Instagram Stalls, Time to get Worried?

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As Instagram rolls out it’s battle tank to increase revenue, usage statistics are tanking. Which is sort of ironic since the whole idea was to innovate and get more advertising money.

The dearth of technology is tied to innovation. Instagram has been slow to the finishing line since it was purchased by that behemoth, Facebook. People are sharing less on Facebook and for Instagram, people spend less time on it than in previous year.

Advertising on Instagram got a whole lot easier in 2016, namely, anyone with a Facebook account can buy adverts now on Instagram. It is basically the same way you buy Facebook advertising. No different except that you get to put your adverts up within a user’s newsfeed.

Not long ago, Instagram started to ditch its show me everything newsfeed to adopt a tuned algorithm. They will show you more of what you like….or suggest users that have similar post which you like and at the same time, take into account the number of likes and views of your particular post and tell the world where you stand. What do you make of it? Well, it is really to justify what you pay for. If your advert or post get shown to an audience, you get to see how many times it has been viewed. It cuts both ways.

Metrics are everything but results are a wee bit subjective.

Instagram is Spreading its Wings

If you happen to like posting stuff, Instagram now helps you to get discovered. Content consumers may not have an idea on who to follow so this clue might be helpful when users who have similar post you like are often suggested. Herein lies the problem.

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With 80% of its users now from outside the US, up from 75% last fall, Instagram’s growth has relied heavily on its popularity in overseas countries like Japan, Germany, France and Indonesia.

Marketing overseas got easier but not all of them speak English. So Instagram has introduced instant translations for post for users to read. 

This two prong approach sort of solves the problem but it doesn’t quite solve the engagement problem. People are using Instagram less as it is so yesterday, and this has gotten Instagram worried of course, and as a brand advertiser, you should be too.

If you don’t catch enough eyeballs, then where should you be?

Time to Get Worried?

Instagram has also hit 300 million daily active users. While 300 million is impressive, CNBC reported that Instagram usage has actually dropped 23.7% between this year and last . So even as Instagram is reaching a wider daily audience, its users are spending less time in-app. Less time means less revenue for Instagram and this is how it plays out.

The immediacy of an advertising campaign doesn’t mean you should be throwing more dollars at Instagram but to spread that reach wider on both traditional and online advertising and not rely on social media alone.

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That’s because the Daily Usage has tanked for Facebook and Instagram. People don’t post as much anymore or for that matter share or check their newsfeed to the point Instagram has to send you suggestions on who to follow and what to follow in terms of interest and pages.

Since the adverts are targeted, advertising can be directed at a particular profile but this will not stop ads from running meaninglessly when users scroll pass them. Do I recall what I just saw that was inserted into my news feed? Nope. Nor do I care since whatever advertising that was directed at me wasn’t of interest to me.

Videos got Longer on Instagram

Posting video is being extended to a whole 1 min. However Twitter has countered this allowing videos up to 140 seconds long with Vine. Wow. Would you be bored?

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The fight for video time is apparently getting longer for these two competing platforms but Twitter still lacks punch. Instagram is more social media while Twitter is more conversational. Even when Twitter can stand up on its own with the combination of Vine and Periscope, it can be a bandwidth hog if you’re not too careful with your mobile data.

This is what is keeping people from streaming on mobile. Data is expensive and viewers would rather watched the saved videos on Wifi.

Collective Engagement is the Key

The only reason why Starbucks would set up another shop a block down the road from the first one is location. If that is the case, then a collective engagement is what you are after should you have a social media strategy.

I find it pointless to pit Instagram with Twitter and Vine, or Google+ with Facebook. It is a collective engagement (the sum of its total) that you are interested in because duplicating content on all your social media platforms bores the hell out of people. Why should I follow your Instagram feed if you post the same stuff on Twitter? Or for that matter on Facebook or Google+.

Return on Investment Explained

ROI is very simple to explain in advertising terms. The aim is always thrice the amount of return on whatever you have spent in promotional activities.

The amount of time spent, and the effort put it has to justify the results. The rough advertising reach model is three times the cost in terms of ROI. So if you calculate all your social media time and effort to a daily rate, and if you multiply that in terms of dollar value by three times, this is the actual benefit you should be receiving from this collective engagement on social media for a weekly or monthly expense. If you are not getting that in ROI, then it is pointless to continue social media activities.

