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June 18, 2019

The Black Magic of Facebook’s Organic Reach Algorithm

Guest post by Jordan Garegnani, Project Manager and Online Community Manager

facebook-edgerankNotice how your Facebook posts are being shown to fewer and fewer of your followers? Yeah, we have too.

That has to do with a few things – including the new Organic Reach Algorithm. First off, before we get too detailed, let’s define the difference between organic and paid reach.

Organic Reach: How many people see your posts for free (chronologically, and/or shared with their friends)
Paid Reach: How many people see your posts based on your paid advertising

As marketers, we like getting the most bang for our buck and aim for high organic reach in our social media endeavors – it gives the most value to our customers. That’s why we were disappointed to find out that times they are a-changin’. Paid reach is now the only way to ensure followers see important information.

Facebook, according to their blog, says there are 2 main reasons for the decline of Organic Reach.

1. More and more content is being pushed into the same amount of digital space. More people and brands are joining Facebook every day and people like 50% more brand pages this year than last. Also, with the convenience of mobile and scheduled posting, those brands are posting more content. That’s a lot of competition and viewers can’t possibly see every single post by their friends or the brands they follow. This one is just a bummer, but fair enough – it’s a big wide world out there and may the best content win!

“Even if Facebook left the news feed code as it stood right now, organic reach was already on the decline. Social@Ogilvy tracked the drop earlier this year, from 16% of followers engaging with a brand page post in 2012, to 6% in February 2014 for smaller pages and just 2% for pages with over 500,000 followers.” – Ewan Spence, Forbes

The second reason is more of a bummer – I mean it’s hard enough to reach followers as it is. (see above)

2. Facebook adjusted the reach algorithm to decide which 300 stories of around 1500 potential stories will show up in followers’ news feeds. That’s a one-in-five chance your post will be seen by any given follower.  These changes are strategized to show people content that is relevant/interesting to your followers (based on individual Facebook interactions). Their goal with this is to reduce low-quality posts and spam, so marketers, even more so now, have to put out good content just to be seen by current followers.

“Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed.” – Brian Boland, Facebook

TechCrunch has a good visual way of explaining the mythical Facebook algorithm.

facebook-news-feed-edgerank-algorithm

Facebook’s Conclusion: Curating the newsfeed and feed “health” is the goal. Clearly this makes sense if Facebook wants to stick around long-term. If people aren’t interested in reading what’s on their newsfeed, they won’t use Facebook and there goes another digital marketing channel. (RIP Myspace)

To air a bit of grievance, we do feel justified in this statement in TechCrunch:

“What was truly disingenuous was that Facebook told companies to buy Likes as a long-term investment, when it likely could already see or at least predict that reach to those fans would decline, devaluing the investment. It’s like telling someone to save their money in a time of rapid inflation.”  – Josh Constine, TechCrunch 

1351612838_2844_facebook2Our conclusion: Creating meaningful interactions with true “brand ambassadors” will soon be the only free way to spread your content around. Your followers just became even more valuable – they will help decide how far your content goes, improve auction price for your ads and lend your brand credibility as brand advocates.  It does seem as though Facebook is taking a stance of “for the greater good” while being unapologetic to brands on their platform. But we’ve come this far, looks like we’re along for the ride!

The Importance of Social Media in Public Relations

Guest Blog by Camille McClane

 

Public relations, like all other types of communication, needs a medium.

For many years the media was simple: Word of mouth, the newspaper, phone calls and the occasional public forum. Not only has social media upended those platforms, but they now depend heavily on social media for their distribution.

Additionally, the use of social media as a PR tool is far more complex and effective than previous systems.

The connectedness and the speed with which the Internet makes information available has given those who work in PR far more platforms and methods by which to reach their target audience and the public at large.

Now the task is to understand which mediums to target and how to effectively use them.

pr keyboard

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Understanding Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

Social media has grown to the point where there are more than just a few options available, with each platform having its own strengths and weaknesses that a smart PR representative will know how to optimize.

