More Changes at Facebook, Strategies Begin to Shift

On September 20th, Facebook announced that they had altered their EdgeRank formula once again, reducing the weight of organic reach in brand page posts. Facebook users on tablets and mobile were seeing their newsfeeds cluttered with posts from brands, which was leading to slowdown. Facebook feared that the result would be a drop in brand page likes, or even a drop in usage of the platform. During the announcement, Facebook insisted that “this isn’t to penalize brand pages, and that engagement shouldn’t be affected…”

However, as EdgeRankChecker and InsideFacebook all noted, the timing is suspect.

When the dust cleared, and the data came out, it was revealed that brand pages lost an average of 6.5% of their Reach. There were also notable drops in Virality, Engagement, and Viral Reach scores. This sudden drop happened to occur in the middle of Facebook’s largest push to sell promoted posts.

Facebook EdgeRank Checker Algorithm Update Results

Image and data from EdgeRankChecker.com

Facebook is moving toward a place where ad spend and promoted posts will be the only consistently efficient way to grow a brand page. Community Managers (and social media agencies) take the issue of promoted posts very seriously. They require a shift in strategy that acknowledges that content is no longer king without a court of advertisements to support it.

It may only be a 6% change, but the ripples of that alteration will change the way brands (and the agencies that support them) need to approach social media.

______________________________________________________________

Tim Howell

Tim Howell is a community manager and data analyst for Make Me Social. He studied fine art, psychology, and international pop culture at Bowling Green State University. In his spare time, he is a novelist and social activist.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media

Content, Meet Community – 3 LOFTy Lessons in Social Media

Why are our Community Managers involved in every step of the content development process? Why do they participate in brainstorming campaign ideas and check in daily with insights and information about their brands? Why are they required to use data to back up their feelings and not rely solely on instincts? Because we never want our clients to get into situations like this:

Lesson #1: When you ask someone what they think, they’re going to tell you. 

The comments on the picture started rolling in immediately and the bulk of them were negative. The fans focused on their distaste for the dress but were quite polite and complimentary about the women pictured. Now while you can never completely predict how people will respond to content, a strong Community Manager should have a good feel for their community and be able to anticipate potential responses, and plan accordingly for them. 

That’s why I was so surprised by the brand’s response:

Lesson #2: Respond appropriately to situations and anticipate how your comments will be perceived by the community and audience at large.

Now this could have been an attempt to redirect the conversation and get people to say nice things about the dress…but it didn’t work. Some of the fans got upset that LOFT assumed they were being unkind to the women pictured and responded to the brand, and some fans began discussing how “rude” others were being. Fans then began to move from expressing their distaste for the dress, to expressing their distaste for the brand.

One comment turned members of their community against each other and unleashed a firestorm of negativity towards the brand.

Lesson #3: Every experience comes with opportunities.

So what could LOFT have done to truly redirect the conversation and create a win for their brand?

Here’s one idea: Give Facebook fans a coupon specifically for that dress and ask them to upload a picture of themselves in it – let them style it, DIY it, mod it up. The fans can vote on whose take they like the best and the top 3 would get a chance to meet with the LOFT design team and be a part of the creative process. The winners can report back and the experience can be turned into a video where the fans highlight all of the great styles the team’s coming up with. Win back some positive sentiment, get the fans personally involved in the brand, give them a reason to believe in the future of the brand and remind people how much LOFT values them.

Community Managed.

__________________________________________________________
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys analyzing brand pages on social media (seriously). During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media

A Digital Thank You

Everyone at Make Me Social is very connected to the cause of rescuing animals. If you follow our Facebook Page, you’ve probably seen photos of fat bellied puppies and big eyed kittens taken during our time volunteering at the St. Johns County Pet Center. While there we spend time socializing the dogs and cats, whether by walking them or just letting them fall asleep safe in the comfort of our arms. We get as much as we give, and I have the Pet Center to thank for my wonderful kitten, Montez.

This blog is a bit different in that it isn’t about volunteering or social media or marketing…it’s about taking the time to say thank you to Make Me Social and Coastal Veterinary Hospital.

