Changes… again and again

Changes… again and again

 

Facebook Changes and What They Really Mean!

“Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.” – Mark Zuckerberg

I’m sure you’ve seen the breaking news story regarding the Facebook changes that Mark Zuckerberg put out last Thursday (1-11-18) afternoon. Facebook, as we know it, is changing forever. Everything about that statement is true. But what isn’t breaking news is the fact that Facebook is actually changing. Doesn’t that happen pretty much every week lately?!?!

Seriously though, the algorithms have been changing so often lately that it’s become hard to keep up with, unless you’re a marketer and love this stuff (*raising hand). What worked a week ago may not work this week, and will definitely change next week. You’ve finally gotten a rhythm down, your stats up, and can rest at night knowing your marketing is working, only to have to throw it all up into the social media air and see where it lands.

I get it, I really do. But we don’t have to be scared of the change to Facebook, or #facebookageddon as it’s been so affectionately tagged. The changes that you will be forced to make, are changes that we really should have been focusing on all along. So what’s really going on?
 

Every year Mark Zuckerberg announces a personal challenge. This year his challenge is about “fixing”.

“The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against the interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is well spent. My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues. We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we’re successful this year then we’ll end 2018 on a much better trajectory.” – Mark Zuckerberg

In short, there are going to be significant changes in the Facebook algorithms. And yes, it’s going to affect most businesses. But this is not the time to throw in the towel and switch social media platforms. Zuckerberg wants to bring Facebook back to what it was originally built for… a social platform. And businesses can use this to their advantage if strategized correctly.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen it coming this past year. There have been constant changes in the algorithm. If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us haven’t gotten past the aggravation of it, to look at the “why”.
 

The answer is simple.

Mark Zuckerberg says it best: “By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

He has realized that we are getting frustrated with Facebook and that there needed to be some changes. Honestly, I think he got sick of slapping us on the wrist and decided to just lay it on us. Sometimes we don’t take a hint, apparently.

FB is changing the newsfeed algorithm by taking into account things like comments, like, clickbait, etc. This will continue to be analyzed and adjusted, with the focus being on creating more meaningful social interactions. FB is prioritizing what shows up in newsfeeds to show what family and friends have to say first and we can expect to see fewer posts from businesses, and publishers.

Facebook plans to promote posts that generate discussion. The more interaction there is on pages – like, comments, shares – the more likely it will be to show up in your newsfeed. So things like live videos, groups, celebrity posts and profiles with a lot of interaction will be prioritized on your newsfeed.

Gone are the days of posting random links, without much thought. Posts need to be thought out and strategized… inviting engagement. We cannot just use FB to drive traffic anymore. It HAS to be meaningful engagement.
 

What changes should be made?

One of the most basic ways to do this is to get to know the people that are interacting with your page… get to know your community. A great way to do this is in groups, but it can (and should) be done in your business pages as well.

There are also things to think about as a consumer. What pages do you want to see on your newsfeed most? Interact with those. You can’t be a silent observer on a group or page anymore, that will actually hurt your newsfeed. The point is to contribute and be part of something bigger than yourself. You’ve got amazing ideas too… share them.

Here are some things to do to help build your community, whether you are a business owner or not…

  • Build page interaction
  • Build group interaction
  • Engage on pages you want to see more of in your newsfeed
  • Have meaningful conversations
  • Actually build a community
  • Network, network, network
  • Offer advice and post questions
  • Select “see first” for pages you want to see more of

“This will be a serious year of self-improvement and I’m looking forward to learning from working to fix our issues together.” – Mark Zuckerberg

To sum it all up, because I could seriously talk about this all day… If you want to see more of a particular page, make sure to engage in actual conversation on that page. Only time will tell if this turns out to be a positive thing, or if it backfires on Zuckerberg and the Facebook team.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!!!
 

