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how you post and share content matters

If you listen to me long enough and you’ll know I am more focused on social networking and being engaged than creating content. I’ll keep saying it too….

 

Your content is designed to play a supporting role.

 

People do business with people. They build relationships. They act on those relationships. When they choose to act is when your content matters. It is at that point they will read (or read again). It is at that point they will decide if, aside from having that relationship with you, they trust you are the right person or business to hire.

Content isn’t the most important thing…. what you post and more importantly, HOW you write, post or share content IS critical.

Your content MUST have a purpose

Your content MUST serve a purpose. It must help build relationships, must be authoritative and/or must drive action.Click To Tweet

Not every post needs to do all of it, and the best content will hit multiple points. If your content doesn’t hit on at least one of those points, you’re wasting your time posting it. PERIOD

I adore Rhonda over at Fat Dog Creatives. She’s a fantastic graphic designer and her process is incredible. She’s also a big proponent of me (yes, I have an ego).

She shared one of my Facebook posts about the value of engagement  to her business page. I immediately thanked her (as Tactical Social Media, though I could have as myself.) and as quickly as I did, I scolded her. Love that she shared it, hate that while it was good for me, it did nothing for her!

She already decided to share my content. She gave me something, so why not leverage it to truly nurture the relationship, to establish her own authority, drive some action and share a little bit of herself? She should use it further help herself.

 

Blindly posting or sharing content provides little value to YOU. Make what you post count for you AND your audience.Click To Tweet

How you create your post matters

How the share first appeared…..

How you post and share content matters

Here’s the edited version…..

How you post and share content matters if you want to see results

The difference?

She leveraged my content to help build her authority. She continues to nurture our relationship (more than simply sharing my content, she acknowledges she is learning from me – that ego thing again) and she is making it personal and herself more relatable to her clients.

 

The bonus… Rhonda will get some HUGE additional visibility:

*  She tagged me (with permission – do not ever tag a person in a business post without permission. It is rude and a relationship killer) placing her post on my timeline. Her brand was promoted to my personal network.And since I was tagged personally, I responded personally. That adds further reach.

*  She has real content that could be found later when someone uses Facebook’s search function (and trust me, they do!).

 

While I will continue to preach that content is less important than social engagement, there is no doubt content is vital. It’s not about how much content you post, how often or when.

 

It is about WHAT you post and HOW you post and share content that matters.

What if you could spend less time writing content and still drive web traffic and generate leads?

Oh. Wait. You can….and I do!

Social Networking: Lead Generation Without Content

I spend the majority of my time actively networking, not posting and sitting on my ass hoping my content is seen. I follow specific people and pages. I interact, support and add value. That simply activity, which is easy and honestly, fun, is what YOU should be doing and what I  have found to be the BEST way to leverage my time on social media.

 

One of those I follow is my friend (and one of my influencers) Debra Jason. We met on social media through a mutual friend. While we have yet to meet in person, we have spent a good deal of time networking together and supporting each other.

I am always reading her content (it is that good). She recently shared a post from her website, The Write Direction. As a standard practice I commented on the post itself and to further support her, also took the time to add a comment directly on the blog post itself.

 

The result of networking and interacting with Debra:

  • I saw her social share of the post.
  • I added a valuable comment on social and the blog post itself
  • One of her blog readers saw my comment.

 

Apparently, the comment made an impression. Not only did they track back to my post (Want Results From Facebook? Stop Sitting On Your Ass!), they filled out my lead capture form to sign up to receive my content in their inbox!

 

Lead generation through social networking, not content.

 

A perfect example of driving web traffic and lead generation WITHOUT content.

I’ll add this is not an isolated example of driving web traffic from social networking. There is this one:

 

Value of commenting on a blog post found through social networking

 

And this one:

 

Driving web traffic through social networking

 

Social networking is how I have been able to leverage social media effectively to build my brands since 2007, and it’s proven to remain highly effective through all of the algorithm changes.

A single value-added comment might just be worth far more than any piece of content you post.

 

Consider spending less time on your content and more on being active, visible and engaged.Click To Tweet

Facebook Is Still A Viable For Lead Generation!

Updated July, 7, 2016:Facebook is a viable social channel for B2B

 

The original article below provides an excellent example of a Facebook post directly responsible for a lead.  To show this is not an isolated example, I caught (through social monitoring) a post I wrote and published for the same client on March 29th of 2016 generate a lead more than 3 months later!

