I’ve been pondering recently about the merits of Pinterest and Instagram and I’ll put my hand up when I say that I actually think businesses would probably benefit from being on both and if I had to advise a client on choosing one only I’d probably not be able to give a clearly defined answer. Not right away anyway, not like I can with Facebook and Twitter.
Both are visual ways of showing who you are, your style and what your brand is about. You can run competitions using both platforms and use to great advantage as an ecommerce retailer. So what’s the differences?
- Pinterest is organised, carefully curated and about sharing the things you love.
- Instagram is like a series of visual tweets and has a more everyday feel to it, potentially making it more real and interesting.
- Recent developments mean that pins can now be scheduled at times resulting in a deluge of images from one user over multiple boards - this can be off putting.
- As with a tweet on twitter, a photo on Instagram can be easily missed by your followers in their photo feed.
- In contrast to this a ‘Pin’ can be viewed on a pinboard long after it was first pinned and thus has far more staying power; working for you well into the future. Your Instagram photo will only achieve this if someone clicks into your account and takes the time to scroll through your photos.
- Furthermore clicking into a Pin reveals thumbnails of the other pinned images within the same board, ‘people who pinned this also pinned’ images and other pins from the same source - great exposure in so many ways.
- Clicking into a pin for the 2nd time takes you to its original source and consequently works as a great way to refer traffic to your website.
- Instagram images do not offer any of this functionality but they do offer a large, engaged mobile user base - imperative in this technological age.
- Personally I favour the hashtag searchability, photo map and informality of Instagram - you’ll see a much higher amount of comments on it than on Pinterest.
- Content that doesn’t sit well on Pinterest, like team event photos which may not have a place on your website, suit the intimate and immediate connection that Instagram offers.
Okay so I’ve probably not made a decision between the 2 any easier but hopefully you’ve got a better understanding about how these platforms can work for you.
Which do you prefer?
Last week, I gave you a rundown of the forthcoming changes to Facebook’s newsfeed, this week I’m going to explain what this will mean to Facebook Page owners.
Essentially the new newsfeed is going to be VERY visual:
- Someone likes your page, your cover photo appears in their newsfeed - does it ‘say’ who you are? Your values? What you sell?
- Someone interacts with a post - thumbnail images of the friends will be popping up (rather than a list of names).
- Captions will be displayed overlaying the images rather than separately as now.
- Videos will be more prominent and photos much larger.
Furthermore, the new design will be showcasing content shared in abundance in your network and with a choice of feeds you could become almost invisible.
These are just some of the changes you will see. Behind the scenes, you as a Facebook page owner, are going to have to construct your posts very carefully; maintaining your Facebook page to ensure maximum engagement and visibility will require you to think differently and work smartly.
My recommendations are to:
- Publish more visuals - that means turning link posts and what would usually be text only posts into something visual. For links I would thoroughly recommend using PostRocket.
- Any copy you use must be kept to a minimum.
- Create content that people just have to share (so it becomes one of the ‘showcased’ posts in a newsfeed).
- Find your brand ‘evangelists’ now, work out what they love to share etc and keep providing this content, they will become instrumental in maintaining your Facebook presence. If users have
the choice of opting out from the pages they “Like” by looking at their ‘All Friends Feed’, the only way your content from your page will get into a user’s ‘All Friends Feed’ is if a user’s friends share that content.
- Integrate Pinterest and Facebook - content shared through 3rd party apps will be given greater visibility in the new newsfeed
- Create posts that have the potential to appear in more than one feed. For instance, turning a normal text post into an image (as I did below very quickly for demonstration purposes only!!) will allow you to be seen in both the ‘Photos Only’ feed and not just the ‘Following’ pages feed. Make it compelling and you’ve got a chance of being seen in the ‘All Friends Feed’ too when it’s shared. There’s a whole host of nifty tools and apps out there that can help you with this such as Share As Image and Quozio, which I used to create this:
There’s more you can do but this should be enough food for thought for now.
