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

groupsscreen4

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.

groupslogo2

 

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.

groupsscreen

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.

groupsscreen3

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Making the move to Instagram

InstagramInfographic1

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.

instatis

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.

 

 

 

How to Maximize on User Generated Content

retailbusiness

I want Content and I don’t want to generate it, what should I do? Can I have a legion of followers? What does it take to get people to generate that Internet buzz for me?

Let’s be clear on one thing, not all businesses will benefit from such an exercise. If you run a service, chances are people are not going to generate content on your behalf so the first thing to know about this elusive and sometimes confusing art of creating user generated content (UGC) is that it is more pertinent to retail type operations.

For SEO, user generated content is crucial for you to climb the ranks. Pictures, location addresses, GPS information, reviews, blogs all work in tandem to push your page rank up. As long as something related to you is featured under a different domain, it will count towards your popularity.

Whoring up to UGC?

Technically, UGC is a loose term that applies to any content that are generated by strangers or fans for you. It could be a fan page, or a posting of themselves spending time at a business establishment. Customers will post pictures of your products to Facebook, Instagram, G+, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquares, Pinterest, etc and this will in turn allow you to be found by total strangers who may just be looking for something of that ilk. This means you gotta be interesting, or having interesting products.

What Businesses can benefit from UGC?

Food businesses, product retail and any sort of produce whoring will qualify for UGC. Retail business that offer unique products, food and beverage, events like a customary strip show.

They key here is that your retail business needs to have content to generate web traffic on a large scale by allowing potential buyers to interact with the sold products. Yes, it is a bit like letting strangers get intimate with your personal belongings.

Pinterest

How to Pimp Your Business

A large number of businesses are not UCG friendly or do not pay enough attention to it for content creation. Too lazy? Too busy? Don’t worry. There are a number of rules for UGC and here is a list.


1. Allow Photography on your Property

Yes, you heard me. Photos speak volumes and if you don’t allow people to snap photos, what good is UGC going to be when people do not get to see what you have. Checking into Foursquares of Google Places is one piece of the jigsaw puzzle. No pictures rules just plain suxs. Unless your main clientele is made up of blind people who have no apparent appreciation for your decor, you’re going to be left out in the cold.

iba4gxAE0wmYVy

Many businesses do not like any sort of photography to be done without their consent but this is a mistake. They have this overbearing fear that what they rivals will seize upon this opportunity to copy and destroy what you created. Such fears will only dampen your belief in UGC. Getting more business is all about generating commercial traffic and not about protecting image rights. Your first goal is ensure people generate content to encourage commercial traffic as your survival depends on it.

Those in the Food and beverage industry such as cafes, themed restaurants and even food truck businesses will benefit immensely from user generated content. Once UGC goes viral, you can be assured that people will come to experience it for themselves on what they have seen or read about on social media.

2. Create a new Customers Experience

Your property should be decorated or designed to please the eyes. Colors and the right interior design will help you to win new clients when they see the UGC generated on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Any business can create a pleasing or colorful atmosphere with the right lighting and color choices. Got a giant statue of Venus or a life size Action figure? That’s the first thing customers zoom into. Make sure you get the right lighting as that matters too.

kaiju

3. Set-up a Free to Use WIFI Hotspot

One of the most overlooked of UGC is the provision for free wifi for users to surf. Why? Because mobile data is expensive! Foreign visitors, day trippers from across the border and low bandwidth data subscribers will not post stuff onto Faeebook or Instragram unless there was a way of doing it for free.

There are ways to protect your business wifi hotspot with the right software. You can read some of it here, but I am not going into detail on how to set up a wifi hotspot for your business as not all wifi routers are made the same way. Setting one up can be both a complicated or easy affair depending on the router manufacturer who gives a damn about making it user friendly.

Day trippers, holiday makers, tourist and foreign visitors who do not speak your language would like to express themselves with pictures and not all of them will have easy access to data connections. By providing the means for them to connect to their social sites, you are giving them a chance to write about you and this is what UGC is all about.

