3 Ways to Beat Facebook’s Algorithm Changes

Have you noticed on a Facebook business page you manage that engagement has declined or the “people saw” numbers are lower? That is because of Facebook’s new algorithm. Facebook is on a mission to give their users what they want. In other words, they will only push out content with which they think their users will engage. The next question to pop into your brain is likely to be, “how will they determine what is engaging material?” Well, there are over 200 factors that determine which posts will be pushed out and in effect dictate how to create an engaging post. Below are three primary ways you can beat Facebook’s new algorithm.

1. Don’t “like bait”! Facebook will be able to index words such as, “like”, “comment” or “share” in the text of post. For example, text such as “hit share if you think this is funny” is considered like baiting. Facebook will recognize this and not push out the post. They are trying to give users what they want to see, rather than force content on them. Facebook looks at this component the way Google looks at spam – they sniff it out and bury it, or remove it all together.

2. Understand your audience! It has always been important to know your active public, but with the algorithm update, you are going to want to know them much better. Understanding your audience will help you better select content for your postings. Do they prefer funny posts, serious posts or politics? Understanding what works for them will help you create engaging copy without resorting to like baiting. It’s a double whammy win for the marketers!

3. Engage with your fans! This may seem like a “well, duh” to you, but engaging with your fans will help the overall posting engagement. For example, if someone commented on a recent post, be sure to stay on top of your game and like the comment right away or comment back right away. Stimulating more of a “real time” engagement with the fan will make them feel special. It will encourage them to continue to connect with your page. It is also a good idea to connect with our local businesses in your area by liking their page and material. They will normally like your page and material in return.

There you have it, social media marketing friends. While Facebook may be selecting the content it pushes out, you do not necessarily have to pay to boost a post or advertise. We are here to tell you that a little savvy goes a long way, and being savvy is what social media marketing success is all about!

If you’d like some assistance with your Facebook marketing, or any other social media marketing campaigns, give us a call!

Email Marketing: Friend or Foe to Business?

Email Marketing: Friend or Foe to Business?

I bought my mother a sweater this Christmas from a company which will remain nameless and I have thought of them every day since. Why, you may ask? Once a day I receive an email from this specific company among my other general daily emails. Every day I physically read the headline and then click to delete but even though I am deleting that company is still sending a visible daily reminder to me that I have to take action on to remove.

So the question is, why do people still sign up for these and how do they benefit the consumer and the business?

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Email is King

If you are a social media member of society, you know that you can see thousands of posts a day! If you also use email, you may receive a total of 100 emails in a day. The proof is in the pudding – having your content be one of 100 messages will give you a much better chance of being read and seen than being  one of 1000 scrolled through on a social media site. The majority of people own an email account and check it daily, making email an easy and FREE way to directly speak to your consumers and demographics.

Did you know you do NOT own any of your social media accounts?

If Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all closed their sites and platforms tomorrow, your photos, comments, advertisements and human connects would all be deleted without any chance of recovery. However, when you start to build an email list internally you grow an “address book” of consumers and friends of the business. Many people keep their email address for years and years where as they will often switch which social media site they frequent depending on trends and popularity.

When should I start?

Now. Last week. A YEAR AGO! You should have started yesterday, but if you haven’t jumped on the email list train then start right now! Every interaction with a customer without politely asking for an email address is a wasted opportunity for follow-up marketing. Your customer will not be offended that you would like to share tips, coupons, and offers and can always decline your invitation to join the email list.

How do I make sure I live up to the expectations?

The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” should be the mindset when sending emails to your consumers. If you received a monthly email, what would you like to see? What would pique your interest, draw you into reading emailed content and make you believe that business has your best interest in mind? A few ideas:

  • Exclusive coupons to save money on goods and services
  • Articles of interest
    • I am a firm believer that these can have NOTHING to do directly with your business, a laugh is a laugh and if it is something you think a consumer would enjoy and remember then add it! Maybe they will pass it on to a friend!
    • Updates about your community or business
      • Community events
      • New additions to goods, services, staff, community involvement, business achievements and if you would like to share, personal achievements!

How do I begin?

