How to fix your Facebook ‘Reachpocolypse’ problem

how to fix your Facebook reachpocolypse problemIs your business still putting all its eggs in Facebook’s basket? If so, you might want to rethink that tactic.

Facebook has reduced the number of organically shared status updates from 17 percent 24 months ago to around 6.5 percent now. The theory is that, ultimately, Facebook will reduce organic shares to 1 percent or even less. Marketing pro Jay Baer is calling this decline the “Reachpocolypse.”

In December 2013 Facebook announced that it was changing the algorithm that determined which items in the News Feed were displayed because “competition for each News Feed story is increasing.”  While Facebook claimed that the reason for the tighter restrictions was to increase quality of posts, marketers suspected – and Facebook did not deny – that it was pushing advertising as an alternative to organic exposure.

How Facebook decides which posts to show

Facebook decides which posts to display through a complicated formula called EdgeRank that includes roughly 100,000 different indicators. According to TechCrunch, these factors include:

  • How popular (Liked, commented on, shared, clicked) are the post creator’s past posts with everyone?
  • How popular is this post with everyone who has already seen it?
  • How popular have the post creator’s past posts been with the viewer?
  • Does the type of post (status update, photo, video, link) match what types have been popular with the viewer in the past?
  • How recently was the post published?

Many brands have paid handsomely to build up their fan base on Facebook through paid advertising, believing they were investing in creating a community that they would be able to engage with over the long-term. Now some feel that they’ve been hoodwinked.

Eat24 posted a “breakup” letter on its blog, telling Facebook, “ . . . we can’t trust you. You lied to us and said you were a social network but you’re totally not a social network. At least not anymore … So that’s it. We’re done … We’ll pack our things and be gone by 11:59 pm on Monday night . . . Eat24, the company that is always telling customers to Like our page, post on our wall, and ask us for coupons on Facebook… is deleting its Facebook.” And it did.

Derek Muller of Veritasium, a science education media organization, posted a YouTube video claiming that Facebook’s advertising model is deeply flawed and that its revenue is based on fake likes. He said he paid to promote his page, gaining 80,000 followers in developing countries who didn’t care about his page and subsequently did not engage with his posts, driving his reach numbers down. Even when page owners are careful to target their campaigns – by limiting “Likes” to Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Austrania – he said owners were likely to be duped into spending money on fake followers. Then owners would have to pay again to reach their followers.

It’s even possible to be the victim of fake likes without advertising, Muller said. Pages that end up on Facebook’s International Suggested Pages are targets for click-farms seeking to diversity their likes so that they aren’t as likely to be identified.

Remember — it’s all about Facebook.

Brands need to recognize that Facebook cares, first and foremost, about its business – not about theirs. During the period of October 2013 to February 2014, the timeframe when Facebook reduced organic reach from 12 to 6 percent (and sometimes as low as 1 percent), its stock price increased from nearly $50 to nearly $70, adding billions to its market capitalization.

Many marketing and financial experts say that Facebook’s growth is dependent on monetizing its existing user base, since it is has reached 60 percent global penetration and it doesn’t have a lot of room to grow organically. Robert Rose, chief strategist of Content Marketing Institute, says that he and his Wall Street friends and clients doubt future growth without acquisitions. Some say Facebook won’t even be in business – at least in its present form — in 10 years.

What’s the solution to the diminishing Facebook visibility?

Baer, a best-selling author and blogger at Convince and Convert, recommends four strategies to fix the Facebook problem:

  1. Publish things that are worthy of attention. (improve the quality of your posts.)
  2. Pay to play (advertise).
  3. Get customers or employees to carry more of your messages on Facebook (easier said than done!)
  4. Start building community elsewhere. (i.e., Google+ or Twitter)

Kevan Lee of Buffer provides these six tips:

  1. Try the cultivation strategies used by Fortune 500 companies:
    • Openness and disclosure – Show what goes on in the company.
    • Access – Show availability for customers and fans to reach out and interact with the company.
    • Positivity – Make the customer’s experience enjoyable.
    • Assurances – Make customers feel their concerns are important.
    • Networking – Show shared interests with fans.
    • Sharing of tasks – Collaborate with fans to solve problems.
  2. Post at non-peak times.
  3. Share original, behind-the-scenes photos of you and your team.
  4. Engage your community with questions.
  5. Share self-explanatory photos (infographics are good for this).
  6. Look at the numbers differently. (Look at your reach on a daily and weekly basis – it’s higher than you might think if you post several times a day.)

