When Facebook floated, one of the features it brought out (but kept fairly quiet and hidden for some reason) is the ablilty to schedule Facebook posts.
The reason it is more favourable to do this on Facebook, than via a dashboard such as Hootsuite, is that Facebook algorithms prefer content that comes from Facebook over a third party source.
Here is a quick ‘How to’ schedule Facebook posts:
1. Write your update, add links or pictures as you normally would do, but instead of hitting ‘Post’ button click on the little clock in the bottom left hand corner
2. This will then give you drop down options for selecting the year, date and time of when you want the post to go out. (It is a bit clunky compared to dashboard scheduling – but it gets the job done!)
3. Once you have selected all your options click ‘Post’. A little box should come up:
You’ve done it!
If you want to check what posts you have scheduled you can do this in the ‘Activity Log’ which is also accessible from ‘Edit Page’ drop down menu at the top of the page.
You can also delete scheduled posts and change the time of them here – but if you want to edit the post you have to delete it and re-do it (I told you it was a bit clunky!)
Branch Out is a free Facebook application that allows users to create a professional profile and network and is, effectively, a direct competitor to LinkedIn.
It launched two years ago but has now reached over 25 million users so is starting to cause interest (still a long way off of LinkedIn’s 150 million users though!).
What Branch Out has over LinkedIn though is access to the 850 million current Facebook users who simply have to accept the application’s permissions to start using it and connecting.
Once the application is installed, setting up a profile is very similar to that on LinkedIn. Then connecting with other users is as simple as going through your own friends list, and friends of friends.
LinkedIn is, undoubtedly, the leader in social networking when it comes to creating a professional network online. However, it can come across as a bit stuffy and old-fashioned. Branch Out, by its association with Facebook and its design, has a much fresher feel and gives young professionals who already connect with acquaintances on Facebook the opportunity to do this in a more structured way.
I would always recommend that people are very careful with their Facebook profiles by operating on the highest level of privacy settings and only accepting friend requests from people they know. I am still shocked by how many Facebook profiles are set-up as businesses and organisations instead of using pages!
Branch Out gives you the opportunity to ‘spring clean’ your Facebook profile by using it to connect with those in your network who are more acquaintances than friends.
As of 30th March all Facebook brand pages will be automatically switched over to the new timeline format. This layout is very similar to the format we have now, hopefully, all gotten used to on our individual Facebook pages.
If you haven’t updated your organisations page yet these are the things you need to change/look at updating:
1) Cover Photo
The most important thing to do is upload a cover photo. The dimensions to work to are 850px (width) by 315px. This space is a real opportunity for you to showcase your organisation – it could be that you use a nice photo or have a graphic specifically designed.
2) Application Icons
Under the cover photo there are icons that link to your applications. Only four are on display permanently (you can use the arrow key to view all). ‘Photos’ is ‘stuck’ in number one spot but make sure that you move the others around so that the next three that are most important are constantly displayed on your page.
3) Highlight Posts
Clicking on the star that is displayed in the top right hand corner of a post will highlight it and permanently make it full width on your timeline. Use for posts that were important or special in some way to highlight them.
4) Pin Posts
Clicking on the Edit pen that is displayed in the top right hand corner of a post will give you the option to ‘Pin’ it. This means that it will stay at the top of your timeline for a week, or until you ‘Pin’ another post. Great for making sure those important messages are on permanent view.
5) Review and Update Timeline
This change is a great opportunity to go back through your timeline and remove anything that isn’t on brand or now seems inappropriate and add in any important milestones.
There are other changes that make it easier to manage pages as an administrator and the ability to receive and send direct messages to fans but as a priority the above areas should be looked at before the big switchover on the 30th March!
Facebook hit 800 million users – 10% of the world’s population!
200 million Tweets a day are now being sent.
Google+ became the world’s fastest growing social media network – gaining 25 million users in the four weeks since its launch.
So what is going to happen in 2012? Will Facebook continue to dominate the scene or is there another social media platform waiting in the wings to take Facebook’s crown?
There is no doubting Facebook’s dominance of the social media sphere. From a user’s point of view it continues to be the platform of choice for sharing news, photos, videos and connecting with friends and family. With the ease of use of Facebook Ads it is also a marketers dream, having access to a database of 800 million users whose demographics can be broken down to where they live, how old they are and what they like doing.
The one factor that continues to plague Facebook though is privacy. Its default settings are still set to public and there are current issues around users’ details being used without their consent in Sponsored Stories.
In my opinion Facebook will continue to remain a strong player in 2012 – although I can see another big privacy storm blowing up at some point!