Twitter and Facebook are still primary, covering a broad range of people and age groups.

But if you can narrow down your target audience, you might want to consider targeting different social media platform based on the following factors:

  • The age range of your audience.
  • The shared interests of your audience.
  • Where your audience spends the bulk of their time online.

A lot of this will depend on what you know about the people you’re trying to target; so it stands to reason that the more you know and the better you understand them, the more productive and efficient you can be in terms of which social media accounts to use.

SM user ages

Image Courtesy of http://optimiseblog.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ukstats3-550×507.png

When You Should and Should Not Use Certain Platforms

For example, if you’re targeting middle aged folks in the business community, LinkedIn might be a better focus than Google+. At the same time, if you’re targeting a female audience primarily in their 20s and 30s, Pinterest might be a better choice.

You simply can’t target all of the social media platforms in existence. There are just too many of them, so you’re way better off figuring out which demographic you’re targeting and communicate with that audience on their preferred platform.

Besides, you wouldn’t want to target all social media platforms if you have a specific audience in mind, because as the graphs show us, different people tend to congregate within different platforms.

It may take time to narrow down your targeted audience, but in the long run it will make your marketing more effective.

What Platform for What Brand?

If you’re working for a particular brand, you need to be aware of not only an optimal platform choice, but also be ready and able to choose the correct tools within each platform.

For example, do you need to use Facebook ads or simply status updates on a fan page? How about StumbleUpon campaigns or conventional curating?

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/campalyst-infographic-facebook.png

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/campalyst-infographic-facebook.png

A more obvious way to answer that question is whether or not the company you’re doing PR for (yours or someone else’s) has money in the budget to spend on advertising and social media. If not, then ads quickly become a poor suggestion, but this is something that needs to be established up front so you know your options.

Determining if a particular brand can utilize a platform should consider the following:

  • Does the brand have a preexisting, established presence on certain social media accounts?
  • Does the company intend to spend money on the campaign?
  • Where does the brand’s typical audience tend to congregate?
  • The brand’s reputation (Organic business methods, personal, known for their blog, etc.).

The Importance of Strategy

PR campaigns certainly involve an element of luck, but a good campaign manager knows how to plan, strategize and set themselves up to have the best luck possible. Make sure that you don’t leave things to chance but take the time to understand the basics of your brand and target audience, in order to roll out the optimal social media PR strategy.

camilleCamille McClane is a content creator and marketer who enjoys blogging in her spare time. She particularly enjoys writing about social media, infographic design and online marketing.

 

Making Social Work for Your Website

Guest Blog by David Cavalieri

text bubbles from computerAn online presence is a permanent, expected fixture of a reputable brand and the power of a robust website must not be overlooked. The virtual side of the organization defines the direction, atmosphere, and foundation and enables it to flourish. With the integration of well-developed content, appropriate social networks, and the cross-pollination of ideas by captivated users your virtual presence will magnify and differentiate your brand.

The Website:

It’s a requirement in today’s business world and acts as the quintessential indicator of an accomplished and well-polished organization. However, aesthetics are only skin deep and the message and content portrayed must match the company’s model, style, and culture. Pretending to be someone you are not will only create angst amongst your clients while return business and referrals will suffer. Describe who you are – are you corporate; powerful, yet friendly; inviting; or just downright spunky? Let the world know! People today have increasingly shorter attention spans than in years past and never-ending streams of text might as well be showing them the door – well, at least a revolving door. Be concise with your ideas and get ready for an entirely social world.

social funnel

Getting Social:

Social media, though extremely important to many, isn’t appropriate for all companies and marketing techniques. Determining its role in your company is a vital step in planning your digital presence (the nitty gritty of which will be coming in a future blog, so stay tuned!). So whichever platforms you choose for your business, at the end of the day you need to find a way to tie all of this back in to the website you just gave your sweat and tears to.

