Facebook groups are most likely going to be a fit. But you don’t want to force it. The most resonant groups bring users together over a shared passion where they can transfer knowledge, stories, and ideas. For instance, the highly popular Instant Pot Facebook group has become a destination for owners of the electric cooker to troubleshoot and post their own recipes. “You’re only going to get those super-users and superfans,” says Meg McDougall, Social Media Strategist at TopRank Marketing. “If you have that audience, it’s a great opportunity. But you’re not going to build it out of nowhere.” [bctt tweet="When it comes to #Facebook groups, you're only going to get super-users & superfans. If you have that audience, it's a great opportunity. But you're not going to build it out of nowhere. - @megnificent #SocialMediaMarketing" username="toprank"] #2 - Do we have the bandwidth to run a group and grow it? Don’t underestimate the commitment that running an active Facebook group can require. In order to get going, and especially to sustain, groups need attention and administration. You may want to have a content producer or community manager specifically designated for this task. Also, be ready to have employees promote your group in various ways, such as mentioning it in content and including it in email signatures. #3 - Is it truly going to be a value-oriented interaction hub, or simply another vehicle for brand promotion? “If your brand starts a Facebook group, think of yourself as a facilitator rather than a marketer or blogger,” suggests Emily Gaudette in her post at Contently. “You’ll lose the group if you only promote your own work.” This is pretty much a cardinal rule of content marketing in general, but especially important in these kinds of community-fueled endeavors. Oftentimes, the brand play should be very subtle, and customers will hopefully start associating your product or service with the topic because it’s where they go to talk about it and find good info.

The Bottom Line on Facebook Groups for Marketers

Without question, Facebook groups are more worthy of our attention than they were a year ago at this time. Dwindling organic reach for company pages on the platform, along with a strong commitment from corporate leadership to grow the feature, make this an intriguing frontier. But as things stand, these spaces are really more about fostering and evolving engagement within your customer base as opposed to rapidly growing that base. And given the time and effort required to get it right, some brands might not find the payoff worthwhile. In other words, don’t give in to groupthink. “Look at what your end goal is for social,” McDougall urges. “If it’s reaching a ton of people, expanding your audience, and getting impressions, groups probably aren’t the best route. If it’s targeted interactions and deeper engagement, they can be really helpful.” For more guidance on social media marketing that meets your objectives in a fast-changing environment, check out some of our recent write-ups on the subject:

The post The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/social-media-marketing-benchmarks-focus/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/social-media-marketing-benchmarks-focus/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 10:02:20 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24087 Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social media marketers, how are you feeling? Take a minute to breathe if you need to. The last few months have been a wild ride. Fatigue, vertigo, and even a little nausea are perfectly understandable.

As I said before, social media isn’t dying, but it is changing. Marketers are used to quick changes, naturally, but it’s important to be sure we’re making the right changes. We should approach evolving our social media with the same data-driven, strategic rigor that applies to everything else we do.

The good folks at Rival IQ recently published their 2018 Social Media Benchmarking Report. The data points to some clear directions for the next evolution of social media marketing.

Here are some of the key data points – and, more importantly, what you should do about them.

#1 - Influencers Have the Highest Engagement Rate on Facebook

Facebook Engagement Benchmark 2018

The report breaks down engagement by platform and by vertical, which invites some intriguing comparisons. If you’re in the food & beverage industry, congratulations! You’re likely seeing some of the highest engagement.

If you’re not, however, there’s no need to roll out a new Cloud-Based SaaS brand of soft drink. Influencers are also hitting the top engagement rate (a whopping .24%, but more on that later).

What to Do:

TopRank Marketing has been talking about influencer marketing since before it was cool. These stats underline the importance of co-creating content with influencers who are relevant to your audience. It’s incredibly tough for brands to make a connection with organic social. Influencers can provide the person-to-person relationship that most people want out of social media interaction.

Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

#2 - More Posting Doesn’t Equal More Engagement

The highest post frequency on Facebook is in the Media vertical, with an average of over 10 posts per day. That’s an artifact of an old way of thinking about social media: Flood your page with posts and hope one or two stick. That strategy doesn’t seem to work anymore. Media has the lowest engagement rate, at .08%. Especially with Facebook, upping your posting frequency is counterproductive. The algorithm will show your posts in fewer feeds, fewer people will interact with them as a result, and you start a vicious cycle that ends up slashing your organic reach.

What to Do:

Stick to one or two posts per day, and really make them count. That’s right at the industry average, and seems to be the threshold on most platforms for how much an audience wants to see branded content. If you have ten potential posts, get ruthless: Pick the two that are most interesting, most relevant, most valuable to your audience. Then save the rest for a roundup blog post at the end of the week.

#3 - Engagement Rates Vary Widely by Platform

We tend to talk about social media as though it were a single monolithic platform. Of course we know there are differences between channels, but the report underscores just how much they can vary. The engagement rates for Instagram are above the 1% mark, with some verticals seeing over 3%:

2018 Instagram Engagement Benchmarks

2018 Twitter Benchmarks

While Twitter has an average engagement of .046%. That’s 4 hundredths of a percent, or engagement on one out of every 4,000 posts.

What to Do:

If Instagram fits your brand, and your audience is there, these stats are definitely an endorsement for hopping on the 'gramwagon. But don’t count Twitter out completely. There is a great deal more content posted on Twitter than Instagram, and Twitter moves a lot faster. So that low engagement rate shouldn’t scare you off completely. Instead, use Twitter to boost your brand awareness, provide customer service via social media monitoring, and to engage with potential influencers.

Paid posts on Twitter can also have a powerful impact. One of our technology clients initially ruled out Twitter completely. We were able to prove they had a potential audience on Twitter and helped them run a paid program. In the end, their Twitter engagement was far higher than engagement on any other platform.

#4 - Engagement Is Low on Every Platform

More than anything, the report shows just how low the benchmarks are across the social media spectrum. If an email marketing campaign had a .046% average open rate, we would be throwing in the towel writing our resignations at the same time.

The drop in engagement makes sense, though, with how social media platforms have evolved. They used to be based on delivering all the posts the user opted into seeing. Whatever accounts the person chose to follow, that was what filled their feed.

Now every major social site is curated by algorithm. The user doesn’t control what they see, and neither do brands.

What to Do:

There are two key ways to thrive in the Age of the Algorithm. We’ve already covered the first: Start thinking of most of these channels as pay-to-play. Take your most compelling content and throw some paid promotion behind it on your highest-performing platform. Then A/B test your audience targeting until you find the sweet spot.

The second is to produce the type of content that the algorithm will promote. For Facebook and Twitter, that increasingly means native video. Facebook in particular has been explicit about their favoritism for video. Posts that match what the platform wants to promote will get a bigger initial push, which can help you get engagement, which will signal the algorithm to promote it more.

It’s also a good idea to explore the major platform that’s missing from Rival IQ’s report: LinkedIn*. The reported engagement rate on LinkedIn is .054%, lower than Facebook but higher than Twitter. However, it’s easy to more than double that benchmark with a little optimization, as this infographic from LinkedIn shows.

You can also branch out on LinkedIn by having your C-suite post their own thought leadership content on their own accounts. Personal posts are likely to get more engagement and more shares.

Stay on Your Mark and Don’t Get Benched

Social media marketing is still one of the newest marketing disciplines there is. We’re still developing best practices as the platforms continue to evolve. It’s a little like trying to build a train while you’re going 60 miles per hour down a track built on top of a pool of lime Jell-O.

These benchmarks can provide a starting point for the next iteration of your strategy. They might not speak to your specific vertical or audience, but they do highlight the broad changes taking place across social media. To make sure your train keeps rolling, focus on just a few high-quality posts per day, boosted with paid ads on your most valuable channels.

Need help mastering social media marketing? Here’s how we helped one company expand their reach.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.

The post Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018 Social media marketers, how are you feeling? Take a minute to breathe if you need to. The last few months have been a wild ride. Fatigue, vertigo, and even a little nausea are perfectly understandable. As I said before, social media isn’t dying, but it is changing. Marketers are used to quick changes, naturally, but it’s important to be sure we’re making the right changes. We should approach evolving our social media with the same data-driven, strategic rigor that applies to everything else we do. The good folks at Rival IQ recently published their 2018 Social Media Benchmarking Report. The data points to some clear directions for the next evolution of social media marketing. Here are some of the key data points – and, more importantly, what you should do about them.

#1 - Influencers Have the Highest Engagement Rate on Facebook

Facebook Engagement Benchmark 2018 The report breaks down engagement by platform and by vertical, which invites some intriguing comparisons. If you’re in the food & beverage industry, congratulations! You’re likely seeing some of the highest engagement. If you’re not, however, there’s no need to roll out a new Cloud-Based SaaS brand of soft drink. Influencers are also hitting the top engagement rate (a whopping .24%, but more on that later).

What to Do:

TopRank Marketing has been talking about influencer marketing since before it was cool. These stats underline the importance of co-creating content with influencers who are relevant to your audience. It’s incredibly tough for brands to make a connection with organic social. Influencers can provide the person-to-person relationship that most people want out of social media interaction. Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

#2 - More Posting Doesn’t Equal More Engagement

The highest post frequency on Facebook is in the Media vertical, with an average of over 10 posts per day. That’s an artifact of an old way of thinking about social media: Flood your page with posts and hope one or two stick. That strategy doesn’t seem to work anymore. Media has the lowest engagement rate, at .08%. Especially with Facebook, upping your posting frequency is counterproductive. The algorithm will show your posts in fewer feeds, fewer people will interact with them as a result, and you start a vicious cycle that ends up slashing your organic reach.

What to Do:

Stick to one or two posts per day, and really make them count. That’s right at the industry average, and seems to be the threshold on most platforms for how much an audience wants to see branded content. If you have ten potential posts, get ruthless: Pick the two that are most interesting, most relevant, most valuable to your audience. Then save the rest for a roundup blog post at the end of the week.

#3 - Engagement Rates Vary Widely by Platform

We tend to talk about social media as though it were a single monolithic platform. Of course we know there are differences between channels, but the report underscores just how much they can vary. The engagement rates for Instagram are above the 1% mark, with some verticals seeing over 3%: 2018 Instagram Engagement Benchmarks 2018 Twitter Benchmarks While Twitter has an average engagement of .046%. That’s 4 hundredths of a percent, or engagement on one out of every 4,000 posts.

What to Do:

If Instagram fits your brand, and your audience is there, these stats are definitely an endorsement for hopping on the 'gramwagon. But don’t count Twitter out completely. There is a great deal more content posted on Twitter than Instagram, and Twitter moves a lot faster. So that low engagement rate shouldn’t scare you off completely. Instead, use Twitter to boost your brand awareness, provide customer service via social media monitoring, and to engage with potential influencers. Paid posts on Twitter can also have a powerful impact. One of our technology clients initially ruled out Twitter completely. We were able to prove they had a potential audience on Twitter and helped them run a paid program. In the end, their Twitter engagement was far higher than engagement on any other platform.

#4 - Engagement Is Low on Every Platform

More than anything, the report shows just how low the benchmarks are across the social media spectrum. If an email marketing campaign had a .046% average open rate, we would be throwing in the towel writing our resignations at the same time. The drop in engagement makes sense, though, with how social media platforms have evolved. They used to be based on delivering all the posts the user opted into seeing. Whatever accounts the person chose to follow, that was what filled their feed. Now every major social site is curated by algorithm. The user doesn’t control what they see, and neither do brands.

What to Do:

There are two key ways to thrive in the Age of the Algorithm. We’ve already covered the first: Start thinking of most of these channels as pay-to-play. Take your most compelling content and throw some paid promotion behind it on your highest-performing platform. Then A/B test your audience targeting until you find the sweet spot. The second is to produce the type of content that the algorithm will promote. For Facebook and Twitter, that increasingly means native video. Facebook in particular has been explicit about their favoritism for video. Posts that match what the platform wants to promote will get a bigger initial push, which can help you get engagement, which will signal the algorithm to promote it more. It’s also a good idea to explore the major platform that’s missing from Rival IQ’s report: LinkedIn*. The reported engagement rate on LinkedIn is .054%, lower than Facebook but higher than Twitter. However, it’s easy to more than double that benchmark with a little optimization, as this infographic from LinkedIn shows. You can also branch out on LinkedIn by having your C-suite post their own thought leadership content on their own accounts. Personal posts are likely to get more engagement and more shares.