This is the banner (with button to try) you should be watching for over the next few weeks when you log into Facebook (in addition to a single timeline and Graph Search!)
Last week on 7th March, Facebook announced what is potentially the biggest change to their newsfeed yet. Big in terms of size and experience and big in terms of changes to the way you post and use your Facebook business page.
I’ve always said to the clients I do workshops with that people are naturally attracted to visuals, just look at the success of Pinterest. Now, with nearly 50% of content on Facebook being visual they have decided to capitalise on this. There are 3 main changes to the newsfeed:
- Focus on rich visually engaging stories
- Multi newsfeed
- Mobile consistency
The last point is simple to cover, finally Facebook will appear the same on the web, tablet and mobile - yay!
The first two points are far more detailed and actually intertwined to some extent but essentially your forthcoming Facebook newsfeed will be enlarged in size and enhanced in terms of the visual content that will be displayed. This means that everything from your cover photo (which moving forward will be displayed on the new fan’s newsfeed), status updates, to the links you post will need to be carefully constructed. Images of the your friends who like a post or a page will be clear to see and videos will be far more pronounced.
The choice of feeds will allow Facebook users to filter their content and it could mean a potential reduction in visibility for Facebook business page users if you don’t work ‘smart. The feeds are:
- All friends
- Most Recent
- Close Friends
- Following (Pages you like and Public Figures you subscribe to)
Music is certainly a new area for Facebook to be moving into and with a choice of feeds to monitor your friends activity you will be waving goodbye to the ticker (something I personally love and which I think gives pages greater potential for visibility).
Josh Constine from TechCruch who was at Facebook’s HQ for the ‘big reveal’ describes the new newsfeed as ‘immersive’ and ‘addictive’.
Well that’s a rundown of the changes as they are at present, I’ll be blogging about how you as a Facebook business page user are going to have to restructure and redesign your content strategy to get the most for your page from this change very soon.
I sat down the other week (rare moment as a mum of 2!) to collate all the apps and tools I’ve used in the last 9 months working as a Social Media Consultant. I counted 33 in total, quite staggering indeed and as I strive to assist SME’s, most without the big Social Media budgets of the big brands, they’re all FREE tools too!
Here’s my top 3 for the moment:
Facebook Cover Image Tool
I discovered this within the last few weeks. Facebook recently changed their Facebook cover photo guidelines, introducing yet anothercaveat to their list of what is not acceptable. This one relates to the amount of text that is permissible on your cover photo and yes many Facebook business owners and social media consultants discussed how on earth this can be checked - count the number of pixels, make a rough guess? Thanks to Scalable Social Media they’ve taken the guessing away and developed a nifty little tool where you upload your cover photo, drag the boxes over the text and calculate. Admittedly this does not emulate the grid-based method Facebook intends to use and should only be used as an estimate but it at least gives you something more tangible than ‘it looks like 20%’!
Binkd’s free Twitter Contest Tool
Having carried out the common ‘RT to be in with a chance to win’ type Twitter competitions I was intrigued to see how the Binkd tool could be of benefit to me. So the setup is a little more in-depth than merely constructing a tweet to get RT’d but don’t let this put you off. I kept to the basic options and was presented with a link to tweet, a tweet I could construct which had to be tweeted by all entrants to endorse their entry into the competition which includes twitter handle and link to the competition (see photo below); furthermore Binkd tells you who hasn’t tweeted this so if you wish you can discount them from the competition, a page where I could upload photos and text about the product that could be won and a full list of all entrants. In addition to this Binkd generates the winner and the only thing I could fault is that it didn’t have the option (unless I just couldn’t see it) to tweet the winner, that I had to do manually. I’ll definitely be using this again.
