As a Community Manager, I need to keep up with the latest digital trends. I use my Digital Scrapbook to compile interesting articles on social media + digital marketing. The occasional fun reblog may appear on here too. ;)
Letting the one-sixth of the human population that is on Facebook know you’re in Mexico this week while that brand new 60-inch TV you posted about last week is home alone is an invitation for someone to rob you.
This should be at the top of the no-brainer pile. If your password is the name of your cat who has a Facebook account with 1,632 friends, you either need to change your password or the name of your cat.
8. Anything that happened in Vegas.
This is a rule for a reason.
9. Your Klout score, or any other social media statistic.
If you post your Klout score, you’re clearly over compensating for something.
This leads to the final thing you should never share on social media:
10. A naked photo.
If you’re an A-list celebrity taking nude pictures of yourself with your iPhone for your PR firm to leak to the media, that’s fine. Otherwise, not cool.
Do you have any more suggestions? Add them in the comments below.
Kevin Magee is chairman and chief idea officer at Smashing Pixels, where a version of this article originally appeared.
For a small team that doesn’t have a great deal of time to devote to social media, staying on top of Facebook’s constant changes can be tricky.
To help these social media teams, we compiled 25 important tips for the people who run their brand’s Facebook page.
1. How to schedule posts in advance
Often, small businesses don’t have time to send regular Facebook updates during the work day. Luckily, Facebook has launched a tool that enables page administrators to schedule updates.
When you post a photo, video, offer, or status update, you will see a little clock symbol below the update that lets you choose the exact time that your post will go live.
This is the perfect tool to schedule all your posts in advance for the day or week. The one word of caution is that interaction is also important, so it would be wise to jump back in to answer queries from your fans and customers in your spare time. What this tool will do is allow you to get back to work and possibly even enjoy a day off, or the whole weekend.
2. How to understand competitions
This is the question we get asked the most often: “What are the rules about competitions on Facebook?”
The thing is, most businesses see competitions as a way of gathering new “likes” and fans quickly by offering prizes and asking people to either “like” the page or share photos or other content.
However, the rules state that you are “not allowed to use any native functionality within Facebook for competitions.” That means that you can’t ask people to “like,” comment, share, or do anything else on Facebook to enter a competition. It is aimed at cutting down spam, and while it is annoying as a business page owner, it does prevent the platform from mutating into a giant competition hub.
You are allowed to run competitions on Facebook tabs, but to do that you will have to either build your own app or get an app from a third-party site.
Although competitions can be a great way of getting interaction on the page, for big brands or businesses with a large budget it might not always be the best way of getting new “likes.”
3. How to run competitions
Once you’re aware of the rules of running a competition on Facebook, you can start creating them. You need to make sure that you run competitions within “Apps For Facebook,” but there are many third-party apps that will help you run one on your Facebook page. Among the most popular isWildfire, which offers a lot of functionality, but apps such as Snap App, Votigo, Woobox, and Struttaare also useful. What functionality they provide will help you determine and shape the type of competition you’re going to run.
Once you decided upon the competition format, you need to look at promotion. You will promote it through your own channels, but you need to decide whether you will run an ad campaign to help promote it.
4. How to invite friends to your page
This strategy is possibly the oldest way of getting “likes” to your page when you set it up (although Facebook did remove this functionality at one stage before bringing it back). Once you create your business page and have some content, head to the top of the page where it says “Build Audience” and click on “Invite Friends.” This brings up a list of your friends. If you think the page is relevant to some of them, ask them to “like” it and they will be sent an invite.
5. How to add multiple admins to the page
Your company may have a few people who manage the Facebook page. Rather than sharing the one Facebook account, you can add multiple administrators.
When clicking into your Facebook page, click “Edit Page” and then on “Manage Admins.” Once you’re there, you can add the new person either by selecting his or her personal Facebook account or by sending that person an email invite. This works great for small businesses with a few admins.
However, be careful that when people leave the company they don’t retain their admin rights. Also, make sure you don’t have too many admins, because they have full control of your Facebook page.
