Posts tagged Facebook Timeline
The following article was written by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer, for the Associated Press. Read more on the announcement here.
Facebook is introducing hashtags, the number signs used on Twitter, Instagram and other services to identify topics being discussed and allow users to search for them.
Facebook Inc. said in a blog post Wednesday that users will be able to click a hashtag to see a feed of discussions about a particular topic. For example, typing a number sign in front of ‘‘ladygaga’’ or ‘‘sunset’’ will turn the words into a link that users can click on to find posts about Lady Gaga or sunsets.
Facebook said hashtags are a first step toward making it easier for users to find out what others are discussing. The company is not giving exact details about other tools it might introduce. If Twitter’s use of hashtags is any indication, Facebook will likely incorporate them into its advertising business.
‘‘We’ll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world’s conversations,’’ wrote Greg Lindley, product manager for hashtags, in the post.
The hashtags will conform to users’ privacy settings — so putting a hashtag in a post that’s only visible to your friends won’t make it show up for anyone other than your friends.
Facebook said it will make the clickable hashtags available to users in the coming weeks, beginning on Wednesday. Though hashtags haven’t worked on Facebook until now, many people were using them anyway, having grown accustomed to them on Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere.
Using hashtags will help users gain a larger view of what others are talking about, Lindley said.
The following excerpt, from the article Top 10 Reasons People Don’t “Like” Your Facebook Posts, was written by Christopher Litster, SVP, Sales & Marketing / Executive Team Member, Constant Contact and published in the AMEX Open Forum.
Like the final scene in The Social Network, you keep hitting the refresh button, certain your latest Facebook campaign will inspire fans to like, respond and share. Yet there’s been little-to-no response. Completely befuddled, you wonder why no one’s engaging.
If you’re committing any, or all, of the following Facebook faux pas, you may have your answer.
1. Asking questions that are too broad or too personal. Open-ended questions come across as rhetorical, and if they’re personal, they’re easily misunderstood. Instead, ask specific or multiple choice questions that reflect your audience’s connection to your business.
2. The tone is uninspiring. Sure, this is your business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be conversational or inspiring. Share some anecdotes or customer success stories that also show your human side.
3. Every post is pure text. Break up those pure text posts by adding pictures featuring the latest contest winners, happy employees or any image that’s visually appealing and relates to your post or company. It’s too easy to do, not to do it.
4. There’s too much focus on selling. While an occasional post about a product is fine, especially if it’s new or was recently featured in the news, don’t use Facebook as an overt sales vehicle. Remember, people go to Facebook to catch up and connect—when they want to buy, they’ll go to your website.
5. You only talk about your business. Fans expect news, tips and photos that go beyond your business. For example, a health club may share recipes and workout tips that show its commitment to helping members stay healthy, so keep the bigger picture in mind when you’re posting.
6. The message isn’t in sync with your audience or business. Before you post, ask yourself if the message serves the interests of your audience in terms of being interesting, helpful or funny.
7. You’re not responding. Fans should know their feedback is appreciated, so be sure to respond to their likes, comments and questions.
View even more advice on what not to do on Facebook by reading the full article.
The following is excerpt is from an article written by Ramon Ray, freelance writer and technology evangelist, and published on PCWorld. To read more about the background of Facebook Graph Search how you can protect your privacy within this new feature, view the full article.
What is Graph Search?
Before we can dive into what Facebook Graph Search can do for your small business, it’s important first to understand what it is. While other social media sites encourage users to connect with other users, Facebook has been a closed site. Finding others who share your interests has been impossible, with Facebook’s search limited to people, places, and things. Type the word “restaurant” into the search box, and you’ll receive a list of pages on the site related to restaurants.
But what if you want to find out Mexican restaurants your nearby friends have “liked” on Facebook? To do that under the current system, you have to manually search through each of your friend’s pages and browse through each person’s interests.
However, the new Graph Search will allow you to discover restaurants your friends have visited and liked. This same search will allow Facebookers to find friend-recommended healthcare providers, travel destinations, shops, hotels, and more.