Stay on Your Mark and Don’t Get Benched

Social media marketing is still one of the newest marketing disciplines there is. We’re still developing best practices as the platforms continue to evolve. It’s a little like trying to build a train while you’re going 60 miles per hour down a track built on top of a pool of lime Jell-O. These benchmarks can provide a starting point for the next iteration of your strategy. They might not speak to your specific vertical or audience, but they do highlight the broad changes taking place across social media. To make sure your train keeps rolling, focus on just a few high-quality posts per day, boosted with paid ads on your most valuable channels. Need help mastering social media marketing? Here’s how we helped one company expand their reach. *LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.

The post Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/01/facebook-update-influencer-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/01/facebook-update-influencer-marketing/#comments Mon, 29 Jan 2018 11:30:22 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23728 Earlier this month, marketers were shocked to learn that Facebook would be making more major changes to its News Feed, effectively bringing brand and publisher organic reach to zero by prioritizing high engagement content from family, friends and groups. In a formal statement posted on his own Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg said: “We built Facebook [...]

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Facebook Zero Influencers

Earlier this month, marketers were shocked to learn that Facebook would be making more major changes to its News Feed, effectively bringing brand and publisher organic reach to zero by prioritizing high engagement content from family, friends and groups.

In a formal statement posted on his own Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg said:

“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.”

“But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. … Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.”

While the announcement seemed to be the final nail in the organic News Feed coffin, the death of organic reach on Facebook has been a long time coming. Back in April 2015, Facebook announced it was updating News Feeds to strike a better balance between friends, public figures, publishers, businesses and community organizations. Then in late June 2016, Facebook said it would be making further refinements to ensure users don’t miss updates from their friends and families.

Now, after an intense year of political and social upheaval — not to mention the emergence of the fake news engine and the Russian advertising scandal — it’s no surprise that Facebook is re-examining things yet again.

But What Does It All Mean for Marketers?

Naturally, disappointed marketers all over the world are wondering how this change will truly impact their social marketing efforts. From our perspective, the change:

  • Ends the organic reach of the News Feed and increases the importance of adding pay-to-play to your marketing mix — something that will likely require a bigger budget.
  • Bolsters the importance of channel diversification.
  • Makes it more important than ever for you to zero in on who your audience is and what motivates them, so you can share content and create an environment that will pique interest and engagement.
  • Means Instagram will more than likely follow suit in the near future.

The Influencer Implication

Since Zuckerberg’s announcement, there’s been one implication in particular that’s captivated our attention. The way we see it, the value of influencer engagement on Facebook will increase even more.

Our CEO, Lee Odden, has long been an evangelist for working with influencers, believing that influencers can help brands bypass several obstacles. AdBlocking, for example, is in use on over 600 million devices, costing business over $22 billion in ad revenue, according to PageFair. Working with credible influencers who are trusted amongst an audience allows brands to bypass the adblocking obstacle and better connect with buyers.

Lee has also talked about other challenges such as distrust of brand advertising. In fact, 69% of consumers don’t trust ads, according to research by Ipsos Connect. And yet another obstacle is information overload. Americans are confronted with an average of 63GB of media on a daily basis (USC/ICTM).

All of these obstacles, according to Lee, are addressed by working with industry influencers. The virtual elimination of organic News Feed visibility for brands and publishers on Facebook is no different and marketers would be smart to think about how influencer engagement can keep organic Facebook visibility alive.

So, to sum it all up: Now that the organic News Feed is effectively dead, new life is being given to influencer marketing opportunities. Here are a few key considerations:

#1 – If you’re not in the influencer marketing game yet, you can no longer afford to wait.

Last year, we saw influencer marketing explode — becoming one of the most talked about topics among marketers and arguably our most-requested digital marketing services among both B2B and B2C clients. In addition, our own research shows that 57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in the next three years.

This quote from Lee sums it up well:

“For any kind of content a business creates and publishes to the world, there is an opportunity for collaboration with credible voices that have active networks interested in what those voices have to say. In many cases, [audiences are] far more interested [in an influencer’s insights] than in what the brand has to say.”

With Facebook reducing branded content and elevating content from individuals, there’s no better time to invest in influencers — which can have an impact across all social platforms.


With #Facebook reducing branded content and elevating content from individuals, there’s no better time to invest in influencers. #influencermarketing
Click To Tweet


#2 – Influencers now hold more power than ever to more strategically align themselves with brands of their choice.

Influencer marketing was already poised to be big in 2018, but this change to Facebook’s platform will absolutely spur more brands and businesses to dip their toe into the water. As a result, influencers will see an uptick in requests, giving them more power to be very choosy about which brands they lend their time, insights and audience to.


Influencers have more power to be very choosy about the brand they lend their time, insights and audience to. #influencermarketing
Click To Tweet


#3 – Influencer nurturing will be more important than ever.

As illustrated by the previous two points, the Facebook change will lead to an increased adoption of influencer marketing, giving influencers more options. So it’s no surprise that it’ll be time to double-down on your commitment to influencer nurturing.

Now, we’ve always said that when it comes to building relationships and rapport with influencers, it’s critical that you put the time and effort into nurturing — rather than simply reaching out when you have a need. There has to be shared value.

But I think most marketers would admit that they have significant room for improvement in this area — and there’s no time like the present to recommit yourself.


With #Facebook’s recent algorithm change, it’s time to double-down on your commitment to nurturing your influencers. #influencermarketing
Click To Tweet


Capitalize on the Opportunity

Let’s face it. This “major change” to Facebook’s platform isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last. As a result, now is the time to fully capitalize on the opportunity by better working with industry influencers. Now is the time to refocus on connecting with your audience — and influencers can help you do just that by adding authenticity, credibility, unique insights and new eyeballs to your content.

What else is in store for influencer marketing in 2018? Check out these rising influencer marketing trends that you need to pay attention to.

What do you think about the latest Facebook News Feed algorithm change? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2018. | Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Does Snark = Sales? What Consumers REALLY Want from Brands on Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/07/consumers-brands-social-media/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/07/consumers-brands-social-media/#comments Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:30:35 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22636 Social media marketers, do you feel a brief pang of envy when a brand gets sassy on Twitter or Facebook? Do you wish you had the brand identity and/or corporate backing to smack down a troll, a la Wendy’s? Me too. It’s only natural. Even in a profession as inherently creative as marketing, some of [...]

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Social media marketers, do you feel a brief pang of envy when a brand gets sassy on Twitter or Facebook? Do you wish you had the brand identity and/or corporate backing to smack down a troll, a la Wendy’s?

Me too. It’s only natural. Even in a profession as inherently creative as marketing, some of us can fly our freak flags higher than others. If you’re working in financial services, or healthcare, or any number of staid verticals, odds are you have to keep your sarcasm in check.

We may never get the sweet satisfaction of seeing a tweet full of biting wit go viral. But we have to keep perspective. Are we here to get featured on Buzzfeed, or to generate revenue? Does the snark really translate to sales?

The good folks at Sprout Social just released their Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index, and they’re taking aim at precisely that question. People like brands with “personality,” sure. But what do consumers really want from brands on social media? And how should those preferences inform your social media marketing strategy? Let’s run the numbers.

#1: Funny Is Good, But It Isn’t Everything  

Infusing a little humor into a brand is a good way to express personality. It lets people know that there are actual human beings behind the brand, seeking to entertain just as much as they inform.

As a once and future comedy writer, I’m an advocate for humor in marketing. But we should make sure the humor is not all that we’re bringing to the table.

Sprout Social found that while 3 in 4 consumers appreciate humor from brands, being funny was 4th on the list of what consumers really want from brands on social media:

Social Media Marketing Consumer Preferences

The far-and-away winners are honest, friendly, and helpful. If you have these three covered, then you can add in the humor. On the other hand, if you’re not honest, friendly, or helpful, no level of funniness will make up for the lack.

It’s also worth noting how far down the list “trendy” and “snarky” are. There’s no shortage of brands trying to be edgy and au courant. But it looks like less than half of consumers want their brand to be the quip-slinging cool kid from a 90’s sitcom.

The bottom line: Humor is a welcome trait for a brand, but mean-spirited or edgy humor is likely to turn customers off (even if it lands you an AdWeek shoutout). And if you’re not being honest and helping people, no amount of humor can save you.

#2: Consider the Platform

Just as your brand has its own identity, every social network has a unique identity. Facebook is a casual place to post cute pictures and start political arguments. Twitter is an even more casual place to start extremely character-limited political arguments. LinkedIn is more buttoned-down and professional, with only occasional political arguments.

Your audience on each platform has a unique set of expectations, based not just on your brand, but on the platform itself.

How Platform Changes Social Media Marketing Preferences

People like personality on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but not so much on LinkedIn. So it’s important to adjust your messaging for each.

Most of us are scheduling social media messages with a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, and it’s easy to blast a single message across platforms. But don’t do that. Take a few minutes to craft unique messages for each channel, keeping audience expectation in mind. That bit of extra effort will help make your posts more engaging, and keep your most dedicated audience from seeing the same message multiple times.

#3: Know Your Audience

Social media is not a homogenous audience that’s the same for every brand. It’s a platform for connecting with your particular most-valued consumers. How your brand approaches social media, then, should be a byproduct of how your audience wants to interact with your brand. These preferences can vary widely across demographics.

For example, 74% of Gen X and Baby Boomers said they found it annoying when a brand uses slang. But only 59% of Millennials shared that sentiment. Millennials are also far more tolerant of brands making fun of competing brands:

What Consumers Find Annoying on Social Media

How your brand should express personality on social media is dependent on your target audience. If your demographic still uses words like “hip” and “groovy,” it’s probably not hip or groovy for your brand to use them. However, if your target audience thinks things are “totes adorbs” and “can’t even,” you stand a better chance of connecting with slang.

It’s vital to find the intersection of your brand personality with your audience preferences, and let that drive how you present the brand on social.

#4: Bring Value to Drive Sales

To quote my personal hero, Captain Obvious, “the purpose of social media marketing is ultimately to drive sales.” If going viral with a funny tweet contributes to the bottom line, that’s a tactic worth pursuing. The research shows, though, that most people aren’t following brands just for laughs:

Brand Actions that Prompt Social Media Sales

When it comes to driving sales, humor is 5th on the list. Being responsive, offering promotions, and providing educational content are all more likely to inspire a purchase decision.

What do people really want from brands on social? The same thing they want from brands everywhere else. First, people want to be heard, to engage in a productive dialog. Second, they want to be offered something of value, whether it’s a deal on your solution or simply valuable information. When people are looking for help, you have to bring more than jokes to the table.

Check out the full Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index for more insights.

Helping People Is the Top Priority

Giving your brand a winning personality is great. It makes creating and consuming your content more fun. But personality should be the seasoning for your social media marketing, not the main course. Start with being helpful, being honest, and providing something of value in exchange for your audience’s time. Then add a little sprinkle of personality on top, like so:

See? You can be helpful and funny at the same time.

Need help maintaining your social media presence? Let us handle your social media marketing.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Does Snark = Sales? What Consumers REALLY Want from Brands on Social Media | http://www.toprankblog.com

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3 New Facebook Updates, Features Businesses Should Take Advantage Of http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/04/new-facebook-updates/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/04/new-facebook-updates/#comments Tue, 04 Apr 2017 10:30:22 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22116 From revamping its News Feed algorithm and page layouts to rolling out its own version of Snapchat last week, Facebook has been busy adding new features and capabilities over the past few months. For the average user, these changes are making it easier and more fun to share and engage on the platform. For businesses, [...]

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From revamping its News Feed algorithm and page layouts to rolling out its own version of Snapchat last week, Facebook has been busy adding new features and capabilities over the past few months.

For the average user, these changes are making it easier and more fun to share and engage on the platform. For businesses, the changes are likely overwhelming, with many wondering how they can adapt to these changes, turn them into a marketing advantage and ultimately reach a piece of the platform’s 1.23 billion daily active users.

If you’re part of the latter scenario, we’d like to help you out a bit. Below we highlight some of the latest updates and new features that businesses should take note of, as well as some tips on how to take advantage of them to further your social media marketing efforts.