6. How to manage roles
Facebook changed how brand pages work so that you can assign different roles to different people. Previously, there were just admin roles. Now there are five different roles to fill: insights analyst, advertiser, moderator, content creator, and manager. Each role has different responsibilities, so depending on the size of your company, you may not use all of them. However, if you have the luxury of letting employees take up different roles, you can assign them and break up the workload.
7. How to promote your updates
Most people think that when they post an update, photo, or offer, the amount of people who “like” their page automatically see that content. The truth is much different. Facebook uses something that it calls EdgeRank to decide who sees your content. Because of EdgeRank, it would be normal for only 10 to 15 percent of people who “like” your page to actually see your content.
To remedy this situation, you can use Facebook’s advertising tool to get people to see your content. Under each status update, you will see a little button saying “Promote This Post.” Clicking on this, and paying Facebook some money, will help your post get seen by more people who “like” your page. You wouldn’t do this with every post, but it is a good way to push out important content and updates that you want everybody to see.
8. How to understand EdgeRank
EdgeRank judges whether brand posts show up in people’s news feeds on the basis of weight, affinity, and time decay. So posts that are made at peak hours and that are popular will be more likely to spread across your Facebook network; it also helps if your Facebooks fans regularly use and view your page.
9. How to change users
Maybe you want to comment on other pages as your company page, or maybe you feel it’s better to respond to someone through your personal profile. Either way, you have the option of changing users at the top of your page. When you go into your brand page, you’re normally alerted that you are acting as the page and not yourself. To change it, go to “Voice” and it will give you the option to change.
10. How to set up a Recommendations box
You have a comment box for fans and users, but a Recommendations box is one great place to help build a rapport with followers. Recommendations are only made available when a page provides a location, so you must give an exact address in the “About” section before you gain access to it.
11. How to target posts
When you’re sending an update, you can also target a specific demographic either through language or location. To do this, click on the “Public” icon next to the “Post” button; you’ll be prompted to enter which countries or languages you wish to target. If you want to target multiple countries/languages, separate them with a comma. This is handy if you have a local and international audience and want to post content locally.
12. How to integrate WordPress blogs with Facebook
If you have a dedicated blog for your company, and you use WordPress, you can easily tag and post onto your own page and the brand pages you manage. You can also mention the names of pages and friends when you make your blog live to alert them to your latest post. This is useful if you want to help get your posts shared across the site.
13. How to know when to post
Knowing when to post a status update is vital; you want them to reach as many people as possible. Make sure you know your audience by looking at analytics and be sure to experiment with different posting times to find out when you get the most reach. A more detailed guide for posting can be found here.
14. How to optimize your page for search engine optimization (SEO)
Although it’s not your main site, you should still optimize your Facebook page because they appear in search engines.
There are numerous ways to optimize your page. Make sure you’re using keywords in your updates, on your “About” page, photos, links, and updates to help improve your chances. There’s quite a lot that you can do to improve your page’s chances of appearing on search engines, and you can find out more here.
15. How to find your past Facebook activity
If you want to find a specific post, you can activate the “Activity” log by going into “Edit page” at the top. Here you can see all actions relating to your page, including status updates, images, tagged posts, and comments. You can also filter the log by clicking on “All” at the right-hand side and selecting the content you want to see. All activity is highlighted in chronological order.
16. How to pin and adjust photos
You can place an older post at the top of your page by pinning it. To do so, go into “Edit” and select “Pin to Top.” This will prioritize the post so it will be the first thing people see when they scroll down the page. You also have the option of repositioning photos. Select this option, and you can move the image around within the frame.
If you have a particularly interesting topic or image, it’s well worth pinning it to get more traction. Remember that pinned posts will stay on top of your Timeline for seven days, so be sure to switch it around regularly.
17. How to manage your page on the go
While there is a Facebook app for iPhone and Android, the app you want to download is Facebook Pages. Practically a condensed version of your page, the app lets pages admins manage their account away from their computer. Here you can respond to updates, check out a brief overview of Insights, adjust settings, and generally keep up to date with any changes made to the page.
18. How to create milestones
If you want to add more content to your page and create a more engrossing experience, Milestones are the way to go. Usually, Milestones are reserved for important moments in your company’s lifetime. It’s good to highlight these with images of moments (such as when the company was founded) to tell its story.
