The difficulty of monitoring
We hear it all the time: one of the best ways to have an effective and thriving online presence is to monitor who is looking at your content and which elements of your marketing are seeing the most success. You’d be surprised to know, however, that many people leave social media out of the mix. It’s understandable. Unless you use services such as HootSuite, where you can pay to monitor your social media metrics closely, it’s hard to really know how many people are actually seeing your posts.
There is one glaringly obvious metric, however, that you can easily monitor, and that is your Facebook presence. The social media giant makes it so easy for you. At the top of your Facebook Page (not profile, but business Page), you’ll notice an “admin panel” with a graph showing your overall reach and engagement in your Facebook postings over the past month.
If you look underneath each individual posting, you’ll also notice that you can see metrics showing how many people saw that particular piece of content. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Let me explain—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard agents say that Facebook isn’t working for them and that they’re not getting any engagement. There are a number of reasons that this could be the case, but if you look at your metrics and see which posts had the most views AND the most engagement, you can tweak your content accordingly. You have the ability to find out what really works. These metrics also give you a more accurate depiction of your target audience.
Quick tips for tweaking your strategy
As you start using these numbers to tweak your social media strategy, I wanted to point out a few things that you should keep in mind:
This is a more accurate indication of your reach. Sure, you might have 600 fans, but underneath each post, it may say that it reached only 300 people. This means that you have 300 fans who read your content regularly, and those are the people who you need to try to engage. If you can engage more, that initial reach WILL increase.
The higher the reach, the more engagement you will get. In order to increase reach, however, you need to focus on engaging with the fans who ARE looking at your posts. You do this by focusing your efforts on creating conversation, not marketing yourself or using your page as a bulletin board for upcoming news and events.
With these two things in mind, you have probably figured out that your number one focus in re-doing your social media strategy needs to be engagement. Focus on obtaining interaction and building a presence based on conversation, and your overall reach will increase. This is the key to getting your brand the exposure that you’re looking for.
Next: obtaining engagement
The next step is figuring out how to go about obtaining engagement. This is a process that is best implemented through trial and error. No two strategies will work for the same target market. You have to try some different tactics and see what works. Once you start seeing a trend, you can figure out a strategy that works best for your business. Here are some common tricks of the trade that you can implement as you go about your new strategy:
• Post at the right time. Most studies show that the best time to post content on Facebook is early in the morning or late at night. Avoid late morning or early afternoon postings. The objective is to post so that the most people possible will see it right away.
• Include CTA’s in your posts. It might sound strange, but the Facebook postings that see the most success are the ones in which the page asks them to like or comment on a status. It prompts them to participate on your page.
• Make sure your content has a purpose. You want what you put on your page to be interesting and valuable to the consumer, so if that means you go a day or two without posting anything, then that’s okay. You don’t want to post just for the sake of posting. Unless you have something exciting to share or something purposeful to say, it’s best to refrain from posting and focus your efforts on engaging with your network on their own Facebook pages.
There you have it. Don’t overlook the most obvious social media metric available to you. Use the numbers, review your current efforts and come up with a plan to change it and improve your online presence. That’s the secret to being “cutting edge” in the online marketing realm. Start experimenting.
MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson
MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”
Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.
MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”
MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)
You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.
Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.
So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.
You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”
This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.
Reddit CEO says it’s impossible to police hate speech, and he’s 100% right
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Moderating speech online is a slippery slope, and Reddit’s CEO argues that it’s impossible. Here’s why censorship of hate speech is still so complicated.
Reddit often gets a bad rap in the media for being a cesspool of offensive language and breeding grounds for extreme, harmful ideas. This is due in part to the company’s refusal to mediate or ban hate speech.
In fact, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman recently stated that it’s not possible for the company to moderate hate speech. Huffman noted that since hate speech can be “difficult to define,” enforcing a ban would be “a nearly impossible precedent to uphold.”
As lazy as that may sound, anyone who has operated massive online groups (as we do) knows this to be unfortunate but true.
Currently, Reddit policy prohibits “content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people […or] that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals.”
Just about anything else is fair game. Sure, subreddit forums have been shut down in the past, but typically as the result of public pressure. Back in 2015, several subreddits were removed, including ones focused on mocking overweight people, transgender folks, and people of color.
However, other equally offensive subreddits didn’t get the axe. Reddit’s logic was that the company received complaints that the now retired subreddits were harassing others on and offline. Offensive posts are permitted, actual harassment is not.
Huffman previously stated, “On Reddit, the way in which we think about speech is to separate behavior from beliefs.” So posting something horribly racist won’t get flagged unless there’s evidence that users crossed the line from free speech to harassing behavior.
Drawing the line between harassment and controversial conversation is where things get tricky for moderators.
Other social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at least make an attempt, though. So what’s holding Reddit back?
Well, for one, moderating hate speech isn’t a clear cut task.
Right now, AI can’t fully take the reins because to truly put a stop to hate speech, there must be an understanding of both language and intent.
Since current AI isn’t quite there yet, Facebook currently employs actual people for the daunting task. The company mostly relies on overseas contractors, which can get pretty expensive (and can lack understanding of cultural contexts).