#1 – Video gets a makeover.

In an attempt to provide a “richer, more engaging and more flexible” video watching experience, Facebook announced in mid-February that they had made several platform updates including:

  • Videos will now auto-play with sound. Previously, users would have to tap on a video to hear it.
  • Vertical videos now look better on mobile devices. After testing a larger preview of vertical videos and getting positive results, the social media giant rolled the update out.
  • Users can now watch and scroll. Users can now minimize the video and keep it playing in the corner of their screen.

Here’s Facebook’s own video overview of the recent updates.

What this means for businesses: Video will continue to be a powerful (and perhaps necessary) engagement tool for businesses, brands and marketers.

How businesses can take advantage: Start dabbling with video if it’s not already part of your social media marketing strategy and makes sense for your business. Compelling video content helps capture attention, encourages engagement and—in some cases—reaches a more prominent position in social media news feeds.

For those that are already using video, compelling imagery is still a top priority for video content, but music and narration should probably get more consideration in light of the new sound feature. Now it’s important to note that users who have their phone on silent mode will not hear the sound. In addition, users do have the ability to disable the feature in their settings. However, at this point it’s safe to say more people will be hearing and seeing your videos in the future—so make everything you do count.

#2 – Facebook launches 360 photos, videos and virtual reality app.

Last summer, Facebook launched both 360 photos and 360 videos, giving users the ability to capture and share a 360-degree, ultra-panoramic photo or video. But in early March, Facebook took the format to the next level by releasing the Facebook 360 app for Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus.

“With more than 25 million 360 photos and more than 1 million 360 videos posted on Facebook to date, there’s plenty of great content to discover in Facebook 360,” Facebook said in their announcement post. “The app is a one-stop shop for catching up on what you may have missed from your friends and others you follow, diving into the 360 photos and videos you’ve saved, and finding something new to enjoy.”

(Photo Credit: Facebook)

What this means for businesses: Facebook is bringing virtual reality to their platform, and businesses have the opportunity to truly immerse their audiences in their visual content. Of course, Samsung Gear VR may not be in the hands of every user yet, but virtual reality is certainly gaining relevance and speed in the social world.

How businesses can take advantage: Start experimenting by creating 360 photos using an iPhone or Android on a panoramic setting. Photos don’t require editing or extra equipment purchases, just a steady hand and a keen eye to capture something compelling. Consider giving users a glimpse into your office, store, production facility, or a special event you’re hosting or attending.

Once you’re comfortable with 360 photos and seeing some engagement, consider taking the next step to invest in 360 camera to shoot and edit video.

#3 – Facebook Offers is new and improved.

While the social media giant launched its newly designed Facebook Offers feature in late August 2016, it may not be on the radar of many businesses who are using a social media management tool like Hootsuite to share and schedule posts. The option appears under the native “Write something …” posting box, along with some other customizeable posting options.

Essentially, Facebook Offers allows businesses to share their in-store or online discounts and promotions with their social audience. Offers can be used in two ways: By creating an Offers ad or in a Page post. Here’s a snippet from Facebook’s announcement post with the critical details:

“Offers ads appear in people’s News Feed in the Facebook mobile app and website. Advertisers can reach the right audiences with creative ad formats—like carousel ads. And for online offers, advertisers can optimize the delivery of their ads to people most likely to make a purchase on their site. Advertisers can see how many offers have been claimed in ads reporting.

“The other way for businesses to share Offers is to post them directly on their Page through the Offer Page Composer. All posted Offers will be viewable by anyone visiting the Page. If someone missed a posted Offer, they can click on the new, dedicated Offers tab to see all Offers posted by the business.

What this means for businesses: While social media is largely known as an awareness and engagement tool, Facebook Offers gives you the ability to encourage conversions by showcasing your special promotions. After all, every shopper loves to get a good deal.

How businesses can take advantage: Simply put, add your special promotions and discounts to Facebook. You’re likely advertising your incentives via email, your website and other advertising mediums, so don’t miss out on this easy, accessible opportunity.

What tactics are you using to find success on Facebook? Where are you struggling? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | 3 New Facebook Updates, Features Businesses Should Take Advantage Of | http://www.toprankblog.com

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The Queen of Facebook Tells All on Generating Facebook Marketing ROI http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/03/facebook-marketing-roi/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/03/facebook-marketing-roi/#comments Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:32:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22090 True to form, Mari Smith kicked off her presentation at Social Media Marketing World last week by sharing her full bio in the form of emojis and poking fun at her own mixed accent which immediately put the packed room at ease. When someone with experience like Mari takes the stage, you perk up and get [...]

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True to form, Mari Smith kicked off her presentation at Social Media Marketing World last week by sharing her full bio in the form of emojis and poking fun at her own mixed accent which immediately put the packed room at ease. When someone with experience like Mari takes the stage, you perk up and get ready to have a deluge of knowledge dropped on you in a short amount of time.

Her session (which seemed like mere seconds) was packed with helpful information and actionable insights that marketers can begin implementing on Facebook now. Below are some of the actionable highlights from Mari’s session. 


Caring is scalable. You can care about a lot of people. - @MariSmith
Click To Tweet


#1 – It’s Time to Rethink…Everything

One of the biggest issues that Mari has seen with social media marketing is that many brands (even large ones) are siloing their social efforts. Often, brands will have an organic social and paid social team that do not collaborate at all.

But the question we should be asking is: What if we were to implement social media company wide?


Social media is not just a business experience, it’s an emotional experience. @MariSmith
Click To Tweet


All businesses (no matter their size) have an opportunity to delight their customers by providing a great experience.

#2 – The Facebook Algorithm Struggle

Facebook makes an average of $6 billion in ad revenue per quarter and is quickly ‘running out’ of ad space to show users in-stream.

Because both paid and organic Facebook reach are becoming more difficult, it’s important that brands focus on what they really want to get out of it. Some examples might include:

  • Growing fans (Likes)
  • Getting exposure in the News Feed
  • Optimizing reach (paid & organic)

#3 – The Power of Video

According to Mari, Facebook is moving in the direction of television and tv advertising. In fact, they are following a model similar to Netflix or Hulu where they’re trying to encourage users to binge watch Facebook videos.  

Video ads that perform well are ones that empathize with the audience and tell a great story. A prime example is the video below from Chatbooks which is an ad that Mari originally saw as an organic post from a friend that shared it. Just let that marinate for a second. Facebook users are sharing video ads.

Characteristics of great video ads:

  • Quality from the first frame
  • Authentic
  • High energy
  • Entertaining
  • Evoke emotion
  • Personable and relatable
  • Useful to the audience
  • Designed to be played with the sound off
    • Add lower third highlights
    • Add captions

In June of 2016, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Vice President for EMEA predicted that Facebook will probably be all video in the next five years. However, a recent study by Buffer found that video is largely underutilized on Facebook. Even though video gets 3x’s the engagement of other posts.

Mari’s Pro Tip: It’s Hip to Be Square
Even with Facebook’s addition of portrait and landscape video, square video still reigns supreme. In fact, square videos receive almost 30% more views, more shares and has almost a 70% higher view completion rate.

The team that manages the Jane Goodall Institute Facebook page ran an A/B test of landscape versus square videos and experienced a significant increase in the number of views, shares and likes on the square video.

 

#4 – Real-Time Shopping

The ability to shop for items in real-time has been talked about for years. But now, it’s finally real. Amazon for example has incorporated a camera into their mobile app that allows users to hover over an item in the wild and receive suggestions for a similar product from Amazon in mere seconds. Even as an avid Amazon shopper, I wasn’t aware of this feature until Mari shared an example on stage. Below is a test that I ran by scanning a photo of my watch:

Recently, Facebook partnered with Shopify to develop a similar approach where users can purchase items in real-time while watching a video. It’s unclear as to when this feature will be available to all users but the fact that it exists offers many exciting opportunities for marketers.

 

What Does the Future Hold?

The evolution of Facebook’s approach for brands is beginning to cover many opportunities for the modern marketer. Just imagine the ability to provide real-time customer service via messenger. The good news is that the possibility of providing that service isn’t far off.

What other updates would you like to see Facebook make for marketers?


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | The Queen of Facebook Tells All on Generating Facebook Marketing ROI | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/small-businesses-social-media-traffic/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/small-businesses-social-media-traffic/#comments Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:30:26 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21745 For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality: Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active [...]

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For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality:

Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active users a month—that’s an audience worth addressing. Yet business owners struggle to convert Facebook users into organic traffic to their websites.

Business app discovery platform GetApp recently surveyed 500 owners of small and medium-sized businesses. Less than 30% of respondents reported that Facebook was moderately to extremely effective at driving organic traffic to their sites. By contrast, 20.1% rated it slightly effective, and over 25% said it was not effective at all.

If you’re a small business owner and Facebook is the focus of your marketing efforts, it may be time to branch out. Here are a few ways to use a little strategy and a small budget to increase traffic to your website.

#1: Make Sure Your Shares Encourage Website Traffic

Some businesses do a great job creating a fun, relatable feed. They have memes. They use emoji in a cool, not cringe-worthy way. They even share valuable content from around the web.

All of that is great for building your audience on Facebook. But it’s not enough to build a hip Facebook page, put your URL in the sidebar, and watch the clicks roll in. Make sure to regularly share content hosted on your website, with an eye-catching visual and a summary that compels a click.

If you’re already doing that, keep reading for more tips. But if you haven’t been explicitly, actively, repeatedly encouraging your Facebook audience to visit your site, this is an easy win.

#2: Use a Little Strategic Paid Promotion

“Stellar work, Nite,” I hear you say. “So the way to generate more organic traffic is to pay for traffic?”

Hear me out, though. Organic traffic is free(ish), and that’s great. It’s wonderful when people opt to look at your content. But what’s better is traffic from a more relevant audience of your choosing. Facebook makes it easy to get results with a really small budget.

Take your top-performing organic content—the post that already has likes and shares, so you know people like it—and put $5 behind it. Target it to a specific audience that is valuable to you. Most importantly, use the “Create a Lookalike Audience” option to reach a new audience.

Keep a close eye on your $5 investment and use what you learn to optimize the next round. The small investment is worth it, if it pays off in more relevant traffic. As you attract a new audience, you can start to pull them from Facebook to your own site.

#3: Turn Facebook Followers into Subscribers

As Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi puts it, “Don’t build your house on rented land.” As long as your audience is exclusively on Facebook (or any other social media platform), the platform determines how and when you can reach them. If Facebook has a choice between allowing you organic reach or demanding a ransom—well, you can guess which way they’ll go.

So when you share links to your site’s content on Facebook, make sure there are prominent opportunities to subscribe. Whether it’s to your blog feed or a weekly newsletter, give your audience the option to opt in.

You can also add a Subscribe button to your Facebook Page. When you’re logged in as the page, you will see the “Add a Button” option right under your header image. Choose the “Sign Up” button and link it to a subscription landing page.

Make sure the page has a quick but compelling statement of benefit and very little else—just a quick form to fill out and a big shiny Subscribe button.

#4: Look to LinkedIn*

If your business is B2B, Facebook is likely not the best fit for a primary marketing focus. LinkedIn tends to be a better place for B2B business to build an audience and generate leads—according to research, 80% of B2B leads are sourced through the platform.

LinkedIn isn’t exclusively for B2B, however. You can create a Company Page and build an audience for your B2C company as well. You can also use long-form posts on LinkedIn to promote your personal thought leadership. Use the platform to build credibility and visibility that can transfer to your business. Great content leads to more profile views, and you can construct your profile to lead visitors to your business’ website.

Do You Believe in Life after Facebook?

Facebook can still be a good place to build an audience and boost your business’ brand awareness. But don’t rely on likes and follows to do any heavy lifting. Make sure what you share on your feed is strategically created to encourage action. Don’t be afraid to invest $5-10 every few weeks on targeted promotion, or to try other social media platforms better suited to your company’s offerings. Finally, the end goal should be to amass an audience on your own site, not someone else’s platform.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.


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Facebook Advertising: How to Get More for Your Budget http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/facebook-advertising-more-budget/ Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:30:38 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21672 Gather around, children, and let me tell you a story of Facebook advertising in the long-forgotten year of 2012. In that gilded age, whenever your page posted an update, up to 20% of your followers would see it in their feeds organically. It was a simpler time. A gentler time. And a time when Facebook [...]