It all started last week. I had driven into Tampa that morning for a meeting and after picking up a delightfully refreshing slurpee from 7-11, I got back on the road and headed towards Jacksonville. The drive was pretty uneventful and I entertained myself by reading signs on the back roads. My favorite: “Used Homes 4 Sale.”

As I turned down a road surrounded on both sides by what looked like dense woods, it started to rain. The windshield wipers went on and I slowed down the car. It was then that I noticed a thin black dog trotting down the opposite side of the road, heading towards me. I pulled over and the dog crossed the road and approached my car. A dog enthusiast to the core, I keep a leash and collar in my car at all times, which made the next step much easier. I grabbed my dog wranglin’ gear and got out of the car.  High heels and all, I was ready to rescue.

The dog didn’t respond to commands and wasn’t wearing a collar. In the interest of getting her out of the road and avoiding a “dart and dash” situation, I quickly leashed her and got her into my backseat. When I lifted her I was shocked by how light she was. A quick look at her told me that she was in bad shape. I called the vet and made her an appointment, and then let Josh (el presidente) know that my trip back had been delayed by a hitchhiker.

Imagine making that phone call at most places of business: “Sorry boss, I’m not going to make it back in today because I picked up a dog and felt compelled to get her some medical attention.” I can’t remember what Josh said exactly but it was something like, “You would. Let me know if you need anything.”

In need of some TLC.

The dog didn’t make any noise during the drive to the vet and seemed torn between sleeping and trying to remain aware of her surroundings. When we got to the vet’s office, the wonderful team at Coastal Veterinary Hospital did a fantastic job making the dog feel comfortable. They sat with her and painstakingly pulled out the ticks that covered her body. They gave her food and checked her vitals. They scanned for a microchip (no dice) and gave her the love and attention that she deserved. When Dr. Bissell saw her and heard her story, he assured me that she would find a loving home. They watched her, fed her and cared for her until she could be placed at the shelter. She is now waiting to find her furever home. If you are interested in adopting her, email mfrishman@makemesocial.net, and I’ll get you her information!

So thank you to Josh, and everyone at Make Me Social who shared her story and asked for updates. Thank you to Coastal Veterinary Hospital and Doggie Daycare, who went above and beyond for one special little dog. And thank you to everyone at the meeting in Tampa that started it all!

__________________________________________________________
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys watching her kitten and dog snuggle and try to eat each other’s faces. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Social Media

As the Kings of Content Battled, The Digital Revolution Continued: Why Viacom and DIRECTV Fought the Wrong Battle, A Social Media and Marketplace Analysis

The recent battle between Viacom and DIRECTV captured a lot of attention this month. By focusing on the issues that Viacom and DIRECTV were addressing in their negotiations, it was easy to miss the larger issue: that winning this battle would not win them the war. We turned to social media analytics and market research to examine the big picture, and ask: can the Kings of Content survive the Digital Revolution?

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media

Call for Interns: Answered

You may remember our blog post a few months back, announcing a call for interns at Make Me Social. That call was answered, and today we are pleased to introduce you to our new intern, Chance Mattox:

That sparkle in his eye? That’s determination.

We sat down with Chance and asked him a few questions so that we could properly introduce him before he starts blogging. Enjoy!

Name:  Chance Nathanael Boyce Mattox
University: 
Florida State College of Jacksonville
Year in school:
Junior in Fall ‘12
Major: 
Business Marketing
Role: 
Marketing Intern: Assist in Analysis, Assist in Coffee making. (Editor’s note: we never did get that coffee…)
Hobbies:
Golf, Soccer, Basketball, Football, Cricket, Open Wheel Racing.
What inspired you to apply for this internship? The desire to learn and grow in a new field of Marketing and Marketing Analysis.
What are you looking forward to learning/working on? How to market web-based companies and increase their social media traffic.
What do you do in your spare time? Write, play sports, listen to music, instagram/tweet.
Favorite YouTube video? Oh-Oh-Oh Music video by The Golf Boys. Or the full 10 Hour Epic Sax Guy video.
Favorite website? When it’s December 25th: isitchristmas.com. When it’s not December 25th: Spotify/Pandora/Last.fm.
Favorite magazine? Time or Rolling Stone.
Least favorite food? Rutabaga, the way it looks, smells, tastes. Just, no.