This way, you add a human touch to the company, and those who go through your page will become more invested in it. Remember that milestones can be presented in one- and two-column formats.
This example from Coca-Cola shows a testimonial from 1892, demonstrating that the company has a rich heritage. Your business probably won’t go back as far, but it’s good to flesh out your page and reward those who explore it.
19. How to add interests lists and page owners
Alongside the numerous other features you have on your page, there is the option to create a featured “likes” list as well as link to the Facebook pages of page owners, a move that can help improve subscriptions for that page. To add “likes” or page owners, simply go to “Admin Panel,” select “Update Info,” and go to the “Featured” section. You can add more featured “likes” and featured page owners that will appear on your page.
20. How to remove recent posts by others
If your page is getting spammed by numerous users, and it’s distracting people from your main posts, you can get rid of the box entirely by going into “Admin Panel” and selecting “Update Info.” When that’s done, click “Manage Permissions” and unclick the box beside “Post Visibility.”
21. How to merge a Facebook fan page and personal profile
The line between business and pleasure on Facebook has been blurred for some time, but users who want to change their personal pages into fan pages have been running into brick walls. However, since March, Facebook has offered users the opportunity to make such a transition. All users have to do is go to “Create a Page.”
You can select which type of page you want to “migrate” to—business, brand, etc.—before you make the final switch. And it will be final. You will no longer be able to use this page as you usually would; your friends will become “likes,” and you will lose all the personal details, including pages you had “liked.” You’ll have to start another personal page if you want to use Facebook as you did, but you will have a strong foundation for your business on Facebook if you make the switch.
22. How to design your cover photo
A number of cover photo design apps have popped up online since the transition to Timeline. (Here are a number of them.) Ideally, your cover image will be 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall, but it has to be at least 399 pixels wide. Anyway, these apps will allow you to crop pictures to size and filter them to your specifications from a range of devices.
23. How to create a Facebook Offer
Facebook Offers can get small businesses involved with Facebook and help them to spread the word through easy offers and targeted advertising. (Here’s a guide to Facebook Offers.) Brands can create an offer by heading to the “Offers” page and deciding on the type (online, in-store, combo) as well as other specifications, such as a budget/limit and whether it’s a discount or a buy-one get-one free offer, etc. Brands can then decide when to post the offer for the biggest impact and target users who would be especially interested in their business. It’s a simple way for small businesses to harness the social power of Facebook.
24. How to use Facebook advertising
There are a number of ways to advertise on Facebook. The traditional ads focus on desktop computer users and can be found on the right-hand side of the screen. However, with the transition to mobile, sponsored ads have now become the main advertising feature. What sponsored stories do is appear directly within a news feed and come in the form of stories and accounts. If you’re thinking of promoting your page this way, but you’re unsure how these ads will appear, the company has a demo tool to show you how your ad will look.
25. How to create custom tabs
Custom tabs are a fun way for brands to personalize and fortify their Facebook pages. Log in as a developer and click on the “Create a New App” button. You will have to create stand-alone content that can be framed within the Facebook site, so if you have a pre-existing page or site you would like to integrate with Facebook, you can do so. Just make sure it fits Facebook’s dimensions and specifications.
From there, the new tab will appear next to the tabs for photos, info, etc. as another tributary of your Facebook page. It requires some skill at Web development, but custom tabs will help you stand out.
Niall Harbison and Lauren Fisher are the founders of Simply Zesty, where a version of this story first appeared.
A lot of people have written about annoying social media habits, but evidently not enough.
In case you’re still unsure about what to post to Facebook, consult this list:
1. Disturbing photos: Pictures of starving babies, burned dogs, and people with horrible disfigurements are in poor taste, and very upsetting to some people. We know a good cause is usually involved, but use some discretion.
2. Hard sales: Not everyone is in the market for expensive makeup or real estate. Share something the whole class can enjoy.
3. Guilt trips: Posting things like, “Make this your status for an hour or else you were not raised right or don’t care about babies with cancer” just makes people feel bad. This modern version of a chain letter doesn’t help the cause.