Prepare your business for Graph Search
While consumers have privacy concerns about the new feature, businesses have every reason to be excited. Anything that can broaden visibility of your company’s Facebook Page is welcome.
Want to try Graph Search early? While you’re logged into Facebook, visit this page and sign up for the waiting list. Once you’re in, you can experiment with how your business appears in search results.
While Facebook Graph Search is still in limited beta testing mode, take a look at your company’s page to make sure its content and photos would be easy to find in a search. You never know when that photo of your storefront will lead a local consumer to your Facebook Page.
- Use Graph Search to identify pools of customers who already like you and might buy more from you.
- Use it to identify types of prospective customers who you might want to engage with your sponsored posts.
- Ensure your page is rich in information, so people searching Facebook can find your business. Make sure the “About” section of your Facebook page is filled out, complete with business hours and a full description of your services or products. Include the URL of your website to direct customers there.
- Don’t impede on people’s privacy in your search or try to “sell” them by exploiting any of their personal information from Facebook. Instead, engage them.
- Understand that this is a new service (when launched), so expect changes and evolutions.
After a spate of complaints and controversy surrounding Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm and complaints that it wasn’t showing all sponsored content, the company sat down with reporters at its headquarters in Menlo Park to explain why the newsfeed looks like it does, and how people can keep their content flowing. Mainly, Facebook engineers said they want to make the newsfeed full of things you’re interested in (so you’ll keep clicking and engaging) and cut down on posts that seem spammy (since that irritates users and drives them away from Facebook).
The motivations themselves weren’t surprising, but the degree to which the Facebook representatives outlined and explained their motivations in creating the newsfeed was interesting. Will Cathcart, a Facebook product manager for newsfeed, said the algorithm relies on three things when deciding how high to rank a post by a particular publisher: How a user has reacted to that publisher in the past, how other people on Facebook have reacted to the publisher’s story so far, and how the user has reacted to similar types of stories in the past. (Cathcart used the Facebook user Yoda as an example, reacting to a relationship story that Darth Vadar had listed Luke as his son on the network.)
“We make changes to the algorithim all the time, at least weekly,” Cathcart said. “We work all the time to say, ‘Can we better predict what people are looking at? Can we better predict what people won’ want to see or are less likely to interact with?’”
The company works to make each person’s newsfeed as reflective of that person’s interests as possible, Cathcart said, meaning no two users’ newsfeeds will look the same. He said they even try to make the mobile and desktop newsfeeds particular to the platforms, not showing games on mobile that only work on desktop, for example.
Cathcart confirmed that the company has started to respond to posts that cause negative reactions, beginning in September by trying to gauge how likely it is that users will mark to hide or spam a particular item. In other words, if your post seems spammy or unpleasant to users, it might show up less, even if you pay to promote it in the feed.
And this fits with Facebook’s overall goal, as my colleague Mathew Ingram wrote, which is not to serve as charitable organization to spread information, but to respond to customers — both the users who pay to advertise in the feed, and the consumers who dictate whether that information is consumed.
In response to this criticism, Facebook explained — both in a post by one of its engineers and in comments to TechCrunch and Ars Technica — that the newsfeed filtering was designed to eliminate spam and noise, and that it was constantly being tweaked in order to show users things they were actually interested in, not just things that brands wanted them to see. The message seemed pretty obvious: don’t be spammy with your posts and lots of your users will still see them for free. And if you want to spam them anyway, you will have to pay for sponsored posts in order to do that.
Do you think the Facebook algorithm is effective for Pages? Share your thoughts below.
Beginning on Black Friday, consumers are in a frenzy to get the best deals and, although big box retailers often gain the majority of that business, Tiger Bookstore hoped to generate traffic of its own during this busiest shopping weekend of the year.
This holiday season, they’ve made an increased effort to get Tiger fans near and far to add their wide variety of merchandise to their shopping list with Blue Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday events.
“We understand that most people shop at the major retail chains, but our goal is to show them that we have a lot to offer too,” Tracy Shipp, web coordinator, explained. “We have so many niche products for the person on their list who already has everything. We guarantee customers can find great gift giving items with us.”