This justification is what doomed Facebook’s stubborn approach to organic reach and would happen the same way to Instagram if it is not careful. If an advertising or promotional effort is costing more than what it returns to brands and businesses, then the money would be better spent elsewhere.

 

 

 

How Facebook is spamming you…on your Newsfeed

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Everyone at some point would like to buy girl scout cookies to support the outfit. Imagine if you did, then automatically a whole bunch of them would descend on your neighbors to ask them to buy into it as well.

This is what is happening with Facebook’s new Newsfeed algorithm. During the conference, a warning shot was fired on the new Newsfeed algorithm where you are shown content from which your friends have liked. What they didn’t tell you was that the liked items were in fact sponsored adverts.

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The powers that be in Facebook decided that well, we need to target these sponsored adverts and here is a great way to do it, asking you directly if you would want to see it in your newsfeed. As these are adverts and not content, you get the idea where they are coming from.

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When I read the Improve your News Feed content box, I was actually thinking, hey, maybe there are some contents that I missed since I don’t want to see so many adverts on the time line. It is no secret that Facebook tracks the cookie trails left from your visit to Amazon, Aliexpress and any shopping portal and targets you with adverts.

So each time you see an advert on your timeline with the same item which you had searched for on a shopping site, you know it is them.

 

Facebook monetizes you as a commodity. So only advertisers will be spammed to your time line each time you click a preference of the sort of adverts to show up on your newsfeed. To avoid this, click at this spot to give them the run around.

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How to deal with Adverts on your Newsfeed

Each time you see an advert on your newsfeed and scroll pass it, Facebook algorithm thinks you may have missed it. So it keeps popping up over and over again. To banish them, you should do the following.

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When you click on HIDE ADVERT,  a new pop up box appears.

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All you have to do is click any of the advert options. I usually selected the third as I find it offensive that Facebook is showing me adverts on my timeline.

Adverts are now OVER Whelming!

It is high time users demand useful content versus paid ones. The sidebar is already full of adverts in the PC browser window. The migration of users to mobile apps is what made Facebook turn to Newsfeed adverts.

Over 80 percent of any FB Page views are now on Mobile devices, and if you don’t claw back some of that space from your newsfeed, it will get worse as more and more adverts will start to appear on you FB mobile app Newsfeed, so that means you see less and less of actual content.

Actual content are those which takes you to the article hosted on a news or blogging site. These Facebook Newsfeed adverts just takes you to another shopping site.

If this case, bloggers and content creators are no longer needed since Facebook already started testing out Instant Articles, which may give some bloggers the eyeballs but not necessarily the traffic you need to sustain your blog. This clandestine way or selling adverts to FB users is another nail in the coffin for bloggers and content creators.

Content creators are being squeeze out of the picture while users of Facebook have to bear the brunt of increasing data traffic to your timeline that are….adverts.

So let’s all put a stop to it before it gets any worst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook cripples Flipboard NewsFeeds

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In another amazing twist of algorithm changes, Flipboard, the beloved newsfeed aggregator will be crippled by Facebook’s new algorithms by April 2015. The reason? Facebook wants you to see their adverts and there is no way of doing so within Flipboard itself.

Social Magazine no longer Social

Flipboard was one of the very first social/news aggregator that came out at the time of iPad 1, it was a hit and became a killer go-to app for the iPad. It wasn’t until two years later that Flipboard was introduced as an Android app on Samsung Galaxy devices before making its prime time debut on the Google Playstore.

Today, Flipboard is available even on Windows mobile and Web browser for all PCs. It has certainly gone a long way. Over the years, Flipboard added innovations such as the curated magazine, where you could literally curate and add content to your own social magazine which can then be shared with customers, friends or the public.

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Facebook’s Paper Versus Flipboard

Facebook released the Paper app on iOS over 2 years ago with Flipboard like news aggregation, except that it was more restrictive and didn’t allow you to add custom news channels.

Flipboard on the other hand allowed you to add your Facebook and G+ newsfeeds so that you don’t have to go to the dedicated apps to read your timeline updates. This meant that people could stop using Facebook app and turn to  Flipboard as the news reader for both social and news items, after all, Flipboard serves up its own ads while removing ad streams from Facebook. This became a huge problem as Facebook took this as a revenue leakage. So it had to plugged.