4. Games: This is like forcing people to play charades when they hate parlor games. Ask people first if they like games, and whether they will mind the hacks, spams and viruses that come with some of them.
5. Urban myths: Before you post that eating pomegranate seeds will cause your kneecaps to burst, run it through Snopes.
6. Religion: Don’t assume everyone shares your faith. There are places people can go for fellowship and like-minded praise and worship: actual buildings and private Facebook groups.
7. Confessions: Too much information is, well, too much. If you wouldn’t tell your spouse, mother, or shrink something, why would you tell me?
8. Profanity: A well-placed expletive for real outrage or disappointment is justifiable. A post with 10 F-bombs about a funny YouTube video shows a lack of vocabulary.
9. Fire alarms: You should thoroughly vet “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” posts about foods that will give you cancer or a Neti-Pot worm that will eat your brain before you post them. (See the Snopes reference above.)
10. Crypticisms: “I’m so mad!” doesn’t give us a lot of information to go on, or any way to help.
11. Information without links: It’s fine to tell usabout a cool website, but include the link, OK? Also, don’t use a link with 417 characters. Use a shortened one, please.
12. Wrong tech advice: If you run a tech-support company, we’d love to have your advice on the best anti-virus software or the right way to partition a hard drive.
In short, behave online like you would at a social event. No one suspended the rules of polite society for Internet interaction.
For the last couple of weeks we’ve heard about the Facebook IPO, so let’s shift the focus from the business of the social network to some useful video case studies from brands and businesses that have used Facebook to their advantage.
There should be something on this list to inspire everybody—from large campaigns using complicated apps to simple campaigns that get the users involved—in a variety of sectors, including consumer goods, alcohol brands, food companies, and retailers.
Heineken Beer Tender
A simple little app in which you share a keg of beer with a friend anywhere in the world. And you get in one in return.
This was one of the first campaigns that used Facebook in the real world, bringing interaction and fun to Diesel stores.
KLM Meet and Seat
A campaign from the Dutch airline KLM. It wanted to make flying more fun by enabling people to network with each other.
Lots of brands have thanked their followers, but none have done so in a more personal way than this video from Kraft, which thanked each of them personally with a song.
Citroen Car Crowds
Rather than rely on their own designers to build the next great car, Citroen went to work with its Facebook fans to deliver a brand new motor.
Volkswagen Fan Wagen
One of the biggest car brands in the world kitted out a couple of its best known models to be themed in the same way as Facebook.
Heineken’s One Like, One Balloon
Heineken came up with a cool way of engaging with its fans and getting more “likes” by promising to blow up a balloon for every “like.”
Corona wanted to create buzz without a huge budget, and it did so by giving fans the chance to appear on a New York billboard.
What Zurich Needs
You don’t often see great political campaigns on Facebook, but this one changed the way people thought about voting and about their city.
Smiles Orange Juice
This brilliant campaign for an orange juice brand in Israel inspired people to smile while juicing their own orange.
The drinks company provided a useful app that enabled people to change their profile photos into a beautiful design.
Facebook Physical Book
A phone company wanted to create something special using Facebook and they did so by allowing people to download a physical copy of their profile in book format.
The adult magazine created a smart campaign that used Facebook Connect to personalize videos for users and create a special piece of content.
Take My Lollipop
This was probably the scariest Facebook campaign ever. Through Facebook Connect, it used your photos and data to scare the life out of you.
This is an old campaign, but it got huge attention at the time. Instead of adding friends, this smart app asked you to remove 10 friends in exchange for a free whopper.
This is probably one of the most ambitious Facebook campaigns created. It had a huge production budget and an engrossing story.
Flair fashion Tagging
This campaign used the tagging feature on Facebook and replaced photos with outfits to give the female readers of Flair magazine a great fashion resource.
This campaign from Trident was all about getting people on board, even though they were doing their taxes. It promised a fun audit of your Facebook profile.
Heineken Personalized Bottles
Yet another one on the list from beer brand Heineken, which gave designers all over the world a chance to personalize bottles.
The chocolate brand wanted to cash in on the Olympics so it enabled people to support the U.K. team in a virtual parade via Facebook.
