[INFOGRAPHIC] 7 Statistics That Can Raise Your Facebook Engagement

With organic reach and engagement numbers plunging on Facebook, marketers are doing everything they can to stay ahead of the game before the social platform goes to an exclusively pay-to-play model. 

A recent Ogilvy & Mather study found that brand posts in February reached just 6 percent of fans, compared to 12 percent in October. 

So frustrated by this perceived slap in the face was Eat24 that the company deleted its Facebook page and “broke up” with Facebook in an open letter that went viral. 

But maybe there’s hope. This infographic shares a few pointers to help boost your engagement. Beware, though, as soon as you find something that works, Facebook will undoubtedly switch its ever-devolving algorithm until all you see in your newsfeed is babies, kittens and whatever your super religious aunt is yammering about. 

Without further ado, check out the infographic below (and realize that its tips could be irrelevant by the time you finish reading it): 


Written by Kevin Allen. Kevin has developed social media strategies for Fortune 500 companies and created content for major brands across multiple social platforms. Previously, he served as an editor and reporter for theChicago Sun-Times, ESPNChicago.com, FoxSports.com and Ragan Communications. As a reporter, Kevin has covered MLB, NHL, NBA, PGA, NCAA football, national political campaigns, backyard barbecues and just about everything in between. He’s been a contributor to PR Daily since its launch. Visit PRDaily where this excerpt is originally appeared

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New Research Shows Which Social Networks Ideal for Marketers

Which platforms are most relevant to social media marketing right now? Marketers need to know where (and how) they should focus their efforts for maximum ROI.

This article gives you four major research findings from reports tracking trends in social media marketing and the content that works best on each.

#1: People Spend More Time on Visual Networks

It’s impossible to miss the powerful effect of visual content on the social web. It can significantly enhance a brand’s marketing objectives by generating more customer interest and prompting prospects to take desired actions.

As an example of the power of pictures, consider that Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram each gained over 10 million visitors in 2012, thanks to eye-catching content. Numbers from Statista numbers shared on Mediabistro show that users spend more time on Pinterest (1:17 minutes) or Tumblr (1:38 minutes) than on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Google+ combined.

social network use stats from comscore

Visual social networks get more time from users than non-visual networks.

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate visual content into your own social media strategy, one of the key things you can do is include one or more high-quality images in all of your blog posts. (Don’t forget to add an ALT attribute in the image properties to help your SEO!)

You can also leverage real-time photo sharing. Customers and followers are used to seeing staged photos that highlight your products and the best parts of your company. Sharing impromptu pictures can be equally compelling when shared in real time.

When you do post product or brand pictures on networks like Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr, allow others to use your images in exchange for a link back to your site.

Don’t forget video! YouTube is the second-largest search engine (after Google, which coincidentally owns YouTube). Videos uploaded to YouTube do very well in searchand boost your site’s ranking. Interviews, Q&As, product demos or tips are popular with a wide audience beyond your current followers.

heygirl meme

Even if you don’t sell tangible products, your brand can still leverage visual content by using memes.

Finally, don’t give up on memes, which are especially popular on Tumblr. For the best success with memes, make sure they’re witty and match your brand and audience.

NPR did this particularly well by modifying the popular Ryan Gosling Hey Girl meme on their Tumblr page.

#2: Google+ Is Best for SEO

Google+ is finding success with social marketers more as an SEO option than a marketing tactic. While it’s doing better than Pinterest and Tumblr, only 14% of marketers are giving high priority to Google+ in 2014. 23% of those surveyed won’t consider the platform at all.

You should still have a presence on Google+, even if you’re only using it for SEO.

socialbakers social network user preference table

Google+ is widely seen as an SEO tool, rather than a compelling social network.

As you cultivate your presence on Google+, the first thing you should do is optimize your Google author profile with a great image. With an eye-catching photo, it won’t matter if you rank third or fourth on the search engine results page. Your image is what gets people’s attention and lends to your authority.

When you post an article on Google+choose your first sentence carefully and use keywords or phrases. That sentence is part of the title tag and can affect your search ranking. As a bonus, one of the great things about Google+ is that you canedit your title and posts anytime. If you find your post isn’t getting the traction you want, try a new title and lead sentence. That’s a lot of control right there!

