Walkthrough of New Facebook Insights

Facebook say they have listened to feedback and want to make Insights clearer and more actionable. Sounds good. Current insights are inconsistent and I always take them with a pinch of salt. With these new insights, Facebook have evidently realised that if they want to charge Facebook users to reach the fans they have already paid to acquire – there had better be some good stats available to justify all this spend to the CFO!

What’s New…

People Talking About This (PTAT)

Currently a single ambiguously achieved number Facebook are going to split this out in to its constituent parts. These will all now be reported sperately as:

  1. Page Likes
  2. People Engaged (the number of unique people who have clicked on, liked, commented on, or shared your posts)
  3. Page tags and mentions
  4. Page checkins, and other interactions on a Page.

Virality (now called ‘Engagement Rate’)

“We also heard that the virality metric in Page Insights is often used as a benchmark for Page post quality. However, this metric doesn’t include clicks in its measurement, which are a strong indicator of positive post engagement and a key piece in providing marketers with metrics around overall post quality. So moving forward, we’re including clicks in this metric and renaming ‘virality’ to ‘engagement rate’ to be clearer in our definition.”

The new insights are split in to four distinct sections; Overview, page, posts and people.

Post Insights

Facebook now give Page managers a post-specific ‘score card’, allowing you to compare positive and negative metrics together.

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New Demographic Metrics (People)

You can now see the data not just for those users you have reached, but also for those who have engaged with your page. You can now break this down even further and see if people in different countries or towns ‘like’ or engage with certain content categories. E.g, you see that fans in London engage most with posts that feature black cabs, where-as those users in Wales were more prone to interact with posts about rugby…or dragons.

New Facebook Insights

New Facebook Insights

Timescales

Facebook state that this will be a gradual roll-out starting with selected page managers, before becoming more widely available ‘later this summer’.

More information from the horses mouth

Real World Social Business’ – RNLI at the Seaside

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Social Media at The Beach

Yesterday I went to the beach to enjoy our two week long British summer. Once we’d found a parking space, we (I) carried the entire contents of our home minus kitchen sink, the short distance from the car to the beach. Struggling along the promenade, kids straining at the (virtual) leash I saw the last vacant spot on the sand and headed towards it. “Hi how are you today?” I heard a voice say. “Are you going to build a nice sandcastle?” the same voice said to my 4 year old. Peering around the pile of towels, goggles and assorted balls in my grip I saw an RNLI lifeguardImage talking to my son. He was highly engaged in conversation with her as the topic was ‘how to build the best sandcastle. The girl next to her then asked my wife if she wanted any info on safe swimming for kids, which of course my wife did. What kind of a mother wouldn’t want this information. Impatiently tapping my foot, the cynical marketer in me was counting down the seconds for the goal conversion to occur, i.e. donate some money. It took 6 minutes for my wife to finally walk away, nearly as weighed down as I was, by donation /sign up forms.

This is nothing new in ‘real life’, however social media have allowed this commonplace tactic to occur in the digital space. All organisations, businesses, brands, SMEs and charities need to make a profit. It’s their ‘raison d’etre’ whether said profit goes to shareholders or good causes.

This will never be overtly communicated though. In fact mentioning the fact that a business is an actual money-making business these days is a heresy. Organisations want to ‘be your friend’, ‘tell you a story’ and share ‘the moment’. They definitely, DEFINITELY don’t want to relieve you of your hard earned $$. Yet.

Social media now allows organisations to enter in to that same conversation as my wife and son had at the beach:

Summary

  1. Location – we were at the beach, therefore a related subject is beach/sea safety, for which the RNLI are an authority.
  2. Weather/season/relevance – It would be fairly pointless those nice ladies from the RNLI standing in that same spot in mid-December.
  3. Conversation / engagement – Had they just asked us to give them some money we would have completely ignored them. They asked a pertinent question, at the right time and began a relevant conversation. This applies exactly the same in social media.
  4. Conversion – They weren’t there just to have a chat, they had targets and goals. With any social media activity you should also have a firm idea of the purpose of the conversation.
  5. Awareness – Even those people that walked straight past couldn’t have failed to notice the RNLI branded tent and branded paraphernalia. Not all (hardly any) social media activity will lead directly to a conversion – it’s largely an awareness thing.
  6. Value exchange – in this example, the RNLI gave us some useful advice on beach and sea safety with a helpful booklet for us to keep. That’s value for us so we may reciprocate by ‘liking’ them on Facebook or even signing up to a monthly direct debit.

