Suzen Pettit Digital Marketing Consultant

Suzen’s specialty is getting small companies and doctors FOUND and helping them stay “sticky” with digital marketing and website traffic strategies, social media, optimized websites, SEO, blogging, content marketing and list building.

Facebook Algorithm Changes 2018: How to Stay in Front of Your Fans

January 11th, 2018, the day that will forever be remembered as the day that all Social Media Marketers collectively hung their head in collective discouragement.

Our Facebook business pages have been growing, and, we’re told, they’re an integral part of our marketing efforts. With that, we’ve been honing our posting formula  to ensure that our audience not only sees our posts, but is compelled to click on them, like our page, engage,  and continue to watch out for what we will post next. Just as we seem to be hitting our Facebook marketing stride, the social media platform announced that as of Jan. 11th, 2018 and going forward, our jobs are going to become exponentially harder. Meet the “Facebook algorithm changes 2018″.

facebook-algorithm-changes-2018It’s here to make our lives harder. Sorry. Seriously. For us as well as for you. We’re all in this boat together.

That being said, that’s where we come in.  We’ve been studying, and experimenting. Below, we will take you step by step through the Facebook Algorithm Change, and show you just how to spin it to your business’s advantage. We have lovingly crafted this blog to ensure that your business can get found, get heard, and get crackin’!

What does the Facebook Algorithm Change 2018 mean for business pages?

Mark Zuckerberg has been throwing around terms like ‘quality content’, ‘authentic communication’, and ‘meaningful interactions’ quite a lot since the launch of Facebook’s new algorithm changes. While this sentiment may be good for the morale of Facebook users, the fear for small businesses is that Facebook business pages market in vain, posting to the wind, and our mothers… unless they put money behind the majority of posts.  It works for….them. So what does it all mean….to us?

Basically, for the foreseeable future, Facebook will be assigning a value to each and every post that shows up in a user’s feed, and  ranking the  post according to that value. The highest ranking posts will be shown up at the top of their feeds, and the not so highly ranking posts will be dropped down to the bottom…or be not shown at all.

How does this ranking system work? Higher values will be given to posts that create a fulfilling experience for the user. This will involve posts from family members, close friends, and groups. Within those top tiers of posts, more value will be given to the friend, family member, or group that you most frequently comment on, like, share, and react to.

All fine and dandy for your personal profile page.

But we’re sure you’ve noticed an important point here: There is no mention of where and how business pages are ranked. That is for the simple fact that Facebook has decided that business page’s posts are socially empty, unfulfilling, and involve forced conversation. Soooo…..

THANKS MARK… facebook-algorithm-changes-2018-zuckerberg

“As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg wrote, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Features such as “unfollow,” “hide” and “see first” help your followers create their own experience as according to the value system we mentioned before. For this reason, it will be very important to encourage your followers to click on the “see first” option for your page in order for the Facebook algorithm to learn that your page is meaningful for them.  Folks can now curate their feed to see more of what’s important to them first. It’s a start, and we talk more about that here.

With that said, you must tread carefully when it comes to encouraging your audience. There is a fine line between encouraging and promoting authentic communication, and Engagement Baiting.

Stick with me.

 

facebook-algorithm-changes-2018

In the above image, you can see that there are many different types of engagement baiting, but in essence, if you blatantly tell your follower to “Like this post!’, “Comment below”, or “Share this post”, it’s now categorized by Facebook as a big no-no. Moreover, if you incentivize these actions by stating that if they, like, comment, or share they will have a chance to win something, you can pretty much guarantee that this post will never see the light of a phone screen.

Well hmmmm……this is a strategy that has helped many a post go viral, especially with the promise of a prize at the end of the tunnel. And hey! It’s creating engagement.

Again, THANKS MARK

What does “Meaningful Interactions” mean, and why? Tell us WHY?

Essentially, Facebook has made this bold change to emphasize quality over quantityFor the good of the overall user. The social media powerhouse’s goal ( they SAY) is not for you to spend as much time as possible on their platform. Rather, they want to see the time that you spend is quality time, resulting in ‘a sense of well-being’.
We’ve all experienced that feeling of ‘oh God, I’ve just spent hours scrolling through my feed, and now my day is gone’.

Facebook defends their algorithm change by saying they want to get rid of the (to put it in my own words) news feed time warp, and the feeling of emotionally, and mentally unfulfilling time spent.

So it’s time to up our game, creatives.

So how do I create ‘Meaningful Interactions’?

Below are the top 7 ways that you can create meaningful interactions that will help you to rank higher in your audience’s news feed.

1. Publishing High-Quality Content

How do you know if you are posting high quality content? Ask yourself, is this content original? Is this content relevant? Will my audience appreciate reading/viewing it? Am I ensuring that this post will fulfill a need for my followers…and one that they will be inclined to share, and for others to like and comment on?

If you’ve answered yes to all of these, you’re probably posting high-quality content.