Starting late April, your Facebook account on Flipboard will only show up newsfeeds from Pages and Groups that you follow. Your personal newsfeed to the Flipboard will be crippled. Nothing will show up if you want to know who commented on your post or about friends who post stuff to your newsfeed. 

New user of Flipboard after April will not be able to add Facebook as a news channel even if it’s only for Groups and Pages you follow. This has been officially crippled so if you want to have some news from Facebook after May 2015, you better add your Facebook newsfeed to Flipboard now!

Facebook to get more Aggressive with Content Feed

 

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Content is king. Facebook doesn’t create any so it has no way to keep you glued to their mobile app unless it’s about USG. All user generated content is free for use on Facebook, unless of course when it is copy protected music or movies, you can’t share them.

Content on Facebook is vaporous at best. There is no way to search out old news or postings from other users unless you have added that on your own timeline. This degrades the content aggregation possibilities within the Facebook app whereas on Flipboard, you can virtually read anything posted and flip that into your own social magazine for sharing later or for bookmarking purposes.

Facebook’s attempt with the Paper mobile app is probably the closest it gets to being a Flipboard wannabe, while it achieves some news aggregation, it still has to be shared onto your own timeline to be ‘logged’ and searchable. Sharing it is entirely up to you, you can do it publicly or with friends or family only.

So far, Facebook’s Paper app seems to be doomed to development hell. It has not made it’s debut worldwide or for that matter, outside of the iOS ecosystem. It has poor newsfeed refresh rates for curated news items and will face the same problem as Flipboard as content belonging to news agencies will have to paid for in some ways. Flipboard gets around this with a truncated content summary by asking you to hit the link to read more. Facebook’s Paper app is taking this same route but with less success, thanks largely to the limited curated feed approved by Facebook itself.

Facebook’s crippling of Flipboard’s newsfeed channels is not the end of it all. You can still curate and make your own social magazine and sharing that on Facebook. You can still post links to your Facebook account directly with the Flipboard app as well.

What annoys me most is that none of these news aggregators are paying for the content being carried on their news channels. Instead, they will try to reposition the content and sell adverts to support it, just like Flipboard does when you suddenly see an advert popping up midway through reading a content feed.

Content development is a thankless task and it’s kinda funny to see how these two duke it out with content they never paid a cent for but wants your eyeballs for it.

Chasing Google SEO: Mobile requirements Updated

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There was a recent update announcement to the Google algorithm and will go live in April and it has to do with being Mobile friendly. Let’s be fair, we were all expecting it to happen as Google has been kinda slow to implement and recognize the value in mobile web traffic. Best of all all, this update has  no secret name or handle for this new update, and you can view it here. The point of this update or revision is concerned with making your site responsive to mobile devices.

How your serve up content to mobile customers is the key to this revised algorithm. Looking at the prerequisites, it doesn’t seem to be much. But it will be a huge jump for those who have traditionally created only desktop type websites for their products and services.

This revised algorithm does not change what is already implemented in Google Hummingbird but builds upon it. So you will have points deducted once it recrawls your site to see if you are mobile friendly.

How Google Tweaks its Algorithms

The general public thinks that Google only tweaks the algorithm on a quarterly basis but in reality, only major changes are updated that way. Every month, the Google team takes a piece of code and takes it apart to better reflect its goal. Sometimes it works and other times it is very turbulent.

You can view the turbulence chart here at MozCast which is calculated on a monthly basis. For this, search engine results (SERPs) are monitored for changes and that’s how the chart comes about.

To be on top of the list, there are a few factors in which you are awarded page rank points. The rest is fair game. The mobile friendly requirement however seems to be more critical, as it will change the page rank of your site if found to be mobile un-responsive.

Responsive Web Design

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Google is going out to woo mobile users. Web traffic for mobile site have increased dramatically over the years and the challenge is to pare down the desktop friendly site so it becomes usable without being a data bandwidth hog. These days, an average website landing page is definitely more than 1MB, this can be even up to 10MB at times and more for those with high graphic demands. Having a RWD site means the server CMS will scale down the data usage to meet mobile standards.

Responsive Web Design is more UX based, but Google has injected it’s own regulations to ensure your site is crawlable. To know if they think your site meets their approval, Google has its own crawlable test, which you can take here.

