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Were Your Posts Just Banned By Facebook?

banned-by-facebook

Late last week, Facebook gave businesses the bad news:

Overtly promotional posts will no longer be shown to page followers, beginning in January 2015.

Exactly what types of posts are banned? Here’s what Facebook specified:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Facebook gave some hypothetical examples of undesirable posts, but here are just a few of the millions of real Facebook page posts that would seem to fall foul of Facebook’s new rules.

Posts that only talk about products you should buy:

banned-post-1

Or contests you can enter:

contents

 

And even big brands have Facebook page posts unlikely to survive the January 2015 promotional massacre:

uniqlo

Those 762 people who like the above post? They’re going to be out of luck, when January rolls around. They won’t see the Uniqlo promotional posts in their newsfeeds, so they won’t know about the deals.

The Continuing Push Towards Zero Facebook Engagement

This move by Facebook is just the latest step in the social network’s efforts to:

  • reduce unwanted clutter on users’ Facebook newsfeeds
  • drive down the reach of brands’ Facebook page posts (towards zero)

From a user-centric point of view, Facebook’s motives are not merely practical but praise-worthy. As Facebook notes, “our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. When people see content that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to be engaged with News Feed”.

From the point of view of businesses, however, Facebook’s moves are typically not viewed in such a benign fashion.

As re/code notes, it’s “likely going to anger brands in the process, many of whom spent years building up a following for this very purpose. Why would Coca-Cola pay Facebook to promote one of its posts when it already has 90 million users following its updates?”

Facebook’s own guidelines for business pages spell out the social giant’s thinking:

Publicize exclusive discounts and promotions with ads
If you’re looking to inspire more purchases from your posts, create Facebook Ads with special discounts or promotions.

  • Use link ads to drive people to your site, and include special codes they can use at checkout
  • Drive urgency with a time prompt like “free shipping, this weekend only” or “12 hour flash sale”
  • Promote only products or services you think your audience is most interested in
  • Advertise end-of-year contests and giveaways to drive customer loyalty and sales

In other words, if you want to use Facebook to actually sell stuff, you can now expect to have to PAY.

Overcoming Facebook Frustration & Reaching Your Followers

So what should you do? Simply abandon your carefully-constructed Facebook presence? Or pay every time to reach your followers?

In our Facebook online training courses (Facebook Accelerator and the Complete Facebook Marketing course), we tackle the issue head-on, and recommend that you:

  • use Graph Search to learn more about your followers and the sort of content that will interest them
  • identify the types of posts that your followers are most likely to share
  • create more of those types of posts
  • create posts in styles and formats that encourage more engagement
  • identify when your followers are most likely to be active on Facebook
  • publish your posts at those times
  • post more frequently than in the past
  • pay to promote the best of your posts to your followers
  • bump evergreen popular content
  • aim to drive Last Actor engagement as much as possible
  • crunch your numbers regularly to see exactly how well you’re doing (and whether or not you’re fulfilling your potential)
  • use Facebook advertising to drive Facebook users to your website

 

Free Report on Facebook Advertising

If you want to sell anything through Facebook, it’s time to face the grim reality:

you’re simply going to have to pay to promote your products, through Facebook Advertising.

A word of warning, however: if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to burn through a lot of money fast, with minimal results.

To help, we’ve put together a special FREE report on getting started with Facebook Advertising.

 

GSWFB-cover-cropped-3D

This free report will tell you the 5 essential tips you simply MUST KNOW before you start advertising on Facebook.

So go ahead — grab your FREE copy right now!

Just click here for your free report.

