Facebook has announced it’s made some big changes to its News Feed algorithm.
Facebook is updating their News Feed Algorithm which means a lot to company’s trying to expand their brands through social media, especially Facebook. We believe these updates could significantly impact how business’ of all sizes, in particular small business’, use Facebook for content marketing purposes.
In a post titled “News Feed FYI: Balancing Content from Friends and Pages,” Facebook said it’s constantly evaluating what’s the right mix of content in the News Feed from friends, public figures, publishers, and brands. For instance, news articles with many likes and comments have typically appeared high up in users’ news feeds, but that is being reduced to a degree in favor of non-business
We believe it has a lot to do with traditional “Pay for Play” advertising model. If you want to be featured to your target audience, you have to pay for that highly coveted spot. That means that if major publishers see traffic dips—which is indicated to be quite possible—it might make them consider ramping up on paid Facebook promos.
Here’s a quick summary of Facebook’s algorithm update:
Posts from friends will carry more weight than posts from brands. Friend’s posts will be higher up in the News Feed, with brand pages below. With this shift, organic posts from brands won’t carry as much weight, so to extend their reach they will have to engage in paid advertising.
Stories about friends liking or commenting on posts will be de-emphasized. These stories will appear lower down on the News Feed or not at all.
Facebook users will now be able to see more than one post from the same source in a row. Facebook says they are “relaxing” their previous rule that prevented back-to-back News Feed posts from the same source.
This change may affect referral traffic for publishers. As a result of this update, publishers and brands could see a lower post reach and a decline in referral traffic.
This is a move that will keep Facebook relevant and create a better News Feed experience for users.
As a brand or publisher, post things that are meaningful to your fans, rather than posting every day just to post something. The better quality, the better your content will stand out in the update.
Plan on putting more emphasis on paid advertising to increase engagement- the good news here is that Facebook ads show great ROI.
Mobile is not just another channel. It is arguably one of the best ways to reach potential customers through content marketing. But understanding consumer behavior is even more important.
Unlike desktops or laptops, mobile devices are with consumers at all times and in almost every situation: Most people check their mobile phone before brushing their teeth and 90% of people have their phone within reach 24/7. This presents unprecedented access to these always-connected, voracious content consumers.
It also means that there’s no one-size fits all approach that will work for content marketing on mobile. However, there are some things to keep in mind that cut across all types of businesses, consumers and content that will make your mobile content marketing efforts more effective:
1. Make sure it is content to go.
While the majority of activities people do on their phones revolve around communication (texting, email and, yes, making calls), mobile devices are the ultimate immediate gratification device–and that creates a content opportunity. From apps and push notifications to directions and other “just-in-time” information, mobile provides the optimal place to connect with consumers exactly when and where they need you.
Research shows that as many as 81% of consumers research a product on their mobile device before they buy it–even from inside retail outlets. This provides an opportunity to do more than offer point-of-purchase discounts or promote your products. If someone is researching a home theater system and you provide information on the requisite cables while they are still in the store, you add value to their shopping experience, win their esteem and maybe even their business. Increasingly, content can be targeted to their in-store activities by using beacons–indoor low-energy Bluetooth connections–so the opportunity to be there with content when you are needed is growing every day.
And retail outlets are far from the only place people are using mobile devices and are receptive to quality content marketing. Consider the situations your customers find themselves in and be there with just-in-time content: Serve up recipes in the kitchen, essential competitor information on the way into a meeting, rainy day activities on vacation, how to build a toy on Christmas Eve. The possibilities are endless.
2. Format matters.
Though texting is an incredibly popular activity on smartphones–and Short Message Service (SMS) can be effective for content marketing–mobile consumers do not live by text alone.
Images make it easy to glance at a page (particularly on a small screen) and to quickly understand the content on offer. Images can be processed faster by the consumer and drive a faster decision to click. Images also evoke emotions, which drives action for many consumers.
Video was once the domain of the lean-back, relaxation time of day: evenings on-the-sofa time. Today, people consume video anytime and anywhere. According a Nielsen study, 28% of online consumers watch video on their mobile devices at least once a day. From how to change a bike tire on the side of a mountain or how to knot a scarf on the way to a party, video is a great way to deliver valuable content and to market your products and services in the process.