As always, continue to publish great content on your blog and Google+. While you’re at it, go ahead and +1 your own content. Why not? Google already knows you’re the author anyway. At the very least, it encourages others to +1 your post as well!

#3: Facebook’s Updated News Feed Affects Page Posts

In January 2014, Facebook updated their news feed algorithm to deliver more relevant content to users. Status updates from pages are no longer treated the same as text updates from users’ friends, because most users interacted with friends, not pages.

What does this mean for you as a marketer? You have to mix it up. Since users may not see or engage with your page updates often, make your posts as interesting as you can. Include photos, videos, links (don’t forget to include a preview image), questions, events and offers.

bored office worker istock photo 5984364

Use interesting and fun updates to encourage your fans to engage with you. Image source: iStockPhoto.com.

In all cases, use the story type that best fits with the message you want to tell.

One more thing: If you use Facebook’s Promote feature and your post has an image, that image can’t have more than 20% text.

#4: B2B Marketers Are Most Successful on LinkedIn

Sixty-two percent of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective platform for them, with Twitter and SlideShare close behind.

comscore and marketing profs social network confidence gap statistics

LinkedIn is the most popular social network for B2B.

How can you take advantage of the most effective social media network? Take advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform (previously reserved for a few editorially selected influencers like Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and Joe Pulizzi) to all 277 million LinkedIn members. This could be a game-changer.

If you decide to publish on LinkedInknow that posts with the same basic information found on 50 other blogs won’t be successful. LinkedIn users look for well-written personalized insights, professional expertise and interesting industry opinions.

Surveys are helpful to gauge trends in social media; however, it’s even more important to track your own successes and build on them. You can use both options by keeping trends in mind and using them as guides as your marketing strategy and tactics evolve.

What do you think? Are the survey results above consistent with what you’ve seen in your own social media marketing? Which platforms are working best for you? Please share your successes and experiences in the comment box below.

About the author 

Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She helps business owners craft content that sells. Her blog provides healthcare industry content marketing advice. The first version of this story originally appeared on socialmediaexaminer.com

Photos Are Still King on Facebook

 

Most of the content brands post to Facebook includes photos – 75% of all content in a one-month period, to be exact. We examined a large collection of Facebook posts made by over 30,000 brands in order to find which type of post scored the best engagement. There were clear differences between top performers and the rest of the pack.

A little while back, we previewed our upcoming conference, Engage London 2014, by sharing some data on different post types and the absolute interactions they receive. Let’s dive into it a bit deeper now.

Post Types

Again, three-fourths of all posts by the brands we monitored included photos.

Average Interactions for all Posts

By examining the average number of interactions that the different post types received, photos’ dominance becomes even clearer. Firstly, it is essential to segment the monitored pages according to page size. Much larger pages have a wider reach (and often, higher budgets), so it logically follows that each post type would increase its average number of interactions as the size of the pages increase. Photos garner the highest average number of interactions per post for all three page sizes, but it is not until the largest group of pages (1,000,000+) that the difference becomes extreme.

The Top Tier

Looking at interactions among the top 10% of all monitored content, we can see that videos and albums have the same percent share (4% for both) of total interactions as they do overall share of published content. Links and statuses lose some of that overall share of engagement when we look solely at the top 10%.

Conversely, photos increase their share.

Despite all this, our data does not necessarily imply that a photo post will automatically be among the most engaging on Facebook. It simply reveals a common trait that the best posts feature more frequently than do ordinary posts. In order to take advantage of insights like these, you need to know more than just one metric – you need to know all of them.

Written by Phillip Ross, Social Media Analyst. Socialbakers is where the version of this excerpt originally appeared.

 

Who Are You on Facebook Now?

Facebook Customizes Gender With 50 Different Choices

On his driver’s license and passport, at his doctor’s office and insurance company, for online dating and social media, and on every application or document that requires checking a box for gender, 24-year-old Ryley Pogensky is a “male.” But to his friends onFacebook, he is now a “trans man.”

Facebook recently announced that it would offer users 50 different possibilities and permutations of gender identification. In the gender category under “Basic Information,” the drop-down box now includes such “custom” choices as non-binary, intersex, neutrois, androgyne, agender, gender questioning, gender fluid, gender variant, genderqueer and neither.

