It’s been beaten and mocked. Sodden with shame by Jimmy Fallon and Jonah Hill and aligned with ‘selfie’ and ‘food porn’ too often. Now opponents doubt it’s relevance on the (still relevant) social network Facebook. Yes, Facebook is still relevant.
We, of course, are referring to our ol’ friend, the hashtag. As a friend, we are here to show you how to augment your Facebook strategy by implementing purposeful, timely, and engaging tags without subjecting your fans to #hashbaggery. We’re here to help, and to warn.
1. Ground your hash tags in #reality, not #groundyourhashtagsinreality
We’ve seen #thistypeofhashtaguse on social before. But you’re a stoic and reputable organization that wants to be taken seriously. By implementing unwieldy hashtags that are more than 3 words, you lose the ability to contribute and join a conversation on real-life, viable and sensible topics. Brands would be more successful designing and implementing their hashtags categorically. Keep your hashtags to one or two word combinations and be specific. Anything else is probably too long-winded to understand or replicate.
2. Integrate, promote, track, and drive your multi-platform social contests.
You may have already held social contests for users via Twitter and Instagram, where tracking your branded hash tags has been possible for quite some time. Facebook is presumably one of your earliest adoptions of social, and there’s a chance you’ve ignored them when it comes to contests. With the introduction of hash tag support last year, user-generated contests tracked by specific hash tags can now include Facebook, making your tag-driven contests more dynamic by being multi-platform.
As an added perk, your social media manager will appreciate that content can be designed to fit all platforms, streamlining the writing process while saving your organization time and resources.
3. Hug your neighbor.
The best and brightest brands understand that being a part of conversations in your surrounding area may draw the attention of someone who may not have otherwise cared about you. Is the restaurant next door to your shop having a promotion or grand opening? Give it a shout-out on Facebook using its official hashtag. Don’t want to shout out? Take a look at who is using the tag for some insights on your geographic market. It’s all about being a good neighbor.
4. Be limited.
Limit! Limit! Limit! #posts #that #look #like #this are not only difficult to read but show a lack of vision and creativity. This may be acceptable on Twitter, but the sentiment towards hash tags on Facebook is that they are new and annoying. Why push any buttons? Using only 1 hash tag per post is a strategic way to drive conversation around a single event without being overzealous and off-putting. Presumably, your goal for each post is to drive traffic, interest, or awareness to a given topic or event, so 1 hash tag is plenty.
5. One for good measure.
When it comes to tracking, using a hash tag once every few posts allows you to monitor and report on engagement for updates that include hash tags vs. those without them. By having these insights, you can make better decisions on how to use tags moving forward. Content is king but measurement is everything, so keep your hash tagging on Facebook few and far between.
Facebook hash tagging can be an effective way to drive conversation around your brand. The practice is critical to measuring engagement while saving social media managers time in developing multi-channel content. At the end of the day, remain strategic and use proper judgment when implementing tags on Facebook; otherwise you may find yourself more alienating than engaging.
Busy week? We bring you six bits of information that you might have missed.
1) Surprise! Not many businesses believe social is important. - MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte surveyed 2,545 business professionals in 99 countries on the topic of social business, and found that only 36% of surveyed professionals viewed social as important to business.
2) If Instagram is high school 2.0, who are you this time around? - Instagram is the high school of social networks, allowing users to develop their style and personality in a very public way. Find out what typical high school role (The Star, The Selfie, The Foodie, etc.) you play with your Instagram portfolio.
3) Facebook is raking in profits from mobile advertising. - The social networking company said Wednesday that it had revved up its mobile advertising from virtually nothing a year ago to 41% of its total ad revenue of $1.6 billion in Q2 2013.
4) Chipotle faked their own Twitter hack, and it worked. - To promote their 20th anniversary, @choptletweets posted a series of abstract tweets that were hints to their daily trivia. Because of the stunt, they gained over 4,000 followers and received over 12,000 RTs; that’s way more than the normal 250 followers they gain per day.
5) Instagram ads are on the horizon. - Mark Zuckerburg announced during a Facebook Q2 earnings call that Instagram might one day have ads. It’s no secret that advertising on social boosts brand engagement, but will users accept the interruption?