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of using lists in Twitter, especially for businesses who need to listen effectively to utilise the most of their time they spend on Twitter. More often than not making lists is something that you think about further down the line when you’re following several hundred accounts. Twitlistmanager is essentially a tool that can help you if you suddenly find you need to curate a list but don’t want to have to manually go through each account you are following to see whether they need assigning to a list and if so which one. In a nutshell Twitlistmanager logs into your Twitter account (with your authorisation) and fetches the people you follow, any lists you’ve already created, and puts it all on one page. You can create new lists if you want to, and simply check the boxes to add or remove people to your lists. It really is far less time consuming than going through every person you’re following.
To be honest I’m pretty bored of continually blogging about Facebook and all it’s changes. Ok, perhaps bored is the wrong word to choose, I’m more infuriated that it’s detracting from me blogging about all the other wonderful social media loveliness that is out there so I refuse to mention it in this blog and my next one. Instead I am going to tell you about a new platform springing up that has recently caught my attention and which I’m keen to get to grips with.
Pheed - just 2 months old, it’s a mere fledgling in the social media world but already I’m sensing a bit of a buzz about this new social media platform. The official blurb that arrives in your activation email is:
Pheed is a new social media platform that enables you to share all forms of digital content, including text, photo, audio, video and live broadcast.
Users have the option to share for free or at a premium, either by applying a monthly subscription fee to their channel, or setting up a pay-per-view live broadcast event. In both cases, the the user can select his/her own pricing and earn directly.
At a 5 minute glance around my account it appears to have the hashtag and @mention function of Twitter, the usual follow/like (it’s called subscribe) capability of the Facebook (sorry I mentioned it) and Twitter and posting like Facebook. Your ‘pheed’ can be text, audio, video, photo and broadcast and it seems you can use these as live functions, recording music and video then and there - great for vlogging and podcasting lovers. That’s as far as I’ve got so far but I can see that for SMEs this could be a great time saver platform and with the ability to post to Twitter and Facebook a type of management tool too. With celebrity users joining up, it certainly is blossoming.
It also seems from what I have read so far that the creators of Pheed have done their homework and have looked at the evolution, decline, advantages and disadvantages of most social media platforms like MySpace, Facebook (sorry, mentioned it again) etc and are ready for the challenge of trying to gain a stronghold in the Social Media World.
If I can recommend one thing to you - join up with your business name now just in case this platform takes off - it takes a matter of minutes and will secure your business account. I’ve done it!
Join Pheed here and read more about it here.
Earlier this month I wrote about the reduction in Facebook’s reach and while I still stand by the engagement figure (talking about this) and organic rather than viral reach of each post being an indicator of your truly engaged community I’d like to share my current thoughts and findings with you.
- Facebook determines, via its Edgerank algorithm, what will show up in someone’s news feed therefore adding a page to an ‘Interest List’ (current recommendations by many SME page owners) is highly unlikely to ensure visbility. I’ve been using Interest Lists for a while now (pre the recent Edgerank change) and I know for a fact that not all the posts in my lists show in my feed.
- Whereas image posts previously gathered the greatest amount of reach and interaction and plain text posts the least, currently many page owners are experiencing greater reach on simple plain text updates, in fact I ran a plain text update this morning and got a viral reach of 40%, the 2nd largest I’ve had in 2 weeks (with my 2nd being also a plain text question).
- The current feeling is so strong regarding this change in visibility and reach that, Hugh Briss of Social Identities has set up a petition to make Edgerank optional and allowing us to determine what we see in our newsfeed NOT an algorithm. You can sign it here.
- Currently it seems as if you need to work harder on your page to get less visibilty than ever which is completely self defeating.
So why has there been all this change?
Essentially Facebook is a business and a recently publicly traded one and like any business it wants to make money. Unfortunately this is to the detriment of the small business owner who up until recently have been benefitting from Facebook’s service for free. If you want to maintain your previous reach you’re now, essentially, going to have to pay is what Facebook is saying.
This is small consolation and not very helpful for the small business owner, without a big brand advertising budget, working hard to build their brand and promote their, often wonderful, business using Facebook.