If you are lucky enough to have someone or a service that offers to maintain this list and the emails for you then you should utilize that and PROMOTE IT! While your account manager can maintain a list, place signs in the right places to gain the most attention and help with ideas, only you personally know and interact with your customer. With this relationship you can suggest a funny article that made you smile, brag about the business achievements and hint that you will have a booth at the charity event. Ask your account manager to include these in your email. Make sure to work with your email manager and keep an open conversation about your topics! BE INVOLVED!

The best time to suggest an email is at your point of sale. For example:

“Thank you for your business, we appreciate it. Would you be willing to share your email for our monthly newsletter that has exclusive savings, tips and updates about our business and community?”

The benefit of an email list is that it provides many advantages and opportunities to increase your business on such a personalized level so make sure you are making the most of this opportunity today!

If you have any questions contact your account manager!

 

PR Tips: Ideas for Everyone

PR Tips: Ideas for Everyone

There is a quote that states, “Everything you do or say is public relations,” and this is a 100% truth! Here are 4 simple ways you can improve your company’s brand and public relations.

1. Keep Your Eyes Open!

Always be looking for opportunities within your company, and within the community to better your reputation and publicize it! A simple donation to a local charity should never go without a little recognition so go ahead, brag about your support! Have your marketing department add a small paragraph and link on your social media outlets as well as your website. This will not only show your community support but also send a little publicity the charity as well. It’s a win/win!

2. Get into a Relationship

Create relationships with local media. A great way to do this is by following their social media, and reaching out to the local reporters and newspapers by sending a snack to the office. Food is a great way to butter up a company for the next time you have a press release that needs to be read and printed.

3. Optimize and Update!

New service or product to the company? Make sure to update your best marketing tool, your website! Create quality content, add it, talk about it to customers, spread the information through word-of-mouth marketing internally, add it to social media and make sure to keep all information current!

4. Create Your “Brand”

Think about what sets your company apart from everyone else in the market. Take that advantage and create your brand around it. You can develop a phrase, logo or both and start using it in everything company related so you are known as the “_____” company. This can also be enhanced through creating a stand out, complimentary color scheme that is unique to your brand and also incorporating that. Finally, internalize this phrase, motto, or slogan and ensure it is also a company belief among fellow employees.

Social Media Week Chicago 2013

Social Media Week Chicago 2013

I had the privilege of attending Social Media Week Chicago 2013 two weeks ago and was overwhelmed by the forward thinking, informed leaders in the social media and digital marketing community with whom I made connections. #SMW is a mostly free conference held over 5 days on 4 different continents and features professionals and industry leaders simultaneously sharing knowledge with one another.

It was humbling to be in rooms and take part in a few of the 181 seminars with leaders from some of the largest communications firms in the world and find that Upright Communications is right on track. Here are my highlights from the events:

 

Content Marketing that Wins: Making Brands, Readers AND Google Happy.

1.       Build consumer trust through useful content.

To build your audience’s trust and create a meaningful relationship, write your content with the reader in mind, not metrics. In this, quality over quantity really speaks volumes of your brand.

2.       Create consumer action.

Great content can be its own well-oiled machine if it has the consumers’ needs in mind. If content speaks to your audience they will answer with a click, a comment, or a recommendation, and it will move them to take action.

3.       Satisfy a brands business needs.

Social media needs to have a strategy carefully planned around your business goals and needs. From raising brand awareness to increasing sales, your goals should be clearly set in order to take steps to obtain the results you desire.

“Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of search engines.”

 – Matt Cutts, Google Webspam Team

Bottom line: SEO can’t be the end all be all of a marketing plan, but rather a carefully implemented part of the overall strategy and driving force. Integrating social media, great content, and sharing it will add credibility to your brand in the eyes of a consumer. So create your brand through digital marketing, tell your story and drive your goals.

 

Social Media is Bullsh*t: The Real Value of Social Media 

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In the middle of downtown Chicago’s old Library, B.J Mendelson, author of Social Media Is Bullshit challenged the crowd to see social media as what it is, should be, could be and how it is actually used. He also gave a little lesson in logic, honesty and colorful language.

Did you know? A  Facebook status lives for about 11 minutes, and a tweet lives an even shorter lifespan before dying in the newsfeeds and waves of other posts.

SO? Take it offline. Research everything on your consumer, know what they like, and what they don’t so you are able to create content based upon what they do like. Have a conversation with them by reaching out via tweet and not just responding to an inquiry or the negative review.

