Facebook Newsfeed Changes

How Your Brand Can Survive Facebook’s News Feed Changes

Facebook Newsfeed Changes

By now, you’ve probably heard the “bad” news that the Facebook algorithm for prioritizing its news feed has changed in a way that could potentially damage your ability to leverage the social media platform as a marketing tool. The New York Times has already declared publishers and brands to be the “losers” in this newly restructured Facebook universe, signaling a domino effect of panic amongst marketers and businesses alike. However, not all of us social media experts believe that the sky is falling in the wake of these changes. As a matter of fact, www.360direct.com already has a strategy for how brands can keep playing under the new rules.

Who Really Loses Under the New Facebook Algorithm

It’s easy to forget that changes to Facebook’s news feed prioritizing certain types of content over others has happened before, and brands have not only weathered those changes, but grown their following and reach as a result of them. Just as before, the goal of the latest news feed change is to allow users to have a richer and more personal experience that fosters social connections instead of anti-consumerist sentiments in a brand-weary audience. With this new strategy, Mark Zuckerberg also plans to limit the influence of disingenuous clickbait news sites and sensationalist blogs responsible for circulating falsified content that angers Facebook’s users. The only types of news organizations that will see an increase in viewership are local news pages, which Facebook has promised to feature more regularly.

The clear winners in this new Facebook algorithm are users, who will hopefully benefit from less annoyance and controversy clogging their feeds. As a result, brands and news organizations that do not produce engaging, quality content will see their numbers drop because their material isn’t creating, “meaningful interactions between people.” In order to continue generating likes and shares, content creators will have to funnel increased marketing acumen into their posts in order to persuade Facebook users to interact with their content, which in turn helps those users continue to see posts and shares from their favorite brands. Brands with high engagement may not see a big difference in their reach at all. Regardless of how large your Facebook following is, your active followers should still see your posts. Facebook users that already enjoy your content and have updated their newsfeed settings to feature more of it will still be able to do so, which maximizes the reach of both organic and sponsored content to those who actually want to see it.

Brands Dictate Their Own Success

Brands are the wild card in this equation. Some companies will likely suffer if they continue with the same organic content strategy as before. Even those with a substantial follower base will experience less exposure if they keep pumping out lackluster content, as original content from people is prioritized over their products and services. However, those with an effective sponsored content and remarketing Facebook ad strategy may not see much of a dent at all in their ability to reach a targeted audience at all. Regardless of whether or not you’ve already tried Facebook ads, now might be the time to test them out, because any change in news feed algorithms may impact your success. Speaking of testing, businesses should plan on spending more time in the coming months testing their content posts to see how the new algorithm will react to various types of posts.

Given that Facebook’s ads remain relatively inexpensive and accessible for almost anyone seeking to push out content to a targeted audience, they are a viable option for most brands. Those that began boosting posts and sponsoring content a long time ago are already ahead of the curve, and you may want to think seriously about catching up.

The other mitigated factor of the latest algorithms, is that with a larger number of people being drawn to Facebook due the more meaningful connections they make, the larger your pool of targetable audiences becomes. If Facebook didn’t make these changes, it’s likely that user angst against the constant stream of negative news stories and advertising would drive them away from the platform altogether, and subsequently damaging your brand’s ability to connect with anyone at all.

As marketers we believe that social media posts and advertisements should have as much research and strategy behind them as any other marketing tactic, and in an Internet age where every brand out there is fighting for clicks, it’s all the more important that companies seek help from experts before investing real money into their web presence. For guidance on developing a targeted social media marketing strategy and action plan, connect with a member of the 360 Team via the Contact page.

Social Media for Manufacturers

4 Social Media Sites for Manufacturers

Social Media for Manufacturers

As most of us know, the manufacturing industry can have, shall we say, a bit of an old school approach to marketing and the digital tools available. Many manufacturing execs do not see the need for social media channels to enhance the searchability of their brand and create qualified inbound leads that makes the sales process easier. Unknown corners of the Internet can seem a bit scary, and most prefer to stick to the old tactics they know best.

Now all of this does have to start with a website. For sake of conversation, we’ll assume you have a killer website already created.

Think of your website as Central Station and social media channels as the tracks leading in and out of the station. People coming and going and taking in as much as they can in short bursts. We’ll take a look at some of the key social media channels and the importance of using them for the manufacturing sector.

1. Twitter

Twitter is likely the hardest social media channel to convey its importance to manufacturers. “Why do I need Twitter?” “I don’t know how to use Twitter, why should I bother?” “Twitter is for the younger generation, not us.” First and foremost, Twitter is not just for the younger generation. More and more companies are finding usefulness in Twitter, no matter the age of the manager utilizing the program. Sales teams use it to quickly build what I would call an online roladex to call on later when the time is right. With Twitter, the fire can build so fast that a company can expose their message exponentially in a matter of minutes. The more eyes you have on your message, the more opportunity to sell your product/service to the right target with minimal effort.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a necessity for manufacturers for 2 reasons:

  1. It’s another great avenue for a digital presence. LinkedIn profiles are showing up high in search results without having to do any extra work, other than building a profile and maintaining steady posts. LinkedIn does the rest.
  2. Recruitment. LinkedIn is a resource that many young professionals looking for jobs are using as a tool to find companies of interest, and to make sure they see something interesting coming from the company. Manufacturers know that it is difficult to find good employees that are qualified or trainable. A good LinkedIn presence will help weed out those that may not be the right fit.

