Don’t freak out about Facebook’s big announcement just yet

Publishers and brands, it’s time to delete your Facebook account. That is what the majority of commentators would have you believe after Facebook’s big announcement about changes to how it prioritizes newsfeed content.

Although similar revelations concerning the content of brands, publishers and other organizations have become a regular concern, especially in recent months, this particular announcement seems to have shaken digital strategists more than usual. My advice? Don’t freak out just yet.

Facebook constantly adjusts its algorithm to please its users and shareholders, and that balance is a challenge to keep. Organic reach for most pages generally has declined over the past year, but adjusting strategies to fit better within the ever-changing environment can negate some of those changes.

One of our clients saw a 28 percent increase in organic reach over the past six months compared with the previous six months because of improved strategy and better tactics.

The latest newsfeed changes also are not all about user experience for Facebook, despite the company’s noble claims. While real estate in the newsfeed becomes more scarce, Facebook is encouraging brands to view the network as a more traditional paid platform. As a for-profit company, creating more demand for revenue-generating products is a sound business move.

This week’s “bombshell” seems tailored particularly well to hit back on many of the negative stories about Facebook in recent weeks. The sensational headlines include “Former Facebook Exec Says Social Media is Ripping Apart Society” and “Facebook’s first president, on Facebook: ‘God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains’“.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation for the change attempts to drive home the point that he wants to ensure “the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent;” a phrase that bookends his post. He also cites research about how Facebook and the social interaction it fosters contribute to overall health and wellness.

He and his company are reacting to critics attempting to vilify the platform. The new newsfeed will not be a Facebook obituary for brands and publishers.

Only time and analytics will tell what algorithm changes will be made and how they will affect brands and publishers. I suspect it will be more challenging to reach audiences in the newsfeed, but those hurdles will not be insurmountable.

Even in their official announcement, Facebook hints at ways for pages to maintain or increase organic reach: “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers.”

As a Facebook user since the beginning, I’ve come to know the only constant in Facebook is change, and those who can adapt quickly will continue to thrive.

 

GO LIVE: No More Excuses

By now you’ve heard all the hype about using video to tell your brand’s story. You’ve seen the stats the demonstrate how effective video is at inspiring engagement and driving actions. So what’s holding you back? Is it time? Money? Lack of resources?

Don’t let any of those hold you back. Video content is easier to create and share than ever before; You can even get started with just a smartphone and an internet connection. Authenticity and story matter more to your audience than production value.

Use tools like Facebook Live or Periscope to live stream video to your fans or followers. We’ve seen these tools get more organic reach than highly produced content. Look at your strategy and goals to identify where live video might be an effective way to communicate your message.

If you’d like to have the capability to quickly edit video on the go, there are a ton of apps available that can help you easily create produced content on your phone. Splice, developed by GoPro, is one that we can recommend. It’s extremely simple, but has the functionality you need to create great looking video. iMovie’s mobile app has also become formidable, supporting 4K video.

Video is a very effective way to share your story, and with all the tools you need to get started right in your pocket, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using it. Remember that it’s part of your toolbox and leverage it when it makes sense. You’ll be surprised how quickly you adapt it will become a regular part of your content plan.

What Exactly is a Raconteur?

The encyclopedia.com defines a “raconteur” as “a person who tells stories and anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way.” Raconteurs can entertain, educate and inspire action. You may recognize the names of a few famous raconteurs throughout history: William Shakespeare, The Brothers Grimm, Charles Dickens, Walt Disney, Johnny Cash, Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling… the list could go on forever! Storytelling has been around since humans have been able to communicate, and it has been essential to the preservation and transmission of knowledge and ideas. So what does that have to do with marketing, communications and helping organizations reach their goals? How can taking the approach of a “raconteur” help your business? Consumers today are bombarded with messaging wherever they go, online and off, and they have adapted, tuning out much of this noise. We have become experts at ignoring typical advertisements and recognizing disingenuous corporate communications. It’s tougher than ever to reach and connect with an audience. That’s where the skills of a Raconteur come into play. Storytelling has stood the test of time and proven itself to be the most effective way to communicate information. Combined with technology, which has given us an almost infinite number of ways to tell stories and reach audiences, the potential is there for a golden age of storytelling. It’s time to tell your brand’s story. Rather than simply broadcasting your message, work it into meaningful, relatable stories. Show how you’re helping people and changing the world. Entertaining, authentic content will not only reach your audience, but it will resonate and prompt them to share and take action. Let Raconteur Creative help you reach your goals by telling your brand’s story. Contact us today!” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Encyclopedia.com defines a “raconteur” as “a person who tells stories and anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way.” Raconteurs can entertain, educate and inspire action. You may recognize the names of a few famous raconteurs throughout history: William Shakespeare, The Brothers Grimm, Charles Dickens, Walt Disney, Johnny Cash, Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling… the list could go on forever! Storytelling has been around since humans have been able to communicate, and it has been essential to the preservation and transmission of knowledge and ideas.

So what does that have to do with marketing, communications and helping organizations reach their goals? How can taking the approach of a “raconteur” help your business?

Consumers today are bombarded with messaging wherever they go, online and off, and they have adapted, tuning out much of this noise. We have become experts at ignoring typical advertisements and recognizing disingenuous corporate communications. It’s tougher than ever to reach and connect with an audience. That’s where the skills of a Raconteur come into play.