The Blending of Ideas:

The goal of marketing is not only to garner the most fans and popularity, but also to keep customers involved and repeatedly coming through the door. Many social platforms have widgets and pieces of code (check in with your web developer if you need to!) to embed into your website and add ways to “Like” your profile or individual pages of your website directly, share the most recent Tweet in a live feed, or present your latest board’s pins as a photo gallery. Comments flow from one platform to the next, content is shared from the most dedicated of fans, and that revolving door will simply become an open door.

Blend the line between website and social media, be creative whenever possible, find a way for users to seamlessly use your website and interact with your social platforms. Comments, ideas, and creativity will flourish and the customers themselves will boost the greatest marketing tactic of them all – the word of mouth.

 

 

4 Steps to a Productive Facebook Ad Campaign

Social Media is undeniably a moving force in marketing these days, and spending on social ads is increasing right along with it. According to a report by BIA/Kelsey consulting firm, U.S. social-media ad spending is expected to hit $9.8 billion by 2016, up from $3.8 billion last year, and this year companies are expected to spend $4.8 billion on social-network advertising.

Those numbers include ads on Facebook, but getting it all set up can be a hassle or confusing. So here are a few tips from our Online Marketing Manger, aka “web guy,” David Cavalieri. He handles our websites from front to back and is our resident expert on running Facebook ads. 

Facebook ads can easily be tailored to your needs. Depending on your goal, you can set an automated budget and timeframe for your specific campaign. You also get to choose your targeted demographic out of Facebook’s 800 million users – talk about pinpointed marketing!

Getting Started
Log into Facebook, click on “Create an Ad,” and the website will guide you through the process of creating each ad. You have the option to make ads with different graphics and text options that will rotate through as a part of the same ad campaign. When you make the first ad in the campaign you can choose to set either a lifetime budget or a daily budget.

Pick Your Budget
If you have a short time to accumulate interest in your brand, creating a lifetime budget to run within the given timeframe might be your best bet. If you have a long-term goal, a daily budget may suit your needs to ensure you don’t over-spend your total campaign budget. Facebook will intelligently run the ads to find the most popular one (if there’s more than one in the campaign) and utilize your money the best it can based on your budget.

Make Your Bid
Facebook gives you the option to bid your own price per click, but accepting the recommended bid will make sure your ad gets placed. If you undercut this recommended amount, the ad may never show on the website if other ad buyers out-bid you and push your ad off the page. You won’t necessarily spend that bid amount, but it indicates the highest you are willing to spend on ad placement, so set your bid accordingly.

PPC
These ads are generally best run on a “pay-per-click” (PPC) basis (there’s also a new pay-per-impression, PPI, option to explore) and you may not use the entire budget if people do not click on the ad. For example, if I set a budget for $1000, but I only get enough clicks to spend $400 before the end date, then Facebook will stop the campaign and no additional money will be charged.

As you can see, Facebook gives you plenty of ways to customize your campaign. So consider all your options and goals for your ad, and make sure you have pithy content with a snappy design. Good luck on your next ad campaign!

 

Let’s Talk About Social Media

Social media is a growing part of marketing throughout most industries and is predicted to continue taking a bigger bite out of the budget as it increases in use. A recent study by The CMO Survey says that in the next 5 years, marketers expect to spend 19.5% of their budgets on social media, which is almost three times more than current spending patterns.

Social Media Spending Prediction Chart

Jordan Garegnani
That’s why we recently hired a new Social Media Manager to coordinate the online social presence of our clients. Jordan Garegnani joined our team with PR, marketing, and social media experience and has crafted a few guidelines for any social media strategy:

Talk like a human being
Respond and react to the people around you (aka people who share your interests) in engaging ways. Also, people don’t like the person who talks all the time and doesn’t listen. So don’t always promote yourself – follow, like and reply to people you’re associated with as a way to show you’re interested in what they have to offer and hopefully they will return the favor.

Pick your platforms based on your needs instead of what’s popular
Not everyone needs a Pinterest or a Youtube channel. What platform you’re on can depend on if you’re B2B or B2C, if you’re a service or goods-based business model and many other factors.

