Encouraging Engagement

The latest announcement from social media giants Facebook initially had everyone in a panic. Even I admit I was left scratching my head at it before becoming frustrated as a social media marketer. Now that I have had time to delve into it a bit more and talk to other marketers about it, it really doesn’t seem like such a terrible thing.

Facebook is simply saying they want to show more from friends and family on your newsfeeds. That’s great, isn’t it? That is what Facebook was originally for! However, Facebook has more or less been saying that with each update. This update just puts it in black and white for everyone. Many were worried that this means Pages will be obsolete and that being seen will be near impossible unless you pay for it. That won’t be the case at all. Facebook simply want to show you the things you are interested in and are judging that by the conversations you participate in. If you tend to scroll past Page posts instead of interacting with it, then that tells them that you aren’t really that interested and in the future that space will be used for something you do interact with.

For the Page owner, that means getting people to comment on their posts and hopefully engage in a “conversation” of some sort. After an update in December, we already know that asking for Likes, shares, and comments will actually hurt your reach. Asking an engaging question is where it will matter. For many with a social strategy in place, this doesn’t require a lot of change, if any at all, as this is something marketers have already been implementing.

So, how should we be encouraging this engagement? Our handy infographic will help you determine the right posts for your page:

The most obvious answer is to ask an engaging question. Open-ended questions leave room for many different answers. This or that is simple, yet effective (and can also be done on a Facebook poll – only available on desktop at this time and with only two options too), or you can go for a good old-fashioned fill-in-the-blank or “caption this” post.

Sharing newsworthy stories is also a great way to spur on conversation. If there is content related to your industry, share it and ask a question about it. This could also be your own blog, so you’re also driving traffic to your personal site.

Facebook has even mentioned in their last update the power of live video. A good live video gets people talking. You interact with them via video, and they get involved, and when someone is watching your live video, their friends see it too. A live competition is a fantastic way of getting people talking!

Your posts should always include a visual of some sort. Black and white text alone will not be enough to catch the attention of someone scrolling through their newsfeed. A great eye-catching visual is a must. Quotes and memes are great choices for generating a reaction of some sort.

The most important thing to remember is that encouraging engagement means engagement on your end too. Respond to all the comments, ask further questions, and try to get people to keep talking if possible. You will also need to stay consistent with a good mix of posts. If you find something isn’t working for you, then change it! Sometimes it takes a few weeks to see what type of posts your audience responses to best and at what time of day. Don’t be discouraged. Building a quality social media page definitely takes time.

Again, these tips aren’t anything new. Marketers have been putting these types of posts in their strategy already and staying away from asking for Likes, comments, and shares. If Business Pages are affected too much by this latest update, then Facebook partners won’t be happy. You can expect another change then!

Have you been trying any of these in your posts? What type of response have you got?

If you want any more tips on reach and engagement, then be sure to find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

Twitter: A Crash Course

One of the biggest things I hear about Twitter is “I don’t get it.”

While Facebook is the biggest, most popular social media platform, the social networking giants are making it increasingly hard for businesses to be seen. If some of your target audience is on Twitter, it would be a good idea to branch out and connect with them on there as well. I’ve put together a quick “crash course” on the social media platform so you can get started!

GETTING STARTED – After you’ve done the usual sign up, you’ll be brought to your timeline. It may be looking pretty bare if you just signed up, apart from a few you may have chosen to follow that Twitter suggested during sign up. You’ll have an egg as a profile picture. You can click on your profile and change this (and it’s recommended that you do). Profile pictures are a 128 x 128 pixel square and headers are roughly 1252 x 626 pixels.

DO
: Choose a Twitter handle that is clearly related to your business (Ex. A craft business may be @HandmadeByEm, don’t pick something like @BakingQueen if you’re promoting a craft business). Make your profile picture something that reflects you or your brand. This will be what everyone sees on their timeline! Promote your Twitter handle on other social media, in your e-mail signature, on business cards, etc.noegg

DON’T: Be an egg. Change that profile picture as soon as you sign up. Eggs don’t get taken seriously.

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FOLLOWING/FOLLOWERS – Now that you’re set up, it’s time to start gaining followers and following others. It may be slow going at first, and you can’t make anyone follow you, but they will slowly build if you just be yourself.
DO: Target your following. Find others in the industry and give them a follow. Use the search bar to find other like-minded people you would be interested in seeing in your timeline. You can also create lists (Click on your profile picture in the top right corner > lists > Create new list) and segment your followers in each of these lists. Using crafts again, you may create lists for knitters, pottery, painting, etc. You can go back to these lists to easily see what conversations have been going on.
screenshot_2017-01-19-11-15-502DON’T: Follow everyone. Some people think it is common courtesy to follow people back who follow you. Of course, you can if you want, but this can make for a very big, jumbled timeline you wouldn’t be able to find much in. Instead, stick them in a list if you deem it appropriate. You can also look at other people’s lists if they’re made public.