 

 

qvVSPUQn4v8

Atlas by Facebook

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Facebook is relaunching its Atlas advertising programme, enabling marketers to tap into its treasure trove of consumer data. Re/Code explains:

  • Facebook is reintroducing Atlas, the underused platform it bought from Microsoft last year.
  • Facebook says Atlas can help marketers track the effectiveness of their ads around the Web; it also says it will allow them to buy ads on non-Facebook websites and apps, using Facebook targeting data.
  • Facebook makes a point of saying these ads aren’t “Facebook ads.” But it is also playing up the notion that the ads marketers buy via Atlas will be more effective than other big ad platforms, because they use Facebook’s data.
  • Facebook says it is working with lots of partners, but so far has named only two. Ad holding giant Omnicom, which already has deals with Facebook, Google, Twitter and most other big digital players, says it will buy ads with Atlas. Facebook’s Instagram will also work with the platform. The most tantalizing notion I’ve heard this week is that Facebook has talked to Twitter about joining up, and that the idea remains a possibility.
  • What’s that? You’re worried about people using your Facebook data to serve you ads? Facebook says you shouldn’t worry, because your identity will remain anonymous to advertisers and publishers — they’ll just know some basic facts about you. But really, if you’re worried about this kind of thing you shouldn’t be on Facebook. Actually, the whole Web is probably a no-go zone for you. Sorry.

From a marketer’s perspective, the Atlas initiative is an inevitable development, as Facebook attempts to out-monetise Google.

As Pando notes, there’s another important side-effect to the Atlas initiative, as the world goes mobile:

Atlas solves a technical problem that has frustrated advertisers since consumers flocked to mobile devices: the inability to see how ads viewed on one device influence purchases made on other devices because digital “cookies,” the Web’s little stalkers, can’t track smartphone activity.

Check out the video, and check out Atlas, coming soon to a marketer near you.

Facebook Cover Images: Dimensions July 2014

Have you taken a look at your Facebook business page lately – not just on your desktop computer or tablet but also via your smartphone?

Facebook now (Q1 2014) has more than a billion monthly active users who visit the site via mobile device, representing 79% of total Facebook active users, so if your Facebook page doesn’t look as smart as it should on mobile, you just could be discouraging three-quarters of your prospective customers/followers.

Facebook Cover Image Dimensions Have Changed

The most important visual element of your Facebook page is your Cover Image, which sits at the top of the page welcoming visitors. Below, you’ll see the real estate you have to play with (we’ve borrowed a template from these fine folks and added a few extra bits and pieces of our own).

Facebook-cover-image-July-2014

Looks complicated doesn’t it? The key point that you need to note is that the true active area that you have to play with (the area that should be safe on both mobile and desktop) is just 563 pixels wide by 175 pixels deep.

True Active Area Facebook Cover image

Yes, it’s a relatively small proportion of that seemingly glorious cover space, 851 pixels by 315 pixels, but the rest of your image is at risk of being covered by your profile photo, the title or category of your page or the like, follow and message boxes (except of course for the left and right-hand sides of the image, which simply won’t be displayed on mobile).

You still need to surround that active area with other imagery that reflects your brand values – but understand that most of that real estate is likely to vanish. A mobile visitor will never see it, while a desktop traveller may see only some.

Facebook Cover Images: Before And After

Here (gulp!) is what our Netmarketing Courses Facebook page, optimised for Facebook’s 2013 design, looked like under these new design parameters. Note that our subtitle “online training courses for businesses” was partly obscured by the profile picture.

desktop view 2013 Facebook cover image

The mobile view was far worse:

mobile view Facebook page 2013 version

So we gave our cover image an extreme makeover, shedding many of the design elements in favour of a centred logo, with the result below. It won’t win any awards but at least it communicates what we do (and we’re no longer losing any of the information featured in the image).

desktop view 2014 Facebook cover image

 

A quick look at the page on mobile shows that we’ve achieved our branding goals there as well.

mobile view 2014 Facebook cover image

It’s time for you to take another look at your Facebook page (start with your mobile device, ideally through the dedicated Facebook app) and see if you still scrub up as well as you should.

Facebook Ads: Smart Or Not?

Are Facebook Ads a good idea?

As we’ve pointed out in the recent past, marketers can no longer rely on “organic reach” to build a relationship with followers: a steady succession of algorithm tinkering by Facebook, accompanied by more and more noise on the social network, means that now you can typically expect no more than 2-6% of your followers to see your Facebook posts.