The gender project was developed at a “hackathon” — an all-night coding fest at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. — with input from Glaad in New York. “Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of requests for additional terms,” said Allison Palmer, former vice president for campaigns and programs at Glaad. “It speaks to how important Facebook is in people’s lives. Having only two options was a big problem.”

Some of the terms are not found in standard dictionaries. “Cisgender” is officially defined as someone who identifies with his or her societally recognized sex, but it has come to have a more L.G.B.T.-supportive subtext: I’m O.K. with what it says on my birth certificate, but I realize that’s not true for everyone.

“Other people might see one of these terms and think it’s a typo,” said Sasha Kolodkin, a 19-year-old student at Purchase College in New York, who chose to be identified as a gender nonconforming transsexual female. “It’s sort of a secret language that not everyone will understand. I was born male and feel that I should have been female. But use of the words ‘male’ and ‘female’ is very confining. When you have to choose between the two, the complexities of your identity are lost. It’s like looking at a painting in black and white instead of color.”

There have been a number of successful, albeit temporary, hacks into Facebook to allow gender-neutral pronouns, so that a profile reads “Wish them a happy birthday” rather than “him” or “her” — common usage in the L.G.B.T. community, even if grammatically incorrect. “A lot of friends who are tech geeks did that,” said Mr. Pogensky, who is a blogger and events planner. “I think Facebook caught onto it. This change made me so happy, hearing something as huge as Facebook admit, ‘Sorry, we left these people out in the beginning.’ ”

So far, the new labels are only available in English to Facebook users in the United States; it will take a while to figure out the translation of “pangender” in Japanese or Finnish. “In a lot of languages, there isn’t an easy way to express a human being without including gender,” said Alex Schultz, vice president of growth at Facebook, who spearheaded the project. “But we’re interested in giving people options to express who they really are, allowing them to be their authentic selves.”

Facebook has not revealed how many users have chosen to partake of the new options. “It’s not about the percentage of people who will use them,” said Ms. Palmer, who worked closely with Facebook, “but those who do are some of the most vulnerable members of the community, and like everyone else, they deserve to express themselves.”

Younger Facebook users may be more comfortable with public declarations, but some older users more concerned with privacy are coming onboard — guardedly. “I made sure to read carefully through the description of the options before I did something that seemed like a big deal,” said Christina Mazzalupo, 44, an artist in Brooklyn. “It’s just Facebook, but it’s everybody I know.”

Ms. Mazzalupo identified as androgynous. “It was sort of titillating but made sense,” she said. “I’ve been out since I was 21. I don’t want to be a boy, but I don’t feel like a girl. I have feminine sensibilities but have gotten more boyish in how I look, how I dress. My dad calls me combo-kid, and for my mother to tell me I look handsome was a big deal. ‘Androgyne’ felt like a final validation, and I’m quite old for that to be happening.”

Aster Max, a 52-year-old graphic artist in Seattle, chose “two-spirit,” a Native American term that conveys having both male and female aspects. “In many tribes, there’s an honorable place for what we call gay people,” he said. “Among the Lakota, it was almost mandatory to have a two-spirit person go on a war raid as a good-luck charm. When I saw that offering on Facebook, I went for it.”

Mr. Max considers his choice a bit of digital defiance. “I came out of the womb gay,” he said. “I was a ballet dancer for 22 years — it was part of my ID always. But I’m making a choice to stand out. The more of us who choose a different gender, the better it is for those who want wiggle room. I’m waving a flag in the face of others who might be more conservative. It’s my own little Act Up.”

Written by Aimee Lee Ball. Nytimes.com is where a version of this excerpt originally appeared.

Hashtags Increasingly Popular on Facebook

source: http://bit.ly/PIXAoD

After searching through another round of hashtag data, Socialbakers has found that posting with hashtags on Facebook has become an increasingly popular thing to do. Meanwhile, tweets use hashtags about as often as they did this time last year, and Instagram is the only network where a significant percentage of posts use more than 2 hashtags.

Hashtags become more popular on Facebook, data shows

At Socialbakers, we’ve always been curious about hashtags. They make content easy to find, join larger conversations, and allow for audience participation. They’re the interactive tagline, except in the world of social communication you can find out whenever someone makes a joke that ends in “Where’s the beef?” After hearing feedback from our earlier hashtag articles, we wanted to see how we could clarify the topic some.