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TWEETING – Now for the fun part! Tweets are notorious for their
280-character minimum, so keep it short and sweet. Add links, share pictures, include hashtags (which I’ll talk about next).
DO: BE YOURSELF! Interact with people. Show others there is a person behind this brand. Tweet your latest business news, other news in the industry, links and re-tweets to things that are related to your business. Get involved in the trending topics.
DON’T: Tweet anything you wouldn’t want “off the record”. It may also be a good idea to have a separate Twitter account for personal use. I also don’t recommended automated posting of links all the tie. People want to talk to people!

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HASHTAGS – A hashtag is a link of sorts to other conversations using that hashtag or phrase. It’s as simple as putting a # in front of a word or phrase and voila! No need to make it complicated. People often use them for joining in on conversations about news or even TV shows (I’ll admittedly say I have tweeted a few comments followed by #XFactor or #BGT!). You don’t need to be following others to join in on the conversation (which can be found by clicking on the hashtag or using search). You
can see a list of trending hashtags/topics on your Twitter homepage on the desktop or through search on the mobile app. You can change this from trending worldwide to something more local if you prefer.

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A good example of a networking hour using #ManchesterHour

DO: Check the trending topics and join in on the conversations IF relevant. Participate in local networking hours such as #ManchesterHour or #WiltshireHour. It’s a fabulous way to meet other local businesses! Create your own hashtag and ask people to use it during an event to connect. For example, if you were hosting a conference, asking people to use a short hashtag on Twitter would generate even more conversation online as well as offline (If you’re hosting a craft show, ask people to use #CityCraftShow or the like).

DON’T: #MakeAHashtagSoLongThatItIsPointless.
#There’s #Also #No #Need #To #Hashtag #Everything. Don’t use trending topic hashtags in irrelevant tweets. It’s spammy, and some businesses have had a backlash for it (like putting #Apple and then linking to your latest crafts).

Twitter can be very beneficial for businesses if used right, and these are just a few tips on how to get started in the Twitter world that I hope proves helpful! Feel free to get in contact with us (@digiflamingo on Twitter!) if you need any more tips on this sometimes confusing, but often rewarding social platform.

#Facebook

Hashtag use on social media…it is something a lot of people are still trying to get to grips with. They’re popular on Twitter, Instagram is overrun by them, and Facebook decided to join in on the fun too. When it comes to hashtags, they could be awesome for our organic reach, but only if you are using them correctly. When it comes to Facebook, the rules are slightly different compared to other social media platforms. Here are some do’s and don’ts of hashtags on Facebook for small business pages!

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What is the purpose of a Hashtag?

Let’s start off with what a hashtag is: It is a word or phrase that turns into a clickable link when you put the # in front of it (ex. #Facebook, #FabulousFBpages). In doing this, it can allow you to be part of the topic. In general, clicking on the hashtag will show you all the other posts that are using that hashtag, allowing you to get in on that conversation. They can allow you to be seen by someone who is searching for that word/phrase. On Instagram, hashtags are essential to be seen, and they’re great on Twitter too, especially for networking events, but on Facebook? Not so much.

How do they work and how should I use them?

Research has shown that using too many hashtags on Facebook posts can actually bring down your reach and engagements. When searching for a word or phrase on social media, the hashtag does not always matter, and you will get results with and without the hashtag, spaces, etc. That isn’t the case with Facebook. For example, if you’re selling earrings and use #earrings in your post, it won’t show up if someone searches for “earrings”. They would have to put “#earrings”, and this may be why hashtags on Facebook don’t really work.

thumbs downThis doesn’t mean you need to avoid them altogether. Only one to two hashtags are recommended at the very most and they should be planned accordingly to make sure they fit in your marketing strategy. If you are using the hashtag to network, that’s great! If there is a popular hashtag, such as in a trending topic, then use it (but only if it is appropriate!). Never use a hashtag that has nothing to do with your post. This is also seen as spam and can have negative effects on your marketing campaign.

Please keep this in mind when cross-posting, especially from Instagram to Facebook. You can edit the Instagram post before posting it to your Facebook page.

So, do Facebook hashtags matter? Only if it feels appropriate, like with networking, and make sure it doesn’t look spammy. Take the time to research which hashtags are popular for your industry (this goes for all social media platforms!). Totally get involved in conversations and networking, but keep it to one or two. Too many look like spam, and people are more like to scroll past if it appears in their feed. You don’t need a long list of hashtags to be seen on Facebook through search. Instead of hashtagging a business name, tag them instead (and this can really help with reach). Use the right keywords that pertain to your business and/or product to create quality social media content instead!

As hashtags can be a confusing topic, feel free to find us on Facebook or Twitter and ask about how to approach hashtags for your business!