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By External Contributor on 7th January 2015

3 Ways Brands Maximize Facebook for Marketing Purposes

Follow as social networking concept in tag cloud of thumb up shape isolated on white backgroundMost modern companies have some sort of social media marketing strategy. Social media platforms have become content behemoths, stabilizing over the last few years as the go-to way to share ideas and connect with customers. And, while there are multiple social media options to choose from, let’s zero in on how many brands are finding success specifically with Facebook.

With the frequent changes in the newsfeed algorithms, Facebook is discriminating against excessively promotional posts and giving more exposure to organic posts. Where sales-driven copy used to be effective, companies now need to get more creative when using the platform in order to see any return on their efforts. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can learn from businesses that are succeeding on Facebook.

Subtle Promotion

A fatal error companies often make with Facebook is seeing it as a one-dimensional channel for promoting products and sharing news. The problem with this is that other people (like your consumers) also see Facebook as a way to get their feelings out and their voices heard.

Post informational resources on your website and direct customers there via your Facebook. This way, you’re a resource, rather than just forcing a sale. As a company specializing in identity protection, Lifelock uses its Facebook page to broadcast blog posts. These blog posts are full of useful resources which will not only help people to prevent identity theft from happening to them, but it will also help customers self-identify if Lifelock’s service is one they might benefit from.

Response to Crises

While many social media platforms are good avenues for dispelling rumors or mending relationships, Facebook can be an especially prime outlet for this. Its reach is unparalleled if you need to get an apology out quickly or patch up some damage.

Ruffles is an example of a company that took to Facebook when it faced a bit of a crisis. When a Brazilian image about how much air is included in Ruffles Crisps packages went viral, consumers were outraged. People thought they were being duped by the brand and took to the Internet to make their complaints known. Instead of defensively firing back, Ruffles responded gently and educationally. The company created a graphic that showed that the air was needed in order to protect the crisps and then shared it on Facebook. If you face a delicate situation or public ire, you can extinguish the fire by calmly responding and showing—not telling—the truth on Facebook.

Instant Information Gathering

With all the time millions of people spend on Facebook, there is a lot of personal data stored on the social site. Many savvy brands use this detailed information to learn about its users and connect with them. For example, Pinterest began by prompting first-time registrants to sign up with their Facebook logins (rather than their email), which encourages consumers to share information with the company. This material is then used by the brand to serve up targeted ads and content, which makes it more likely to profit from its users. While you may not be able to offer your customers a way to use your services via Facebook, you still can use the social network to find out what matters to them. Scour their pages or use a social media monitoring platform so that you can tailor ads and content based on their preferences.

When it comes to Facebook, there are nearly limitless ways businesses can use it for PR and marketing. If you want to avoid being penalized by the new algorithms, however, look to other brands for creative ideas. Listen to your buyers through their comments and respond to them with your content. Smooth over issues by using Facebook for crisis management, and use customers’ Facebook behaviors to learn how you can market them. These methods will get you well on your way to maximizing the platform for optimal marketing and PR outcomes.

Social Media Articles

By Graham Jones on 10th November 2014

Social traffic becomes more polarised in a year

Less traffic comes from multiple social networks – Facebook now dominates

A year ago people shared things online in several places – indeed they still do. You could share this article on Twitter for instance, or LinkedIn, or Facebook. Some people will share this article in all three places. However research on 200,000 websites with significant visitor traffic shows that over the past 12 months the amount of traffic coming from shared content on the vast majority of social networks has fallen.

Infographic: Facebook Dwarfs Competition in Terms of Referral Traffic | Statista

The amount of traffic from shared content on Facebook has more than doubled in the past year. Yet on almost every other one of the main social networks, the amount of traffic has fallen. Pinterest stands out because it is now the second most common place for social traffic – dwarfing even Twitter. The only other social network to have seen an increase is Google+ which has almost doubled the amount of traffic from its network. The problem is, very little traffic came from Google+ in the first place, so it is a doubling of very little, which is still tiny. Indeed, the amount of traffic from Google+ is 320 times less than the amount from Facebook.

This study is fascinating as it shows that online social referral traffic is becoming polarised. People are clearly seeing Facebook as THE place to share things, resulting in all those additional visits to linked websites. Twitter is fast becoming an “also-ran” in the social traffic stakes.

What does this mean for your business? It suggests that if you want your business to get traffic from social sites you have got to make your content  interesting to people who use Facebook.

And what do they find interesting? They want funny stuff, entertaining material or content that has high emotion. It means that what you might call “ordinary” business content is not going to get shared on Facebook and so your social traffic is going to be tiny. If people are seeing Facebook as the place to share, that is only going to benefit businesses if they make their content “Facebook friendly”.

Note too, that the dramatic rise in Pinterest traffic means that unless your website has great imagery which can be shared, that outlet is also not open to you.

In short, this new research means that if you want to benefit from online social media traffic you need to write material that is different, emotionally engaging and light – not boring old stuffy dry business material. And when you have got your copy right it needs illustrating with images people want to share.

In other words, this new research doesn’t tell us much new. Your website will only get social media traffic if you have great copy and excellent images.

Social

By Graham Jones on 30th June 2014

Facebook Study Blurs Ethical Guidelines

Facebook has published a study which Internet Psychologist Graham Jones believes was potentially unethical.

The research involved deliberately altering the emotional content of the timelines of almost 700,000 users of Facebook without their knowledge that this was being done. The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The participants in the study did not know that their timelines were being manipulated to alter its emotional content value.

According to Graham Jones this is borderline unethical. He said: “All research should get the informed consent of participants in advance of the study being undertaken. Whilst there are some exceptions to this, such as the results being significantly altered if people knew about the study in advance, it is considered good ethical practice to find ways around such limitations and allow participants to know about the research before being asked to take part.”

He added: “Even if you cannot inform people in advance, you should let them know once the study is completed so that they can decide whether data about them is included in the analysis. Some people may want such data destroyed and not used and they should be given this opportunity if you have not been able to get their prior informed consent to take part.”

Graham Jones also said: “The researchers appear to have treated this as data about words, rather than taking into account the psychological impact of what they were doing. The manipulation of timelines to provide either a more positive or more negative emotional experience for the users could well have had an impact upon them.”

There is some evidence of a link between social media use and low mood in some studies, said Graham Jones, which means that anyone manipulating social media timeliness needs to be especially careful.

“I do not think enough care and attention to the participants in this study was given,” said Graham Jones.

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