My Saddest Friends
This simple app aimed to find a person’s saddest friends and cheer them up via Facebook. Launching in Israel, it was a great way to put a smile on a person’s face and give the brand extra exposure.
The Museum Of Me
One of the best known campaigns of the last couple of years turned Facebook profiles into a private gallery.
Subway Youth Campaign
When Subway wanted to tap into a youth audience, it turned to Facebook and a voting campaign that inspired the entire community.
Real World Renault
A motor show is not somewhere that you would expect to see Facebook, but Renault was able to use it to the brand’s advantage in this very setting.
When one of the biggest beer brands in the world wanted to crack the Canadian market, it turned to an agency to create a first person hockey game.
Niall Harbison is co-founder of social media agency Simply Zesty, where a version of this story first appeared. Follow him on Twitter @niallharbison.
There are essentially two ways to get people to like your brand on Facebook: the paid method and the earned method.
If someone simply likes your brand—in the actual sense of the word—and wants updates from the company, they will find you. That’s the earned method.
If you want to spread the word that your brand exists on Facebook, you can purchase pay-per-click ads and sponsored stories. That’s the paid method.
This story will focus on ways to earn fans. After all, anyone can see an ad or promotion and click “like” thinking they will get something free. Problem is, so many will never pay attention to your page again. But when you earn someone’s “like” you start to build the robust community that every marketer dreams of on Facebook.
For example, a costly pay-per-click campaign might attract 1,000 fans to your page, but there’s a good chance that many of them don’t care about your brand in the way you would hope. And that means they probably won’t become brand advocates who “like,” comment on, and share your posts.
However, if you earn those fans—even if its just 100 of them—you have a Facebook following that’s sharing, “liking,” and commenting. They’re recommending you to their friends, and soon your reach has grown. In fact, a recent survey found that companies with fewer fans often have a more engaged community.
Bottom line: Consider how you can get the right fans to “like” your page.
So how do you earn the right fans?
Among the easiest methods for attracting fans is the shared post, which is basically an endorsement from your fans. They “like” what you post so they share it on their wall (with a link to your page) for all their friends to see.
Of course, like many aspects of social media, this is easier said than done. What makes posts sharable? I’ve created many highly sharable posts, and I can’t say I fully understand it. Sometimes, I’m certain my post will see a ton of shares and it flops. Other times I expected average traction and the post went viral.
But when it comes to creating sharable posts, this much is true:
1. You can ask your community to share your post. It doesn’t mean they will, but it’s worth a shot. I’ve seen it work, and I’ve seen it fail. When I’ve seen it work, the post was genuine and written in an authentic (read: human) tone and had a purpose behind it. When it hasn’t worked, the post has been forced and the accompanying content wasn’t exactly worth sharing.
2. Fantastic images are sharable. If I’m marketing my brand of chocolate chip cookies through Facebook, here are two potentially sharable posts, one that’s only text and another with art:
• “Chocolate chip cookies are always better when they’re shared. Share this post with someone you’d like to have a chocolate chip cookie with!” • [Close-up photo of a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk] “Stop! Cookie time …”
While I don’t encourage MC Hammer references in your posts more than once a month, the second post with the great imagery and the pop culture reference will likely get more shares than the “share this post” version. 3. Timing has a great deal to do with it. If you post the cookie shot first thing in the morning, you’re probably not going to get a ton of traction from it. However, if you catch people around 3 p.m. when they’re thinking about a mid-afternoon snack, it may help drive the shares. Or if you aim for the before bed crowd who is checking their Facebook page one last time before turning in, that could also work well. After all, we’ve seen how posting in non-peak hours can boost your page engagement—but that’s only because fewer people are online. When you post in non-peak hours expect your reach to drop.
Of course, building a fan base on Facebook starts with a great product (or service) and an identifiable brand to back it. We can’t all be Coca-Cola and Red Bull and sit back while our fan base grows to several million. But believing in your product, touting its best assets, and posting with confidence will help you attract the right community.
Few people have the same definition of “social media.” To some, it is a waste of time or a black hole. Others hear the term and immediately think of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and a host of other platforms.