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media

Recent Updates to Facebook’s EdgeRank Formula: Do You Know Your PTAT Score?

Recent updates to Facebook’s EdgeRank formula, and the way they calculate your People Talking About This score, could be putting your social efforts in jeopardy. Why is a behind-the-scenes math formula so important? It’s a simple answer with a lot of data behind it, so we’ll start with the easy facts first.

EdgeRank determines your success on Facebook.

That’s it. It’s that cut and dry. If your brand page has a high EdgeRank, your page will almost definitely be successful – depending, of course, on your definition of success. If success, to you, means user engagement, brand awareness, and viral growth, then we are on the same page.

How does EdgeRank work?

EdgeRank is an algorithm, essentially a complex mathematical formula that weighs several different factors to determine how relevant your content is to any given Facebook user. The formula looks like this:

Facebook EdgeRank Formula

Facebook has been notoriously silent on the exact numbers in this equation, but Jeff Widman, operator of EdgeRank.net, has broken down the basics of the system.

Facebook looks at all possible stories and says “Which story has the highest EdgeRank score? Let’s show it at the top of the user’s newsfeed…If EdgeRank predicts a particular user will find your status update boring, then your status update will never even be shown to that particular user…The numbers on this are frightening. In 2007, a Facebook engineer said in an interview that only about 0.2% of eligible stories make it into a user’s newsfeed…

The simplest possible explanation is that Facebook considers the amount of Likes, Comments, and Shares your posts receive, how many of your fans are friends with each other, the type of content you are posting, and what every single Facebook user thinks about those types of content. All of that gets added up into a total score, which is tallied on every single post your page makes.

How can I improve my page’s EdgeRank?

Short answer: you can’t. Long answer: you can’t, and you’re asking the wrong question. EdgeRank is a constantly-evolving formula, which takes in thousands of points of data to make by-the-second updates. Combine that complexity with the fact that Facebook also filters results through at least one other formula before they make it to a newsfeed, and you are facing a hopeless challenge.

The point that we keep making to clients is that it is much easier to improve your content than it is to try to game the system.

So, what’s new?

A recent update to Facebook’s algorithms has changed the way your page’s People Talking About This, or PTAT, score. This score is a combination of several forms of engagement, including shares, likes, and comments. Until now, that number related only to first-level engagement on a post. The tracking stopped, once you got beyond the original posting.

With this new update, the PTAT score includes engagement a post receives at the second level and beyond. Now, if a user shares George Takei’s latest cat pun, his PTAT score includes all of the likes, shares, and comments that post receives from its entire viral lifespan, even from users that never saw the original post.

Facebook People Talking About This PTAT Score

This update has led to some drastic jumps in PTAT for many highly-engaging pages. Takei’s PTAT has jumped by nearly 110,000 since the change, with similar numbers coming from several of the top pages on the platform. As we discussed earlier, your PTAT score is the most important aspect of your content’s EdgeRank, so higher PTAT scores ensure that your content is being seen. This means that activity on a cat photo George Takei posted three weeks ago could be boosting the EdgeRank on a post he makes today.

In social media, content is king, and that has never been truer than it is now. It is time for companies to make sure that what they’re putting out is something that users actually want to see. As the EdgeRank formula continues to evolve, content that belongs in corporate board rooms will become quieter and quieter. Eventually, those pages will have to wake up and realize they’re speaking to an empty room.

______________________________________________________________

Tim Howell

Tim Howell is a content manager for Make Me Social. He studied fine art, psychology, and international pop culture at Bowling Green State University. In his spare time, he is a blogger and social activist with a passion for cooking. You can find him at gplus.to/TimHowell

Leave a comment

Filed under Make Me Social, Social Media, Tim Howell

Sources and Content Creation

“Don’t think so hard. You might hurt yourself.”

I can’t remember the name of the teacher who interrupted me during an exam with that message, but I’ve never forgotten their words.

Each month we host an internal training for all members of our content team. This month we focused on ways to find inspiration for content curation and creation, and the presentation was heavily inspired by the sentiment behind those words.

In the interest of sharing and all that is social, we’ve decided to make portions of that training available to the public. Enjoy!

__________________________________________________________
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys finding that her degree is relevant to her life. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

1 Comment

Filed under Make Me Social