Storytelling has stood the test of time and proven itself to be the most effective way to communicate information. Combined with technology, which has given us an almost infinite number of ways to tell stories and reach audiences, the potential is there for a golden age of storytelling.

It’s time to tell your brand’s story. Rather than simply broadcasting your message, work it into meaningful, relatable stories. Show how you’re helping people and changing the world. Entertaining, authentic content will not only reach your audience, but it will resonate and prompt them to share and take action.

Let Raconteur Creative help you reach your goals by telling your brand’s story. Contact us today!

The Right Tool for the Job: Four Questions to Ask When Selecting Channels

I’ve found that the most commonly neglected piece of the communication process is the medium in which the message is delivered. Many organizations already know whether they are going to send an email or create a Facebook campaign, etc., and they tend to focus on what they want to say and how to say it. The problem is, by predetermining the medium without considering the audience and how the information is consumed, campaigns are inefficient and the key message may never reach the intended audience.

There are more ways than ever to spread the word about brands. Offline and online, new channels are popping up and existing channels are changing. It is critical to spend time understanding who your audience is, where they are and which mediums are most appropriate to deliver the relevant message. The following questions are a must to ask before deciding on a medium/channel:

  1. Who is the target audience, where are they (online and offline locations) and how do they consume information?
  2. Based on the audience profile, which medium is relevant and lends itself best to delivering the message?
  3. Look at the effectiveness and the cost of each relevant channel. Which will provide the best bang for the buck?
  4. What type of performance tracking does each medium offer?

With that information you’ll be prepared to select the best channel or channels possible, ultimately making the most efficient use of your time and money.

Have you seen any bad examples of this in the wild? What is the most mismatched campaign you’ve ever seen?

Google’s Big Change for Small Business

Google (and Bing) recently made a big change to their search algorithm which included a shift in the way it considers a website’s “mobile friendliness.” Now, when users “google” something from their mobile device, mobile-friendly websites will receive a boost in search rank and appear higher in the search results. This is a significant development for all websites and one large group will be hit particularly hard by the change: local small businesses.

The skyrocketing use of mobile devices to access the web is no secret to anyone. The big guys like Walmart, McDonald’s and “enter major brand name here” have long since launched mobile-friendly sites to adapt to changing consumer behavior. It is the small businesses and local retailers who have been slow to make that pivot, likely because of lack of time, resources or a clear incentive to do so. With this change and a look at consumer behavior trends, the incentive becomes crystal clear.

Consumers are spending an astounding 15 hours a week researching purchase decisions on their phones, with 93% of them completing that purchase. Over half of them plan on making a purchase within an hour, most of which are occurring at a brick and mortar location. [any data on online purchases by comparison!?] You can read more details about their behavior here.

Consumers are not only using their phones A TON to figure out what they’re going to purchase, but most of them would like to make that purchase quickly and locally. If you’re a local retailer, it’s imperative your website is easily found in order to get in front of these customers before they make that purchase from someone else!

Mobile-friendly sites are not cost prohibitive. Even website builders like Wix give businesses the ability to quickly put up these websites without breaking the bank. Responsive design is so commonplace now that even custom development can be affordable for almost any business. Consider the opportunity cost involved with ignoring this behavior!

So what are you waiting for? If you are unsure if your site is mobile-friendly, use Google’s free test here. Have any other questions or need help? Let me know!

Why I Won’t Be Deactivating My Facebook Account Anytime Soon

It seems like there is now a trend among some social media “experts” [substitute with “hipsters” if you like] is to deactivate your Facebook account, then rush to tell all of your friends, family and peers about it, maybe even on Facebook. How badass, and totally not mainstream, it is to do, since Facebook has become so mainstream?

Well, I can’t say I’m too sad to see you go, since your kind of humble-brag, self-promoting garbage is the kind of stuff I tend to hide from my newsfeed anyway, as I try to weed it like a well-maintained garden.

Facebook isn’t what it was, and likely isn’t what it will be. Facebook has been a lot of things since I joined in college to share semi-private, semi-appropriate, things with only my other university-enrolled buddies. Today’s Facebook can be many different things to many different people.

Yes, it can be a huge timesuck if you allow it to be one. If you have the compulsion to share every moment of your life, you’re probably not spending enough time enjoying those moments. And at the other end of the spectrum, if you can’t spend a few hours without seeing what your Facebook family is posting, you’re probably not enjoying your own life like you should be. If you’re major complaint about Facebook is that you’re spending too much time on Facebook, then you should probably place that blame on the man (or woman) in the mirror.

Are you tired of seeing too many advertisements, brand posts and over-sharing high school friends? Then deal with it, or change it! Facebook offers you a ton of ways to customize what you see there. Take a little time to weed your own Facebook garden, to make it what you want.

For me, it’s a great way to catch a glimpse of what my family, friends, peers and favorite brands have been up to. I get to see things I may never hear about while catching up, not to mention that it allows me to keep up with more people than I ever would without it.

Last weekend, my brother made an incredible wood table/cooler, FROM SCRATCH, that I may have never heard about or seen otherwise. Now that I live halfway across the country from my family, and most of my friends, Facebook has never been more useful. I’ve used my page “likes” and account settings, to make it what I want it to be. Oversharers? You’re gone. Selfie obsessed? Buh-bye!

So to all of you hipsters, if you need to be different and you want everyone to know it, go ahead and leave Facebook, but if you can recognize the value Facebook can provide, and you’re willing to manage it, stay on and make it your own.

What about everyone else? Are you sick and tired of Facebook, or is it a good place to connect?

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