What I think you should do about your Facebook reach problem

Here are my tips to consider:

  1. Don’t base your marketing success on properties you don’t own. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc., do not owe brands exposure. These sites are in business to make money, so they get to make the rules. Instead, spend more of your resources on your own digital properties – your website and blog. These are properties over which you have control and should be the foundation of your digital footprint. Social media sites are just the icing on the cake.
  2. Consider Facebook advertising as part of your overall advertising budget. It’s a bargain compared to traditional advertising costs and it’s highly targetable. An effective, three-pronged marketing program includes a balance of purchased media (advertising), owned media (website/blog, email, publications, direct mail) and earned media (PR and social media).
  3. To increase visibility on Facebook, post updates on your personal profile in addition to your business page, as Facebook is more generous with organic reach on personal profiles than on business pages. If you want to use your personal profile to promote your business but want to maintain the “friend” status only for close friends, enable the “follow” status for business acquaintances and use filters to determine who you share status updates with. You might also consider starting a group as an alternative to a business page because of the more generous reach allowances.
  4. If you’ve postponed getting started on Google+, now is the time. It has more than 1.15 billion registered users and 201 million active mobile users on a monthly basis. Social Media Today says Google+ is on the track to beat Facebook and become the most widely used social media.  Google+ has several unique features, such as Hangouts on Air and Circles, and it helps you extend your reach and become visible by creating relationships with industry influencers. When you post links to your blog posts there, they are indexed almost immediately by Google. (But remember — don’t put all of your eggs there! You don’t own it!)

In summary, Facebook has been a fun – and sometimes profitable – ride while it lasted, but the free ride has come to an end. Facebook can still be helpful to brands in a limited way as a free medium or it can be an excellent paid medium that allows brands to target their audience very specifically according to the demographics they want to reach. Brands seeking to build their business on free promotion alone must look elsewhere.

 

 

Facebook status updates: tiny content bombs to explode your business

Facebook status updatesFacebook has been around for 10 years now since it launched in 2004. It’s almost hard to remember what life was like pre-Facebook! Now we can update our Facebook status and communicate with all of our friends and family at once, or offer a discount coupon on a Facebook business Fan Page and begin seeing results in minutes.

You’re likely to get into a rut when using your Facebook status update to market your business because you do what comes easy for you. Resist the urge. Evaluate your page’s Insights and see what type of content results in the highest reach and engagements. Facebook provides detailed statistics on your page engagement under the admin panel. Do more of that.

You may need to experiment with some different types of content than you are used to posting on your Fan Page status. It’s more important than ever to post quality content because Facebook has gradually reduced its organic sharing of posts since 2006. On December 5, 2013, it announced that it was changing its algorithm again to “show the right content at the right time,” which meant that even fewer organic posts would be showed. 

The number of times your content is viewed is influenced by factors such as the number of likes, shares and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular, and how much fans have interacted with this type of post in the past. This means that now you really have to work to get “free” Facebook status update views.

Of course Facebook isn’t saying this, but the obvious reason for the algorithm change is that they’re pushing brands toward its advertising as an alternative way of getting more eyes on posts. The easiest way to promote your Fan Page is through boosted posts. After you have your credit card information logged in, it’s simple to click “boost post” on an individual Facebook status update and get thousands of additional views.

You can either boost the post and allow Facebook to select the audience (“friends of friends”) or get more granular with your audience and drill down by selecting demographics such as cities, ages and various keyword descriptors, such as “small business,” “chamber of commerce” or “medical.”

Several times a month I select particular blog post links I want to boost and spend $30 each to boost my Facebook status updates. Within 24 hours, a boost will results in anywhere from 5,ooo to 10,000 views vs. a couple of dozen organic views. Of those views, I’m likely to get about 20-25 clicks on my link, 30-35 clicks on my post and 5-6 “likes” on the post. Those link clicks have brought me several new leads, so it’s definitely been worth the money.

Try these Facebook status updates

So, what are some different types of Facebook status updates that you might want to try?