To kick the promotions off, the store offered a variety of discounts on Blue Friday by working with their vendors. For instance, consumers could receive a free t-shirt with the purchase of select Russell Athletic sweatshirts, sweatpants, and hoodies, or buy one pair of pajama pants at regular price and get a matching t-shirt for half price.
“We had several items on sale; there were a lot of good deals,” Shipp said.
The store, which has had great success with Pinterest, has used the platform to promote their holiday apparel deals as well.
“We’ve been creating combinations of our apparel through services similar to Polyvore and pinning them to Pinterest for awhile now,” Shipp explained. “We’ve seen several customers; guys in particular, comment and ask how much it costs to purchase the entire outfit. So, we’re actually going to print out some examples of our more popular apparel combinations and use them as signage throughout the store to prompt creative gift ideas.”
Whereas Blue Friday was more sales centered, the message of Small Business Saturday was to stop by and support local business.
“We have been serving and giving back to the community for 48 years and we hope to continue for many more, so the Buy Local message is very important to us,” she added. “Nearly every business around campus is locally-owned as well, so it’s a great opportunity for us to come together as a community and support a common event.”
Tiger Bookstore doesn’t limit this initiative to one day, however. In fact, they already have plans for a Buy Local Cash Mob, where individuals meet and ‘mob’ a store with the intention of each spending a designated amount of money, in the works for later in the season.
“A local record store recently hosted a Cash Mob and it was a success,” she added. “I’m hoping to make an event of it and really get people excited about the prospect of making an impact on the community.”
Finally, for Cyber Monday, the store is planning a series of surprise sales to peak customers’ interests. A new deal will be announced each hour through Facebook and Twitter ensuring that the store will gain traffic both on their website and their social media pages.
“I just update the available promo codes on our website each hour and then tweet or post the deal to our pages,” Shipp described. “Because they’re exclusive to social media, we’ll be able to grow our fan bases which will only help expand our captive audience for future marketing campaigns.”
In addition to these one hour sales, the store is also working to enhance their online shopping experience with a free shipping offer throughout the holiday season. Plus, shoppers will receive a $10 gift card for every $75 spent online and in store.
“The gift cards are valid Jan.2-March 31, 2013 so they’re a good way for us to encourage return visits,” she said.
Although they’ve promoted Blue Friday in the past, this is the first year the store is offering Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales, so they’re interested to see the results.
“We’re hoping to be busy and to specifically increase our online sales,” Shipp added. “We know people will be out and looking to spend money, so we’re just hoping to capitalize on that business while providing unique gift giving options to our customer base.”
Facebook, a company that always seems to be doing a million (or is it billion?) things at once, has begun testing a new service that allows local business owners to offer free WiFi to customers in exchange for a check-in.
Noticing that Facebook had added a new code entry called “social_wifi” to its Page Insights tool, developer Tom Waddington correctly identified that Facebook was testing a new service that would allow Page owners to “associate their public wifi hotspots with their Facebook page.”
In fact, it goes a little deeper than that, with Facebook confirming that it is testing a new service that offers free WiFi if a customer checks-in at that location, immediately serving the company’s Facebook Page when they do.
The company provided the following statement to Inside Facebook:
“We are currently running a small test with a few local businesses of a Wi-Fi router that is designed to offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook. When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’s Facebook Page.”
The Page Insights tool explains the new entry as “People who liked your page after checking in via Facebook Wi-Fi,” suggesting that it could encompass Likes, as well as check-ins.
Typically, free WiFi hotspots require users to either enter a long list of personal information, remember a username or password, or even use their mobile number to gain access. With Facebook’s pilot, it’s as simple as visiting the social network on your desktop or mobile device, locating where you are and checking in.
It’s a win-win for local businesses and Facebook; not only is the venue shared to a users’ News Feed, it helps build Facebook’s check-in feature and push use of its mobile services, something that it has long identified as one of its weaker areas.
If customers are a little unsure about sharing their location or using Facebook’s check-in feature, they can still gain access via other means. But for those who have no issues, it’s an easy way to grab a free WiFi connection and help share a business’ location and facilities in the process.
Running a contest on Facebook is a powerful and effective approach in building buzz, awareness, and engagement as well as generating more fans.