That needs to change immediately.
The people who “get” social media don’t think about the platform; instead, they think of people and the relationships that can develop there. Social media is not a destination or place to go; it is a way of getting there.
The social aspect of social media is the most important vehicle to drive a return on the time invested. If the social aspect of social media is the car, then community management is the steering wheel.
Here are six simple things to look at—three each on Twitter and on Facebook—to determine whether you are on the right track:
Principles for Twitter use:
1. Scan your last 50 tweets. If you don’t see any @ symbols, you’re doing it wrong. The point of the platform is to engage, and the absence of those symbols shows that you aren’t doing so. Twitter is not the platform to continually blast your latest press releases.
2. Look at the links you have shared. Do they all lead to your website? If they do, you’re too promotional. Provide content and tidbits that your audience will find relevant and valuable. The great news is there are millions of content producers out there who will welcome your sharing their content. Eventually, people will recognize your sharing and return the favor.
3. Do you tweet and get no response, even though you have 5,000 followers? That’s because you are not top of mind. You need to start paying attention to the people that you follow. Answer their questions, congratulate them, or simply show them you are listening. When people see that you want to engage with them—authentically—they will start doing the same.
Now apply similar principles to Facebook:
1. Look at the comments on your page. Are you the most frequenter commenter? You should be, because you need to engage with the audience on your page. If others are commenting on what others say more than you, either hire them or start answering the questions yourself. Think of it this way: Would you rather have an employee answer phone calls at your company or an unqualified teenager?
2. Scan your status updates. Are all your status updates about your latest sale? Facebook is not the Sunday circular. You have a tough battle because you’re competing not only against your normal business competition; you are also competing to appear in the newsfeed along with people’sfriends. They’re inherently more interesting than those trying to sell you stuff all the time. Be a friend.
3. Does anybody respond when you post a status? Take a long, hard look at your content, and take off your marketer’s hat. The most important aspect of appearing in the newsfeed is interaction. Start thinking like a consumer to produce content that is short, sweet, and sharable.
Brian Murray is the Buzz Builder Manager at Likeable Media where he manages 50+ interns. You can follow him on Twitter, @BTMurr. A version of this story first appeared on the Likeable blog.
What’s the secret sauce of social media? Well, it’s not just one recipe. After all, far too many apps, sites, and tools exist for a definitive source of success on social media. But it seems the pros share some common habits.
They do these 12 things:
It doesn’t matter whether they have 1,000 followers or 100,000, social media pros often help others. If it could be harnessed, the karma flying around the Twittersphere (and on G+ and Pinterest and so on) might be sufficient to advance all humanity closer to world peace.
2. Share fairly
The pros never steal. They don’t have to because they’ve figured out that it’s not actually content that’s king. It is the creators of content that rule the kingdom. Social media stars create amazing content. And they also share content liberally, crediting generously as they press the words: publish, pin, or post.
The smoothest social media folks are also among the kindest. Just check out the Twitter streams of those with hordes of followers eager to sop up the social savvy. Tweets from the pros often contain thanks and kind words for others.
To have an effective social presence, you need to be mindful of others. Social media pros remember what it was like to not know that RT stood for retweet (or to not know what retweet meant). I think it is, in part, their own memory of feeling like a newbie that keeps the social media pros so generous with their tips and advice.
5. Don’t patronize
The pros don’t talk down to their audience. And they also aren’t afraid to admit if they don’t know something and need to double check before answering. I’ve listened to more than one webinar in which presenters gave a best guess to a question. Being so comfortable with their competence that they exude authenticity only underscores their social media chops.
In many, if not most cases, they follow back.
7. Have conversations
They have a lovely way with the back and forth, but also they know when to take it offline or move to direct messages. Social media is not one-way or performance art. Not when done well, anyway.
8. Make time for social media
They also know how hollow this comment is: “I don’t have time for social media.” So many tools help with scheduling posts, keeping track of mentions and chats, or monitoring various aspects of social presence that makes this excuse just that—an excuse. Social media pros find ways to find time.