Let us know how we can help you. And we’d love it if you would follow us on social media.
Press Record for Live Video

Press Record for Live Video

 

Afraid of being on camera? Have you shied away from doing either pre-recorded or live video? If so, you aren’t alone. Tons of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and bloggers are missing out on the huge upside of using video on social media. Yet, with the explosive growth of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, video is at the forefront of effective content. What is most important to your business? It’s getting more clients and making more money. Both of these can improve drastically through the strategic use of live video or pre-recorded video on social media.

Statistic: Over 90% of mobile video consumers share videos to others

 

Sharing of content across social media platforms can take on a life of its own. People start engaging on your content posts, connecting to one another organically, and exploring your brand. The key to engagement with video is being yourself, standing out, and bringing excellent content. You don’t have to hit the makeup studio before pressing record either. People really don’t care if your hair is just right, or you have the most perfect of backgrounds. They want something real and they want something helpful.

It’s a fact that people would rather watch a video recording, Facebook live video, or something animated than to just read text. In this technology-driven society, video content trumps text and image only content. Memes are cool, but they get old and don’t attract enough attention. I think a long time ago the show America’s Funniest Home Videos had it right and we didn’t even know it. They were sort of a trailblazer for content. Their choice of content brought laughter to people and sparked a family atmosphere for those that just wanted to break away from stress. Now video is all the rage. Five billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day with over 1.3 billion users and climbing.

What businesses should use live video or even pre-recorded video? The short answer is all of them. Videos work for any niche market. Bloggers, life coaches, event speakers, retail commerce businesses, and fitness trainers can all take advantage of the marketing power of live video. So, no matter what you are trying to grow or brand, you can and should start using video right away.

The Benefits of Posting Video

Facebook loves it

Pages get rewarded for doing video. The algorithms adore you when you do live video. They notify friends and followers that you “went live” so they can join in. This allows you to interact with viewers right away.

Gives you a chance to create a call to action and sense of urgency

Want to run a promotion or explain a contest? Video is a great way to get that information out. It also allows viewers to hear how they can take advantage of the offer.

Provides rich content and explainer content

There are so many things you can do with video to include voice, music, animation, motion, and other cool effects. Don’t forget caption either, because sometimes you just want to have the sound off.

People get to know the person behind the brand

Connections come from relationships being built over time. Let’s face it. Even people on dating websites at some point want to see each other. Videos bring people close to your company. It provides of sense of belonging.

A wider audience to reach

Facebook calls this phenomenon “reach”. Reach is how many people in their newsfeed universe get to see your content. It’s not easy figuring out why some content works better over others, but it is evident that video scores really well.

Statistic: 75% of people would rather watch video about a product than read about it

 

What kind of equipment or software is needed? It really depends on the scope of quality you are looking for. Honestly, though you can use your handy iPhone or Android phone to record videos. Phones these days are pretty incredible when it comes to picture and video quality. You don’t need a camera crew with live mics and other sorts of production equipment. Now, if you can afford to hire a crew to handle all this, then, by all means, have at it. For the rest of us, just use your phone and use the record system that comes with Facebook or Instagram Live to get some video recorded.

In other words, there is no more excuse for not doing it. You have the equipment. You know what social media platforms appreciate video. Most of all, your target market would love to see what you have to say and how you can benefit them.

A very cool and easy to use video editing app that I use a lot is called Splice. It’s an editor and movie maker by GoPro. Definitely, check it out if you want to pre-record videos and edit them before posting across social media. If you have a mac you can use iMovie as well. Video editors will help you cut out a few seconds here and there and make the videos more professional. However, keep in mind, you must do live video as well. So, don’t be afraid. You got this.

 

Creating and Optimizing Content

Creating and Optimizing Content

Content is King. This is probably an overused cliche, but nevertheless, it’s true. When you are talking about website content and social media content, it’s even truer. Content can come in a wide variety of formats to include text, blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, and live broadcasts just to name a few. Anything you share on a company site or social media platform is considered content. From the perspective of your target market or existing client base, any form of media they see is content. That’s why it’s crazy important to create the most vivid and strategic content you can deliver. Content affects your brand which is your reputation. So, only the best content should be allowed.