6) Facebook user stereotypes: are you a stalker, a newbie or a curator? - Facebook users each browse and post on the platform in different ways, but this Optify infographic attempts to whittle them down to nine stereotypes. Which profile best suits your habits? Note: none are particularly complimentary.
In this week’s social media roundup, we scoured the Internet for the stories you may have missed and have found six that are worth a read.
1) Some banks miss the mark with older customers’ online experience. - A recent survey of baby boomers confirmed that some banks should reevaluate the online experience they provide. This speaks to banks’ broader problems transitioning to the digital sphere with online banking and social media platforms.
2) What would the iconic Wall Street Bull say if he could speak for himself? - This short film follows the life story of the bull from its birth to its transition to a symbol of financial excess, all through his truly New York perspective. The film is nominated for Smithsonian Magazine's In Motion video contest.
3) Mobile ad revenue will top $1 billion in 2013. - A recent eMarketer study says that mobile payments at point-of-sale will top $58 billion by 2017. Delays in technology and adoption have hindered growth in recent years, but one-third of brands plan to have mobile payment options in the near future.
4) This hugging chair brings to life Facebook birthday wishes. - Outback Steakhouse and ad agency Lew'Lara/TBWA have created the B-day Chair, which gives patrons some tangible love when connected to their Facebook accounts.
5) Online publishers now have a way to track and monetize copied text. - When a user highlights more than eight words on a page synced with Share Text, the app presents several sharing options, ensuring that the publisher always knows where their words are headed.
6) There are several simple solutions to common productivity problems. - Over-absorbing, over-scheduling, over-multi-tasking, and procrastinating are habits easily developed, but also easily broken, with a little bit of psychology.
Facebook Page admins now have a new, very welcome option for viewing comments on a Facebook post. The social networking platform recently rolled out a site-wide feature that allows users to sort comments by “Top Comments” or “Recent Activity”—in other words, by popularity/engagement or by chronological order, respectively. The previous interface displayed comments beneath a post in oldest-to-newest chronological order.
This new sorting option comes on the heels of another improvement to the comment interface. Taking a cue from message boards like Reddit, Facebook also recently began nesting replies beneath each related comment, threading together a line of conversation in an organic and visually practical way.
Prior to these two updates, Facebook’s comment interface had remained unchanged for many years; page admins once had to scroll through all comments to gauge which were most popular, and only through tags could the admin see which users were replying to each other.
Thanks to the new updates, an admin can now easily assess which comments are garnering the most engagement, which are being ignored, and which should be addressed the most urgently, providing yet another useful tool to measure content effectiveness and the gravity of user feedback.
A new feature you may have seen on Facebook caught our eye this week. A friend posts an article on Facebook and you comment, then… BAM! “Like Page” pops up. Good news for brands!
The image above shows a post that appeared in my newsfeed linking to a SearchEngineLand.com article.
As soon a I commented on this post, the “Like Page” pop-up appears below the article preview. The same thing happens when I Like posts.
This is different from the Page post ads that brands can buy to appear on timelines, which have been the target of some controversy after disappearing in November 2012. Unlike these ads, the Like Button appears on users posts that they have opted to share themselves.
So far Renegade has only seen this on posts of articles by publications that have Facebook Pages. It’s a seamless integration of the like button for anyone who engages with the post, friend or not. However, given the coming changes with the News Feed, it’s likely this feature will be integrated into all shared page posts and website links (as long as the website has a FB page). In this way it would work much like Google Authorship and search results. It’s the perfect way to keep page engagement rising, so make sure you’re creating content that people will share.
"How we're all sharing is changing and the news feed needs to evolve with those changes. This is the evolving face of news feed." – Mark Zuckerburg
Facebook revealed it would be rolling out big changes to the News Feed design over the next few weeks. The update aims to simplify the News Feed and minimize clutter for users. The question on our mind is, “What does this mean for brand pages?”
“Everything across the board is going to get this richer, more immersive design,” said Julie Zhou, head of design at Facebook.
Pictures now account for half of all News Feed posts, up from 25 percent only a year ago, and with the updated News Feed those images will be more prominent on users’ feeds. Brands will have the opportunity to present their messaging with larger visuals. We can also assume that there will be space reserved on the right sidebar for Facebook advertisements, just like they are presented today.
