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What is no longer working in social media: 2014 edition

(Social Media) With a constantly evolving list of features, shifting culture, and new practices, what worked last year on social media may not work this year. Here’s what you need to know.

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What’s new in social media, and what is broken

At least quarterly, it’s a good idea to find out what’s no longer working in different parts of digital marketing, particularly in fast-moving areas like social. This week, we’ll talk about what’s no longer working in social media, then we’ll move on to what’s new. And in our next series, we’ll also talk about search.

Before we proceed though, it is worth mentioning that participating in social media without a plan is asking for trouble. Really think about why you’re using social and what you hope to achieve. More visibility? An increase in website visitors? What are they supposed to do when they get to your website? Is your blog connected to your lead capture system?

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Also think about the role of social in your overall online strategy, whether it’s part of branding, marketing or customer service.

1. Blogging

It’s often forgotten that blogs were among the first social media tools – the best we’d had available since the online bulletin board or forum.
The ramp-up to slow-down theory of blogging is no longer working. You can’t blog daily for six weeks, then slow down and blog when you “have time” and expect the same results.

Studies are now showing that ramping up to posting even every other day increases sales. So wake up that dead blog.You can start by asking people who have subscribed via email what they’d like to learn about.

Try doing more shorter, pithier posts, then one in-depth post a week.

2. Twitter

There was a time you could get away with broadcasting links into the general noise of Twitter, and be noticed due to the curiosity factor of Twitter’s firehose, and the fact that Google would pick up your tweets in real time, and even show them in real time on trending searches.

Now, not only has the Twitter firehose been hidden for years now, but Google’s relationship with Twitter has changed – no more real time tweets on hot searches.

Besides, Twitter was never meant to be a broadcast medium and most people ignore much of what is on their incoming streams, or whittle them down to a manageable level, full of only the people they most want to interact with frequently. Instead of trying to manage my full incoming Twitter stream,

I look at my Twitter lists, hashtags, and people who I’ve set to mobile notifications first.

Most people on Twitter now have a system similar to this or a custom timeline – being followed is no longer enough to get noticed.

You must provide value, and shouting “LOOK AT ME AND MY STUFF” isn’t doing it anymore.

Pick some non-competing colleagues (or even the competition if you’re confident) and share their most helpful content 6 to 8 times for every time you talk about yourself. I personally find that I get a lot more attention when I’m ready to talk about myself if I share my community with others.

Screen some Twitter chats related to your topic if you have trouble finding out who these people are.

3. Facebook

Oh #facepalm. Where do I begin with what doesn’t work on Facebook?

I’m tempted to say “everything”. For Pages, reach is down, because apparently Facebook differs from Twitter in that it either doesn’t see the value, or doesn’t have the capability, to show you everything you or your connections are subscribed to in the the public stream.

You’ve got to pay to play and even that can give you dismal results.

Ever since Facebook began to take away some of pages killer features, I haven’t been the fan I once was. It used to be easy to get prospects to opt-in to be contacted outside Facebook, to create posts natively using the Notes app, and many other things personal profiles have been able to do, or still can.

If you’re using your personal profile for personal interaction, it’s best to keep it that way. But if you’ve been using your profile’s ability to make certain information visible or hidden to certain groups via the refreshed Lists feature, that may be your best bet for visibility of informational posts that aren’t commercially heavy.

4. LinkedIn

LinkedIn used to have a kick-ass section called LinkedIn Answers. You could get a crazy amount of visibility by logging in once a quarter and answering questions until you were one of the top three in a sub-niche. I used to get very high quality client leads this way.

Now LinkedIn is letting more people into its Influencers program. Many don’t see the appeal to writing to an audience they already have. However, if you promote your LinkedIn posts as you would any other content marketing item or guest post, you will find that your audience expands outside the contacts you already have.

Test this out by applying to their program – if you’re accepted, test with a reworked blog post if you don’t have any new content on hand.

5. YouTube

Trying to grow your YouTube audience without interaction is much harder than it used to be. In years past, you could get away with just optimizing for search and exposing your videos to your own subscribers or your blog audience.

Now, the action on your page is part of the criteria for getting ranked, according to my favorite source on video SEO, ReelSEO (get it? Why can’t I think of things like that?)

A dead channel is an ignored channel. Get out there and find the active users in your space. Delight them and lure them to your channel.

6. Google+

So here’s a weird one for you – the main thing not working for Google+ is ignoring it.

If you’ve hated Google+ for years, you had good reason. With lots of abandoned profiles and few of the features that now exist, 2011 was way too early to speculate about its potential.

However adoption among more regular people, business owners, bloggers, and even Android users is making Google+ the place to be, not to mention the ability to leverage additional spots in Google’s universal search rankings, or the personalized rankings of people you’re connected to via the site.

If for no other reason than to get your OWN blog more personalized rankings by being connected to more people than your nearest competition, Google+ is a must if Google search is part of your marketing strategy.

You may hate it, but even though we may hate accounting, we still make sure it gets done. Build out your profile and invest just 5 minutes a day making new connections on Google+ – if you do it right, it’ll be worth your while.