1) Questions: You want to engage your fans, and questions are a great way to do that. But don’t just ask general questions, ask questions that relate to your business. One of the best I’ve seen at this is Jim Hicks Home Improvement, who not only uses the technique on his Fan Page, but also on his personal Profile Page. He posts photos of beautiful rooms and then asks questions such as, “What do you like most about this mud room?” and “What’s the best element in this before and after kitchen remodel?” His friends rush to comment on his updates.

2) Content from your website or blog: As I mentioned above, I post a lot of links to my blog posts on Facebook. It’s a great way to promote your blog. But don’t forget about your website, as well. If you’ve got new products, new employees or sales to announce, go ahead and post those, too.

But here’s the caveat. The majority of your Facebook status updates should not be sales-focused information. You should remember the 80/20 rule. About 80 percent of your posts should be helpful information from multiple sources. If you provide helpful or entertaining content most of the time, then your fans will let you get away with the occasional sales-y or promotional status update. Just don’t overdo it.

3) Coupons: Research shows that offering coupons with “$ off” produces twice the engagement of “% off.” Even if the actual dollar amount is small, fans prefer the cash discounts.

4) Facebook status updates that include a single image generate 120 percent more engagement than the average post. A cool way to add photos is to use PicMonkey to add text to your photos before uploading them to make them stand out.

5) Run contests, promotions, drawings or sweepstakes: Until recently, you had to use a third-party app to do this. Facebook changed the rules in August 2013 and began allowing businesses to run their own promotions by changing their page terms. Just be sure you follow the rules to a T. This article explains really well what you can and can’t do.

6) Behind-the-scene-look: This works really well, especially if you are in a “glamour” industry such as media. Show “a-day-in-the life”-type photos and content that usually only employees get to see. A similar type of content is “before-and-after” shots of makeovers — whether you are a hairdresser, dog groomer or a house remodeler.

7) Posts about your favorite charity: Not only is it helpful to the charity, it shows that your business is community minded. You can even combine your Facebook promotion with your social responsibility by challenging the Facebook community to help you reach a certain level of “likes” by a given date, and in response you will make a donation to the charity. For example, if breast cancer awareness is your cause, you might challenge your fans to help you reach 5,000 “likes” by the end of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and you will give $1 for each “like” you receive.

These are just a few ways to think differently about the content you are sharing on your Facebook status updates. There are many creative communications tools you can integrate into your social media strategy if you plan your approach rather than waiting until the last minute to figure out what you are going to post. The best way to do this is by setting up a content calendar a month at a time so that you’ll know in advance what you are doing from one week to the next. At the end of each month, use your Facebook Insights to analyze what worked, then rinse and repeat.

 

 


Six dumb ways smart people screw up their social media visibility

social media visibilitySocial media is all about being visible — and sociable. And yet, some people are still not getting those most fundamental concepts right when it comes to setting up their profiles for success.

I’m amazed when I see some of the basic mistakes that people continue to make on social media. Here are a few of my “favorites”:

1) Failure to upload a profile photograph. There’s just no excuse for this. If you don’t have a professional shot (which everyone in business should have, by the way), get someone to take a picture of you with your cell phone. Don’t be so vain — or secretive. People do not want to “friend” or connect with someone they don’t know if they don’t have a photo uploaded. I have a policy of not connecting with people who don’t have photos. If you’ve ever been “cyber-stalked,” you’ll understand the reluctance. It’s just creepy.

2) And sorry. Uploading a logo, a picture of a flower or one of your dog is not any better.

3) Using an initial instead of a full last name on LinkedIn. Really? How do you plan to network for business with an initial, such as “Linda N.” How many other “Linda N.s” do you think there are in the world? Why do you even bother? Nearly as ridiculous, but not quite as annoying, is the fake name or “first name only” on Facebook. If your IRL friends know you and you plan to stick to socializing with them, that’s fine. Just don’t be surprised if you get turned down for any further connections.

4) Using a profile page as a business page on Facebook. When I get a friend request from one of these, I politely explain to the person that they have misused the profile page and should correct it. But I do not accept such “friend” requests, because I do not know who the person is. You cannot see the name of the person, only the business. Businesses must use fan pages to promote their businesses. Besides, it is in the business’s best interest to use a fan page, because of all the additional functionality on that type of page.

5) Uploading the business name rather than the individual’s name on the LinkedIn personal profile. Ditto everything I said in the previous example. LinkedIn now offers business pages, where business information goes.