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facebook-advertising

Gather around, children, and let me tell you a story of Facebook advertising in the long-forgotten year of 2012. In that gilded age, whenever your page posted an update, up to 20% of your followers would see it in their feeds organically.

It was a simpler time. A gentler time. And a time when Facebook took in a lot less revenue from advertisers.

Then in 2016, organic reach fell off the cliff (Or was it pushed?), sinking to as low as 2% of a page’s followers.

The moral of the story is: If you want to reach a sizable audience on Facebook now, you’re going to have to pay. But as our friends (and clients) over at LinkedIn Marketing say, “Organic is good. Paid is better.”

Why settle for the audience that happens to wander by? Why settle for the audience Facebook thinks wants to hear from you? With a little investment, you can bring in an audience that is perfect for your offer. And you can keep refining your targeting over time to get even more out of your budget.

Here’s how to get the most out of your sponsored content on Facebook.

Zero In on Your Audience

Most people who use Facebook entrust the site with an astonishing array of personal information. I’m not talking names, addresses or phone numbers (though plenty of people surrender that info as well)). We’re talking what businesses they frequent, what public figures they admire, what pop culture they like, and more. As a marketer, all of that information is at your fingertips.

You can start to build your targeted segment based on demographics like age, occupation, and education. Then take it to the next level with interest and behavior-based filters.

Say you’re selling a self-help book. You might pick an audience that also likes Tony Robbins and has visited other self-help websites, for example. That means filtering by Interest (pages and categories people have liked on Facebook) and by Behavior (actions taken on and off Facebook). Here’s an example of what Behaviors look like in Facebook Ads Manager:

behaviors

Create a Lead Capture Page

Once you have defined your audience, it’s time to create a page that will compel a click. This is the landing page your ad will lead to—it needs to close the deal for people who already clicked from Facebook.

Start with an asset that is worth trading some contact information for. Offer real data-based, demand-based, substantial best answer content. Then set up your landing page with:

  • A brief headline (60 characters or less!) with a statement of benefit
  • An inviting image (can’t go wrong with happy people)
  • A little proof (testimonial quote or stats)
  • A big, friendly CTA button with custom text (“Get your guide” vs. “Download”)

Create your Ad

You can either design your landing page or your ad first. Whichever order you do it in, your landing page should look as much like your ad (or vice versa) as possible. Use the same fonts, same verbiage, same image. There should be no doubt in your customer’s mind that they’ve come to the right place when they click through.

Be sure to follow Facebook’s advertising policies, and to keep your copy short and to the point. Research shows that posts with 80 characters or fewer get far more engagement than wordier posts. Up to 66% more engagement, in fact. So be brief!

It’s important to create a few versions of the ad for A/B testing. Test variations in the headline, copy, and image.

Create a Trackable Conversion

In order for you to track the effectiveness of your ad, Facebook needs to know what happens to visitors after they leave Facebook to visit your site. Adding a Facebook Pixel to your pages makes that possible. It’s a little piece of code that tracks behavior of traffic from your ads to pages you specify, making it easy to attribute conversions and retarget ads (more on that later).

Once you create the pixel and add it to your pages, you can create event code to put on a specific page. Place the code on your thank you page (after the visitor has filled out our lead form) and you can use it to track conversions:

Facebook Advertising Conversions

Here’s Facebook’s guide to creating a conversion in the Ads Manager.

Run Multiple Variants of Your Ad

Always run a few variants of your ad at the same time, so you have data to evaluate performance. In addition to testing variations on the ad copy and visual, test variant audiences. Take advantage of the thousands of targeting options to try a few different sets and see what hits. You can always turn off the underperformers and focus your budget on what works.

Analyze & Optimize

As you run your campaigns, keep a close eye on your analytics. Facebook’s Ads Manager has some pretty robust reporting abilities, especially with your pixel and conversion properly configured:

facebook-ads-manager

You will be able to see your CTR, break down the clicks by demographic, and see your cost per click (CPC) at a glance. Use all this information to refine your campaigns—switch off the ones that aren’t performing and try new variants, while boosting the variants that perform the best.

Retarget & Lookalike

Not everyone who clicks through is going to complete your conversion goal, of course. That’s why retargeting is so important. Retargeting means making a custom audience on Facebook of people who have visited your website (tracked by your pixel), and using that data to serve ads to them again until they convert.

For extra bonus points—by which I mean, a larger relevant audience and more conversions—select the “lookalike audience” option for your retargeting. In addition to traffic that has visited your site, Facebook’s algorithms will serve the ad to people with similar demographics and interests to your website traffic.

Book Only the Most Relevant Faces

Even with the most compelling content, it’s hard to get organic reach on Facebook. Of course, any traffic is better than none—and if the content’s good, it has a chance of getting shared and amplified over time. So don’t discount organic entirely. But it’s definitely time to start thinking of Facebook primarily as a paid platform, and to take full advantage of its potential.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2016. | Facebook Advertising: How to Get More for Your Budget | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Facebook Pages Just Got a Lot More Customizable-Here’s What You Need to Know http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/facebook-pages-need-know/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/12/facebook-pages-need-know/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:30:01 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21594 Back in 2006, creating a Facebook Page was mind-numbingly simple. You picked your URL, uploaded a picture, filled out a few boxes, and that was it. Unlike its chief rival, MySpace, there was no mucking about with HTML, no picking the right animated backgrounds, no blinking green fonts to fine-tune. Of course, the flipside of [...]

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facebook-pages

Back in 2006, creating a Facebook Page was mind-numbingly simple. You picked your URL, uploaded a picture, filled out a few boxes, and that was it. Unlike its chief rival, MySpace, there was no mucking about with HTML, no picking the right animated backgrounds, no blinking green fonts to fine-tune.

Of course, the flipside of that simplicity was a complete lack of control. Your page was indistinguishable from every other. White background, Helvetica, blue buttons, a simple newsfeed-type layout.

Facebook has slowly been adding options to the mix the past few years. You still can’t create a true rotating-skull-gif masterpiece like you could on MySpace, but you can make your page more useful to your audience.

This week, Facebook began rolling out a new batch of settings for pages. These new options are aimed squarely at marketers; they’re all about converting traffic into action (and paying Facebook for more action whenever possible).

Here’s how to optimize your shiny new Facebook Page.

#1: Brush up Your Images

It’s not all “brave new world of tomorrow;” most of the changes are far enough under the hood that your casual traffic won’t notice them. Your trusty profile and cover photos are still the first thing people see:

TopRank Marketing on FacebookSo now is a good time to give both images a once-over. Are they visually compelling? Are they the right size and resolution? Make sure you’re putting your best face forward. Your profile picture should be square, 170×170 pixels. The cover photo should be 851×315 pixels. Use a JPG for the cover photo if it has lots of color depth. For photos with large flat areas of color or lots of text, use PNG instead.

If your images look good and your CTA button is ready to for action, you can start organizing your page.

#2: Choose a Template

First, head to the “Settings” button at the top of your screen. Then select “Edit Page”:

editpage

Here’s where you can drill down into how your page looks to your potential audience. Start by having a look at the types of templates available. If you’re in a few very specific industries, Facebook has you covered for a preset look:

  • Shopping is for ecommerce sites. It highlights your products and encourages people to buy
  • Venues puts the focus on your upcoming events, hours, and location
  • Gaming highlights your fans, with a tab for Groups where fans can connect.
  • Politician encourages people to send messages, and features photos and videos your page shares
  • Professional Services has a “Call Now” CTA and puts your Services tab up at the top of the list
  • Restaurants & Cafés is designed to highlight your hours of operation, location and menu

Each of these templates automatically rearranges your tabs and buttons. Before you choose one, take a look at the details to see which tabs are featured—if you pick a template that’s missing some of your current tabs, those tabs will disappear.

In the incredibly likely event that your industry doesn’t fit neatly into one of these six templates, you can…

#3: Rearrange Your Tabs (And Your Feed)

Your page has a row of tabs on the left side that people can click to go straight to specific types of content.

tabs

This is where you can make a huge difference in how your page looks and feels. In the new layout, the order of your tabs top to bottom determines the order content is displayed on your page.

In other words: If you put the Photos tab at the top of the list, your latest pics will show right under your profile picture. If you put Events up top, visitors will see the event and your “Buy Tickets” CTA button first. You don’t have to pin one post and hope for the best! You can show viewers exactly what you want them to see! O, frabjous day.

Put your most relevant content types at the top, and turn off tabs you don’t need:

ordertab

Make sure your most visible content will lead to the action that’s most valuable to your goals. If you’re raising awareness, photos or videos might be the top. If you’re keeping your audience up to date on news, keep your posts up top, etc.

Note that Facebook will sometimes add a “Featured for You” box at the top of the feed for individual visitors, with content its almighty algorithms determined will be of most interest.

#4: Take Advantage of the New Posting Templates

The final change you will notice is a row of colorful boxes underneath your usual “Write something” post prompt:

posttypes

This is Facebook’s less-than-subtle way of clueing us into new post templates(and, of course, subtly encouraging specific types of posts). Each icon leads to a custom form you can fill out to quickly create ads, invite discussion, create events, and more.

If none of the templates is appealing, just click in the “Write something” box to write a plain ol’ post, just like grandpa and grandma used to write.

#5: See the Final Results

Once you’re done customizing and adding new content, take a look at what your page looks like to visitors. Your view is full of buttons, tips and tools to help you funnel advertising cash to Facebook. If you log out completely, you can look at the page as a visitor—but the bottom half of the screen will have a big “Sign Up or Log In” banner.

It can take some clicking around to find the “View as Visitor” option—it’s hiding in the “More” button just below your profile picture:
viewasvisitor

Take a minute to look around and make sure your page is looking its best.

Give Your Facebook a Facelift

Even with these changes, Facebook Pages will never be confused with a properly-optimized, well-designed landing page. Still, you can exercise a lot more control now over how your audience encounters and interacts with your page.

So brush up your images, get your tabs in order—and most importantly, keep serving up quality content that will help you build an audience.

Need more social media tips? Check out or most popular social media marketing posts of the year.

 


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2016. | Facebook Pages Just Got a Lot More Customizable-Here’s What You Need to Know | http://www.toprankblog.com

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What Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook Live http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/social-media-marketing-facebook-live/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/social-media-marketing-facebook-live/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:30:23 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21134 In the age of Netflix and DVRs, it’s weirdly ironic to watch the growing popularity of live video for social media marketing. Sure, most of it is recorded so you can access it later, but it has far more in common with the nightly news than with modern on-demand, personalized content. It turns out, there’s [...]

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facebook-live-what-you-should-know

In the age of Netflix and DVRs, it’s weirdly ironic to watch the growing popularity of live video for social media marketing. Sure, most of it is recorded so you can access it later, but it has far more in common with the nightly news than with modern on-demand, personalized content.

It turns out, there’s something about watching an event unfold live that’s hard to replicate. To be there as it’s happening, in the moment with a group of friends and strangers, sharing a singular experience. It’s powerful. And it never really went out of style—it just took a while for technology to create a compelling modern version.

Facebook Live has realized the potential for live video combined with a social network. Not only are people watching in droves, they’re more engaged: People spend three times longer watching live video than they watch recorded versions after-the-fact.

As with any new channel, it’s always tempting to jump right in and start creating content. And, as always, it’s a better idea to do some evaluating and strategizing first.

Here’s the low-down on Facebook Live: What it is, what it’s for, and how brands are using it.

What Is Facebook Live?

A native live-streaming service embedded in Facebook. When you go Live, the stream will show in your follower’s feeds and on your profile page. Viewers can leave likes and comments in real time. After the event is over, viewers can watch a recorded version with the option of seeing the comment stream as if it were live.

Who’s Doing It?

Everyone from the President to celebrities to athletes.

How Do I Do It?

Right now, the easiest way to go Live is from a mobile device. On the Facebook app for iOS or Android, you’ll see a “Live” button right at the top of the feed. Click that for a quick set up and your feed will begin! There is a version of Live for desktops which is slowly being rolled out—if you don’t have it yet, the mobile version is the only game in town.