The takeaway

Sometimes it feels like our social media efforts are failing. And sometimes, this is actually true. The key question to ask isn’t IF there is failing but WHAT is failing. Before you give up, make sure the point of failure isn’t your strategy or technique.

Tinu Abayomi-Paul is the CEO of Leveraged Promotion and a member of Network Solutions Social web Advisory Board. Her website promotion company specializes in reputation management, and engineering demand generation system for businesses, integrating search, expertise marketing and social media.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Eric "The Coach" Bryant

    April 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Outstanding Article Young Lady! =)

    This is a subject that had to be talked about. So many “Newbies” are just now making their way into Social Media, and Internet Marketing, and they are landing on the very places that you have now show (And rightfully so) to be “Obsolete” and “Out of Touch” .. it’s scary! They will be stuck learning these outlets, and still be at the “Starting Line” … It’s so sad =(

    There are so many “Guru’s” out there, taking advantage of the ignorance, and teaching these things as if they are important! It’s “Snake Oil” sales now, and they are just taking money out of Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs pockets, with little or no value.

    Here is my take on your 5 subjects …

    1)
    Blogging: “Try doing more shorter, pithier
    posts, then one in-depth post a week.” – Brilliant!

    2)
    Twitter: “You must provide value, and shouting
    “LOOK AT ME AND MY STUFF” isn’t doing it anymore” – Bingo!

    3)
    Facebook – IMHO … Dead! With one “Notable”
    exception … Private Community based Pages. They are “Knocking it Out of the Park!”
    Administrating a great Hyper-Local Neighborhood Page is garnering outstanding
    and quality relationships with potential clients!

    4)
    YouTube: Totally Disagree! This is the Future of
    Sharing your message, and connecting with potential customers here is at an
    All-Time High!

    5)
    Google+: Agreed … It is still a “Necessary Evil”
    to be a part of, and gaining (Ever so slowly) traction, and because it is
    Google, it has a high probability of long term success so you gotta stick with it!

    Really Enjoyed, Best of Luck to All Who Attack Online Marketing =)

    Coach

    • Tinu

      April 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you! Very in-depth commentary, you should write it up as an article. 🙂

      I’m not the guru type. Some people (still! gr) call me that, but I believe in sharing tested knowledge. I hold some advanced techniques back, but I’d rather prove my worth 100 times before someone hires me and have an enthusiastic client. In this day, doing otherwise is leaving money on the table.

      I think we’re saying the same thing about YouTube though. I think it’s at an all time high too – I just think if you ignore your channel, it’s at 1% of its potential.

  2. Trish Jones

    April 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    This is an excellent article, Tinu. With the exception of LinkedIn which I can’t comment on because I rarely use it, your points about the other social networks and blogging are spot on. And to add my two cents to Google+, guys, come and join the community, it’s good, good, good!

    • Tinu

      April 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Hi Trish! How have you been? I’m not the biggest fan of LinkedIn, but even my sporadic use has paid off. I’ve been putting off adding an article in because I would rather that it’s unique content. But I’m softening after seeing peers re-publish popular content there.

      Hope to see you around here more, and soon!

      • Trish Jones

        April 21, 2014 at 4:03 pm

        I am very well thanks Tinu. I’ve been hearing from people who have had some good results via LinkedIn and so now you’ve mentioned it, it might be worth getting more active. Thanks for that heads-up. And yes, looking forward to reading more from you!

  3. Erika Awakening

    April 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Love this article… Things are definitely shifting. I am no longer finding Facebook to be a very useful tool like it once was. And this is not only the changes in FB policies. It’s also because way too many people are now using FB as the equivalent of cable television. Mind-numbing, without taking the action they need to take to improve their lives. I will definitely be exploring other avenues, as I have now deactivated my main FB account.

    • Tinu

      April 22, 2014 at 6:46 am

      Hi Erika, Always interested in hearing about deactivation stories, because I always wonder if you maintain online connections elsewhere or just forego things like pictures of nieces and nephew that are far away.

      Since many immediate family members are overseas, its much cheaper from their side to follow my postings or pictures, or to share pictures online than by text or email. I doubt I’ll deactivate until family starts to migrate to whatever the next Facebook is.

      • Erika Awakening

        April 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

        Hi Tinu, it helps that I don’t really believe in having a personal life lol (that’s too long a conversation for here). I don’t use Facebook to connect that way. I use it to reach people with my message and it was no longer feeling like an effective way to do that. My method has far outpaced the development of my “community” there and conversations were getting too frustrating. Not sure if that helps understand it …

        • Tinu

          April 23, 2014 at 6:26 am

          Oh I definitely understand the impulse. These are my own personal reasons for not jumping ship.

  4. Pingback: How to use tweet chats to expand your brand's reach - AGBeat

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Social Media

Facebook’s Résumé takes another shot at LinkedIn

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook took another swipe at LinkedIn by introducing a new Résumé feature.

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Any job hunter is likely familiar with the little section somewhere during the application process where you’re asked to enter in social media information. Thankfully, Facebook is usually an optional field.