6) Failing to complete your profile. You can’t expect people to interact with you if you don’t give them some information about yourself — especially on LinkedIn. That’s why you’re on there, right? Do you answer the door to someone you don’t know who provides you no indication as to who they are and what they want?

Social media visibility vs. privacy

I understand that some people may be nervous about putting their personal information online for the world to see and possibly use for nefarious purposes. But you can’t have the benefits of social media visibility and only put one toe in the water. You are either all in or you don’t play the game at all. If you are trying in increase your social media visibility for business, you must get the basics — and much more — right.





Creative communications tools that help you rock social media

creative communications tools(Second of a series on creative communications tools. The first was: Creative communications tools that help you attract leads to your business.)

Where to begin? There are thousands of cool and creative communications tools to monitor and optimize the function of social media sites. Many are simple tools that have only one function and are novel to play with, but don’t have a lot of practical applications. Other tools are like Swiss army knives that perform multiple functions.

Some of these tools are real time savers. They help you perform functions that would otherwise take hours. When you don’t have a social media team to help you keep up with posting, following and answering comments, much less blogging and other content marketing, you need all the time-savers you can get. These tools do just that.

Twitter has the most off-site tools because of its open API that allows collaborators to design programs to work with its content stream. It’s not unusual to see Twitter tools come and go as some catch on with users and others go by the wayside. We’ll take a look at a few of the most useful apps for social media we’ve found here.

8 Creative communications tools for social media you should know about:

1) Topsy: Topsy is to social media what Google is to the web. It’s a free search engine for all social media. It allows you to search topics in general to see what content is being shared, or you can break that down by links, tweets, photos, videos and influencers. In addition, you can view a chart that analyzes a comparison of up to three terms trending over a month, and there’s another page to track social trends.

2) Followerwonk: Followerwonk is a sophisticated Twitter tool that analyzes, tracks and sorts your Twitter followers. You can sort your followers according to whatever criteria you decide, and it allows you to weed out dormant followers. You can find your most influential followers and analyze those they follow; compare your social graph to competitors, friends or industry leaders; and search all Twitter profiles to locate profiles you want to follow, whether it’s new talent, customers, or just friends.

3) ManageFlitter: This app is another that helps you sort and manage your Twitter followers, track who unfollowed you, helps you manage multiple Twitter accounts and track keyword mentions.

4) Twixonomy: This tool allows you to analyze your competitor or anyone else on Twitter. You can see the type of content they send and how it performs so that you can emulate their content for your own distribution, check out your competitor’s followers/friends so that you can engage with them; and identify the hashtags your competitors use so that you can monitor their content.

5) PicMonkey: PicMonkey is a free online photo editor that allows you to add text to your pictures for sharing on social media. It also allows you to create a photo collage. There are apps and extensions for Facebook and Chrome.

6) Tagboard: With Tagboard, you can research topics across all social media platforms based on hashtags.

7) Nestivity: You’re probably familiar with TweetChats. Well, Nestivity offers TweetCasts, which are TweetChats on steroids. With this site, you can share rich media, conduct presentations, stream live video and showcase your products using the social amplification of Twitter, all in the same chat.

8) Brook: With this app, you can subscribe to get the five best tweets from the people you select. It’s a way to cut down on the ubiquitous Twitter “noise.”

These are just a handful of the creative communications tools available to help you manage and get more value from your social media. Tomorrow we’ll focus on tools specifically dedicated to blogs and websites. Note: blogs ARE social media. Just because I’m separating them from this post, doesn’t mean that I’m saying they aren’t social media — they are. I’m only pulling out the blog tools and running them with the website tools because I had to draw a line somewhere.

Photo:

Attribution Some rights reserved by mkhmarketing

 

 




Why is my Facebook News Feed reach going down?

Why is my Facebook News Feed reach going down?
Brands struggle to stay on top of all of Facebook’s changes.

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If you have been paying attention to your Facebook numbers in the past week or so, you probably noticed that they have gone down – way down.

My organic reach – that is, the posts I don’t pay for, have dropped by more than 50 percent. What’s up with that?

On Dec. 5, Facebook announced that it was changing its algorithm – again – to show people the right content at the right time.