What Are the Best Practices?

Facebook’s best practices for Live are a good place to start:

  • Tell followers ahead of time before you broadcast
  • Write a compelling description
  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection
  • Respond to commenters on the air
  • Aim for longer sessions (10-90 minutes)
  • Develop a schedule so viewers know when to tune in

What Pitfalls Should I Look Out For?

Since it’s so easy to go Live, a lot of Live streams right now look the same. They’re talking heads, people holding up a phone and chatting informally with the viewer. If you’re a celebrity with a quick wit, go for it—otherwise, don’t go in without a plan.

It’s an unpredictable platform—you may have to contend with technical issues and an unmoderated comment stream at the same time. It’s a good idea to have at least one person off-camera who can handle the comment stream and work out any glitches.

Finally, don’t expect your entire audience to tune in all at once. Generally viewers drop in and out of live streams—some will arrive late and some will leave early. So a complex narrative that builds on prior knowledge is not the best choice.

Q: What Kind of Content Works Best?

There’s a vast array of content that works for Facebook Live. The most successful take advantage of the special connection the platform affords with an audience, addressing and interacting with them in real time. Here are a few good examples:

  • Behind the Scenes: Dunkin’ Donuts took their followers on a tour of “Dunkin’ Brands University,” a facility where Dunkin’ creates new products. At the end of the tour, audiences got a tutorial on how to make a Dunkin’ Donuts wedding cake. The tour scored just over 30,000 views.The informal, intimate nature of the platform is ideal for these sneak peeks behind the scenes. If your brand doesn’t have a factory to tour, consider a tour of the office space itself—promote transparency and your corporate culture by showing off work spaces and interviewing co-workers.
  • Tips and How-tos: Benefit Cosmetics hosts a weekly show called Tipsy Tricks. A host and guests drink wine, gossip, and offer makeup tips. They respond to viewer comments, and generally offer a mix of practical advice and entertaining banter.Facebook Live works well for how-tos and demos, provided there’s an angle to keep it interesting for the audience. As you prep a how-to, keep an eye out for dead spots in the process that your host will need to fill.
  • Performances: If your brand can swing it, musical or dance performances are a great way to pull in top-of-funnel audiences. Postmodern Jukebox is my favorite for performance video—they livestream parts of every concert they put on, often capturing behind-the-scenes content as well as the concert. But you don’t have to play at that level to stream a performance. Buzzfeed’s interactive dance-off was compelling to viewers because it was an amateur, interactive event.
  • Stunts: If one video captures the pared-down essence of storytelling on Facebook Live, it’s Buzzfeed’s watermelon explosion. At the time it aired, it was the platform’s biggest hit, with well over a million views.The concept couldn’t be simpler: Two Buzzfeed employees, decked out in safety gear, take turns putting rubber bands around a watermelon. The tension builds for 45 minutes until the watermelon finally explodes.On the surface, it seems kind of…dumb, right? But this video was successful because it hit all the right points:
    • Audiences could drop in any time
    • It was immediately obvious what was going on and what was at stake
    • It encouraged audience interaction
    • It built suspense
    • It worked toward a definite endpoint

Granted, the one thing it lacked was an element of utility. But it was undeniably compelling. Add some value for your viewer while checking off the same boxes this video did, and you’ll be unstoppable.

Livestreaming video is still in its infancy. Marketers are still experimenting with the form, with mixed results. One thing’s for sure: As with any channel, it’s all about relevancy, authenticity, and providing something of value to your audience. Put their needs first, and you can develop a strategy for success.

Does your brand plan to jump into livestreaming? Are you already enjoying success with the platform? Let me know in the comments.

 


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Find the Bright Side: 6 Things Brands Should Do in Light of New Facebook Page Layout http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/facebook-business-page-layout-changes/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/facebook-business-page-layout-changes/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2016 10:30:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21059 The summer of 2016 has been a little rough for businesses, brands and marketers that use Facebook as an important part of their marketing mix. Not only did Facebook implement a new News Feed algorithm that favors content from users’ friends and family, but just over a month ago they rolled out a new desktop [...]

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new-facebook-layout-tips

The summer of 2016 has been a little rough for businesses, brands and marketers that use Facebook as an important part of their marketing mix. Not only did Facebook implement a new News Feed algorithm that favors content from users’ friends and family, but just over a month ago they rolled out a new desktop business page layout—something they had been testing for a couple of months.

While the algorithm change was a little disheartening, many pages had likely been seeing a drop in organic reach for months as competition for space in the News Feed continued to grow. But when Facebook began testing the new page layout, many page admins were upset for a variety of reasons—from not being told about the changes to hating the new layout to believing they should hold the power to choose a design that works for them.

As someone who’s used Facebook for more than six years as a marketing medium, I totally get the frustration. But all the moving, shaking and changing of the digital landscape is nothing new, so we might as well look on the bright side, right?

Here’s that bright side:

  1. The new layout is ad-free, eliminating some of the clutter and potential for your audience to get distracted and navigate away. Basically, you’re the start of the show now.
  2. The profile photo and cover photo no longer overlap, meaning you don’t have to design a cover photo to fit around your profile photo now.
  3. All tabs are visible and stationary as users scroll, allowing you showcase all your information and visual media, and ultimately making it easier for your audience to learn more about you.
  4. Calls to action are more prominent, giving your audience clear direction on how they can move forward to learn more, get in touch, shop or any other action you’re trying to drive.

Facebook Business Page Layout Changes

See? Change isn’t so bad, right?

Even if I haven’t convinced you, not all is lost. Now that the change is in place, it’s time to make sure your page is the best it can be continue to engage users and build awareness for your brand. Below are a few suggestions on how to do just that.

#1 – Assess your profile and cover photo.

Your profile and cover photos are the main visual aspects of your page—and you want them looking good. For the best looking photos, these are the dimensions:

  • Cover images should be 828 x 315 pixels
  • Profile images should be 180 x 180 pixels

For your profile photo, I’d suggest choosing a branded image or logo. Since your profile photo, along with the tabs, will stay stationary as users scroll through your page this is a great opportunity to keep your brand top-of-mind.

For your cover photo, choose something that can visually convey what you’re brand is all about. Since the profile photo no longer overlaps, you have more freedom to be creative. Some text is certainly OK, but don’t go overboard. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Here’s a great example from FedEx. For me, this cover photo sends the message that FedEx is always there, in the background, reliably delivering packages to locations all over. (And the sunflowers are gorgeous.)

Cover Photo for FedEx on Facebook

#2 – Consider adding custom tabs.

The ability to create custom tabs isn’t new, but the new navigation now allows you to display all tabs. With the old layout, most tabs were hidden under the “More” dropdown on the top navigation bar.

Creating custom tabs does require some tech savviness (and maybe even some web dev experience), but it’s worth it. With custom tabs, you’re able to connect users with more information about who you are and what value you can bring to them. Consider getting started with tabs for your other social pages such as Twitter or YouTube.

To create the tabs, login to the Apps platform within the Facebook Developer site at https://developers.facebook.com/apps. It may seem daunting, but it’s actually a fairly simple process. There are also some third-party tools out there, but using them will most likely require the help of a developer.

Also, keep in mind that you need to be an Admin on the page you’re attempting to add the tab to.

For more details, check out Facebook’s Page Tabs info page.

#3 – Add content to all your tabs.

With the enhanced navigation, you need to make sure all tabs have content. You certainly don’t want users to be met with nothing when they click.

The About section is especially critical. This is where the most basic information about your brand is housed. Make sure it’s all there and current.

#4 – Create a username.

If you don’t already have one, create a username for your page. A username will appear in your page’s URL, making it more custom, while also making it easier for users to find you in native search results.

With the layout change, that username is now prominently displayed under your profile picture, which can help people remember your page. Check out Facebook’s how-to for creating a username.

facebook-layout-change-3

#5 – Make sure you have the right call to action.

The new layout showcases your call to action button directly under your cover photo, with some nice white space around it. If you don’t already have a call to action button, add one. If you do have one, make sure you’ve selected the right one for telling your audience what they can do next.

facebook-layout-change-4

#6 – Continue to regularly engage with your audience.

As with any social media platform, the key to success is consistent and relevant engagement. But this goes beyond just posting a link, image or video a few times a week. Put the time in to understand who your audience is, what they’re looking and what resonates most with them. Utilize Facebook Insights to see the type of content they’re engaging with most and most effective posting times. In addition, consistently review your tactics to see if they continue to be effective for reaching whatever goals you’ve set forth.

All in all, the new page layout will certainly not be Facebook’s last change to its platform. So, make the best of it by adapting your strategies to take advantage of the positive opportunities that change can bring.

What do you like or dislike most about the new layout for Facebook business pages? Tell us in the comments section below.


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6 Tips for Increasing Facebook Organic Reach in an Age of Decline http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/increase-facebook-organic-reach/ Tue, 16 Aug 2016 10:30:16 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20869 In late June, Facebook announced they would be changing the News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and families, triggering a collective sigh (and maybe some choice words) among publishers, brands and marketers who rely on Facebook to boost brand awareness and generate referral traffic to their website and blog content. While Facebook [...]

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Increase-Organic-Facebook-Reach

In late June, Facebook announced they would be changing the News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and families, triggering a collective sigh (and maybe some choice words) among publishers, brands and marketers who rely on Facebook to boost brand awareness and generate referral traffic to their website and blog content.

While Facebook admitted that they anticipated a dip in reach and referral traffic for some pages, many Page admins were probably already noticing a decline. Shortly after the announcement, BuzzSumo released data they’d collected after reviewing 25 million Facebook posts that the top 10,000 publishers has posted in the last year. Generally speaking, the average of total shares were up, but BuzzSumo discovered that average shares for posts with links were falling.

Graph of Facebook Posts - BuzzSumo

The bottom line? The type of content you post, along with the new algorithm changes, has a significant impact on reach and engagement, as well as the amount of traffic you can draw in.

For brands and content marketers especially, it’s more clear than ever that posting links to your website or blog content can’t and won’t get you the results you’re looking for, but rather it’s time to embrace Facebook as a way to connect with your audience, encourage discussion, show your value and build a rapport, as well as drive some traffic.

With that said, we’ve put together a few best practices along with some tips for boosting your the reach and engagement of your posts on Facebook.

#1 – Put in the work to really understand your audience.

For Facebook, their advice for boosting organic reach in light of the News Feed changes is for Pages to “post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.”

After reading that, you’re probably thinking: “Duh.” While it may seem obvious, it’s also an important reminder we all need sometimes. Once we get in the daily grind, or as new initiatives roll out, or as some other new social trend comes along, we can lose sight—if only just for a minute—of who our audience is and what they really care about.

Take the time to dig into your website analytics and Facebook Insights to uncover the types of posts that are really resonating with your audience. Look at the kinds of posts that are driving the most traffic to your website, as well as those that are garnering the most engagement on your page. Use that information to tweak your content plan, as well as your messaging.

Of course, knowing that your audience can certainly change what they like, make sure you’re reviewing this data often, and making the necessary adjustments.

Check out Facebook’s suggestions for getting the most out of Page Insights.

#2 – Avoid using clickbait headlines in the content you share.

Every publisher, brand or marketers has probably used a sensational headline to grab attention and get the click at some point. In my opinion, that can be OK if you can actually deliver content that’s equally sensational and valuable. But oftentimes that’s not the case—and it’s just clickbait.

Facebook actually uses a system to detect clickbait headlines in content after a link is shared on the platform, identifying Pages and web domains that are consistently posting that type of material and reducing the distribution of those posts in the News Feed.

Facebook suggests using headlines that are informative, clean and set appropriate expectations. Basically, don’t be spammy or misleading, and don’t just focus on the click-through, but rather use text to encourage engagement. Here’s an example that Facebook gives as a what-not-to-do.

Celebrity Gossip Example

Read more about what Facebook has to say about clickbait headlines. Also, check out our post 9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines to Draw Your Audience In.

#3 – Use hashtags.

While hashtags have always been an important best practice for Twitter and Instagram, it’s been a little unclear whether they’re important for gaining reach and exposure on Facebook. So simply put, hashtags are definitely a great way to get your content discovered.