It’s nearly impossible to be effective with, on, and around social media without blogging. This is a vital way to stay engaged with your audience and to maintain and build a social presence. Pros blog. Period.
10. Remain present
Sure, everyone needs to take some time off and seek downtime. Social media mavens are no exception. But generally, the pros are present. They ask, respond, reach out ,and chat with many others. That’s one of the ways they hone their skills. They’re out there, doing it. They don’t fake it.
11. Show their personality
Personality draws followers. It’s what lures readers to blogs, viewers to webinars, and eyeballs to shared content. The best on the Web all have a personality that pops.
12. Laugh at themselves
We’re all learning on social media. So much is new that it’s impossible to have mastered everything. But the most effective social media types maintain a sense of humor about it. They can, and do, laugh at the funny things that crop up so often online. They don’t take themselves too seriously. That’s one of the things that make them so effective, and so fun to follow.
This list avoided any social media rules, such as having a detailed editorial calendar or using specific sites or tools. Those guidelines are great. But I think these are the attributes that set apart the social pros from the rest of us.
What do you think?
Becky Gaylord worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Sydney, Australia, before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. You can read Becky’s blog Framing What Works. A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most blog.
The new format also changed the way consumers experience brands on Facebook.
In a webcam eye-tracking study for Mashable byEyeTrackShop, participants spent less time looking at Wall posts and ads and more time looking at the cover photo on brands’ timelines than they did on their old Facebook Walls.
“The new Facebook Timeline limits the effective branding space, and the top portion of the page must be effectively utilized,” suggest the study’s authors.
EyeTrackShop recorded eye movements of 30 participants as they were shown brand profiles — before and after being converted to timeline — from the Dallas Cowboys, Good Morning America, “The Muppets” and Pepsi in 10-second intervals. What participants looked at on each webpage, for how long and in what order is recorded in the images below.
Results suggests a few ways our perception of Brands on Facebook has changed:
Ads on Facebook Timeline are less visible than ads on Facebook Brand Pages. While 30%-40% of study participants looked at ads on brand Timeline pages, 80% looked at them on Brand Pages. In both cases, ads placed higher up on the page fared better than those below them.
Cover photos are the new Facebook Wall (at least as far as attention goes). On brand pages, Wall posts were the star attraction. Viewers on average looked at them first and for the longest amount of time.
On the brand Timelines, however, viewers always looked at the cover photo first. In all but one case, they spent a longer time looking at it than at Timeline content.
Everyone will notice your cover photo. It’s larger than anything else and at the top of the page for a reason, and 100% of viewers looked at it. On average, they saw it in 0.5 seconds or less. Meanwhile, only 65% to 92% of viewers noticed profile photos on Brand Pages.
Viewers see Timeline content last. In every case, viewers looked at either the left or right column of Timeline content last — after ads, navigation buttons and brand logos.
Information that was invisible is now a focal point. Facebook moved the number of Likes, events and apps to prime top-and-center territory. It now gets more attention than when it was listed on the right-hand side of the page.
In the case of Good Morning America, for instance, the show’s 585,000 Likes went from being completely ignored on its Brand Page to being the biggest attention-getter on its Timeline.
Cover photos with faces attract the most attention.Good Morning America and “The Muppets” have cover photos with faces, whereas the Dallas Cowboys and Pepsi do not. The cover photos with faces attracted more attention.
Take a look at the results of the study in the gallery, and let us know your own observations in the comments.
Areas that were looked at most are shown in red on the heat map. In the Timeline, viewers concentrated more of their time at the top of the page.
Dallas Cowboys: Opacity Map
This is the same information shown in the heat map, but in a different way. It shows what viewers saw, literally, when they looked at the Dallas Cowboys’s profiles.
Dallas Cowboys: Percentage Seen
As in every case, 100% of viewers saw the Dallas Cowboys’s cover photo. Just 65% saw the team’s old profile photo.
Dallas Cowboys: Total Visit Duration
On their brand page, the Dallas Cowboys used visual elements in the way and attracted on average 6.3 seconds of attention the area. Though some of those elements still exist on the team’s Timeline, they’re only getting on average 5 seconds of attention now.