Oh sure, there are exceptions. Take for example Team Midwives Whangarei, which has around 20% of its followers talking about its Facebook Page:

Midwives don't need Facebook Ads

Clearly, Whangarei midwives don’t need Facebook Ads, at least not right now. But what about the rest of us?

If we want more people to talk about us on Facebook, then we need to either:

1. Create posts that are relevant to our brand but have the potential to go feverishly viral (like this one by NZ-based Paw Justice):

With posts like this, who needs Facebook Ads?

2. Pay to boost any of our posts that we believe are worth promoting:

Was this post worth promoting?

3. Buy Facebook Ads

 

PS Facebook Ads are one of the topics we cover in our Facebook Accelerator course. More details by clicking here.

7 Obvious Signs That Your Organisation Needs Social Media Training

Time and again, we’ve seen that Social Media amplifies – sometimes for good, too often for bad or worse. Say something stupid in social media and there’s a better than even chance that the whole world will find out about it, far sooner than you think.

There’s really only one solution (and even that’s not guaranteed): learn what you should and shouldn’t say on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and all those other social networks. Get some training before it’s too late.

So how do you know if you need social media training?

If your organisation exhibits any of these classic errors.

7 Obvious Signs That Your Organisation Needs Social Media Training

Social Media Warning Signs

Get yourself social media training fast if your business makes any of these mistakes:

1. Asking open-ended questions (and then ignoring the responses)

2. Getting into an argument and insulting your customers and followers

It was the customer service disaster heard around the Internet. An Arizona restaurateur, fed up after years of negative online reviews and an embarrassing appearance on a reality television show, posted a social media rant laced with salty language and angry, uppercase letters that quickly went viral, to the delight of people who love a good Internet meltdown.

Amy & The Cakes #fail

 

3. Not replying to questions and comments on your social media platforms.

Too many brands simply ignore what’s being said to them, with entirely predictable results. This graph from SocialBakers shows which industries are the best (and worst) at responding:

social media responses by industry

 

4. All you talk about in social media is yourself

Only 10% of what you talk about in social media should be yourself and your own products or services. The rest of your discussions should be about things that matter to your followers. Don’t be like this Donut shop, constantly posting meaningless pictures of donuts and drinks to an audience that couldn’t care less (3416 followers but less than a dozen likes per image).

donut posts that nobody cares about

 

5. Nobody’s talking about you

As you may have heard, Facebook is dialing back its organic reach. What that means, in a nutshell, is that even if someone likes your Facebook brand page, it’s most unlikely that they will see your posts in their newsfeed. That means, to all intents and purposes, that you’re invisible to your followers — unless (a) you promote your posts to them; or (b) you write posts that are sufficiently interesting and engaging that they get shared by the few that do see them (and thus get out to a wider audience).

The Star Wars page on Facebook, for example, despite 11 million followers, was only averaging around 15,000 weekly talks — until May the Fourth (“be with you”), when interest surged and more than a quarter of a million people found Star Wars worth talking about again on Facebook.

May the Fourth Be With You

 

6. Everybody’s talking about you (but not in a good way)

Justine Sacco, head of public relations for UK media giant IAC, flew towards Africa in December 2013, blissfully unaware of the uproar caused by her final tweet before boarding her 12-hour flight.

Justine Sacco

Even though Ms Sacco had a mere 200 followers, the tweet went viral even while she was flying. Her tweet was universally condemned as racist, resulting in the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trending worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Ms Sacco lost her job, her former employer apologised profusely and several AIDS charities received donations from appalled twitterati.

 

7. You post too often (or too seldom)

How often should you post to your social networks? That depends on (a) your networks; and (b) your followers.

If you’re posting to Twitter, for example, and reaching out to a business audience, then posting (variations on the same information) at three-hour intervals during the business day is acceptable — very few will see more than one post, given the transient nature of Twitter.