However, users will be able to filter their news feeds by interests and categories of friends on separate tabs. When users want to see new photos or videos their friends are posting, they can simply click on a designated tab similar to how lists are used today. Concerns amongst marketers now arise about how Facebook will handle users that try to filter all their brand pages out of a feed.
All in all, brands and marketers will be challenged with the task of getting fans to actually share and engage with their content to create stories on their own timelines so it appears on their friends’ feeds – no matter the interest or category. Brands will need to be in-tune with the conversation their fans have to keep their content trickling into the feed more than ever.
It is likely that brands currently struggling with engagement will see a decrease in their reach, much like the decrease seen in September 2011. Facebook will also likely generate more opportunities for sponsored stories and promoted posts in specific feeds for interests, a la Twitter promoted posts and trends, to counter the negative effects of the changes.
Although Facebook has made marketing easier for brands through their advertising engine, which requires a monetary commitment, their turn to focus on user experience may be the second major slap in the face for brands. The future holds a big challenge for brands to revamp their strategies for the coming changes to the News Feed.
Catharine P. Taylors’ take on Media Post
Cara Tarbaj’s take on Social Media Today
Seth Fiegerman’s take on Mashable
To friend or not to friend—a perpetual social media question. If you work in client service, or have clients in some capacity, you’ve probably run into this particular dilemma of becoming friends with your clients on Facebook. So, what’s appropriate? If you work for a social media agency or in a social media-based role, might it be expected that you become friends with all of your contacts? Or is it better to keep your business all business and your personal, well, personal?
That depends. A better question may be, “Is Facebook really the best way to connect with your clients in the first place?” While Facebook is best for sharing among people you already know, Twitter and LinkedIn encourage you to share information, articles and other thoughts in a public space. These two platforms are natural places where you’d want to conduct conversations with professional contacts and new leads. Since your tweets can reveal as much or as little personal info as you’d like, you can intersperse your content with personal tidbits like photos without also giving access to your Spring Break photo albums from college.
As opposed to a few years ago, most people now are on LinkedIn and check it more often (i.e., not only when they’re on the job hunt). More frequent use is even broadening the type of content shared. Rather than always posting industry shop talk, more and more users are occasionally sharing content of personal interest to appear like a real person who’s more than his or her career. Like Twitter, LinkedIn allows you to develop your professional image while you conscientiously share certain types of content that convey the real you.
It’s also easier and less intimidating to follow clients (or have them follow you) on Twitter and LinkedIn. My Facebook public profile may seem innocuous enough because most of my info is friends-only, but if you’re a new friend, I honestly don’t know what you might find if you dig deep enough in my profile—that thing is almost 10 years old! I’d rather take our relationship online via Twitter, where my content is fairly ephemeral, or LinkedIn, which started out as my “professional” channel, and then I’ll share bits of my personal life with you there.
Being a client services person in the social media world doesn’t mean being an open book, but rather using the right networks to connect with your clients and contacts in a meaningful, yet appropriate way. And what do you do if a client friends you? Dawn Mentzer, aka the Insatiable Solopreneur, advises establishing a consistent “Facebook friend policy” for clients—you’ll either accept client friend requests, or kindly inform them that while you use Facebook to keep up with family and college friends, you’d love to connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn (and follow through by connecting with them on these networks).
I’m sure a lot of you have thoughts on connecting with clients on social media, and I’d love to hear them! On what networks do you connect with your clients? Has connecting with clients on social media led to any success stories or cautionary tales?
As you might have guessed, Melissa Komadina works in Account Service at Renegade. Feel free to tweet her or find her on LinkedIn.
Graph Search is officially here! That is, it’s available for individual users, but we know that won’t stop you, the savvy marketer, from thinking about how you can use it. We know you’re ready to take advantage of the next biggest thing since the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
It’s important to note that because Graph Search is connected to a your personal profile, results are ordered by the connections closest to you or by the number of fans of the pages.