2. Post Interaction-worthy Content

Are you organically encouraging interactions and engagement by the type of things that you post? If you’re not sure, here are some tips:

3.  Ask questions

Questions lead to answers, which typically come in the form of a comment. Comments in the new algorithm equate to engagement. Easy as that! Be sure to ask open ended questions (not questions that can be answered by a ‘yes or ‘no’) as they will be most likely to spark conversation by not only the user answering the question, but by the next person to read the post.

4. Post about trending and relevant topics 

Post about what’s happening right here and right now. Most likely, it will already be on everyone’s mind, and they will already have formed an opinion on the subject. Use the post to encourage them to voice their opinion!

5. Make it personal 

Facebook is currently rewarding personal and fulfilling interactions…so why not make your posts a little more personal? We are by no means implying that you should be unprofessional, but it could benefit your page to remind people that behind your brand is a person, or many collective,  individual people.

6. Make it a group activity

Is your business Non-profit? Or is it very involved in the community? Is it a local business? Does your business currently have a network of people that support it? If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then your business will profit from working the Facebook system a bit. Facebook is currently ranking personal profiles and groups highest on user’s news feeds, which means that if you create a group for your business to emphasize the community and more personal aspects, you could be ranking very high indeed! Be sure to inform the followers of your page that you are creating this group, and encourage them to follow and engage in it.

7. Take advantage of Facebook Live videos

Yes, posting videos from your YouTube channel will probably spark interest, engagement, and conversation. But you can top that by using a Facebook Live video! Interact with your audience in real time (which will also help you rank higher), and then have that video remain on your feed as a reminder to your followers, and Facebook of all the great, and fulfilling conversation you’ve supplied them with.

8.  Stop continuously taking them off of Facebook

We know this is a tough one, as we also have been creating CTA’s  and linking out to our websites or blogs, the ultimate destination. Stop doing that all the time. Leave some quality content right there, on Facebook. Remember what they are looking for – a quality experience right on their platform, not off of it.

Did you promise yourself when you graduated from school that you would never deal with another algorithm again? Not to worry, we take care of that. Do your past self a favor, and give us a call today. We can help. We can even take it off of your plate. 

 

Social Media Automation: 5 Important Reasons to Use It

Has your social media strategy taken over your LIFE?

And, let me guess, you’re in SOCIAL MEDIA HELL? or OVERWHELM?social-media-automation

I know, it happens. Just sort of creeps up on us and before we know it, we’re drowning in social media overload. But the fact is, we still need to do it if we want our businesses to stay current and relevant.

Yep, with social media being one of the essential tools to marketing that it is today, we can find ourselves publishing, posting, and updating nearly every day.  And unfortunately, without proper strategy, managing our accounts can become a full-time job. Thankfully, I have found a few tools that have allowed me to manage my social media with ease, and allow me to devote my time to what truly matters; growing my business. So without further adieu, here is your essential guide to Social Media automation, and the 5 important reasons to use it.

1. Automation for audience insights

If you post on Twitter, but no one is around to see it; did you really Tweet? Raise your hand if in your early days of working as a social media marketer you frequently Googled “best times to post on social media”. Me too. But as it turns out, there is truly no one size fits all schedule for getting optimal engagement across your platforms.

Working with various companies in many different fields I often hear business owners swear by “the 8pm post”, or that their audience is only on Facebook at 10am, but prowls Instagram at 1am. And we begin to learn that there is no sure time frames for success. You have to get to know your audience, and when they will be around to not only see your posts, but also interact with them.

It is always advisable to research audience interaction times for your field of work, but by far the two most effective ways to sync up with your crowd are below:

  1. Trial and error:This way will take time, and will need to take place on an ongoing basis, but if you truly want to learn about your specific audience you will need to keep an eye on what’s working for you. Play around with times, types of posts, and platforms to see what formula is going to work best through your social media insights.
  2. Analyze your data: In addition to social media insights, try True Social Metrics. This social media automation allows you to lay out your feedback on social media on a time table creating an easy visual of what is truly working for you.

 

social-media-automation-bufferOnce you’ve determined the best times to post, and on which platforms, scheduling out your content will be a breeze.  I use and swear by Buffer, for so many reasons…( ask me). Some other  easy to use social media scheduling tools are Hootsuite,  SproutSocial,   HubSpot,  and Social Flow. Simply create awesome, relevant and engaging content, and plug it in.

The majority of the time we are using multiple social media platforms to post our usually original, sometimes curated, and always engaging content. And as important as it is to focus on each platform individually, it is just as important to establish relationships between them.

After all, they collectively represent one entity; you and your brand. Creating relationships and interaction between platforms is actually a lot easier than it may seem, but this mostly comes down to social media automation. There are many different tools like Zapier and IFTTT, that allow you to create “recipes” that will for example, automate a post to Facebook when you have posted to Instagram. These tools truly make cross-promoting take a fraction of the time and effort.

 

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 2. Automation for content curation

It’s true, you don’t have to major in Art History anymore to become a curator. When posting to social media it is extremely important to create original, and specialized content, but you also need to show your audience that you are offering them the best content from the best sources.