While I try to keep what the public can see of my social media profiles toned down enough as to not cause my grandmother to blush, I’m still not quite comfortable sharing my profile with prospective employers.

I’m sure many out there feel the same, and Facebook knows this.

Tinfoil hat theories aside, LinkedIn may be shaking in their boots as Facebook begins to advance their growth in the professional sector in their pursuit of social media domination.

Facebook has begun experimenting with a new Résumé/CV feature that works as an extension of your standard “Work and Education” section on a Facebook profile page, allowing users to share work experience in more detail with friends and family but most importantly: potential employers.

Luckily, the new Résumé/CV feature won’t be sharing personal photos or status updates, but will rather combine all the relevant information into a single, professional-looking package.

So far this feature appears to be rolled out to a small number of users, and it’s unclear when it will be officially launched, but this isn’t the first time Facebook has dipped their toes in the waters of the job sector, or took a jab at LinkedIn.

Several months ago, Jobs was launched, a feature that allows Business Pages to post job openings through the status composer, and keep track of them on their Page’s Jobs tab.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the intent behind the new Résumé/CV feature, “At Facebook, we’re always building and testing new products and services.

We’re currently testing a work histories feature to continue to help people find and businesses hire for jobs on Facebook,” and so this is just the beginning of Facebook’s plan to become a one-stop-shop and create a more seamless way for people to find and get jobs.

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Social Media

Tag photos, connect with friends, order food?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seems to be sprawling into every nook and cranny of life and now, they’re infiltrating food delivery.

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Facebook is now bringing you food! Although, no one was really asking them to.

In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is attempting to transform into more than just a social media platform. They have partnered up with food delivery services to help users order food directly from their site.

They hope to streamline the process by giving users a chance to research, get recommendations and order food without ever leaving the site.

Facebook has partnered with their existing delivery services including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo in addition to restaurants to fast track the process.

The scenario they imagine is that while scrolling through the newsfeed, users would feel an urge to eat and look to Facebook for their options.

After chatting up friends via Facebook Messenger to ask for the best place to go, users would visit the restaurant’s page directly, explore their menu and decide to order. When ordering, you will have the option to use one of the partnered delivery services either with an existing account or by creating a new one.

The benefit is you stay on one site the entire time. With the time you save, the food can get to you faster, which is a plus for everyone.

Assuming that people already live on Facebook 24/7, this seems like a great update. If you like getting recommendations from your favorite social media resources, it’s even better.

The problem is that in recent years their younger audiences have dropped off in favor of other sites. Regardless of what they think, not everyone is flocking to Facebook for their every need.

My guess is that this service will benefit those already using Facebook, but is less likely to draw new audiences in.

Adding more services may not be the key to success if Facebook can’t refine their other features. They have already been criticized for their ad reporting practices, though they seem to fix everything with a new algorithm.

Facebook has continued to stray away from their original intent, and food delivery won’t be their last update.

Facebook wants to be everything, but not everyone may want the same.

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Social Media

Hate Facebook’s mid-roll ads? So does everyone else

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Those pesky ads that pop up in the middle of that Facebook video, aka mid-roll, seem to be grinding everyone’s gears.

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In an ongoing effort to monetize content, Facebook recently introduced “mid-roll” ads into videos by certain publishers, and it has now been testing that format for six months. If you aren’t a big fan of those ads interrupting your content consumption experience, you aren’t alone; publishers aren’t crazy about them either.

In a report on the program, five publishers working with Facebook’s new mid-roll ad program were sourced and all five publishers found that the program wasn’t generating the expected revenue.

One program partner made as little as $500 dollars with mid-roll ads while generating tens of millions of views on their content.

Two other partners wouldn’t specify exact revenue number, but they did acknowledge that the ad performance is below expectations. As far as cost goes, certain publishers mentioned CPMs between 15 cents and 75 cents.

That range is large because a lot of the data isn’t clear enough to evaluate their return on investment. According to the Digiday report, publishers receive data on total revenue, along with raw data on things like the number of videos that served an ad to viewers.

The lack of certain data points, along with the confusing structure of the data, makes it difficult to assess the number of monetized views and the revenue by video. For context, YouTube, as arguably the biggest player in video monetization, provides all these metrics.

Another issue is that licensing deals are cutting into margins. Facebook pays publishers, via a licensing fee, to produce and publish a certain number of videos each month. In exchange, Facebook keeps all money until it recoups the fee, after which revenue is split 55/45 between the publisher and Facebook.

While these challenges doesn’t change the fact that revenue is low, it does make it difficult to dissect costs in a meaningful way.

Why is revenue so low to begin with?

For starters, a newsfeed with enough content to feed an infinite scroll probably isn’t the best format for these kinds of ads. As a user, when I’m watching the videos and the ad interrupts the experience, I’ve always scrolled right on through to the next item on my feed. It’s a sentiment echoed by one of the publishers in the Digiday story.

Because of that, Facebook’s new Watch program, which creates a content exclusivity not found on the news feed, might produce better results in the future. Either way, Facebook will need to solve this revenue challenge for publishers, or they might pull out of the programs altogether.

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