Mobile SEO Explained

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One of the most pertinent issues are addressed in the new SEO update. The lesser ones, that concernslayout and single page dynamic content is not addressed. Part of the problem is that Google’s own engine isn’t that complex and much of what it does relies on content identification, URLs and linking. There are Schema requirements too, and this sort of optimization requires you to fire up your text editor and to add and tinker with code within the Theme of a CMS.

Much of Google’s new requirement fall into the following criteria:-

  • Speed of loading
  • Dynamic Serving of Pages
  • Keep Resources Crawlable by avoiding robot.txt usage
  • Deep Linking for App-only Accessible Content

Like it or not, if you don’t have any HTML knowledge, you better let someone else do it for you. A CSS sheet, with HTML code is a massive page of text which only the geek in us can decipher. Knowing where to enter the schema friendly code takes some knowledge and please don’t do it unless you know what you are doing. Simple mistakes like using an opening <center> and not closing it with a </center> tag can throw up rendering errors for your theme or page.

This makes things difficult as bug hunting can take hours or days depending on how you approach the problem.

Ranking and the new Mobile SEO

Design wise, Google offers no clues. Should your mobile site conform with page layout requirements like in a desktop websites? I have no idea but this is probably a gray area that Google has not been addressing.

Content has to be crawled. This means that for every link you put up that links to some kind of content, it has to be mobile friendly or else you will get booted off the rankings. Faulty links will be penalized so you have to pay attention to how your site responds to mobile users.

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Should I be Chasing the Page Rank or just make it Mobile SEO friendly?

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When you look at the turbulent state of Google’s Algorithm each time they tweak it, found on Mozcast, you’d realize that the finer points of Page ranks is often fought with a team of full time army of people which many of your have no access to. Every month, Google engineers will implement new tweaks and in the process affect your placing on SERPs. As long as you follow the fundamental requirements, your only other hope is to have a unique branding of content, socially active on social media and refined your site with RWD.

You must not forget that since Hummingbird came into play, the new algorithm is tuned to look out for content that is shared and provide useful information for its users. RWD is there to help your site when Google detects its searches made through a mobile browser and will offer to serve up only RWD sites first.

Google’s main aim is to allow Google Voice Search to do the searching for you in mobile, and as long as you have very thin written content, that in itself will affect your ranking. So if your content consist of mainly graphics, images or video, the only hope for you to reach the top SERP rankings is boost it through social sharing and usage.

No website will completely meet the requirements of Google’s Hummingbird and constant algorithm changes, what you lack, you can make up for it in other areas and chasing the elusive prime spot on SERPS for your product or service category can be better achieved with the use of Google ads. Cheaper too if that is what you are after.

Social Media through Click Farms

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I don’t really care for likes but for some strange reason, that seems to be the social media metric that everyone uses these days to calculate a ROI on advertising investment. So the more people who like you or follow you, that is suppose to translate to some kind of online credibility, even fame possibly.

Social Media Celebrity-hood

When a celebrity goes social, they have thousands if not millions of followers. Often, these so called social media accounts are professionally crafted by PR spin doctors hired by the celebrity to manage his or her online persona. These Spin doctors have only one goal, that is to gain as many followers as possible for the client as a way to measure their success. No doubt it might be a shallow way to measure your popularity but hey, it’s the age of the Internet.

Since then it has been de rigueur for online entities to follow suit and have as many followers as possible. This created a black hat business for those who just wanted to show off and in time, allowed them to profit from such vanity exercises. Today, it has become a booming business in third world countries such as India and Indonesia which sells followers for as little as US$600 for 1 million likes.

Even today, we talk about Leo Messi having 76 million followers on Facebook, which makes you wonder if any of them were bogus in the first place. Even the US State Department has bought ‘likes’ from Click Farms so why not you?

Daze of the Click Farms

The last couple of months researching this topic has yielded much clues on how they work. You heard of people doing data entry work at home and getting paid for it? Well that’s actually one of the methods. These folks with a computer and internet access will sign up with one of these social media provocateurs who in turn get them to manage hundreds if not thousands of social media profiles on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram.

Each Click Farm may have up to a few hundred real people working for them and in these will control up to a million fake accounts.