Facebook created the dynamic, long-tail, natural language search tool so that users can find people and pages with nearly infinite combinations of variables. For example, you could use Graph Search to find oxymoronic results like “People who like Beer and joined Alcoholics Anonymous” or “Christian Males who like Fifty Shades of Grey,” but that’s probably only good for a few laughs (or if you’re a troll, a few weeks worth of amusement). Putting self-amusement aside, Graph Search has serious implications for your brand.
Now that Graph Search has launched, consider cleaning up your social media policy as soon as possible. The last thing you want anyone to find is that your brand is listed under “Places where people who like Racism work.” But how far you go as an employer to tell your employees what they can and cannot like is an ethical issue you’ll need to work out in your own company.
The real value of Graph Search lies in its ability to support your marketing research. The easiest and most obvious way to use this functionality is to find out who likes the brand and what their interests are. Search for “People who like [your brand]” and click on “More pages they like” on the right column of the screen to learn more about your fans. After figuring out their common interests in brand page, combine multiple brand pages in your long-tail search to find which brands are similar to both. This can have great insight to complementary brands. Now try selecting “Activities they like” in the right column and you may find a few sponsorship opportunities.
By going through these steps you can find a broad pool of people you can potentially convert into fans based on the brand correlations you found above. You may even include geographical constraints to see where in the world you should concentrate marketing efforts.
Finally, another way to use Graph Search is to research your competitors using the same steps. Where are their fans located? What do they like? Which activities do they do? See, we knew you weren’t going to be deterred by the fact that Graph Search is only open to individuals, not brands. You savvy marketer, you!
In his short story “The Aleph,” Jorge Luis Borges recalls an experience he had gazing into an aleph. He describes it as “one point in space that contains all other points. The only place on earth where all places are—seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.” This fictional story regards the aleph as a both a gift and a curse because it gives the gazer a chance to see and know everything on earth. That is what social media has developed into today. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other sites, we now have the opportunity to see all—to see into people’s lives and to see the world like never before. Social media has opened up the unimaginable universe. Like peering into the aleph, checking your newsfeed or your Twitter timeline provides insight into everything in our world, from every angle—simultaneously, infinitely.
The aleph is significant beyond Borges’ short story. Its symbol is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is literally a part of the word “alphabet.” It is venerated by Kabala and other mystic traditions that put value on an aleph as the pursuit of truth. Like the aleph in these ancient traditions, social media is the means by which we seek truth in modern times. From companies to customers, from artists to fans, from friends to family, and from your PC to mine, we can now paint a more accurate, “truer” picture of the people we interact with via social channels. Social media offers us an endless amount of communication that is continuous and extremely transparent. Through following people, companies, bands, etc. on social media, we can see who their friends are, what interests them, where the have been, where they plan to go, their religious, and political stances and a plethora of other information that we otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.
"Aleph Sanctuary" - Mati Klarwein
Thanks to the advances of social media technology and the massive amounts of information these sites are processing, we have transitioned into the age of the “recommendation.” There are logarithms, programs and software that can now introduce you to more people, places, and things based on what you already like and your physical location. You can discover when concerts and art festivals are happening in your area, what news is breaking, and what song will go well with your mood for the day. Other sites will recommend vacations spots, restaurants, lawyers, and doctors. Heck, these sites can find you a job or an employee—all out of the comfort of your living room! This age of “recommendation” is giving us options like never before and it is shocking how incredibly accurate the recommendations are.
As our technologies grow and progress, we must accept that our lives are no longer veiled in secrecy. You can be a pessimist and see this as an intrusion on your privacy, but if you are receptive to this information exchange, the possibilities are endless. The more you share, the more people will share with you. The more you follow, the better recommendations you will get and the more useful social media will be for you. So instead of being wary of this connectivity, you could revel in the endless possibilities of this aleph. It will undoubtedly open your world to bigger and brighter things while introducing you to more people and experiences you would have never had an opportunity to access before.
— Jake Annear
“I just don’t get it – what’s so great about Twitter?”
This is the typical response I receive when my friends notice how much of my time is dedicated to my phone screen, reading tweets from my 500+ followers. What ensues shortly afterwards is back-and-forth dialogue where I argue for the advantages of social networks and then notice I have a new follower a few days later with my friend’s name attached to the account.