Get organized
If you have a lot of posts to do each week, figure out a system of organizing and planning your posts to be timely and relevant.

Keep track of what people are saying about your brand
Maintaining a good image just on the social media platforms you post on won’t cut it. Make the rounds to see who is saying what about your brand in different social networks. (Be sure to respond to negative and positive comments!)

Be flexible
One strategy might work for one platform or brand, but not another. If something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to scrap it and move on to something else.

Last of all, be creative – social media should be fun!

Google Plus for Business – Not ready for Prime Time (yet!)

Google + is a promising new addition to the Social Media toolbox. Why? It’s directly tied into the most widely-used search engine on the planet. Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook.

In comparison to Facebook, Google+ will list employees and management as well as fans. It will also be possible to add more than one location via Google Maps and Places. This has huge potential for businesses, but we’ll have to wait a bit to try it out. At the moment, Google features for business pages are still in development.

Google is encouraging businesses to WAIT until they roll out their business section of Google + later this year. They are actually shutting down business accounts that are masquerading as personal profiles. They’re focusing on optimizing the consumer experience first – which really makes good sense. It will be exciting to watch this all unfold!

Here is an interesting article detailing the future possibilities of your Google+ business profile: http://www.reelseo.com/google-plus-for-business/

Other good business tools to consider are LinkedIn and the LinkedIn Company Page. We’ll take a look at these next.

Going the Digital Communications Route:

Fun With QR Codes

 

The newest tool to enter the marketing mix is Quick Response (QR) codes, which have become increasingly visible. You see them in print ads, on the back of buses, on your ice cream containers and in store windows. Users with smart phones can scan the image and open mobile web content directly!

The opportunities are boundless, but marketers who lack understanding risk disappointing rather than engaging their audience. A QR code that leads to a cumbersome company web site defeats the purpose – content will be delivered on the user’s tiny smart phone screen and must be both easy and rewarding to navigate and access. A more engaging and effective approach is to link to appropriate mobile web content that offers instant gratification such as a relevant video, an exclusive offer, or other more rewarding and mobile-adapted material. QR codes are our link from the physical to the mobile world, and content should be adapted accordingly.

These QR codes were used at Mazza Gallerie to entertain and engage the overnight line up for the Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides event. Two sided signs were placed along the waiting line route with links to wedding appropriate blog posts, fun quizzes, videos, and other Mazza Gallerie social and retail information. A captive audience. Message delivered. Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers increased dramatically overnight!

 

 

 

Going the Digital Communications Route:

Why is Social Media Effective?

Social media is just what it sounds like. It’s a relationship. It’s a conversation with your audience. It’s a means of letting them know what is exciting, fun, informative or needed about what you have to offer. It’s also an invitation to your audience to participate. When executed effectively, it’s more interactive than traditional marketing tools like print, radio, TV advertising or direct mail.

Social media is also more flexible than traditional marketing tools and should be reactive as well. It’s not just about posting your message, link, or video and “job done”. It’s important to monitor responses so you can gauge the level of interest and tailor your messaging accordingly. It’s also very important to answer questions quickly so the conversation is fluid and two-way. For an example, you can refer to Reston Town Center’s FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/RestonTownCenter.

Going the Digital Communications Route:

The Emergence of Social Media

Currently, one of the most popular non-traditional marketing channels is social media. Many companies are experimenting with FaceBook, Twitter, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, YouTube, Digg, Yelp, etc. These communication channels are cost effective compared to traditional marketing options. The challenge is in understanding HOW to use these tools and dedicating the time necessary to execute an effective campaign.

Social media is not something to be foisted off on a junior employee, or (horrors!) an unsupervised intern. It takes a carefully thought out plan, with story lines, calendar and editorial schedule. There should be plenty of thought put into what photos, video, and web links to include to keep it fresh and entertaining.

Once a plan is laid out, a less senior person can execute the postings but still need a supervisor to monitor responses and determine if the campaign is rolling out effectively. Get to know your audience as you post and adjust as needed to encourage interactions.