3. Facebook

Facebook helps bring humanity to a relatively sterile looking industry. The messages are light and the imagery is friendly. Again, like LinkedIn, Facebook will help in search results and those looking for a manufacturing job. Like Google Places, it also provides location and contact information in an accessible fashion for those trying to look you up. Searchers also consider an active company time-line to signal the credibility and success of a business.

4. Google+ and Google Places

We are all aware at this point that Google loves itself. So it’s simply a necessary step to be on the platforms Google owns. Google+ will help in search rankings and Google Places is what’s seen in the map search. Both are important and should be used simultaneously. These profiles greatly help drive relevancy for Google users as well, meaning, Google wants to be sure that their users are getting the right search results. A lot of it is location specific, so having those profiles again helps get you the right customers to your website or social sites.

There are many more social sites that can be utilized, such as, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, etc. It is highly important to talk to your marketing professional about the right social media channels to be on. Not every one of the channels is right for every company. Your target audience is out there, both buyers and potential employees; it’s using the right tool to engage them that gets your inbound marketing engine up and running.

Social Needia

Social Needia - The Intrinsic Value of Social Media

Social Needia

One morning last week, a couple friends of mine shared a link to video on social media. It was a short production based around a poem titled, “How to Be Alone” by Tanya Davis. It’s a poem that can be interpreted as showing people that being alone is acceptable and empowering. One thing I feel the poem and video are both missing, though, is a differentiation between being alone and being lonely.

Humans are social creatures. We have superior brain function that encourages us to form relationships with each other. I could offer a study, or several, to support that statement, but I think we can all agree without needing to consult further evidence. Communication is vital to our survival, not only this but it’s also vital to the survival of your business. Communication is key in everything from customer service, to sales, advertising, public relations and customer relations. Everything begins and ends with the customer, and you’re in the middle.

This is where social media can be a useful tool, and we have an article to help you determine if social media is right for you and your business. Social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others allow you to be the hub of information and action, driving people to your business.

Why is this significant?

  • People need to be in communication.
  • People need to be social.
  • People need to belong.

Social media outlets give us all those needs. People need social media. Those outlets help us talk to one another, connect us with our friends, even host groups and provide interests to follow and participate in.

Now more than ever, people need social media. We’re stuck in our cubicles or offices all day, staring at a computer screen. We’re in coffee shops with our laptops. We may have others in our workplace and all around us, but let’s face it – when our work is done on a computer, our work can isolate us.

This isolation is what turns us toward social media. We can keep working while simultaneously staying in touch with our friends, letting others know what’s going on in our world, and gleaning information and other tidbits from the likes of Twitter. So, in that respect, social media outlets are not going away, and many who thought it was a passing fad, are now fully on board either personally or professionally. It even took me almost three years after its mainstream launch to finally start using Facebook, and I’m not about to stop. Facebook got me back in touch with old friends, and keeps me in “the loop” with all of them. Twitter gives me information faster than ever.

People need to communicate. People need information. People need to be social. People need to belong. People need social media. Social media provide instant connections to others, even when we’re alone on the couch or at the desk; gets us in touch people and information when we need it.

As useful as social media is, it can be pretty miserable that our lives revolve around looking at a screen all day. This is how we stay connected, how we do our jobs, but it can lead to pretty negative effects on the body. So many of us will suffer from computer vision syndrome due to the blue light of our screens, with constant headaches and eye strain. However, as technology evolves, so do ways to prevent these nasty ailments from happening due to screens; companies are now producing blue light glasses that allow us to stare at our computer screens all day with no physical impact. Never have we been so able to connect.

Think about how you communicate and organize. Hard to imagine your life without a mobile phone, isn’t it? Soon it will be with social media. They have apps for that, you know.

Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter or Facebook?

I came across a blog article titled “Social Media 101: Get your feet wet with Facebook” written by Jeff Larch of Digital Solid.  He was participating in a panel discussion the other day on the hot topic of social media when a member of the audience asked, “I know of MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., but the only one I am a member of is LinkedIn – and I barely know how to use that.  How do I prioritize as I get my feet wet in them?”

Mr. Larch went on to give four valid reasons to why he would advise Facebook over Twitter.

I would like to take a moment to offer my advice to the questioner along with any of you that may have the same question.

Before making any clear calls, I would ask the #1 question we ask all of our clients prior to offering any advice, consultation, or service:  “What are your objectives?”  The questioner did state that they wanted to get their “feet wet” in the social media universe.  But I’m curious to know, “Where did they plan to go or what did they plan to do once they learn how to swim?