Optimizing your site and content for mobile delivery is essential for content marketing. However apps offer an even more engaging possibility for some content experiences. That said, apps aren’t easy or inexpensive to create or to keep stocked with fresh content so it is important to consider whether you have enough of a high-value proposition for your consumer before you start down this path. Increasingly, retailers are experimenting with apps that not only serve customer’s research and purchase needs, but provide added features such as purchase tracking and even tools to increase utility and engagement. A tool can also work as a standalone app if you can identify an ongoing need your consumers have (that aligns with your marketing objectives) and get to work solving their problem and reinforcing your brand in the process.
3. Time is of the essence.
Mobile consumers want convenience. While they use their devices throughout the day and in a multitude of contexts, mobile use is still dominated by short bursts of activity and found-time throughout the day. It is important to consider what these opportunities look like for your market target and to create content accordingly: Is your consumer a mom in line at the store trying to decide if a toy is age appropriate or safe? Or is your customer a salesman on the way into a meeting who needs up-to-the-minute information on his client?
The time of day that people are seeking out your content also matters. Will they be looking for what you have to offer during those busy daytime hours? Or might they be more likely to look for it on a tablet, later in the day when they are ready and willing to consume longer form content?
Not to be lost in all of this is that most people use multiple devices for the same task, often sequentially, for instance starting to research a product on one device and continuing the research on one or more other devices throughout the day. Thus, it is important to create consistent experiences across devices, both in terms of things like responsive design, but also in terms of your marketing campaign so that it engages across multiple touch points and is ready to meet your customers with content whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself.
A colleague of mine recently sent this to me because we are in the midst of doing something similar for a client. I thought the article was educational and supported some great points. It was originally published in 2009, but still a great read. Enjoy!
Writing Decisions: Headline tests on the Highrise signup page
We’ve been rotating some headlines and subheads on the Highrise signup page to see if they have an effect on signups. Answer: They do, sometimes significantly.
Here’s how the test works. We used Google Website Optimizer to randomly rotate five different headline and subhead combinations on the signup page. We’re measuring the number of clicks on any green “Sign Up” button. We’re not measuring any specific plan, just that “someone picked a paying plan.” We ran the test for 4000 page views. Why 4000? The numbers didn’t change much after about 3000 page views, so we stopped at 4000.
Note: We recognize that switching both the headline and the subhead isn’t quite as informative or scientific as just switching the headline or the subhead. We’re OK with this. This experiment was part learning how to use Google Website Optimzer, part curiosity, and part conversion research. More detailed tests will follow.
The original: Worst performer
This is the headline we launched with. The headline asked people to “Start a Highrise Account.” “30-day free trial” was centered bold in the subhead. The rest of the subhead highlighted that Highrise is a pay-as-you-go service and that there are no hidden fees.
The winner: 30% better conversion than the original
This combo put the emphasis on the 30-day free trial by making that the headline. The subhead let people know that signup was quick (less than 60 seconds). The second part of the subhead asked someone to “pick a plan.” This was also the only combo to feature an exclamation mark. Would be interesting to run this headline against itself — one with a period and one with an exclamation mark.
Second place: 27% better conversion than the original
This one also promoted the “30-day Free Trial” in the headline, but instead of highlighting signup speed, we highlighted other benefits: Pay as you go, no long term contracts, no hidden fees, no surprises.
Third place: 15% better conversion than the original
This combo went back to the original “Start a Highrise Account” headline, but tacked on “Today” at the end. The subhead was the same as the second place finisher: Pay as you go, no long term contracts, no hidden fees, no surprises.
Fourth place: 7% better conversion than the original
This combo featured the winning “30-day…” headline, but replaced plan information in the subhead with quick customer testimonials plus a link to the buzz page. Even though this was the only design with a link away from the signup page, it still performed better than the original design.
What did we learn
We have some theories, but we’re curious to hear from you. Why do you think these combinations finished the way they did? What other combinations would you like to see us try? What other tests would you like to see run on this page? How else do you think we could increase conversion?