On the other hand, posting to a consumer audience via Facebook should be less frequent, because posts are likely to linger more there. Take a look at your Facebook page Insights data (via your Page Manager dashboard) and view “When Your Fans Are Online” (under “Posts”).

when your fans are online

Post perhaps twice a day, at times that coincide with most of your fans being online.

fans online

 

Once you realise you need Social Media Training

We would be remiss if we didn’t point you to our range of social media courses: overview here.

  • If you want a comprehensive overview of Social Media Marketing, its principles and its practices, start here
  • If you want a rundown of the latest developments, check out our Advanced Social Media Marketing course here
  • If you want to market your business on Facebook but don’t know how, our Complete Facebook Marketing course is the place to start
  • If you’re already active on Facebook but think you could be doing it better, our Facebook Accelerator course could be the one for you
  • If you operate in the B2B space, we strongly recommend you learn How To Use LinkedIn Effectively
  • If you plan to use social media but won’t be hands-on yourself, you should take a look at our course covering How To Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief

Facebook’s Hottest Topics of 2013

It’s that time of year when the Internet giants crunch their Big Data and report on “the most _____________ of the year”.

Here’s Facebook’s contribution to the mix:

Conversations happening all over Facebook offer a unique snapshot of the world, and this year was no different. Every day, people post about the topics and milestones that are important to them – everything from announcing an engagement, to discussing breaking news, or even celebrating a favorite athlete or sports team.

Facebook analyzed the past year’s worth of these posts to reveal the top global trends of 2013:

Top Life Events
Check out the life events people added to their Timeline most frequently in 2013.

Most shared life events on Facebook 2013

Global Life Events

  1. Added a relationship, got engaged or got married
  2. Traveled
  3. Moved
  4. Ended a relationship
  5. First met a friend
  6. Added a family member, expecting a baby or had a baby
  7. Got a pet
  8. Lost a loved one
  9. Got a piercing
  10. Quit a habit

Most Talked About Topics
Take a look at the most mentioned people and events of 2013, which point to some of the most popular topics around the world.

Facebook's most talked-about topics

Global Topics

  1. Pope Francis
  2. Election
  3. Royal Baby
  4. Typhoon
  5. Margaret Thatcher
  6. Harlem Shake
  7. Miley Cyrus
  8. Boston Marathon
  9. Tour de France
  10. Nelson Mandela

“Election” appeared in many languages, and was the second most mentioned term on Facebook worldwide in 2013. With high-profile national elections in countries like India, Kenya, Iran and Italy year, it’s not a surprise to see it near the top of the list.

Facebook also took the pulse of regional conversations in 16 different countries (alas, not including New Zealand). Here’s what our neighbours across the ditch were sharing:

australia

Topics Shared – Australia:

  • Vote
  • Princess Kate
  • Cricket
  • Kevin Rudd
  • Grand Final
  • Election
  • GST
  • Lions
  • Tony Abbott
  • Big Brother

Top Check-Ins Around The World
Explore the places around the world with the most check-ins (excluding transportation hubs).

Most popular Facebook check-ins of 2013

  • Argentina: Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
  • Australia: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), East Melbourne, Victoria
  • Brazil: Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo
  • Canada: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Egypt: Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
  • France: Disneyland Paris, Marne La Vallée
  • Germany: Reeperbahn, Hamburg
  • Hong Kong: 香港迪士尼樂園 | Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Iceland: Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • India: Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple)
  • Italy: Piazza San Marco, Venice
  • Japan: 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland), Tokyo
  • Mexico: Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City
  • Nigeria: Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
  • Poland: Temat Rzeka, Warsaw
  • Russia: Центральный парк культуры и отдыха им. Горького | Gorky Park of Culture and Leisure
  • Singapore: Marina Bay Sands
  • South Africa: Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • South Korea: Myungdong Street, Seoul
  • Spain: Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Catalonia
  • Sweden: Friends Arena, Solna
  • Taiwan: 花園夜市Tainan Flower Night Market, Tainan City
  • Turkey: Taksim Square, Istanbul
  • United Kingdom: The 02, London
  • United States: Disneyland, Anaheim, California

We’re still waiting on Google to publish its most popular searches of 2013, but here’s Bing’s list.