By examining 12,509 Facebook profiles and 865 Twitter profiles in February 2013 and February 2014, we found that brands on Facebook have expanded their use of hashtags exponentially. Brands’ Twitter profiles, however, are using hashtags at about the same rate they did last year.

This reveals several probable conclusions. First of all, Twitter marketers have had more experience using hashtags on that platform. That there haven’t been major changes in the numbers like on Facebook means that brands on Twitter have figured out the best way to use hashtags over time, and on Twitter’s end, that this aspect of their service is, for now, static.

Facebook Posts

On Facebook though, the difference is stark. There was a 525% increase in the share of all posts to include hashtagged content.
Facebook only integrated hashtags shortly before our first data sampling was collected, so this illustrates how much the concept has caught on. Keep in mind, though, that this refers to relative numbers – shares of a total number of posts, independent of the number of brands sampled – so the number of hashtagged posts on Twitter could still outstrip the number of hashtagged posts on Facebook.

This means that a concept developed by Twitter, specifically made for a micro-blogging platform reliant on content more so than networking, has been imported with immense success by its rival platform, which is more about networking than content. It is interesting to note that some habits traveled with the hashtag in the move, namely that the number of hashtags per post has held somewhat constant between the two networks.

How many Hashtags?

In previous posts, we made some claims that argued for, let’s call it, ‘hashtagging in moderation,’ both generally and for specific networks. This originally referred to Instagram, which our new data has offered another light on. Instagram, it turns out, is the only one of the three networks with a diverse spread of numbers of hashtags per post.

Instagram

A thin majority of hashtagged posts use only 1–2 tags, and 10% use 10 or more. This strongly contrasts with Twitter and Facebook’s pat­terns. This is likely due in part to the difference between the networks’ posting formats.

TwitterFacebookTwitter’s numbers make the most sense – when you only get 140 characters to play with, every one is at a premium. Having more than 2 hashtags means less space in your tweet for content, @ tags, and links.

But on Facebook, the number of hashtags used per hashtagged post doesn’t quite fit with that logic, since the posting limit is longer than Twitter’s.

Interactions per Hashtag on Instagram and Twitter

While all of this information is good to know, and shows just how far Facebook users have come in integrating the hashtag into that network, it doesn’t say anything about how effective this increase has been.

To try and answer that question, we also gathered data about the number of interactions all the posts issued by these brands gathered during February 2014. Our data showed that on Instagram, posts with 1–2 hashtags received the most interactions, and posts with no hashtags received the next most. On Twitter, posts with 3–4 hashtags received the most interactions, followed by posts with 1–2 hashtags, and none, respectively. But just like we cautioned in our first Instagram report, when posts with no hashtags seemed to perform better than posts with 10 or more, these numbers do not necessarily mean that hashtags decrease engagement over time. Some reasons for this discrepancy are:

  • Post Quality: Some posts are just better made than others.
  • Posting Time: A hashtagged post released at the worst time will likely do worse than a non-hashtagged post released at the best time.
  • Post Type: Image and Video posts tend to get more interactions than text-only posts, hashtags or otherwise.
  • Poster’s History: Maybe the poster needs to drastically raise their Engagement Rate, and so is going on a ‘hail mary’ hashtag frenzy.

You get the point. Based on all we know, hashtags are not only becoming more popular with brand pages on Facebook, and remaining popular on Twitter – there’s probably a good reason why.

About the author

Phillip Ross, Social Media Analyst. Socialbakers.com where a version of this excerpt originally appeared. 

5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Social Media Strategy

source: http://bit.ly/1gFUqaR

We’ve all seen lists for things you need to be doing on social media – engage, listen, communicate, etc., right? Well I don’t know about you, but we are usually fed up by the vague information in such posts. How can you take action to begin “engaging?” What do you do before you engage?

At Social Fulcrum, we have a process for coming up with the social media campaigns that drive our clients wild. Instead of telling you to communicate or to listen, we want to give you some actionable tips you can use to jumpstart your social media strategy – TODAY.