 

What makes this example an even better testament to the value of Facebook:

  1. The link shared was NOT from my client’s website.
  2. The original post was not ‘boosted’ or part of a paid ad.
  3. The original post had very poor initial reach.

Facebook works.

 

Original article:

Yesterday I posted an article to Facebook for a B2B consulting client, Darling Geomatics. Do You Need Proof That Facebook Is Still Viable #PTFISV

It included a quick snippet, a link to an article run by the Sierra Vista Herald written about a particular project they recently completed and a thank you.  The post itself was completely non-promotiona.  No CTA. No “how could this help you?” Just a simple informational post.

After allowing the post to ‘run its course’ for a few hours, it was strategically (and inexpensively) boosted through targeting.  Just 20 hours later it has:

  • 44 likes
  • 2 shares
  • 5 comments
  • An organic reach of 404
  • A paid reach of 2851
  • Has generated 2 new likes

AND…….

  • It resulted in a request for services:

Do You Need Proof That Facebook Is Still Viable? #PTFISV. Facebook is still a viable channel for lead generation.

 

Keep in mind that this is for a local business with only 355 Likes prior to the post!

 

Why did this post work?

That’s hard to assess and on quite honestly know why. I’m not sure I could even duplicate it on purpose. It could simply have
been the right post, the right targeting, and some dumb luck.  The point though – social and specifically Facebook – can and do still generate direct leads and sales when used properly.

Without question Darling Geomatics’ approach to how they use Facebook  creates the foundation for such successes:

  • The strategy for the page (and all of their social profiles) is branding and to be informational and educational around their services, not promotional.
  • The content is quality.  Consistency and regularity may be critical but quality content still trumps both if you have a loyal following.
  • Following: It’s not bought. It’s been earned through what they post and their reputation. Page growth is primarily driven by offline channels.
  • Paid advertising (boosting) is limited and strategic.
  • Tactical engagement (how and when they engage)
  • It was posted based on the optimal time according to their insights and my experience monitoring when they see their best engagement, NOT at a time the ‘experts’ say is optimal.

 

Does Facebook generate leads for you?

Most overlook the platform, though, based on the notion it’s not where the decision maker is active.  There are 2 issues with the thought process.

First – you’re focused solely on the decision maker. Ever wonder who influences the decision maker? It could be a lower level manager, the office manager or even his or her spouse. Back in the day, to get in the door, I ‘sold’ the office manager. I let them sell the person controlling the checkbook. I focused on the influencer.

Second – Facebook, more so than any other platform, is a social destination. It’s where people go to hang out, keep up with friends and family and look for referrals/advice. Small business owners are present on the social media site. They’re employees certainly are.

 

A few final notes

  • Make sure you have a monitoring system in place or having a reputable firm doing it. Once a lead comes in, your timing in how it’s handled can make the difference between getting and losing the sale.  In this case, the comment was initially acknowledged and responded to within 38 minutes.  That allows time for a follow-up later without the client thinking they were ignored.
    .
  • While you should not look to social channels as a sales tool and not every post will perform this well, a good strategy, smart posting tactics (that do not revolve around ‘expert’ generalizations) and monitoring works.

Do You Need Proof That Facebook Is Still Viable #PTFISV #BeTactical

The 2015 Facebook Algorithm Change

Back in April, when Facebook updated its algorithm back in April (2015), rather than simply post what changed, I decided to break down what each change in the latest Facebook algorithm meant for brand pages. I stated at the time that “(f)or some brands, this latest Facebook algorithm change will be a major benefit” for brand pages who post good content, drive interaction and engagement with their fan base and are truly social will see big gains.”

Did your brand benefit from the latest Facebook algorithm change, Tactical Social Media; #BeTactical

My question two months later?  Did your brand actually benefit?  There is more than enough anecdotal evidence in my personal feed alone (backed up by page insights) to make some general conclusions regarding the impact of the latest change.  Brand pages who posted good content drove interaction and engagement with their fan base and were truly social saw big gains from April’s Facebook algorithm change.

I spent a good deal of time recently scrolling through my personal feed tallying posts and looking at the content and ‘publisher’.  Combined with the activity I’ve noticed on close to two dozen pages I manage/admin over the past couple of months, what I am seeing is a clear win for brand pages.

Recap: The three significant Facebook algorithm changes

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Posts about friends liking or commenting on a page’s content will be pushed down the news feed.

