Tips for Businesses Facing Facebook’s Friendlier News Feed

Tips for Businesses Facing Facebook's Friendlier News Feed

Your Facebook News Feed is about to get friendlier. As a result of user feedback, Facebook has decided to increase the amount of content from close friends appearing in News Feeds. The most popular social network is going to make some key changes to what content it displays in users’ News Feeds, and yes, these changes may have an impact on business pages.

Here are the three key changes:

  1. Users will start to see more content. Facebook is going to lift restrictions on seeing multiple posts from the same source appearing in a row.
  1. Users will see more important posts from close friends that they weren’t seeing before, which means less media and corporate posts. Facebook will show more photos, status updates, links and videos from friends higher in the News Feed.
  1. Posts about your friends liking or commenting on others’ posts will have less importance and will either appear lower in the News Feed or not at all.

So, what does a friendlier News Feed mean for your business page? Basically, organic post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline, resulting in your page having less visibility in News Feeds.

But even though competition to appear in News Feed has once again increased, as long as you continue to post entertaining and valuable content, you can still reach your fans. The more your audience engages with your content, the more reach you’ll have.

To see what works for your Page, monitor the reach of your posts by checking the bottom of each one to see how many people you’ve reached. You should also be checking your Page Insights to monitor post engagement and organic and paid reach.

You should also allocate some of your advertising budget towards boosting posts. This way, you can reach more people and target specific audiences. Here are some tips for boosting posts:

Tips for Businesses Facing Facebook's Friendlier News Feed

POST ENGAGING CONTENT

Be sure to include high quality photos and videos – visuals are more engaging than plain text. Images should not be made up of more than 20% text (this includes logos and slogans). Try not to be overly salesly in your post.

Keep your business’ target personas in mind when writing your content. For example, if you’re advertising camps or classes to moms and dads, write as if you were talking to them specifically. This way, you’ll instantly connect as you share content that resonates with them.

To increase traffic to your website, boost a post that includes a link to your site. This is an effective way to get people from News Feed to your website.

REACH THE RIGHT AUDIENCE

The big question when boosting a post – who are you trying to reach? Facebook gives you the option to select “People who like your Page,” “People who like your Page and their friends” or “People you choose through targeting.” Select people through targeting for a more predictable reach. You’ll be able to target people by location, age, gender and interests.

Are you looking to reach locals or expand into other locations? What are these people interested in? You can add up to 10 interests for your target audience.  Reach those who will care by choosing topics relevant to your post.

SPEND A LITTLE, REACH MANY

Your budget will determine the amount of people your post will reach. Even if you start small with just $5.00, you’ll still see some great results.

MEASURE YOUR RESULTS

You can check in on your results anytime from the Boost Post button on the post itself to see how your ad is performing. Be sure to review your Page Insights to see which types of posts resonate best with your audience.

Yes, Facebook may be getting friendlier, but if you have the right social media strategy, you can still make it in the mix with those real-life friends! If you have any questions about the changes to Facebook’s News Feed or need assistance with your social media efforts, feel free to contact us. We offer a complimentary consultation for new clients.

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Gain Clarity By Letting Go: Public Speaking Tips From a Pro

Ted Coine at TEDxNavesink: Accelerations by Jennifer Bennett Photography

cover photo: Ted Coiné at TEDxNavesink: Accelerations by Jennifer Bennett Photography

Whether you’re making a presentation in front of a dozen people or thousands, public speaking can be nerve-wracking. The anticipation of making it through the entire speech without a flaw can put so much pressure on a person that stress levels go sky high. But what happens when you let go of the stress and expectation of perfection and live in the moment? You may just achieve speaking gold.

At the recent TEDxNavesink conference, two dozen speakers gathered to share ideas worth spreading with an audience of over 700 people. Topics ranged from patient advocacy as part of health care innovation to impatience as an accelerator in life, from the most mysterious questions about the universe to how breakups can actually be a good thing. The speakers practiced and rehearsed for months, fine-tuning their talks to create the perfect presentation.

Now everyone knows perfection is an unattainable goal. Stuff happens. And sometimes that stuff is funny. Sometimes that stuff is eye opening. Sometimes that stuff is better than what was written down on paper and rehearsed over and over again.

MK Harby, owner of MK Harby Public Speaking, is dedicated to making speakers great communicators. She believes ideas are shared most efficiently when they are conveyed with creativity, warmth, and humor. As the speaker coach for the TEDxNavesink presenters, she helped get the most effective message out of the talks and assisted the speakers in presenting in an engaging way. But that doesn’t mean things went off without a hitch or that every speaker stuck their original material. And those moments going off script? Some of the most memorable moments of the event.

TEDxNavesink speaker Ted Coiné enjoyed a spontaneous moment during his talk about the positive power of impatience. And for Ted, and arguably the audience, that moment stood out as a great one from the day.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 1.40.48 PM

For all those who strive to stick to the script, MK has some advice.