ABGD: Always Be Gathering Data. Then use that data! The more you know the more you can relate and understand your audience needs.

AARR: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral. These are the basics of word-of-mouth or viral marketing. Engage with a customer, activate their knowledge of your business, retain with customer service and gain a new customer with a referral. The marketing circle of life!

Bottom Line: 93% of word of mouth marketing is offline according to Jonah Berger and his bestseller, Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Social media provides us real life opportunities to connect with people we have never met and share information about our business and beliefs and we should take advantage of it. It should not be used as another way to vaguely connect but a chance at an introduction to become personally acquainted.

 

Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word-of-Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand

Paul M. Rand gave a stirring sermon regarding how social media has changed the dynamic of the way businesses are being run today. Recommendations are seen as the new key measure of determining if products, services and businesses are successful. Social media now allows for every aspect of a company to be openly discussed, critiqued, or praised, and the companies that understand how to manage this to their favor will come out on top.

The Science of Social Proof: 91% of consumers make a recommendation after a positive experience and 49% of people say they recommend a business to help guide someone else, according to Paul M. Rand. Paul continued by citing an example of visiting a common business like a grocery store while seeing a client out of town. The client went on to recommend a particular grocery store, raving and recommending this specific store for 30 minutes. It was the experience that kept this consumer coming back to visit and with the right mentality; businesses can emulate this to their advantage.

Bottom Line: Create an experience. We all have a preference based upon experience for almost everything. Make it your business to make your business someone’s preference and hopefully their next recommendation.

Funding for New Social Media Ideas – So 2011?

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the social media bubble is bursting.  From Wall Street trading to closed-doors corporate funding, investors have begun turning a cold shoulder to the inventors of tomorrow’s social sharing networks.

In fact, corporate investment in social media (in networks such as Facebook and Pinterest, the funding of apps, etc.), has steadily declined from its high point in late 2011.

According to Businessweek‘s Ashlee Vance: “Silicon Valley is reaching the saturation point with business plans that hinge on crossed fingers as much as anything else.”

“We are certainly in another bubble,” says Matthew Cowan, co-founder of the tech investment firm Bridgescale Partners. “And it’s being driven by social media and consumer-oriented applications.”

Is this the pending death of social media?  Read all the gory details here >>

To provide a bit of Upright analysis: 

The monetization of the actual social media platforms is obviously crucial here. When General Motors quit spending ad dollars on Facebook in May 2012, investors began to wonder: “if the all-powerful Facebook can’t make money (monetize features/ads)…who can?” Suddenly, many home-run new ideas appeared as a huge gamble.  Whereas from 2009-2011, the market was (naively?) friendly to social media investments.

As people are becoming increasingly “platform agnostic” (not loyal to any one social media site or service provider), investors are even more gun-shy about putting all their eggs in one basket. The truth is that social interactive concepts — such as watching videos, sharing photos, Do-It-Yourself project forums, etc. — will continue to be created and diversify. But the more we become addicted to these social/narcissistic interactions in our lives, the less we care who provides them.  Social media brands become generic utilities pretty quickly…or are bought out by Google. This creates an incredibly narrow path for long-term, independent success with any one social media network or app.

Investing in social media has become like investing in the next catchphrase or slang. I still like “radical”, though. It’s rad.

Social Media Explained with Donuts

What do social media and donuts have in common? Both are something one may enjoy at the start of the day. Both are available in a wide variety of types and flavors to suite a broad range of individual tastes. Recently, a North Carolina based marketing company tied these two subjects together in an interesting illustration that generated a great deal of interest, including some 100,000 likes on Facebook.

In the form of a chart handwritten on a whiteboard, the illustration provides a concise explanation of the various forms of social media, using a simple common thread. What makes this chart so great, beyond providing the opportunity to talk about donuts, is the simplicity with which it boils down a rather complex subject.  There is no denying the impact of social media, and that it is rapidly becoming one of the most important facets of marketing for a growing number of businesses. This fun and clever social media explanation makes its own case for this in the attention it has brought to the company. The important message here is that social media does not necessarily need to be a complicated endeavor.