4. Create Location Check-ins for all Social Media

Location sharing is all about putting your business on the map and this can be done via Foursquares, Google Places, Facebook or any service that offers up a point of interest (POI) for mapping. By creating the check-in location yourself, you are making it easy for customers to use that GPS location to share with their friends. You’d be surprise how many businesses are not listed on Facebook or Google Places to make it easier for people to find you and share your location.

foursquare

Don’t let users create any ambiguous location check-in. This is detrimental to your business especially when the GPS data is wrong. It could be a block away from your actual location but it’s not their fault for doing this but you should be on hand to prevent this by creating the location check-in  yourself.

5. Engage your Customers with Events

Every event that your customers take part in will generate content. Often business owners think that it takes too much time to organize one but you forget that people need to be excited and to stoke that excitement you need to engage them with simple and meaningful events.

For example, if you happen to be in the F&B business, you can always organize an event for wine tasting, food tasting or even a food presentation lesson. Product distributors are always on a look out for means to host a roadshow and what you need to know is to find a way to connect your business through them at your property. What you need to do is to ante up on the organization skills provide the part-time labor to run the event and you’re done.

By tapping on the social honey pots who love generating followers for your social media profile, you get to promote your business through social media networks without doing any lifting.

UCG with Bloggers

Bloggers are the unsung heroes of UGC. They generate ad target traffic by providing content and search engines know that. So if you happen to have a whole army of bloggers who update regularly and writes about you, then you’re going to be a star on the search engine rankings.

In the old days, it was magazines and news reporters who gave their spiel and helped to promote you to the public at large. Today, the powers of social media hold sway.

Bloggers need content so it is a two way street. By cultivating them, you are helping yourself. Don’t just rely on one blogger. You need a whole team of them and the best way to evaluate them is to find out what domain and blogging platform they work on. Some work for free, others work for beer money. Once you have several different postings from bloggers, it will boost your chances of being found not only by customers, but it will also boost your search engine ranking.

SEO with Hummingbird

It has been a long wait but the time has come. Google’s SEO criteria has finally caught up with the times.

In Panda and Penguin, both represented by seemingly black and white animals, the algorithm was simple. There was no real room for understanding the content that was on offer. It was either black or white as seen by the Google search engine. With Hummingbird, Google searches starts to see things in color. I hated the Panda and Penguin SEO. It was buggy and open to exploitation by sites trying to sell you malware with a smidgen of spam. When Google transitioned its search algorithms to Hummingbird, I was jubilant. Finally, the searching gets more intelligent with content searches.

I remember Panda and Penguin well. These dumbed down algorithm were the dark ages of content development. Everywhere you went, people used word play—a technique where you used the right keywords for Google to pick up, one could push a website up the ranks. Both Panda and Penguin were based on these old algorithm were at best, Neanderthal— only the keywords mattered. It was like you spoke in grunts and a successful search would deliver the results like magic.

 When Google turned 15 on Sept 26, 2013. It quietly introduced a new algorithm. Now before you jump the gun, you need to understand that the old is still in there and the new indexing will take a few weeks to months to kick in as data collected by the engine will be understood using the new algorithm. There are billions of web pages to take notice of before it starts making sense. Those who do not meet the new requirements will slowly see their page rank sink. And you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know why.

Google takes a Swipe at Commercial Freeloaders

Advertising is what sells. If you happen to have a leeway where people can get a listing for free, why not plug that up? This is the why Hummingbird was put into place. Advertisers and retail websites have long used clever tricks in SEO word indexing to avoid paying for a spot on Google for better page rankings. By changing the policy behind this apparent dumb downed approach of earlier SEO algorithms, Hummingbird has been optimized to recognize the context of your content as opposed to just some key words. Black Hat SEO techniques  used ‘bots’ to post to comments and link that back to their site to trick Google into thinking it was a more happening site than playboy dot com. Since the keyword string has been exploited commercially, Google turned it off. Yep. It no longer works.

Pure retail websites, commercial and business sites will no longer enjoy that sort of page ranking benefit they have in the past with Black Hat Techniques. So if someone keyed in “how to buy a used car”, then you will get real content that addresses your question instead of pointing you to a bunch of used car web sites. To get right to the top, you’d have to pay Google to deliver that result.