As beneficial as it may seem, Facebook contests can only be effective if it is properly promoted.
Just as managing a Facebook page is not as simple as people think, running a contest may turn out to be pointless and a waste of your resources if it is not effective.
And by that I mean if it does not work towards achieving your goals on Facebook.
Although I can only second-guess what your goals are, I can definitely show you 7 simple ways to get the best out of your Facebook contest:
1. Facebook Ads
Unless you already have loyal and large fanbase on Facebook, the chances of your contest gaining momentum and getting the best possible reach is slim. You can’t build buzz if there aren’t anybody to buzz with.
Facebook advertising is one of the best ways to reach your targeted audience. One thing to make sure is that you have your contest app set as your landing page when users click on your advert. This is a brilliant way to reach your audience directly.
Another reason to invest in adverts is because you can easily target by demographics, interests, locations, and even languages – making your contest as relevant as possible to your audience and increasing the chances of them joining it
Here is some examples of ads promoting their Facebook contest.
For more tips on improving your Facebook ads I recommend that you read The 2012 Facebook Advertising Report
2. Mailing list
Utilize your mailing list! If you already have a mailing list, you can easily send out an email to let those subscribers know about your contest. Their subscription should already mean that they are committed to your business and chances are they will be interested to participate with your products.
However be mindful of sending a blanket mass email if your mailing list is relatively large because more often than not it will be filtered as spam and will not reach your subscribers. Keep your message short and sweet with minimum pictures and links. Remember, the idea is to direct your subscribers to your Facebook contest landing page, so you don’t need to include all the information into the email.
If you don’t have a mailing list, then simply send through your list of mail contacts, your facebook friends, your Twitter followers, and whatever contacts you have. Keep in mind that a well-groomed and targeted mailing list should still be your priority.
3. Advocate engagement
Have you noticed a particularly engaging fan that frequently shows support for your brand? If you have, then that person might very well be a brand advocate.
Engaging with these advocates to participate and promote your contest is an effective way to instantly build buzz. It is also a great way to humanize your promotions and is a form of word-of-mouth marketing that we all know can be influential. One thing to remember is that these advocates are individuals that already know and love your products, so be sure to be extra nice to them or there might even be a negative effect.
Alternatively, another way to tap into influential users followers is to have them be part of the contest. Ted Baker, a UK fashion retailer did something similar last year when they approached three fashion bloggers to be photographers for their Facebook contest at selected stores. All three bloggers wrote a few blog posts prior to the event and asked their readers to come down to the store to join them. That’s pretty cool to me.
4. Utilize Photos on Facebook
A picture is worth a thousand words and photos are probably the easiest and best way to captures someone’s attention on Facebook. Use it to your advantage! It’s hard to go wrong when you have appealing images that stand out by themselves.
Here is an example from Cheese & Burger Society on how they are using photos to capture attention on. As you may have noticed, that brilliant photo of a burger had 58 shares and had definitely helped in increasing participants for their contest.
5. Promoted post
In general, only 16% of your Facebook fans see your wall posts. This is a huge problem especially if you are actively running your business through it.
Facebook’s answered to this problem by rolling out their Promoted Post option, where a specific post can be promoted to reach a higher audience. The downfall to this is that you will need to pay for it. The good news is, if you’re just starting out, it will only cost you a small fee of $5 or $10 depending on the targeted reach.
This is a great way to promote your contest and to reach fans who might otherwise have missed it.
6. Timeline Cover
Did you know that you can use your timeline cover to tell people about your contest? Not only is your timeline cover a ‘premium’ advertising space for your contest, there will also be an update to your fans about the changes of your timeline cover.
Since you can’t set your landing page without paying for it through Facebook Ads, a well-designed timeline cover is a good alternative to promote your contest. Just make sure that you don’t include a call to action in your cover photo, as this violates Facebook’s terms and conditions. Read here if you are not aware of what they are.
Here is an example from Mari Smith who used the cover image to let people know about her contest.
