Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lost & Found: Activity Log for Admins

By Juliette Rule

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about the new scheduling tool in Facebook. This week I found the page - the activity log - that allows admins to see what is scheduled to appear on their Page(s). Handy ... if you know where to look.

Strange way to begin a blog post, I realize. I wanted to tell you about a recent discovery on another hidden tool in Facebook. Turns out, it was just a glitch with the Activity Log. When I tried to duplicate the experience, I couldn't. I tried it on a PC. I tried it on my Mac. I tried it in Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. No go.

I like the new scheduling tool in Facebook. A lot. But sometimes you need to double check your work or schedule a different post. So where do you find that post for editing/cancelling?

If you see this window (below), you'll see it's the Activity Log. When I clicked it - several times during the week of June 10, it wouldn't load. (Working just fine now, thankyouverymuch ... At least for now!)

The search for activity log was an act of mild desperation for me. I hadn't seen anyone else complaining about it, but when I clicked on the modal window (left) inviting me to View Activity Log - a window that only sometimes appeared after I scheduled a post - the page refused to load. At first I thought it was just being wonky. No big deal. But a week passed, and the page still wasn't loading. I saw no chatter about the issue, even in a Facebook Group I belong to. And that really only motivated my OCD tendencies to solve the problem ... whatever the cost to the day's productivity.

A little background - you can schedule posts in Facebook using that little clock icon that appears in your sharing tool. Easy squeezee. After that, it's nice to know (because you'll probably forget) what you've got scheduled when. 

If you don't see that window, don't sweat it. Here's what to do. Go to Edit Page and click "Use Activity Log."

But ... If you, too, start experiencing the page load problem like I did, try this: Instead of using Facebook as your Page, use it as yourself.

See that "Use Facebook as Juliette" in the list to the left? Don't click it.

Go, instead, to the top arrow (see below) and select "Use Facebook as: YourNameHere." Once you click Use Facebook as "your name here," you'll be sent to your Timeline.

From your Timeline, go to your personal Activity Log, and there you'll see the scheduled posts.

You won't be able to line edit the content there (which stinks!) but you can adjust the time (really handy!). Trust me. It's really handy if you need it. And if it works.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

3 Tools Facebook Hid From Admins

By Juliette Rule

Hide might be too strong, but tucked away is certainly fair. With the endless changes to Facebook, new tools are introduced, some tools are movedand in the end, you've got to be dialing in your Edgerank. Here's a list of tools I find useful as a Page Admin of, ahem, 17 Pages.

1. The Facebook Poll. Remember this one? It used to be built right into the Share tool (that's where you update your Page's status to include photos, links, etc.). It's still there, technically, but it's tucked away. From the Share tool, click the Event, Milestone + icon. 

It's somewhat interesting to me that Facebook hid the Question option. It's a great and easy-to-manage engagement tool, and it's a very handy way to improve your Edgerank. Plus, I've never seen anything knock that virality metric out of the park better than the FB Poll. (Did you know ...  Unless you disable the option, users can add their own choice answers to the poll? Yep! So be warned. Some Facebook users are immature perverts! So frame your question thoughtfully, and monitor the responses and poll additions.)

2. Banned Users. Sometimes you've got to ban fans from your Page. They're repeat offenders of troubling wall posts. They're frequent producers of spam. Whatever. Sometimes you've got to forgive and forget, too. Here's how to find that list of banned fans and release them from Page Purgatory. 

Go to Edit Page above your Cover Photo. Click "See Banned Users" and you're presented a pop-up and an option to unban.

You'll note, too, that Edit Page -> See Banned Users also reveals options for People, Pages and Admins. Want to make someone an admin of your Page? Tell them to fan the Page and then find them in that Edit Page -> See Banned Users -> People list.

They fanned you a while ago? That's cool. Go to Admin Roles (in that same Edit Page drop down) and add them. You'll need the email address associated with their personal Facebook account.)

3. View Insights. That would be your analytics. Your metrics. Your hyperlink to your math phobia. In a nutshell ... the data that tell you how well (or poorly) your Page is performing (and why!) via a fire hose of downloads. 