You can donate to the RNLI (who do incredible things and save lives hereImage

5 Quick Tips For A Better Facebook Brand Page

I don’t know about you but I read so many generic, copycat articles concerning  Facebook advice. Most mention such things as creating ‘engaging content’ and ‘entering in to a conversation’. All completely correct of course however I’ve heard social media ‘gurus’ touting the same thing for 6-7 years. No-one ever seems to have genuine tips – until now!

Facebook logo

I manage a brand page that has 50,000+ highly engaged fans so I just wanted to share some tips that come in handy for me on a daily basis:

1. Facebook Image Sizes

This is a balancing act between sharing high quality images and making sure that those images look as good as possible within Facebook. First of all, make sure that the image you start with is at least 2mb. Then use Photoshop or which ever software you prefer (Ifranview is a good, free image resizer) and reduce the pixel size of the image. Facebook images are 403×403 px but you don’t want to go down this small as when your fans open the image it stays too small. I usually reduce the image to around 600-700 px, keeping to ratio the same as the original. This way most of the image still gets displayed in people’s newsfeeds, but there’s still a little added value in them clicking to open up the full image.

ADDITIONAL: I’m told by Luke Williams (Social Media Coordinator at the RNLI) that he resizes to 843px to ensure images look ok when ‘featured’ on a timeline.

2. Promoted Posts

Facebook ads budget

Yes, these days we pay Facebook to get fans and we then have to pay Facebook for the majority of those fans to then hear what we’ve got to say. When you go to ‘promote’ a post, Facebook will give you a list of budgets to select. Now this is anecdotal, but try selecting the highest budget possible but STOP the promotion once it’s spent however much your actual budget is.  So you have £31 to spend, set it at £500 but then pause once you’ve spent £31. I find that this seems to hugely increases the ‘pool’ of people exposed to any single post, just don’t forget to stop the promotion.

(These are quick tips, there are lots of different methods for promoting your posts within the Facebook ad manager area.)

3. Respond & React

First came one way, broadcast messaging, then came ‘two way symmetrical’ (uh oh they’re answering back and talking to each other.) Now we have this situation where brands are sharing things with fans, who share things with their friends and fans are sharing things with brands. Brands need to then make sure they share these nuggets of insight around the wider business.

You need to keep a constantly close eye on the notifications/admin area of your page. For every person that says ‘me too’ or ‘love this’ etc etc you can show fans you heard them and you’re listening, by ‘liking’ their interactions with you. If they posted a justifiably negative comment, you need to look in to that too, gather more info, speak to customer services and offer to help. If it’s a compliment about the Swindon branch – pass that on the goddam Swindon branch (they’ll love you) and tell the fan you’ve done this. If a fan says how they hate the little bit on the packaging that always rips then pass this on to Johnny in innovation/NPD – it’s just what he wants to hear!

4. Facebook To Drive Other Channels

Ok so you spent 6 months just trying to get sign off on that Facebook advertising budget. You don’t HAVE to use that for building just your Facebook page, you can use it to cross-pollinate your social platforms! If you’ve just started your Pinterest account, you may have noticed that there is no Pinterest advertising. Same for Instagram.  Share a photo as part of a post and then expand on that image by creating a board of similar images on Pinterest. Link to this board “more over on our Pinterest page <link>”,  from your Facebook post and promote the post – voila a bunch of people wil now visit you on Pinterest and you’ll see that follower count increase. There are many other ways to get the most out of your Pinterest page…

5. Devil’s In The Detail

Just because Facebook generally allows for a casual, more informal tone of voice, this doesn’t mean you can allow the quality to drop. In fact, you may find that your Facebook fans, being the committed, passionate bunch they are will be very helpful and forthcoming in correcting any mistakes. Double check everything, then check it again. Then check the links. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t allow you to preview photos so set up a ‘test’ Facebook page to avoid sideways or pixelated photos. If you’re not sure how something’s spelled, look it up in the dictionary. Old school I know but useful to be able to cite the OED when you get in to the whole US vs UK spelling discussions…

Thomas Cook Facebook ‘Fiasco’

Yes the word fiasco is in inverted commas, because it’s not a fiasco on Thomas Cook’s behalf, but rather a good example of guerrilla social PR by another, lesser known travel company.