Google will prefer to serve up meaningful content to address your woes like…. how do you repair the kitchen sink? What do you feed an Owl? Can I trade my recalcitrant kid on eBay? That sort of stuff.

From Polysemy to Semantic Technology

How do you rank associated terms to content? Easy. By making the technology smarter. Hummingbird recognizes Polysemy (which means a singular term can be use to mean different things) and improves on the Panda and Penguin SEO model to associate more meaningful terms to useful content. In short, Semantic technology is the next phase of development and a notch higher than Information Technology (IT) principles.

crazyasskeywords

IT is all about storing and processing bits of data while Semantic Technology tries to make sense of it all in the context of human communications. It analyses more words in a sentence for communicative purpose. Hopefully it can also associate a male politician as a prostitute one day. That will be fun. It is this sort of double entendre that the new Google algorithm has to master eventually.

Voice Searches on Mobile

Hummingbird is a byproduct of mobile searches. It came about in 2011 when both Google and Apple decided to wage war to conquer the needs of mobile searching. Siri was born out of that and for that alone, Apple has already prepared itself to enter the search engine business with voice searching. Google was of course threatened and had to respond in kind.

Google and Apple both started offering voice recognition using Semantic Technology. For Siri and Google Now, both these systems had to understand a spoken questions to get answers as opposed to typing keywords to search the web. In the past, it was a one way street. both delivered results by detecting the keywords relevant to your question. Google has gone one step further by matching the context of your question to a relevant content that answers your question before serving this up to you. By recognizing human speech, it can also deliver results based on humanized content sans the sales talk.

Search Timeline 1997 - 2013

2013 marks the era for intelligent search optimization

For What the Future Holds I gotta Wear Shades

Hummingbird will be around for a long time and sites requiring a leg up will have to pay more attention to Content Optimization.

The birth of content optimization is nothing new. It has been discussed and demanded by content creators who spend countless hours horning their knowledge and sharing it with the world only to have it stolen and attributed to someone else who had a knack for exploiting keyword searches. All too often we click onto SPAM during our online searches and this has to stop. Online marketeers who have plagiarized websites for content will have no option but to change directions and move towards creating meaningful content. The future is finally bright enough for content developers to wear shades.

Keyword database has been turned off but will searching with keywords still work?

Google will need between three to six months to ease the new algorithm in. Your search ranking won’t be affected immediately but in time it will. There are millions upon millions of web pages and website that needs to be index, some of which won’t be getting the same high rankings after Google turned off the Keyword database.

Time is what is what Google needs for the new avian SEO to get cracking, those affected will be pure commercial websites that offer bookings, retail and any form of e-commerce. There was a time when all it took to rise to the top of the page ranking was a piece of software that inserted keywords into your page.

Content Optimization with Knowledge Graph

Creating content use to be another term for scrapping RSS news feeds off other sites or putting the stolen content through a Content Spinner to get something that sounded new. With more attention put through to Google Knowledge Graph, we have to relate that content to make up a whole picture and link it to the content originator.

Knowledge Graph is the Future

How do you link a random selection of words into something comprehensible? Well, one effective way is to make it understand what those words through a linking process. For example, if someone searched for a Ferrari F40, Google will piece together the information about the last car that Enzo designed and not link it to Lola Ferrari, the aging porn star with incredible headlights.

Names and terms gets associated with a dossier of information as opposed to data. It is sort of like what the NSA does when they decide to open a file on you. They would have your history, achievements, pet peeves and what you are doing now.

randy.graph-search

Knowledge Graph is already live as you can see. Search for something notable and Google will be at your command to dig up as much as it can and even gives you the option to be updated on Google Now cards. As soon as Google digs up new content, you will be notified. Neat.

Content optimization will play a crucial role in the future of SEO. No more tricking Google with Black Hat strategies or hiring writers who just write a nonsensical bunch of keywords to help boost traffic. It is time you ante up on those online cost and it’s not software that you need but  people who can developed real content.