When you click View Insights, you're served a very digestible set of data. It's even sortable. But if it's that fire hose you're looking for - those deeper insights - you'll need to hit Export Data, select your date range and what kind of download you want, Page or Post level.

I download my Page data every week and upload my dashboard. Between the third and fifth day of every month, I download both Page and Post data for the previous month and keep it as a permanent record.

That's when I perform my analysis of Post performance, aka my Spreadsheet Partay!

There are lots of changes happening all the time on Facebook. Survey says Facebook will keep rolling out changes. (Yeah, that's my scientific insight based on a very scientific poll.)

Any particular features you're missing lately? They're probably not gone, and 10 bucks says I can find it. Ask your question in the comments below. Seriously. Challenge me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Using Social Networking in the Public Sector

By Stacie McDonald

Welcome back to Social Wyoming; we missed you! In case we haven’t seen you in a while, here is a recap: We’ve been spending some time talking about why your social network isn't working, Free social networking tools, and some basics like writing a press release. Check those out if you haven’t for some great tips!
If it feels like everyone has a social networking page, you're right! Even local government entities like cities, counties and schools are realizing that social networking is a quick, effective (and ECONOMICAL!) way to reach a social and sometimes mobile audience. Today, I am speaking with Joe Lunne, public information officer for the City of Gillette. Since 2009, Joe and the team at the City have been using social networking to stay in touch with citizens through Facebook and Twitter, even using online surveys for their annual citizen survey!  Joe was kind enough to share a little bit of his experience with me over an online cup of coffee.  The best part was that I got to feel like a REAL LIFE REPORTER. (I made myself a press badge.) 

Here is a bit of that conversation.
Stacie:  Hi Joe, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me via the Internet! I have been watching the City of Gillette’s communication grow since you began as Public Information Officer (PIO).  Your Facebook page is not only a great source of information, but also includes helpful reminders, great community stories and witty quips. Good on ya! Suddenly, the city of Gillette has a personality!! What made the City of Gillette decide to make the leap into social networking?
Joe:             The City set up its Facebook and Twitter accounts about three years ago, shortly  before I became the PIO.  The idea was that we should have these accounts set up and ready to go.  As PIO, I started trying to post items that I thought were newsworthy and interesting.  We have 1,851 people following the City on Facebook and 370 following us on Twitter. 

What draws people’s attention to our social media accounts are human interest postings and emergency information.  We saw tremendous spikes in page views during the story about the fate of some stolen garden gnomes and a missing person case. We recently ran a story about a dog nursing kittens that saw a tremendous amount of views.  One main reason I have tried to build a following on social media is for the benefit of using the pages in the event of a catastrophic event to communicate with the public.  That’s what this is all about.
Breaking news: Gnomes without homes!!
Stacie: Absolutely. They come for the garden gnomes, but stay for the other                    important news. Has the addition of social networking decreased the cost of   your advertising budget, or are you still relying heavily on more traditional forms of communication, like print media?
Joe:          Our advertising budget has remained the same for the past three years, and social media is a free addition.  Our outreach plan is to utilize every resource.  The City uses social media (Facebook & Twitter), and our City of Gillette website  along with a weekly ad in the Sunday News-Record and Campbell County Observer to share our message.  The City also purchases regular advertising on Basin Radio and through Optimum Communications.  This is in addition to GPA’s three channels, press releases, and utility bill inserts via snail mail. We work very hard to disseminate information to our citizens in every medium, and that means social networking as well.
Stacie: Which one is utilized most?
Joe:         Facebook is far and away the most used. (1,851 on Facebook vs. 370 on Twitter), and the best way to draw involvement with Facebook is to include pictures.  Video doesn’t draw as much attention statistically, but adding pictures to your posts draws a lot more attention to what you’re doing, and saying.
Facebook is a great tool to update citizens on construction and road closures!
Stacie: What have been the largest benefits?
Joe:         I think the biggest benefit to the City has been the growth of our following on Facebook – we have a lot of people watching our feed on a regular basis.  In an emergency situation, this will definitely be a benefit.  It has also been useful to receive information from the public so that the City can act on it.  I get two or three requests per week from the public asking about a City service or suggesting an improvement.
Stacie: What have been some of the toughest obstacles?
Joe:         The biggest challenge with social media is to “keep it fresh” and update it frequently.  That’s the only way it works.  You can’t post weekly posts – you need to be updating your page a couple times a day at the least.