This is how Facebook explains it:

People are connecting and sharing more than ever. On a given day, when someone visits News Feed, there are an average of 1,5001 possible stories we can show.

As a result, competition for each News Feed story is increasing. Because the content in News Feed is always changing, and we’re seeing more people sharing more content, Pages will likely see changes in distribution. For many Pages, this includes a decline in organic reach. We expect this trend to continue as the competition for each story remains strong and we focus on quality.

As the dynamic nature of News Feed continues to follow people’s patterns of sharing, Page owners should continue using the most effective strategy to reach the right people: a combination of engaging Page posts and advertising to promote your message more broadly. Advertising lets Pages reach the fans they already have and find new customers as well. The fans you have matter. In addition to being some of the most loyal customers, fans also make the advertising on Facebook even more effective.

Ultimately, what’s good for people on Facebook is good for the businesses that use Facebook to reach and engage them. One of the ways we maintain a good balance between the two is by making sure News Feed is as interesting and timely as possible. We’ll continue to provide updates about how News Feed works, so stay tuned.

More news — fewer memes

Facebook’s goal is to incorporate more news articles and current events and to downplay memes, according to Varun Kacholia, engineering manager, and Minwin Ji, software engineer, writing on the Facebook blog. Facebook wants to be the place to go to stay up-to-date on what’s happening. A Pew Research study released in October found that 30% of adults in the U.S. get their news on Facebook. Facebook is competing with Twitter to be the social network of choice for news consumption.

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Facebook has been reducing the number of fans/friends who saw your posts since it began using EdgeRank in 2006. EdgeRank, based on the factors of affinity (how close is the relationship between the user and the content/source?), weight (what type of action was taken on the content?) and decay (how recent/current is the content?) was replaced with an algorithm with as many as 100,000 factors. In August 2013, Facebook said that EdgeRank was officially dead, and its News Feed algorithm was based on machine learning.

As Facebook has gradually reduced its organic sharing of posts, it has been pushing brands toward its advertising as an alternative way of getting more eyes on posts. Originally Facebook only offered the standard ad on the right-hand side of the screen that asked people to “like” your page and directed them to either your page or your website. Then Facebook began offering sponsored stories, a type of ad generated from fans’ interactions with your Facebook page. The ad includes your friend’s profile picture and gives and overview of the friend’s recent action with your page, such as a like or comment, and then shows it as an ad to his/her friends.

The other post-related advertising includes the page post or promoted post (also called “boosting” a post). This option allows you to use a recent post on your page to act as an ad. It could be anything – a video, link or an event. Your Facebook page’s name is the title and the body of the ad is the content. I have personally used this several times for blog posts and saw engagement with a post skyrocket. For $30 each, I received a reach of nearly 5,000 with one ad and 5,700 with a second.

Three rules: quality, quality, quality

Obviously, Facebook is a business and has to make a profit to stay in business. I suppose the question that remains is how much more can Facebook change its algorithm to reduce the sharing of organic posts and still call itself a “social” media? When will people decide that the time it takes to post to Facebook just isn’t worth the effort?

While Facebook isn’t saying exactly how this new algorithm works, it is clear that producing top-quality material for posting on Facebook is a must to compete with media outlets. The algorithm does include an updated bumping feature that means your rank on the page is affected by factors such as:

  • How often you interact with the friend, page, or public figure (like an actor or journalist) who posted
  • The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular
  • How much you have interacted with this type of post in the past
  • Whether or not you and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post

That means if you are creating quality content and getting likes, comments and shares, your posts should continue to get viewed by more people.

The bottom line, once again, comes down to consistency and quality. You must create high-quality content over and over again, and you probably are going to have to spend some money on Facebook advertising if you want your content to be viewed by more than a handful of people. Facebook’s model is built on advertising rather than membership, and until that changes (it won’t), that’s just the way it is.

Photo: by stoneysteiner

How to get leads using Google+

how to get leads using google+

In this search result, those contributors who have Google Authorship — including me — rise to the top of search results. The thumbnails indicate Google Authorship.

 

If you haven’t ventured onto Google+ yet, you should. I know, I know. Yet another social media site that you need to manage. Who’s got the time? I’m with you on that. But I really think it’s worth it, because you can get leads using Google+.