Furthermore a recent experiment by London based, Econsultancy concerning using promoted posts did not really suggest that they are of any significant benefit with unconnected (in terms of interest to their business), predominantly Far Eastern based and at times fake profiles engaging with the posts. Admittedly they did receive an increase in web traffic and ecommerce at the time of this post but this could just as easily have come from their organic audience and without a consistently using promoted posts their reach dropped to previous levels. (read more about this experiment here)
What can you do? Here are some current recommendations I would make (in no particular order):
These are just some ideas and a few of my thoughts with some helpful input from Jenni Wardle at Digital Skills Network
, do get in touch if you want to know more. Thanks for reading.
A couple of weeks ago I’d been watching the reach of each post on the Facebook page I manage drop and consequently the number of people ‘Talking About This’ fall quite significantly so when Mari Smith, someone who I consider to be a Facebook guru, posted this on their Facebook page I was both relieved (to know I wasn’t alone) and concerned:
Just what was Facebook playing at?
There have been a variety of theories flying around - a change in the Edgerank formula, less visibility of posts on mobile devices, brands paying for more promoted posts in addition to incorrect insight figures. Perhaps we’ll never truly know but there is no doubt that has been a few changes to page figures recently as follows:
- A possible reduction in the number of Likers
- A reduction in post reach - especially ‘Viral’
- Quite possibly a fall in numbers ‘Talking About This’ - in other words your engagement rate
If you’ve lost a number of Likers recently personally I wouldn’t worry about it for 2 reasons. Firstly, in a previous blog post I explained that the number of Likes is not the essential figure to focus on and secondly, the most likely reason for losing some Likers concerns Facebook’s spring cleaning of 83million fake and duplicate accounts in which case the chances are very high that your ‘lost Liker’ never interacted with your page anyway.
It’s easy to be disheartened when you see your post reach and ‘Talking About This’ figures falling but I’m suggesting that you view this reduction in a positive light.
In regards to the reduction in post reach I’m using this as a way to see just how many of my likers are potentially a captive audience and I suggest you do too. So your ‘viral reach’ has dropped but at least your ‘organic’ figure will reflect who’s seeing your post in their news feed, in the ticker or on your actual page.
So how do you ensure that these ‘numbers’ who see your page posts convert into people ‘Talking About’ your page (liking, commenting and sharing your content)? This engagement figure is reflective of your community and who is engaging, interacting and ultimately beginning to buy into you and your product and I’ll cover some top tips for maintaining and hopefully increasing engagement on Facebook in my next post.
Facebook now has more than 950 million people using the service in a given month, Twitter more than 500 million active users with two-thirds of the world’s top companies having an active Twitter profile, Pinterest over 955 million active users and let’s not forget other platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+.
More and more businesses are recognising the importance of Social Media and with figures like this it’s hardly surprising BUT many don’t understand how it ‘works’ or what they should be doing. Here’s my top 10 tips:
- Don’t presume you need to be on every social media platform. You need to choose the ones that align and work with your business.
- If you don’t have the time to manage all the platforms that DO suit your business then choose to use what you can manage. There is nothing worse than an identity on a social media platform but no action.
- Understand that although it appears ‘free’ social media does cost in time. This can be at a premium in an SME.
- This may sound obvious but social media is just that - social! Nurture conversation and a community; too many times I see businesses posting and tweeting etc and not responding to comments and replies.
- Understand that it will take time and effort to see results. It’s about building relationships and growing trust.
- Don’t hard sell, ‘selling’ via social media takes time and is subtle.
- Don’t talk incessantly about yourself- only 5% to 10% of your social media activity (i.e. status updates or tweets) should be self-promotional. Treat social media like a party - to be liked, you’ve got to be gracious, genuinely interested in others, and not dominate the conversation.
- Know which numbers count which is NOT likers, followers, connections etc. You should be monitoring engagement rates, knowing when your audience is online and what they like to see/hear.
- Align your social media efforts with your business objectives.
- Make sure you have all the ‘tweet this’, ‘like it’, ‘pin it’ etc buttons on your website AND all the buttons to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ etc your business too.
And these made me laugh…..