This presentation was delivered in the fall of 2013 to student association managers and staff. The presentation has a focus on social media management, marketing and channels. The focus is excellence within Facebook, Twitter and other channels with a small budget. I wish I could share all of my presentations, but here’s a public one so please enjoy!
Uh oh. Facebook changed the News feed again. Sending Marketers in a panic everywhere, the changes to the Facebook News feed were released Thursday and they are, well, expected. This change isn’t drastic for users of tablet applications and mobile apps that have used the black left hand navigation bar for some time, replacing the somewhat cleaner but clunkier existing white navigation. Where the change is dramatic is decentralization, content and implications for the brand reach.
Facebook’s newest change allows users to navigate from a selection of options rather than one, busier News Feed. This will help the User experience in that they dictate the categories of information seen. This was their intent in some of the last News Feed modifications, however, users simply didn’t change their content settings or really make much use of the Close Friends option. The idea is for users to read the News Feed similarly to a News Paper. With the growth of their older demographics and negative growth of teenagers, this is in line with where Facebook is headed.
Here are the categories:
- Top News (Major stories of each section)
- All Friends
- Following (for pages)
- Photos (see: Instagram)
- Games, Music (two separate tabs but not worthy of their own bullets on my page)
- Close Friends
For Page Managers, this means slightly less visibility overall. Where you can win is in the photo section. Friends usually have a lot of photos, but pages generally have even more, and they can dominate the Photo section.
With the added emphasis to photos and videos, its pretty clear where our focus as page mangers will have to be. Yes, the focus has always been on content, but this is even more crucial now. Many top brands are already embracing this, by providing content directly into photos, allowing for more clicks and eventually a higher Edge Rank.
Here we have the Lakers Facebook page, they are sharing a photo that most people can read the majority of the information but many people will click to expand to read the smaller font.
Albums have also been redesigned, rewarding pages who upload multiple pictures. This shouldn’t be a major change for some brands who often posted collage pictures in order to enhance media clicks. Having 5+ photos will likely be a good target for brands, engaging users and ultimately increasing their visibility.
With these changes to a News Paper type experience, the All Friends section is likely to be a hit with users, much the same as the photo section (see: Why Facebook bought Instagram) however, where we may lose our traction as brands is in the Pages section. While I’d like to think that users love my brands (who doesn’t), the reality is, many of them only “Like” my brand (see what I did there?).
As Page Manager’s I see that there will be two choices, either invest more into visual content, or invest more into ads. Without one of these two mechanisms, I’d be willing to bet that your post views will decrease overall. Facebook is under increasing pressure to sell more ads, and these new changes force the brand’s hand in many cases to get in front of users by paying for it.
There is also a not-so-insignificant undertone in all of this, content is moving towards a more chronological approach, based on the early signs. Brands will need to be more conscious of when they are posting and less conscious of how often they are posting. Matching posts with Facebook’s peak times will be essential for maximum Edge Rank reach and achieving your goals.
In summary, what can you do to stay current with the changes?
This presentation, slightly modified from another deck I use, was delivered to 4th year Marketing students at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Here’s an overview of the presentation:
- What are social marketers doing today?
- Which channels are they using, or considering?
- How can you measure your success?
- How can you measure your success AND explain it to your CEO?
- Best Practices
- What is everyone wishing they were doing
I presented this topic to the #pseweb conference in Toronto recently. It did spark some debate among colleagues and it was great to see people really start to consider what they want to post on their own social media pages.
We took 10 Canadian University and College pages from accross Canada and analyzed their levels of interactions per post on Facebook. The results were very interesting and correlated nicely to the overall impact of the Facebook page. Have a look.
The recent emergencies in Canadian Universities and Colleges have received a lot of attention within their local spheres. In the last two weeks, the University of Western Ontario, Georgian College and now more recently York University and Acadia University, have all been shut down to due unforeseen emergencies.
In the cases of Western, Georgian and Acadia, the campuses were closed due to extreme weather conditions. For York University, a fire in the central heating building shut down their Keele campus.
These shut downs were primarily announced via community e-mails, web news items and finally social media updates. The latter, is my point of interest.
All post-secondary institutions have some sort of Emergency Management plan, like this one from the University of Windsor, for example. Within these policies, processes are outlined to respond to emergencies. However, very few of them touch on communicating the messages to stakeholders past e-mail or web updates.
With students quickly consuming any messages provided, they will continue to look for instant access to information and they are turning to social media for answers. Are we ready for them?
In the most recent example, Western updated their 11,000+ Facebook community instantly on their official page and was able to address the issue head on. They received 55 likes and only 8 comments on a post updated at 5:14am announcing the school’s closure. Their feedback from students was largely positive and their community was informed before their morning coffee.
In other cases, infrequent updates can lead to unrest among students, confusion and many questions pilling up on official pages. With extra time on their hands and a topic in mind, students can get creative and having your institution on the right end of the joke can be crucial. In a most recent case, a shutdown became fodder for Twitter’s #1 trending topic in Toronto.
South of the border, our American counterparts have experienced this already. In September, Jessica Krywosa of http://doteduguru.com/ wrote about the #utshooter experience of the University of Texas at Austin. The University was able to quickly respond to an emergency and left many schools asking the question “Does your Campus Security Have a Place in Social Media?”.
In social media we always talk about providing value and being transparent, but in these cases being prepared and providing instant information to stakeholders is critical. Is your institution or company ready to respond to emergencies through social media?
Here’s a look at the newest presentation that was created by Rains Media in conjunction with Matthew Melnyk of Brock University.It was first delivered to the management of student focused services of Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario.
The presentation is an introduction to the Millennial (Generation-Y) generation entering the work force and the changes in technology that have shaped this generation. The characteristics of the Millennials along with techniques for working with and hiring them combine for the first part of the presentation. The second part focuses on policies and techniques to mitigate the risk and manage opportunities provided by social networking within higher education.