And i’m going to defend Thomas Cook from the nay-sayers – here’s why:

What happened?

Well in summary, a bloke who was also called Thomas Cook posted on the travel brand Thomas Cook’s Facebook page demanding that, as he’d had to endure 26 years of daunting as a result of sharing a name, he was owed a free holiday. Thomas Cook quite rightly responded with the fact that they can’t go around giving a free holiday to every Tom, Dick and Tom and Tom! That would put them in a real financial pickle, which they really don’t need at the moment what with being £1.3bn in debt.

Here’s the actual conversation (image thanks to @digitim)

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Thomas Cook! You fools! Why did you not seize upon this opportunity to give this freeloading chancer a free holiday? Think of the PR that would have been gained!

Correction – Thomas Cook would have gained little exposure had they succumbed to this request. The reason the story became so huge and reached the front page of Reddit, was the fact that this other company came in and offered the holiday to Thomas Cook, on Thomas Cook’s own page. That’s where the story lies.

This, I believe, is social media at it’s worst. It is cyber brand bullying. Social peer pressure. Of course there must be a level of value exchange, an eye for an eye, you share that interesting and relevant content Mr Brand and i’ll like your page and, if you’re lucky, share it with all my friends… But free holidays for sharing the same name? Give me break.

Let’s take the medium out of the equation. If this guy had run in to a Thomas Cook shop on the high street and shouted at the agents “I WANT A FREE HOLIDAY! GIMME GIMME GIMME!” would they have complied? No. They’d have asked him to leave and when he didn’t they’d have called the police. Why so different on ‘social media?’.

Free Thomas Cook Holiday!

Thomas Cook’s response was that if they gave this one Thomas Cook a free holiday, this would set a precedent and meaning they should pay for ALL Thomas Cooks to have a free holiday. Sure enough, later on, another Thomas Cook, this time based in America posted a request for a free holiday. Quite rightly, Thomas Cook have set out their stall, i.e. ‘No way, you’re not having a free holiday…’ LowCostHolidays.com on the other hand have kindly paid for Thomas Cooks trip to Paris. So are they now going to pay for all the other Thomas Cooks to have trips to Paris? I doubt it, but that’s not very fair now is it?

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All reminiscent of when E4 started posting on ITV and Sky’s Facebook pages and responding to their fans.

I particularly like this, perhaps Thomas Cook should jump in on that post and offer her a free holiday – this could go on forever:

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So well done Lowcostholidays.com, great guerrilla marketing, but there’s no need to berate Thomas Cook for what was simply a very clever move by a smaller competitor. Now i’m off to change my name by deed poll to Lamborghini.

New Facebook Changes – A Laymans Summary

More as a way to summarise the updates for myself, here is a review of the changes announced by team Zuckerburg yesterday. There appear to be two sides to the changes – on the one hand we have the changes that ‘Joe Blogs Facebook user’ will care about and on the other, the new Open Graph API that (Facebook hope) will have developers drooling over and will deliver “real time serendipity”.

Facebook themselves split the changes in to three; Your Cover, Your Stories & Your Apps.

Your Cover – Is the header to the new ‘Timeline’ profile that features a main, banner like photo that Facebook say should ‘represent you best’.

 Underneath your header there will now be an area all about YOU called ‘Your Stories’. This section of a users Timeline will detail photos, posts, videos and anything else that may tell people about who you are, what you do and what you’re about.

‘Your Apps’ will be at the lower end of your Timeline. This is the part that Facebook were perhaps the most excited about. Basically Facebook will now be partnering with any service that they might be able to connect with Facebook allowing your Timeline you be an interest aggregator. Users can add the Spotify app for example which will allow your Facebook friends to see which tracks you have listened to.

A whole host of new apps will be introduced including ones from news sources like The Guardian and The Independent, online video and TV streaming  through Netflix or Hulu and other music apps such as Mixcloud and Soundcloud.

Open Graph

Developers will now be able to tap in to Facebook in ways that weren’t possible before using the updated Open Graph API. As Facebook say on this new way of working “The opportunities are endless, such as building an app for runners to share their routes and achievements, photographers to feature the photos they take, and music lovers to share their playlists and top albums with friends. Develop Open Graph apps that will make Timeline the personal, expressive page we believe it can be.”

The new developer options will be based around what Facebook call a Graph Rank which will give prominence in news feeds to apps that users find engaging. New app analytics will allow developers to monitor their apps activity and so optimise apps for an increased Graph Rank.

