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.
In the post-secondary education realm it is extremely difficult to create awareness around the benefits of your specific product without outside influences. Students (current and future) are bombarded with ads and are used to it. These millennials are quick to move past the 5,000+ messages they see every day and continue ignoring your brand. They are experts at discerning what is relevant to them; a subject line, an impression of an image or context of the message will ostensibly be enough for them.
Here are 4 lessons I’ve learned in having your ad win the battle and your Facebook page win the war.
Targeting: Facebook has great resources on how to target your ad and reach the desired audience. No other platform will allow you to reach the new audience in a measurable, interactive way. Want to reach 16 year old males in Markham who are interested in Sports? No problem; that will be 46 cents per click, please. If you’ve targeted ads properly, you can then review your statistics and find out what all of your “clickers” had in common interests (providing new targeting insight).
Budget: We’re all on tight budgets and can’t afford to mess this up. You can customize your spending to reflect your budget, a daily spending limit, a campaign limit and suggested bid price will help you understand the price of your desired results. This process will give you a good idea of what it will take to get those 200 extra likes.
Creative: Now that you are on target and within budget, getting them to see you is crucial. You’re ad will be featured on the side of pages. You don’t need to hire a creative ad agency to develop your ad but you will want to be direct with what you say. Your immediate challenge is saying who you are and why they should click on your ad.
This ad (left) was used to attract alumni to our University’s primary page. Offering up the visual of the University’s logo provide an immediate known quantity and their attention was captured. The ads were successful as they had over 1,000 clicks and 460 fans on a limited budget (less than $200).
Your value proposition has to be the clincher, in this Free Samples ad (below), the value is clearly defined. Unfortunately, their “Wagjag.com” free samples don’t apply to my city (see: poor targeting).
Destination: Facebook ads are most efficient at promoting something housed on Facebook because they provide instant social recommendations (Your friend likes this) and a direct call to action. Posts with a social recommendation are 47% more effective in gaining clicks – of course you more likely to visit a site if your friend recommended it. The direct like button will allow users to join your page without even visiting it, increasing the likelihood of further interaction with that user. After all, the average Liker, has 2.4 times more friends than the average Facebook user.
So you manage a page on Facebook. You have 4,000 “fans” and have spent $500 to get there. You’re thrilled management is buying in and the results are starting to show. You feel you got your money’s worth because you believe each fan is worth $3.86.
Once you have gained this mass amount of fans, what do you do with them?
You may be pressed with the feeling that you have to post each day, or that your fans are going to expect daily updates.
Realistically, the average facebook users will log in once every two days, meaning they get updates from their 130 friends and 80 pages. Unless your brand is something they want to see each time they login, you don’t need to be there every day.
A slippery slope on facebook is inundating your users with messaging. If users start to see your brand too much, and aren’t interacting with it, you won’t appear in their news feeds, due to the patented Facebook algorithm. Worse yet, users may just unsubscribe (goodbye ROI). The more interactions occur with your messages, the more likely you are to appear in a fan’s news feed.
Within your Facebook insights you have some powerful measures that can be used as Key Performance Indicators. Following these measures is actually seeing if your messaging is working. You may have 4,000 fans, but only be seen in 40 news feeds (it would be great if we had this information).
Here are some readily accessible performance indicators for your page.
- Monthly Active Users
- Unique Page Views (daily quotient)
- Post Quality ( a function of interactions per post on a weekly basis)
Keep in mind that unless your page is a location where users will seek out information on a regular basis, your messages to news feeds are your only real connection to users. Grouping posts, condensing messaging as well as creating baiting posts (subject of next blog) will help with this.
What are your challenges with managing a Facebook page?
This presentation was given at the 2010 Post Secondary Education Web Conference of Canada. It is an overview of the evolution of risk involving Facebook and strategies for PSE Institutions to mitigate this risk while being involved in Social Media.