5 Ways to Engage And Grow Your Facebook Audience

Facebook?If you manage a Facebook Page for your business or organization, you’ve surely noticed that not all of the people who “liked” your page see every update.  Even taking away the fact that not everyone is on Facebook on any given day when you post, the amount of people who have your update show up in their news feed can be as low as one percent of your total fan base or even less.  You can thank Facebook’s drive for more advertisers for that.  What can help boost that number, however, is engagement.  It’s a fact that if more people “like” or comment on a post today, more people will see it, and that engagement can even boost the number of people who see your next post.  Because of this, it’s crucial to select material to post that is designed for engagement.  Here are 5 ways to engage and grow your Facebook audience:

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Why Do Facebook Ads Bother People?

Why do people worry about Facebook advertising?


Currently, there are two types of Facebook ads.  One is a small ad that promotes a Facebook page or possibly a regular non-Facebook website.  These can be found on the right side of your news feed.  The second type of ad is a promoted post.  This appears in your actual feed and looks like a regular news feed item from one of your friends or “liked” pages, but is labeled as advertising.

Every time Facebook rolls out an update, people clamber to discuss whether advertising will become more “invasive” into the experience.   Every time Facebook shuffles things around or come up with new ideas, there is a huge outcry from people who would prefer it stays the same.  The biggest concern is that the ads become bigger or more distracting, but plenty of people complain loudly about them the way they are right now.

The question is … why?

We don’t pay for Facebook.  Even if we did, it might still have ads.  For hundreds of years people paid for the privilege of reading newspapers and magazines.  There are a lot of us who haven’t cracked one of those printed publications recently, but if you can get your hands on one, I urge you to flip to any page and look around.  Chances are you’ll find an advertisement, and it might even take up the whole page.

Yes … that’s right … we PAID for printed publications AND had to look at ads.

So, why does it bother people that a free social networking site that has to answer to shareholders is going to display ads, and they might not be small and easy to ignore?  Think about it and give me your opinions in comments below.

A Primer for Instagram: Social Media for Elementary Schoolers

I went down the Instagram rabbit hole today.  I figured it was just time.  Previously, I’d learned enough about it to be able to speak semi-intelligently about it if needed.  However, I’d never felt the need to use it and its use never came up for a client.  I never like being a late adopter, so today I dug into it.

InstagramInstagram was launched in 2010 and was purchased by Facebook last spring.  The service currently claims 100-million active monthly users.  They lost quite a few users after an unfortunate decision to change their privacy policy late last year.

Using Instagram is pretty simple, really, particularly if you’re already a Facebook and/or Twitter user.  If you think about mobile Facebook with only pictures, you’ll get Instagram.  Take a picture, apply filters and frames to the picture if you choose, and then post it.  You follow people and hope they follow you, and you can comment on each other’s photos.  You can adjust your privacy settings so only your friends can see your pictures, or anyone can see them.  Like Twitter, you can apply hashtags to photos so they can be categorized.

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Who Are the Millennials?

As a member of the Generation of X, I feel like I know a little bit about people my age.  The generation before us, the Baby Boomers, have been written about far too much, so everyone knows about them (and is probably sick of them).  However, who are the Millennials?  This generation, whose parents are mostly Baby Boomers, are hard to define.  However, given that they are now in their 20s up to around 30, we marketers can’t ignore them.  Yahoo News recently re-published a story that tried to define them, and in my view did a pretty good job.  Here’s how Yahoo describes the Millennials:

  1. They’re natural entrepreneurs…
  2. …But they aren’t acting on whatever entrepreneurial instincts they have
  3. They’re spendthrifts…
  4. …And they’re broke
  5. They’re socialists
  6. They’re narcissistic
  7. They’re politically engaged
  8. They’re less religious
  9. They’re stressed out

You can check out the full article for more explanation of that list.  Obviously each of these doesn’t describe EVERY Millennial, but overall I’d say it’s fair, based on my observations.  I might add one more — They’re connected.  More than any other generation, this one is likely to be found with its eyes glued to a smartphone or tablet.

What do you think?  Let me know in comments.

Five Rules for Social Media Brand Management During a National Crisis

Before I get too far into this topic, I want to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of yesterday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.  It was and is the definition of senseless violence.

social mediaIt’s a very modern thing, and unfortunately it’s happened lately with increasing frequency — our entire nation mourning via social media.  The latest incident was the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  If you went on Facebook or Twitter yesterday afternoon, the vast majority of the posts you saw were expressing condolences or passing along details of what happened.

Unfortunately, what you also saw mixed with the heartfelt and personal messages of shock and grief were branded messages that had nothing at all to do with the horrifying events of the day.  The companies behind those messages either weren’t thinking when they posted them, or scheduled them hours or even days in advance and then walked away.

How bad and damaging these non sequitur posts are is up for debate.  Peter Shankman, one of the true gurus (although he may hate that word) of social media, is particularly bothered by them and thinks they’re significantly damaging to a brand when they happen.  He would most likely believe that this blog post is unnecessary as social media managers should know better by now.  But, obviously if it’s still happening then more education is needed.  That’s why I present my Five Rules for Social Media Brand Management During a National Crisis:

  1. Pay attention. You can’t afford to go into a rabbit hole and not pay attention to the news. Knowing what’s going on in the world is part of the job of a social media manager.
  2. It’s okay to be personal.  Posting a short and very concise message of sympathy for the victims is not only okay, it reminds your audience that your brand is made up of people.  Be very careful in the wording, however, and make it genuine. 
  3. Shut down.  Remove all non-relevant scheduled Tweets and Facebook posts, and stow them away for another day.  Not only will no one pay attention to them, continuing with “business as usual” may actually harm your brand as your audience may see you as not caring.  The exception to this rule is if your company has a personal connection to the tragedy.  Obviously, posting (for example) that the team your firm put together to run in the race is safe and sound is different than a branded message.
  4. Adhere to the 24-hour rule. Other than a short condolence message, it’s best to stay “dark” with branded messages on social media for at least a day after the incident breaks.  When you return to normalcy is a judgement call, but 24 hours should be the minimum.
  5. Let common sense be your guide. An hour or two before the Newtown school shooting, I posted a silly picture for “Friday fun” on a client’s Facebook page.  An hour or two after the news broke, I was planning to post a weekly winner in a contest we were running.  When I heard about the shooting, I not only scrapped the contest winner post, I also deleted the silly picture, as it no longer seemed appropriate.  In the end, if it doesn’t feel right then delete it or don’t do it in the first place.

And, a bonus: Help.  If your business is in a position to give help to victims or families, obviously give it but don’t brag about it. That’s not social media savvy … it’s just being good people.

What do you think? Am I missing a rule that should be included?

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