7. Cross promote
Lastly, don’t forget to consistently promote across other social networks. Many businesses forget to consistently share their contest on other social networking sites. The truth is, your audience is not only on Facebook but also on Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, and every other social network. Your audience is everywhere, so if you do not promote everywhere else, then your contest is probably not reaching its maximum potential.
Having said that, don’t forget that a blog is yet another great way to promote your Facebook contest. People tend to forget that blogs have audience that subscribed through RSS who may not be on any other social networks.
Blogs are also a great way to give additional (and more detailed) information about your contest and have the capability to bring traffic to your site through social sharing.
Unless you have thousands of engaged fans who engages with you constantly, your contest will need a little push. Your Facebook promotion or contest will be as successful as the promotion that goes behind it. The more exposure your contest gets, the more potential entrants you get.
Move over “Like,” Facebook is testing two new buttons allowing users to “Want” and “Collect” items from participating retailers, as it explores options to show investors that the company, which went public in May, can find new ways to generate revenue.
“People will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends,” Facebook said in a statement.
As part of the test, some Facebook users will continue to see the “Like” button while others will begin to see options to “Want” or “Collect” products.
Big name brands like Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, and Michael Kors are among the first companies to roll out “Collections,” which look like photo albums with product descriptions, allowing companies to both showcase and sell products through their Facebook pages.
“‘Collections’ could help retailers score viral click-throughs to their product pages by making things their fans are interested in more discoverable to friends,” wrote TechCrunch’s Josh Constine.
Facebook doesn’t charge companies for posting “Collections” nor does it take a percentage of the sale when users click through to make a purchase, but Constine says Facebook could use the new feature as leverage to get brands to purchase ads to get more fans.
“Collections” is also similar to the social media site Pinterest, a photo sharing site that allows users to create and manage themed collages.
Unlike Pinterest, Facebook “Collections” limits the photos users can share to those posted by retailers, but the similar presentation could attract users who are interested in Pinterest, but want to share collages with their already established network of Facebook friends.
Do you think this feature will be a success or a flop? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
The following article, Facebook’s New Post Targeting Options Launching Soon, Learn How To Use Them Now, was written by Chad Wittman for SocialFresh.com.
Facebook recently announced a new targeting option for page admins trying to reach particular segments of their audience. With the new Facebook targeting options, admins will soon be able to target a variety of options such as:
- age new
- gender new
- interested in new
- relationship status new
- education new
- workplace new
- location (country, state, city)
These new targeted segments open up a whole new array of options for marketers trying to pin point their brand’s message.
Typically with brand new features on Facebook, comes new opportunities for early adopters. Understanding why Facebook has created new targeting options and what they may do with them in the future, can help you expand your reach once this feature is rolled out to all audiences.
It will look like this:
Why is Facebook Adding Additional Targeting Options?
In my opinion, Facebook is adding additional targeting options for two reasons: decrease a barrier of entry for creating an ad unit and help admins increase reach. By allowing admins the ability to target their update right from the Timeline, they can quickly Promote the post and pay to reach their desired audience. For organic content, admins will be able to restructure the content and target it in optimal ways.
How To Use Targeting To Increase Reach
Let’s create a hypothetical situation to help explain how a brand can increase their Reach using the new targeting options. We’ll use a chocolate company such as Dove Chocolate on Valentine’s Day for our hypothetical situation. Dove has approximately 1 million fans of their page with a diverse audience. Previously (before advanced targeting options), Dove Chocolate made a widely appealing Valentine’s Day post:
This Valentine’s Day post attempted to Reach their entire audience but most likely only reached a small percentage. However, this upcoming Valentine’s Day, Dove will have an opportunity to expand the Reach of this post without Promoting it.
Here’s how they would do it:
- Identify Demographic Information Within Facebook Insights
- Select Demographics To Be Targeted
- Craft Content To Target Audience
This Valentine’s Day, Dove has a new opportunity to target their content for each selected segment. For each brand, the amount of segments will differ depending on their fan demographics, this should be determined by the admin and the brand’s strategy.