“How do I rehearse for a speech but try to sound “unrehearsed?” This is not easy advice to give. While you do not prepare for the actual “off the cuff/impromptu talk,” there are some things that will help you deliver an original message,” she said.

1. Have a clear objective.

An objective is a purpose, or what you as the speaker want to accomplish.  Stick to your objective throughout your entire speech.

2. Listen to others. Read the room.

Take in the verbal cues as well as the non-verbal cues from your audience. If you speak to a group and you see that they are relaxed and smiling they probably will be more receptive to your message. If you look out and see hungry and annoyed members of the audience, you may want to try and break the ice with an interesting question or an empathetic statement.

This was exactly the case at TEDxNavesink for speaker Dr. Don Lincoln. As the last speaker before the lunch break, the audience was indeed hungry and most likely ready for a break. Instead of delivering his talk as rehearsed, he opened with a joke about lunch. “Being the last speaker before lunch, it’s hard to compete with that!” he said. The audience responded with what might have been the biggest laugh of the day.

3. Become a better listener in life. 

Observe people. Watch how others react. Keep your mouth closed and listen….and listen more. Intuitive people are good listeners. It’s easier to stay in the moment and read an audience if you are listening.

4. Take a moment. Be in the moment.

Look at what is going on around you. Do you ever wonder why someone can fill  an entire room with joy? These people are observers of life. They spend time watching people, listening to people and observing reactions. Their humor comes from observation. No, not everyone has to be a comedian during their speech;  I don’t recommend it at all. But there is a saying by Victor Borge, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”

5. Tell a story.

It is easy to stay in the moment when you are telling a story. You have already lived it. Make sure that it has a clear beginning, middle and end, but allow yourself to improvise the lines in between.  Be your authentic self and connect to the audience by being a good story-teller.

6. Trust yourself.

This is probably the hardest thing to do, but you will be very well received if you trust yourself. If you stick to your objective, smile, connect, listen, tell a good story and trust yourself, what can go wrong?

So the next time you’re speaking in front of an audience, go with the flow and see where letting go takes you. You might just find that you gain clarity, and maybe a laugh or two.

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3 Questions to Answer Before Posting on Social Media

3 Questions to Answer Before Posting on Social Media

Managing a social media campaign for a business of any size is no small job. It means hours of hopping on your phone or computer to monitor all those dings and alerts. Your customers and employees may be active on your sites so you may be responding to inquiries and engaging in online conversations daily.

But are you spending more time being reactive than proactive in your efforts?

Basically, are you putting more time into reacting to the comments and insights on Facebook and LinkedIn, instead of actually crafting quality content that attracts your target customer or client.

Maybe a large part of your communication on social isn’t even with the people who you are trying to reach?

Many people spin wheels publishing daily with little or no thought behind the content they’re pushing out. It may even be a social media epidemic at this point. Maximum input with little return.

But, for the companies that are tracking the ROI of their efforts, they understand that a savvy social media marketing campaign will score valuable relationships that offer value.

Here are three questions to ask yourself before you publish those posts, tweets, and blogs:

1. Are you posting with your target audience in mind?

If you’re not about to spend the big bucks on market research, do yourself the favor of at least getting a better understanding of your business’ target personas. According to Hubspot, personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers. They help you understand your customers better. Creating personas will allow you to keep them in mind when writing and sharing content on social.

For example, if you’re managing the social media for a pet boarding facility, you’ll want to write for the dog mom – a single woman who may not have a family yet but lives to spoil her furbaby, spending money regularly on grooming, daycare and pet massages. Talk to her as a mom, not a pet owner, and you’ll instantly connect and be able to share content that resonates with her.

If it’s not a customer, maybe you’re trying to connect with an influencer in your industry that will open up the doors to your target audience. It could be a design blogger who you connected with on Twitter and is now sharing your latest blog on trends in tile with his Facebook page of over 40,000 likes.

Each post you write and share can help you to get a step closer to attracting, converting, closing and delighting your personas, so they become customers.

2. Does your content address your audience’s needs, pains or questions?

Now that you have a better understanding of the types of people you are trying to convert, listen on social media to the conversations people in your industry are having and then turn their needs, pain points, and questions into desirable content.

For example, Cynthia Schonmaker of ACD Granite uses the publishing platform on LinkedIn to share her knowledge of building materials and establish herself as a thought leader in the design community. She answers many of the questions she has heard for years and answers them on social media. And this is very valuable! You’ll see on this post about marble maintenance and care that she hits the nail on the head with her connections.

3 Questions to Answer Before Posting on Social Media 3 Questions to Answer Before Posting on Social Media 3 Questions to Answer Before Posting on Social Media

3. Do you have an action that you want your audience to take?

Let’s face it, not every post you share is going to ask people to do something. Nor should it. You are talking to people and need to connect with them in other ways, too. But as a marketer, you need to produce that ROI, and you also need people to take the next step on their buyer’s journey. An action can be anything from read on, sign up for an offer or newsletter, or an event invitation. It should be inviting, easy and maybe even fun. If you address their needs and pains, then they may even be eager to take the next step. The important thing is that you have them willingly give you something, and often an email will suffice so that you can further build the relationships and provide value.

