Monday, April 29, 2013

Is Facebook Gasping for Breath?

By Stacie McDonald

Listen closely, can you can hear that? 


Reports indicate the noise could be the end of Facebook. Maybe you're shocked, if you're in the 30-49 demographic. But if you are part of the younger generation, you might be already be thinking, Facebook WHO?  

Facebook's numbers, by their own accord have been dwindling steadily, a concept which is being called "Facebook Fatigue".  Not only are user's visits less frequent, but the time spent scanning status updates is also shrinking. A literal "Facebook? Meh." 

My own teenager tells me that 'no one uses Facebook' anymore, and by reviewing her page, I would have to agree the kids seem to have left the building. Websites like Reddit, Stumbleupon and Flickr are seeing an increase in traffic, while Phone apps like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are gaining popularity as easier to offer a more instant update that Facebook can't match. Also, parents aren't very adept at using the newer applications, making them feel a lot more private for rebellious youth (better set up your new accounts, parents).

Another theory for the plateau is that those who were loving the idea of Facebook were University students (you recall that Zuck started Facebook at Harvard), and those same students who utilized the service are now in the work world and may not have the time and inclination they once did. 

Numbers of users is probably less indicative than hours logged in, since most have a Facebook, even if it is dying of loneliness. Many use it to stay in touch with family and classmates, but the daily log in isn't high on their priority list. 

Facebook has attempted to change and improve their site to stay relevant, with some changes more positive than others. The problem may be TOO many changes, which annoys users who are regularly aggravated by having to re-learn the navigation of their pages. 

The final straw for many is that Zuck and the gang finally succumbed to the gong of capitalism and introduced ads. Lots and lots of ads. Talking ads. Ads geared toward my individual likes, geographic location, and other criteria I may not even recognize. Some ads must be random, which may explain the woman in her underwear who keeps showing up on MY pages. I'm pretty tired of her.  

As for me, I am not fatigued by Facebook. I am probably no longer inspired by it either, but for my demographic, for business and information sharing I still think it works pretty well. The ads are annoying, the continual changes are sometimes silly, but it's fast, easy to use and gets the job done. And most importantly, I have not found anything which works better. 


Friday, April 19, 2013

SocialWyo Tech Talk: Get More Fans

By Juliette Rule

Do you know how to get your Page to 30 fans? Heck, increase the number of fans you have already? We discussed a few tips to do just that at today's SocialWyo Tech Talk. Uh-huh. The one you missed.

The talk was free, thanks to Laramie County Community Community College, so make sure you put the next one on your calendar. It's happening at noon, May 16 in the Sage Room at the Laramie County Library. We'll discuss Insights, and by discuss, I mean you'll be expected to ask questions, especially dumb questions.

Back to those tips on fan acquisition ... but one quick thing first.

If you haven't claimed your fan Page's custom URL, you'll need to do so. It makes cross-marketing easier, meaning you can just tell your friends ... those you see IRL ... "Fan my Page! It's facebook dot com slash SocialWyo!" Much easier to remember than "facebook dot com slash My Page weird letters and numbers," which really is a string of code at the end of your Page name. To do that, you'll have to let Facebook know you want it:

Done? Good. Now for those tips for fans.

1. Post regularly. I always tell people to post two or three times a week at least. The truth is, you probably should be posting more frequently, but it's sort of like flossing, I figure. Better to do it three times a week than never at all. Just don't tell Dr. Zumo, OK? Why should you post regularly? Because you need more to do, solopreneuer! I kid. Post regularly so fans see your content, like, comment and/or share it so their friends can see it and come like your Page. Plus, you'll meet other marketing goals like driving sales or increasing sign ups or attendance at your event. This, my friends, is how you tackle both customer-fan acquisition and use Facebook for like actual marketing.

2. Email. It's a classic. If you haven't emailed to your friends and your customers a message specifically asking them to fan your Page, you should. If you're using your customer list in this way, make sure this email is good. Really good. Why? Because you can't ask your customers more than a few times to fan your Page. Some aren't on Facebook, and they're tired of being told they should be. Some are on Facebook, and they're already your fan. Those who are on Facebook deserve an easy way to fan your Page. So make this email pop. Give them a reason to click. (When your customer file grows significantly, hit that list again, choosing at that time whether to include this first group again in the fan push.)

3. Email. Yes. Again with the email. Include in your email template - in the header or the footer - a link to your fan Page. You use just a signature in your Outlook? Fine. Good! Include a link in your signature.

4. Facebook. That's right. Ask your friends on Facebook to fan your Page by posting a personal status update tagging your Page. Tell them why they should do that, as in give them a sense of the content you promise you'll deliver. Special deals for fans? Opportunities to volunteer in the community? Feel good stories about the awesome stuff you find online or in your community? Tell them. Sell it, baby. But keep it short.

5. If you're lucky, your fan Page has a new-ish feature in the admin panel called Promote Page. I'd screenshot it, but SocialWyo doesn't have it. Not sure why, but I know I'm not gonna cry about it. I do know its power because I've used it for other Pages. So check it out. Set a budget - it's not free - and watch that fan count climb.

6. If I were to go to your web site right now, and I mean right now, would it be obvious to me that you're even on Facebook? Fix that. Work with your web site designer, and proudly give her your Facebook Page customer URL.

Ahhh yes, I've forgotten to tell you why you want to get to 30 fans! It's so you can access Insights, and then you can really start measuring your Facebook marketing efforts! That, friends, is the topic of the May 16 SocialWyo Tech Talk.

What have you done to acquire fans? Ohhh. That's a good one. Put your custom URL on your business card! That's a good one. What else ya got?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What's up Zuck?

By Stacie  Sumner McDonald

You're doing a great job of posting to your social networks! Good for you! But strangely  no one seems to be commenting on your witty quips, comment-generating queries or daily specials posted to Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook!

What's up Zuck?

Facebook is ever-changing, offering new and innovative (and sometimes annoying) upgrades to their site. We moan and groan, but eventually get used to some of their more obvious changes. 

But what about the changes you DON'T see? Whether I want them to or not, the Book of Face has been 'deciding' which posts I want to see for some time now through their Edgerank system, which shows me posts based on a scientific calculation of my interests, which makes me sound like a robot. What it can mean is that only 20% of people on my friend list are seeing my posts and vice versa. Bad! It also means that I am seeing a whole lot of posts from a few people, yet none of others, particularly if they don't post often, or I haven't liked their posts. 

Facebook is also not sharing posts attached to a link like they used to, something bloggers are screaming about. This means that when I update my status to let you know I had eggs for breakfast, more people see it than when I post an exciting and interesting blog link to Social Wyoming. Uh, what? Smart bloggers have learned to post a catchy hook in their status and then the blog in the comments in order to trick Facebook into sharing their link to a wider audience. Smarty bloggers.

With the introduction of Facebook's new Graph Search (still in beta, but on your horizon), Zuck and his crew are attempting to further filter the information for viewers and really dial in on your interests, and your friend's similar interests based upon past posts and collected data about clicks. This is supposed to personalize the experience, but can also make it difficult for you to reach that person who may be traveling in a different circle. 

The shame is that new information is sometimes what was interesting about this social network in the first place. A new interest is what made it exciting. 

That Zucks.