Users post millions of comments to Reddit per day, and paying real humans to sift through every potentially offensive or harassing post could break the bank.
Most agree that cost isn’t a relevant excuse, though, so Facebook is looking into buying and developing software specializing in natural language processing as an alternative solution. But right now, Reddit does not seem likely to follow in Facebook’s footsteps.
While Facebook sees itself as a place where users should feel safe and comfortable, Reddit’s stance is that all views are welcome, even potentially offensive and hateful ones.
This April in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) a user straight up asked if obvious racism and slurs are against Reddit’s rules.
Huffman responded in part, “the best defense against racism and other repugnant views both on Reddit and in the world, is instead of trying to control what people can and cannot say through rules, is to repudiate these views in a free conversation.”
So essentially, although racism is “not welcome,” it’s also not likely to be banned unless there is associated unacceptable behavior as well.
It’s worth noting that while Reddit as a whole does not remove most hate speech, each subreddit has its own set of rules that may dictate stricter rules. The site essentially operates as an online democracy, with each subreddit “state” afforded the autonomy to enforce differing standards.
Enforcement comes down to moderators, and although some content is clearly hateful, other posts can fall into grey area.
Researches at Berkeley partnered with the Anti-Defamation League recently partnered up to create The Online Hate Index project, an AI program that identifies hate speech. While the program was surprisingly accurate in identifying hate speech, determining intensity of statements was difficult.
Plus, many of the same words are used in hate and non-hate comments. AI and human moderators struggle with defining what crosses the line into hate speech. Not all harmful posts are immediately obvious, and when a forum receives a constant influx of submissions, the volume can be overwhelming for moderators.
While it’s still worth making any effort to foster healthy online communities, until we get a boost to AI’s language processing abilities, complete hate speech moderation may not be possible for large online groups.
Red flags to help you spot a bad social media professional
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social Media is a growing field with everyone and their moms trying to become social media managers. Here are a few experts’ tips on seeing and avoiding the red flags of social media professionals.
Social media professionals, listen up
If you’re thinking about hiring a social media professional – or are one yourself – take some tips from the experts.
We asked a number of entrepreneurs specializing in marketing and social media how they separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to social media managers, and they gave us some hints about how to spot whose social media game is all bark and no bite.
You can tell a lot from their socials
According to our experts, the first thing you should do if you’re hiring a social media professional is to check out their personal and/or professional social media pages.
Candidates with underwhelming, non-existent, out-of-date, or just plain bad social media pages should obviously get the chop.
“If they have no professional social presence themselves, that’s a big red flag,” says Chelle Honiker, executive director at the Texas Freelance Association. Another entrepreneur, Paul O’Brien of Media Tech Ventures, explains that “the only way to excel is to practice…. If you excel, why would you not be doing so on behalf of your personal brand?”
In other words, if someone can’t make their own social media appealing, how can they be expected to do so for a client?
These pros especially hated seeing outdated icons, infrequent posts, and automatic posts. Worse than outdated social media pages were bad social media pages. Marc Nathan of Miller Egan Molter & Nelson provided a laundry list of negative characteristics that he uses to rule out candidates, including “snarky,” “complaining, unprofessional” “too personal” “inauthentic,” and “argumentative.”
Besides eliminating candidates with poor social media presence, several of these pros also really hated gimmicky job titles such as “guru,” “whiz,” “ninja,” “superhero,” or “magician.”
They were especially turned off by candidates who called themselves “experts” without any proof of their success.
Jeff Fryer of ARM dislikes pros who call themselves experts because, he says “The top leaders in this field will be the first to tell you that they’re always learning– I know I am!” Steer clear of candidates who talk themselves up with ridiculous titles and who can’t provide solid evidence of their expertise.
How do you prove it?
According to our experts, some of them don’t even try. To candidates who say “’Social media can’t be measured,’” Fryer answer “yes it can[. L]earn how to be a marketer.” Beth Carpenter, CEO of Violet Hour Social Marketing, complains that many candidates “Can’t talk about ROI (return on investment),” arguing that a good social media pro should be able to show “how social contributes to overall business success.” Good social media pros should show their value in both quantitative and qualitative terms.
While our experts wanted to see numerical evidence of social media success, they were also unimpressed with “vanity metrics” such as numbers of followers.
Many poo-pooed the use of followers alone as an indicator of success, with Tinu Abayomi-Paul of Leveraged Promotion joking that “a trained monkey or spambot” can gather 1,000 followers.
Claims of expertise or success should also be backed up by references and experience in relevant fields.
Several entrepreneurs said that they had come across social media managers without “any experience in critical fields: marketing, advertising, strategic planning and/or writing,” to quote Nancy Schirm of Austin Visuals. She explains that it’s not enough to know how to “handle the technology.” Real social media experts must cultivate “instinct borne from actual experience in persuasive communication.”
So, if you’re an aspiring social media manager, go clean up those pages, get some references, and figure out solid metrics for demonstrating your success.
And if you’re hiring a social media manager, watch out for these red flags to cull your candidate pool.
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