Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Why Posting to Social Networks in a One Size Fits All Format Is A Bad Idea

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

There was a time when I thought Ping.fm was the greatest thing in the world. It allowed me to easily update nearly every social network I belonged to all at once, but there was one problem with that.  I was updating every social network I belonged to at once.  At the time I didn’t think about the fact that different social networks have different audiences and want different things from me as part of their network.  With so many networks and services allowing you to integrate your posts across multiple platforms, a lot of clients have asked me to help them set them up so that Facebook posts to Twitter or Twitter posts to Facebook, and the like.  Every time it comes up I strongly advise against it, and here is why.

Below is an image of a tweet I came across a few weeks back while doing some research.  When I saw it I was confused. Why was this doctor telling people to follow him on Twitter from Twitter. Sure, if they came across it the way I did it may entice them to follow, but let’s be honest, this tweet clearly wasn’t intended for his Twitter audience.

Twitter Status from @rsplastic

Sure enough, when I clicked through I found that this doctor had originally posted this on Facebook as a means to get his Facebook fans to follow him on Twitter, but it was being fed from Facebook to his Twitter timeline.  I did a little bit more digging and found that there was a lot of cross posting like this.  Some posts were fine this way, where others left me scratching my head as a user on Twitter.

Earlier this week I posted reasons why posting via third party apps can impact Facebook engagement, and one of the things mentioned in the study from Applum was that the content was not intended or optimized for the social network it was on, and this is a prime example.

Aside from looking ridiculous (Do you get as annoyed as I do when you see people post Twitter updates on Facebook full of @username and # in the status?), you are creating a content echo chamber that is repeating your message over and over to those that have connected with you on multiple networks.  That’s the social networking equivalent to calling or emailing a client to let them know you are offering a new promotion, and then doing it again, and again, and again. Talk about annoying.

Each social network is different and they should be treated as such.  Does this mean it’s not ok to share the same content on multiple networks? Of course not, but be conscious of what you are doing.  Does your LinkedIn network want to know that you just checked-in to your favorite Chinese food restaurant on Foursquare? Probably not.  Do you need to ask your Twitter audience to follow you on Twitter? Absolutely not.   So before you start integrating all of your social networks into each other, ask yourself, does this network want to hear what I have to say on every other network? In most cases the answer is going to be no.  To ensure you get the best engagement for your content on the social network of your choice, take a few extra minutes to post the proper messages into the proper channels, and if you are going to automate make sure the content that’s being fed is suitable for that particular audience first.

New Changes to the Facebook Pages Interface

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Back in early February Facebook announced a major Facebook Pages update, the changes were pretty significant and took some time for businesses to adapt to.  Today, it appears that Facebook is at it again.   This time making minor adjustments to how you navigate pages and get data about the pages you admin.

The Divorce of Pages and Ads

Prior to today’s update Pages and Ads were always tied together when navigating Facebook, however it now appears that these will finally be separate entities.  The image below shows the icon as it appeared prior to today and how it appears in the new navigation.

Instant Page Stats

Another big change appears the second you view Pages from the new navigation.  You can now view Likes, Weekly Actives, and Notifications all from the main pages screen.  This is great for Page admins who want to keep tabs on engagement without having to dive too deep into the data.  Below is a screenshot of the new admin section.

On Page Notifications

Finally a new Notifications drop down appeared in the upper right admin section today.  Mari Smith tipped me off to this particular change earlier this morning.

While these changes are small in comparison to the kinds of changes we saw in early February, this shows Facebook’s continued dedication to helping their products and services evolve.  Overall I welcome the change and think it helps to improve overall navigation and visibility of some of the more common features Page admins are using.

The Real Impact of The Facebook Page Update

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Yesterday I shared the announcement regarding Facebook Page Updates. In it I outlined a number of new features that would help Page admins interact with their fans and other Pages directly without using the persona of the admin. While these changes were welcomed by page admins with open arms, the biggest change could be more crippling than helpful.

The Removal of Facebook Tabs

For internet marketers and Facebook users alike, tabs have been an integral part of the brand experience on Facebook. Many major internet marketing campaigns have been hosted with the aid of tabs, displaying pertinent information about current campaigns, promotions and more. With the latest Facebook Page upgrade the once prominent tabs have been shifted to the left hand side of the page below the Page photo, making them much less noticable.

Featured Photos

Another new feature with a big impact is the featured photos section that appears at the top of the page. Based off of the profile photos update Facebook released last year, the new featured photos section displays a main image and 5 smaller images at the top of the page. While this is a nice feature for the more photogenic businesses and celebrities, it creates a problem for brands who display few or no images on their profile.