Dove would target the following segments:
- Young Single Women
- Young Single Men
- Young Married Women
- Young Married Men
- Old Married Women
- Old Married Men
The work for the admin has now sextupled, as they now have to create (or modify) content to each of our targeted segments. Here are some sample posts:
Young Single Women
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world” - Lucille Ball
Young Single Men
Give a special woman in your life a box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day.
Young Married Women
Hint: Your husband loves chocolate on Valentine’s Day too.
Young Married Men
Now that she’s your wife, doesn’t change her love for chocolate. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Old Married Women
Chocolate you love is best enjoyed with someone you love.
Old Married Men
Reminder: Today is Valentine’s Day. Another Reminder: Your wife loves dark chocolate.
Each of the above posts should be targeted to the corresponding segmented audience. By custom tailoring both the message and targeting of the posts, you’ll have a higher opportunity of engaging your fans. Engaging more fans and publishing more relevant content will increase the Reach for your content.
For the advanced admins, they’ll analyze when each demographic is online to view the posts, then publish the posts at the optimal times of day for each segmented audience.
A Note To Small Brands
For the millions of small brands marketing on Facebook, the targeting options will be less impactful. Facebook requires certain levels of fans in order to be able to target a particular demographic.
However, there will still be value in the targeting as you’ll be able to target broad segments such as gender or age.
The brands that have millions of fans will most likely be able to use a variety targeting options to fine tune their targeted audience. Large brands often suffer in the news feed due to the diversity of their fans and fan acquisition methods. Segmenting may begin a process of Reaching these hard to reach fans.
As many social media users know, you can connect your Facebook page and Twitter account with the click of a button. While this feature may save your store time, it has some serious downfalls, as well.
Take a look at five reasons why we recommend that you don’t link the two social networks:
Twitter moves at a fast pace and has a much higher threshold for acceptable posting levels than Facebook. Because Twitter feeds turn over so quickly, your store needs to tweet frequently to keep your message visible to followers. That means that you may tweet as many as 10-15 times a day, without showing up excessively in any of your followers’ feeds.
The same isn’t true for Facebook, however, which moves at a much slower pace. The newsfeed is slightly more static on Facebook and fans generally expect to see your store appear 1-3 times per day. By posting your tweets to your Facebook profile, you may overwhelm fans with status update after status update, and appear more as a spammer than a credible source.
The point of liking or following any page is to access exclusive information or incentives. If you post the exact same content to both your Twitter and Facebook page, then what reason do your students have to interact with both? Try to vary up both the types of content you share and times that you post so that your fans and followers benefit from being a part of both networks.
Lingo – The syntax used on Facebook and Twitter is also completely different. Twitter relies on hashtags (#), mentions (@), and abbreviations like ‘RT,’ while Facebook’s vocabulary is more typical. When tweets post to Facebook, they look out of place and students who aren’t on Twitter may be confused or annoyed by seeing their newsfeed filled with these references. Although it may take a few more minutes, make sure your message includes a format that is appropriate to the social network that you’re sharing it on.
Twitter is limited to 140 characters so posts are meant to be short and sweet, typically with a link attached to the end for more information. With a much larger character limit, however, Facebook posts are usually intended to provide a full explanation. By posting these brief tweets to your Facebook page, fans may not get the full message. Likewise, by syncing your Facebook statuses to post on Twitter, they often appear abbreviated and will have the same unfortunate affect on followers. Ensure that all your content meets the appropriate length requirement for each account.
Twitter and Facebook are two distinct networks with two distinct sets of etiquette and norms. The people you’re connected to on Twitter expect different things than those you’re connected to on Facebook (even if most of them are the same group of people). The culture of both networks is different, so if you combine them you risk losing your audience.
So, what should you do instead?
Just because you don’t link your accounts, doesn’t mean you have to spend an exorbitant amount of time crafting and sharing your content. We suggest using a third-party social media management site, such as Hootesuite or Tweetdeck, which allows you to post across social networks from one central location. These services are typically free and operate as a dashboard where you can write, schedule, and manage your messages.
That being said, it’s important to remember each of the issues above and create unique posts for Facebook and Twitter. At the very least, start by switching up the language and format you use to ensure it fits the platform. Then, work toward creating a social media strategy that guides you in what type of content to share across each network.