Begin curating the best of the best from authoritative sites; are you posting for a physician? Publish a link from WebMd. Are you a fashion blogger? Post the latest fashion week coverage from Vogue.

Not only is this extremely sound advice, but since this is a blog on automation,  one of the most powerful content curation tools out there is Curata. Another great one, that I use from time to time: ScoopIt 

3. Automation for notifications

Yes, social media automation involves an array of tools that allows you to optimize your work schedule, and ensure that you’re posting efficiently and with success. However, we can’t altogether annihilate the human factor of social media. At the end of the day, we post to social media in order to increase engagement, and awareness with the end goal of creating relationships. When you create relationships with your audience, they will keep coming back for more.

For this reason I am encouraging you to set up your notifications accordingly so that when you get an important comment on your latest post, or a share, or ReTweet from your page you can reach back out and get a conversation going. Not only is this great for boosting presence on your social media, but you will also encourage other viewers of your posts to do the same.social-media-automation-notifications

Notifications, as we all know can be a double edged sword. Yes, you want to know when your audience is reaching out to you, but you don’t want your phone blowing up in the process. So now, once again running with this theme, here is the automated answer to notification success: Twitonomy. By using this tool, you can receive notifications at predetermined intervals to make sure they are not a constant source of distraction. Voila!

4. Automation for your value added content

Baby, your posts could never grow old; they’re Evergreen. Yes, it’s true – we tend to get caught up in the trending, now, and hot off the press topics that get a lot of click-throughs, but by tomorrow could no longer be relevant. But it is extremely important to remember our evergreen content. This is the content that whether you post it today or a year from now, your audience will find it informative, interesting, and relevant to them.

Instead of having to scroll back through your social platforms looking for that long ago posted piece of content gold, try automating the process through Tailwind. If you are involved in a visually centered business and post most of your content through Instagram and Pinterest, this tool is for you.

5. Automation in moderation

As extremely useful and time saving as social media automation is, it can never truly replace the wholly remarkable thing that is real-time human experience.  Sorry. But we mustn’t let the grass grow beneath our feet as we seek to find the most effective way to interact with our specific audience, and that involves ensuring a few points:

  1. We always give our content a personal touchTry not to simply cut and paste content, or frequently re-post the same non value adding information. People want to read, and will click through relevant and interesting content, and simply scroll through the rest.
  2. Don’t give your stamp of approval too freelyRemember that every time you post something for your company, or yourself, there is an unwritten assumption that you approve of any and all material that is attached to it. So for goodness sake, read before you post.
  3. Take something great, and make it your own, with your own CTA (call to action)Even when curating content, be sure to add your own summary of the amazing information you are providing. Add an interesting comment, ask a question to get your audience thinking, make reading your content an experience that your followers will want to come back for again and again.

 

OR…..you could just let us handle it all for you.

Successful social media marketing can be made so much more pleasant and simple by smart use of social media automation. As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will answer them or contact me. And be sure to let me know if you use any of these automation tools or if you have others that you love. 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Know When it’s Time For a New Website


seo-websites-by-omaginarium-brookfield-ctAre you experiencing….website shame?

You’re not alone. Knowing when it’s time to update a website can be overwhelming and confusing. Typically website redesign conjures up images of designers and agency types huddled in conference rooms brainstorming creative ideas. Aesthetics are important,  yes, but the marriage of functional and back end considerations with smart, optimized design, will make all the difference in determining the effectiveness of your site, and your branding. It’s not just about the package, baby, it’s what’s inside. At the end of the day, don’t you want a website that’s built to be found, offer solutions, and drive people to contact your business? How to know when it’s time for a new website? Here are 17 essential questions to consider before you enter into the world of website re-design:

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A Man Walks Into A Phone Booth: What’s Your Unique Value Proposition

An old wise man once said:

‘To love is to suffer.

To avoid suffering one must not love.

But then one suffers from not loving.

Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer.

To suffer is to suffer.

To be happy is to love.

To be happy then is to suffer.

But suffering makes one unhappy.

Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness.

I hope you’re getting this down?’ -Woody Allen

online-marketing-made-simpleYour online strategy does not have to cause suffering, over- angsting, overwhelm, neuroses, or extreme drama (like Woody seems to). KISS. Do I need to explain this acronym? If so, email me and I’ll let you in on it. Suzen@omaginarium.com.

No, we break it down, and then break it down some more. The simpler the better. That being said, no matter what your marketing strategy is, it will always need to contain the key elements discussed in my video How Content Marketing Can Transform Your Business, it must always be offering a differentiator that sets you apart from the competition and is a GREAT value…so that we all have a warm and fuzzy feeling when thinking about you and your company, and it must, if using content marketing, which I urge you all to in one way, shape or form, make sure that content is catchy, different and rises above the others. It sounds hard, I know, but truly it need not be. Call me maybe. [Read more...]

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