If you are a marketer who is new to social media, you may feel overwhelmed in trying to gain a full understanding of how these platforms work. By looking at each platform through the perspective of “how can I use this to promote my [donut]?” you can identify a simple starting point. After gaining some experience and familiarity, you can take your campaigns to more complex levels. For example, as the owner of a small neighborhood café, you may start with a simple Facebook business page, and invite customers to “like” it. As your following grows, you may post coupons or menus.  The next step may be to offer patrons a free order of biscotti for “checking-in” when they visit. Eventually you can incorporate other special Facebook features such as sponsored stories to generate interest in your business.

Ready to bite into the world of social media, but find you’re in need of a little assistance? Consider Upright Communications the coffee to go with your donut. We’ll awaken you to the myriad of social media opportunities that are available, and we will help you supercharge your efforts!

 

Want to learn more about the social media mentioned? Check out the links below:

Twitter – “Twitter connects businesses to customers in real time—and businesses use Twitter to quickly share information with people interested in their products and services, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and influencers. From brand lift to CRM to direct sales, Twitter offers businesses an easy way to reach an engaged audience.”

Facebook – “Facebook allows marketers to stay connected with people throughout their day whether they are on their computers or mobile devices, at home or at work, watching TV or shopping with friends. This allows businesses to create rich social experiences, build lasting relationships and amplify the most powerful type of marketing – word of mouth.”

Foursquare – “Foursquare makes the real world easier to use. We build tools that help you keep up with friends, discover what’s nearby, save money and unlock deals. Whether you’re setting off on a trip around the world, coordinating a night out with friends, or trying to pick out the best dish at your local restaurant, foursquare is the perfect companion.”

Instagram – “Snap a photo with your iPhone, choose a filter to transform the look and feel, send to Facebook, Twitter or Flickr – it’s all as easy as pie. It’s photo sharing, reinvented.

YouTube – “YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.”

Linked in – “Influence consumer perceptions and purchase decisions by messaging followers across LinkedIn and the Internet. Post relevant updates, like company news, product promotions, videos, and industry articles. Amplify your brand message and benefit from follower engagement (likes, comments and shares), interactions that are virally distributed across a follower’s networks.”

Pinterest – “Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.”

Last FM – “Last.fm is a music recommendation service. You use Last.fm by signing up and downloading The Scrobbler, which helps you discover more music based on the songs you play.”

G+ – “Google+ makes connecting on the web more like connecting in the real world. Share your thoughts, links and photos with the right circles. Use easy, spontaneous video chat to strike up conversations with as many as nine people at once.”

Google+ (A New Social Platform)

Google+ is a new social platform which many see as Google’s answer to Facebook. There are several components to the free product, launching now and over the next several months:

1) CLICK TO SHARE The first feature (available now to all Google users) is the ability to “+1″ Google search results. Enable this feature, and you will see a +1 button to the right of each Google search result. It’s similar to ‘liking’ on Facebook– when you click the button, other participants in your Google social network will see what you +1 in their own search results. See screenshot:

Sign up for the ability to “+1″ specific Google search results, the new form of social sharing. (Log into your Google account first.)

2) HOOK +1 UP ON YOUR WEBSITE Most likely, Google will eventually factor the amount of +1s a webpage receives as a ranking factor. Currently, the amount of tweets and Facebook shares a page receives is a ranking factor; so this is the next logical step. According to your comfort level, we recommend you add the +1 sharing button to your webpages:

Add the +1 button to your website, to enable visitors to share your webpages and blog entries with their Google networks.

3) ADDITIONAL FEATURES Google has a whole world planned with Google+. For example: ten-person video sharing, management of Facebook-style social profiles, and easy mobile sharing. Currently, only a select few Google users have access to these features. Read one user’s experience of the new features.

Sign up to be notified when additional Google+ features are rolled out to the public.

More to come on Google+ in the coming weeks and months!

Friday Funk: Credit to Social Media

We frequently hear advertisers in various industries say, “social media is great, but it really doesn’t apply to my market.” The story of Xceed Financial Federal Credit Union, as reported at Credit Unions Online, might make those reluctant marketers reconsider. Rather than deciding that social media was not relevant for their business, they found a way to make their business applicable to social media.

Read More

Tuesday Tip: Top Ways to Clean Up Your Social Media Identity

The way you represent your brand on social media networks is as important as being on the most prominent channels. You may be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, but if you’re not managing how your brand is being represented, then why be on there. Upright has given you information on how to create the best profiles you can, but you now need to know how to manage it.

