From What’s Now To #WhatsNext [September 6]
Did we miss anything? What social trends are you curious about this week?
This week I’d like to catch up on the latest from Facebook and use it as a way to talk about the owned-shared-earned-paid content ecosystem that companies should strive to implement as it is one of the key aspects towards achieving (and sustaining!) an effective social business program.
In the realm of owned content, Facebook made a significant announcement regarding contests. It used to be that businesses had to go through third-party apps to run contests on Facebook. Now, companies can use their Page directly to: Collect entries for a contest or promotion by asking followers to post on the Page, comment on a post (remember, you can comment with photos now too, which makes photo contests VERY easy to run), like a post, or send a message. Companies can also use likes, shares or comments as a voting mechanism.
Companies are still prohibited from tagging people in photos or posts, or from encouraging people to tag themselves in content that doesn’t actually feature them. Finally, companies can’t ask users to share a piece of content on their own Timeline as an entry mechanism.
The recent update around contests shows that there is plenty of room for creativity when it comes to earned content on Facebook (and beyond). Companies should not simply think of their Facebook page a channel, but as a dynamic content hub, where a photo can turn into a conversation and a post can turn into opportunities for customer and influencer relations. How? Read on.
In an effort to make the News Feed more relevant, Facebook has announced a series of updates to its algorithm that give more visibility to timely, relevant, sharable content from trusted sources.
For example, Facebook announced that it would punish Pages that use lame memes to bait users into liking or sharing their posts. And to give deserving posts a fighting chance, Facebook announced Story Bumping, there's a feature that gives posts users the opportunity to be featured at the top of users’ News Feed. This change has lead to an 8% boost in interactions for stories from Pages and public figures, and an increase from 57% of potentially visible stories read to 70%. People are reading a larger fraction of their stories thanks to this algorithm change.
Finally, Facebook announced shared photo albums for the individual Timeline, a feature I wouldn’t be surprised to see for business pages soon, as collaborative content could boost engagement for brands, leading to the kind of relationships Facebook purports it can help companies build with their customers.
This idea of up-leveling the quality of content created by brands on Facebook leads me to the next feature, the capability to embedding Facebook posts. While the more obvious way to leverage this is embedding a Facebook post associated with a product launch or campaign within a website or landing page, the less obvious use case involves influencer relations – AKA earned content.
Most publications and public figures have Facebook pages these days. Imagine an outreach program with a social twist – whereby coverage doesn’t just include articles and blog posts, but Facebook posts, photos, tweets, etc. The capability of embedding those types of earned content makes them (think about it, you can’t embed an article… you can only copy-paste the test or share a link) a very attractive alternative for coverage that has high reach and impact.
This is an area many companies are not fully comfortable with, sometimes because it costs money and many are still of the idea that social media is “free.” The truth is, old school paid content (advertising) is back but the good news is that social media platforms offer companies extremely effective ways to accomplish this.
The latest from Facebook is the ability for companies to pick posts from their Page that they would like to promote on users’ News Feed. Paid content can include links, text and photo content (video coming soon!) and now companies can also target their ads based users’ browsing and search activity. Imagine a user spends time reading about new smartwatches online, and then they come back to Facebook and your semiconductor’s sponsored Facebook post that includes a link to a white paper around the role of MCUs in enabling connected devices and The Internet of Things appears on their News Feed. Context will be king.
Moreover, Facebook recently announced a partnership with Shutterstock to give advertisers free access to millions of stock photos to make their ads look good. They want you to advertise. But in Facebook’s defense. You really should.
More on paid content in a future blog post!