Dallas Cowboys: Average Time to First Fixation
On average, people noticed the cover photo in less than .5 seconds.
Dallas Cowboys: Web Fixation Order
The wall replaced the cover photo as the page element people notice first.
"Good Morning America:" Visual Attention Level
People got the most attention on both old and new profiles. On the Timeline, “Good Morning America’s” number of likes had the most concentrated amount of attention.
"Good Morning America:" Opacity Map
Viewers tended to ignore the bottom half of the page.
"Good Morning America:" Percentage Seen
Everyone noticed the table of good-looking people that dominates the page. Few people noticed the ad next to it.
"Good Morning America:" Average Time to First Fixation
Viewers noticed the content on the right-hand side of Timeline last.
"Good Morning America:" Web Fixation Order
A list of Likes, events and apps were the 6th element viewers noticed in the Brand Page. On the Timeline, a similar list became the second element they noticed.
"Good Morning America:" Total Visit Duration
Viewers of the show’s Timeline spent on average 7 minutes looking at the cover photo, but only 4 seconds looking at the Timeline content. When they were looking at the Brand Page, they spent more time looking at the wall than any other page element.
"The Muppets:" Visual Attention Level
It’s easy to see why viewers focused so closely on this cover photo.
"The Muppets:" Opacity Map
"The Muppets’s" visually rich Wall drew more attention than its Timeline.
"The Muppets:" Percentage Seen
Just as many people saw a video on “The Muppets’s” wall as saw its cover photo.
"The Muppets:" Total Visit Duration
Viewers spent more time looking at “The Muppets’s” cover photo than at any other page element in this study.
"The Muppets:" Average Time to First Fixation
It took on average 8 seconds for viewers to look at the video in “The Muppets” Timeline. A video on its Brand Page’s Wall made them look within .4 seconds.
"The Muppets:" Web Page Fixation Order
Pepsi: Visual Attention Level
Pepsi’s logo got he most attention on its page.
Pepsi: Opacity Map
Pepsi’s cover photo does not get as much attention as those that include faces.
Pepsi: Percentage Seen
Even without faces, 100% of viewers noticed Pepsi’s cover photo.
Pepsi: Total Visit Duration
Viewers spent more time looking at the cover photo and menu bar on Pepsi’s Timeline than they did looking at all of the other elements on the page combined.
Pepsi: Average Time to First Fixation
As with other Timelines, Viewers saw the cover photo first and the Timeline content last.
Facebook engagement can be a tricky thing, especially when you consider that it’s often used to measure social media success. One way to gauge it is through the so-called engagement rate, which tracks the amount of people who are exposed to your post versus the number of people who take action with it.
For example, if 100 people see your post and five people “like,” comment on, or share your post, then your engagement rate is 5 percent. That example is rather optimistic, though. The exposure is usually much higher than 100 people, while the ratio of people who engage is usually under 1 percent.
Digital and social media analytics firm Socialbakers recently set out to determine which industries and brand pages have the most fans, and the highest engagement rates among those fans.
In general (with the exception of the fashion industry) a higher fan base means lower engagement.
When it comes to specific brands, the ones with the highest engagement rates may surprise you. Here are the top five brands in the fast moving consumer goods category by average engagement rate:
It should be noted that these brands barely have half a million fans combined. The most popular brand on Facebook, Coca-Cola, has 41 million.
So what does this prove?
You don’t have to be one of the big boys to garner great engagement on your posts. You will, however, want to have a discussion internally about whether your reach is more important than your engagement. You can reach 100,000 people and have 500 “likes,” or you can reach 6 million people and have 500 “likes.” The former will have a higher engagement rate. The latter will have a higher reach but a lower engagement rate. Your social goals should reflect which is most important to your brand.
As The Next Web points out, you probably shouldn’t be too jealous of Friskies—the No. 4 brand on the list of brands by engagement rate:
“… there is no hard and fast rule. Friskies seems to be keeping up its daily engagement rate by sharing a lot of cute cat videos. Anywhere else on the Web, this would no doubt be mercilessly mocked, but among cat-lovers, it is an obvious hit.”
Here’s an infographic showing all of the details from the Socialbreakers report: