Best Practices for Facebook Link Posts

If you’re sick of your Facebook posts getting buried in user Newsfeeds, then check out the two latest changes to the platform that will help you shine amidst Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms. They will help you increase organic reach and make sure your posts are visible by more people.

Links in Posts:

There are three ways to post a link into a Facebook status update. First, one can simply copy and paste the link and Facebook will immediately and automatically create a link preview (with a headline, copy preview and an image from the site). When this happens, one can either keep the link in the update or delete it (without deleting the actual link preview).

Next, a user can post the link only. This follows the same steps as before, however this time you can ‘x’ out of the preview so that only the link URL is shown in your update.

The last way to post a link is to paste the URL in the caption, and then upload a photo separately, so it will show up in your page’s photo album.

Facebook has been running tests to determine which of these three ways to share a link is favored by users. Once they discovered which type of link format their users click on most, Facebook decided to give that one better reach.

The Best Facebook Link Format to Use?

Facebook is constantly running tests to see which type of content users like the best. Once determined, Facebook gives that option better reach. The best Facebook link format to use is the first one: use text and links with a preview to get the most visibility — the default format when you put a link into a status. Note that you can upload your own photo (instead of the automatic selection pulled automatically), to make your post even more visually appealing.

Remember: When sharing a link in a status update, use a link preview. If sharing a photo, don’t include a link in the caption.

Successful Link Sharing on Facebook

Facebook Launches New Advertising Platform

Facebook, Atlas

A few weeks ago, Facebook rolled out a new (and very interesting) advertising platform from Microsoft, called Atlas. The social platform has been the #2 digital advertiser in the world, thanks to the large amount of information that it has on its 1.3 billion users, which it sells to individually targeted ads. Today, Atlas will be taking similarly targeted ads across the internet, which will more seamlessly connect online and offline.

Atlas will effectively give marketers more information on its users to point them to varying websites, apps and more. For instance, if RedBull wanted to target men between the ages of 18-24, it could use Atlas to identify such users and specifically show them ads for the energy drink across a multitude of sites, apps, etc.

If this multi-platform digital marketing works, it will create an additional method of marketing to users. One that will directly compete with the likes of Google, Apple, Yahoo, etc.

Having said that, this highly detailed targeting from Facebook brings up many worries relating to online privacy. Facebook specifically states that it never discloses info on its users, but the shear amount of details that the platform has on its users (both stated and voluntarily disclosed info) is highly coveted by all marketers.

Even scarier? When a user logs into Facebook on their phone, the company is able to see what other apps he or she is using and would then be able to show possible ads within those apps. “Nobody else besides Facebook has the depth of data about individuals,” said Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst at the research firm eMarketer. “That’s where the power of this ad platform is going to come from.”

Atlas will be interesting to watch develop, especially in the upcoming months as marketers determine how it could best benefit their clients. For now, it’s invite only and has been rolled out to a few of their key partners like Omnicom Media Group, SalesForce and SHIFT. Because of Facebook ‘playing favorites’, some marketers fear that they’ll be left out of the process and ultimate success of the new ad platform.

— Samantha

Facebook Knows What You’re Watching & Hearing

Facebook Feelings App

As of Wednesday, Facebook launched a new opt-in audio recognition feature to their platform that can identify songs and TV shows that you’re listening to or watching, then help push the content into a post to share with friends.

Although this new app is technically part of Facebook’s recent “Feelings” feature (see photo below) and makes it easier to share what one is listening to or watching, it also allows Facebook to collect data from its fans at an even faster rate. For example, if the tool is turned on but the user decides not the share the post, Facebook still keeps the data. As there have been 5 billion “Feelings” posts in the last year, this new addition will only help the growing platform obtain more and more information about its users.

Facebook Feelings App

Sound scary? It should to a certain extent. Although Facebook has noted that no actual audio will be recorded, nor will your information be shared to company servers or be monetized, it is a creative way to allow fans to share more — and not just with their close friends. As a tip, always be aware of how much information you’re providing others.

This will be a slower roll-out for all users, but keep an eye out for the new tool coming soon!

— Samantha

Brand New Look for Facebook Brand Pages

New Facebook PagesIf you haven’t noticed already, Facebook has started to implement a brand new look for brand Pages (on desktops) that allow users to more easily access information — and help administrators behind each page find the tools and analytics that they need the most.

First, Facebook has updated the overall Page timeline. Now, you’ll see a column on the right side of the timeline that shows all of the brand’s posts. On the left, you’ll find a new column housing all of company’s important info, such as hours of business, phone number, location and website.

If you’re an admin, you’ll love how easy it is to view information about current ad campaigns, unread messages and notifications. There are new options at the top of the page that will make it simpler to view current and past activity, insights and settings. Additionally, there is a new Pages to Watch feature, which permits admins to create a list of Pages similar to the brand at hand to compare performance and engagement rates.

New Facebook Pages to Watch

For more about the updates made to Pages, check out the link here.

— Samantha

LinkedIn Study: 81% of Small/Medium-sized Businesses Use Social Media

Small Business on Social Media

About 81% of all small and medium-sized businesses use social media, based off of a recent LinkedIn study. Out of the companies that do use social, 94% of them are using it for marketing benefits — especially those that are experiencing high volumes of growth.

Finally, businesses are beginning to realize that having a social presence not only increases brand awareness, but also help push customers down the purchase funnel. Having said this, almost 75% of companies experiencing growth increased their social media budgets, including more online ad spend, hiring community managers, etc.

Lana Khavinson, the senior product manager at LinkedIn says, “We know that for SMBs the greatest challenge is attracting and retaining customers. Here is a really clear indicator of the value that social media is providing to companies that are rapidly growing.”

As the numbers of those small and medium-sized businesses using social increase, many social networks are benefiting, beyond LinkedIn (who has hundreds of thousands of small business entrepreneurs within it’s member base). For example, Facebook and Twitter, which both boast several million businesses with active accounts, will gain significant ad revenue in the future. We’ll see this start to take place as companies start to pay to rise above the clutter in people’s Newsfeeds on Facebook, and as Twitter expands its “self-serve” advertising ideas around the world to further attract small businesses in places like Canada and the UK.

We’ll be interested to see how much each social network can rake in over the next few years. To us, it feels like shooting fish in a barrel, especially as such networks are literally writing the rules to how marketed content is shown to customers.

Tell us: Does your small business utilize social media to its fullest potential?

— Samantha

Facebook Introduces Paper iPhone App

Paper on Facebook

Ready to have your mind blown?

Just this morning, Facebook made a HUGE announcement. Introducing Paper, the newest iPhone app that’s more than a simple news outlet. Instead, it makes a user rethink Facebook with a horizontally scrolling screen of news articles, friend updates and more — a completely new way of sharing and telling stories.

The new app doesn’t include many buttons. Instead, users will need to get used to a completely different set of gestures that make navigating that much simpler. Not only that, but fans will be able to make every post, photo or news article full-screen, adding another lovely level of aesthetics. Although many have made references to the already popular Flipboard, Paper seems to do similar functions but so much more!

The interface for reading news will stay very similar to how such content is presented currently on the platform. Cards that resemble Twitter make it easy to consume new information, but if you’re used to a feed of quick tweets, this may be a bit hard to get used to. Looking to share content? A user will be able to post to Paper, therefore on Facebook, in a brand new, one-of-a-kind composition screen.  If you’re interested in checking it out, Paper will be available for download on iPhones (in the US only) on February 3rd.

Sadly as a current Android user, I’ll have to wait to see what Paper does — unless I can quickly borrow a friend’s phone next week! Until then, I’m happy that Facebook is getting closer to finding a solution for its stand-alone apps. With mobile becoming more and more popular with users, I believe that this is the only way to go in order to be successful!

Tell us: Will you be downloading Paper on February 3rd?

— Samantha

4 Tips for Better Facebook Posts

Making a Facebook page for you company is one thing. Taking care of it to encourage growth and brand awareness is a horse of a different color! In order to succeed on this mega platform, you have to use some elbow grease and a knowledge of your audience.

Here are a few tips that will put you ahead of your competitors:

  1. Use bold imagery. If you want to get your fan’s attention, use bright, colorful, striking photos. In fact, photos receive 5x more engagement than links and those featuring faces rate even higher. It’s no wonder why Facebook paid $1 billion to purchase Instagram!
  2. Keep copy short & include a CTA. About 70% of fans access Facebook via mobile, so you should be motivated to write short & concise copy. As we’ve seen many brands do, a paragraph of text simply don’t work & you’ll lose your audience before you even get their attention. Try to include a question, fill in the blank or simply request people to ‘watch’ or ‘share.’ Be sure to make it a low barrier so the customer can actually do it with ease.
  3. Figure out what works. Check out your Reach and Engagement numbers (in Facebook Analytics) to gauge what post are doing well — and which are not. After a few weeks of consistent posts, this data should help you figure out what your fans like engaging with so you can do more of that in the future!
  4. Target & boost posts. When you can (& if your audience is large enough), try targeting your post by gender, location &/or language. By doing so, you’re narrowing your target to a specific demographic, which could mean more eyes on your content (versus throwing a ‘big net’ & hoping for the best). Lastly, consider a bit of paid support via boosting posts to counter Facebook’s recent algorithm changes. Do it early — within the first 24 hours — and make sure you’re pushing posts that received high levels of engagement early.

Got a tip to add to the list? Tell us below!

— Samantha

Facebook to Kill Sponsored Posts in April

Sponsored Stories on FacebookMore news on the Facebook front: Sponsored Stories will no longer exist after April 9th, 2014.

If you’re unfamiliar with sponsored stories, they’re the posts that show up on a Newsfeed when one of your friends engages with a sponsored Page, event or application. For instance, when a fellow Facebook friend likes the RedBull Facebook page, and RedBull decides to promote that interaction, you’ll see it as a Sponsored Story on your own Newsfeed.