Stacie: True that! Definitely out of sight, out of mind! What else?

Joe:         The real problem with outreach is that the public’s media consumption is fractured.  Twenty years ago, people read their local newspaper and listened to local radio stations, and that made it easier for the public to be informed about local events.  Now a portion of the population only look at national websites, ignoring the local media.  In this instance, they are no better informed.
Stacie: Can you explain the City’s approach to social media as a means of basic communication all the way up to Emergency messaging?
Joe:              The main goal is to get the word out about everything we have in process. That’s the message, and that’s what we try to do on a daily basis.  It doesn’t matter if it’s talking about a new program or announcing a winter storm watch.  The approach is the same.  We make an effort to partner with other City Departments as well as other community entities like the hospital and schools to exchange information, and then act like a conduit for that information when it needs to go out.
Stacie: It has been a great clearinghouse for local information! Going forward, what are your new plans to stay in contact with citizens?
Joe:         We will keep looking for new ways to get information out to the public, particularly via smart phones, since they seem to be gaining popularity among even kids! We are also rolling out our online citizen survey through our social networking channels.
The City of Gillette uses online surveys to collect opinions from citizens. 
Stacie: I think the community appreciates yet another way to keep in touch with our elected officials and the happenings with our city government. Joe, thank you for chatting with me online today. Perhaps we could have lunch this coming week?
     Joe:                  Sure, that would be great. But you’re buying.
Stacie: Deal!
Thanks to Joe Lunne for talking with me about their communication strategy. Check your local government websites for links to their social networks and stay connected in your community.

Stacie McDonald is public relations and marketing strategist in Gillette, Wyo. A Wyoming native, Stacie has worked in the energy industry in Public Affairs and Occupational Safety and Health. Her experience with non-profit organizations and small businesses has given her insight into marketing with small and limited budgets. She operates Stacie McDonald PR and Consulting.

Friday, June 8, 2012

3 New Tools for Facebook

By Juliette Rule
One day this week, I didn't swear at Facebook. Yep, Zuck finally earned genius status, in my illustrious (and highly undervalued) opinion. He'll be so glad to know.

Now, can now schedule Facebook posts, Promote Facebook posts and assign different levels of permissions to your Page Admins. Awesomesauce.

1. Schedule Posts for Facebook on Facebook
Seriously, HootSuite, hoo? Now, you can craft your post when things are calm, schedule it and know you need only check back in on the Page later to respond to comments and posts. Suhweet!

Why is this good news to you? Because in using third-party apps like HootSuite, some content presented poorly on Facebook, confusing and befuddling fans ... all because you tried to ensure you were posting on the weekend when you were really out water skiing or sleeping in.

Now, using Facebook's native app built right into the share tool, you can schedule posts in advance that include content third-party scheduling tools tripped over, like a picture you uploaded, links on blogs that aren't live yet and links to Facebook applications. (Seriously, that alone made me reconsider how useful HootSuite and company were to my company.)

So write your post, and click on the clock icon in the lower right. Follow the prompts to add a year, month, day and time at least 10 minutes and as many as six months into the future. Target the post to a specific audience if you'd like by pulling down the menu by the globe icon. Punch it on the Post button and go take a nap.

This tool even allows for time travel ... errr, Timeline travel. Make a post for an already-passed time and it will display there on your Timeline. (Uses for that? Anyone?)

2. Promote Facebook Posts for Maximum Exposure ... Easily
The Facebook Ad Manager is fine. But this is easier and highly valuable.

Why is this good news to you? Because it's a seamless way to promote a post on even the smallest of online ad budgets, and it allows you to target your post to existing fans ... who may or may not be seeing your regular posts ... right in their news feeds.