The age of Online Celebrity Fame

Though illegal in the eyes of social media platforms, there are some benefits for would be businesses or professionals. Think for a moment about the benefits of showing a potential client your own FB or Twitter accounts with half a millions followers. Would the client accuse you of faking the numbers? Of course not. Then you throw up a low ball by showing your nearest competitor who provides a much smaller number of followers and likes on post and the client will be sold on you.

This low ball technique works. The only way you get discovered is when you stop paying the click farms to like your post and follow you and you’d see 100K followers disappear within a night.

Online fame can be bought. So let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that such marketing technique has karmic consequences. Like any scheming adulteress, your aim is not to get caught in the act and as long as you cover your tracks well, you will never be found out.

Click farming is a US$260 million Industry

Click farms are evolving fast. Today, it might only be clicks through third world countries but tomorrow, these same clicks can be performed via a VPN to show it originating from a developed country. Clicks farms are now targeting all social media platforms as they become magnets for entities seeking online fame. They cost less than what you’d pay FB or Twitter to boost your post and these folks can also be paid to like your post as well…something which FB, Twitter or Instagram can’t do.

Once you have a million likes, you are in the mile high club. Selling yourself as a professional will be so much easier this way. What’s more, click farms can also like your video post on YouTube, click on banner advertisements on your video and earn you money.

Abusing the System

Sometimes you have to ask yourself why social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter don’t do nearly as enough to wipe out the click farm business. Well, they are all part of the eco-system and Facebook knows this only too well. Wiping out these so called fake accounts is going to be difficult because they are active. Even when they can be traced to a single IP address, Facebook just cannot wipe out a chunk of their daily active user base overnight. That would cause a stock market crash. Imagine if Facebook closed down 100 million accounts overnight. You can already see Wall Street junking the stock.

Abusing the social media system will continue. There is no overnight hang over cure. They can periodically close social media accounts that are not active or are seemingly ‘spammy’ but to close an active account from a click farm is to cut one’s nose to spite the face.

Benefits of using Click Farms

This is a tricky issue but first let’s look at the issues rationally.

Building your Online Clout

 The black hat technique to gain huge number of followers is still the only way outsiders measure your fame and popularity, without it, you’re dead in the water. You cannot trust FB alone to do this for you as they have gotten so massively expensive over the years that it would be so much cheaper to pay a click farm to both follow you and like your post. This gives the impression of having a genuine number of followers even though it’s only 10 guys working out of a cyber cafe in Dhaka who happen to be your 10000 followers. Having a large following has its benefits. You look more presentable when approaching brands for endorsement and if you happen to produce good content, freebies will start arriving on your doorstep. This could be the crucial step towards building your online fame and fortune.

Cheaper and more effective than Legal methods

Frankly, you could pay a thousand bucks to Facebook to have people like your page but the results are far from satisfactory. Part of the problem is that once you have a targeted a specific audience profile, FB can never promise you 10,000 likes or followers for a thousand bucks. FB, Twitter or even Instagram can never guarantee that sort of metrics even if you kept throwing money at them. This also means you can’t have the thousands of followers based on a specific amount of money spent, say US$.50 cents per Like. It is these sort of guarantee that a click farm can give you that keeps you going back to them. If you loosen the band for target audiences to like your page, then why bother going legit? It’s far cheaper to hire a Click farm to give you that amount of followers in the shortest amount of time possible than to rely on Facebook ads.

Remember your cost of investment in the two before embarking on a ROI cost evaluation. Click farming is only for building online reputation and has nothing to do with generating quality leads or business leads.

For example, you have 10,000 fake followers on your Page, and with it, you want to gain 100 real followers from a targeted locality or which maybe only 10 will translate into real customers, then you have to do the maths for this to see the cost of it all. Your real gain is based on those 10 customers and not 10,000 Click farmers that are plowing your site. If the means justifies the end then you should continue doing it. However if that doesn’t work. I think it is time you cut your losses and invest that in something else.

Wear your Facebook page like a vanity license plate. It can do wonders to your ego but you still need to milk those dollars from a paying customer. That said, no one said this was going to be cheap.