Like Twitter or Instagram, when people click on a Facebook hashtag or search for a hashtag, they’ll see results that contain that hashtag, allowing them to find content on topics that interest them.

If you’re looking to join a conversation, use popular hashtags to foster that discussion. If you’re looking to brand your content and posts, create your own hashtag that represents that topic and use it whenever relevant. Find relevant hashtags by searching Facebook natively.

Facebook Native Search

You can also use Hashtagify.me to get some ideas, but technically this tool is for Twitter and Instagram hashtags. If you do use a tool like this, run the hashtags you find through a native Facebook search to see how and if those hashtags are being used.

When it comes writing your hashtag, if you’re using a phrase, capitalize the first letter of each word to make it easy to read, understand and remember, and avoid using spaces or punctuation. Also, make sure you understand the meaning of any hashtags you intend to use. While a hashtag may look like it represents a conversation or your brand, use a tool like #tagdef to learn if they’re being used for anything that’s a little more unsavory.

Read more about what Facebook says about using hashtags.

#4 – Utilize the mentioning and tagging functions to find new audiences.

Mentioning and tagging other pages and users in your content is one of the best ways to amplify your posts. Not only do those you tag and mention get notified when you do so, but they’ll more compelled to engage on your post and share your post with their audience.

Here’s a recent example from TopRank Marketing’s own Facebook page. Carlos Gil is a brilliant social media marketer. We wanted to give him a nice little shout out, as well as share something valuable and interesting with our audience.

Carlos Gill - 2

As you can see, this post got more than a dozen likes and a few comments, including one from Carlos himself.

Also, when it comes to mentioning, don’t let that stop in your original post text. If you receive comments from anyone, use the reply function to automatically populate their name as a mention and keep the conversation going.

#5 – Consider native video.

Most publishers, brands and marketers have known for a while that including images and video content in their posts is a way to drive engagement and give Facebook’s algorithm something it knows people are interested in seeing.

But native video specifically can be the type of media post that gets great reach. When looking at it in the context of social media, native video is any video content that is created in or directly uploaded to a social media platform, and then auto-plays within the news feed.

It actually lives on your Facebook page, removing the a barrier to interaction and making it easy for people to share so you can expand your reach.

Upload videos that you’ve already created or utilize the Facebook Live function for more informal or sneak peek style posts.

Here’s a great example from Microsoft. In just the first hour after posting, this video had more than 3,000 views, 8 shares and 54 likes. 

Microsoft 1

#6 – Encourage employees to share and engage with your posts.

Your employees should be some of your greatest fans. Encourage them to engage on your Facebook page or share your posts to help generate some reach and give engagement some momentum.

Send out a weekly reminder email to let your employees know about some of the interesting conversations or posts that are ripe for their engagement, or provide them with pre-written messages that they can copy and paste.

Here’s an example of one of our own employees, Debbie Friez, in action.

Debbie Share 1

Have you noticed a drop in your organic reach and engagement? What are you doing to improve them? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2016. | 6 Tips for Increasing Facebook Organic Reach in an Age of Decline | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Is Your Brand Likable? 7 B2B Technology Brands Taking a Creative Approach on Facebook http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/06/7-brands-facebook-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/06/7-brands-facebook-marketing/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2016 10:30:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20575 Between Facebook constantly tweaking features to improve user experience and the saturation of posts from every other brand out there, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for B2B brands to reach their audience by utilizing Facebook marketing tactics. According to the Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs’ B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America report, 84% of [...]

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Is-your-brand-likable

Between Facebook constantly tweaking features to improve user experience and the saturation of posts from every other brand out there, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for B2B brands to reach their audience by utilizing Facebook marketing tactics. According to the Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs’ B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America report, 84% of B2B marketers said they used Facebook as a content marketing tactic, but just 30% said their efforts were effective.

But this doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon the Facebook ship. It’s just time to reset your course and put some wind back in your sails. It’s time to get creative.

If your brand is only posting promotional messages: Stop. That’s not what your audience is looking for and you’re probably not seeing much return. Your audience wants to know who you are, what you stand for and what you can offer—beyond a line of products or services.

If you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are 10 B2B brands that are getting creative with their Facebook strategy to woo new followers and keep them coming back for more.

#1 – IBM

As one of the largest technology companies in the world, IBM pulled in nearly $82.5 billion in revenue last year, according to the 2016 Fortune 500 List. IBM’s Facebook page is filled with inspiring videos, articles and quotes that showcase the amazing innovative technology it’s bringing to the world and how’s transformed over the. A great example is this video that aims to show IBM as so much more than a company that produces computers. 


The video post got more than 1,200 likes and 571 shares.

The company also offers behind-the-scenes access to give its followers to connect its followers with its technologies and products in action.

IBM Facebook

Like IBM on Facebook.

#2 – Cisco

Cisco does a fantastic job of connecting their products and technologies with current events and topics to drive awareness and engagement. For example, this recent post features a short video that showcases Cisco’s partnership with the NBA aimed at improving the fan experience.

Cisco Facebook

Like Cisco on Facebook.

#3 – Sprinklr

Sprinklr is all about helping other businesses harness the power of social media and create valuable social experiences, so it’s no wonder that they’ve put some of what they preach into their own social efforts. When it comes to Facebook, Sprinklr often shares links to topical and interesting blog posts they’ve whipped up, but videos that show company execs and employees in action drive great engagement.

Sprinklr Facebook

Like Sprinklr on Facebook.

# 4 – Intel

From eye-catching photos and videos to behind the scenes looks, Intel uses Facebook to bring its audience along for the ride and show them how their technology is being used in a variety of different ways—such as providing real-time data at the X-Games in Austin, TX.

Intel Facebook

Like Intel on Facebook.

#5 – Salesforce

From the latest company news to topical articles to videos and images, Salesforce is a great example of offering a Facebook audience a variety of media and links to pique interest.

Salesforce Facebook

Like Salesforce on Facebook.

#6 – McKesson Corporation (client)

On McKesson Corporation’s Facebook page, rarely will you see any post promoting a product or service. Instead, the healthcare services and technology company’s Facebook page is dedicated to highlighting the people and programs behind McKesson—making it an excellent recruiting tool and a way to show the values the company holds dear.

McKesson Facebook

Like McKesson Corporation on Facebook.

#7 – Facebook for Business

While Facebook for Business is the social media network’s marketing page—mostly aimed at showing the value of Facebook advertising—it’s definitely worth following to get a look at how other brands are using the ad options to take their efforts to another level, as well as for best practices and tips.

Facebook for Business

Like Facebook Business Manager.

What Do These Facebook Pages Have in Common?

You may or may have not noticed that there is a common thread among all of the B2B technology companies utilizing Facebook marketing listed in this post. That commonality is that they all share engaging content about PEOPLE. Their strategy isn’t just about the products and services, it’s for the people that buy those products and services.

What other B2B businesses would your recommend following on Facebook? Please share in the comments section below!


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How B2B Marketers Can Use Facebook to Drive Engagement & Generate Leads http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/10/b2b-marketers-facebook/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/10/b2b-marketers-facebook/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:42:31 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19399 Time and time again, B2B marketers have heard, “Facebook doesn’t work for B2B”. That statement could not be further from the truth. What B2B marketers should ask themselves is; am I truly engaging my Facebook audience by sharing things they want to see and interact with? Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool, if used [...]

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Andrea-Vahl

Time and time again, B2B marketers have heard, “Facebook doesn’t work for B2B”. That statement could not be further from the truth. What B2B marketers should ask themselves is; am I truly engaging my Facebook audience by sharing things they want to see and interact with?

Facebook can be an incredibly powerful tool, if used correctly. In fact SteamFeed found that 60% of all social media traffic to B2B websites comes from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. So, there is proof that Facebook for B2B marketers works, but now it’s time to figure out how to create better engagement and make more meaningful connections.

Last week at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Andrea Vahl took the stage and shared some fantastic insights into how B2B brands can improve visibility, track leads and improve Facebook Ad targeting. Below are some of her best insights.

Is Organic Reach Dead?

While organic reach is not completely gone, it is on the decline. Additionally, your reach and interactions are out there for the entire world to see. So, when something is performing badly, everyone knows.

Before you eliminate Facebook from your strategy, know that B2B marketers can still get organic reach. Andrea ran some experiments by posting a similar message on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. What she found was that the messages on Facebook had a much longer shelf life than those on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What Does Work For Brands?

There is no denying that cats, dogs and babies rule Facebook. People love to be entertained by dogs falling down stairs and feel a connection with a heart-warming image. As a B2B brand, you can post a video of a dog falling down the stairs, as long as your message allows you to relate the content to your audience in some way.

Along with humor and entertainment, eye-catching images work really well for brands. Below is an example that Andrea shared of a B2B company grabbing the attention of their audience with bold images and succinct messages.

Maersk Group

Image via Andrea Vahl

Native Facebook videos can also be very powerful. If you have a video, you need to be uploading it directly to Facebook to get more views, reach and engagement. YouTube typically doesn’t get the reach and exposure of native Facebook videos. Also, the ideal length for a video is 30 seconds, keep it under two minutes. You’ll see a drop off in the length that people complete for. General Electric is an example of a company that uploads some unique videos that are entertaining and bring people in.

Image via Andrea Vahl

Image via Andrea Vahl

Remember that you can also include a call-to-action at the end of your video to drive your audience directly to your website.

Tools for Facebook Marketing

There were a few different tools that Andrea recommended for creating visuals and producing quality videos to share with your Facebook audience. These include:

Visual Tools

Video Resources

3 Recommendations for Facebook Advertising

#1 – Transfer Fans to Your Email List

Don’t build your company on the rented castle that is Facebook. Move them to your email list so that you can continue to nurture the relationship on a more 1:1 basis off of Facebook.

#2 – Plan on Ad Spend

Facebook has very much become a pay-to-play model that does require some sort of investment. Within Facebook, you can use highly targeted ads to convert your target audience. Where you should spend your focus (and funds) is on email conversions, website clicks and website conversions that only target your warm leads (those that have already liked your page).

#3 – Measure What Matters

Beyond reach and engagement, you’re going to want to measure the actual number of conversions from Facebook. In order to do that, you’re going to need to put a Facebook conversion pixel on your website. That way, you can see which ad sent that conversion to your website.

In order to utilize the conversion pixel, you must have:

  • A website where you can install the conversion pixel
  • A thank you page that indicates the desired action is completed

Facebook is still flush with opportunities for B2B marketers, but it may require that current strategies be adapted to meet the needs of the audience. What tactics on Facebook have worked best for your organization, or what are some great examples that you’ve seen out in the wild?

 


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | How B2B Marketers Can Use Facebook to Drive Engagement & Generate Leads | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Facebook Marketing: Hidden Tactics and Tricks from Leading Brands http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/03/facebook-marketing-smmw15/ Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:00:50 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18240 How are successful brands like Century 21, Western Union, Roadtrip Nation and the San Diego Chargers building and sustaining their Facebook communities? This Social Media Marketing World panel touted engagement as a key to a great community. Facebook Marketing Planning One key to great content goes back to planning. Joel Price, manager of new media, [...]

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L-R Michael Frenech, Cameron Partridge, Matt Gentile and Joel Price

Michael Frenech, Cameron Partridge, Joel Price and Matt Gentile

How are successful brands like Century 21, Western Union, Roadtrip Nation and the San Diego Chargers building and sustaining their Facebook communities? This Social Media Marketing World panel touted engagement as a key to a great community.

Facebook Marketing Planning

One key to great content goes back to planning. Joel Price, manager of new media, San Diego Chargers, says they review the week’s Facebook performance each Monday and plan posts for the weekend (and the week ahead) each Friday. In addition to engagement, the team is looking to drive traffic to their online assets.

Century 21 does bi-weekly planning of content. Matt Gentile, global director, social media, says they follow the 80/20 rule, looking for 80% of content to be about engagement and 20% targeted to drive people back to century21.com. Because of the nature of their business, some content needs to have legal review, so planning ahead is key.

Cameron Partridge, senior social media strategist, Roadtrip Nation, works off a quarterly brief that rolls into a monthly content calendar. They also go by the 80/20 rule.

Western Union built their own master content calendar to fit their needs, says Michael Frenech, global social strategy. He says some content needs to be approved by the brand group and possibly legal counsel.