The Anecdotal Evidence:  Just looking at my personal feed, posts about what my friends like and comment on is all but gone.  I ran through 25 posts (my feed is defaulted to ‘recent stories’) just yesterday afternoon and found only 1.  It was the first time in several weeks I can recall seeing stories about friends liking or even commenting on content from others.  I have seen more shares, however.  I posted previously that the removal of ‘like and comment’ stories could hurt brands (liking your own content, leveraging a few friends or ‘core fans’ to like posts for visibility was a short-term tactic many employed to get visibility) and this has proven to be the case.  The flip side – shared content is now more likely to be seen, even if it’s shared by someone who is constantly posting!

I do want to add for several pages I manage, comments on posts DO have a positive impact on reach.  I tracked a few posts over a 24 hour period, then commented as myself and tagged another individual to comment as well. Within a few hours, post reach tripled.  To avoid the possibility that the posts were already viral, relevant or otherwise ‘Top Stories’ I purposely posted at off times based on page insights and in some cases, content was truly irrelevant to the brand’s audience.  Most of the posts saw an initial reach of single digits or low double digits.

Since post reach is only a measure of how many see a specific piece of content in their feed either Facebook is choosing to show comments and likes at random, is counting views in the ticker as feed views, or quite possibly, Facebook is toying with ‘influencers’ and comments and likes by certain individuals affect what you see in your feed (similar to how your connections and influencers in Google+ affect SERPs).

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Facebook will allow multiple content from individual publishers to show in your feed.

The Anecdotal Evidence:  In that same string of 25 posts I found one instance of multiple posts from the same author. This morning, with the next 25 posts I looked at, there were 3 by one author.  Over the past two weeks, I have consistently seen multiple content from individual publishers.

What makes what I’m seeing more impressive?  In many cases, it hasn’t just been multiple content from individual publishers.  It’s been multiple content from brand pages!

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Trying to balance the content you see in the right mix.

The Anecdotal Evidence:  This one can be a little harder to quantify as I’m not sure if ‘content mix’ referred to brand vs individual, content type (video, link, image) or a combination.  I can tell you my feed is still more heavily video posts, but I am seeing more links and text only posts than previously.

Interesting note –  I’ve seen overall video views decrease for pages with smaller fan bases since the latest Facebook algorithm change.

With respect to individuals vs brands, I think Facebook has done a better job of showing a mix.  While I can run through my feed at any given time and only see a handful of brand page posts (2 in 25 as I am writing this) I have seen brand posts dominate my feed.  Remember that 25 post reference above? Fifteen of those 25 posts were from brand pages!

I’ve run a few tests purposely posting when I know certain fans are online and without prompting they’ve been liking that content.  Without question brand page posts are much more likely to show in feeds since the April Facebook algorithm update.  What I found most telling – I now see content from my own pages in my feed!

The Insights

Of course, anecdotal evidence only tells part of the story.  I pulled insights for posts on the Tactical Social Media brand page activity for January through April and then again for May through mid-July.

Tactical Social Media's Insights BEFORE the latest Facebook algorithm change in April of 2015; #BeTactical

There is a very noticeable spike in activity at the end of April, and while that level wasn’t sustained in later months, there was a noticeable increase in post engagement after the latest algorithm update.

Tactical Social Media's Insights AFTER the latest Facebook algorithm change in April of 2015; #BeTactical

To be fair, there are still plenty of low points (I do experiment with my own posting tactics) but there was clearly an increase in overall post engagement since algorithm update.  What stood out was the jump in posts seeing more than 10 points of engagement.

With only 149 fans on the page at this point and only a few increases per week, page likes didn’t contribute to the numbers and as I have generally only posted once daily over the past 6 months, the increases aren’t attributable to frequency.

The April 2015 Facebook algorithm change is a ‘win’ for brand page owners.

My Take

While this is not a real study by any means, the April 2015 Facebook algorithm change is a ‘win’ for brand page owners.  It isn’t, however, a return the ‘post it and they’ll see it days’ of the past.  I mentioned purposely posting content at odd times and of irrelevant content to limit reach – well, reach WAS limited.  While the change helps, “Brand pages who post good content, drive interaction and engagement with their fan base and are truly social will see big gains.”

Benefiting from the update still requires:

  • Posting timely, relevant and shareable content (#BeTactical)
  • Driving interaction and engagement, and being engaged (#BeSocial)
  • Posting timely – it’s critical you regularly monitor your insights to find the best times for you to post)
  • Posting consistently

.