As Twitter moves from a small information network to more of a business model, like Facebook and Google, I can see it losing its strength as the ‘alternative’ social media network. Its appeal was in its simplicity. Limiting updates to 140 characters and account branding to a minimum kept it simple and, for those who get it, easy to use.
The recent changes; introduction of brand accounts, promoted tweets and topics will bring Twitter the income it needs to make it a viable business but will it alienate its users?
‘Google’s answer to Facebook’ boomed into existence in the second half of 2011. Its ease of use and familiar feel, as well as the addition of hangouts and the use of circles, has already made it popular, although still only predominantly with those with a professional interest in media, marketing and web. With brand pages already introduced and, no doubt, some form of business advertising not far away this will be the platform to watch in 2012.
Let us not forget that Google+ is owned by Google, who own You Tube. I think Google have lots more tricks up their sleeves to reveal to us all in 2012 that will link these three sites, add to the user experience and make it a one-stop shop for browsing and sharing.
This relatively unknown social media network has the potential to be the underdog that takes off in 2012.
Its ease of use, lovely design, simplicity and privacy give it appeal to the social media nay-sayers and those who are tired of being bombarded by advertising while they are trying to connect with their friends and family.
One thing is for sure, social media is here and here to stay. As the way we live in society forces us to be further apart physically – social media gives us the ability to connect. Human beings are born to communicate and share, and social media platforms give us the ability to do this quickly and easily – just pick the one that suits you best!
Facebook pages are designed for companies, brands and organisations to use to have a presence on Facebook and communicate with their followers.
You ‘like’ a Facebook page rather than becoming friends with it and in doing so become a ‘Fan’. This means that anything that the page posts will be seen in fans feeds but they can’t be messaged directly and the page cannot see the individuals profile.
The additional functionality that Facebook pages do have is Insights – which allow page owners to see a breakdown of the demographics of their fans, tabs clicked on and much more – great for marketing purposes.
These are some tips for setting up and maintaining a successful Facebook page:
1. Make sure you categorise your page correctly.
2. Upload a good quality picture that represents your organisation (normally a logo) as your profile picture.
It needs to be a maximum of 180 pixels wide and up to 540 pixels in height.
3. When you reach 25 fans customise your URL.
4. Update your status three to four times a week.
5. Upload photos and video to increase engagement.
6. ‘Like’ other pages and share their content/engage with them.
7. Incentivise people to like your page by running an offer with a customised landing page for fans that
gives them a discount code.
8. Use Facebook adverts to publicise your fan only offer and to drive people to like your page.
9. Have postcards/posters made or a simple line on the bottom of letters that says something like: Become a
Fan at www.facebook.com/social.monkeey to receive….
10. Link to your page from your website/email footers.
Facebook operates in Open Source so the possibilities for customisation and using your page as a marketing tool go a lot further than this, although at this point you might look to get some advice and support from a social media agency, but these are some basics to get things started.
In the run up to Christmas pubs, bars, clubs and alcohol brands will be ramping up their social media campaigns. However, some caution does need to be given as to how sites such as Facebook and Twitter are used to promote the consumption of alcohol.
From 30th September 2011 a set of common principles has been set by the European Forum for Responsible Drinking (EFRD) and Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). These are not law, but following these best practice guidelines will ensure that your campaign can not be called into dispute.
1) Pages relating to or promoting alcohol must be set to only allow those who are 18+ to become a fan.
2) Any inappropriate content posted by users must be removed within 48 hours.
3) Facebook adverts must only be targeted at those who are 18+
4) Avoid using ‘sponsored stories’ adverts on Facebook as you have no control over what images are used.
5) Don’t upload images of anyone who appears to be under 18 (think 25).
6) Have a link to a responsible drinking message somewhere on the site.
If you are in any doubt seek the advice of a social media agency, who can best advise on what you can and can’t do and how to adhere to the best practice guidelines.
As social media has started to emerge as a discipline it is having trouble finding where it belongs. There are agencies that deal specifically with social media but often it sits within the offerings of a PR agency or web agency or in-house department. But where does it really fit?
Social media platforms (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) are simply tools that provide a method of communicating a message. You could argue that Marketing, PR and Web all do the same – but in different ways.
Is it a form of Marketing?
Traditional marketing is about an organisation deciding on how they want sell a product and using various tools (TV, newspapers, radio) to spread that message as widely and as many times as possible – hoping that it might fall on the right ears and that person will buy the product.