I signed up when it first came out, then pretty much abandoned it for more than a year. But I’ve had to take another look at it recently. Google+ has moved up to second place in social networks with 343 million active users. It’s still a long way from overtaking Facebook, which has 700 million active users, but Google+ isn’t the ghost town that people were calling it last year.

When you say the word “Google,” what comes to mind? I’ll bet the word “search” is the first thing that pops into your mind, right? Well, when the King of Search owns a social media site, you might suspect that they are going to marry their site to search results, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. And when your content is getting found by Google, it is bringing traffic to your site. When people are finding your site, that means the opportunity for that traffic to convert to leads for your business.

Google+ and Search

The most important way that Google+ impacts search is through personalization. If somebody follows you on Google+, they are more likely to see your posts in Google search results. And the more people who have “+1’ed it (which is Google+’s way of “liking” your content), then the greater the likelihood that they will see it. There is also a greater likelihood that it will show up for everyone they follow.

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If you have a Gmail account, you’re in luck. It also provides benefits. Just getting people to exchange emails with you through Gmail  can increase your search traffic, as well, even if those people aren’t using Google+, as long as they are logged into their accounts.

There is also evidence that Google+ impacts non-personalized search results as well. According to a study done by Moz, after page authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor.

To get all the SEO benefits of Google+, you need to make sure your Google+ profile is completed and that you have signed up for Google Authorship.  When you are signed up for Authorship, your search snippet will include an author thumbnail photo, so make sure it’s a good one. This is a huge advantage, so don’t skip it.

Be sure to post links to your blog with full photos every time you post on your blog, along with direct commentary. Google crawls and indexes your Google+ posts almost immediately. When you share a link on Google+, the anchor text becomes the title of the page you are sharing, so choose carefully.

What you should know about Google+

Google+ is not the Google version of Facebook. While there are some similarities, such as posting status updates, photos and links, there are many differences. It’s also different from Twitter. I’m still a learner myself, but there are some very cool features. The most talked about features are “Hangouts” and “Hangouts on Air.”

Hangouts are live video calls with up to 10 friends (or business associates). Hangouts work across computers, Android phones and tablets, iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Hangouts on Air are scheduled, interactive broadcasts on Google+ that go live around the world and are visible on YouTube, your website and Facebook. They are recorded and automatically saved on your YouTube channel. The best thing about this tool is that it’s free!

As the host you can control when your participants are visible, adjust their audio and video, select who’s on the big screen, add custom banners, take questions from the audience and more. Imagine all the ways you can use this tool – it’s great for interviews, author readings, product demonstrations, lectures, conversations, group discussions, performances – the sky’s the limit. The opportunities to get leads using Google+ just skyrocketed with Hangouts on Air!

I recently took an excellent online class about Google+ from Denise Wakeman who offers workshops from time to time. I highly recommend that you sign up for her newsletter and blog and take advantage of her class the next time she offers it.

Resources

Here’s a good free resource for Google+. It’s an infographic that maps out all the steps for getting up and running. If you haven’t completed a step, click “no,” and it will lead you to an article that will explain how to do that step.

Don’t let Google+ overwhelm you. Just dip your toe in and get started. Look for some people you know to include in your “circles” (please add me!), as well as some folks you don’t know. You’ll find that it’s a different crowd on Google+, and a great way to make new friends. Before long, you’ve got a community going!

18 ways to get YouTube views (Kmart’s Joe Boxer viral video secret)

If you are trying to get YouTube views this season, take note of the lesson from Kmart’s Joe Boxer video.

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The video has garnered more than 11.5 million views since it was uploaded on YouTube in the first week, as well as more than 44,000 “thumbs up” and 5,000 comments – both positive (“funny”) and negative (“indecent”). Kmart not only used the video online, but also on TV.  Various groups have launched protests, including One Million Moms, which is trying to get the spot taken off the air.

While Kmart has said they “didn’t intend to offend anyone,” you can bet that the retailer, that has had its difficulties in recent years, plainly knew that it would have pushback from such an edgy video/ad. That was the whole point! Controversy is clearly the magic sauce!

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If you want to get a video, blog post or some other piece of content to “go viral,” make it controversial. And if you can make it a little funny and/or naughty to boot, all the better to wax the skis for the downhill ride. Even those people who hate the video are going to send it to their friends to view it so that they can discuss it afterwards.