The three pillars for content in regards to Western Union’s audience:
1. Food
2. Family
3. Culture

Western Union piloted a Facebook page for their Filipino customers, Facebook.com/wupinoy. The audience for the page grew to 180,000 in 3 months with 230,000 people engaged. Their fans shared the content with their family and friends.

Roadtrip Nation’s three principles of content:
1. What value to the user?
2. Does it strike emotion from the user?
3. Does it ladder up to their brand?

The panelists were asked about learning from their past mistakes. Gentile had a situation when a California congressman said Century 21 was advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s show right after Limbaugh made disparaging comments about Sandra Fluke. Gentile responded before he confirmed the sponsorship. Century 21 was not a sponsor, so his takeaway is to have all the facts before you respond.

Partridge says they used to focus too much on the product and not the user. They now often let their super fans answer questions of other fans.

Frenech said Western Union took some flack for focusing too much on their Indian consumers. He learned they need to show all countries/areas the social love.

What makes your brand successful on Facebook? Can you share some of your best tactics?

Are you enjoying the live coverage of #SMMW15? There is more to come in the next few days from myself and TopRank’s @writerbrooke.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | Facebook Marketing: Hidden Tactics and Tricks from Leading Brands | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Social Media Advertising for Content Marketers: Insight from Salesforce’s ‘2015 State of Marketing’ report http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/01/social-media-advertising-2/ Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:31:53 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=17897

Social Media Advertising

Salesforce recently released its annual “State of Marketing” report, in which the company surveyed 5,000 marketers worldwide. Results of the survey point toward a significant investment in social media advertising in 2015.

According to the CRM company’s report (gated download), 70% of marketers will spend more budget on social media advertising this year. As numbers of customers on social channels increases, it is increasingly imperative, as the survey results show, to have a social media marketing strategy in place.

It is clear that digital marketers are increasingly valuing social media advertising to help promote their content marketing efforts. In 2014, 25% of marketers saw social as a critical enabler of products and services. The number leaps to 64% in 2015.

Social media overall is on the rise in both SMBs and large corporations. The 44-page Salesforce report says that 78% of marketers stated that they have a dedicated social media team. This number is up from just 57% in 2014. As digital marketers focus more on social media, it is important stay abreast of the reach and power of social networks.

Here is a look at the top three:

Facebook

Salesforce’s report showed that Facebook had continued to be “the most popular social channel for marketers to engage customers around the world.” With 1.35 billion active monthly users on Facebook as of Sept. 2014, B2B marketers are increasingly looking to Facebook to engage with their audience.

Here are a few stats to keep in mind:

80% of marketers are using Facebook
74% of marketers use Facebook to engage customers
73% rated Facebook 'very effective'
19% rated Facebook 'somewhat effective'
8% rated Facebook ‘not very effective / not effective at all’

Facebook is by far no stranger to B2B marketers, even though some still think it’s a place to connect with high school classmates. Facebook for business offers tips for getting started with Facebook advertising. Both B2C and B2B marketers will find resources to help you on your way to create awareness, launch products and services and drive sales. Facebook also offers tips specific to advertising on the social network.

Targeting options help Facebook advertisers reach not only the consumer audience that B2C marketers are after, but the B2B audience as well. Targeting by interests, connections, behaviors and location can help B2C marketers reach an audience that is more likely to include key buyers and decision makers they are after.

The video marketing service Wistia seeks to reach a B2B audience with this ad:

Wistia ad sample

Twitter

Second to Facebook is the micro-blogging social network Twitter. Marketers using Twitter totalled 70% of those surveyed for the 2015 report. However, Twitter ranks higher than Facebook in terms of use by marketers to engage with buyers. Salesforce’s survey showed that 79% of Twitter users engage customers on the platform, more than Facebook’s 74%.

More numbers about Twitter:

68% of marketers rate the platform ‘Very effective / effective’
22% say Twitter is ‘somewhat effective’
10% say Twitter is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’

Twitter’s 284 million monthly active users also serve as a target-able audience for digital marketers in both B2C and B2B roles. Twitter offers campaigns that work in a number of capacities, depending on your objectives. Twitter ads (some still in beta) can:

  • Grow followers
  • Facilitate conversations
  • Encourage app downloads
  • Collect email addresses

Twitter ads also can feature in-stream video as well as clickable offers. Twitter cards allow marketers to attach media experience to Twitter ads. In the example below, Uberflip uses a Twitter card to gather email addresses for a free eBook download.

uberflip ad sample

LinkedIn

When LinkedIn (a TopRank Marketing client) announced in 2014 that it was going “all in on content marketing” it resonated with marketers. LinkedIn has developed platforms that allow for the promotion of sponsored content. LinkedIn has used content marketing itself to promote the network’s ability to connect B2B marketers and buyers. LinkedIn’s collection of eBooks and videos have helped marketers understand the possibility of reaching a B2B audience.

LinkedIn’s numbers from the 2015 Salesforce report:

62% of marketers are currently using LinkedIn
69% call LinkedIn ‘Very effective / effective’
21% of marketers say LinkedIn is ‘Somewhat effective’
10% of marketers say that LinkedIn is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’

Through LinkedIn sponsored updates, marketers are reaching a B2B user-base that is highly in tune with the business of the day. Rarely are LinkedIn users on the network to be social. The focus is careers, networking and industry insight.

Adobe uses LinkedIn to raise awareness of digital marketing solutions through sponsored updates.

Adobe ad sample

Many more social channels

Every time a social media network pops up on the scene, there is no doubt savvy marketers will look for the best way to utilize that network. Social network advertising and engagement  to catch up with a buyer base in order to raise awareness and drive buyers toward their products or services. While the top three networks mentioned above are just the tip of the social network mountain, there are certainly others to keep an eye up with, from standards such as YouTube, Google+ and Instagram, to Snapchat and other messaging apps.

Have you found luck reaching your audience through social media? If so, tell us about your experience. If you would like more information about how TopRank Online Marketing can help you reach these audiences, reach out to us here.

Top image: Shutterstock.

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Social Media Advertising Salesforce recently released its annual “State of Marketing” report, in which the company surveyed 5,000 marketers worldwide. Results of the survey point toward a significant investment in social media advertising in 2015. According to the CRM company’s report (gated download), 70% of marketers will spend more budget on social media advertising this year. As numbers of customers on social channels increases, it is increasingly imperative, as the survey results show, to have a social media marketing strategy in place. It is clear that digital marketers are increasingly valuing social media advertising to help promote their content marketing efforts. In 2014, 25% of marketers saw social as a critical enabler of products and services. The number leaps to 64% in 2015. Social media overall is on the rise in both SMBs and large corporations. The 44-page Salesforce report says that 78% of marketers stated that they have a dedicated social media team. This number is up from just 57% in 2014. As digital marketers focus more on social media, it is important stay abreast of the reach and power of social networks. Here is a look at the top three:

Facebook

Salesforce’s report showed that Facebook had continued to be “the most popular social channel for marketers to engage customers around the world.” With 1.35 billion active monthly users on Facebook as of Sept. 2014, B2B marketers are increasingly looking to Facebook to engage with their audience. Here are a few stats to keep in mind: 80% of marketers are using Facebook 74% of marketers use Facebook to engage customers 73% rated Facebook 'very effective' 19% rated Facebook 'somewhat effective' 8% rated Facebook ‘not very effective / not effective at all’ Facebook is by far no stranger to B2B marketers, even though some still think it’s a place to connect with high school classmates. Facebook for business offers tips for getting started with Facebook advertising. Both B2C and B2B marketers will find resources to help you on your way to create awareness, launch products and services and drive sales. Facebook also offers tips specific to advertising on the social network. Targeting options help Facebook advertisers reach not only the consumer audience that B2C marketers are after, but the B2B audience as well. Targeting by interests, connections, behaviors and location can help B2C marketers reach an audience that is more likely to include key buyers and decision makers they are after. The video marketing service Wistia seeks to reach a B2B audience with this ad: Wistia ad sample

Twitter

Second to Facebook is the micro-blogging social network Twitter. Marketers using Twitter totalled 70% of those surveyed for the 2015 report. However, Twitter ranks higher than Facebook in terms of use by marketers to engage with buyers. Salesforce’s survey showed that 79% of Twitter users engage customers on the platform, more than Facebook’s 74%. More numbers about Twitter: 68% of marketers rate the platform ‘Very effective / effective’ 22% say Twitter is ‘somewhat effective’ 10% say Twitter is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’ Twitter’s 284 million monthly active users also serve as a target-able audience for digital marketers in both B2C and B2B roles. Twitter offers campaigns that work in a number of capacities, depending on your objectives. Twitter ads (some still in beta) can:
  • Grow followers
  • Facilitate conversations
  • Encourage app downloads
  • Collect email addresses
Twitter ads also can feature in-stream video as well as clickable offers. Twitter cards allow marketers to attach media experience to Twitter ads. In the example below, Uberflip uses a Twitter card to gather email addresses for a free eBook download. uberflip ad sample

LinkedIn

When LinkedIn (a TopRank Marketing client) announced in 2014 that it was going “all in on content marketing” it resonated with marketers. LinkedIn has developed platforms that allow for the promotion of sponsored content. LinkedIn has used content marketing itself to promote the network’s ability to connect B2B marketers and buyers. LinkedIn’s collection of eBooks and videos have helped marketers understand the possibility of reaching a B2B audience. LinkedIn’s numbers from the 2015 Salesforce report: 62% of marketers are currently using LinkedIn 69% call LinkedIn ‘Very effective / effective’ 21% of marketers say LinkedIn is ‘Somewhat effective’ 10% of marketers say that LinkedIn is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’ Through LinkedIn sponsored updates, marketers are reaching a B2B user-base that is highly in tune with the business of the day. Rarely are LinkedIn users on the network to be social. The focus is careers, networking and industry insight. Adobe uses LinkedIn to raise awareness of digital marketing solutions through sponsored updates. Adobe ad sample Many more social channels Every time a social media network pops up on the scene, there is no doubt savvy marketers will look for the best way to utilize that network. Social network advertising and engagement  to catch up with a buyer base in order to raise awareness and drive buyers toward their products or services. While the top three networks mentioned above are just the tip of the social network mountain, there are certainly others to keep an eye up with, from standards such as YouTube, Google+ and Instagram, to Snapchat and other messaging apps. Have you found luck reaching your audience through social media? If so, tell us about your experience. If you would like more information about how TopRank Online Marketing can help you reach these audiences, reach out to us here. Top image: Shutterstock.

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B2B Marketing on Facebook? Yes! So Say IBM, Volvo, Salesforce & Lattice Engines http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/10/facebook-b2b-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/10/facebook-b2b-marketing/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:14:01 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=17448 It goes without saying that Facebook is most commonly associated with consumer marketing since it’s hardly a place for industrial engineers to talk about the latest manufacturing process or for enterprise software companies to promote side by side feature comparisons. But behind those companies are people – both on the brand and the buyer side [...]

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b2b marketing

It goes without saying that Facebook is most commonly associated with consumer marketing since it’s hardly a place for industrial engineers to talk about the latest manufacturing process or for enterprise software companies to promote side by side feature comparisons.

But behind those companies are people – both on the brand and the buyer side of the B’s in B2B. B’s are people too and those people use Facebook to connect with peers socially. They may not look for product spec sheets for manufacturing hardware on Facebook, but they can get an idea of the people behind the companies they buy from as well as a more personal look at companies outside of nuts and bolts, hardware and software.

Enter our experts in B2B Marketing who use Facebook to do just that. At MarketingProfs B2B Forum last week, Joel Book from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Katie Keating from IBM and Amanda Maksymiw from Lattice Engines came together for a panel on B2B Marketing and Facebook.

The panel moderator was John Haydon from Inbound Zombie.

Joel Book
First up was Joel Book @JoelBook, Principal, Marketing Insights at Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget). Joel talked about his client, Volvo Construction Equipment of North America and how they have been using Facebook for B2B.  If you haven’t heard of Volvo CE, they compete with CAT, Deere and other manufacturers of heavy equipment.