Social media is not about pushing a message but about engaging with an audience that have chosen to hear the message. Social media can be used for marketing, very effectively, but only if the marketer using it acknowledges that they will have to work differently and that it is now a two-way conversation.
Is it a form of Public Relations?
Public Relations (PR) is about an organisation using the media to spread a message. This is by creating a story related to the organisation, in the hope that it is picked up and creates positive media coverage that positions the organisation at the forefront of the media consumers mind.
You could say that, effectively, social media cuts out the middle man. Social media platforms give the organisation the ability to communicate directly with its consumers, and others, and to have complete control over the message.
Is it a part of Web Development?
Facebook, in particular, sits very closely to web development. It operates in within an Open Source framework that allows developers to create applications and html code to customise pages. Twitter also has many applications now attached to it that act as tools to maximise its use.
Social media also has the ability to drive traffic to websites and interact with them through social plug-ins. It can also help with search engine optimisation of a website.
So, in conclusion, it would seem that social media has a leg in all three disciplines. This is no bad thing as it demonstrates what a diverse and effective tool for communication social media is. The only downside, as there always is with any emerging field, is that many Marketing, PR and Web practitioners are ‘having a go’ at social media but often not getting it quite right.
The only way to ensure that your social media use is going to be as effective as possible is to get support and advice from a specialist social media agency.
Tagging is one the most simple and effective tools of social media marketing. It works differently in different platforms but all to the same end of increasing engagement and visibility of what you are saying.
In Facebook you can tag photos, and now friends and places, in status updates. For business use though the most effective form of tagging is the @ tag in updates. If your page is a fan of other pages they can be tagged in a post by inserting the @ symbol and typing the name of the page. If you then hit return this creates a link to that page and will also notify that page that it has been tagged. This in turn should stimulate some sharing and engagement with those tagged.
Tagging on Twitter has more options and the ability to make your 140 character update have even more reach. @ tagging on Twitter serves a similar purpose to how it works on Facebook. If you use insert the @ symbol into a Tweet and start typing one of the usernames of someone you follow it should bring them up in a list that you can then select from and tag that person in your Tweet. This then means that they are guaranteed to see that Tweet as it will come up in their ‘Mentions’ feed rather than get lost in the very fast moving ‘Home’ feed. If they are an active Tweeter this should stimulate them to reply and provide the start of some engagement.
# tagging on Twitter serves two purposes. By # tagging a word e.g. #socialmedia you are helping to make it part of, what eventually could become, a ‘Trending Topic’. If multiple Tweets # tag the same word/topic they become part of a big conversation on Twitter and move up the trending list.
# tagging also gives those words the ability to be ‘seen’ more easily by those who are following those subjects. There are various tools /apps that have been created for Twitter that give users the ability to search for or be notified about Tweets that contain certain words. So again # tagging key words in your Tweet will enable it to be seen rather than get lost in the fast moving home feed.
This week has seen the roll out of ‘Lists’ by Facebook. This is in response to Google+’s ‘Circles’. What it essentially means is that you can separate your contacts into different lists (they won’t know which one they are in) and then send updates only to certain people. For example you might have Family, Friends and Acquaintances lists. You would update your status with a photo of a family get together to only your Family list, so that people you don’t really know aren’t let in on your personal life. Users can now also ‘subscribe’ to your feed without you having to become friends with them (like Twitter).
This is all part of Facebook, and social networking sites in general, trying to improve user’s privacy. As mentioned in our previous blog: Location-Based Social Networking: Friend or Foe? privacy is an on-going issue for social networking sites and they know they need to make their users feel comfortable with the information they are sharing if they are going to continue to use them.
However, that said I would still err on the side of caution with anything you post to the web, in any form. Even after deleting posts they can often still be cached and found in the websphere. Assume that, even if you believe you are posting to a private list, that anything you post has the potential to be seen by anyone..
At the moment these changes shouldn’t have a major effect on how organisations use social media to communicate. Facebook has already restricted organisations’ use of it by pushing them to set-up ‘Pages’ rather than as groups or people. This already came with its own restrictions before they brought in yet another change that pages will no longer be able to message ‘likers’ directly from 30th September.
Google+ still doesn’t have a place for organisations to set themselves up and will close down any accounts that are not personal. The only place that seems to, at the moment, be embracing the use of its platform by organisations is Twitter by differentiating itself as an information sharing network rather than a social network.
Maybe it is time for a new social network to take centre stage…
- Melanie on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Keith Osborn on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work - Social Monkey on Social Media Workshops
- Social Networking - Why Face-to-Face is still important on Norfolk Tweetup
- Melanie on Norfolk Tweetup