The Facebook page for mobile app Kik Messenger quickly added a handful of generic photos of its product earlier today following the Page update, something many Page admins will surely be scrambling to do before the March 1 global push.

Overall Impact

While the overall impact is yet to be determined, I would imagine that until Facebook users get used to yet another Facebook change, many internet marketers and Facebook Page admins will see some definite changes in user behavior. With the features that were once housed in tabs at the top of the page being less prominent, I would imagine we will see a decrease in clickthrough to these sections while users adjust. Another factor that could have an impact on clickthrough is the icon used to display what was once nothing more than text. Tabs created using specific apps now display the app’s icon next to the name. Finally, businesses who fail to upload additional images to fill the featured photos section will be left with a void of blue squares affecting the overall quality of the page and perception of the brand.

At the end of the day the overall changes to Facebook Pages are good for both consistency in Facebook user experience and for Facebook Page admins to interact with their fans. Unfortunately during the transition phase many Facebook campaigns may be negatively impacted.

Facebook Announces Upgrades To Pages

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

The everchanging Facebook is at it again, and has announced improvements to Facebook pages that will help businesses better manage communication and increase fan engagement.

At the moment the upgrade is optional and Facebook is giving you the option to “tour” the new upgrades without having to upgrade. At the time of this writing I had attempted the tour, but it doesn’t appear to do anything. Facebook is also giving page admins the opportunity to upgrade their pages at their own discretion, however as of March 1 all pages will be concerted to the new format without an option for reverting back.

Facebook has promoted the changes as opportunities for better communication, more opportunities for expression, and improved relevance.

Communication

With the upgrade you can now receive notifications about fan activity, Like and comment on other Pages as the Page persona. In the past all comments and likes were reserved for Facebook users. Additionally Pages now get a news feed where you can engage with other pages you like.

Expression

With the upgrade Pages will now share similar elements of the recent Facebook profile update. Pages can now feature photos at the top of your page and highlight other Pages you are connected with as well as Page admins.

Relevancy

The final new feature announced helps make Pages more engaging for users. An “Everyone” filter on the Wall offers an opportunity for people to see the most interesting posts first. Additionally it creates a place for people to discover the friends and interests they have in common with a Page.

In my opinion the most vital of these updates for businesses is the ability to interact with users and pages as a Page and not a user. There is a huge disconnect between a business and its Page admin and oftentimes contacting users or other businesses as an individual and not a Page can cause breaks in communication.

What are your thoughts on the upgrade? Are you happy with the changes or is this just one more way Facebook is forcing its users to do what they want, when they want.

UPDATE: Upon converting one of my pages to the new format I found a significant flaw to the new format. It would appear that tabs are gone. Meaning any landing tabs, promotion tabs, etc. are no longer available to Facebook Page visitors.

Is Facebook Limiting Your Social Interactions?

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Sometime ago I noticed that the Facebook stream I saw on my smart phone had a tendency to differ from the stream that appeared on my desktop computer. At the time I thought maybe it was a glitch and the Facebook mobile app was simply grabbing older updates by accident, but my wife later tipped me off to the fact that Facebook actually limits the number of friends that display in your Live Feed.

As a Facebook user with over 400 friend, family, colleague, and professional connections on Facebook, I was a little concerned. How many conversations had I missed? How many networking opportunities had been lost? It was an unsettling feeling to say the least. Again today I was plagued by this dilemma. I saw an update on my phone earlier this evening that I had hoped to revisit tonight, but for the life of me I could not find the post anywhere within my stream and I couldn’t recall the company that had posted it. So alas, I am out that information.

How Do You Fix It?

The unfortunate reality is, you don’t. Facebook creates your Live Feed, “based on who Facebook thinks you want to hear from most”. While you can manually set the maximum number of friends to display in your feed and manually add and subtract people from your feed, I have found that certain updates are still filtered by the Facebook system even after making the needed adjustments.

To adjust your number of followers, you have to click “Edit Options” at the bottom of your Live Feed. Once you click “Edit Options” you can set the number of friends that appear in your Live Feed and make any manual adjustments to who you do or don’t want to see. One thing to remember is that as you add new friends to Facebook, you will probably need to adjust these settings to make sure that in most cases you don’t miss out on the conversations happening in your feed. Understand however, that again, in my personal experience, this is not always the case and some updates still get filtered out.

This is probably one of the more boneheaded features I have found in Facebook. While we all know its hard to keep on top of your social stream and information often falls through the cracks, I prefer to skim and miss information on my own, not at the will of what the social network thinks I want to see.