The social marketeer in me also likes that this tool - in all its accessibility - is Facebook Ads Light. What a great way to introduce people to Facebook ads, right? Especially small businesses, which is a market I think Facebook misses with its complex ad tools.

There is just one little catch ... Facebook is rolling out Promote tool slowly, so it's only being offered to Pages with 400-100,000 fans at this time. They'll soon be rolling this out to everyone because it just makes so much sense.

So, write your post and click the Promote button. Set your budget, understanding that the size of your fan base (seems to) dictates how much you can spend on that promotion. Hit save and watch the clicks register and your reach increase!

A bit more about spend ... one Page I admin has 440 fans, and is limited to $5. Another Page I admin has 750 fans, and has an option to spend $5 and reach 900 or $10 and reach 1,000 fans ... yeah, I'm sort of stumped by that math, too, but it probably means Facebook is still tweaking the tool.

Also, remember that your promotion will last three days from the time you posted it. Make sure your content will be relevant three days from the time you post.

3. Facebook Lets Page Admins Determine Roles for Other Team Members
Handing out admin rights to your Page should be scary to you, social media pros. You know that those with admin rights have as much power and control over your Page as you do. They can post drunken rants on behalf of your brand. They can foolishly tangle with customers in the comments of an otherwise awesome post. They can unpublish your Page. They can download your Insights and then blog vengefully about them. Now you've got the power to determine the power, which makes Facebook an even better platform for business!

Go to your settings and select Admin Roles. Click that hyperlinked drop-down menu below the other admin's name. Pick your poison ... or in this case, antidote!

This setting is great for organizations with junior and senior levels of expertise and responsibilities on the social  team, but also have an overarching need for everyone to be able to access the Page on an as-needed basis.

But why is this actually better than HootSuite for Facebook? The best reason I can come up with is tagging. HootSuite doesn't support @tagging in Facebook, and that means that brands using HootSuite can't tag customers in the comments. That means the customer doesn't get a little notification that says "Polly's Pet Store responded to your comment." Since most customers won't come back to your Page to see if you responded, it's important to leverage that notification tool and emphasize that your brand is listening to its fans/users/customers/almost-a-customer customers.

Now you're wondering just what each one of those settings allows. Thanks to Mashable, I can share this handy dandy chart and hit the hay.

So, feedback? You like these updates? Were they just so obviously needed, or is it just me and 942 million other Facebook users?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why You Need to Value Divergent Thinking for Social Media Success

By Juliette Rule

How do I know if I did it right? Did I do it right? Yeah, but what's the right way to do it? Is this how you do it? I need a good idea. Just one really good idea. Help?

I get questions like this all of the time in social media. The best answers I have: Well, did you? Well, was it? And then what happened? What other answers or ideas did you have?

The thing about social is this - and I realize the truth of this with each day I become more immersed in social posting strategies, analysis and social's value for business - there really is no best answer. And you have to be OK with that.

For any single question in social - Begin that post with how or would? Post a coupon code in the morning or the afternoon on even or odd days? - there are 50 or 500 or 5,000 "right" answers. In allowing yourself to spontaneously create those answers and quickly evaluate each of the many possible solutions and in a very short period of time, you'll find success in social. Indeed, this is the work of social, creating solutions in an ever-changing landscape, accepting feedback from lots of people, marrying ideas that wouldn't seem to exactly go together.

This idea of creating many answers to one question or problem isn't new, by the way. It's called divergent thinking, and creative personality types supposedly excel in this area. (Seriously, comment if you disagree, math majors and engineers.)

When I think about divergent thinking and social, I begin to know why I'm increasingly inclined to understand social as one piece of an organization's communications strategy and not simply as a technology or straight-up marketing solution. It's also the key to success if you're managing social in a team envirobment.

Embracing divergent thinking allows you (and your team) to make connections you might not make otherwise, and there's value in that creative process because if you're in social, it is incumbent upon you to be creative and engaging and to be different, but logical.

I liked this list of strategies to stimulate divergent thinking because it helps me remember there's real value in brainstorming, and it includes tips for supporting divergent thinking at work.

So, which type are you? Divergent thinker? Or do you just like to know which answer is the right answer and move on?