Follow these top ways to manage and clean up your social media identity for unwavering success:

Keep up the same persona on all channels. You want your followers to know who you are as a company. If your Facebook persona is inconsistent with your Twitter persona, how will they know who you really are? Social Media is all about allowing people to connect with the real brand. ** Remember to keep in mind that MySpace allows for more creativity than LinkedIn for example, so try to keep it consistent no matter what network you’re talking to.

Sign up for monitoring systems like Ping.fm where you can update your social media networks all at one time. It’s important that you notify all your channels of what your business has to say rather than just one. By doing that, you’ll never miss anyone when you’re sharing your newest products or offering out of this world deals.

Use the same name on every channel. The worst is when people look for you on one network but can’t find you on another because you have different names for your business. If you’re CupcakeChick on Facebook, then you need to be CupcakeChick on Twitter, YouTube, etc. Own your brand! Same goes for your screen name. If it’s Twitter.com/CupcakeChick, then you want it to be Facebook.com/CupcakeChick. Before you go creating a screen name on one account, check other accounts to make sure it’s available.

Don’t mix personal with business. It’s easy for us to associate our personal accounts with our business accounts. However, not everyone wants to know what you did this weekend or how cute your dog looks in that photo, so be sure not to mix the two. To avoid this issue, try cross-connecting your business social media accounts. Add your Twitter and Facebook links to your LinkedIn profile and vice versa. That way Google can see that those accounts are connected but not see your personal account in the mix.

Now, go on your merry way to cleaning and managing those accounts. It will be worth it!

 

Tuesday Tip: 5 Ways to Optimize Your NEW Facebook Page

So let’s say your company is new to Facebook and finally have gotten around to creating a Facebook page.  It’s now another way for you to expand your brand online and you want to represent yourself as the successful company that you are.  Not only that but you want your page to create business opportunities and encourage networking. We can definitely help you with that!  Below are 5 tips that we suggest when first starting out.

1: Select the Perfect Profile Picture

Choose the perfect profile picture that represents your business and make sure it follows the Facebook specs.

  • Photos should be 200 pixels wide.
  • In addition to having an image fit those specs, it’s really important to get the thumbnail size just right. You don’t want to pick a photo that is too big or else the automatic cropping of the photo done by Facebook will give you a no longer perfect profile picture.

 2: Create a Vanity URL

When first starting out with Facebook, it can sometimes be hard to get people to “like”  your page, especially if you’re a small business.  However, if you get the word out through email, flyers and on your website, you could get more than 25 fans in no time and be able to create a vanity URL.  A vanity URL is a way for you to easily share and advertise your Facebook page to your current customers and prospects, or anyone you want to show off to.

Once you get 25 fans, log in to Facebook, go your search bar in the browser and type in http://www.facebook.com/username.  It will take you through a series of steps and at the end, you’ve got your own vanity URL, check out Upright’s- http://www.facebook.com/walkupright

3: Add Useful, Basic Information

On Facebook, there is an area where you can add basic information about your company, such as website, year founded and a brief description about yourself.  Be sure to fill out ALL the fields Facebook offers that will be useful to your followers.  You want as much information listed as you can without making it cluttered.

Check out our basic information page.  Remember, depending on what type of company you are, you may have different options on what information you can share.

4: Develop a Posting Schedule

Work with your team members to decide how often you’re going to post an update to your Facebook page.  It could be just twice a week, depending upon how you want to use it, or it could be every other day.  If you post too often, you could lose fans, if you don’t post enough, people will forget about you.  Try to get a happy medium.

** Remember, not all of the information that you post should directly market your company.  They say 80% of business Facebook posts should be industry related information or something completely out of the realm of your business, like doing Tuesday Trivia and the other 20% should focus on the online marketing efforts of your company.

5: Pay Attention to Your Insights

Facebook offers a way for you to obtain information on how your page is performing. Facebook Insights shares with you important data that allows you to better your online marketing efforts.

You can track how many new fans you’re getting, how often they are interacting, what posts receive the most feedback, and which tabs people are viewing most often (it could be your Wall or Videos)

Below is a snippet from Upright’s Insight page:

There is ALWAYS more you can do to help better your Facebook page, but these tips should get you started.