Facebook, Social Media Or Advertising Platform

Facebook advertisingFacebook just announced that starting in January it will begin limiting the number of “promotional Page posts” in the news feed… unless they pay for it.  Facebook is now officially an advertising platform.

So, what is considered a “promotional” post?  In short, anything that looks or feels like an ad, that includes the reuse of advertising material brands may have paid for.  You probably think “a little vague”, well most terms with Facebook are rather vague and give them a lot of latitude to interpret.

Over the past few months, brand reach on Facebook as dwindled to about 2.73% according to Forrester Research, the new policy is likely to reduce that substantially and force brands to pay for play for more content, until they have to pay for every post to have any reach.

Facebook is now officially an advertising platform in the traditional sense of the term leveraging their massive user base to generate display advertising both in and off the feed and that after charging brands for ads to develop a follower base they cannot reach anymore.

What should brands do?  There is not much of a choice, they should consider Facebook as any other advertising platform and develop their communication in a way that they can pull their now paid audience away from Facebook and other social media platforms and towards platforms they own and use social media to attract traffic to their websites and use their website to build their database.

Yes, we have come full circle, the website is becoming what it should have always been, the center of the digital strategy and social media, a way to build traffic to the web properties owned by the brand.

Brands will still be able to build relationships and interact  on social media but email will take on a new dimension and allow brands to further build their database and/or drive consumers to owned communities versus communities owned by third parties

Disclosure Is The Key

us-federal-trade-commission-logoRecently an advertising agency learned a hard lesson about social media promotion: Disclosure is the key.

The FTC recently settled with Interpublic’s Deutsch LA advertising agency and  Sony over claims the companies engaged in deceptive marketing during the launch of Sony’s hand held PlayStation Vita gaming console.

The lesson should not be lost on any marketer.

According to the complaint, one of the agency’s assistant account executives sent an email asking the agency’s staff to help promote the PlayStation Vita ad campaign by posting positive comments about the console on Twitter using the hashtag #gamechanger.

Deutsch LA employees posted tweets promoting PlayStation Vita without disclosing their connection to the agency or Sony.

According to the FTC these tweets were misleading because they didn’t reflect the views of actual consumers-users.

Agencies have to exercise a lot of caution when talking about a client’s work on social media, though best practices in that area aren’t always well codified, said David Berkowitz, chief marketing officer at digital agency MRY.

“This will be a wake-up call for agencies in terms of how they communicate work they have in market and what they encourage employees to do,” Mr. Berkowitz said.

It’s not the first time the FTC intervenes against agencies for deceptive marketing and it’s not likely to be the last and they will not stop at tweets.

The FTC is clear o that matter (and further clarified recently), marketers when they post on social media must disclose and consideration whether financial or in products and must disclose their connection to the agency, client or marketer.
What that means is that the poster must disclose if they work for the agency or the brand, they must disclosed if they have been paid or received free products or have received the service for free as a consideration to write and post about the product or service

In social media more than any other form of PR or advertising transparency is the key to keeping regulators at bay, to ensure brand integrity and to keep consumers trust.

What Worries Compliance Officers?

what worries complaince officersWhen it comes to regulated markets, compliance is a major issue, especially when it comes to social media, it worries compliance officers and has held back the use of social media in regulated markets.

So, what keeps compliance officers up at night and what do they do about it.

In short, anything posted on social media is amplified and can have an impact on the brand and the reputation and once the cat is out of the box, getting it back in the box is rather difficult.

As Warren Buffet said:“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

Of course, there are ways to mitigate risk. For one thing, a social media policy explaining who can post on social media sites, how they post and what they can or cannot say, what requires compliance approval before posting.  Yous social media policy should also define the steps to follow in case of crisis

The other challenge is what employees post about the company on their personal social media accounts.  Their post can be perceived as representing the views of the companies and can have an impact on the company reputation and/or have repercussions from the regulatory authorities

What makes it even more challenging is that be it in healthcare or financial services there are no set social media rules.  The regulatory authorities (FDA, FINRA, SEC, OCC and others) have not created a framework to regulate social media, they have only issued guidance on how to apply traditional communication with the public regulations to the electronic era and social media. The guidance seems to be a lot clearer though in the financial markets; in the medical market, the FDA is still going back and forth and the guidance can be confusing at best.

In addition, social media platforms are diverse and so are the posting modes and the number of character allowed creating challenges especially when it comes to disclosures.

Read more about what keeps compliance officers awake in financial services.

Facebook Algorithm Likes and Dislikes

Facebook algorithm likes and dislikesFacebook may not have a dislike button but its algorithm, so to speak, does and knowing what Facebook algorithm likes and dislikes greatly influences whether your post will show on your followers wall or not.

Knowing how it works, what it likes or dislikes will go a long way to get your post seen by your audience and improve your ROI.

So, here we go, Facebook algorithm likes and dislikes:

What Facebook algorithm loves:

  • Posts with lots of comments
  • Posts with lots of likes
  • Post types with photos videos (posted to Facebook instead of linked) or status update
  • Posts that reference a trending topic but don’t abuse it
  • Posts that receive a high volume of likes, comments, or shares in a short time
  • Posts with links, there is a way Facebook prefers it done
  • Videos uploaded to Facebook (instead of just linked) with a large number of views or long viewing time
  • Posts that tag other pages
  • Posts that your friends like or comment on
  • Posts from pages that have a lot of interactions
  • Post types with a lot of interactions
  • Posts from pages that have completed profile information (about tab)
  • Posts from pages whose fan base overlaps with the fan base  of recognized quality pages
  • Original images and videos not previously referenced in the Open Graph
  • Original Links

What Facebook algorithm dislike:

  • Clickbait
  • Frequently circulated content and repeated posts (duplicate content)
  • Like-baiting now banned by Facebook
  • Posts that include spam links
  • Text-only status updates from pages (no photos or graphics)
  • Posts that are frequently hidden or reported (a sign of low quality)
  • Posts that contain the words “like, comment, or share”
  • Posts with unusual engagement patterns or schemes (a like-baiting signal)
  • Posts that are classified as memes by Facebook (memes are images withf overlayed text)

Facebook Bans Like Gating

Facebook bans fan gatingIf you have been using the “like gating” technique it’s time to stop, as of November 4th Facebook bans like gating

If you don’t know what fan gating is, like gating is enticing your followers to like your page ot posts in exchange for freebies

Harshdeep Singh, a software engineer at Facebook, wrote in an August blog post that  people “like pages because they want to connect and hear from the businesses, not because of artificial incentives”.

The ultimate goal of Social media is to build relationships and banning the practice will force brands and organizations to create  quality content that engages their audiences and builds relationships instead of relying on technical tricks

No doubt some marketers will suffer but ultimately, building better relationship with quality content will lead to better quality likes and more engaged audiences.

In addition, social media should be a means to an end, no matter what you do you do not control the medium and one of your goals should be to get the data on followers out of the platform and into a platform you have more control over like traffic to your website or building your mailing list.  Building better relationships will help you build better quality mailing lists more engage traffic to your websites and ultimately generate more ROI

Stopping Spam in LinkedIn Discussion Groups

Stopping Spam in LinkedIn Discussion GroupsWe all know spam has become a plague in LinkedIn discussion groups and the big challenge for most owners is stopping spam in LinkedIn discussion groups.

I a previous post, I showed how to spot fake LinkedIn profiles, usually created for the sole purpose of spamming.  Spotting them and banning them is one of the steps you can take to help manage the problem.  LinkedIn gives us other tools to help us and if you know them and know how to use them, you can help make the group discussion a much better experience for your users and stem the flow of users leaving because of the spam. Continue reading