 

 

Facebook Page Tip: Move your Page to Groups for Better Exposure

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Facebook organic growth will drop to Zero and with that in mind, they want you to show better content. So what qualifies as better content? The recent dumbing down of the algorithm, means you will have to spend money to boost your post as well as attract eyeballs from a chosen region—while dealing with fake Facebook likers who come from massive click farms found all over the world. How can you spread your influence, engage and convert such eyeballs through Pages?

When starting your FB Page, the first thing you rely on is to get your friends to ‘like the page’ but that’s not enough. It ends there and you have to gain new  followers to your Page and not leverage only on your friends. The only way is to advertise in FB to get people to like your page that exist outside your immediate circles. For this, Facebook requires  you to pay for the first tier of service. Then after that hit you with a second tier payment plan to ‘boost your post’.

For large corporations, paying FB isn’t a problem. The problem is with SMBs or small medium businesses who have a limited advertising budget.

How do SMBs avoid paying such fees? Facebook says you have to create good content, the content should engage your audience. To do this, here are two golden rules.

Comments count as Engagement

This is the most basic rule. You need to get people to engage with your content and not just like it. Liking it is pretty useless these days. What makes for great engagement? Interesting or controversial content which gets people to put their own spin or two cents worth into it. Now that might seem like a lot to ask but it’s not that difficult if you constantly bring up interesting issues. Once people leave their comments behind, it counts towards your engagement scores. Again, brands try not to be controversial as it goes against their corporate image. Small businesses won’t have such a rigid policy so they will have more freedom to post stuff that big brands won’t indulge themselves in.

Content that is Most Shared will earn you Free Publicity

Yes, you see how things go viral. There are tricks to doing this that goes against the grain of popular brands. For example having a list of 10 things you can do with a particular product and how it can make your life easier. Content that is often shared are simple things, like using baking soda to clean stains…which big Brands are loath to discuss since they might have a $19.99 cleaning solution that does the same thing. People who share your post will help you go viral!

Other contents shared include entertainment, scientific facts and even local news pertaining to current affairs. What people don’t share is their porn sites so don’t go adding this to your page time lines.

Liking a post isn’t enough anymore. This is part of the algorithm that Facebook wants to snuff out.

Likegate is a thing of the Past

Likegating competes with Facebook’s own ad serving system to promote apps, and these can be web apps to mobile apps. This is probably the only reason why they issued a Jihad banning such acts.

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, check-in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

What FB doesn’t tell you is that if you incentivize people to ‘switch on ALL notifications’ for a particular page, you can reach out to 100 percent of all your followers. This is something they do not want even though the feature has been introduced for anyone who follows a page.

Page and app owners resort to collecting data and getting you to approve the permissions needed to post to your timeline but often this is a tricky affair. What shows up on a person’s timeline might not show up on others. Liking a page does nothing now for organic growth. It will not bring you fame or fortune or encourage fans to throw their used underwear at you in adoration. It is through sharing and comment engagements that determine your content’s life span.

Now, Facebook Pages will not be serving up anything from now on to benefit you, as a Page and business owner. You have to get smarter so what’s there to call?

Move your Facebook Pages Activity to Facebook Groups

Often ignored, Groups is the nerdy cousin of Facebook Pages. I have stressed this before in a previous post and now there is even a far better reason for this. Facebook groups has its own mobile app on iOS and Android.

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So what can you do on Groups? How can I brand myself for Group Activity? The answer is pretty simple. You have to reshape your content to suit users instead of just spamming them with the latest offers and promotions.

Hey, if I do that for Pages, would it work too? Technically it might but with a lid put on FB Pages now. You’re not going to get any eyeballs without paying Mark and his team. Remember I mentioned the ‘boost post’ feature for Pages posting? Well your likers or followers will not be seeing any of your post if you don’t ante up on the money.

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Facebook Group App has Newsfeed notification numbers to alert you on updates

 

Groups Mobile App does everything you wish your Pages would do. For example, it has a list of groups with number notifications. This means that even when a person does not turn on all notifications from your Group, he or she will still see the number of newsfeed updates the moment the app is open. This is very useful for people who use this app to keep in touch with the groups they follow. At any time, they can engage with the group and peruse the news items within each group. Group post can be moderated so if someone starts to spam your group, you can kick them out.

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All your comments and engagements will result in a group notification. This bodes well for brand owners who take the trouble to answer to every post and comment made within their own user group. What’s more Groups is immune to the algorithm set up by Facebook for promotional purpose. The Group Mobile app will allow you the chance to engage with your fans who have signed up with your Page without having to pay for the ‘boost post’ fees stipulated by Facebook.