Convincing your friends to join a social network that you’ve already fully embraced can be an arduous task; fortunately, I’m battle-tested and willing to share my tactics for making them social media believers as well.
In this three-part series, I will help you to win your friends over and open them up to the world of social media. In part one, I will explain the advantages of the three main networks I believe each individual should join: Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Part two will have advice on finding and engaging an audience that shares your friend’s same interests. Finally, the last part in the series will be how your friend can create content that will add value and attract a following.
Most of the confusion that stops my friends from embracing social networking is that they really don’t know what each network is. I don’t blame them for stopping there - I wouldn’t try to go in the kitchen and try to make my grandma’s mac-n-cheese if I didn’t know how a cheese grater worked. Rather than trying to explain to them how each network works, I instead try to show them the purpose of each. Here is an excellent example using donuts:
However, if they’re still confused after seeing this, I’ve broken down the uses of each the social networks I mentioned earlier.
Twitter gives real-time updates of situations happening in real life. Your friend still doesn’t believe you? Go to Twitter and search for “DNC2012” to view the thousands of tweets that inform you who was at the DNC podium and what line from their speech resonated with the audience. If there’s anything happening with more 500 people in attendance, there are probably at least a few tweets about it.
But the best part about Twitter that makes it stand out from other social networks is the access. Because it’s a public forum, viewable even if you don’t have an account, it grants a ton of transparency to thoughts, ideas, whereabouts, and announcements from people you would never meet in real life – and for free.
Let’s say that your friend is a fashion designer. They’re about to launch a new line but they don’t have any exposure within the fashion industry. By tweeting often about the developments of their upcoming line and using the right hashtags, such as #fashion, #fabric and #design, your friend can introduce their products to a relevant audience and possibly even create a demand for them before they’ve premiered.
You can also consider Twitter’s search option a powerful, real-time engine for updates on current events and trends. This helps if your friend likes to research different topics or find out what’s happening in a certain area.
Need further help explaining? Instruction AE put together this video to explain Twitter:
Instagram is a photo-sharing community that has exploded onto the scene within the past year and a half. With membership reaching close to 100 million members, Instagram has yet to show any signs of slowing down. Even though you can attach a photo to a tweet on Twitter, Instagram fosters interaction around a photo by allowing users to like and comment on a picture like they would on Facebook. Instagram also allows users to share their pictures across other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and through email. Idea Channel even thinks Instagram is the best thing to happen to photography:
Let’s go back to your friend, the clothing designer. They have tons of designs but aren’t getting exposure for them. Imagine they take a picture of a shirt they’ve made and instantly someone asks how they can buy it. How did that user find it? Simple: our friend added a hashtag such as ‘#shirt’ or ‘#fashion’ to their picture, which allowed other users searching those hashtags to come across that photo. If the picture is aesthetically pleasing, more than likely it will receive a decent amount of attention. Since Instagram has not yet allowed pictures to be shared, a lot of users screenshot the image and post it on their account while giving credit to the original photographer. That’s the end result of exposure via Instagram: a possible sale for your friend.
With 60-80% of jobs coming through personal connections and networking, why not have a social network to lend a helping hand? Voila! Enter LinkedIn to serve that purpose. LinkedIn’s power is in connecting people in various professions so that they may collaborate on ideas, projects, and find new positions. A profile on LinkedIn closely resembles a resume, which is advantageous for recruiters who are searching for the person that best fits their needs. Linkedin is different from Facebook because it is viewed as being a strictly professional network.
Your designer friend has experienced some success selling their items and wants to now become an in-house designer for a major fashion label. Using LinkedIn, your friend can search for a label, view any open positions and clearly see if any of their connections work at that company or if someone they know is connected to an employee and asked to be introduced through a simple message. If your friend fears networking events, LinkedIn offers a new way to make connections.
LinkedIn Groups is also a powerful feature for job seekers and professionals who want to network and keep up with their industry. Mostly dedicated to different types of professions, Groups offer insights and resources on their particular industry.
If looking for a job on Linkedin is on your friend's mind, this little tutorial could be useful:
Hopefully by this point your friend has created an account on each of these networks and is ready to learn what they can do to find out where their audience is and how to engage them. I’ll discuss how to teach them these next steps in my next post.
-- Sean Clark