Although brands will be able to purchase Sponsored Stories until April 9th, such stories will transfer to other types of ads (like a Page Like ad) after the set date. In the future, all ads will include ‘social context’ where friends are mentioned in the content in order to get you to click it. A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable why the new addition of ‘social context’ to all Facebook ads is pointing the platform in a direction of phasing out Sponsored Stories:

“As announced in June of last year, we’re bringing the best of sponsored stories – social context – to all ads. Since this update makes sponsored stories redundant, we will no longer offer them as a standalone ad unit for marketers. Social context will continue to appear with all ads where eligible. Our social advertising honors the audience that people choose, so nobody will see information in social context for an ad that they couldn’t already see.”

Overall, we’re interested to see how brands will create ads in the next few months, based off of these changes. We wonder whether or not adding social context to every ad will change how fans view promoted content — and how they ultimately interact with brands.

— Samantha

3 Ways to Handle Unruly Social Fans

Delete Facebook Post

As a community manager, you always have to monitor your social platforms. Why? Because no matter how great the content is that you post, there is always one fan who puts down your post, highlights a typo error or continues to spam you wall with angry comments with our without profanities.

Although your first reaction may be to delete the comment or ban the user, here are a few other options to handle those unruly social fans (in a professional manner):

1. Respond to the Comment. Respond to the fan in a timely fashion (the sooner, the better) by thanking them for commenting and providing an answer or another support outlet where they can receive help from your company. By responding to all comments, whether negative or positive, other fans will see that you care and your brand will earn credibility within the space.

If the case arrises when the comment is serious and needs more support than you can provide via social, take the conversation ‘offline.’ Provide a secondary email address that the fan can contact to further discuss the issue at hand. By taking the conversation off of social media in a professional way, you’re not only giving the best service to your customers, but will give your company the opportunity to diffuse the problem in a less public way.

2. Hide the post. Although we don’t recommend doing this unless a comment is offensive (includes profanities, etc.), as a community manager, you must make whatever call is best for the brand. Will this offend other fans? Would the post be considered spam? If so, hover over the right-hand ‘x’ and click ‘Hide’ on the Facebook post in question. When a post is hidden, only the fan who wrote the comment and his or her friends will be able to see it. One can always ‘unhide’ the comment if necessary. Make sure you respond to a comment before hiding it!

3. Delete the post. This is a touchy action that not every digital marketer will agree with. One point that is true? As a representative of a company, you don’t want to get a reputation for deleting user’s comments, especially because their backlash will come back ten-fold which only means bad news bears for you. If it is necessary (and similar to hiding a comment on Facebook), hover over the ‘x’ in the upper right-hand corner and click ‘Delete.’ Once deleted, you can click ‘Undo’ to get the comment in a hidden form, then click ‘Unhide’ to bring it back completely.

With the option to delete, comes the power to report the content and even ban the fan. For those posts that are too aggressive or provocative, these options may be best for you.

When reporting content, you’ll have the option to flag the post as spam, a personal attack, hate speech, violent or harmful behavior or sexually explicit content — then it’s up to Facebook to decide what to do with the user. When you ban a user, they’ll be able to see the page, but will not be able to comment or post on any content. Note that a CM can ban and un-ban users from the admin panel. Note: If you don’t ban a fan permanently, be aware that they can go back and Like your page again.

Ban a User on Facebook

Bottom line: You’re always going to have problems with some fans who are negative people or simply don’t like your brand — it’s inevitable. Do you best to handle the situation in a professional manner and be confident that if it gets really bad, you can delete comments and even ban a user entirely. Good luck!

— Samantha

Is This the End of the Facebook Era?

End of the Facebook Era

Although Facebook is one of the largest social networks in the world, it’s slowly losing its popularity. Any decline of such a big company is bound to occur over time, yet it’s interesting to note what the company is doing in response. Little, if nothing.

As many bloggers and tech-analysts will agree, once a large social movement like Facebook becomes so engrained in our everyday life that it is no longer unique or special, it will soon become extinct. It’s simply the nature of the game.

As stated by Facebook CFO David Ebersam a few months ago, Facebook is starting to lose it’s teen demographic around the world. They’re no longer on Facebook, but rather on other instant gratification sites likes Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and WeChat. But it’s not just teenagers who are leaving the FB giant, it’s the millennial generation as well, who can’t handle crazy, over-stimulated Newsfeeds with everyone on it, from their students to their and grandmothers.

It’s clear that Facebook wants its users to continue sharing more and more. But if what we post on our Facebook walls never gets seen by our friends (thanks to many, many algorithm changes), what is the point? Specifically as it relates to companies, Facebook recently admitted that brands will need to start paying for such visibility in order to break through the clutter of the typical FB fan’s Newsfeed. This extra demand of companies is causing quite the stir as it’s not clearly stated how boosting will actually get stories into Newfeeds — and by how much.

After all is said and done, Facebook has not come out with any life-changing additions to the platform (if you don’t count auto-playing video ads). Yes, they’ve acquired popular platforms like Instagram, but they’ll have to do a lot more to stay relevant in people’s lives. Although Facebook will most likely survive, the “Facebook Era” may be coming to an end.

— Samantha