Even a free cupcake, like in this promotion on the bakery Facebook page from Cupcake Magician, can be a sweet deal for a fan. Remember, no matter what you’re offering, don’t be overly salesly. It will sweeten the content if you can connect with people with a compelling reason to click.

3 Questions to Answer Before Posting on Social Media 3 Questions to Answer Before Posting on Social Media

If you’re able to answer the above three questions before posting your content on social media, you’re going to gain a better understanding of your followers’ needs and wants.  If you want to take your social media campaign to the next level, contact inBLOOM Communications and our team will assist you with creating a campaign that gets the results you seek. We offer a complimentary consultation for new clients.

Cover photo: picjumbo.com

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April Fools’ Day Marketing: 3 Brands Fake Out and Make Out

April Fools' Day Marketing: 3 Brands Fake Out and Make Out

No doubt your inbox (and maybe your house) was filled with April Fools’ Day pranks yesterday.

For me some of those jokes fell flat. (I hope none made you wince like the one I got pretending a beautiful historic building had been damaged in a fire. Yeesh. Not funny.)

But a few made me truly laugh out loud and then think, damn that was good marketing.

In case you didn’t get enough of the friendly pranks, I’ve rounded up our three favorite April Fools’ Day jokes that not only made us laugh, but also leveraged the holiday for some serious marketing. The three we chose have vastly different products but all managed to use prank day to do three things:

  • Highlight brand identity
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Turn followers into insiders

So check ‘em out:

  1. Grove Labs: The fake breaking news alert

You probably haven’t heard of Grove Labs, the Boston startup set on bringing an organic farm to your kitchen, but they could be in your house in the not too distant future. Founded in 2009, the company is now beta testing self-contained hydroponic gardens (fed by goldfish) housed in a chic maple (Or is it birch? Who cares, it’s freakin’ gorgeous) cabinet that would be at home in a West Elm catalog.

Imagine my surprise then, when I opened my email this morning to a YouTube video announcing their latest product launch, the burger module. (Note to Grove Labs: It’s not nice to tease me.)

First off, I felt special that I was an insider privy to the sneak peek of a new product launch. Second, by the time I realized it was a joke, Grove Labs had already resold me on their brand mission of putting fresh food in every suburban and urban kitchen. And third, when I was done I stuck around to watch another (real) marketing video about the cabinet maker, who makes those sleek housings. Winner, winner, organic dinner.

  1. Boden: The fake product recall

Really, I can’t believe I fell for it.

A recall on “inappropriate imagery” spotted on one of the printed dresses sold by the British clothier Boden known for their bright, preppy and feminine pieces. Since when have the Brits been shy about “inappropriate imagery”? (That’s our department in the US.) They’re the ones who birthed Benny Hill.

April Fools' Day Marketing: 3 Brands Fake Out and Make Out

But still I clicked the link in the Instagram profile that led straight to their Like to Buy where my early morning (pre-caffeine) naiveté was revealed. So I had a little chuckle, commented “You got me!” and spent five minutes (when I should have been getting my kids off to school) tapping around their latest shoe collection. Dangerous for me, but smart marketing for them.

  1. Redbox: The fake new product announcement

This one was sent to me by a friend because it was too good not to share.

Who doesn’t know someone who has elevated their pets’ lifestyle to that of an adviser to Her Majesty? (Maybe YOU’RE that someone).

In their veiled April Fool’s joke, Redbox announces “Petbox”, a movie service for your pet as they wait for you to choose a film.

You laugh because you’ve been that guy, standing in front of the 7-11 with people queuing behind you, when they just want to return their movie for Pete’s sake!, as you sort through the new releases, alphabetically. You click on the email because you’re like, what the?

April Fools' Day Marketing: 3 Brands Fake Out and Make Out

And then you laugh again because: Furry – The best war film since Spaying Private Ryan. And then you tweet it because, #Petbox is totally something your friend who sends her dog to daycare would buy. It’s a joke that practically dares you not to share the brand. But the best part is, the joke came with a promo code for 50 cents of your next rental. Everyone loves a joke that comes with a coupon.

April Fools' Day Marketing: 3 Brands Fake Out and Make Out

All three of these brands communicated with their customers and prospects without pushing their product because they focused their efforts on their customers’ experience, what would make them laugh, and what would make them click. And they didn’t make any jokes in poor taste, make their followers feel betrayed, or pull off half-baked schemes. These were polished, professional, high level jokes indicative of polished, high level brands.

Instead of it being a “jokes on you” day, it was an opportunity to create an inside joke. And who doesn’t love being an insider?

So now tell us, what were the brands on top (and bottom) of your list of April Fools’ Day jokes?

cover photo: Lotus Carroll

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