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change, April 2015: Facebook Organic Reach = (Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency + Engaged Fans; Tactical Social Media: a Tacoma, WA / South Sound Social Media Consulting Agency

Facebook Organic Reach = {(Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency} + Engaged Fans
Where Quality Content = Content x (Relevant + Timely + Sharable)
Where Engaged Fans = Active Fans / Total Fans

What’s Your Take?

Are you seeing more page stories in your personal feed?  Have you seen any increase in post reach?  Do you think the April 2015 Facebook algorithm change has helped?  If not, could it just be your content or posting strategy/tactics?

Social Media & Employment Equality

This is a re-publication. This article was published to Social Media Today by Robert Nissenbaum, having originally appeared on his personal blog in December 2014

I normally write from the perspective of teaching how business owners need to think about leveraging social media to drive branding, sales and ultimately revenue. I want to switch that up a little and tackle another aspect of social media usage: how businesses use, or maybe shouldn’t use social media with respect to their employees and potential employees.

Social Media, workforce equality, employment screening. Image source: http://www.agent-x.com.au/comic/your-true-profile/

 

Social Media’s Role in the Employment Process

It’s been fairly common, and there have been a number of articles recently on employees being fired or suspended (including this one from Norton Healthcare) due to social media posting, but I am particularly thinking about social media as it applies to employment practices. What prompted the thought was a LinkedIn article I read on Title IX by Bill Wagner after hearing from a friend looking for work.

Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 and most commonly referenced with regard to its role in providing equal opportunities for women athletes in high schools and colleges. It was originally written to prevent gender discrimination in and educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. While gender couldn’t be used to discriminate in hiring practices, Bill mentioned in his article “It is generally accepted that a college education leads to a better paying career and more consistent employment.” The thought being that without the education (The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not cover gender discrimination with respect to education) women simply would be less qualified and therefore not hired on that basis, not their gender. Title IX, whether you agree or not that it has been successful or even positive, has been a critical cog, just as Affirmative Action has been, in driving workforce equality.

So how does this apply to social media? Social media and modern technology have the ability to undermine the workforce equality created by Title IX, Affirmative Action and similar laws. Prior to the rise of social networking sites employers had limited access to your personal information. Employers are restricted from asking a number of questions on an application or an interview. At least in the initial decision-making process, the most they could gather would be gender (unless you had an androgynous name) and possible age based on school graduation dates. The initial selection process came down to your experience and credentials.

The interview phase would reveal more but the risk for a discrimination suit becomes more likely depending on the number of candidates in the interview pool. By then the right skill set might override a personal mindset anyway. If you fall in love with an idea and then find a few flaws, you’re likely to overlook those flaws. See the flaws first and the idea dies immediately.

Social media and technology now provide employers the ability to see the flaws first. It should be common knowledge that what we post and how we respond affects our reputation. Many employers will admit to screening online profiles as part of an application process (and even after you’ve been hired). What they’re typically looking for is activity that would impact their reputation or yours (assuming you weren’t truthful on that resume). Most do a good job of keeping private details private – there have been plenty of lessons posted on what happens when you don’t.

While checking out your Facebook profile may not seem discriminatory in the employment process, what you have posted, especially with respect to Instagram, now the second place major social network where all images are public by default, can be used to discriminate. These posts and images reveal far more than just our gender. They can help better pinpoint our age (especially for those of us getting older), our ethnicity, our sexual preferences, whether we have a family or are starting one, our religion, our financial status….all small pieces that can enter into a first impression and a hiring decision even before seeing our qualifications.

I’ll add another thought to ponder. Video is a great way to stand out in a crowd of applicants. I have known individuals who submitted resumes online with links to a video on why they should be hired as well as YouTube videos tagging prospective employers. I think this is a great use of technology and social networking BUT….what if the employer requests, or in the case of a recent job announcement I saw, strongly recommend a video be sent to secure that interview?

While I fully believe the employer’s motive was to find the best person (public presentation was part of the job description and what better tool to weed out those that couldn’t present than a video) the underlying thought – a video reveals even more than the photograph. Now your dialect and several other factors are presented.  That makes video applications more open to affect hiring decisions on a basis other than qualifications.

Does social media affect employment decisions and workforce equality?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But it’s worth a discussion.  What’s your take?

Thanks again to Bill Wagner for the inspiration and collaboration.