1. Do Your Research
Look for communities, influencers, and discussions that relate to your brand, products, competitors, and industry. Look into how you could potentially target key audiences through different media. Don’t just limit yourself to Facebook pages/groups and Twitter users. Look into bloggers in your industry (or outside your industry) that have an audience you want to reach. Look at relevant Meetup groups locally and nationally. Find discussions in online forums. If you are a small company, find discussions about your industry. If you are a larger brand, we recommend using a social media measurement tool to assess the online landscape of your brand mentions to help formulate your strategy. These are all potential areas to generate content, seed content, find ambassadors, and get online placements. But you can only reap these benefits if you know where and if these communities exist!

2. Build Relationships First
When I was creating the strategy for a national food association’s social media marketing campaign, we knew we would want to promote their Facebook page, Twitter account, and video contest through influential bloggers in the cooking, foodie, and mom verticals. Instead of simply reaching out to those bloggers and asking them to promote our properties, we made sure to first build our relationship with these influencers. Our first communication to these bloggers was to offer promoting THEIR content to OUR audiences. We wanted to show that we were keeping in mind their goals (increasing readership), and not simply self-interested. We nurtured these relationships for months before letting them know that we had a contest that we were promoting. At that point, they had received so much benefit from the relationship that every single blogger was happy to promote our contest. And the association still has those relationships to this day!

3. Leverage Twitter Targeting Options
Too often businesses will create a Twitter account and then not know what to do with it. Once your profile is set up, you can use the following strategies to find your opportunities on Twitter:

  1. Search for accounts that have followers who are in your target audience. For example, if you are a local pizza chain, all you need to do is find another local business with a decent amount of followers, and follow all the followers of that account (gradually, not all at once). You can safely assume that a vast majority of the people following a local business in your area are located in that local area. Not a local business? Try trade publications, competitors, or thought leaders.
  2. Search for people tweeting about a need that your product/service alleviates. For example, in our campaign for the national food association we mentioned above, we found that people on Twitter were commonly complaining about a lack of ideas for what to eat. Armed with an online database of 700+ recipes, we reached out to these people and found out what type of food they liked, and sent them an appropriate recipe. This gained awareness for our client’s website, Twitter account, and recipe database, and also built goodwill with our audience (which we later leveraged to promote a video contest).
  3. Use the advanced search on Twitter to search bio information. This is especially useful for B2B companies looking to increase their social impact. People will typically list their job title in their bio (e.g. CMO, COO, CEO, Executive Director, Partner), allowing you to target the specific decision makers with whom you are trying to communicate.

4. Explore & Leverage Facebook Advertising
There are few businesses that can’t benefit from the precise, unique targeting available through Facebook’s advertising platform. Even B2B companies can find value in Facebook ads if you can get creative with the parameters. For example, Social Fulcrum used Facebook ads to grow our own Facebook page by targeting users who are over 40 years old and who “like” the Harvard Business Review, because this audience includes senior-level decision makers at mid to large size corporations. Facebook Advertising can be an effective method for driving traffic to a website, as well as for increasing the size of your Facebook fan base, for just a few dollars per day. The key is finding the right targeting parameters, which might include users who “like” a competitor, users who “like” something your target audience probably likes, or even users who have a birthday within the next week.

5. Create a Content Calendar
There’s nothing worse than a Facebook page or Twitter account that’s filled entirely with self-promoting updates. It’s not always easy to come up with awesome, engaging content every day, but tweeting another link to your website is not the answer. That’s why it helps to create a weekly or monthly content calendar in advance to help you think strategically about what to post and when, being sure to schedule promotional updates at a maximum of one time per week. Your social media channels are not a constantly updating advertisement for your business. If you aren’t sharing interesting content, asking questions, and making your fans and followers feel valued, they’ll soon wonder why they’re connected to your account in the first place.

These specific tips can help any business better utilize social media to achieve organizational objectives. Though only the beginning steps to a stellar social media campaign, these tips allow for architecting a social media strategy that leverages brand assets and social media tools to get your brand in front of the right people and ultimately, grow your business.


Andrew Krebs-Smith, Founder of Social Fulcrum, has managed social media campaigns for accounts including Pfizer, Ocean City MD, The National Aquarium, and Strayer University. Andrew regularly speaks at the university level regarding social media marketing, and has held the position of Social Media Co-Chair at the American Advertising Federation, Baltimore Chapter. Connect with Andrew on Twitter and LinkedIn. The first version of this story appeared on http://bit.ly/1kl93so Visit PR.com