What happened over the last few weeks though is that we collected a number of awesome tips to post on social media, that didn’t quite all fit together. So we thought, why not creating a list of unique tips, that might not have that much in common, but are hopefully still very useful for you!
So, here we go, a list of six rather random social media tips to help you improve your marketing today:
1. STOP MAKING THE MOST COMMON TWITTER MISTAKE
Here’s a quick tip about a mistake that is made all the time on Twitter. In a HubSpot post, Jay Acunzo was kind enough to offer up his own experience with this for us to learn from.
Here’s Jay’s Tweet, which he used as an example:
The mistake is an easy one to miss, but it all comes down to the very start of the Tweet. Starting a Tweet with a username (this one starts with @HubSpot) means thatonly the sender, the person mentioned and anyone who follows them both will see it.
In this case, Jay and HubSpot will both see the Tweet in their timelines, and anyone who happens to follow both Jay and HubSpot will see it in their timelines.
Of course, anyone who scrolls through Jay’s whole Twitter profile would see it as well, but we want to focus on getting your Tweets into the timelines of your followers.
So, how do we solve this? If you really want to start your Tweet with a username, add a period to the beginning, like this:
Gary Vaynerchuck even created a 44-page slideshow for this one Twitter mistake. It’s definitely worth flicking through it:
So next time you want to Tweet about someone, don’t forget to add a period at the beginning if you want all of your followers to see it!
2. SCHEDULE YOUR UPDATES TO POST JUST BEFORE OR AFTER THE HOUR
Convince & Convert founder Jay Baer shared a great tip in this Social Media Examiner post for scheduling your updates at just the right time.
If you’re trying to reach business people like marketers, office workers or managers, this is especially handy. Jay sets his Buffer schedule to post updates just before or just after the hour. He does this to catch people who are checking social media just before or just after a meeting.
Here’s Jay’s example:
Meeting is scheduled from 1-2 pm. Meeting lets out slightly early at 1:57 pm, and attendees check Twitter on the way back to their desk. Meeting goes a little long, and that dip into social media occurs at 2:03 pm.
Jay also makes a note that scheduling Tweets around common lunch and dinner times (if you can–time zones can make this a bit difficult) is a good way to make sure more of your posts are seen. When look further into the science of timing, there’re alsosome other great tips beyond Jay’s ideas.
3. FOLLOW OR FAVORITE ALL PEOPLE RETWEETING YOUR ARTICLES TO GROW YOUR AUDIENCE
One tip that I learned from Leo when I joined Buffer was to keep an eye on who shares my content on Twitter.
Just by monitoring mentions of my username, I can find people who are interested in the posts I write, and then quickly follow them or favorite their Tweet.
Try searching for your website’s name or URL, your full name and any specific keywords or hashtags that you use. If you don’t have time to reply to all of the matching Tweets, a quick favorite can help you make contact with those users.
Being able to get more Twitter followers with a number of tips that simply show gratitude are my favorite, since they’re completely non-intrusive and build on your previous efforts. We’ve written about more examples here.
4. KEEP AN EYE ON FACEBOOK’S CHANGING GUIDELINES
Facebook has had some pretty strict guidelines for running promotions on your Page in the past, and it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re not in breach of any of these. In fact, their recent big algorithm change, turned the Facebook marketing worldupside down.
What you might not know is that Facebook has actually lifted some of the rules for running promotions (they’re fond of changing things at Facebook). A recent Socially Stacked blog post looked at five of the guidelines Facebook has removed:
1. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
You can now run promotions on your Timeline or by using a third-party application.
2. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.
Now that you can run promotions on your Page’s Timeline, you can require a Comment or Like on your post for entry. You still can’t ask fans to enter by sharing your post on their own Timeline, though.
3. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
Not only can you ask fans to Like or Comment on a post to enter your competition, but you can use Likes as a voting feature now, as well.
4. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism.
You can actually use a Like on your Page or a check-in to your business as entry into a promotion, now. Since Likes aren’t differentiated for promotions, however, the Socially Stacked team don’t recommend using this option.
5. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
Facebook has relaxed this guideline, so that you can now use the comment stream, status updates, your own blog or website, and even email or Twitter to notify winners.