Is it risky to do promotion like this? Of course. But doing “safe” advertising and marketing is even riskier.  Think about it. Kmart has been largely invisible for a long time in the shadow of Target and Walmart. But with this video, their name has been on the minds and lips of people this week by the millions.

That doesn’t happen with advertising that doesn’t take risks. If you’re willing to take that kind of risk, you can win big. Just weigh the risk with the benefits. Certainly it can go over the top, and there are other ways to attract attention. Consider Miley Cyrus. Many say she went over the top with her raunchy performance at the 2013 Video Music Awards, forever tainting her brand. Others say is was a brilliant branding ploy. Only time will tell.

So, here are other ways to get YouTube views:

The basic tactics to get YouTube views:

  1. Make a great video – This is the obvious place to start. Without great content, you can forget it. But even a great video alone won’t go viral and get YouTube views if you don’t do everything else right. You’ve got to market it, just like everything else. So, let’s get busy!
  2. Optimize it with keywords – Do your research! Use this free YouTube keyword tool to get ideas.
  3. Add a great title – it will make or break your chances in the search engine. It must contain your keywords but still be catchy to humans.
  4. Add a description – write a unique description and use your keywords again. Put Your YouTube URL in the description so that when your content gets scraped and your video is embedding on somebody else’s site, you’ll get a backlink for SEO.
  5. Add YouTube Tags – They may not work on websites, but they are still important in YouTube.
  6. Include your contact information in your videos – Sounds basic, but many people forget the basics.
  7. Select a great thumbnail – Don’t just opt for the default. The thumbnail matters. Make sure it is relevant to the entire video.
  8. Ask fans to comment – This encourages engagement and sharing.
  9. Share your video everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, social bookmarks, email to your friends and family.

Advanced tactics to get YouTube views:

  1. Brand your YouTube channel – Stand out from the crowd – make it your own. It should be consistent with your website/blog, sales materials, brochures, etc.
  2. Share your playlist rather than just the individual video link – This will encourage fans to watch all of your videos instead of just one. You’ll get YouTube views for your other videos.
  3. Use annotations to encourage sharing – List your Twitter username and Facebook URL or to add a few keywords.
  4. Subscribers – Ask people to subscribe to your videos. Annotations is a way to do this, or you can do this right in the video.
  5. Bulletins – YouTube now allows you to send out text and videos to your subscribers directly from a “Post Bulletins” field in your “My Channel” page. Once you post a bulletin, it appears on the homepage of all your subscribers. You can use this to let people know about your new videos or to share links to new content you think your subscribers would enjoy.
  6. Buy YouTube views — Sometimes you’ve just got to spend a little to make a little.
  7. Embed your video on your website or blog – This signals to YouTube that it is popular outside of the YouTube site. The more embeds and links it gets, the better.
  8. Video responses – Get more views on your own videos by posting a video response to somebody else’s popular video – in essence, you are riding somebody’s coattail. Parodies are very popular! For example, I would look for some video responses to the Joe Boxer video within days.
Next time you’re hoping to get YouTube views, think of ways you can go rogue. Then do the basics right, and go a step beyond. Remember: you’re not finished with your content until the marketing’s done.

How to hire someone to help you with social media on the Virginia Peninsula

How to hire someone to help you with your social media on the Virginia Peninsula.Now that social media has been around for a while, it’s easy to take for granted. But what if you’re just getting started and don’t understand it? Or what if you don’t have time to manage it on your own? How do you find help with social media on the Virginia Peninsula if you’re a business owner and need some support?

First, if it’s training you need, you can learn a lot online.  Grovo.com provides short videos – many free ones – that can help you learn to use various social media sites. You will find topics such as, “Manage a Facebook Group,” “Master Facebook for iPhone,” “Create and Manage a Google+ Community” and “Find What You Need on Twitter.”

Online social media help

Another place to get help online is right on the social media sites themselves. There are great help centers on the major social media sites that provide a lot of insider information to help you get started. In addition to its help center for the free version of LinkedIn, LinkedIn also provides additional resources for premium users including learning webinars with topics such as, “LinkedIn 101: The Basics of LinkedIn,” “How to Build Your Company Page for Business Success,” and “LinkedIn Groups: How to Run a Successful Group.” Facebook and Twitter also provide great help centers.