Based on their response to that question, then, and only then, do I believe you can offer the best advice on which would be better for a beginner because usage of each current service can lead to a different result.

What is the purpose?

If the questioner simply wanted to connect with friends and family, then Facebook may be the best option at this time.  If they had an interest in music and entertainment, then a few years ago, MySpace would have been a better option. Although today, that social media platform is largely considered defunct, even for those in the music industry. If they wanted to professionally network, then LinkedIn would be a better fit.  If they were an information junkie and had an interest that they wanted to read or share frequently, then Twitter may be the best option.  In addition, the questioner should know that some sites are limited to only allowing the user to brand themselves, while other sites are more business and organization friendly.

Learn how to use multiple networks to reach your audience

Getting your feet wet in the waves of an ocean is a different experience from getting them wet in the calm of a pond.  Knowing which experience the questioner was looking for would best determine which direction I would point.  Based on your objectives, you may need to familiarize yourself and learn how to use multiple networks and tools to reach all of your target audience.  I can tell you from firsthand experience that beyond the signup stage, each site and tool is unique in how it can be and should be used so test driving one will not give you a beginner’s understanding of them all.

If the questioner was a business owner or executive, then there are even more questions he or she would need to answer before I could offer my best advice.  Do you have a marketing plan?  What is your market?  Can you describe your ideal customer?  What is your annual marketing budget?  And in terms of social media marketing and/or networking, I would definitely need to know if he or she had “more time than money, or more money than time.”

Most importantly in terms of business, Tom Snyder said it best in his Trivera blog: “Social media is an advertising activity, and not marketing.  Social media is a tactic, and not a strategy.  Advertising = Tactic  /  Marketing = Strategy.”

Social media is only part of the plan

At 360 Direct, we agree that social media should be part of an overall marketing plan.  If it’s done in an ad hoc fashion, especially since most of your potential customers and clients are still unfamiliar with social media, then it poses the risk to either disappoint or possibly damage you and/or your company’s brand.  Based on the news reports I’ve seen time and time again, it’s clear that simple mistakes like posting a politically incorrect comment, or sharing a private picture can lead to big problems for you and your company.  Once it’s on the web, you lose total control over how it will be used or depicted by everyone who views it.

Look before you leap!

If you or the questioner would not be comfortable handling a public relations campaign for yourself or your company, then you should think twice before promoting and branding yourself or your company through social media without consulting with a professional prior to creating your first screen name.  No matter which new social media services you ultimately choose to “get your feet wet” in or implement into your larger marketing strategy, the old axiom still remains true:  “If you fail to plan, you fail to plan.”  So look hard before you leap.

For whatever it’s worth, in case you are wondering how I came across Mr. Larch’s article…..it was through a “tweet” on Twitter.

Social Media Cube

Should my business enter the social media network?

Social Media Cube

Social media & the age gap

Years ago, this question began resonating in marketing meetings across the country as the Internet steadily becomes more of a necessity than a commodity. However, in spite of its prevalence in our society, the percentage of businesses aware of social media is still fairly low. There is not only a technology barrier involved, but an age gap. Social media, also called Web 2.0, is an evolutionary sector spawned through the Internet primarily by college students and youth, hence the age gap. Business owners today may feel like they have the Internet well in hand. They understand the web, email, and ecommerce. They may even have FastSpring software helping to fuel their services. However, just when they thought they had mastered the technology around them, new trends made it speed by at light speed. If you find yourself in that group, don’t feel too bad. Even technology “geeks” in their 30s and 40s have been caught by surprise and are grappling to fully understand this continually evolving phenomenon.

Social media already has powerful marketing capabilities. Products and services are being marketed through the viral nature of this network every minute of every day. If your business has customers or is seeking customers that are using social media, you will need to understand this network or hire someone to manage it for you. Alternatively, you could consider seeking some popular influencers on these social media platforms to market and promote your products and business for you. By working with these people, your business doesn’t have to worry about creating your own content, as these popular influencers will do it for you. To learn more about this sort of marketing, get in contact with an influencer marketing agency today. It will become an evolution of your overall web strategy. As social media use expands, so do the age demographics that utilize it, which increases the number of industries for which social media becomes a vital marketing tactic.

The technology is always changing

Facebook and Twitter have taken the population by storm for the past several years, and have led the way in developing the social media space. You adapted, broke down, and yes, created your own Facebook page. You smiled, as you thought you were now up to date on the new technology. Don’t get too comfortable though, because now you must learn the ropes of Tumblr, post photos to Flickr, and utilize Medium to promote your blogs. The bottom line is technology is always changing, and as soon as you adjust to the nuances of Web2.0, Web 3.0 will start to loom on the horizon. Remember that about 20 years ago the internet did not exist for all but universities and the military. How did business function without email in 1994? I scarcely remember.

Stay ahead of the game

360 Direct is riding the technological storm and staying up to date on the trends so that our customers don’t have to. Find out more about what 360 Direct is doing to bring together your business and cutting edge technology at our blog.