When it comes to creating great content, you owe to yourself to use the best tools available. Here are a few resources I use daily to create content. Not everything requires a monetary investment on your part either. A lot of fantastic tools are free, believe it or not. Most software has both free and paid versions. So, make use of what you can and pay for things when it brings the benefit you need for your business. There’s no need to waste money to tools you may not need as much as others.

The software I use the most is probably Canva. This elite graphics design tool makes designing crisp and brilliant visuals so simple to do. It carries tons of templates, some free and some not. I do pay for this software. One of the main reasons I do is for the resizing aspect of already created images. You can take graphics you’ve already made for Facebook for instance and resize it into the perfect size for Twitter, Pinterest, or even a magazine layout. With Canva you can design ebooks, flyers, marketing materials, wallpapers, and sorts of social media images.

Most content consists of both text and imaging. There are loads of great image resources available online to get the best quality photos for your content. Unsplash and Pixabay are my favorite free image sites for sure. There are a zillion different results available with a quick and easy search bar that keys on words.

Keep in mind, when I mention text content, I am referring to the actual wording used. Image and graphics are extremely important, but the wording in a lot of cases is too. Think about what you are trying to “say”. What message are you wanting to get out to your audience? Effective marketing in print or online is only as good as its delivery. If you want to showcase a new product, for example, you need to share the “benefit” of what you are selling and “entice” people to buy it. Think about beer commercials for a second. A lot of these ads feature something just about everyone loves, that being football. In that type of visual scene, they also make sure the packaging is vividly cool and the product is “ice cold”. It’s all about presentation. Content needs to have substance and pop off the screen.

Imagine with me you just wrote a short blog series on how to build the perfect kitchen table. The blog is beautifully written and Yoast says it’s highly rated for “readability” and “SEO”. What’s SEO? I’ll clarify that in just a moment. So, you have this fantastic blog series. How are you going to market it? There are many ways to market it and all of them involve some kind of content. Videos need great editing, perhaps music, the best scenery, and catchy speech. An infographic needs heavy design emphasis regarding fonts used, color schemes, and imaging. A social media post must be an attention grabber visually. Which post below would be more appealing to you if you were scrolling facebook?

We sell apples at our store
photo Kasman on Pixabay

Want to taste the juiciest red delicious apples? photo by Roksolana Zasiadko on Unsplash

Now, let’s talk about SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization and basically, it means getting more traffic for your site on search engine results pages. Any company that wants to grow has the ultimate goal of being at the top of page one on Google search. When a prospective client is looking for a product, most people type it directly into the Google search bar. Optimizing your site is one way to help achieve that goal one day. How do you optimize your site exactly? There are many things you want to do to improve SEO. 

 

Here is a list of Ten Things your business should do

  • Come up with the best FOCUS KEYWORD you can for any content displayed
  • Utilize INTERNAL LINKS back to site pages or content posts
  • By all means, check your GRAMMAR
  • Make use of DESCRIPTORS like tags, alt text, captions, description, and excerpts
  • Reference EXTERNAL LINKS as long as they aren’t competitors
  • Maximize the SPEED of your site’s loading time
  • Get GOOGLE VERIFIED and pay attention to GOOGLE ANALYTICS
  • Include WIDELY SEARCHED PHRASES in your site content
  • NEVER TRY TO TRICK Google with hidden text or links as you will get caught
  • Improve the DESIGN, READABILITY, and CONTENT to get people to spend more time there

 

To some business owners, this may be a little complicated if you don’t have a website manager or web design company in place. If you can’t program your site, virtualRVA would be happy to help. In any case, take special consideration to how your site is built and what content is displayed. If not, both revenue and growth may be lacking for the future.

 

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