Volvo’s multichannel strategy for acquisition, selling and service of customers includes:
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Trade Shows, Remarketing Email, Volvo Construction Dealers, volvoce.com, Monthly Email and more. But Facebook has been particularly effective. Said one Volvo executive:

“For Volvo Construction Equipment, Facebook has been the number one social media technology for posting equipment as well as promotions and generating leads”

In Spring of 2013 Volvo CE started using Facebook ads to engage prospects by providing links to content which sent traffic to volvoCE.com. There they could convert to email subscribers.  After that, Volvo began targeting existing customers with Facebook ads.

Volvo CE Facebook

Targeted Facebook Ads were very successful for Volvo CE. Some of the targeting options focused on Facebook users with interests in the kinds of equipment Volvo CE customers buy as well as construction equipment brands that are competitive to Volvo CE.

Volvo Lego Technic

Volvo partnered with Lego to create a Lego Technic L350F toy targeted towards individuals with specific interests in construction equipment. Promoted on Facebook and elsewhere, this was a big PR success and created brand awareness as well as adding 1,200 names to their prospect email list.

A few tips on Facebook Marketing for B2B companies from Joel:

1. Create a “social profile” of your best customers using a tool like Active Audiences from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, then use that profile to identify and target prospective customers with direct response ads using Facebook Custom Audiences.

2. Use Facebook Custom Audiences to target and attract prospective email subscribers. 68% of B2B brands say email is “core” to their business. And more B2B brands are discovering that Facebook is their top source for attracting new subscribers.

Katie Keating
Next up was Katie Keating @ThingsSheSaid and Engagement Strategist at IBM. Katie manages all corporate social media channels for IBM, including Facebook. Her advice for B2B marketers on Facebook:

Visuals are essential. Show things behind the scenes, people, clients, and products. These are all important for driving engagement.

IBM Facebook

Think like a B2C – How do people experience your brand if they can’t touch it? For IBM it’s through their employees. IBM is spending effort on empowering employees to be brand advocates on social networks.

Try new tactics – IBM has tried things like Facebook chats and influencer research. They actually created a tool to mine influencers in India and engaged with them. This was all organic.

Let your audience “exhale” with content that’s just for fun. B2B Facebook content needs to break from products and services. Use Facebook ads to make sure you’re reaching target audiences.

On IBM’s Facebook page, they share the company’s history of innovation and behind the scenes content.  Facebook post performance is closely monitored and if a post resonates organically, IBM will support it for further amplification with Facebook ads.

Amanda Maksymiw
Last up is Amanda Maksymiw @amandamaks Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines, which sells predictive analytics to mid market and enterprise companies.

The Lattice Engines product is a new thing, predicting who your next customers will be, so a lot of their content is educational.

Lattice Engines’ goal with Facebook: Humanize the brand to attract and retain talent, drive engagement with Lattice Engines brand, retarget influencers, prospects and customers. Facebook ad targeting is based on interests of buyers and competitors.

Lattice Engines Facebook

Along with posting content on Facebook are offers such as the opportunity to attend a webinar.

The Lattice Engines company Facebook page is very employee focused. They engage with Facebook fans through images, conversations, text and video content.

A few tips form Amanda for B2B Marketers on Facebook:

  • Create and share a blend of personality and professional content. Post pictures of employees and content efforts.
  • Post pictures with short text – it leads to higher engagement.
  • Hone targeting and retargeting skills to grow, engage and convert your audience. Target based on email addresses, (custom audiences) location and interests.

So it sounds like a “human to human” approach beyond the business side of B2B actually has some legs when it comes to social networks like Facebook. Like any effort to connect with business buyers in new ways, it makes sense to experiment. See what is already happening in a B2B context in your industry, amongst competitors and early adopters within your own company. Decide what your goals are and be committed to both understanding the targeting options within Facebook as well as the type of content that will connect with business buyers when the situation is not all business.

Are you using Facebook as part of your B2B marketing mix? What lessons have you learned?


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2014. | B2B Marketing on Facebook? Yes! So Say IBM, Volvo, Salesforce & Lattice Engines | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Organic Facebook Marketing Tips From the Pros http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/03/facebook-marketing-tips/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/03/facebook-marketing-tips/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 15:14:02 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16580 Facebook has become quite a conundrum for many marketers. For years, companies of all sizes have invested in organic and paid efforts to grow their Facebook fans. The “like” served as an opt-in for consumers to receive brand messages sent “organically”. But over the past few years, Facebook has diminished the organic reach of brand [...]

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Facebook Marketing

Facebook has become quite a conundrum for many marketers. For years, companies of all sizes have invested in organic and paid efforts to grow their Facebook fans. The “like” served as an opt-in for consumers to receive brand messages sent “organically”.

But over the past few years, Facebook has diminished the organic reach of brand fan page messages to a thin percent of the total opt-in whole. Now the only option to reach fans is to pay for Facebook advertising which can be hit or miss and leaves organic reach all but non-existent.

For companies without large ad budgets, this is obviously a challenge. Luckily, there are options! Here are tips from our latest Social Media Marketing eBook featuring some of the top Facebook marketing experts. They offer insight that can help you regain and optimize some of your organic traction.

Andrea Vahl
Andrea Vahl – @andreavahl

Social Media Coach, Author

The New Facebook Marketing

For marketers looking to adjust to Facebook’s new algorithm changes and decreased organic reach, a shift in mindset is needed.

Think of Facebook as a subscription-based marketing service vs. a free platform.

Facebook ads on an ongoing basis are inevitable. Divide your monthly Facebook ad spend between boosting posts for increased reach and ads to drive traffic directly to your website.

Spend a small amount on increasing your fan base as well. None of this ad spend needs to break the bank.

Work on effective ads so that you spend as little as possible for the biggest bang.

Mari Smith
Mari Smith – @marismith

Social Media Consultant, Speaker, Trainer, Author

Amp Up Facebook Organic Reach

Consider increasing the frequency of your Facebook Page posts to boost your organic reach.

If you typically post 2x a day, try doubling that to 4x.

Make sure your posts are top QUALITY, relevant and timely. Include periodic invitations to sign up for offers, but craft the wording in a warm, personal way that your audience can connect with. Plus, engage at every opportunity.

Great examples to study include: Richard Branson, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, KLM, and Sprint.

Amy Porterfield
Amy Porterfield – @amyporterfield

Social Media Consultant, Speaker

It’s All About the List

The energy of your business is directly tied to your email list.

Facebook ads are one of the most powerful lead generating platforms for small businesses today. Specifically, “Page Post ads” that drive traffic to a free, valuable giveaway (such as a free video training, eBook, or cheat sheet) are extremely effective.

These ads are inexpensive, highly-targeted and can be completely automated.

It may take a little trial and error, but once you find that sweet spot where your ads are consistently producing results, you’ll be hooked!

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu – @dennisyu

CTO, BlitzMetrics

Social Media Force Multiplier

Social media marketing, email marketing, and website retargeting are all the same thing.

You’re following around users who have visited you, regardless of whether the tracking mechanism is a pixel, email address or Facebook user id.

Consider multiplying upon your strengths by getting your email subscribers to be fans, your fans to to visit your site, your web visitors to be fans, your web visitors to be email subscribers and so forth.

Try Facebook Website Custom Audiences and Google Remarketing and you’ll be on your way.

You can get even more Social Media Marketing tips from our SMMW14 eBook here.

As the organic approach in other areas from SEO to public relations to content marketing have undergone shifts, so too has Social Media Marketing and Facebook marketing in particular. Modern marketers must adapt and continuously refine and optimize their approach. Optimization isn’t just relevant for tactics, but for how you approach marketing as well. This is the core of how we approach social media at our agency and the blogging on the topic we do here.

How have you adapted to changes in Facebook’s news feed and treatment of brand fan page content? What tips and insights would you add?

Top Image: Shutterstock & CleanSocialIcons


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How UFC Is Throwing Big Blows On Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/01/ufc-social-media/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/01/ufc-social-media/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 18:00:41 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16294 Big sports are big business.  There are billions of dollars to be made and no sport is growing faster than the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  Millions of viewers worldwide tune in to watch fighters pummel each other.  Jackie Poriadjian SVP/Strategic Marketing/PR & Distribution for UFC and Dave Taylor sat down and discussed How The UFC Rocks Social [...]

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UFC NMX 2014Big sports are big business.  There are billions of dollars to be made and no sport is growing faster than the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  Millions of viewers worldwide tune in to watch fighters pummel each other.  Jackie Poriadjian SVP/Strategic Marketing/PR & Distribution for UFC and Dave Taylor sat down and discussed How The UFC Rocks Social at NMX 2014.

The Stats

Lets take a look at some of the numbers that make the UFC a true heavyweight.

  • Largest PPV Event In The World – Bigger than the WWE, professional boxing, or any other pay-per-view event out there.  The UFC is the real king of the ring when it comes to transactional viewing events.
  • Broadcast In 28 languages – That’s just as many as the BBC, the world’s largest broadcaster.  That’s the big reach their fighters wish they had.
  • 5 Billion Impressions In A Single Night – You read that right.  That’s 5 BILLION in just one night on Twitter and Facebook before UFC 168 at the end of December 2013.
  • Over 50 Billion Impressions Over The Course Of A Single Campaign – That’s just from the campaign run during the promotion of their most recent fight.  Most of us are lucky to have even 50 people talking about us.  Even compared to other big brands that number is huge.  Heck, many big brands don’t even have 50 billion impressions total, much less in a single campaign.
  • Over 1.6 Million Twitter Followers – And that number is just for their main account.  The UFC encourages their fighters to have their own accounts and many of them have a million or more followers too.  Their Twitter following isn’t just huge either.  They’re very active and very passionate.
  • Over 11.5 Million Facebook ‘Likes’ – And again that’s just their main account.  They have millions more on various other UFC accounts plus fighters with millions of their own.  They’re active, passionate, and love to talk about their favorite fighters.  And if you think that Facebook killed brand pages with their recent changes to their algorithm, think again.  A picture of Anderson Silva on crutches after breaking his leg  in the most recent fight reached 100% of their 11.5 million followers. If the timing and topic is on, you can reach everyone despite what “marketing experts” claim.
  • 500k Instagram Followers – The same day Jackie and Dave sat down to talk at NMX 2014, the UFC Instagram account hit over half a million followers and it’s not even a spot they’ve focused much effort on at this point.

Looking at those numbers, it’s easy to see that there’s a ton of social talk around the UFC and it’s fighters.  And for a brand with that much activity, they spend a relatively small $500k-1 million a year on paid social promotion.  While they do some paid social advertising, they don’t do it for their events.  Their fans do the promotion for them.

Management Of Millions

So how do they manage all of that social chatter?  An army of social media managers right?  Nope.  Just 2 people at their headquarters to deal with messaging and managing over 15 million followers.  How do they manage their fighters and their messaging?  They don’t.  While they do give their fighters some initial social training and coaching to keep them out of trouble, they let them manage it themselves and say what they want (they’re all independent contractors technically).  Should an issue come up there is the possibility they’ll send them to sensitivity training, make them do community service or impose a fine but that has been very rare.  Their biggest challenge hasn’t been the messages their fighters post but how they respond to criticisms and comments from their followers. I’m sure we’ve all had times where we’ve had to take a step back and take a couple deep breaths before responding to someone on social media.  Now try to teach that to someone who knocks people out for a living.  Fun job huh?

The UFC’s fighters take a lot of pride in the sport and want to take it to the next level.  They love interacting with their faithful fans so most are very active on Twitter and Facebook.  It’s that high level of interaction directly with their fans that has allowed the UFC to build such a large following.

Feeding The Following

So how can just 2 people create all the great content that people follow the UFC for on social media?  It’s not a 2 person effort alone.  The entire organizations has access to a central dropbox in which they can upload any content they create.  Pictures, video, and more are all put into a central database that allows their social managers to pull and post the best from their photographers, videographers, fighters, reporters, and other employees.  It’s a great way to always have tons of great stuff for your followers to consume.

A young demographic (UFC pretty much owns the male 18-34yr old demographic when it’s on) that loves social media has helped to fuel the explosive growth of the UFC and MMA.  As the brand continues to struggle to gain more mainstream acceptance (the New York Times and others for instance doesn’t generally care to cover UFC fights), the push from social media is helping to make the UFC a main event.

Do you think they have what it takes to TKO other professional sports?


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