Reinventing your Page Post to suit Group Post

This is relatively easy. Put yourself in the shoes of your consumers. What would make a good content for them to read and engage with you. Don’t just ask them to buy something outright or come down to get a promotional service. The secret here lies in a strong content strategy. Here are some tips.

Develop, create and curate content that would be useful or entertaining for your group members

Post blog items that relates your business. Give useful information that they are not aware of. Don’t assume the role of snake oil salesman and try sell members again and again with a sales pitch.

Engage with Questions and Surveys

In groups, you can conduct your own research with a click through survey question to determine how they feel about issues and questions they might have about your business and service practice. Remember to reward them for taking part.

Post Epubs Files to Members

In your group dashboard, you can post PDF publications (limited to 25mb) where members can freely download. Here you have a chance to go more in-depth with your business and services of even for that matter, serve up a promotion catalog of all your products or services.

These steps will help you build brand equity that is pretty hard to come by these days in the online world. It is certainly worth the effort to go this way instead of subjecting yourself to the new algorithm set up by Facebook. Your content strategy is not about sending out promotional invites but instead offer knowledge that puts your business or service in better light.

So spend some time, develop a cohesive content strategy and get ahead of your competitors. The lazy ones will always get left behind so don’t be one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the move to Instagram

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Now that we have all written off Facebook for content and marketing engagement, we have to find another content outlet to try spice things up. Instagram at the moment is trying to rev its engine up a bit by going more exploratory and in the process suggest new ways for people to follow like minded post from Instagram users. This is an interesting move as it is generally regarded as the next step towards advertising and promotional ad space. Instagram’s growth has been phenomenal. Look at the stats published so far and you know what I mean.

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So before Instagram gets into the same Facebook act, by forcing you to advertise to get seen, there is no better way to ride the wave than now.

How to Ride the Wave for Free

I peered into my crystal ball and have seen the future. Instagram will soon have its algorithm and that means you are going to have to fight to get noticed but until then, here are some rules to follow.

Encourage User Generated Content

In any B2C business, UGC is the best way forward. They are your ambassadors, and you don’t have to do the heavy lifting. Now as a business owner, when was the last time you thought of your customer’s satisfaction and UGC? How many times have you come across a boutique that supports or encourages UGC? Or for that matter a retailer that was UGC friendly? Forget the luxury goods store that protects the design of it products. It won’t work there coz they charge so much for something which can be copied for a fraction of the cost, hence the ‘no photography’ rule but what about general retailers who want to make a difference? Allowing your customers to browse, try things out and even take a selfie when trying an outfit is going to generate eyeballs and in the process generate awareness and branding. Restaurants and cafes already offer free WIFI for customers, and this makes for an easy check-in and free advertising to their friends who will come by.

Make use of the 15 Seconds of Fame on Video

If you want to create interesting content on your own, then try posting a video. 15 seconds is pretty easy and if you have an app like MeiPai, which is mentioned in another of my blogs on video apps. There are plenty to choose from and some like MeiPai even offers auto editing to make your job easier.

Instagram allows for Editing in Post

Another new feature from Instagram this time, you can edit all your earlier post without having to worry about what you left out the last time. Previously, you had to delete the post and repost them. Well not anymore.

IGeditThis means you can link your post to your G+ site, webpage or FB Pages (if you haven’t already dumped it) on a later date, or for that matter add in your twitter links. We all know that sometimes when you generate a shortlink, the process becomes cumbersome on mobile.

Location data can also be edited. So if you moved shop for some reason and need to re-edit all your older post, you can do so now. Having a check-in location gives your business credibility. So remember to make use of the new editing feature to stay current.

Achieving Business Succes in Instagram

There are plenty of competing platforms when it comes to video and image post. For example, in Latin America, the de facto choice is Mobli. While for China, Instagram is still blocked so you only have access to Storycam, which is an app from the same folks who brought you WeChat.

All of these apps have cross posting capabilities so you can of course post to more than one social account or for that matter duplicate the post in different social account.

Instagram will in the future change its algorithm to match that of Facebook. Until that time happens, you better start building your audience on Instagram now.