Conclusion:

I don’t think all these changes amount to the world changing, redefinition of social networking that sites such as Mashable would have had us believe in the pre-launch hype.

Most people use Facebook as either a simple communication tool, whether through comments, FB messages or FB chat. They like to look at other folks photos or if they have a bit of time to spare, flick down through the most recent status updates. But how often does one visit another user’s profile page? Are you really bothered about going to someone else’s ‘Timeline’ to find out all about them? Or they use it to have a nosey at other user’s pictures…

Facebook is basing its latest direction on the assumption that users will become content creaters. It’s going to take a long time to get your timeline looking good. You;re going to have to choose which photo’s best portray you (or how you’d like to be perceived). You need to opt in to each of the apps you want to interact with and feed your profile with regular ‘stories’ about what you’re doing.

Maybe this is exactly what people have been waiting for…however I fear it might lead to a graveyard of features and apps and half completed Timelines. We’ll see. Once i’ve been able to have a proper play with it then the new Facebook’s usefulness may become clearer.

I think the top two comments on Facebook’s own blog sum up the divide in opinion perfectly…

Looks like the comment ‘the world changes, get used to it’ has proved the most popular with Facebookers.

Here’s a video that Robert Scoble took from the front row of the Faceboook F8 presentation

Active Conversations Are Where Brands Need To Be…

…Whilst people are doing…stuff. 

As we enter a more fragmented and convoluted online landscape I ask myself, “is there ever going to be another NEXT BIG THING?” Duality, post-modernism…are we now post-digital, where the medium no longer the focus? The terms ‘platform agnostic’ or ‘technology neutral’ both lead us to the same conclusion; ANYTHING can be a digital or social platform and it’s users not brands that choose where these are. Not so much ‘tribes’ as Seth Godin would have you think, more ‘nomads’. Digital hunter/gatherers, constantly moving away from stagnant, drained areas and moving towards more fruitful places with something new to offer and like minded individuals. Right now Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are these fruitful places with Myspace or Friends Reunited being stagnant and drained, by 2015 – who knows?

Which brings me to the point of this post. Brands are constantly being told that they need to be where the conversation is if they want to engage with audiences and vice versa. However, there is some narrow minded thinking when it comes to where these conversations are occuring. Facebook? Yes. Twitter? Of course.

However, perhaps the most impactful time to enter people’s thoughts is whilst they are already engaged in another activity. There is a Direct Line banking advert on UK TV currently where instead of being given advice sitting at a desk, the customer (played by Alexander Armstrong) asks the adviser (played by Chris Addison) if they can pretend to play golf whilst they discuss his financial concerns (see below).

Yes it’s a ‘funny’ advert but it does illustrate the point.

Alternatively, your target audience may have a propensity to play computer games. Maybe you’re a fashion brand attempting to get your message through to gamers (who might share the 16-30, male, med-high disposable income demographic). Traditionally you may go for banner ads on gaming sites, Facebook adverts targeted at people who ‘like’ video games or purchasing some email list data for that demographic. Hang on a minute though – if you’re targeting them because those who play video games also show an affinity to your brand, then surely you want to enter their mind WHILST they play the video game. They are unlikely to be in the video game mind set if they are opening an email or on a website, potentially clicking on a banner. No, the messaging may have been more effective had they repeatedly seen your brand whilst playing. Many games these days have a headset, with players having ongoing conversations throughout the game with each other. In game adverts or Spotify style ‘in play’ audio ads might be used. I’m thinking Arduino will come in to this somewhere…

The same concept applies to why mobile will be increasingly relevant and effective. This is nothing new, however worth mentioning – people have their mobiles on them 24-7. Whilst they’re playing golf (see earlier example) their mobile will be in their pocket. Find out when they’re playing golf (as will become known increasingly through the use of location based services) then target them during that round.

So it’s not just becoming part of the conversation online, or even engaging with your audience within their communities. It’s ensuring that your brand gets share of mind during actions that can be linked to real time, digital activity. Robinsons having QR codes on tennis nets linking to web offers? Rather than location check-ins, ACTION checkins. Rather than ‘Rob just checked in at the tennis courts’, ‘Rob just started playing tennis’. I guess we’ll have to wait until activity aware apps come along. Perhaps an app than recognises certain movements or gestures that you make and automatically knows what activity you’re doing.

Who knows? Food for thought though eh?