So, if you want to find some “live” help with social media on the Virginia Peninsula, where can you go? If it’s classes you’re looking for, look no further than the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber frequently hosts low-cost social media classes. The Retail Alliance also provides some classes. Check with both.

 Hire a Virginia Peninsula marketing firm

Beyond these resources, you can hire a Virginia Peninsula marketing firm, such as The Buzz Factoree, to help you with your social media needs. We provide a variety of social media-related services, including individual or group training, consulting with businesses to create a social media strategy, design and branding, and content creation.

Our services include combining social media in a holistic plan to create an overall campaign in which your blog, website and social media work together to attract leads and convert them into customers.

 

Facebook changes its contest rules — should you play along?

Facebook rules changeIf you’ve been paying attention lately you know that Facebook recently announced a big change (what else is new?) in its rules about contests and promotions on business pages.

In the past, the only way you could run a contest was to use a third-party app such as ShortStack to run them, otherwise, you ran afoul of Facebook rules. This made it very difficult for small businesses to run contests without spending considerably bucks with a vendor or agency to help them with a contest. Now, you can choose to either run your own contest on Facebook or use an app.

Of course, there are still rules. You can’t run contests on personal timelines, for example, and you can’t ask people to tag themselves in photos. You need to read the rules and follow them. However, you can do many things that you could not do in the past, such as:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment or like a page post;
  • Collect entries by having users message the page;
  • Use “likes” for voting;
  • Notify winners on Facebook after the contest is over.

So hurrah! You can now run your own contest! This is a good thing, right? Well, yes and no.

The positive side is that this makes Facebook contests easy to administer, free, workable on mobile devices, and simply possible for many small businesses when they weren’t before. You’ll increase your engagement — fast — and page rank (a complicated Facebook algorithm that measures how many users see your posts and how often).

On the downside, your contest posts can get lost or buried unless you post them several times (you’d then have to manually compile winners). You can’t get email addresses from entries as you can from commercially available apps. This is the real advantage of using third-party vendors to help you with your contest — they provide software that can help you leverage your contest for data that you can then use for subsequent marketing — but of course, that solution is not free.

On the other hand, if you weren’t in a position to hire such a vendor to help you with a contest before, having the ability to run a simple contest is better than nothing. You weren’t getting email addresses before, so the fact that you aren’t getting email addresses now may not be the worse thing. Just know what your goal is for the contest going into it. If, for example, your goal is “exposure,” or “to generate excitement,” maybe a “do-it-yourself” contest is enough for you to see if it works for you.

If you do decide to do a contest, consider using a visual, such as a photo or video, to generate the most response. Visuals always get more response than simple text. Require a comment so that you can tag the person who wins in a comment. Make sure your post is pinned to the top of your page for visibility. State the rules of the contest clearly. Keep the contest fairly short — no more than a week.

One of the things that contest winners will need help with is choosing a random winner from those who enter their Facebook contests. Already there are some apps that have popped up to help with that. Two free solutions are Contest Capture and Woobox. No word yet on how well they work.

One thing is for sure: whenever Facebook sneezes, there will be plenty of hands extended with tissues. Translation — watch for many more apps and small businesses rising from this latest Facebook development in the near future!

 

 

 

Pump up your LinkedIn profile for dramatic results

If you’ve been neglecting your LinkedIn profile but you’re ready to get it in shape, there’s good reason to do so.

Studies show your profile is nine times more likely to be viewed with a photo and seven times more likely to be viewed with past experience completed.

Other ways to improve your profile are to customize your profile page URL to improve your “searchability,” to increase the number of connections you have to at least 50, to complete the skills section on your page and to obtain recommendations for each of your past jobs.

The number of times you appear in searches is determined by whether your page is 100-percent complete and the number of recommendations you have, so try to get your profile in shape! Whether your are in business for yourself, seeking to network professionally or looking for a job, LinkedIn is the No. 1 social media professional network.

LinkedIn is for power networkers. Everyone who comes to LinkedIn is there for business, and studies show that users tend to be older, more well educated and wealthier than users of other social media. More than 80 percent of LinkedIn users are decision makers in their areas of business in their organizations. LinkedIn is the number one social media site for job recruiters — 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies use it for recruitment — and its powerful search engine is useful for finding business connections in specific industries by job title and by ZIP code.